Sunday, 31 March 2013

The Top 10 Mafia Bosses of all time!

Back in 2003, I was doing a bit of work experience for Front magazine. For those not in the know, Front magazine is a lads mag, affectionately known back then as porn for cowards due to the publications reputation for having more boobs featuring across its pages than the competition.

Yesterday, while I was clearing out from crap from the loft, I came across a March 2003 issue which included a feature I had written about the American Mafia. Part of the feature included a Top 10 of the 'Richest, most ruthless and stylish gangsters ever to rule the mob.'

Even after 10 years, I still think this list rings true, so without further ado, here is my top 10 Mafia bosses of all time as originally published in Front magazine...

1. Carlo Gambino
The King of New York. The undisputed capo di tutti capi (boss of all bosses) of all time. Carlo Gambino is undoubtedly the most successful mob boss in L Cosa Nostra history. Gambino did not look like your average mafioso. Short and bulb-nosed, he enjoyed playing the humble fruit-market shopper on expeditions to the old neighbourhood, much like Mario Puzo's Don Vito Corleone from The Godfather (who was modeled after Gambino). Don Carlo bore more resemblance to a grandfather from a Werther's Originals advert than a cold and calculating mobster who murdered his way to the top of the Mafia.

He rose to family in the crime family that would later bear his name, and played a part in disposing of three of New York's most infamous gangsters: Vincent Mangano, Albert Anastasia, and Vito Genovese.

Mangano was mysteriously disappeared and his body was never found. Anastasia was murdered while he was being groomed in a barbershop chair, and Genovese was removed with the aid of the federal government in a narcotics case. Gambino then took up his position as the most powerful mob boss in the country.

He continued solidifying his position by gorging alliances and carrying out killings; few dared to challenge him. When he died of a heart attack in October 1976, Gambino went out in true Godfather style. Reporters and onlookers were cordoned off from the hundreds of mourners at his funeral, and the hard-faced guards discouraged any would-be intruders. Things were handled with the decorum that Carlo Gambino would've demanded.

2. Tony Accardo
Summing up Tony Accardo's leadership abilities, mobster Paul Ricca once confided to Chicago-American columnist Geaorge Murray that 'Accardo has more brains for breakfast than Al Capone ever had all day.' Posessing a nimble mind and canny instinct for self-preservation, Accardo boasted that he never spent one night in jail. William F. Roemer Jr, one of the most highly decorated agents in the history of the FBI, wrote a book called The Genuine Godfather about his pursuit of Accardo, who ruled the Chicago underworld for 40 years. Roemer described Accardo as being 'America's most dangerous criminal.'

Accardo built up a fearsome reputation for violence and cunning, first making a name for himself as Al Capone's bodyguard and special enforcer. His stock and trade was vengeance. In May 1929, Al Capone discovered that he was the target of a murder plot, hatched Albert Anselmi and John Scalise, a pair of imported Sicilian contract killers who had carried out mob executions for Capone for five years previously. At a lavish dinner party given in their honour, it is alleged that Accardo swung a baseball bat to their traitorous heads, and dumped the bodies in a ditch near Wolf Lake, outside Hammond, Indiana, afterwards. Accardo's respectful mob associates would later pin a nicknameon him that he would carry to the grave: Joe Batters. An attempt on his life was never made - surely the mark of a great boss. Accardo died in 1992 of heart problems.

3. Charles Luciano
Time magazine said it best when the editorial read: 'He was born and died in Italy, yet the influence on America of a grubby street urchin named Salvatore Lucania ranged from the lights of Broadway to every level of law enforcement, from national politics to the world economy. First, he reinvented himself as Charles Luciano. Then he reinvented the Mafia.'

He received the nickname 'Lucky' after surviving a gangland ride in 1929, in which he was beaten, stabbed repeatedly and had his throat slashed, before being thrown from a car and left for dead.

It seemed Luciano's lucky finally ran out in 1936 when he was arrested and sentenced to 30 to 50 years imprisonment for running a prostitution racket. The underground insisted that the case was a set-up.

But after 10 years, Luciano was paroled due to 'wartime services to his country.' On his release, Luciano was deported to Italy where he continued to influence the American Mafia and receive his fair cut.

4. Al Capone
His name, Alphonse Capone, is synonymous worldwide with 'Chicago gangster.' Capone climbed to the top of the Mafia ladder by murdering anyone who got in his way during the prohibition era. Selling bootleg booze - claiming he was simply offering a 'public service' and 'providing what the people want' - made the Chicago outfit millions, and made Capone Public Enemy Number One.

5. John Gotti
He was known as a dangerous mobster in La Cosa Nostra circles, and the Feds hated him with a passion, but he was a superstar to the people of New York. John Gotti was a Mobstar.

His love of the finer things in life helped him obtain the nickname The Dapper Don. After beating case after case, the media then renamed Gotti The Teflon Don. But in 1992 the Feds finally found a case that would stick.

At trial, prosecutors used the testimony of Gotti's turncoat under boss Sammy 'The Bull' Gravano to take down The Dapper Don. The most damning testimony came when he told how he, Gotti and other insurgents killed the Gambino family boss Paul Castellano and took over his crime family.

But ultimiately it was Gotti's own words that would hammer the nail in the coffin. Gotti had a loose tongue, and FBI surveillance tapes happened to record him when he boasted to a fellow mobster: 'You tell him, I, me, John Gotti, will sever his motherfucking head!' The ruthless John Gotti was jailed for life.

6. Frank Costello
For all the muscle involved in organised crime, Frank Costello was the brains that smoothed the judges, police and politicians that kept the machine running. His contacts throughout city hall and across the country, along with his ability to slip in and out of different parts of society, earned him the nickname 'Prime Minister Of The Underground.'

A psychiatrist might deduce much from the behaviour of a gangster whose obsession with 'looking aces' was more important than avoiding a criminal conviction. And yes, just like a scene out of The Sopranos or Analyze This, Costello did have a psychiatrist.

When Costello died in 1972 his widow, Bobbie, insisted that none of his underworld cronies show up or send flower-bedecked tributes. One who did show up was a distant cousin who, as Costello's wife turned to leave the grave site, leaned over and asked in her ear: 'What are you going to do with Frank's clothes?' The widow walked off without answering, but perhaps dapper Frank would have appreciated the interest.

7. Vito Genovese
Don Vitone - as Genovese preferred to be called - can be credited as much as any single mafioso for keeping the mob in the narcotics business - a trade forbidden by mafia law.

In 1937, Genovese found himself facing a murder rap. Instead of hanging around to face the music, he fled to Italy. He succeeded in ingratiating himself with Benito Mussolini, despite the fascist leader's ruthless campaign to destroy the Italian Mafia.

Genovese finally returned to his old stomping ground in the US after the war, but he didn't stand trial, because the key witness in his murder case mysteriously 'disappeared'.

Genovese's obsession to become Capi di tutti capi eventually cost him dearly. After an attempted assassination on Frank Costello, fellow mob bosses had finally had enough of Don Vitone's power-hungry ways. Genovese found himself on the wrong end of a narcotics charge, set up by Lucky Luciano, Carlo Gambino, and Meyer Lansky, and spent the rest of his days behind bars.

8. Sam Giancana
In Hollywood, Sam Giancana was the Mafia. His friends included Frank Sinatra and Marylin Monroe. He was, a police report stated, 'A snarling, sarcastic, ill-tempered, sadistic psychopath.' According to the book Double Cross, Giancana not only played a part financing John F. Kennedy's presidential campaign, but was also involved in the President's assassination.

9. Albert Anastasia
Albert Anastasia was a thug: evil and sadistic. His rise to power was as brutal as his fall. On 25 October 1957, Anastasia entered the barbershop of the Park Sheraton Hotel in New York. His bodyguard parked the car. While Anastasia relaxed in the chair with his eyes closed, two men, scarves covering their faces, barged in and blew Albert Anastasia away.

10. Santo Trafficante, Jr
Succeeding his father as mob boss of the Tampa branch in 1954, Santo Trafficante Jr enjoyed more than 30 years as one of the country's most powerful mob bosess. Trafficante Jr can be linked to at least four gangland slayings - including that of Albert Anastasia - and was involved in a plot to assassinate Cuban president Fidel Castro.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

The Big Reunion - where are the Chinese Backstreet Boys?!

The Big Reunion, ITV2, 5IVE, Atomic Kitten, Liberty X, B*Witched, The Honeyz, Blue, 911, Chinese Backstreet Boys, The Back Dorm Boys, Steven Scaffardi, Lad Lit, Comedy, Blog,
Being a bit of a sucker for old 90s pop, I have got sucked into the ITV2 show The Big Reunion. Watching the likes of 5ive, Atomic Kitten, 911, Liberty X, B*Witched, The Honeyz, and now Blue, has brought back a lot of nostalgic memories.

But something doesn't just quite seem right to me. As far as I'm concerned, ITV have missed a trick here. Last week they drafted in Blue, who technically made their name in the noughties. Now don't get me wrong, I like All Rise as much as the next man, but if you were going to bring in one group from the noughties, how can you miss out on the group that has racked up over 25 million views on YouTube?!

That's right - I'm talking about the Back Dorm Boys! Otherwise known as the Chinese Backstreet Boys! The two students from the Guangzhou Arts Institute were one of the original stars of YouTube and certainly deserve their place up on the big stage at the Apollo in Hammersmith.

ITV might have missed out, but I salute you boys!

Friday, 22 March 2013

Jack's view on.. How to text girls

How to text girls, The Drought, Lad Lit, Steven Scaffardi,
I love being part of the Google generation. When I think about what it must have been like in the old days, I shiver at the thought of living in a world without modern technology. Where would we be without men like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg? These men are nothing less than Gods in my eyes. Imagine what the world would be like without their vision. Seriously, just think about it for a second...

It's a scary thought eh? Because without these men, there would be no internet which means no easy access to 24/7 porn. And that would also mean that there would be no dating sites - a place where women basically put themselves in a shop window; letting us men know that basically they would like a bit of action (all disguised as looking for the right person).

And before you start accusing me of being a chauvinistic pig and showing ignorance in the face of genius, you had better check your facts first - because I'll think you'll find that Mr Zuckerberg created Facebook for men to rate women on their appearance. So before you go around judging me, you think about that next time you are on Facebook 'Liking' someone's photo; because if ever there was a way of letting someone know you would like to jump in bed with them, it's that simple click of the mouse to give their latest profile picture the thumbs up. And don't even get me started on the fact you can Poke someone on Facebook. There have been more pokes on Facebook than there is on Ron Jeremy's CV.

But there is one piece of technology that still stands the test of time for me, and that my friends is texting. It is no coincidence that text rhymes with sex because if anything lends itself to helping us guys get friendly with the female of species in the most comfortable of all environments, it is the art of texting.

With texting, there is no fear of face-to-face rejection. You don't have to awkwardly approach a girl who is surrounded by a gaggle of friends. And you always feel 10 times more confident to get a bit Hollywood and text the sort of things you would only dream of saying in person.

You just need to make sure you get your texting technique right. For example, drunken texts only work if you are both pissed. We've all been there haven't we lads - you have one too many beers in the boozer on a Tuesday night after work, and before you know it, you're sitting at home in your pants, tube of lube in one hand, phone in the other texting your ex asking her to send you a picture of her best Sharon Stone impression.

The real art of texting is all about how you pace your conversation, making sure you pick up on the signals, and then moving in for the kill. And that is when you will start to get the dirty stuff fellas. You want to start off with a bit of light banter just to get her going. Whatever you do don't be Roy Keen and start confessing your undying love for her. Girls hate that shit.

Once you have got the banter going, then you move on to the flirting. See how far you can push it without going too overboard, unless she is bang up for that sort of thing of course! In which case, fill your boots my son!

And finally, you then move on to what I like to call a bit of weekend texting. This is when you know she has been out on a Friday or Saturday night. Get a few flirty texts in throughout the night to gauge how pissed she is, and if you are lucky, she would have been through a bottle of Pinot Grigio like it was a jug of water by the end of the night.

That is when you move in for the kill. You want each text to be a little more risqué than the last, and before you know it she'll release the porn queen that has been hiding inside her! At this point you would be forgiven for getting a little carried away, but if you can keep your cool then all you need to do is utter those three magic little words: Send. Me. Pictures.

Jack Chatham is a character in the hilarious lad lit novel The Drought. Check it out now!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Ramblings of a 30-something man... Nani's red card was real, dream cheating isn't!

"It's about we time we got a bit of luck," my wife commented this morning as we were watching Wayne Rooney's deflected goal against Reading on Match of the Day seal victory for Manchester United.

"What do you mean?" I replied, shoveling a spoonful of milk-soaked Weetabix into my mouth.

"You know," she said looking at me like I should know. "After we got unfairly knocked out of the Champions League the other week, we deserve a bit of luck."

It is times like this I thank my lucky stars that I have a wife who not only likes football, but is happy to engage in a bit of footy debate. It's a bit like being down the pub with your mates.

"Oh come on now," I protested. "You support Manchester United - the luckiest team in the world! I hardly think it's fair to say you don;t get your fair share of luck already."

"Well your team were lucky yesterday," she fired back, referring to the fact that Marouane Fellaini was lucky not to give a penalty away for me team, Everton, against Manchester City after what was a clear handball in the penalty area.

"Look," I said, placing my spoon into my empty cereal bowl with a certain degree of authority and with a tone to let her know that I was about to seal victory in this little football disagreement. "Anywhere else in Europe, that Nani challenge is a red card all day long. It is only in England that we seem to have different rules to the rest of Europe, so technically you were not unlucky. That red card was totally justified."

I could tell by the look on her face that I had this one in the bag, so I casually sat back in the couch and went back to watching the rest of the game on MOTD.

"That is the second time you have upset me today," she muttered under her breath.

Twice? She must have seen the look of confusion on my face and decided to explain further.

"Last night I had a horrible dream," she started to tell me. "You were hanging out with all these girls in a bar, and you were flirting with them. I went off to get a drink and when I came back you were all naked in a shower, getting very touchy-feely. When I asked what you were doing, you just said it was something you always did." And then she sat back in her chair, arms folded, with a face like thunder.

"But..." I hesitated because I wasn't really too sure what to say. "But that was a dream. I didn't technically do anything wrong."

"Whatever," she said, not even looking at me.

So I did what any self-respecting man would do faced with such a ridiculous accusation that was totally no fault of my own.

"I'm sorry," I apologised.

Anything for a quiet life, eh lads?!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Tom Hanks with drunk kid in an Oscar winning performance!

Tom Hanks with drunk kid, funny picture
We've all been there! A few too many drinks on a night out, and before you know it - black out! For the male of the species, there is the old saying that goes: a friend in need is a pain in the arse and should be dumped at the earliest possible opportunity if he has drunk himself into oblivion!

The morning after a black-out is a worrying time. In the good old days before mobile phones, digital cameras, and social media, our drunken performances could normally be put to the back of our minds. After all, if you can't remember it, and there is no evidence to support it, then it never happened, right?

Unfortunately, in this day and age, the memory flashbacks are the least of our worries. We now have to face the torment of looking through the text messages we sent, or status updates we posted to Facebook or Twitter, or even worse - pictures and video clips taken on our smartphones.

Tom Hanks with drunk kid, Tom Hanks with drunk guy, funny pictures
So you can only imagine what went through this guys head when he checked his phone in the morning to find himself in a series of snaps with Hollywood legend Tom Hanks!

What a story that would have been!

However, apparently what really happened is that Hanks was eating in a restaurant and a couple of fans approached him asking if he would pose in a series of photos with them, pretending that they had all been out on a massive drinking bender together!

You have to love the man for getting involved. Here is a two-time Oscar winner who could have got on his high horse and snubbed the kids, but instead he got involved and for that I salute the man.

What a legend!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Interview with
This month I got interviewed by the guys over at! You can check out a link to the interview by clicking here or here is a full transcript of the interview...

Steven Scaffardi has written the ultimate guide to the male mind, men will nod in agreement, women will recoil in horror and ask: ‘do men really think like this?’ However, no matter what gender you are there is one thing you’re guaranteed from this book; really big belly laughs. Warning: do not read this on public transport, do not read it while eating or drinking – unless you want to be viewed as a giggling lunatic or an utter klutz spluttering food and drink all over the person sat opposite you on the tube.

The story begins in an anti-narrative format; in the first chapter we see protagonist Dan Hilles hit rock bottom, and literally get his bum kicked by a buxom barmaid. He is well into an eight month drought with no end in sight, we then learn about the events that sent Dan on this hilarious down ward spiral into the single man’s ‘no man’s land,’ or in this case; ‘no lady land’. Here at our inquisitive nature has taken over and we’ve managed to track down author Steve Scaffardi to ask the questions everyone wants answers to; and gain a sneaky insight into the life of a comedic, lad-lit writer.

BIGhay: What was the catalyst that made you want to write The Drought? And have you always wanted to write?

Steven Scaffardi: Writing has always been something I’ve enjoyed. Like many people, I always felt I had a good book inside me. Unfortunately I had to get a lot of rubbish ones out before I found my good one! I think the lad inside me desperately wanted to write something cool or edgy, so when I tried to write a gritty British gangster-esque thriller, I’d normally get about five chapters in and realise my work definitely rhymed with the word gritty, but was anything but cool or edgy. It was more Carry On Godfather than Goodfellas. Then one day as I was being forced to endure yet another rom-com movie at the hands of my wife, I found myself having a bit of a mini meltdown and ranting how the guys in these films were totally unrealistic. So seeing as my previous attempts at writing a novel were pretty laughable for all the wrong reasons, I decided to tackle the issue of dating and sex from a man’s point of view, which from personal experience do not always create these perfect scenarios and happy-ever-after-endings that are portrayed on films, and the results are normally pretty funny.

BIGhay: Do you think current romantic fiction and cinematic rom-coms depict the way men actually think?

Steven Scaffardi: No, no, no! Don’t get me wrong – I’m not anti romance. But these films don’t help us men out when the likes of Matthew McConaughey et al portray these perfect characters who say and do all the right things, it doesn’t half make it hard for us men to follow! You can almost feel your wife or girlfriend’s eyes burning into you at that precise moment in the film where the guy takes the girl in his arms and whispers that almost impossibly perfect line. They raise the bar too high for normal men; there is no coming back after that! And why in these films is the guy always racing to the airport to stop the love of his life flying off to a different country? That little scene where he just manages to stop her getting on the flight just in time – why does the woman never turn around and say “Do you know how much this flight has cost me? You couldn’t tell me not to go before I forked out 500 quid for British Airways?” Can you imagine a British guy trying to do a late dash to Gatwick? He’d take one look at the traffic report and see that the M25 is crawling along at a snail’s pace and wouldn’t even make it out the front door. Just send a text, it’s easier.

BIGhay: Your book clearly portrays the ‘male perspective’ on relationships, what do you think is the most important piece of advice men and women can take away from the book?

Steven Scaffardi: I’m not too sure there is any good advice in there – probably lots of things that you shouldn’t do! I think the one thing men and women both have a tendency to do when trying to impress someone they like is they start doing things they normally would never do. We live in a world where we are constantly being told how to behave or act, normally by people who have no idea how to live in the real world. So when faced with a situation where we are desperately trying to impress on that first date, there is an urge to go a little Hollywood and utter one of those ridiculous rom-com film lines, which doesn’t quite sound the same in a Wetherspoons in Balham as it did when George Clooney said it up on screen. Funny that, eh?!

I think the best advice the book gives is to embrace the awkwardness of dating and sex. Your friends do not want to listen to you explain how awesome you are in between the sheets, but they will always want you to tell them about the day you tried – and failed – to pull a mum and her daughter in one night. That is the stuff legends are made of...!

BIGhay: The Drought offers a fascinating glimpse into the male psyche, how have both men and women responded to the book? Are there any responses or questions from readers that particularly stand out?

Steven Scaffardi: Most people ask if the book is based on my own experiences, and unfortunately they are. Then people want to know what is true and what stories I might have made up, or are embellished. Most of what is in there has really happened to me, or someone I know. Most guys tell me that they can relate to the stories and that is what makes the book so appealing to them. Surprisingly I have probably had more female readers than male. The book has been called chick-lit for men, so I think girls who are fans of the chick-lit genre like the idea of a story about relationships from a man’s point of view. It makes a nice change, and I have tried to be as honest as possible about what men talk about and how they act.

BIGhay: Your book has been described as an ‘adult Inbetweeners,’ do you agree and which of the Inbetweeners characters would you say your protagonist is most like?

Steven Scaffardi: I take it as a huge compliment because I’m a big fan of The Inbetweeners. If I had to pick one character that Dan is like then I guess it would be Simon in that they both seem to get themselves into situations with girls where they somehow manage to mess things up at the very last minute.

BIGhay: It’s fair to say your main character Dan Hilles gets himself into a few, awkward, embarrassing, but down right hilarious situations. How did you think up these scenarios and do you know anyone who has experienced anything similar?

Steven Scaffardi: As I mentioned, most of the stories in the book are based on real-life situations. The idea behind the book came from a period in my life after I had come out of a long-term relationship. I had not been single for about 4 years, and despite my friends telling me how great single life was going to be, I had the most torrid time with the opposite sex. I think after you have been out of the dating game for so long you just forget the rules of chatting girls up! From the moment you hit puberty, sex can define a man. It’s childish, immature, and vulgar, but the more sexual conquests you can brag about in the pub, the higher your status amongst men is. So when you do hit a bit of a dry patch, desperation can set in, and women can smell it a mile off!

BIGhay: What is your favourite part or moment in the book?

Steven Scaffardi: There are a few! The bit where Dan drinks a bit too much on a date and ends up dancing very badly in front of her was very funny to write, and the scene where the lads end up in a gay bar without realising it always makes me chuckle. I have to say that Jack is probably my favourite character to write as he is so over the top, and he probably gets a lot of the best lines because of his devil-may-care attitude. The chapter where Jack tries to teach Dan what he calls ‘proper man moves’ always gets good feedback, especially the bit where he attempts to demonstrate to Dan the best sexual positions!

BIGhay: Your character Jack Chatham is the cheeky-chappy and joker of the group, and is clearly an advocate of chat-up lines, which one is your personal favourite?

Steven Scaffardi: My favourite Jack chat-up line is: “Do you fancy coming back to mine for pizza and sex? No? What’s wrong, don’t you like pizza?”

BIGhay: When will your follow-up to The Drought titled: The One That Got Away be released; and can we expect more hilarious and awkward encounters?

Steven Scaffardi: I am hoping for a May/June release, and you can certainly expect a lot more from the lads. I am toying with the idea of changing the name of the book to The Flood, as this time round Dan has found his mojo and now has too many options when it comes to the ladies. There will also be some new characters introduced into the story, including Dan’s very bizarre new flatmate, a stalker, and a new member of the gang. Watch this space!

BIGhay: Was there anything you felt you couldn’t include in the book, or a part that even you cringed with embarrassment when writing it?

Steven Scaffardi: No, I don’t think so. There were lots of ideas and story lines that never made it into the first book which I saved for the second one. Sometimes I had to make sure that I didn’t go too far and make the situations Dan gets himself into unrealistic, because there is a fine line when writing comedy between what is real and what isn’t. I hope I got the balance right.

There is a ton or cringe-worthy moments, but I think that is the key to this story. It isn’t all about those perfect moments or saying the right thing; it’s about those embarrassing moments that we’ve all experienced and laughed about to tell the tale.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Lad Lit Book Reviews: Gazza: My Story by Paul Gascoigne

Book For Men Book Review! My Story: Gazza by Paul Gascoigne
At a time when English football fans can only look on with envy at the types of players the rest of the world seem to be able to produce, I decided to pick up a copy of Gazza: My Story and wonder what just might have been.

The result was far more frustrating than enjoyable as I found myself shaking my head like a disappointed father more times than laughing at the ridiculous situations Gazza got himself into during a playing career which was wrecked by injury and self destruction.

Paul Gascoigne was the most naturally gifted British player since George Best, and he captured our hearts at Itlalia '90 with his skillful displays and of course those semi-final tears. And despite flashes of brilliance over the next decade or so, Gazza would become more famous for his front page headlines rather than those on the sports pages.

Don't get me wrong, the story is told in that same daft and cheeky tone we all fell in love with in the first place. The one that made it so easy for us to all forgive Gazza far too often. But it's also told in a way that says he's learned nothing. There is no doubt that Paul Gascoigne loves the game of football, but the further I got into this book the harder I found it to feel sorry for him after he continued to screw up one chance after another. 

This book rarely tackles some of Gazza's major problems head-on, and instead much of his antics are painted in a boys will be boys way to almost justify it. The stories are funny, from Gazza climbing into a fish tank at a Rome restaurant to pick which lobster he wanted to eat to stealing a bus and taking all the passengers for a ride! But all the time I just kept thinking 'you should have been the greatest.'

It makes it even harder watching the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi (heck, even the Welsh have Gareth Bale!) perform magic on the pitch. We should have those memories of Gazza creating havoc to defences all over Europe. There should be more Colin Hendry ball-flipping-and-volleyed goals for us to look back on. Instead all we are left with are fleeting moments of genius that all seem far too long ago now. These types of players come along once in a generation if we're lucky and we had one, but he just pissed it all up the wall.

What makes it worse is that you're still willing him on throughout the book even though you already know the outcome.I wept along with him in 1990 when he took us to within a penalty shoot out of our first World Cup final since 66. I held my breath when he was inches away from scoring the Golden Goal that would have sent us into Euro 96 heaven. And I was as shocked as any England player when Glenn Hoddle left him out of the World Cup 98 squad.

But at the end of the day, I like my books to have some sort of happy ending, and this book doesn't really have that because of the fact that Gazza is still battling those well-publicised demons.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Ari Gold... I salute you, we ALL salute you!

Ari Gold, Entourage,
TV has produced its fair share of awesome characters in recent years. Tony Soprano, Homer Simpson, Jimmy McNulty, David Brent, Gene Hunt, Peter Griffin, and Jack Bauer, to name but a few.

Collectively these are great men; individually they are tough, strong, funny, daring, brave, stylish. They fly the flag for the male species. Some stare adversity in the face, others spit in the face of metrosexuality, and some are simply loved for not apologizing for who they are, no matter what their shortcomings. They make us proud to be men.

But there is only one man who epitomizes all of the things that makes these men great. One man who exudes power, machismo, brains, brawn, and a vocabulary that a working class Shakespeare would have been proud of.

That man is Ari Gold.

When Entourage hit our screens in 2004 little did we know that a television rockstar had been born. Ari Gold was abrasive, obnoxious, charismatic, chauvinistic, and loaded with so much innuendo that even the cast of Carry On would have blushed. We fell in love with him immediately.

His speeches and rants became legendary, but just don't take my word for it, check it out for yourself...

There isn't really much else to say after that! The good news of course is that Ari Gold will be back, as Mark Wahlberg announced in January that the Entourage movie is in the pipeline and if ever a character deserved to grace the big screen in all his glory, then that man is Ari Gold.

Ari pulls no punches; he tells it like it is whether you like it or not. He's worked damn hard to get where he is and he isn't afraid to wield the power it has created. He commands respect and when he doesn't get it, he bitch slaps the taste right out of your mouth!

But deep down, Ari was a man you knew would get you results. He is a loyal friend and husband, and despite all the bravado, he's just a bloody good bloke.

Ari Gold... I salute you, we ALL salute you!