Radio 4 made a documentary radio prog about the England Writers Football Team, for which team I regularly appear in the semblance of a goalkeeper. Yes, at my tender age. And with my back. And with my knees etc. I should know better, but. Anyway the programme was brilliantly headed up by my friend and team-mate Joe Dunthorne, author of Submarine and other good stuff, and it featured all of the team on our trip north of the border to play the Scots.
Said Scots always refer to us as the auld enemy, of course and they are still bouyed up by Bannockburn and all that. The trip to Glasgow and the recording turned out to be great fun. You can hear the radio 4 programme online at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01qfhh6 & got chosen for pick of the week.
On air I might be heard to say “I don’t mind poets in the team but I’m not having one in my defensive back four.” Or words to that effect. And other abuse of people I like but who will probably never speak to me again.
We were beaten 4-2 by Scotland Writers on an ice-rink of a frozen pitch. Goalkeeper’s nightmare really. No-one could keep their feet and diving was like throwing yourself on to a sheet of cast-iron. The game was feisty but played in great spirit one on both sides; and though we failed to give the best account of ourselves it was wonderful to see the Scottish team play their inaugural game to commemorate - GET THIS FOOTBALL GEEKS – the very first ever international football fixture and on THE SAME PITCH as that 0-0 draw between England and Scotland 140 years ago! The event was even mentioned in the Scottish parliament as follows:
“That the Parliament welcomes what it considers will be an extraordinary football match to commemorate the 140th anniversary of the first ever game between Scotland and England; notes that the tie, between Scottish Writers FC and English Writers FC, is scheduled to be played on 1 December 2012 at the West of Scotland Cricket Club in Partick, Glasgow, the site of the original international; believes that such a unique game, between two teams of writers, has never been played before; considers that it will see brilliant examples of footballing talent, which will include Christopher Brookmyre and Kevin Williamson in the Scottish team, and hopes that the Scots’ literary prowess will overpower any fancy footwork from the English team.”
If you enjoyed the radio 4 programme you might like to read the memoir I wrote about the adventure of playing for the England Writers team, thought it’s more about life in general than it is about football. The book was shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Books Of The Year. It’s called Simple Goalkeeping Made Spectacular and you can download it for your e-reader here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Simple-Goalkeeping-Made-Spectacular-ebook/dp/B005NH7A80/ref=tmm_kin_title_0
Great days! The Scots were a fine bunch of lads. But they won’t have it all their way for the return match on English soil during the London Book fair in the spring. We look forward to that.
I was also featured on the lovely Mahvesh Mura’s radio programme broacast from Karachi. Mahvesh told me that many years ago on one hot afternoon she found a second-hand copy of The Tooth Fairy in a Karachi street market and followed my writing ever since. She’s a fun interviewer and I talk about writing and music and I choose a playlist. I picked out some old favourites that relate directly to various of my books. Some of these songs were directly inspirational and some just happened to be things I was listening to at different times in my life. You can hear it for a short while longer at: http://cityfm89.com/newspost/89-chapters-with-graham-joyce
Thanks goodness for radio while we’re all snowed or rained in.