Football fans live slightly different lives to the rest of you. You can easily spot us because when accepting any social invitation we have to first get out our fixture list. Also we live our lives in seasons for example I broke my arm during the 1982/83 season. These seasons are of course August to May football seasons not the seasons used by the fashion industry. Even June is labelled as either a World Cup or a European Championships time. My A’Level results came during the 1986 Mexico World Cup.
This understanding of football fans and seasons is best described by Nick Hornby in the best ever football book ‘Fever Pitch’. Even though this book is based on Arsenal and I am a Villa fan (yes just like Jonathan in my novel ‘First Years – Piranhas in the Bedroom’) ‘Fever Pitch’ stills makes me tingle when I read it. Actually I have always had a slight resentment of Arsenal because of them we always start the new season second alphabetically.
Nick Hornby is one of new fictional comedy writers that really have influenced my writing. The second is the quite brilliant Mike Gayle. Both Mike and Nick seem to really get how so many men think and how we struggle to deal with life. They both write as if it is almost their diary. You believe it really is their story. I expect a lot of the time they are including their own experiences with a touch of artistic licence. They both interweave emotions and comedy so well. Leaving the reader between tears of laughter and tears of sorrow.
I am currently reading Mike Gayle’s new book ‘Turning Forty’ and for somebody who’s own life was turned upside down in my early 40’s I totally get it. The main character behaves exactly as I behaved. But this is the skill that Mike has. He almost let’s you become the main character (if you are the same gender and a similar age). Mike, like Nick Hornby, also plays the nostalgia game. So many mentions of places and events from the past. Mike, sets many books in Birmingham a place I know so well. Unlike me though Mike mentions his characters liking of football without revealing their team, but I always assume they are Villa fans.
Hopefully one day Nick and Mike will read my romantic comedy ‘First Years – Piranhas in the Bedroom’, which is set post ‘Hand of God’ World Cup ’86’, and maybe they will see how they have influenced me.
So if you like either the work of Nick Hornby or Mike Gayle then please take time to download my novel about a Villa fan starting College in a time before mobile phones and the Internet.