Friday, January 13, 2006

I went to the local library on Wednesday and in a move to shock and horrify people worldwide, I actually found some interesting books to take out!!

The first really great thing about it was that I found two books that I was eager to read. One is the autobiography of Ryan Giggs. For those not interested in football, this dude has been playing for Manchester United for a long time. I really admire the guy just for his consistency. In my mind, he’s this generation’s George Best and in terms of longevity and success far outstrips the Irishman. So I was intrigued to find out what the guy thought about his life so far. That’s the wonderful thing about biographies on footballers, for the most part although in society’s eyes they’re still young, in their given profession at 30 and over they’re as good as finished. So at I think 31 going on 32, Ryan Giggs is at a good point to recall his football memories. What’s also hugely helpful is that his club’s glory days are over for the time being. A strong comment to make out a team that’s second in the Premiership and in the position where you ‘can never rule them out’. I remain confident, however that a new power is taking over English football and United will ease into a role Liverpool held from 1991 to roughly 1996 – where we couldn’t be ruled out of the race, but we were never good enough to win the Premiership. Anyhow, I was elated to find this book in the library, it meant I could read it FOR FREE and that’s the kind of prices I can really dig.

The second book is the autobiography of Robbie Fowler. Another footballer on the wrong side of 30, this brother interests me because in my time witnessing the game he came across as the most natural English goalscorer I’d ever seen. Where guys like Shearer evidently worked hard to create their reputation, Fowler just seemed to produce without effort. Goal after goal he’d score, whether it was in the six-yard box or from 30 yards out. Clinical, sensational and one of the best strikers I enjoyed watching. All the more pity then that his career, on paper anyway, never lived up to the billing. If you couldn’t guess, he was the main man at Liverpool for a while, then a young upstart called Michael Owen came in and messed things up a bit. I prefer Fowler to Owen every time, but the bottom line is that Owen produced more consistently and wasn’t saddled with injury problems or a manager who didn’t give him grief. Fowler, sadly, had those problems and so the potential promised, I felt, was never realised, for club or country. Even more the tragedy. I really felt he could have complimented Owen at both levels and the craze and praise they’re giving Rooney now could easily have been still about Fowler. Yet that is life as my dad told me all too often. So I’m really looking forward to reading this brother’s perspective on his football predicament. This was the other book I would have bought, but thanks to God I get to read it gratis!

Now, obviously, being the voracious reader that I am, I would not be satisfied with those mere selections. Indeed I took out three other books – one on the Oscars, which I’ll review when I’ve read it. Another that I’m reading at the moment which, because this is a family blog I’ll call Hollywood Female Dog and leave it to you to translate the euphemism. Before you reach for your gun to shoot me, though, it’s a book quoting the ‘stars’ about life in the dog eat dog (geddit?) world of being famous. There are some real chestnuts in there which I hope to share from time to time.

The final book that I got, I finished yesterday! I was really chuffed at finishing a book so quickly – almost 300 pages as well, not large print and not with heaps of photographs before any of you get clever! Funnily enough with the issue of autobiographies, this one was again about a footballer. Malcolm Macdonald is a lot older that Fowler and Giggs. I got the book based on his reputation for being rather outspoken. It was the first book I started reading, and it’s a relatively easy read.

The thing about is that Malcolm focuses more on his career in football and less on his life outside of it. As a result he spends a chapter on his childhood and the close links he has with his brothers and parents, but spends perhaps accumulatively three pages on the relationships with his wives and children! I found that interesting and illuminating. Apparently it had something to do with the way his first marriage ended and as a result he didn’t see the point in going over it again in the domain of an autobiography as it would be pretty one-sided. It’s fair enough from my perspective. After all, it’s your autobiography and you can put what you like in it. The thing for me though is that an autobiography necessarily has to be one-sided, even if you get people’s views put in their in quotes or whatever. I also believe an autobiography, whether you like it or not, reveals what you consider to be the most important parts of your life. A lot more could be alluded to his relationship with the families he’s kicked off, without necessarily satiating the ravenous wolves who seek to pounce on his private life. Anyway, an autobiography should be the revelation of that which is private to some extent, rather than the accumulation of that which is public to the whole extent. That’s just my perspective.

Back to Mr. Macdonald, the guy comes across as a man’s man who did what needed to be done whenever it needed to be done and was able to pipe up and say what needed to be said whenever it needed to be said. Maybe arrogant isn’t the word I’m looking for, and it’s not self-assured or confident either, but there’s something about the way he comes across in the book that’s unsettling and lacking in genuine humility. The record states that in his career he won caps for England and scored five times in one match – a notable feat. Yet the guy won no major honours, and for all finishing top scorer in the league on several occasions, is that really something to brag about? I’m being a bit too hard on the guy. The read was enjoyable; I was engrossed in finding out more about how his life developed. I real felt for him in terms of the hardships he faced growing up and can see that it determined his character a great deal. That was well written. I’d recommend the book to Newcastle United fans and people who like getting an insight into the life of a footballer both in his career and how he deals with life afterwards.

As well as these books, I’m STILL getting round to finished the essay on Bono, a book on Orson Welles and the book by Molly Ivins. As you can see, I like keeping a couple of pots on the fire at the same time!

That however, will do it for today’s blog. I am more than in remembrance of my promise to you on two key issues, but I’m a guy who believes in the fullness of time – and that has not come as yet, but I’m confident it will … and soon! Also look out for Chris Dryden’s – The Search! Coming to this blog SOON.

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