Pathfinder magazine is delighted to catch up with former Airman now turned best-selling author, Dougie Brimson in an interview over two parts to find out how he went from Sergeant to Wordsmith, selling over a million copies along the way…
“I joined the Air Force and went to RAF Swinderby for my basic training on the 31st December 1975 and so my first day in the RAF was January 1, 1976 and I was 16.
After basic training I went to St. Athan and trained as a Ground Engineer, then went to Halton as my first posting, then from there I went to Gutersloh in North Germany which was the frontline fighter station, home to the Harrier. And as a change of scenery, going from the RAF Hospital (Halton) to RAF Gutersloh was as a dramatic change as you could get.
I came back from there and I was posted to Abingdon onto “crash and smash” which is a unit which picks up crashed aircraft basically. Just after I got there, the Falklands blew up and I was sent down to look after the crash and smash kit and ended up going right through, which was an experience, came back from there, went to Abingdon, then out to Brugen, came back did a couple of tours at various units and then came out under “options for change” in 1994 as a Sergeant.
Resettlement back then seemed to be pretty good as they geared it up for options for change and we had all sorts of stuff available to us but in the main the ethos was “you choose what you want to do and we will try and make it happen”. A lot of lads went into health and safety with great success, but I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do and the only thing I was sure of was that I didn’t want to work for anybody else so I started doing some exploration of franchises which was becoming quite a big thing and I went for a couple of work experience weeks at different franchise companies to see how it worked and I ended up running a franchise which didn’t work as I didn’t research it properly.
It worked in the short term and we made quite a lot of money quite quickly, my problem was after going in from school and then 18 years in the military, I just wanted a break with my wife and kids, so I took a year off and ran this franchise part time and it did Okay and I bought it on the notion that it was a part time business. It was a slot machine business, we would go and collect money once a week, top the machines up and then we’d spend the rest of the time getting the house sorted and the like.
I had not researched the franchise properly and I hadn’t looked long term and it started to fail, part because I didn’t put enough time into it. I got to the point where one day I put my bank card in the cash point machine and there was no money left. So, all my redundancy money and all my franchise money had basically gone, and I thought “I need to do something now”.
At the time, my brother was working as an extra doing film and TV, he’d done stuff like Eastenders and he invited me along one day. And so I started doing that work and that can be quite lucrative work if you can do a lot, if you are working every day, you can make quite a good living, but that can be quite difficult.
I did Okay at that and that was good fun, but after a while, I started to think this isn’t a long term thing for me and whilst we were working on various projects, there was a lot of sitting around and you were generally sitting around with other blokes and you were talking about football and stuff like that and as Euro 96 was approaching (and this all happened within the first year of me leaving the RAF) there was already a lot of talk about the threat of hooliganism and football violence and so we started to think “maybe we could write a book” because all of the books that had been published to that point were either memoirs or academic stuff which didn’t relate.
And with being ex-forces, football is the big link with home and so we started to think we could write a book about the scene from a bloke’s perspective as its never been done before at this stage and we started to talk to some lads and found out that our experiences were pretty typical of your average working class bloke and we started to make some notes and gathered some stuff together and in the end we thought time’s running out as this was late autumn ’95 if we are going to get it out (in time for Euro 96) we are going to need a publisher.
And so I walked into WHSmith’s picked up a football book saw who it was published by which was a company called Headline, which was one of the big six publishers – I had no idea – we had never written anything before. I wrote the publishers a letter saying this is who we are, this is what we want to do, this is when we need it out, are you interested?
They wrote back within a few days and said we are interested, can you send us some stuff, just to make sure you can write. So, we sent them some stuff, they asked for some more, we sent them some more, they asked for some more and in the end they had around 10,000 words. In the end I said, “you either want this or you don’t, if you don’t then we will go somewhere else”.
We were actually filming a movie in Hamburg (Eddie and I) and my wife called me and said there’s a letter here from the publishers, she opened it and it said we want to do the book, here’s a cheque for the advance, get it to us as soon as you can.
That book was called “Everywhere We Go” which was the first book we ever did and when the tournament came around it started to generate quite a buzz because the media were desperate for a new angle and all of a sudden you have got two blokes who have both got shaved heads and Eddie had a shaved head because he’d always had a shaved head, but I had a shaved head because I had just done an advert and they wanted me to have a shaved head. They offered me decent money, although they didn’t mention the haircut until they had run the razor over my head!
So suddenly you have got two shaven headed geezers as that’s what we were filming all the time, talking about football hooliganism in a way that was quite eloquent and quite educated and thoughtful and the media loved us, we were everywhere, although the public kind of hated us. Football lads loved us as we were telling it like it was and the book was massive and that’s how I got started in writing really. We wrote another three books in that series in the next two years and then Eddie went off in his own direction (he wrote a thriller) and I went off and wrote a comedy book of my own, he went off and did other stuff and I just carried on writing and I have been doing it ever since.”
We continue our chat with Dougie in the next issue of Pathfinder, in which Dougie talks about the logistics behind writing, his new book more in depth and working your way into behind the scenes of the movie industry.
In the meantime, check out Dougie’s new book called “In the Know” which is out now. Here is a little taster of what it is all about…
In the Know…Revenge is a dish best served quickly
From the writer of the cult hooligan film, Green Street and the best-selling thrillers The Crew and Top Dog comes the third and most explosive book yet in the most successful hooligan thriller series ever written.
It’s been over a decade since gang leader Billy Evans stepped away from his life on the wrong side of the law to mourn the murder of his beloved wife.
Yet when he is hit by a second tragedy, his first thoughts are not of more loss, but of revenge. Violent, bloody revenge.
However, even before he can make his first move, Billy is presented with an alternative method of extracting vengeance. One so intriguing that he quickly finds his past passion for organised violence reinvigorated.
And as Britain heads toward a future defined by Brexit and the political right wing, he realises that he’s stumbled upon the opportunity he’s been waiting for. The chance to wield genuine power within the very establishment he’s fought his entire life.
The only question is, will he be allowed to survive long enough to grab it.
Order your copy use the link here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dougie-Brimson/e/B001HMSMVO
Check out Dougie’s career at www.dougiebrimson.com
Dougie was talking to Mal Robinson.
Read the entire May issue of Pathfinder including interviews with Colonel Tom Moore on his NHS fundraising exploits here.