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Three Stroke Productions talks to Dougie Brimson

Most of our readers will know something about Dougie Brimson and his books about “terrace culture”.
Dougie is just back from Russia where he took part in the St Petersburg International Film Festival.
Today we have the chance to chat with him about his recent trip, about the launch of the Russian version of his latest novel  “Wings of a Sparrow” and of course, about some of his future projects…
Hi Dougie, you’re just back from Russia. How did it go?
Of all the countries I have ever visited, my favourite is, in many respects, the most unusual. Indeed, as someone who was a member of the Royal Air Force during the 70’s and 80’s, one could even regard them as the old enemy. That country is of course, Russia.
I first visited this amazing country in 2003 and having just returned from my third visit, I was amazed at just how much fans there have embraced British terrace culture in recent years. Where Lonsdale was once the brand of choice, now labels such as Weekend Offender and Peaceful Hooligan sit comfortably alongside the ubiquitous Stone Island and Lacoste. Indeed, it was interesting to note that amongst the many questions thrown at me during my visit, information relating to the latest labels was often to the fore and the ‘Three Stroke Productions’ stickers I took with me to hand out were genuinely well received.

Yet it is not just the various clothing brands that are experiencing a boost out east on the back of football. For the primary reason for my visit was to take part in the first programme of football films to be included in the amongst which was the very first home grown movie aimed squarely at the terraces. Entitled Okolo Futbola or Near Football, it is a controversial but extremely well made look at the subject of Moscow hooliganism and actually won the audience choice vote which is quite something. Whilst it might not ever be shown in the UK, it certainly proved that Russian cinema is more than capable of turning out decent movies to a very good standard.
We understand there’s now a Russian edition of your latest novel  Wings of a Sparrow…
Yes, whilst there I also did some promotion for the launch of the Russian language edition of Wings of a Sparrow. This included all kinds of things ranging from a thirty minute slot on a live TV daytime discussion show to an hour long spot on Radio Zenit.

Ironically, I was initially reluctant to release this book over there as I didn’t think the humour would travel however, I needn’t have worried for all the signings were sold out and the first print run went in three days.
So popular is it proving in fact that plans are already afoot for another visit.
Going back to your activities… Why did you decide to start writing books about the subcultures within football, and the “casual” elements of it?
I started writing in 1995 and the reason was simply because as concern grew about the fears of hooliganism at Euro 96, it became clear that the media were going to go into a hoolie-frenzy most of which was based on misplaced stereotypes and the kind of psycho drivel being pumped out by academics at Leicester University.So as two lads who were, like the vast majority, simply peripheral figures on the scene as opposed to major faces, it struck my brother and I that there might be a gap in the market for a book which tried to explain what it was all about from the perspective of the people at the heart of this so-called problem.We dug around a bit and didn’t hear about anything so in the end, we wrote one ourselves (Everywhere We Go) and the rest is history.
Do you regularly go to watch Watford play?
Of course! I’m a season ticket holder.
Apart from the Green Street book, did you have any influence on how the film was made?
Green Street wasn’t based on a book, it was a stand-alone film. Sadly, I didn’t have any influence at all once it started to move from page to screen because if I had, it would have been a lot better than it actually is.
Thankfully, we’re about to start shooting an adaptation of my novel Top Dog and this time I’ll have a lot more input into what ends up on camera.
Thanks Dougie!
Wings of a Sparrow is available to download in the UK from Amazon and iTunes for £1.14. It will be published in paperback on 21 Oct and will be on sale in all branches of WH Smiths as well as all major bookstores.
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