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Ricky Hatton – Redemption – It’s a state of the mind.

Boxing is littered with the stories of great champions coming back from retirement in desperate bids to defeat old master time.

Sometimes they do it for money; sometimes they do it for glory. Ricky Hatton did it for redemption.

The first time I saw Ricky Hatton he was fighting the tough Irishman, Eamon Magee. Barely one minute into the first round Magee put Hatton on the canvas. But Ricky got back up, bit down on his gum-shield and beckoned Magee in for more – that’s Ricky Hatton. He was hurt again in the second, but fought on and slowly but surely he turned the fight around and went on to win. I was a fan.

I followed his career through victory after victory after that, until perhaps his greatest moment in the ring; when he took on the force of nature that was Kosta Tszyu; the first man to unify the light welterweight titles in thirty years. Hatton came at Tszyu like a man possessed and forced Tszyu to quit on his stool.

Ricky Hatton versus Kostya TszyuA few more wins against somewhat lesser opponents followed and then it was time for the big one; Floyd Mayweather jnr. I stayed up ‘till the small hours to watch the two undefeated champions duelling to see who would keep that ‘0’ intact. As usual Ricky came forward all night putting his man under constant pressure. But this was no ordinary opponent; this was a pugilistic artist, this was arguably the most skilful and greatest boxer on the planet. Mayweather took everything Hatton could give. He tied Hatton up, took away his inside game, out foxed him and out boxed him. On the outside he picked him off, on the inside he tied him up. He broke him down. Hatton tasted the canvas in the tenth, got back up and went down again – defeated.

Three fights later he suffered an even more devastating defeat. Floyd Mayweather may be the greatest boxer on the planet, but Manny Pacquiao is the greatest fighter. It wasn’t even close. Pacquiao annihilated Ricky. Ricky’s come forward pressure style playing perfectly into Manny’s hands. Pacquiao loves nothing more than a tear up. Twice in the first round Hatton went down and twice he got up. But even then it was clear it was over. He came out for the second and took a monstrous left that almost took his head off. The ref could have counted to a hundred.

A descent into misery and self loathing followed. Three and a half years of beating himself up and thinking he was a failure, thinking he had let himself down, thinking he had left his fans and the people around him down. It wasn’t logical, he wasn’t a failure, sure he’d lost to Mayweather, and sure he’d lost to Pacquiao … so what? … Everybody loses to them. But I think what affected him more, was not the fact that he lost, but that for the Pacquiao fight at least that he didn’t give it his best. His training camp had been a shambles; he came into it having been knocked down in sparring just twelve days before. In his own head he kept thinking ‘what if I’d been at my best … what if I’d given it my all … why didn’t I give it my best?’

I think that’s why he came back. If he was going to lose, so be it. But if he was going to lose he wanted to know within himself that he had given it his best shot. Well he did that last night. He gave it his best, trained hard and gave it everything he had and for a few rounds he had the better of Senchenko. He gave it his best and got a definite answer. It may not be the answer he wanted, but at least now he won’t be dogged with that niggling voice in his head whispering ‘what if, what if.’

Ricky Hatton got his redemption and did himself proud. I hope he can see that himself. He doesn’t need to fight anymore and hopefully he won’t.

ricky hatton

The Champ

 

8 Simple Ways To Get Your Twitter Account Un-followed

Are you fed up with having too many twitter followers? I know, it’s a complete pain in the ass ain’t it? Well fear not! If you wanna get back to the good old days when you were followed by nothing but your pet hamster and a few loyal sock puppets  here’s 8 simple ways to get me at least to click that glorious ‘Un-follow!’

1. Send me a direct message saying you have a video of me having sex with an ostrich. (Works 100% of the time)

2. Avoid trying to introduce yourself, just immediately launch into an attempt to flog me your book/product.  Yup, that’s right, dispense with all this, “Hi, how are you?” nonsense, I mean what’s the point? Just go straight for the jugular with a patented and highly original, “Pleeeease buy my Book! My mom gave it 5 stars!!”

3. Say “Thanks for the RT!” and then refuse to reciprocate – RT’s are for suckers.

4. Tweet the names of everybody who un-followed you, (this is a real good way of showing your class and guaranteed to get results).

5. Flood my twitter stream with two dozen links to your product and how amazing it is. I just love this sort of thing.

6. Follow me and then try to get me to jump through some ‘true tweet’ hoops to prove I’m not a robot when I go to follow you back.

7. Tell me what you had for breakfast EVERY SINGLE MORNING – I adore hearing about what some guy I never heard of had with his coffee. It really makes my day.

8. Tell me why Obama is better than Romney (or vice-versa) and then when I say I’m not American continue to advise me on how the national debt could be lowered and how rising unemployment could be dealt with … Yes, yes that’s all very interesting, I’ll be sure to remember your sage words, please tell me more.

Sansa Stark Rocks

sansaWow, I’ve just been visiting a particular forum dedicated to George RR Martin’s epic series ‘Song of Ice and Fire’, and my overriding memory of the experience is surprise at the sheer quantity of Sansa hatred out there.  In my esteemed opinion Sansa is one of the best written and most intriguing characters in the whole series. She’s developing and growing more than any other character. Despite this it’s clear that there is no more hated character in House Stark than Sansa. I’d wager she is even more hated than her pain in the arse mother.

Catelyn Stark - Twice as annoying as Jar Jar Binks and three times harder to kill

What did Old George do to bring such wrath down upon Sansa? Well … he wrote a realistic portrayal of your average teenage girl. Yup, it’s just that bad, seriously, the next time you’re thinking of writing a character that you want people to loath just picture a naïve 13/14 year old girl with say a Robert Pattinson obsession and you’re sorted.

As sure as the sun rises in the east such a portrayal will get people discussing your work with erudite and philosophical musings similar to the following:

“I hope Sansa ends up getting her head chopped off. That would be poetic justice.”

 “Sansa is sooo annoying and selfish. I hope she gets killed off.”

 “Sansa’s selfishness and stupidity got her father killed, I’d rather see her die than Cersei. At least Cersei is interesting.”

And my personal favourite …

“Sansa deserves to be raped, humiliated and tortured to death.”

Yup, apparently naïve teenage girls who believe in fairytales and just want everything to be ‘nice and pretty like in the stories,’ deserve to be raped and or murdered in the most gruesome fashion Old George can devise. (And knowing George RR Martin that’s pretty damn gruesome.)

Now, I’ll admit when I first read Game, Sansa was far from my favourite, character, I thought she was a spoilt, selfish, brat. But hey how many girl’s in her position wouldn’t be? What makes her character so great is not just that it is realistic but that more than any other character in the series she is developing and changing. Believe me, Sansa is going to be one major badass before Old George is done. I for one would much rather see somebody like her bring down Cersei and co. than I dunno … cough … DANY.

Sansa Stark

Tell me this is not on the way to being a major badass

Yup, Sansa Stark rocks.

How to cure writer’s block

Mary Heaton Vorse

What is writer’s block? Is it an inability to concentrate, a spontaneous onset of creative dumbness, laziness?? Well I don’t know but I’m a firm believer that it’s all down to three factors.

1. Motivation

2. Determination.

3. Inspiration.

In a perfect world all three come together and you just write page after page of gold. This has happened to me in the past, but it’s a mighty rare occurrence. When the inspiration strikes it’s great, you just feel compelled to sit down and tear into it, it’s easy. But when it’s lacking, that’s when things get difficult. That’s when you’re really tested. That’s when you find out if you really do have the motivation and determination to force the words to come.

I’ve heard loads of supposed solutions to writer’s block … “Get outside. Go for a walk or a jog, clear all the clutter from your mind, read, listen to music etc. etc.” But the truth is the only way to beat writer’s block is plant your ass in the nearest chair and write, write, write. Forget about quality, forget about everything just write … now if only I could listen to my own advice.

 

 

Recognition – It’s Nice

Someone and by someone I mean the wise and all knowing Cindy Dwyer has finally recognised my genius and bestowed a ‘Sunshine Blogger Award’ upon yours truly. I have to admit I’ve never heard of the Sunshine Blogger Award but at this stage I’ll take whatever I can get.

So apparently the procedure is I answer a few questions and then send on the award to ten more underappreciated geniuses who can either answer the questions or just sit back and bask in the kudos. So here we go … (man this is a bit easier than a normal blog post!)

1. What is your favourite Christmas/festive movie?

Terminator 2 – yeah you heard me.

2. What is your favourite flower?

Flowers? Seriously? Well I guess whichever ones put a smile on the missus’s face.

3. What is your favourite non-alcoholic beverage?

Coffee! I drink way too much of it and when I don’t get my cup in the morning I spend the rest of the day moping around in zombie land.

4. What is your passion?

Writing something that brings a tear to somebody’s eye, alas it’s very hard to do, so if I can’t manage that I’ll just hit them with a cheap joke instead.

5. What is your favourite time of year?

Summer – unfortunately in Ireland we don’t get them.

6. What is your favourite time of day?

Well it’s not 6 in the morning anyway, that’s for damn sure.

7. What is your favourite physical activity?

Swimming. (I could have said something naughty but the mother has the address of this place.)

8. What is your favourite vacation?

I have an all time favourite vacation. I’d just met the missus a few months before and we decided to run off on a month long inter-rail trip around Europe. I also have a favourite everyday (I wish) vacation spot – A little beach in Co. Kerry that shall remain nameless.

So ten nominations of my own hmm ….

L.B. Gale - Don’t ask me what L.B. stands but she really knows her fantasy.

Janie Chang  All you ever needed to know about Chinese history.

Valerie Sirr – A writer from the big smoke of Dublin

Erin O’Quinn – Irish historical fiction writer

Flick Merauld - Cats, dogs and ebooks

Elise Fallson – Aspiring writer that blogs about anything and everything.

Caren Kennedy – All about writing

L.P Fergusson - Creator of Duntisbourne Hall

Erin Brady Pike - (I think she may already have this award!)

Cheryl Headford – Don’t let the content warning scare you off.

And now its time for me to get away from this damn interweb for a while and try to do some proper writing for a change!

The Language of Historical Fiction

I’ve just finished reading a Historical Fiction which shall remain nameless, (largely due to the fact that it was totally pants.) But it did at least give me inspiration for this post. Oh, and before I start, I don’t want to sound all high and mighty here so I’ll add a quick caveat to this:

The most important thing about the language used in a historical fiction novel is that the language feels real, not that it is real.

If your writing a novel set in 15thcentury England, you don’t have to fill your work with endless reams of bad Shakespeare imitations, but neither should your characters sound like their auditioning for a guest role in the latest iteration of ‘High School Musical’.

Some authors do try to keep it as true to the era’s language as possible while others look to wrap it in contemporary language. I guess if done well either of these methods can work just fine. Personally though, I think its best to try to find a happy medium where you attempt to capture the feel of the time, without going overboard and making it a trial to read.

Perhaps the biggest crime of all is when an author attempts to write in period correct language as much as possible but then slips in the odd modern word/phrase/Americanism into their characters’ speeches … and believe me it happens e.g.

 ‘Ok’ – “Do not be afeared good sir, I’m ok.”

I’m not sure when exactly ok/okay came into popular use, but I think it was some time in 19th century USA. The problem with ‘ok’ is it sounds even more modern than that. Whenever I see it in a historical fiction I immediately wince. Am I the only one?

Panties – “Verily art yonder maiden’s panties in a twist.”

I don’t think I need to comment there.

Different writers have different aims when writing historical fiction. Some want both facts and language to be as accurate as possible. Some want the reader to feel like they are observing the past while keeping their modern perspective. Some just want to tell a good story in a historical context. The important thing is to know what you’re trying to do and sticking to it. Don’t jerk the reader around by trying to immerse them in 5th century Greece one minute and then slip into modern New York slang the next.

 

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