by Martin Edwards
For Martin Edwards – Royal Marine, Special Forces survivor, soldier of fortune, thwarter of terrorists and much much more besides – life has been one big world of trouble.
The product of cruel parents in Rhyl, this born rebel’s escape was a long time coming. But once it was engineered, the road that opened up took him from North Wales to the high seas to Disney World Florida (thrown out, naturally), to undercover work in Northern Ireland and, ultimately, counter-insurgency in the likes of Abu Dhabi, Uganda and Otterton, a previously peaceful village in Devon!
Brutally beaten as a child – and attempting suicide at the age of twelve – he somehow retired as a multi-millionaire, but not before carving an equally remarkable trail through locations as diverse as deepest Dartmoor, Bogside, Kampala and the City of London, in the company of a colourful cast of characters.
Featuring a lively array of mind-boggling adventures, the majority laced with dark humour, Ultimate Survivor tells a story like no other. It is an X-rated tale of warship sieges, sexual abuse, hair-raising IRA ambushes, a death-defying run-in with notorious Sinn Fein politician Martin McGuinness, military coups, encounters with celebrity and a job as bodyguard to Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia. You are unlikely to have read a memoir quite like this one.
All profits from the sale of this book will be donated to charities supporting military mental health and vulnerable children
Rugby League, Rock’n’Roll, The Road and Me
by Steve Mascord
Steve Mascord – born Andrew John Langley – was obsessed with rugby league and rock’n’roll. Long after almost everyone he knew, he clung to these things like twin teddybears, turning at least one of them into a career and making a bit of money out of the other.
At the age of 47 he owned precisely nothing aside from hundreds of records and CDs and almost every edition of Rugby League Week ever printed. He was unmarried, had no car or property and was the proud owner of $50,000 of credit card debt. Then one day he discovered the truth about himself.
He always knew he was adopted but it turned out he was part of a bohemian family, his mother forced to give him up after suffering a mental breakdown. She searched for him until her dying day. Steve met uncles and cousins and aunties he never knew existed and for the first time in his life he felt whole. And he looked around that storage room full of CDs and football magazines and felt sad; a sense of loss. He appeared in newspapers and on radio and television and people thought he was successful but had he really created a life for himself? Or was he living in a childhood fantasy, compensating for what had been missing, ready to fall down on top of him as traditional media imploded?
Steve thought ‘enough of being Steve Mascord, who is not a real person. Time to finally be Andrew John Langley’. Having figuratively thrown all his toys out of the cot, he decided to conduct an audit. Which ones to pick up off the floor and keep in his new life, and which to leave laying there forever.
Adventures on the Ale – by Tony Thomson
When Tony Thomson decided it was time for York to have its own beer again, he had more than a brewery in mind…
As well as creating a superior beer, the pioneering independent brewer wanted to offer the Minster city’s visitors an alternative attraction – a showpiece brewery with a visitor centre, bar and club.
P**s Up in a Brewery records every step along the way to building a successful business – from the birth of an idea to the search for funding; from hauling a second-hand kit across the Pennines to the improbable task of finding premises within the city walls; from tackling the stern resistance of York landlords to the moment when the new kid on the block captures the industry’s most coveted awards.
Alongside the drama is the humour associated with building a business on the simple premise that you like its product. The book’s cast of colourful characters include Tony’s partner in crime, one-time burger-flipper Smithy, and the softly-spoken barman who lets his wooden club do the talking for him. With secretive brewers, a couple of ghosts and a lass on a hen party determined to down a yard of ale also in the mix, you have something between a soap opera, a business plan and a sitcom.
Memoirs from a ’70s Yorkshire classroom
by Kath Padgett
Kath Padgett arrived as a naïve, newly-qualified graduate teacher of modern languages just as the pop band Dawn were topping the charts with ‘Knock Three Times,’ Spangles were the sweets of choice and orange mini skirts with shoes from Freeman, Hardy & Willis all the rage.
‘In those first two years, I laughed and cried, encountered wonderful and inspirational people, many of whom turned out to be lifelong friends and, in addition to learning how to teach, was taught how to learn. I learned about strength of character, tough love and the things that really mattered in life.’
This is the story of those early teaching years. The characters and black humour, the rawness, deprivations and an instilling of hope as much as education.
As much a social history of the time – including original letters received from parents – she deals with playground tragedy, first foreign trips and staff room politics, emerging on a career path that saw her ultimately spend 46 years as a teacher.
These recollections of inner-city secondary school life in early 1970s Yorkshire are
as poignant and entertaining as they are nostalgic.
“My story is in no way all sweetness and light, cute and slushy. It’s earthy, gritty and heartbreaking, yet at the same time rewarding, challenging, life-changing and vital…”
By Bev Risman
With a foreword by Lord Melvyn Bragg
At the start of a glorious and varied career, Bev Risman faced two major dilemmas. Should he represent his ancestral homeland Wales or England, his country of birth? Ought he to play rugby league or rugby union? Son of league icon Gus, Risman made his name in the fifteen-a-side code, playing for England and touring with the 1959 British Lions.
Later, after initially moving to rugby league with Leigh, he enjoyed huge success at Leeds, with whom he played in the famous Watersplash Challenge Cup final at Wembley. He was top goal-kicker in the league for three years and became a dual-code tourist while captaining the 1968 Great Britain side in the World Cup in Australia.
Upon retirement, Risman became rugby league’s first ever development officer in the South of England. He was appointed director of the Student Rugby League, became a founder member of the charity Rugby League Cares and, in 2010, enjoyed a year as President of the RFL and was awarded the OBE for services to the game.
An all-round sportsman, Risman also worked for the Lawn Tennis Association and was technical director of David Storey’s rugby league-based play The Changing Room in London’s West End.
Both Sides of the Fence is his autobiography. A fascinating insight into decades of great change, it lays open the events and personalities that have dominated both codes of rugby.