Tuesday, 9 December 2014


Stock Talk.

Pick and roll through this amazing, 'Assisted' autobiography and you'll find one of the greatest and most underrated Point Guards of real Magic and in fact NBA players as a whole when it comes to the leagues, all-time storied history. A quick Stock take sees a man who battled Michael Jordan's champion, Chicago Bulls in the final twice and although never winning a ring, a man who has an Olympic Gold Medal from Barcelona in 1992 after being an original member of that legendary 'Dream Team' (he reprised his role and Gold for 'Dream Team II' in Atlanta). A man who played all of his 19 years and almost two decades with the Utah Jazz franchise he helped personify in Salt Lake City. A man who is the all-time leader in the NBA when it comes to assists. Basically put the nicest and most selfless basketball player to ever walk this polished wood floored earth. No wonder this legends legacy lament is called 'Assisted'. You can easily roll like his pick through these 300 plus pages like one of his crisp assists with these humble, honest and heartfelt prose that aren't short of candor, charisma or charm either. Well read like this man speaks, this cool and collected read is frank and forthright...and to be frank this is one of the greatest basketball autobiographies-like he is players-of all time. That's coming after recent wonderful works from Jerry West and Julius Erving over the years too. Inspiring and influential from Karl Malone's powerful foreword to some coaches poetry off the dry-erase this is a purists dream. With dignity and respect, no nonsense or gossip b.s., this dear reader from John tells tales from behind the locker room that will be music to ever Jazz fan and beyonds ears. From foundation to family you have to hand it to a man that gives it to us straight. He may have rocked the short shorts, but this man who doesn't like the public eye of fame goes to great lengths to provide the savvy vision for fans, players, family men, husbands and fathers worldwide. When it comes to the NBA, Jazz piece assist accompaniment, don't pass! TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014


It's not safe to go back in the library! This weeks report takes a bite out of many strange happenings on a Long Island beach. The happenings? A string of murders! The culprit? A great white, killer shark! This week we read the legendary, seventies, two million copy selling novel by Peter Benchley that inspired one of Steven Spielberg and modern cinemas most magnificent, monster masterpieces. Years before he unleashed a theme park full of prehistoric creatures that made for one sensational, spiritual sequel. After beginning the year reading Ernest Hemingway's timeless classic 'The Old Man And The Sea' it was only right we ended the year with this update. One that sees the central man in this characterization overcoming the odds of the mob, a town convinced by the press that blood is on his hands when he tried to do the right thing, a wife growing tired and bored of his love and of course one, great, big white. If this struggle for survival against the odds isn't an inspiring enough theme for you then the accounts of shark attacks will leave you with some cold, chilled, tense and taught pages in this top novel, thriller. Books before movies don't get much better than this. We're going to need a bigger bookshelf. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Monday, 27 October 2014

LIFE & TIMES-An Interview With Roland Lazenby, Author Of 'Michael Jordan-The Life'

The Book Of Mike.



 Like Mike? Then you're going to love this! Reams and shelves have been wrote about the greatest basketball player of all-time Michael Jordan. From articles by friend, Chicago native and THE basketball journalist Scoop Jackson to our own humble catalogue 'The Jordan Series'. Still, there's nothing quite like this. After creating a Laker legacy for himself from writing about everyone from Kobe Bryant to former Bulls coach Phil Jackson, when it comes to M.J., the word on court Roland Lazenby has literally wrote the book on him. No longer most famous for his Jerry West book (and after that book the logo followed with his own wonderful 'West By West' autobiography, so lets hope the greatest follows suit), Roland's been getting rave reviews for his biography that's as big as Mike's trophy cabinet. This is a writer and readers hardware hoop dream. Not only does Lazenby reminisce about the golden era of the NBA in the 90's that Jordan and his Chicago Bulls owned with their two three-peats and six titles, he also looks at the early family times of a man that grew to be not only the best player of all time but the most competitive too. Now there's no competition when it comes to this book.It truly is the life of Mike. So we just had to catch up with the man himself (no, not Mike...we wish right) before we read all about it. Here's what the man has to say when we talked about 'Life'.

 24/48/82: Roland! Thank you for your time. Congratulations on all the success for your book 'Michael Jordan-The Life'. How does it feel?

 Roland Lazenby: It doesn’t feel all that different, really. It is nice to have critics recognize your work. But I still have to do the dishes.

 What made you start writing this book and could you describe to us the process?

 I had spent a major portion of my career covering and writing about the Bulls and Jordan. It was fun as I moved into my sixties to begin to review not only his life but my own. So many of the major events in his life had an impact on mine. Lots of great memories of those Bulls games and Tex Winter too.

 You capture how family was an important factor in Michael Jordan's competitiveness and we all know the greatest player of all time is also the most competitive. Can you tell our readers who are looking forward to reading your book more about these family influences?

 Sure. I love writing about the great competitors I’ve gotten to know a bit and spent so much time covering. Looking at the cultural and family influences on their lives is a big part of that study. What makes guys like MJ and Kobe and Jerry West so competitive? What makes them so different from everybody around them? How can Jordan be in such close competition with his brother Larry and then just eclipse him?

 Could you say family and how it influences the story of our own lives is a reason why you write?

 Sure. Jordan’s story got me to thinking about my relationship with my own old man, how his disapproval has driven me all these years, how the disapproval Jordan felt from his father drove him. There are often these family forces pulling strings in our lives, often without our realizing it or understanding it.

 As a fan what would you say is your earliest memory of Michael Jordan?

 The first play I ever saw him make is still probably the greatest. He was a sophomore at Carolina and I was covering a game at the University of Virginia with Ralph Sampson. The Wahoos had a long home winning streak, but Carolina had a big lead. Then Virginia started coming back. They cut the lead to six with two minutes to got and had the ball on the break. Sampson was shooting from the left elbow and Jordan came across the lane from the right block to slam the ball down with great ferocity. He came all the way across the lane and swatted the jumper from the 7-4 Sampson with such force that the block made people on press row jump in surprise. Fifteen years later I was sitting with MJ in Charlotte before a game. He was sipping a cup of coffee when I asked him about that play. It surprised him too, he said, that he could do that. I’ve never seen a defensive play to match it. Jordan
 told me that was the beauty of his career. He surprised himself in the things that he did.

 How much of a joy was it to write about the golden era of Jordan's championship Bulls in the 90's that in your book fans can read back into with fond nostalgia?

 It was lots of fun, just as it was fun to write about the legendary days of yore in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Jordan’s college career as well as his high school career were great fun to write about.

 A deep and diverse book how important is it to present all sides of the story as a writer and journalist all whilst being respectful to the subjects public and private world?

 Well, it’s both important and difficult. You have so many people who love Jordan and quite a few who dislike him intensely. The Chicago Tribune said I was maybe harsh on him and the New York Times said I used the requisite awe. So I guess I was somewhere in the middle. I always tried to treat Mike as just another guy when I talked to him. I was trying to do the same thing in the book. He is a famous and brilliant athlete, but he’s also human. Humans have lots of flaws, make lots of mistakes. People get angry if their heroes aren’t super. They often have gotten angry when Jordan shows just how human he is. I really just tried to portray him as human while being honest about it.

 Which was your favourite and also most difficult part of the book to write?

 The part about the sexual abuse allegations his sister made against their father was very tough. But if you’re doing a biography you have to include all major issues. I just tried not to hype it. I think I succeeded at that.

 Michael Jordan has had a hand in writing a few short books, but with a lot of people wanting a horse of mouth autobiography that may never come, your book may be the closest thing. Kind of like the 'Bruce' Springsteen biography recentely with the revelation that the Boss himself may not write his story. How does it feel to have this type of influential word on an American and global icon? Sports Elvis!

 Well, writing the book almost killed me physically, drained me mentally and about broke me financially. So I was glad it was met with approval.

 From your hugely popular Jerry West book to your Kobe Bryant one which of your other books are your personal favourites?

 I like both the West book and The Show, the oral history of the Lakers. I like Mad Game, my book about Kobe, but he was just 19, 20 years old at the time. So it was a look at his complicated life adjusting to the NBA.

 What advice would you give aspiring young writers looking to follow in your bookmark steps?

 Interview lots of old timers. They tend to offer a lot more truth, a lot less PR and BS. But interview as many people as you can. Get to know them. It’s the fun part of this grinding work.

 Roland we thank you so much for your time. We truly appreciate it and wish you all the success for your book.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014


Lost and found. You'd be so lucky to find this 'Gone Girl' between shelves of charity shops and the libraries of coffee tables right now. This is because the brilliant bestseller that has been sought after sold out ever since its 2012 release is having a new lease of life, especially with it's Ben Affleck rebranded cover. No wonder this book has already got a movie adaptation out now. The anti '50 Shades Of Grey' has even hit the screens faster than the 'other' book everyone seems to be talking more about in hushed tones. Now after amazing author Gillian Flynn has wrote the screenplay of her bold book for 'Seven', 'Fight Club' and 'The Social Network' director David Fincher's formidable film everyone is screaming Oscar like its this years 'Gravity'. Grounding and psychologically gruesome novel readers can take solace in the fact that this book was the chicken before the Hollywood smashing egg. Whilst film fans can read into comparing and contrasting what Fincher left in, out, added and shook all about. Film and book clubs rejoice you can unite again. Still Flynn's force of modern day social media and worldwide neighbourhood nature is a hard hitting thud drop on your doorstep. Wrote in page turning accounts and diary entries from one crazy couple this is quite the read and look into the marriage of a modern day relationship that either hides or reveals who we really are. Even the positive and negative naming comparisons of Nick Dunne (think 'The Nick' and 'Done') and 'Amazing Amy' (apart from the obvious, think 'amicable') are worked to perfection. Like this book. Like its story making word of mouth and world news rounds whilst from bookshelves still remaining missing at large. What an appeal! TIM DAVID HARVEY

Saturday, 6 September 2014


Sneakers are as an ingrained part of the culture of basketball as the soles of shoes are to the blacktops of playground, hoop purists heaven sent dreams. Like tar on the heels of baby blue North Carolina to the Windy City Air of baby Bulls Chicago. From Jordan's to Kobe's. Nike to Adidas. Those weapon colourways and commercials to the and1 mixtape age. Hey, basketball fan or not those Converse you wear on your feet are a Basketball shoe created by Chuck Taylor and worn by Wilt Chamberlain when he scored a centuries worth of points. 100 years later and they STILL wont need to be changed. Through all this history the basketball bible SLAM has been there. You only need to library reference their 'Kicks' supplement Hall Of Fame but now with their first book they enter a whole new corridor. To join their latest Kicks magazine and Jordan special (in a 2014 that has also seen a throwback magazine, Iverson special and 'ChiHoops' insert to add to their sensational, revolutionary , magazine game spin-offs) this year comes their highest spin move on the hardwood yet. Always known as a hip magazine full of hops worthy ripping out the magazine like a steal and hanging off your wall like a backboard, this beautiful book is laced with glossy dome shots as pretty as their perfect picture. This is THE collectible for the purist court connoisseur. Thanks to their wonderful writers and a collaboration contribution from their classic scribe Scoop Jackson the history to the future of these trainers fit through these chapters and verse like the sock sneaks of the future. With 'Kicks' once again SLAM changes the game as the basketball bible has a new testament. Amen to the air God Jordan with a tongue in sneak pun intended. This is fresh out the box.

ALONG CAME A SPIDER: Incy, wincy spider! Ask basketball legend John Salley it was only right I read this book now. 'Along Came A Spider' introduced both bestselling thriller writer James Patterson and his hugely popular Alex Cross character to the world and millions of books sold and seemingly wrote since 1993. Patterson's James Bond and Sherlock Holmes has been portrayed in a film of the same name by the voice himself Morgan Freeman (just read this book in his pleasing baritone) and its 'Kiss The Girls' book adaptation sequel before Tyler Perry replaced him in a recent hit movie. This book however is the bookshelf chicken before the Hollywood egg and you'll breeze through these almost 500 pages of thrilling suspense like I did on a Saturday afternoon. From Disneyworld to McDonalds and deception to madness this brilliant book takes you everywhere. A classic 90's thriller of 'Fugitive' proportions, just try and cross this runaway hit. Check your water spout, this spider is amazing. Time to catch it. TIM DAVID HARVEY.


STAR WARS: VOLUME 3-THE LAST COMMAND: Luke Skywalker is going to die! Sold on this? For all the 'Star Wars' incarnations from stories to products that have come since the original films to now. From all the comics and video games that have come before all these new sequels set to rule cinema once again from a galaxy far, far away. This is it. These are the books you are looking for. A set of stories following the original trilogy and before Ja Ja Binx got in the way these books continued the story of Luke, Han and Leia. The original three. This book focuses on a threat to Luke Skywalker's life and the life and lessons that go into toeing the lightsabre line of the dark side. This is captivating, exciting, fond and funny. There's even some romance from Han and Leia. You're going to tell me you love this. I know.

WORLD WAR Z: Last year Brad Pitt took a bite out of Max Brooks' cult classic novel and took these flesh eating pages into the walking dead. His film was dead on, albeit a different taste on the zombie genre and story. Brooks' book is the legend though. Fleshing out the story via journalistic stories and interviews. This perfectly adds to the realism of an idea that has been done to death. So much so that people have researched the real life possibilities and implications of us all trapsing the earth like teenagers. This is so good it's scary. Scary prophetic. Add this to some real cultural and political satirical observations and you have one hell of a book that takes modern day social plagues to reading task. In zombieland Brooks' battalion wins the war.

NEIL YOUNG: WAGING HEAVY PEACE: Dylan's told part of his chronicles and we're still waiting on Springsteen's story but between that we have the legendary singer/songwriter Neil Young's autobiographical legacy. From CSNY to Buffalo Springfield its quite the career 'Harvest' too for the Canadian, making quite the story from Ontario to California. It's not just the musical and literal landscape that make for quite the artistic portrait over these pages of prose. There's also a deep dedication to love and the friendship of family and vice versa that make this so much more than money and fame and famous or fond of celebrity this is what it all should be about. Funny and forthright this sweet and sincere stream of consciousness is like one of the best songs he's ever wrote. From tangled tangents to words of wisdom this is the highest note Young has hit. Even if some of these chapters feel like an advert for his purist mp3 product there's still passion between the verses and he talks just as much about his beloved attic train set. Which believe me he isn't selling to anyone. This mans life has been heavy but as he writes and we reads together we feel peace and isn't that the connection fans want to feel with their idols? Especially one like the previously perceived aloof Neil. Still this is for everyone, old and Young.

SPIKE LEE'S AMERICA: A Spike Lee joint? Well, not exactly. This book is an aspiring movie makers tour through the force of this dynamic directors filmography. From 'Do The Right Thing' to 'Inside Man' and 'Malcolm X' to 'He Got Game'. Exploring the greatest hits and cult classics of one of this generation and all-times greatest directors you'll learn more about greats from 'Mo Better Blues' and 'The 25th Hour'. Not only will this book help you learn about Lee's rich history it will also have you yearning for Spike's future plans. As a matter of fact this non-fiction is a magnificent manual that should be used as a teaching tool in film studies education. It's that analytical in its expressive reflection. Praise-worthy but also profound some of these passages are as inspiring as its subject matter itself. Sure when it comes to our favourite Knicks fan Mars Blackmon himself, nothing comes close to this legend, not even this 'Inside Man' but in knowing this, this terrific text book does ultimately and (forgive me) the right thing. You gotta have it. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Saturday, 14 June 2014


It seems the prime directive this week was to read Star Trek books. So let's boldly go where no one but the main cast has survived through before. Hold on to your red shirts!

STAR TREK-NEW FRONTIER: TREASON: Readers log, stardate twenty fourteen. Geeeeeeeeeek! I know right? But to think I got two Star Trek books for under two pounds. That's one trade across civilisations that could bring any worlds together. Still in the first of two New York Times Bestselling writer stories this book has assassination and political upheaval on the cards as this new Trekkie universe saved for the pages only is as tense and taught as the alliteration of this books title. A great read to a series of successful books, this new frontier may not have any Kirk or Picard, but its got enough space opera to show you why this Star franchise in a war with J. J. Abrams other rebooted one is among the leaders of science fiction. Yesterday, today and tomorrow...energized.

STAR TREK-THE NEXT GENERATION: NIGHTSHADE: Make this one so. If you thought the politics and assassination of 'Treason' was enough to scare the kids that love this franchise then just you wait until you read this one. Captain Picard is facing execution under charges of murder on an alien planet and only Troi and a newly appointed ambassador of peace Lieutenant Word can save him. Worf!? The Klingon an ambassador of peace!? I know right?! But in a page tense turning, scintillating story there is more at matter here than muscle as our mind reader and warrior team up in a brilliant book that serves as a life lesson methaphor in how to control ones emotions between war and peace. Riker and Data may make only brief cameos but there's a nice side story subplot of biological machinery with Gordi and Dr. Crusher to keep you at this ones bedside. In one of the best Trek reads out there Laurell K. Hamilton teaches us more about our favourite characters and ourselves. Two to beam up. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Thursday, 22 May 2014


From Sugar Ray to Elmore we've been knocking around with more Leonard's then 'A Big Bang Theory' of Shelden's. Penny....Penny...

ELMORE LEONARD-THE LAST STAND AT SABER RIVER: How the West was wrote! Here you go aspiring writers, the above picture is the late, legendary authors ten commandments when it comes to writing...and when it comes to writing it doesn't get much better than this. After rifling through the works of modern day great Cormac McCarthy and also the lifes work of another Leonard in boxing legend Sugar Ray it was only right we paid just, due respect to another Western great that shares the same last name as one of the greatest boxers of all time. Like 'No Country For Old Mens' Cormac, Elmore Leonards wonderful work has been turned into mainstream movies from 'Out Of Sight' and 'Get Shorty' to the 'Be Cool' sequel and the 'Rum Punch' that would become Tarantino's 'Jackie Brown'. Who knows Q.T. may have got some 'Unchained' 'Django' inspiration from the crossed T's and dotted I's of this wonderful wild west writer. This 'Last Stand At Saber River' was even turned into a movie itself thanks to the 'Magnum' moustache of Tom Selleck. This story even rivals the before magnum spaghetti work of the great Clint Eastwood. Add this to the 'True Grit' Portis prose stories from the libaries of old America. Tense, thrilling and turning this book hits you quick and dead. It's the best draw you'll never want to holster.

HIROSHI SAKURAZAKA-EDGE OF TOMORROW (ALL YOU NEED IS KILL): 'All You Need Is Kill'...or apparantly a name change according to the forthcoming new Tom Cruise summer season blockbuster 'Edge Of Tomorrow' that continues his 'Oblivion' and the mainstream movie markets sci-fi age. From 'Minority Report' to the 'War Of The Worlds' the scientologist has kept it science fiction and alongside Emily Blunt of 'The Adjustment Bureau' futuristic fame he takes the novel idea of Japanese writer Hiroshi Sakurazaka to the IMAX of the biggest screen and stage. Thinking of 'The Adjustment Bureau' and contemporary writers from Japan, Sakurazaka is like a modern day hybrid of sci-fi forefather Phillip K. Dick and leading novel man Haruki Murakami. With his trademark quick reads and a futursistic fable that mirrors ideals of today in a cautionary tale of a war of worlds and technological ones this arms up as something more than just a huge metal suit, video game like exciting escapade. This young writer lights up his idea of the future with something more neon glowing than his hometown of Tokyo. This first person novel takes cues from everything from 'Groundhog Day' to 'Starship Troopers', as our young Japanese soldier (played by 'The Last Samurai' Tom Cruise...yep we know) keeps waking up after dying to the same day and battle. This makes for some excellent writing and the prose of the cons of everything from artillery to immortality. What makes as an inspired idea and intriguing read could translate to scripting one of this years most influential movies...and clocking under 200 pages all you need is an afternoon before you edge this out before tomorrow. Read, finish, repeat. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Friday, 9 May 2014


Long time no read! It's been awhile, but we're back between the pages. Read all about it...

SUGAR RAY LEONARD-THE BIG FIGHT: "Tim I hope you gain something from my mistakes and accomplishments in my life and career!" That's amazingly what the great Sugar Ray Leonard said to me on Twitter in reply when I tweeted that I was reading his autobiography. What a legend indeed and what a read. Inspiring, insightful, heartfelt and honest I certainly did learn something from the ropes to the belt and just like Ali's 'Soul Of A Butterfly' was moved to inspiration by this prose that floated like a butterfly and stung in lessons learned like a son of a bee. A basketball fan by nature, boxing isn't my first love when it comes to sport but it makes for an oddly nurturing read in the knock down and get back up themes and elements of these life stories that play out better than 'Rocky'. I could use all the 'pull no punches', 'knockout' cliches I'd desire but this champs book is exactly the motivator you need in your corner when the lights go out.

SHANIA TWAIN-FROM THIS MOMENT ON: Man I'm feeling this woman! It's not just me and my best friend who without shame admit to being fans of this singer...albeit to my girfriends amazement and amusement. There's also legions of men attending the country diamond singers Las Vegas residency for their wedding anniversary...actually dragging their wives along! I may not be singing 'Man I Feel Like A Woman' every Friday, but I do love her beautiful ballads from 'You've Got A Way', 'You're Still The One, 'Forever, Always' and the title of this amazing autobiography 'From This Moment On'. From the darkness of depression, divorce, atrocious abuse and disheartened disregard this woman has been through a lot of black eyes and blue tears, but she's come out of it all smiling and singing feel-good songs of fun that fuse together pop and country until they fix platinum plaques on the walls of her house she built. With a deeply poignant and powerful read-just like those who read the lyrics of the album tracks-there's so much more to this woman than the looks and the big budget videos. When you read all about who she really is THAT will impress you much.

CORMAC McCARTHY-NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN: From 'All The Pretty Horses' to 'The Counsellor' todays legendary author Cormac McCarthy has laid the script work for some of Hollywood's best pictures today. Just call him a country and western Phillip K. Dick, showing the real America in the heart of all it's chapter and verse. His standout and our first tour with him has to be 'No Country For Old Men'. The film that gave the Coen Brothers their best classic and introduced the world to the acting spurs of Josh Brolin and the perfectly psychotic mad world of villain Javier Bardem stuns you to the core like a cattle gun. A film that the weathered and worn cop work of amazing actor Tommy Lee Jones was born to play this story leaps off the pages to your senses before it makes the screens. There's not a lot wrote today that could best this story. Tense, powerful, gripping and entertaining you don't need motion pictures to catch your wonder. Just these well wrote words. Cormac really is the man. There will always be room for him in this country. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Monday, 31 March 2014


We're back! And our obsession with books movies where based on continues with more reading up...

THE MONUMENTS MEN: Something truly monumental. What made for a extremely good and very underrated movie-that just missed out on Oscar season-gave George Clooney and Matt Damon another 'Oceans' like assembling of stars from John Goodman and Bill Murray to Cate Blanchett and Jean Dujardin...albeit missing a Brad Pitt. The sacred text this movie about saving priceless artworks from Hitlers reign of fire during his occupation of Europe in World War II is based upon is more than just a war journal of letters and entries of note. It's an inspiring and influential story of power and proof that is as unbelievably as true as it has been overlooked for so many decades closing in on a century. What architects and historians did not only for their country, but the heritage and culture of individuals and families all over the world by joining the army to restore peoples faith and priceless works is truly one of the bravest and heroic things known to man. Especially as many of these ageing people of their profession where not soldiers. Michelangelo and Rembrant owe these magnificent men a debt of gratitude, as do those who have criminally disregarded this film and beautiful book like those who disregarded other priceless works of art that now decades later still hold so much truth and meaning, like this does now regardless of fleeting eyes looking for one day. These men of monument deserve your salute.

A CAPTAINS DUTY: A real Captain America for you winter soldiers. Speaking of Oscar snubs, 'Captain Phillips' was arguably one of last years greatest films. Far tenser and more epicly exciting than the out of this world 'Gravity' that grounded everything except the harrowing historical '12 Years A Slave'. As a captain of a ship hijacked by Somali pirates Tom Hanks gave one of his greatest performances in years. One of the greatest actors with the best filmography of all-time at least deserved an Oscar nominee, like he deserved one for his sublime supporting role as Walt Disney in 'Saving Mr. Banks'. Still, the story of 'Captain Phillips' is more than just Hanks and the ever humble and honest megastar actor knows this. A true story tenser than any Hollywood script could pen, Captain Richard Phillips really suffered the hijacking of his vessel and the subsequent hostage taking on a lifeboat by these pirates. With his bold book Richard Phillips gives us the real account of what happened with unflinching facts and no fuzzy fluff. Like the great movie it's wraught with tension and anxiety inducing apprehension, but much like the great '12 Years' and it's own moving memoir by Solomon Northup you can't really call this enjoyable. As great as this reads like a thrilling movie this is real, it actually happened and that's truly harrowing and unsettling. Still, asking for no sympathy and not even bragging about the celebrity life aftermath Richard writes it to us plain and simple and this results in the truest one-sitting, page turner that demands your time and respect. With before and after countdowns and significant quotes starting each chapter this seasoned sailor writes like a pro and also gives us some beautiful Boston looks at the family life that was almost cruelly taken from him. With nods to brilliant books like 'The Perfect Storm' and the familiar family loneliness at sea things get even more claustraphobic then the 'Gravity' uncomfort beating film as this hostage story turns into a solo mission. This is where one man tells us what it's really like , like we're really there feeling it with him. Richard Phillips didn't have to revisist such a torturous time, especially so honestly and eloquently but in doing so he gives us a survival over struggle story that will inspire everyone from leaders to those fighting loneliness. For that to the real Captain Phillips, we salute! TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

THE JOURNEYMAN-An Interview With 'Backspin' Author Pete Strobl

Spinning Back.



France, Austria, Germany, Iceland, Switzerland and Ireland. These aren't the destinations of your average basketball journeyman. Portland, Dallas, Atlanta, Minnesota, Memphis and Philadelphia are. Then again Pete Strobl isn't your average Basketball journeyman. After quite the college career at Niagara University that grabbed Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees as well as points and rebounds, the kid from Los Angeles took a crash course in a real educational experience of life and hoops. One year shy of a decade gave Strobl a lifetime of experience playing and living all across Europe for many different towns and teams. From the culture shock of Paris to the coaching gig in Ireland, Coach Strobl has grown in more ways than one, more than most seasoned veterans of the NBA would even dream of. Sound impressive? Well this isn't even the half of it as Pete is now settled in Pittsburgh with his young family and is now coaching youngsters who hope to follow in his sneaker steps. He's created an academy of talent in 'The Scoring Factory'. A clinics dream of breaking down language barriers and learning the true skills behind the game that Europe offers, Pete Strobl is the perfect life coach as well as Basketball one.

Want more? You got it, if this guy wasn't hardworking enough he's already penned his first book titled 'Backspin'. From it's text-book, academic look and feel to it's life and sport skill advice this is the perfect manual for anyone who wants to achieve their dreams, hoops related or not. It also doubles up as the perfect travel guide for people looking to truly explore the world. From increasing your vertical leap by dunking out of a swimming pool, to the reverse engineering of mastering foreign languages in all sorts of helpful ways you won't be lost in translation with this text-book perfect guide. More than your average NBA autobiography, or should we say 'biography', this is something else altogether. To reveal more of what you should read all about would be to spoil the nature and nurture of this funny and heartfelt cultural and sporting food for thought. If you love the purity of the game and the good things in life then this is poetry. Above all though spinning back and recognising the past that birthes the future of the present, 'Backspin' is Strobl's story and a brilliant life one at that. It's only just beginning too. So without further ado, who else to tell us about the new book of Basketball than the man himself? Let's go one-on-one...

Hey Coach! Thank you for your time! How's it going? Safe to say its been a pretty eventful year, let alone past decade?

It's absolutely been an eventful year, but I love it! I've found over the years that I'm the type of guy that thoroughly enjoys and thrives on being busy and engaged. I have a habit of finding ways to continually either be a part of, or create something that I'm passionate about and dive in head first!

Congratulations on 'Backspin'! Truly a great read for Basketball and travel fanatics alike. How has the reception for this book been and what inspired you to write it and put this life diary out there?

I appreciate that very much. The reception for Backspin has been phenomenal thus far and I'm honestly humbled. I had no idea that it would touch a chord with so many people, at least not this soon after it's release. It was initially written to better help some of the younger players I train get a better sense of the necessary determination required to achieve your goals. It's simple to merely state your goals, quite different to follow through and persevere through adversity. I wanted to inspire young and motivated athletes that needed some guidance and direction, but through the writing process I also recognized an opportunity to shed light on what it's actually like for a division 1 and European professional basketball player behind the scenes.

Starting from the beginning, before embarking on your biggest adventure how did it feel leaving home in Los Angeles for Niagara University? What did you learn about growing up as a person and a player on and off the court?

Leaving "home" is always an experience mixed with a bunch of different emotions. For me personally, it was both exhilarating and terrifying. I was excited to confront the great unknown and knew there would be hurdles to overcome. I knew that it was a necessary step for me individually to allow myself to grow as a person. I also knew that the challenges that awaited me against that caliber of competition would have a "make or break" effect on my potential ability to play beyond college. It was one of the many moments that I think we all come across in our lives that challenge you in ways you couldn't expect.

Having quite the face to face with Hubie Brown and holding court with Calvin Murphy's son how did being in the company of NBA legend show you that your basketball legacy had so much more to come?

At the time, I didn't even think in those terms. I was just happy to have an opportunity to work hard and do what I loved. Having had ample time to reflect, and viewing those situations through the eyes of an adult, "fortunate" doesn't even come close to describing how lucky I was to share a court with those guys. To this day, I'm an avid fan of the concept that we somehow become better by surrounding ourselves with better people. I personally love to be around positive and passionate people, and find it to be contagious and stimulating. There's no way to accurately measure how valuable those experiences were to me as a person, and as a player.

Family focused first and foremost how did it feel to pride your hard working parents with being the first member of your family to achieve a college degree and what advice would you give young student athletes who may be struggling with their studies?

It was an amazing feeling, and worth every single second of the many sacrifices made along the way to make it happen! All student athletes struggle with their studies at some point in time. I think there's a misconception sometimes that athletes don't care about their grades, when the reality couldn't be further from the truth. Once you take out the so-called "one and done" players from the equation, you'll find that the vast majority of student-athletes struggle most with finding enough time to be successful at both. People that haven't played college sports at a high level have no idea how demanding it can be, and the challenges associated and steming from effective time-management. I think mandatory study hall is a great step in the right direction and that those in need should ask for help when necessary, because at the end of the day colleges want their players to succeed...because they need them to be eligible!

Basketball has always been a growing game especially around the world. What specific parts of the European game helped improve yours as you took it back to the States?

Basketball is the most beautiful game on earth and I enjoyed seeing firsthand how quickly it's growing. The Dream Team deserves a lot of credit for spurring some of that growth and growing new markets and pockets of enthusiasm. Seeds are still being planted as we speak and I'm really curious to see how it evolves over the next decade with talks of possible NBA expansion into Europe. Due to the fact that soccer still dominates, it was inevitable that certain characteristics would carry over into the style with which many Europeans play. I personally learned a great deal from watching and observing their collective footwork, passing and teamwork. I tried to immerse myself in their culture both on and off the court, so found myself mimicking certain movements in an attempt to add more diversity to my own game.

'Backspin's' theme comes with some memories in italics throughout the chapters of your life. How important is it for us to acknowledge our past to prepare ourselves for the future?

The famous saying by George Santayana rings true to this day: "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it". Acknowledging our past is vital for us to better understand and navigate our future. This applies to world events, daily interactions, relationships and of course basketball. Those of us willing to take a long look in the mirror to examine and accept our mistakes, have the potential to experience greater triumphs by learning through the process. Trial and error is an immensely powerful learning tool, as long as you don't try the same wrong thing over and over. One has to be willing to experiment, and remember what didn't work along the path.

Now settled in Pittsburgh what can you tell us about this city in regards to hoops and sports?

Pittsburgh is a phenomenal city! The sheer beauty of the landscape and topography is worth a trip alone, but the people and style of life here make it such a special place. It has a different feel here than any other city I've ever experienced and is in the midst of a revival and the stars are all alligning at the right time. Let's just say it isn't anything like what I thought it was going to be based on what I learned in the history books growing up in Los Angeles! The city has a rabid sports fan base and people get crazy to support their teams, it's energizing and a joy to be a part of.

What can you tell our readers about 'The Scoring Factory'?

The Scoring Factory is a basketball training academy that provides an opportunity for dedicated athletes to learn the necessary skills to reach their potential. We've had some enormous success stories through the years and that has obviously helped to fuel our growth. I'm extremely passionate about what we do and the work that our team of coaches has done to help countless players take huge strides toward reaching their dreams. We train pros all the way down to youth and there's a special culture and understanding of the value of smart work that has begun to consume the environment. Nothing makes me more proud than to share my knowledge with driven athletes as they continue to climb the ladder.

Pete we thank you so much for your time and consideration. We appreciate it and wish you all the best. 'Backspin' is a great coaching manual and life story for people growing up from the court to the real world. What's next for you and is there anything you'd like to share with your readers in closing?

I'm honestly enjoying the ride and touched that Backspin has been embraced by such a wide audience. I'm overjoyed to know that it's already helping players along their own journeys while simultaneously shedding light for those curious about the ride. There are a lot of things that are on my own personal horizon, and I'm excited to see where this is all headed. I'm involved in several exciting projects all geared toward promoting knoweldge, growth and development. Its extremely important to me to help others and share the knowledge that I've been fortunate enough to accumulate.....while continually learning and striving to be the best husband, father, teacher, coach, mentor and now author that I can possibly be!

France, Austria, Germany, Iceland, Switzerland and Ireland. These aren't the destinations of your average basketball journeyman. Then again Pete Strobl isn't your average basketball journeyman. More than just a great basketball coach too, Strobl takes you through the X's and O's of a whole other continent with a brilliant life story of a Basketball player on the longest road and greatest journey that will hold court in any arena. More than a game, this shows you just how far Basketball can take you.

Monday, 24 February 2014


JURASSIC PARK: There's something in the cups of water. Boom...BOOM! Can you see the vibrations? Maybe the powers trying to come back on? Nope Jeff, you "must read faster" because its the 'Jurassic Park' novel. Before Speilberg's self-dubbed 'Jaws 2', classic film of the golden 90's era and this generations childhood and all their vivid imagination dreams came the book by the late, great Michael Crichton. The creator of medical dominating drama 'E.R.' and the sequel to this franchise 'The Lost World'. If you thought quite possibly the greatest and most imaginative blockbuster film of all-time was epic then wait until you read this 400 page 'Jurassic World' of even more dinosaurs and soon to be extinct park-goers. Deeper, darker, dynamically different and with even more chaos, from the pictured set pieces to Ian Malcolm's slapped on a lunch-box trademark theories, after second thoughts you'll want to invest in this book. As a kid who collected dinosaur models like Ross from 'Friends' and whose greatest Christmas was when he found a T-Rex on his bed (no, not a real one, he wouldn't be able to fold the sheets (thanks mum and dad)) it isn't an overstatement when I say the Jurassic Park movie was one of the best things to happen to my youth, but it'd be nothing without Crichton and his book. Oh and I loved 'E.R.' too, it was my teenage life (even tried to write a screenplay for it), so thank you Mike. Now let's take it back to the time books ruled the earth.

STAR WARS-RETURN OF THE JEDI (SCREENPLAY): As I mentioned I've wanted (and still do) to write screenplays and like any movie fan as you can see here, instead of writing one I'm writing about them for any excuse to stay as close to the world as possible. Still from the late great Syd Field and many mores guides to actual screenplays of my personal favourite movies like 'Collateral' and 'Dog Day Afternoon' I've been studying like this was all coursework...it kind of is. This weekend however I picked up the screenplays of screenplays and the 'Star Wars' film of all 'Star Wars' films. As epic, amazing, great and gripping as the final part of the original trilogy itself this is a far more exciting read than a routine novelization. To see it all in black and white before it hit the screens and without any other directors cuts or edits is truly remarkable and an aspiring writers inspirational and educational experience. Thank you George Lucas. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Thursday, 13 February 2014



A Long Write To Freedom.

The Academy Awards are about to polish off their Oscars for director Steve McQueen and his cast and crew of '12 Years A Slave', last years classic film and arguably one of the greatest movies of its moment and all-time. Great in a 'Schindlers List' necessary educational way. A film that you can't call enjoyable but one that you need to see to really take a trip through histories harrowing moments, so we can all learn from it. It's the kind of film they could show in school...when the times right. In looking for a subject to write about a movie on slavery, McQueen's wife found 'Twelve Years A Slave', the 'Narrative of Solomon Northup, citizen of New-York, kidnapped in Washington city in 1841, and rescued in 1853, from a cotton plantation near the Red River in Louisiana'. This is history that is recognised today in all it's previous past over value that will last for generations and centuries to come in the future. Just like '12 Years' is a movie we all need to watch, 'Twelve Years' is a book we all need and with a beautiful wrote foreword in a book that now sees the light of every major bookstore, McQueen with this-and his film-wants to give Northup the attention and the appreciation he deserves. As one of the most inspiring figures of freedom for all, in all time.

Martin Luther King Jnr, Nelson Mandela and now Solomon. Some of the greatest men in history have been honoured the right way at the beginning of this year and they should be remembered throughout still. After Idris Elba portrayed the great Madiba in the 'Mandela-Long Walk To Freedom' movie based on the autobiography of the same name, Chiwetel Ejiofor portrayed Solomon perfectly based on his moving memoirs. The film that kept the script by the book did more than just justice to this man and now his story can be seen around the world for everybody to hear. Now, however it's only right we read all about it and pay due respect to the man that's inspired an iconic movie, because after all it's his movie. It's time to see all about the real story from the horses mouth. Additional detal of harrowing accounts like how if a slave picked less cotton than the day before they would be lashed, whilst if they picked even more they'd be expected to match that quota with the following days work. The story of how a freeman was-with horrific cruelty-kidnapped and sold into slavery, where he was brutally humiliated and beaten into the sickest submission before he found his lasting emancipation over a decade later. After 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' on slavery came Northup's novel addition to the bookshelf and library of life history.

More than a great film acting like a documentary, moving you to tears of heartbreak, its so harrowing to actually see it all there in black and white. Accompanied with small sketches and wrote in the old style of its time, we still can feel every emotion and occurrence of Solomon's sharing. An accomplished writer (who for over a decade of his life couldn't even obtain a quill, ink or parchment) with the help of editor David Wilson, despite the abhorrent subject matter Northup writes beautifully, with magical metaphors matching dark descriptions. This is a freedom song of triumph over trial that feels like a religious reading in it's hope for finding something more holy in this life then the work of a devil. From the good of his fellow slaves, to one 'believe it or see it' kind slave master (William Ford played by Benedict Cumberbatch in the movie) and some notes on the violin there are some beautiful moments captured here with reverence like the landscape of his living that hides the real horror haunting beneath. From it's New York birth beginnings to his kidnapping in Washington that took him to the cotton fields and plantations of Louisiana, this is a real account of what America was like when these States really weren't United and there was no American dream. From whippings to beatings, this is the dark side of humanity that needs more light shed on it so we can see just how bad it is and see that discrimination-in even the smallest ways-is wrong in these modern days where racism is still alive but in a more casually, caustic cruel way that is obnoxiously overlooked.

If you think this movie is "great" then you should really learn from Solomon Northups words. Way back in 1853-truly a different time-this book sold 30,000 copies and was considered a bestseller. Now you can expect it to be read into the millions like a Hemingway or Harper Lee vintage classic. Believe that this book about freedom from inequality is just as important as the time and tide classic of one of the greatest selling and acclaimed novels of all-time, 'To Kill A Mockingbird'. Reading both to begin this year,( 'Mockingbird' being read after watching the movie and before reading this book), I can tell you that nothing draws you in to every word, proclamation and utterance then Solomon's writing. As raw and real as it gets this unflinching, unforgettable memoir will stay with you like that lump in your throat you haven't been able to get rid of since Brad Pitt's production team brought the story to worldwide viewing in the cinema. One day the film will be in every home either via DVD or regular television scheduling and the book should be too. It's just that necessary an education. These 200 pages are more than just a coffee table read their an inspirational scribe of struggle and survival that will stay with you no matter how quickly you read it like 'The Old Man And The Sea'. Still with this book the coldest shiver will run down your spine as you run down its. After 100 years of fading into obscurity this book now deserves more than just a legendary movie. Its legacy deserves our time. As the adaptation of his story survives, 100 years later Solomon Northup and his message for the people are free again. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Saturday, 8 February 2014


Long time no read! The New Year is here and after last years 52 for 52 weeks worth of record reads, we're one book behind come February. Still it's not bad going since we've been travelling the States and also reading many magazines and blog posts between flights. Back to the spine here's the longreads to start 2014.

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD: Harper Lee's classic comes at the right time. With the '12 Years A Slave' books film adaptation about to take over the Oscars the world once again is waking up to the historical and present day issue of racial inequality that need more focus and compassion. This Pulitzer Prize winning read by Lee deals with this, race and the observation of this authors neighbourhood. Despite these harrowing issues that where loosely inspired by actual goings-on around Harper's way this book has great warmth and humor to it. Reading it after tracking it down I was wrong in thinking it wouldn't make the "nicest" Christmas present for my mum. Everyone needs to sit up and take read to this classic of American literature.

WE CAN REMEMBER IT FOR YOU FOR WHOLESALE (TOTAL RECALL): If you follow this blog, you'll for sure know by now we love both baragin books and Phillip K. Dick. So it's no surprises like Radiohead that we scooped up this £1 collection of the legends short stories like a paranoid android. The orginal title of this book inspired both the Arnold Scwarzenegegr master movie 'Total Recall' and the Colin Farrell fantastic reboot of the same name but slightly differing story. A different story altogether here too and one that doesn't break 20 pages finds itself inbetween other short stories featuring androids, even beavers, but sadly no electric sheep in this one. Still, how did did we get two films out of 20 pages you ask? Well just like the 'Blade Runner's, 'Minority Reports', 'Scanner Darkly's' and 'Adjustment Bureau's' he's also influenced there's a wealth of short stories here and ideas that could be used for many more films and decades to come from the original, truly original science fiction master who was well ahead of his futuristic time.

THE OLD MAN & THE SEA: The perfect short-story, coffee table read that could change your afternoon and life from the perfect writer. 'For Whom The Bell Tolls' Ernest Hemingway's farwell to writing is one of his brightest and best. Read in Corbin, Kentucky's coffee house 'You & Me, Coffee & Tea' (they provided the books, and yes I'm providing the plug for the best coffee shop with bands and board games too) this was for sure one of the most enjoyable and best reads ever. From it's picture perfect tales of one man and his companions, whether a young friend, fish or the sea herself this goes from being the sweetest and sincerest stories to one epic one of struggle and survival in a finale thats more tense and thrilling then 'Jaws'. We're going to need a bigger bookshelf. TIM DAVID HARVEY.