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A fat boy with a passion for sweets and a loathing for games, the young Michael Simkins finds in cricket a sport where size doesn't necessarily matter and a full-blown obsession is born. Now in middle-age, he still harbours the somewhat deluded belief that the England middle-order might usefully benefit from his hard-earned skills. From impromptu Test series played with his dad in the family sweetshop through to his years running a team of dysfunctional inadequates, Fatty Batter is the bestselling and hilarious story of one man's life lived through cricket.
Luvvies. Tyrannical directors. Useless agents. Less job security than an England football manager. Who’d be an actor? Michael Simkins isn’t sure, even though he’s been one himself for over thirty years. Join him backstage as he examines that business called showbusiness, from am dram to Hollywood, and from Shakespeare to ads for flatulence pills. In a career that started as a plump teenager in ballet tights at RADA, Michael has appeared in countless West End plays and musicals, presented safety training workshops for sewage workers, and when resting, worked as a crate smasher at a car factory. He’s done movies, soaps, ads, and voice-overs, and worked with everyone from Meryl Streep to Kelly Osbourne. As the ultimate jobbing actor he’s flirted with triumph and oblivion without ever quite managing either. InThe Rules of Acting he shares his hard-won wisdom. Covering everything from learning your lines to tilting for Oscar success in Hollywood, surviving a flop, to why it’s advisable to read the whole script if you wish to avoid improper relations with a pig, it’s the ultimate survival guide for anyone contemplating a life in showbiz. 'Throw out An Actor Prepares! Michael Simkins' book tells actors all they need to know about the realities of the acting profession; the passion, the struggle, the noble idealism and the heartache.' HELEN MIRREN 'It is thrilling that Micahel Simkins is having such success as a writer - anything to keep him off the stage' IAN MCKELLEN
Helps students understand the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices about diet and exercise and explores people's relationship with food, the role of genetics in body shape, different eating disorders, and ways to combat obesity.
Though happy enough with his lot, Michael Simkins has never truly shaken the nagging doubt - helpfully upheld by his partner Julia - that he somehow lacks worldly sophistication. While she spent her teenage years as a nanny on a boat moored at Cannes, his utter lack of travel experience (Weymouth, Cleethorpes and a day trip to Dieppe) still has the power to shock people into leaving dinner parties early. So as he hits middle-age, Michael takes up the challenge of broadening his horizons. He decides to improve himself in the same way English gentlemen lacking refined edges have for centuries: by learning from our more cultured French neighbours. Michael, an English provincial ingénue, sets off to discover just what the Gallic nation can teach him and the rest of us Anglo-Saxons about living the good life. Armed only with 50 Useful Phrases in French, he waits to see if his odyssey from La Manche to the Riviera will finally turn him from the scotch-egg eating spawn of Anne Widdecombe and John McCririck into the champagne-sipping love child of Serge Gainsbourg and Catherine Deneuve. Julia is saying a prayer for him at Lourdes.
Television and sport is the ultimate marriage of convenience. The two circled each other warily for a while - sport anxious the sofa-bound might spurn the live product, TV reluctant in a limited channel world to hand over too much screen time to flannelled fools and muddied oafs. But they got together, and stayed together, for the sake of the money, and now you cannot imagine one without the other. They are indivisible, like an old couple sitting in a teashop finishing each other's sentences, and there is little doubt which is the dominant partner. You have only to think of the recent sports stars who have left their muddy fields to don sequins, grab partners and tango their way across the stage in ultimate Saturday night television style, to see how far the two have come on their journey together. In Sit Down and Cheer Martin Kelner traces the development of this relationship from its humble origins in the 1960 Olympics, by way of the first-ever Match of the Day in 1964, through to the financial impact of Sky, right up to the high-tech gadgetry of our present-day viewing. Insightful and very funny, this is an entertaining exploration of two major national pastimes and not to be missed.
A teenager on the tram meets an old man claiming to be Jesus Christ. Six young women band together on a night prowl. A Filipino immigrant clashes with his eldest sister, who has brought him to Australia for a better life. And in a future where dogs have risen up against their owners, a mother is alarmed by her adolescent daughter's behavior. Through such diverse characters, Paddy O'Reilly takes us into the fringes of human nature—our hidden thoughts, our darker impulses, and our unspoken tragedies. By turns elegiac and acerbic, but always acutely observed, Peripheral Vision confirms O'Reilly as one of our most inventive and insightful writers.
Jonathan “Aggers” Agnew, England’s voice of cricket, showcases some of the very best writings on the noble game, from the 1930s to the present day.

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