2010
27.03

March 9, 2010

The Bookwitch: “My alert readers will immediately deduce who that sleeve belongs to, and that the asterisks above indicate that after blogging about Scandinavian Airlines and the Scattered Authors, I have finally met the real SAS. I mean, the real SAS for me is the airline, but it’s the ‘cool and dangerous’ SAS this time.

I met Andy McNab in Birmingham yesterday. At least I hope I did. I went into this bar and started chatting to the first balaclava-ed man I saw. It was him, wasn’t it? With all other writers, if I don’t know them, I google them to make sure I can recognise them. Doesn’t work with Andy. Not that he’s called Andy, anyway. This one tried to suggest he’d be Terry Pratchett today, but you know me. I know my Terry Pratchetts well, and it wasn’t him. He tried it with the wrong witch.

Andy’s lovely publicist Sally had suggested that I might want to interview him. And I did, seeing as I missed him at the local bookshop three years ago, due to someone’s unfortunate lack of understanding my likes and dislikes. The Daughter got to meet him then, so she didn’t need to come this time. Especially since the services of a photographer wasn’t top of my list for Monday’s outing.

The witch had tea and this man in the bar had coke. Whoever he was, we had a nice conversation. He looked rather like a Guardian reader, now that I come to think of it. That doesn’t mean we actually read the same newspaper. In case he wants to sue.

As some of you will want to know what Andy had to say, I’ll now work diligently at transcribing our conversation, and I will strive to make up a really good misquote, because he seemed to quite fancy being quoted wrongly, as long as it’s a good one.

And no, he didn’t really wear a balaclava. It would have attracted attention.”

Source: Bookwitch

Bookwitch posted the interview this week and it’s awesome. We’ll post a snippit but really you have to go read the entire interview!

Andy McNab: “I say “look, if you wanna be in the X-Files, you’ve got to be talented. Get on with it. However, if you can’t read, you can’t read your contract. Contracts are like that (he holds up his finger and thumb to show how thick) and you’ve got to be able to read.”

The Andy McNab interview
March 23, 2010
 
Whether or not the man I interviewed in Birmingham the other week was an impostor, at least it was the same impostor as turned up in G2 a few days later. I’d recognise the man behind those cucumber slices anywhere! Also gather that my way of taking photos of Andy’s sleeve must have caught on, since it seems that some television channel or other did precisely that when Andy talked to the opposition leader. Please note that he met with me first. Everybody needs a sense of priority when they have a busy week.
So, read the interview, and see what sort of man and writer this former soldier is. His interest in getting boys educated is heartening. Enticing reluctant readers to open a book is another thing to admire Andy for. I remain to be convinced of the necessity for his anonymity, but it does make for a different kind of meeting. And he doesn’t take himself too seriously, which is nice.

Andy McNab – ‘I’ve met myself, you know’

He’s well preserved for fifty, this man who claims to be Andy McNab. Good looking and with very few grey hairs. He’s waiting for me in the bar at the top of the red-carpeted stairs at the Birmingham Malmaison. We appear to be in Birmingham’s former mail sorting office, which is quite appropriate for me, at least. Andy leads us to two black sofas by the window, where we can see the entrance to the upmarket shopping mall housed in the Mailbox, as it’s called.

Go here to read the Bookwitch interview with Andy McNab

Photos by Bookwitch’ Ann Giles on Flickr

2010
24.03

Article by SHS Students – 9th March 2010

Andy McNab started in the Army at the age of 16. Not only does he write novels but he also writes for well known papers such as The Sun, The Sunday Times and The Sunday Telegraph. When he started in the Royal Green Jackets (a branch of the military) he couldn’t read or write, so he was educated there and they said “you’re not stupid, you just haven’t been educated.”

Andy McNab stayed in the infantry for 8 years and thought about going to the special air service. When he was in the SAS he spent a lot of time in Colombia stopping the exporting of Cocaine. Going all around the world he has learnt Spanish and Swahili. He never thought that his novel Bravo – two – zero would be so successful.

On Tuesday 9th March 2010, Andy McNab – the commander of bravo-two-zero – came to Stourport High School to promote his new book DropZone and luckily we had a chance to interview him. Here is a snippet of our exclusive with Andy McNab

SHS – What was it like working for the SAS?
McNab – It was great. I was an infantry soldier first. It was different because everyone calls you by your first name not your surname.

SHS – What were you put in juvenile detention for?
McNab– Breaking into some flats, we broke into the same flat 4 times so the police were expecting us.

SHS – What made you want to write books?
McNab – I didn’t really. It’s just that all the newspapers were saying that bravo-two-zero single-handedly won the war; so to stop all the rumours I wrote bravo-two-zero.

SHS – Why do you hide your identity?
McNab – Because I spent lots of time in Northern Ireland and there was a terrorist war that stopped during the 90’s. I had to go undercover in one of the main towns/cities and I lived there pretending to be someone else. We would get an Irish guy to come in and talk to us and if I show my face I potentially put him and his family at risk.

Following this report Andy McNab delivered an inspirational presentation about how books have changed his life and his life in the SAS. The hall was packed with over 400 students and teachers form 10 schools around the county. We were very fortunate to be able to conduct this interview shared the opportunity with a local radio SHS and a SHS form the Stourport Times.

Source: Stourport High School website

2010
23.03

Andy McNab: “How you vote at this election is going to affect soldiers’ lives.”

The Sun
By Tom Newton Dunn
Published: 15 Mar 2010

SAS hero Andy McNab last night backed the Conservatives in the General Election – and slammed Gordon Brown for “betraying” Britain’s Armed Forces.
The ex Who Dares Wins soldier accused the PM of underfunding frontline troops for years.

Sun Security Expert Andy, 49, has voted Labour before. But after talks with David Cameron, he said: “I’m impressed. The Tories are the future.”

And the SAS legend insisted he was speaking for thousands of soldiers last night as he vowed to vote for the Conservatives.

But he is sickened by years of Brown starving the military of cash for vital kit – then denying it at the Chilcot Inquiry into Iraq.

Andy said: “It’s time for a change.

“After the way Gordon Brown betrayed the Forces, there’s not a single person I’ve spoken to from my old regiment who’s voting any other way than Conservative. Cameron’s got the SAS vote – that’s for sure.”

He explained “For Gordon Brown to go to the Iraq inquiry and tell porkies was outrageous.How little he has given the MoD to help them fight five wars in 13 years is VERY clearly on record. To then go straight out to Helmand province in Afghanistan – as he did – and pose for photos with the troops to look like the Forces’ friend was unforgivable. That was the last straw for me. It was a cynical PR attempt to bury bad headlines. Anyone who uses our soldiers on the front line like that deserves nobody’s respect. It is a betrayal of everything honourable they stand for.”

Endorsement from the popular Who Dares Wins figure is a big boost for the Tories, as Britain faces the risk of sleep-walking into another five years of Gordon Brown. An opinion poll yesterday showed the Conservative lead over Labour had slipped to just FOUR points. Andy – who became an author after famously leading the SAS Bravo Two Zero patrol in Iraq in 1991 – met Mr Cameron yesterday to discuss defence. The men also spoke of Andy’s two other passions – adult education and halting the rise of the British National Party.

After the lengthy meeting, Andy told The Sun: “Without doubt, the Tories are the future. I’m impressed by Cameron and the straight answers he gave to my questions. I believe he does get the Forces and what they need. And I think he has the will to see Afghanistan through. Now is not the time to go wobbly about the war.”

The Conservative leader told The Sun: “Andy’s backing means a huge amount to us.”

Go here to read the full article

myView
By Andy McNab

“At the beginning of the New Labour project in 1997, I voted for Tony Blair, like a lot of people in this country did. He promised a great vision for us. But I don’t believe Labour ever delivered on that vision.

The education of our kids is far from where it should be.

Social mobility is at its lowest for generations.

And the economy is in an appalling state.

The great dream all seems to have turned to ruin.

But probably worst of all for me is the way Labour have let down the Armed Forces.

It’s crucial for every fighting man and woman out in Afghanistan and everyone who supports them – all the way up the chain to the MoD – to know they have strong leadership at the top.”

Intent

“Gordon Brown never gives that impression. You always get the feeling the Iraq and Afghan operations were Tony Blair’s idea, which he never quite signed up to. That’s probably why he wasn’t prepared to pay for it.

We need a change.

I believe Cameron understands the Armed Forces and what they’re after. From the equipment projects that need to be funded, all the way to the psychological treatment the guys need when they come back from the front line. I’ve also had a lot of conversations with Liam Fox, the man who will be Cameron’s defence secretary. He understands the Armed Forces too. From the way Cameron talks about Afghanistan, it’s also clear to me that he’s got the will and the intent to see it through now.

I am confident the Tories will do what is needed.

So they’ve got my vote this time.”

McNab & Cameron in The Sun

2010
24.02

From a few months ago.. but still a nice photo. Allthough.. if we didn’t know better it could have been the butler standing in the middle… (just kidding, nice suit Andy!)

2010
26.01

Here is SAS tough guy Andy McNab flying the flag for The Road – even though he can’t show us his face.

The soldier-turned-best-selling author was happy to don the famous orange club cap to show his support for King’s Road.
He also signed it and said “best wishes” and “good luck” to help spur us on this season. But – because he has to stay anonymous – the legendary squaddie had to be pictured with his back to us. He said: “I’m right behind you boys.” McNab – who was visiting a King’s Road player’s office – is the latest in a series of stars to get behind the Orange Caps.

Source: King’s Road Cricket and Social Club

2010
16.01

Andy McNab visits Pritchard's bookshop 2009

 

Source: the Bookseller photostream on Flickr