Homeworking: The Ultimate Guide

Thrilled to announce that my second book, in collaboration with the amazing Spencer Wilson will be out on the 12th of March. ‘Homeworking: The Ultimate Guide’ is the perfect read for anyone who works from home, or is planning to take the plunge – leaving the traditional world of work behind.

“Ask the man on the Blue Peter Omnibus and he’ll tell you: homeworkers spend their days lapping up This Morning and Diagnosis Murder. As such, they have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the latest, celebrity-endorsed, streak-free self-tanning products, along with a detailed understanding of police forensics procedure.

Yet, the reality is rather different. As the old saying goes: ‘Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should’. Homeworkers do have access to TV, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that they spend entire days watching reruns of Columbo. Remember, those who work from home also have constant access to their bath tub, but this doesn’t mean they spend every day up to their neck in Radox”

Homeworking: The Ultimate Guide

Published by Ice House Books this is my second collaboration with Spencer Wilson, after The Modern MAMIL: How to look pro.

I’m thrilled with the way this book has turned out – so please pick up your copy soon.

Pre-order ‘Homeworking: The Ultimate Guide’ here.

Why I’ve written to Santa for a Spider-Man costume…

Here’s my latest piece for Eastern Daily Press, all about my son’s passion for Spider-Man.

Have a read.

“My son’s superhero of choice is Spider-Man. I’d like to say that the obsession with blue and red spandex-clad fella is driving me up the wall, but it’s my son who’s doing the climbing in our house. Watching him play, I keep being reminded of the old Spider-Man joke about the hero who only struggles with one thing – getting out of the bath. He’ll stand by a wall, palms flat against the brick, then attempt to climb vertically. Nothing happens. Yet Sam doesn’t seem to notice that he’s getting nowhere fast – much like a house spider stuck by a plug hole. As I watch him, I can’t help feeling amused and a little bit jealous. The passion and enthusiasm that possesses him during this period of Spider-mania is beyond anything most of us experience in our adult existence.”

Chris McGuire, Eastern Daily Press

For the full piece, click here.

Halloween was REALLY scary when I was a kid – Huffpost UK

With Halloween approaching here’s a piece I wrote for Huffpost UK all about my experiences of Trick or Treating as a kid…

In the 80’s when I was ‘Trick or Treating’ (it was a very new thing back then) black bin bags were the staple constituent of every costume I every wore. The conversation would go like this:

“Mum, I wanted to be Frankenstein this year.”

“‘Frankenstein’ is the name of the doctor, not the monster.”

“What?”

“You want to be ‘Frankenstein’s Monster’. Not Frankenstein.”

“Oh.”

“OK. That’s easy. We’ll cut some holes in a black bin liner – for Frankenstein’s body. You can wear your green balaclava, I’ll paint your face green with my eye shadow and we’ll put you in some of your sister’s black tights.”

“I don’t want to wear tights, or have green eye shadow. That’s not how Frankenstein looks.”

“Don’t be silly, I think I know more about Frankenstein than you.”

“But Mum!!”

Chris McGuire Huffpost UK

For full column, click here.

Cycling Plus: ‘Stuck on Repeat’ feature

Great to see my ‘Stuck on Repeat’ feature, illustrated by the amazing Spencer Wilson, in the latest issue of Cycling Plus magazine (#359).

“Cyclists are by no means immune from bad habits. From gorging on the wrong foods to ineffective signalling, wasting energy (through bad technique) to failing to maintain our precious kit; few of us can claim to be completely free of negative quirks.

We decided to address these troublesome habits once and for all. We’ve roped in some willing experts to look at what many of us are doing wrong and lead the way to ditching these bad habits for good!

Chris McGuire, Cycling Plus Magazine

Eastern Daily Press – Wrestling Column

Here’s my latest column for Eastern Daily Press.

“There are very few people who can pull of a singlet unitard. It didn’t take me long to discover I wasn’t one of them.

It’s 2005 and I’m working in children’s TV when, as a result of extremely tight (almost as tight as the costume) budgets, I find myself cajoled into taking a break from writing scripts, to play a wrestler in a series of ‘hilarious’ skits. There I am in a huge blonde wig, thigh high boots and a leotard that leaves nothing to the imagination – strutting around a wrestling ring, against a much smaller opponent, prat-falling for laughs.

Dignity had well and truly left the building.

The thing is, as a kid, I’d loved WWF (as it was then) and WCW wrestling. These amazing pantomime-like events, with stars such as ‘The Undertaker’ and ‘Hulk Hogan’, were a TV staple during the late 80’s and early 90’s and I couldn’t get enough of them. I’d have sold my grandmother to be a ‘real life’ wrestler myself – sorry Gran!

Fast forward to 2005 and I find myself dressed in a ridiculous wrestling outfit, deliberately avoiding looking at my reflection in the dressing room mirror.  

Why?

Somewhere in my heart of hearts I hoped that a miracle might have taken place when I changed into the outfit – transforming my podgy body into a Schwarzenegger-style physique – meaning I looked like the real deal, wrestling-wise. Perhaps this moment would be the first step to fulfilling my childhood dream of becoming a wrestling star?

It’ll be no surprise to you that no such miracle occurred. Far from looking like a pro, I looked like a prat. I had the appearance of someone who’d pulled the short straw when the fancy dress was handed out.

That’s life, I’d suppose.

I couldn’t help remembering my unsuccessful introduction to the wrestling ring when my other half put GLOW on the telly a few weeks ago. As I’ve stated here before, we’re box-setters. In the hour between our kids going to bed and our own trip to the land of nod, we gorge on Netflix TV series to unwind after very long days.

‘GLOW’ (the ‘Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling’) is a drama series, set in the 80’s, about a bunch of misfit female performers brought together to star in a low-rent cable TV wrestling show. If I’m honest, a programme about women learning to wrestle wouldn’t have been my first choice – viewing wise. At first I paid far more attention to my social media feed than I did to the TV screen, but, much to my surprise, with a suplex or two I was hooked!

After a glut of scandi-dramas, police-procedurals and period gangster fair, it’s so refreshing to watch a show all about a group of seeming no-hopers finding salvation in the most unlikely of places: the wrestling ring.

Glow brings all the fun and flair I remember from the OTT wrestling shows of my youth. The ring action, combined with behind-the-scenes intrigue and an amazing 1980’s soundtrack make an unmissable watch. It’s probably the campest show on TV, which, with the recent arrival of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, is really saying something.

What hits home for me, however, is the positive message of the show. Like me in that dressing room, over a decade ago, many of the GLOW wrestlers saw themselves in costume for the first time and didn’t like what they saw. Unlike me, they put any negativity to one side and got stuck in.

Which makes me think that maybe it’s not too late for me to take up a career in the wrestling ring? Anything’s possible.

Next time I put on the wig, boots and yellow unitard I won’t be playing it for laughs.

Not deliberately, anyway!”

Chris McGuire, Eastern Daily Press

Sorry Sir Paul… Eastern Daily Press Column

Here’s my latest column for Eastern Daily Press, pointing out that celebrities like Sir Paul McCartney are dominating the children’s writing market – leaving little room for genuine new talent to come through. Here’s an extract:

What’s my beef?
I’m a little bit bored of celebrities jumping on the bandwagon and releasing children’s books. Actually bored doesn’t quite cover it. I feel the glut of actors, actresses, singers and presenters using their fame to dominate the world of children’s literature is actively unhelpful. They’re all at it, Fearne Cotton, Miranda Hart, David Baddiel… the list really is endless. And you know what? Some of these books are really quite good. My point, however, is whether these books are good or not is a complete afterthought. They sell because of the fame of the writer – we’re in a horrible position where parents and grandparents are buying into brands when purchasing literature; rather than looking at the content of the books themselves.

Why is this a problem?
Imagine if you will that the same thing happened with that bastion of our society: football. What if the Premier League was suddenly filled with celebrities; placed into teams not because of their footballing ability, but dependent upon how famous they were. The quality of games would drop immediately. And what would happen to the naturally gifted footballers? Where would they learn and develop – if all the places were filled by TOWIE cast members?
It’s the same with writing. It’s hard enough to get a kids’ book published as it is – trust me, it’s something I’ve struggled (and failed) to do myself. The new writing voices that used to come through the system based on merit are being drowned out – they’re not getting the agents, or the publicity that they need because all the oxygen and money is being sucked up by ‘thingy’ who used to be on ‘that programme’. It really isn’t fair.

Chris McGuire, Eastern Daily Press

For the full piece, click here.

The Metro – Brexit might literally kill me

Here’s my latest commission from Metro.co.uk all about the potential consequences of a no-deal Brexit, as outlined in the Operation Yellowhammer papers. This piece garnered a lot of response, including being featured on the Apple News App.

“When you step onto a plane, you trust the engineers know what they’re doing – that the correct nuts have been tightened and the seats have all been returned to an upright position. Similarly, when you bite into a take-away burger, you trust that the person who made it washed their hands after their most recent ablution and you’re not going to be spending the next few days having quality time in the smallest room in the house. But when you find yourself, as I did, diagnosed with a disease like type 1 diabetes, you have to start trusting on a whole new level. Every day, as a diabetic, I’m completely reliant on insulin. Without it I will die. Simple as that. Knowing that you are completely and utterly reliant on a substance supplied to you by others, as part of long and complication process of manufacture and delivery that you’re a little foggy about, takes a lot of trust.”

Chris McGuire, Metro.co.uk

For the full article, see here.

I don’t want to dance – Eastern Daily Press

Here’s my latest piece for Eastern Daily Press…


I Don’t Want To Dance…
“There’s always one.
You know that bit in Jaws, where you see from the shark’s point of view? The toothy fella’s scoping out the beach, as unaware bathers splash and laugh, looking for a vulnerable swimmer – easy pickings, so to speak. And then, with a sudden blast of John Williams, the shark’s upon its victim – dragged back into the waves – while onlookers gawp, glad it’s not them in the beast’s clutches.
Well, this occurrence doesn’t just happen on New England’s beaches, it’s going on at weddings, anniversary bashes and Christmas parties all over the world.
Wait a minute, I’m not suggesting great whites are pouncing on unsuspecting party-goers as they nibble Twiglets and neck Asti Spumante. What I’m saying is there’s a social phenomenon we need to start talking about and it’s just as hideous as getting picked off by a hungry fish.
What is it?
Being dragged onto the dance floor, by the ‘life and soul of the party’. 
In life, most agree, that the majority of activities are optional. Short of paying our taxes and watching at least one episode of ‘Only Fools and Horses’ over Christmas, the rest of our existence is ‘opt in’ or ‘opt out’.  Sky Diving: if you want to have a go, great. If you don’t, that’s fine too. Eating tripe: if you fancy tucking in, wonderful. If you don’t think you’ll enjoy it, don’t worry you can have a bag of crisps. Joining MI6: if it’s the type of thing you’d enjoy, have a go. If being a spy doesn’t strike you as fun, that’s OK too.
So why is dancing in public the only part of life where people just aren’t allowed to say no? I’m going to let you into a little secret, a lot of people (of whom I may be one) don’t like parties, weddings and the like. They see them as necessary evils, somewhere they need to show their face and endure the goings on for as long as is seemly, before slipping away quietly. There is nothing, NOTHING wrong with this approach to life. It is totally valid.
For many, part of the agony of attending these events is the knowledge that at some point, a friend, family member or mere acquaintance is going to insist on the party goer dancing. This interaction works in the following way: the ‘life and soul of the party’ arrives and suggests their victim should head to the floor. This offer is politely refused. The suggestion is made again, more insistently this time. Once again ‘No’ is the answer. Finally, the ‘life and soul of the party’, who clearly knows best about all matters, physically drags the unwilling participant to the dance floor – where the party goer is forced to dance awkwardly until the ‘fun’ (read: ‘attention seeking’) friend has moved onto another hapless victim.
Why do I say this? Mainly because I’ve heard this type of event recounted to me several times of late, by mortified people, whose idea of a good time wasn’t dancing – but this choice wasn’t respected.
So here’s my plea, if you enjoy doing something – that’s great. Forcing others to do it too is annoying and often totally disrespectful. If you’re the ‘life and soul of the party’ who drags people up for a dance you both know they won’t enjoy – remember there is such a thing as karma. Next time you’re in the sea, floating on a lilo: think of that shark. You may wish you got a bigger boat. ”

Chris McGuire, Eastern Daily Press

The Perfect Ride: Cycling Plus Feature

Here’s one of numerous features I’ve written for Cycling Plus magazine – here illustrated by the amazing Spencer Wilson, who devised and illustrated ‘The Modern MAMIL: How to look pro’.

Imagine the scene: the sun is shining and the birds are singing. You’re on your bike, riding at that perfect pace: not too slow so you’re burning carbs, not too fast so you take in the vista around you. Your freshly-shaved legs are looking good in perfectly fitting shorts and your tan lines are maturing nicely – in fact, it would be easy to be mistake you for a pro. You chat with fellow riders who are great company, while other road users happily, safely and respectfully keep their distance. The only thing on your mind is what type of coffee to order when you arrive at the friendly little café that lies just beyond the crest of the next rewardingly challenging incline.

Too good to be true? Not necessarily. At Cycling Plus we believe the perfect ride is always achievable. Here’s our guide to what you need for The Perfect Ride, Every Time.

Chris McGuire, Cycling Plus

For the full piece, click here.

Bump, Baby & You

Here’s an excerpt from a piece of mine called ‘Hell is other people’s kids”, part of a selection of my work featured on Bumpbabyandyou.co.uk

“As a kid, I’d often be made to join my family in sitting through everlasting evenings where the neighbours conducted a slideshow of photographs from their latest holiday.

BORING doesn’t even come close.

Out of focus photos of some beach in Portugal, Edinburgh Castle obscured by a thumb over the lens or even (horror of horrors) the inevitable argument between our neighbours over the forgotten names of (lobster-like) holiday acquaintances gathered around a wonky taverna table somewhere.

“He works for a bank.”

“No he doesn’t. It’s a building society.”

“I’m pretty sure it was a bank…”

“Because you never listen Harold.”

Nobody, and I really mean NOBODY is interested in other people’s holiday snaps. They are the photographic equivalent of watching Songs Of Praise at your nan’s house or uncomfortable chats with taxi drivers – something to be endured and got over with, as quickly as is humanly possible.”

Chris McGuire: Bump, Baby & You

For full piece, click here.