three-and-a-half-day-parentQ: The idea of having males occupying space traditionally defined as female, does this suggest an impact on the male/female role in parenting, or are there still very defined and different parts to be played by mum and dad in raising their children?

A: My main point is that there is always a role to be played by ‘two’ parents, rather than one played by a male and another by a female. Men are more than capable of giving emotional love just as women are more than capable of giving physical love. Recently the boundaries between the two have blurred due to numerous socio-cultural factors which has, to borrow a footballing metaphor, encouraged a kind of ‘total parenting’. The important point is not that ‘men are from Mars and women are from Venus’ but that two people have different tastes and perspectives, it is the balancing of these views which can only enhance a child’s emotional and intellectual development.

Q: Taking the footballing metaphor and parental roles, we note you are currently working on a book ‘If Brian Clough Had Been My Father’. How do you envisage this premise unfolding?

A: The book will work on many levels. Firstly it will be a cultural biography which will seam together a series of stories, anecdotes, and personal interpretations of Cloughie from everyday people into an overall narrative. These are the kind of voices which are usually ignored by official biographies which tend to focus in upon ‘expert’ opinion, such as ex-players and journalists. I felt it was important that they got a voice as it is the everyday conversations at the bus stop, barbers and bar which keeps his memory alive. Often what tells us the most about a celebrity figure is how people ‘think’ they know them, rather than who that actual person is. Indeed, everybody has an opinion on Brian Clough – even those who don’t like football, and so he is kind of like a father figure for Nottingham folk. Having said that there will be interviews with ex-players and journalists but only as a means of backing up or adding to these accounts. For similar purposes their will be a strong theoretical undercurrent trying to make sense of the whole Clough mythology.

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