When Doug first started talking to me about "Billy's Log", he alluded to the fact that the book was based around people he knew and experiences that he had either had or observed. To say the least, when he told me that the book was about a twenty-something single male Watford fan, my heart did skip a beat at the thought that the book was a parody of my own life, and that I was indeed Billy. My paranoia did not decrease when in the opening chapters it was clear that, for Billy Ellis, life is one series of disasters after another, and, in addition to having lived with an Australian, we also shared the pleasure of shopping at Sainsburys. Tenuous, I know, but it took a great deal of convincing from Doug that Billy was in no way based on me.
As I eventually believed the man, I allowed myself the relaxation of my paranoid neurones so I could enjoy the book rather than try to find the all other parallels Doug had drawn between me and Billy. But, as the book went on, I requested further assurance from Doug that he was telling the truth when he said Billy was nothing to do with me. I mean, I had had these exact conversations with him about all women being mental! This book was based on our conversations, wasn't it?
Or was it simply that this book is the most humourous portrayal of the male psychosis since "High Fidelity"? That the representations of Billy's life - and indeed Billy's perceptions of life, women and football - are not just unique to Billy, Doug and I?
It is a prominent feature in all our lives, whether married, in love or plain old single? I think that indeed it is. Modern man has found that the explosion of these 'girl-power' women hasn't just moved the goal posts - while we have been watching Sky Sports, these wretched individuals have taken the things away and hidden them! We are left in a state where we don't even know the shape of the goalposts anymore, let alone where to begin looking for them! Be sensitive and you are getting too serious, don't be sensitive and you are not a good long term bet. Be a good long term bet and you are getting too serious. Where does it end? No wonder the average red-blooded male is a confused wreck of an individual, desperate for a simple answer to the apparently unanswerable question all men are asking - "just what do you want?"
The book was written with the intention of highlighting how hard life as a single male can be these days. After all, not only do we have to deal with the stress of everyday life and the sexual terrorism happily employed by the alien species that is woman, we also have to cope with our fellow lads - the majority of whom seem to believe that any sign of growing up is a betrayal of their sex. But, like all lads, we know that what we all secretly hanker for a Utopia where life is a little bit less complicated and superficial.
Does "Billy's Log" give the answers? Of course not, there are no answers. Women, and how to handle them, are a fact of life that will never go away. What the book does though is highlight the plight of the modern man, so that even the most hard-nosed feminist will surely feel sorry for Billy's kind.
A "must read" book that both the victims and villains will enjoy. You all know who you are!