Damn it Down Goes Brown, you’ve done it again. This time on a much larger scale.
You see, once a week (twice during the hockey season), I see a new column published by DGB on his website, and I open the window with the plan to read it later when I get a few free moments. Of course, it never works out that way. No matter what I’m doing, I end up reading it right away. Food on the stove? Dirty diaper that needs changing? Smoke alarm going off? Doesn’t matter. Had DGB.
So when I found out he had written a book (called the Best of Down Goes Brown), I immediately wanted to purchase it. Last week, it finally came out on Kobo. So I bought it, with the intention of reading it on the weekend after I finished another book I was reading.
Yeah, it didn’t turn out that way. At first, I opened it just to read the opening preface, written by TSN media personalities Bob McKenzie and James Duthie, and then I would get back to my other book. Then I had a couple of minutes, so I figured I would read the first chapter of DGB. That turned into the second chapter, which turned into the third chapter, etc.
Eventually, I had the whole book read in a day. Which probably doesn’t sound too bad, except I had to ignore a lot of other stuff in order to do it. Which will probably anger my wife once she reads this.
The book is funny, well-written and a quick read. One reason is the James Patterson-like size chapters. If you’ve ever read a James Patterson book, you know each chapter is about two pages long. I think it’s designed to keep you reading. “Oh, the next chapter is only a couple of pages. I may as well read it now.” That way, you always pick up one of Patterson’s books when you have a couple of minutes and think you can read just one chapter. But you want to keep reading, because after all, the next chapter is only a couple of pages. The next thing you know, you’ve been reading for 90 minutes. Down Goes Brown reads like that. You want to read the next chapter. And that leads into the next chapter, until you’ve read the whole thing.
There’s also a mention or two of a Kerry Fraser, and something that involved a high-sticking incident during the 1993 playoffs. I might not have paid perfect attention during these bits, as I don’t really remember too much from those playoffs, except for the Habs winning the Stanley Cup. Someone remind me, were the Leafs even in the 93 playoffs? Does anyone else know this? How’d they do? Someone should write something about it. I’m sure there was nothing controversial, or else I would have heard about it by now.
Here’s the thing about DGB: A few years back, I was looking for a few different hockey blogs to follow. I was tired of reading the ones that always believe their teams is great, no matter what watching the product will tell you, and I was tired of reading the blogs that treat their team like gods when they win, and complete losers when they lost. On some blogs, you can even find it the tone varies from game to game (cheering when they win, booing when they lose). It’s worse than a Senators call-in show on the Team 1200.
I found three good blogs to follow, all supporting different Canadian teams. One was Five for Smiting, a great Ottawa Senators blog that piled on the team when they deserved it, even when they were on a winning streak, and would be supportive during losing streaks when they deserved it. Another was Four Habs Fans, which combined vulgarity, pictures of half-naked women and hockey into a great blog that also would make fun of the Habs, win or lose. And of course, Down Goes Brown, who makes fun of the Toronto Maple Leafs when they lose (not sure what he does when the Leafs win, I’ve only been reading his blog for four years).
They all had something in common: Lots of humour, and a team-depreciating attitude. It made for great reading.
Five for Smiting and Four Habs Fans are gone now, both citing the same reasons: Blogging became too much like a job. I have no idea if Down Goes Brown still has fun when he writes or not (he does get extra work out of it, as he writes for the National Post, Grantland and freelances elsewhere, I believe). But his material still reads like he is having a ton of fun. And that’s important. At no point does his jokes feel forced, or do you ever believe he’s mailing it in.
It’s hard to get humour into your writing. Most of us can’t do it with any consistency. DGB can. He always hits a home run. Even his most blah-est of posts are better and funnier than the best-est of most anyone else’s.
So if you enjoy reading humourous hockey-inspired writing, read DGB, and buy his book. It’s probably the best hockey-related merchandise you’ll buy this year.