A Cheap Shot From A Cheap Man

 Look at me. Or rather, look at the letter below. Pathetic. Look at what I’ve been reduced to: I’m practically begging. And doing said begging in a fairly rushed and half-hearted fashion. Damn you Boscombe library.

But, fuck it. You know, in another way: fuck it. Why shouldn’t writers get sponsored in the same way that people who ride around on bicycles do? There are clever answers to this, I know.

Anyway, it was worth a shot. Exchanging my last scrap of dignity in return for a little bit of money. Definitely worth a shot.

Dear Red Bull People,

I’ve noticed you sponsor a lot of people. How would you feel about sponsoring a writer? Not brilliantly, I imagine, but please hear me out.

In September 2009 I decided to pitch all 642 magazines listed in the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook. I’d quit my job as a political speechwriter, gone on holiday and was just kind of floating around Darwin, Australia, with my wife. I say “floating around” but in fact was doing no such thing. I was panicking. I understand that Red Bull probably don’t want to be associated with people who panic, but don’t worry, I don’t panic anymore.

But back then I did. Panic, that is. God I wish I was better at writing letters. I was panicking because my wife was a hotshot neuroscientist and I was a nothing. A former journalist and political speechwriter, but a current nothing.

From nowhere though, I had an idea – and it changed my life more than I possibly could have imagined. Why not, I thought to myself, why not try and become the most published journalist of all time? I mean, and this is me thinking still – but back then, why not get published in more and more diverse magazines than anyone else ever? That would be a challenge. I decided that when I came back to the UK I was going to buy the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook and pitch all the magazines listed in there. The panic subsided. I floated around Darwin for a week.

Well, Red Bull, when I got back to the UK and bought that book I was both thrilled and crushed to discover that I would have to pitch 642 magazines. And the bulk of them were seemingly impenetrable. Have you tried writing for Poultry World or Coin News or Model Boats? No, you probably haven’t. But I have. Or at least I will do. It’s taken me about a year and a half and I’ve probably pitched (at best) a quarter of the magazines listed. I thought I could have done the whole thing in about a month or two. I know, ridiculous.

There has been success. I’ve written for a lot of fine publications, I run a multi-award winning blog about the whole thing, I had a trial for Colchester United (at, I’ll have you know, 34) and I’ve got an agent. But it’s not all good news. Oh no, Red Bull, it never is. My marriage has collapsed, my hair’s fallen out, my body has atrophied. I’m also homeless. Cool, isn’t it?

Homeless I may be, but hopeless I’m not. I’m determined to pitch the remaining 500 or so magazines in the next few months and will write a book about it. This is where you come in. I’ve got a feeling that you’d be into this kind of crazy business and you’re going to give me cash and crates of Red Bull to finish this thing; to swan around Europe as I please and spit in the face of anyone who tries to insult me. Sorry, I’m quoting DH Lawrence and trying to show off now. I’m also rushing: I’m writing this in the library and my time is about to run out. Not in a grand my-time-on-this-earth way, more of a I-need-to-get-off-this-computer way.

We can continue this later. Do please let me know when you’ll be sending the cheque and crates of Red Bull. I can muster up a temporary address.

With best wishes,

Pitching the World

PS You may see this as a cheap shot from a cheap man. I don’t. I see it as balls, chutzpah and a little desperation. One of us is right. Hope it’s me.


19 responses to “A Cheap Shot From A Cheap Man

  1. I have also applied to Red Bull for sponsorship. If you get it and I don’t, I shall have to insist on half.

  2. Manager of Irn Bru

    Dear Pitchfuck –
    I’m from Irn Bru. What’s wrong with us? Why can’t we be asked to sponsor you?

    We were making horrendous soft drinks full of sugar before those twats over at Red Bull were.

    Ya Southern Bast’d

    Dr. Bru Barlow

  3. And you shall get half Karl Webster. When the idea came to me at two o’clock this morning it was because I thought Red Bull might be able to help you and your film. But then I thought they might be able to help me and my book, which I consider more important. God the world’s a rotten place isn’t it.
    Dr Dru Barlow – are you really from Irn Bru? You’ve certainly got a way with words. Call me.

  4. Oh no, have you left your nan’s???? I hope Red Bull intervene and sponsor you to get through, i think a great brand partnership. If you don’t need Red Bull to write for Coin World, then WHO the hell does? Pitchy, what is your real name?

  5. Pitchy – what if they sponsor you by just giving you crates of Red Bull?
    You could flog them I suppose.
    Does your Nan like red bull?

  6. Dr Lee Rowland – I’ve been reading your blog. Interesting stuff. I liked this:

    “I have been talking to a lot of people, reading countless books and articles, and evaluating existing behavioural campaigns – and no-one seems to quite get it. Lots of people have some pieces of the puzzle, and a few people have a lot of the puzzle in place, but no-one knows it all. (I know one person who almost does.)”

    It’s me isn’t it? The person who almost knows it all. What do you mean it isn’t? How dare you. I could flog my crates of Red Bull, yes, but won’t have to. There’s no way – no way at all – that those crates aren’t going to come with a big fat cheque attached. Just watch.
    Lisa W – I’ve left my Nan’s but am heading back there soon. And you’re right, if I don’t need Red Bull to write for Coin World then WHO the hell does? Lisa, I would love to tell you my real name but if I do then my cover is blown. And if my cover is blown, then – well, I don’t know what will happen actually. Probably nothing. It’s very easy to find out who I am though if you put your mind to it.

  7. I sincerely hope Red Bull sponsor you Pitchy. If they don’t, I am never mixing with the likes of them again!

  8. Pitchboy, I’d be wary of that Lee Rowland if I were you, he seems like one of those clever fuckers who finish the puzzle from over your shoulder.

    I’d also advise against sponsorship from a drinks company. Notwithstanding Red Bull is merely sheep dip with added sugar, the association with them would bar your book from school libraries, Blue Peter and GCSE coursework. The young, aspiring pitchers may not get the benefit of it’s encouragement.
    Take the example of the Strongbow ad – virtually wiped out archery in schools.

  9. “I’m writing this in the library and my time is about to run out. Not in a grand my-time-on-this-earth way, more of a I-need-to-get-off-this-computer way.”

    To quote a 14-year old girl: LOL.

  10. No, I am not going to investigate, I don’t want to ruin this…Who is this Lee Reynold. Going to see his blog now.

  11. Lisa – It’s Dr Lee Rowland, I think, not Lee Reynold. Yes, don’t ruin this. Not that you would do – you make this, if anything.
    Moosefucker – if indeed that is your real name – lovely to have you around highlighting my funnies. Was that a funny? Anyway, thanks. Appreciate it.
    OB – You’re right, as ever. I love the idea of the book of Pitching the World – and there will be a book, there definitely will – being taught in schools.
    Vodka – You’re a machine! Keep it up. It’s that sort of humour that built this country. Consider yourself high-fived.

  12. Gosh, not only have I called Dr Lee Rowlands, Reynolds. I asked on previous post if he used to go to Tower Park in Poole and if that is how he recognized my name. I think that is highly unlikely now.

  13. Rowland. Oh I give up & going out.

  14. Thank you for your email. Red Bull is keen to support those activities that are particularly mentally and physically gruelling. Results of extensive research into the use of Red Bull has found that it is highly effective because it increases reaction time, concentration, it reduces the stress reaction in physical performance and thus enhances physical performance.

    Our sponsoring philosophy focuses on the support of a few outstanding individual athletes and a small number of events in selected sports. These are most usually non-team extreme sports such as surfing, skate, BMX and Mountain Biking. At present we are still fully committed to our athletes and projects and we are sorry to decline your enquiry in this case.

    Red Bull would like to wish you all the best for the future and lots of success, fun and energy!

    Best regards,



  15. Ok, so no more Vodka Red Bulls for me then, I’ll use Irn Bru instead.
    Wankers. (Red Bull, not Irn Bru.)

  16. Right that’s it. I am also going to tell my friend, Jägerbomb. We need a new plan. Tossers.

  17. Fuck ’em
    Never did trust that ‘improved physical performance’ crap, we all know you don’t get it out of a bottle . . . . . . .unless you’re a gullible adolescent.
    But clearly Red Bull have their advertising drivel forced so far up their arses that they even use it in their letters of rejection.

  18. They are so short-sighted….

  19. Thanks all. Yes, OB, I was rather taken aback by their corporate bullshit speak too.

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