HELLO, my name is Ciaran Shanks. I’m a writer and journalist from Irvine in Scotland and welcome to my blog.
Some of you may know that this was once the home of my “ScotBoxNation” blog that I used to shamelessly tout across the Twitter-verse and Facebook-land much to the overwhelming annoyance of the world’s population.
Well, I am now shedding that guise and inflating my own ego by using this site as a platform to share some of my featured work and air my views on almost anything that tickles my fancy.
I’m hopeful of providing you with a boxing opinion piece or column every Friday and if all goes well then I’ll turn it up to 11 and increase my content, possibly expanding to other fields.
I specialise in covering boxing and football and even though the majority of my previous blog posts were semi-regular, my boxing posts received a lot of positive feedback from readers and those in the industry.
The reason why I have not been fully committed to blogging is due to the fact that I am in my final year of studying HND Practical Journalism at Cardonald College Glasgow and sweating spinal fluids attempting to pass my NCTJ exams.
In addition, I’ve spent the last year squabbling, shouting, screaming, and very often, weeping, in my role as part of the editorial team of The Cardonald Courier, the official student newspaper of the college.
Although it sounds like being impaled on some kind of journalistic torture rack, the paper was a success and a great experience working on with the (almost fatal) bumps in the road being worth it in the end as the paper was nominated at this year’s Scottish Student Journalism Awards.
I was assigned the role of Deputy Editor and News Editor and some of the fine work by my colleagues can be viewed here thecardonaldcourier.com.
I was lucky enough to have my interview with former Scottish Socialist Party leader and all round maverick Tommy Sheridan about his fight against the Bedroom Tax featured on the front cover of the print edition in March of this year. As a result I was nominated for News Story of the Year and Scoop of the Year.
Unfortunately I did not return home with any silverware but I did nick a pen from one of the journos and found 20p on the way home! (every cloud, eh?)
In addition to my work for the Courier, I’ve been published on a number of websites and publications including The Scottish Sun, The Glasgow Journal, The Sport Review, Scotzine, The Away End, Boxing Today, Boxing Articles and BoxingNews24.
I was lucky enough to spend a period of work experience at The Scottish Sun and Radio Clyde where I was able to learn a great deal about the inner workings of the newsroom and add new skills to my CV.
Like just about every boy in the west of Scotland, a ball was placed at my feet at an early age in the hope that I would become the next Kenny Dalglish or Jimmy Johnstone. Those hopes were quickly dashed by my woeful ability on the ball and I had a better chance of becoming the next King of Thailand.
Despite my lack of any footballing skill, I never lost my enthusiasm for the “beautiful game” and I love just about every level of the sport. Whether it’s the grandeur of the Champions League or the gritty Trainspotting-esque realism of the Scottish Juniors, I can’t stop watching fitba.
Even though it’s consistently infuriating and continually disappointing, football still manages to hold a magical grip on the world. I wasn’t given a chance as to who I would support as a boy and before I could even speak I was kitted out in the hoops of Celtic.
I was a disciple of the Celtic way up until a few years ago. I would still wear the green and white colours but I did not feel the same enjoyment or passion and wanted to view the game from a neutral perspective. That’s impossible I hear you cry? Maybe so in this day and age but I feel it’s important to take a step back and not be drawn in to the cycle of hate.
The Old Firm goldfish bowl certainly provides that in boatloads but this season was a great eye opener for me as I enjoyed the football more and wet my footballing whistle supporting Irvine Meadow and Ayr United. They must have sensed me coming from a mile off as the “Medda” endured one of their worst seasons in recent history and the “Honest Men” languished in the Second Division.
The fight game has played a big part in my life ever since I laced up the gloves as a nipper. Although my passion for the sport fell by the wayside somewhat in my adolescence, I’ve fallen head over heels with the beautiful brutality of puglisim as my depth of knowledge grows by the day.
My first memories of the sport are watching the last few years of Prince Naseem Hamed and Lennox Lewis’ careers and the ascension of two fighters I idolised as a lad; Joe Calzaghe and Ricky Hatton.
Scott Harrison’s residence in the Glaswegian colosseum that is Braehead Arena when he fought the likes of Julio Pablo Chacon, Manuel Medina and Wayne McCullough were magical on this side of the world.
However some of my favourites include Roy Jones Jr, Julio Cesar Chavez, Arturo Gatti, Thomas Hearns, Barry McGuigan, Nigel Benn, Herol Graham, Mike McCallum, Julian Jackson, Steve Collins and the current pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather.
My interests reach a wide variety of different mediums. I am a connoisseur of all things radio and it’s an unashamed dream of mine to present my own show. I’m a fan of anything played out on BBC 6 Music, anything after hours on Radio One, Frank Skinner on Absolute Radio and the iconic but often blood boiling Superscoreboard on Radio Clyde.
I’m a mere novice in film knowledge compared to some of my friends but I’d like to think I have a decent grasp on the cinematic world.
Punk, post-punk, alternative hip-hop, grunge, Britpop, funk, soul and the occasional bit of ska clog up my iPod these days, took ages to fill up since I decided to get rid of my 8GB anthology of Nik Kershaw.
Right, time to stop slurring and get down to work.
Thank you and enjoy!