READER REVIEWS (more comments at bottom of page):

"Speaking as a photographer, this is a brilliant read! Some hilarious moments and spot on in every way when it comes to life as a photographer. It took me back to so many situations I'd encountered and I've never even been to Edinburgh...I started reading and hardly put it down. Well done!" - Brad

"The writing is funny and has an authentic, down-to-Earth voice. I thoroughly enjoyed Deep Fried Pizza. It gave me a window into another world. The book's excellent writing had me laughing out loud at some of the strange situations...I recommend the book to anyone." - DB Miller

"Your description of a death knock is spot on, including the feelings that went with it. Also the intense cold and misery of shooting football in winter. It's something I don't miss at all! And the stories...had me laughing out loud. Thanks for a great read." D.T.

"As I am in the same business I can relate to this book. If readers want to find out more about the lengths news photographers have to go to get a picture, how they operate and the camaraderie that exists between competing photographers (despite the best efforts of various editors) then read this book. It is funny and true to life." - Al P

"Deep Fried Pizza reads like a riotous run of a hit sitcom...a remarkably descriptive and hilarious narrative. The writer’s character development, pithy wit, and descriptions are so good, I actually find myself missing the boys, their laugh-out-loud antics, and their bewildering Scottish accents...It’s a fun, fun read." - Barby S

Review by 'The Thousands'.

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The ebook of Deep Fried Pizza (all formats) can be purchased for $3.99 (download and read first 20% of book for free) HERE.

The soft cover version of Deep Fried Pizza can be purchased HERE.

The soft cover is also available on Amazon HERE.

The story...

Steve Butcher is a tabloid photographer in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is young. He is Australian.
His life behind the lens is far from glamorous and he doesn't spend his days photographing Page 3 girls and celebrities at movie premieres.
Instead, he sits outside people's houses for hours on end waiting to 'snatch' them, gets into fights with petty criminals at bus stops while trying to photograph them, and endures 10,000 soccer fans singing: 'You can shove that f***ing camera up your...'
Steve hates working for the tabloids - the tabs - and his morals and ethics are often compromised. The problem is, working for the tabs pays well and he often has to choose between his morals and the chance to make a quid. When pressed, he finds ways to justify his actions so that monetary gain wins out. It's not something he is proud of, but he needs to pay the rent like everyone else.
Steve's life away from the tabs revolves around the flat he shares with Frank and Malcy. Steve and Frank share a love of beer and football. Malcy is a financially challenged university student who gets drunk with monotonous regularity and shags anything with a pulse, even if it means faking his orgasm.
Barry, the racist, lives upstairs. Olivia lives next door. Steve, Frank and Malcy all fancy her but are too scared to make a move in case it ruins a perfectly good friendship.
Set against the contrasting beauty of the seasons, Steve views his world through the eyes of an outsider. He discovers a country steeped in history, a city of intense beauty and a passionate people.
By the time Steve's fourth Scottish winter - a particularly fierce one - arrives, he is over working for the tabs. When a nasty sniffle turns into an even nastier head cold and he is forced to spend hours at a time sitting in his car on a succession of dubious snatches, he is at his wits end...

Excerpts from Deep Fried Pizza...

Like a hunter stalking their prey, Steve remained hidden in the bushes before unleashing himself on the unsuspecting Ray Farrell at the last possible moment with guns, or in this case, flashes blazing. However, lady luck wasn’t shining on Steve and the camera strap had fallen across the eyepiece. Once again, he couldn’t see a thing. Despite this, three bursts of flash lit up the morning before Ray had the chance to react. And what a spectacular reaction it was.

Unlike their first encounter several minutes before, Ray launched himself at Steve screeching like a banshee. If Steve had been permitted more time he would have shat himself and, no sooner had his camera dropped to his side, then Ray was upon him.

It was apparent Ray had previous experience when it came to fighting and Steve felt a fist glance his chin as he back-peddled towards the bus stop. While he couldn’t see them, Steve could hear commuters scattering in all directions behind him. The side of the bus shelter halted Steve’s progress and he was forced to hide behind his raised arms as the blows rained down on him.

The several layers of clothing Steve wore to stave off the cold managed to absorb some of the body punches, but not Ray’s right hook. Ray had a good right hook. Steve’s head felt it twice in quick succession. After the second punch he decided to do something about the situation...

...he stared long and hard at Ray and did the one thing his brothers had done to him as a child 15 years before – he grabbed Ray’s nose. Not only did he grab it, he clasped it tightly between the thumb and forefinger of his right hand while using his left hand to clench his right fist and tighten the grip.

Ray’s reaction to the nose-grabbing was exactly the same as Steve had all those years before. First there was the gaping mouth, followed by the pleading expression and the apparent onset of paralysis. Then, just as Steve had done, Ray dropped to his knees with his arms out, as if nailed to a cross.

* * * * * *

The smelly couch was a three-seater lounge that had seen better days. It was a non-descript shape, more brick than anything, and its pink floral pattern had diminished to the point where it and the background had blended to become a dirty grey wash. A distinct, musky smell resulting from years of sweat, beer, curry and an assortment of other lad-ish odours, including the still-lingering after-effects of one of the accountants – no one could remember who – throwing up down the side of it after an all-night binge, remained.

* * * * * *

It was then that Toffy fixed his gaze solely on Sir Declan and started clucking, very loudly, like a chicken. The top table sat, stunned. They’d never encountered such behaviour at a press conference before. Not content with mere clucking noises, he tucked his hands under his armpits and began a flapping-like motion as he clumsily manoeuvred into a chicken-like squatting position.

* * * * * *

Steve eased himself out from behind the car and, still crouching, raised his camera to his face. Ronny’s head filled the frame. Even though he was in profile, he fired off a frame in case this was going to be as good as it got.

‘Turn around,’ he whispered, hoping Ronny might hear. ‘Turn around, you little fucker. Just once.’

Ronny sported a smarmy grin and began laughing into the mouthpiece. Steve imagined him telling whoever it was on the other end of the line how he’d just outwitted the ‘fookin’ pap-a-ra-zzi’.

He waited…and then a most beautiful thing happened. Ronny, still smiling, turned in the direction of Steve, whose eyes lit up behind the camera. Ronny continued turning until his gaze trained straight down the barrel of the lens. Steve pressed hard on the shutter button and the camera’s motor drive leapt into action. Simultaneously, Ronny’s eyes became the size of dinner plates and his expression turned from unrequited joy to abject horror. Instantaneously, he launched himself behind dip-shit.

* * * * * *

By all reports it was a nice flat, except for the fact its front door opened out onto the street. This meant every sort of drunken arsehole could bang on it at all hours of the night as they staggered home. The front door of the flat led up a set of stairs to the flat proper and Malcy’s bedroom window sat directly above the door. Apart from banging on the door, drunks also used it as a toilet. This drove him to despair and he regularly awoke to the sound of gushing ‘water’ splashing against the woodwork downstairs.

Wracked with vile disgust, he would charge to the window and slide it open. From there he could look down on the pisser and would always shout aloud the seconds it took for the drunkard below to realise they, in turn, were being pissed on. The record was eight seconds.

Nearly all the unlucky recipients of Malcy’s ‘midnight waterfall’ looked skywards in an attempt to ascertain the origins of the sudden downpour that had befallen them, and it was at this moment he would bellow: ‘Hoo da ya think ma fookin’ door feels!?’

* * * * * *

Steve suddenly found himself sitting in a winter wonderland and a childlike awe came over him. He reached out to let the snowflakes fall into his gloved hand. The cold of the day preserved the snowflakes long enough for him to observe them, before the faint body heat exuding through his gloved hand melted them.

He looked up to see the game in full swing down the other end of the park. For one fleeting moment he couldn’t understand why the players hadn’t stopped and allowed themselves to be enthralled by what was happening around them. Then he realised that snow was nothing new to those running around on the pitch.

The moment hadn’t been lost on everyone and a noticeable lull came over the 45,000-strong crowd. The photographers sitting alongside Steve exchanged looks. It was unusual for any crowd to go silent. Then, like a rush of wind, the terraces behind them burst into song.

Having grown used to the various football anthems, it took a short time for the origins of the new song to register. The song had a familiar ring to it, but Steve couldn’t quite place it. Then the penny dropped. They were singing Jingle Bells. Gradually every member of both sets of supporters joined in to form an impromptu 45,000-strong, predominantly male choir, whose deep, earthy, baritone voices filled the cavernous stadium.

Amidst the snow and the singing the game continued at a furious pace at the other end of the field. Instead of watching the game, Gerry Warburton, the Celtic goalie down Steve’s end of the field, turned and conducted the crowd as they serenaded themselves. Through this simple action, Steve and the other photographers landed a spontaneous photo – Gerry Warburton’s beaming smile, his over-sized goalkeeping gloves conducting the crowd, and the falling snow lit by the floodlights and frozen by the camera shutter.

From the reaction of those around him, Steve knew the impromptu rendition of Christmas carols had been a rare treat and Gerry’s actions best summed up the spontaneity of the moment. Not content with their rendition of Jingle Bells, the newfound Celtic Park Men’s Choir sang their way through a hymnbook of Christmas carols. While few, if any, of the crowd had ever been to choir practice, it was one of the most beautiful things Steve had ever heard.

* * * * * ** * * * * *

The last dish on the chippy menu, and by far and away the most salubrious, was the pizza supper.

This culinary delight involved a slice of deep-fried pizza, dripping in fat, served with chips, also dripping in fat, and lots of shalt an’ shauss. Ordering one of these indicated the drinker had indulged in the biggest night of all – ten pints to oblivion.

Steve had a leaning towards pizza at the best of times and one night found himself staring at the hand-scrawled menu behind the counter, his mouth agape and his body swaying back and forth as a result of the dozen or so pints he had downed.

His eyes might have been pointing in different directions, but he managed to focus on the word ‘pizza’ and staggered to the counter to place his order. His first pizza supper was in the offing.

* * * * * *

Steve stood where he was. There was no need to go any further. As he turned to leave, another woman, obviously sent to fend him off if he made it to the counter, appeared. He felt no need to make her acquaintance and walked back to the car. He’d been found out again, but he was quite happy about it. There was little, if any chance he would be getting her photo now.

Shortly after settling back into the relative warmth of his car he noticed his heart had stopped pounding and a sense of relief had replaced the cocktail of emotions present minutes earlier. He phoned the picture desk.

‘Nah, mate, she’s on to me. She must have somehow got an eyeful this morning at her place. When she spotted me just then she did the bolt and sent out some wifey to fend me off. I don’t reckon she’ll be coming out until home time this arvo’. How long do you want me to hang around? I’ve got to be back in Edinburgh for a job at lunchtime.’

This was bullshit. There was no job in Edinburgh at lunchtime. However, the picture desk didn’t know this. It was purely experience that had taught Steve how to play the game and this involved lying, or, as he saw it, the ability to not let on that he didn’t want to be there. It was a skilled art.

* * * * * *


  1. The author, Giulio, lives at present in Brisbane, Australia, where there is very little, if any, ‘Indecisive rain’.

    This is not the case in his book. The main character, Steve Butcher, a twenty year old tabloid photographer, leaves Brisbane two decades ago for an adventure in Scotland. Many a logic is ‘born out of beer’ for Steve in the early 1990’s and a coin toss lands him on the east coast in the ‘pomp and pageantry’ of Edinburgh. His friend Davo ends up on the west coast in the old shipbuilding giant of Glasgow.

    “When he arrived at the phone box, he stopped and stared at it. It was large and red and unlike anything he’d seen”. Here, begins Steve’s honest adventure told through his young lens in a manner that shapes his story as a timeless one. It is from this phone box, in this historic city of Edinburgh, that Steve makes his first call to the pictorial editors of the Scotsman and the Scotland on Sunday. So begins his pint by pint, ‘snatch’ by ‘snatch’ journey of survival in the ‘media parasite’ life of the paparazzi.

    The characters that Giulio brings to life are as cobbled as the innermost parts of the city. From Thistle Street to Cathcart Place the reader is introduced to characters who can be heard as clearly as if they were in the narrow lanes themselves. Giulio achieves this with the informal style of conversation that takes place in the pub, the flat and the workplace. There is plenty of direct speech packed with humour and the many different accents from all over the British Isles lift the characters right out of the page. There may be a potential film here!

    Steve’s lens is not only his survival tool, it is also his witness. The day to day existence for a tabloid photographer is not easy. Even on the days that Steve thought it could not get colder or wetter, he must face people like ‘Weasel’, who work on the same side of the camera as himself. Then there are days when he has no choice but to face the ‘scum’ on the other side of his lens as he does in West Harmes, ‘Scum were easy to spot’. There are times Steve’s lens even witnesses clashes between Celtic and the Rangers, the ‘Old Firm’ of Scottish football, who have been around for as long as their opposing religious ideologies – longer even than Lagavulin and perhaps even tartan kilts. From the ‘centuries old high court’ to the ‘death-knocks’, it is both physically and ethically challenging for a young photographer to earn his quid.

    It is with comic relief the reader is introduced to flatmate Malcy with his Y-fronts on his head, "do you wanna see the world’s biggest shite?" to which Olivia, the ‘calm and graceful’ neighbour from across the close replies: "Well, Malcy, that certainly is impressive" and heads to the kitchen to make a cup of tea. It is in this flat where the couch, known as the ‘smelly couch’, becomes a lens in itself as it witnesses the ‘distinct boy flavour’ of beer, cable TV, ‘footy’ and yes, deep-fried pizza.

    After four years and possibly even one long winter in this country of intense beauty, Steve is no longer tangled in the logic of beer but more so in the clutches of yet another Christmas away from home: “For the first time in a long time Steve felt lonely”. Steve is still keen on adventure, but does he need a new city? Does he need a different climate? He is still young and his lens is still looking...

    One wonders of the coin toss had gone the other way, if it had been Glasgow, would the story have been the same?

  2. Tears of laughter!

    Deep Fried Pizza opens a window into Scottish life through the eyes of a seemingly familiar Aussie character, Steve. Steve's tales are rather enlightening for those who have never lived the bachelor's life! His drunken antics had me in tears of laughter. I loved it!

  3. As I am in the same business I can relate to this book. If readers want to find out more about the lengths news photographers have to go to get a picture, how they operate and the camaraderie that exists between competing photographers (despite the best efforts of various editors) then read this book. It is funny and true to life.

  4. Speaking as a photographer, this is a brilliant read! Some hilarious moments and spot on in every way when it comes to life as a photographer. It took me back to so many situations I'd encountered and I've never even been to Edinburgh. I wasn't sure what to expect when a friend gave it to me as a present - photographers aren't known for writing - but this is brilliant. I started reading and hardly put it down. It's great to see someone has finally put in words what it is we do. Well done!

  5. An extremely funny and somewhat tragic story of life as a tabloid photographer. Steve, an Australian, is living the bachelor life in Scotland pursuing his interest in photojournalism, but he finds it's ultimately not as peachy as he thought it would be.

    The writing is funny and has an authentic, down-to-Earth voice. I thoroughly enjoyed Deep Fried Pizza. It gave me a window into another world. The book's excellent writing had me laughing out loud at some of the strange situations Steve Butcher worked himself into. I recommend the book to anyone (even those with no interest in photojournalism) who wants a a very funny account of the trials of bachelor life and paparazzi snapping.

  6. I never get any chance to read these days but I had the weekend to myself and it was miserable outside, so I sat down with my copy of Deep Fried Pizza and read it cover to cover. Even though I no longer work in the UK, it bought back many memories for me. Your description of a death knock is spot on and the feelings, situation that went with it. Also the intense cold and misery of shooting football in the winter. It's something I don't miss at all! And the stories of puking through a small gap in the window and dodgy toilet encounters had me laughing out loud. Thanks for a great read and a walk down memory lane.