Monday, 29 June 2015

Protest and Passion in the Seventies and Eighties

Sally Bavage writes:
Ray Brown                       Photo by Richard Wilcocks
A substantial audience crowded into the New Headingley Club on Sunday evening to hear Ray Brown talk about his recently published* novel In All Beginnings, subtitled 'a novel of protest and passion.  I can’t say it is a new novel because it was first written twenty-five years ago but a publisher rejected a book about a “dirty little town in the north.”  That was our Leeds. It was our story.  The audience had been there, you The Reader have been there.  That party branch meeting, those local politicians, the trendy gathering, those pubs, those relationships. 

The miners’ strike and the peace movement are the major themes running through the factional life of Simon and a cast of other characters in vignettes of the changes in politics and society richly described. Anecdotes were both achingly funny and achingly sad reminders of what has changed.  Read this and revisit your younger years: so little is written about these themes in the mainstream press, then and now, that conventional history has almost expunged the reality.

Ray himself moved from academe to authorship, morphing into broadcaster, writer and playwright (!ray-brown/cj3a)  This book was originally to be the chronicle of an adult William - the character from Richmal Crompton's stories for children.  However, what he really wanted to write about, with acid wit and even anger, were the political changes that impacted all of us.  Still do.  Still inspiring Ray with his waspish comments.  The passion and protest are still there.

*Armley Press has now published nine books by local authors.  To find out more visit their website

Audience Comments:

Lovely to be reminded of a period in our history that isn’t officially recognised, isn’t quite counterculture but nevertheless still makes you feel … angry, disappointed, dispossessed, cheated, manipulated.  Same old same old.

Excellent.  Should be more like it.

Very funny, interesting evening with lots of memories.  Good to have an event with local authors.

Funny and relevant, a really good evening. Glad I came.

Comfortable venue.  Interesting evening; brought back memories from the 70s and 80s.  good to raise the issue of education about the miners’ strike.

Very good event, well presented.

I enjoyed this very much.

Very enjoyable – really looking forward to reading the novel.  Ray and Doug a great double act!

Vintage Ray.  Funny, warm and politically incorrect in the best sense.

Very enjoyable.

Great to hear local work by a local writer published by a local press.

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