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Ray Brown Books
It's an ordinary Saturday in May 1979. As the clock moves from noon to ten thirty a handful of Leeds people coalesce, entwine, laugh, cry, go their separate ways. But for some it's a day they will never forget.
This is WHOOSH!, a novel pulsing with life, smouldering with humour, tempered by moments of joy and sadness.
'I laughed out loud...
...then laughed out loud again!'
In 1984 areas of Britain resemble a police state. Simon and Lindy, 'lovers against the bomb' are peace activists drawn into the year long miners' strike. For them it's a time of fear and laughter, home made wine and home grown dope. A world of collection buckets and button badges, peace camps and picket lines, Labour Party meetings and non-violent direct action. A time of constant opposition to the state. And a time of self-discovery.
Through it all Simon revisits the Seventies, his days of expensive hair cuts, fawn safari suits, market research, alcohol and affairs. And the time of his first encounter with Lindy and a new beginning.
In All Beginnings captures the times and combines acute observation with commentary and social satire.
Why John Lake chose: 'Ray Brown's novel In All Beginnings centres on the 1984-5 Miners' Strike in Britain and the unlikely bond between the strikers and the CND movement, represented by the feminist protesters at Greenham Common airforce base. By the author's admission it's very autobiographical. Ray is a lifelong member of the Labour Party and I remember picketing alongside him myself at Ledston Luck colliery all those years ago. What appealed to me was the fine quality of the writing, particularly on relationships between men and women, the vivid descriptions of the chaos of facing off against the police in demos, and the hilarious comic depictions of what went on at Party meetings, delivered with a lightness of touch that nicely underplays the weightiness of the subject. On a deeper note it's also a recall to a form of unified political action that we don't see enough of in the highly fragmented Britain of the twenty-first century.'
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