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Trouble Songs, the story of music’s role as a persuader, agitator and peacemaker during conflicted times in Northern Ireland.
Now available on www.troublesongs.com - Trouble Songs, the story of music’s role as a persuader, agitator and peacemaker during conflicted times in Northern Ireland.
Now available on www.troublesongs.com - Trouble Songs, the story of music’s role as a persuader, agitator and peacemaker during conflicted times in Northern Ireland.
227 backers pledged £5,129 to help bring this project to life.

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Trouble Songs: a book about music and conflict in N. Ireland

£5,129

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Trouble Songs is about music and conflict in Northern Ireland. I was drawn into the story as a teenager in 70s Belfast. I saw musicians taking a stand during threatening times. I witnessed their actions and statements. Those songs and defiant words changed lives and altered the score. Now I have written the book and I would like your help to give it a proper hearing.

Trouble Songs involves over 60 interviews and conversations with the likes of Bono, Christy Moore, the Undertones, Stiff Little Fingers, Orbital, Kevin Rowland, Terri Hooley, the Rubberbandits, Dolores O’Riordan and the Miami Showband survivors. It’s an account of how music has been a persuader, agitator and peacemaker.

This comes out of decades of personal experience. I was a young punk in Belfast, playing gigs in the Harp Bar, following after the Clash, learning the value of personal politics and the redemptive roar of rock and roll. This sustained me into exciting work on the staff of the NME in London and then back to Belfast after 11 years, to an era of change and potential. I kept writing and worked in radio and TV. I helped to create the Oh Yeah Music Centre, a wonderful resource in my hometown that has given opportunities to musicians in the here and now. I’ve created exhibitions and events that have demonstrated the value of our musical past.

I began writing Trouble Songs four years ago and completed it in a 12-month burst across 2017-18. It has been a compelling trip. Writing about music may be a dying trade but it’s what I do best and this is the story I can uniquely tell. So, I have given it love as well as professionalism. And while the publishing world has been cautious about the book, great people at the British Council NI, Eastside Arts and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland have helped with some of the costs. Finally, I've brought the writing to completion at just over 100,000 words and a narrative that includes remarkable lyrics by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Sinead O’Connor, the Pogues, the Cranberries and Elvis Costello.

Now I’m taking the finished work to the printers, working outside of the publishing business. It’s a good feeling: spirit of punk rock. Next step is the Kickstarter campaign. I want to get Trouble Songs out there and appreciated. I'm hoping that friends, associates and music fans to step in now, order books and sundry other offers and enable me to push the book out to a wider audience.

Trouble Songs will be launched in Belfast on May 11. This Kickstarter campaign offers pledgers the opportunity to get copies ahead of that date and to get a selection of events and services from me.

This is a call to my community to help carry a vital story. Thank you!

Risks and challenges

The book is already written. It is being printed as I type. Pledge with confidence!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £10 or more About $13

    Pledge without reward.

    Help a fella out! Make a pledge without a reward. Cheers!

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    Pledge £15 or more About $20

    Signed ‘Trouble Songs’ book.

    A first edition copy, signed (with a personal message if requested).

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    Pledge £18 or more About $24

    Signed book and poster.

    A first edition copy, signed (with a personal message if requested). Plus A4 poster of the book cover.

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    Pledge £20 or more About $26

    Book and book launch.

    Signed ‘Trouble Songs’ book and entry for one person to launch night at the Oh Yeah Music Centre, Belfast with XSLF (Henry Cluney, Jim Reilly) and a Terri Hooley DJ set, Friday, May 11. Book presented on the night.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £35 or more About $46

    Book launch for 2 plus onstage shout!

    One signed ‘Trouble Songs’ book and entry for two people to launch night at the Oh Yeah Music Centre, Belfast with XSLF (Henry Cluney, Jim Reilly) and a Terri Hooley DJ set, Friday, May 11. Plus a dedication from the stage.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £120 or more About $159

    Writing critique

    Let me critique your arts journalism/arts blog. You give me a piece less than 1,000 words and I will give you a 250-word response. Maybe this is one for a friend or relative of a young person with writing ambitions to buy as a gift. Plus a book.

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    Pledge £150 or more About $199

    Bespoke book reading

    A 45-minute book reading from the author within Greater Belfast. Plus a book. Effectively a house concert – invite your friends round, gather bonhomie, make an evening of it…

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    Pledge £200 or more About $265

    Artist biog & consultation

    Hey musicians: an artist biography and short consultation for artists and bands. I will listen to some tracks, talk on the phone or in person and write a 300-word press biog of your act. Plus two books.

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    Pledge £200 or more About $265

    Your own pen portrait

    Let me interview you! I will talk to you for 20 mins on the phone or in person in Greater Belfast about your favourite music or on a topic of your choice and write a 300-word pen portrait of you for you to keep, use online or as you wish, with my by-line. Plus a book.

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    Pledge £400 or more About $530

    Stuart & Terri Hooley DJ set

    A Stuart Bailie and Terri Hooley DJ set at a place of your asking in Greater Belfast. You supply the venue and the PA and we bring the decks, the tunes and four hours of DJ services. Plus 4 books.

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Funding period

- (25 days)