The Blues Muse – Belfast – Stiff Little Fingers – Rebellion

The Blues Muse – Belfast – Stiff Little Fingers – Rebellion

The Blues Muse works his way through Punk in Ireland with rebellion and the troubles.

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Belfast

If ever Punk had been invented for a reason then Ireland was surely it. The ‘Troubles’ had been rumbling on since the turn of the century, had their roots back with Cromwell and even before with William of Orange and then way back to 1609 with the imposition of Protestant Scots into Ireland. In the seventies it had reached the height with bombings, knee-cappings, killings and an insurmountable war waged between the IRA, who wanted a united Ireland under Irish rule, and the British government who wanted British rule for Ulster and the protestant North. As an outsider I looked at it with amazement. It seemed incredible to me that Ireland was suffering such sectarian violence when the people were always so nice and friendly. But then I wasn’t Irish.

I walked through Belfast and it was scary with its barbed wire, bricked off roads, brutal grey despair only brightened by political slogans and defiant gaudy murals celebrating victories, hunger strikes and militia. It looked and felt like a war-zone.

But this was the environment that the kids had grown up in. Segregated, threatened, strip-searched, frisked and with the constant threat of violence and death from all sides.

It was fertile soil for a Punk Band and Ireland had a rich musical history. The wonder is that only two bands really emerged. While the Undertones were good and produced that brilliant ‘Teenage Kicks’ which was one of John Peel’s favourites, they never really dealt with the politics. They left that up to the other of Peelies favourites – Stiff Little Fingers.

I could only imagine the bravery of those young lads as they bellowed their fury at both sides and hit out at the stupid violence, repression and threats that they were subjected to. They made no distinction. Nobody has put it better.

It took guts to stand up to the IRA and tell them they had a suspect device, to harangue the British Army for their disrespect and disdain and to ignore the very real threats and warnings. They literally took their life in their hands for their music and held out for a vision of a better future.

Where the Sex Pistols talked of ‘No Future’ they sang about an ‘Alternative Ulster’. Instead of joining in with the politics of separation and hatred they sang about ‘Barbed Wire Love’ and hit out at racism in ‘White Noise’. This was my kind of music. It hit the heart, head and glands. It had substance, balls and quality. Punk didn’t come much better.

I watched them play in Belfast. They had ignored threats from the IRA, talk of a bust by the Brits and carried on through a bomb threat. I couldn’t take my eyes off them. They were young kids but they played their hearts out and Jake’s voice was hoarse and in ribbons by the end, the young kids in the hall packed it out and threw themselves around with gusto. Stiff Little Fingers were putting all their frustrations and anger into words and power chords. Nobody did it better.

This was what Rock music had always been about – rebellion!

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If you would like to purchase The Blues Muse, or any of my other books please follow the links:

In the UK:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Opher-Goodwin/e/B00MSHUX6Y/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1479943367&sr=1-2-ent

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Blues-Muse-Opher-Goodwin/dp/1518621147/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1479943367&sr=1-1&keywords=opher+goodwin

In the US:

https://www.amazon.com/Opher-Goodwin/e/B00MSHUX6Y/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1479943510&sr=1-2-ent

https://www.amazon.com/Blues-Muse-Opher-Goodwin-ebook/dp/B01HDQEMQ6/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1479943567&sr=1-1&keywords=opher+goodwin+blues+muse

https://www.amazon.com/Blues-Muse-Opher-Goodwin/dp/1518621147/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1479943578&sr=1-2&keywords=opher+goodwin+blues+muse

For all other countries please check out your local Amazon outlet.

Big THANK YOU to all those people purchasing my books!! Please leave a review on Amazon!!

Big THANK YOU to all those people purchasing my books!! Please leave a review on Amazon!!

THANK YOU!!!!  I’m glad you are enjoying the books I produce.

Please leave your great feedback on Amazon (I know it not the most desirable place but it is a necessity for me). It is much appreciated.

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I’m a fearless Indie Writer!!

If you would like to purchase one of my books check them out here:-

In the UK –

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Opher-Goodwin/e/B00MSHUX6Y/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1478648020&sr=1-2-ent

In the USA –

https://www.amazon.com/Opher-Goodwin/e/B00MSHUX6Y/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1478648133&sr=1-2-ent

Vinyl, CD or MP3? Digital or book?

Vinyl, CD or MP3? Digital or book?

 

I have every format of music with thousands of vinyl albums, CDs and gigabytes of electronic music. I have a whole library of books and a stuffed kindle.

So what do I prefer?

I prefer books and vinyl.

As a reading experience the kindle is fine. As a playing experience I am quite happy with CDs and even MP3s.

But there is nothing that can compare with holding a tangible work of art in your hand. A vinyl album is a work of art. The cover is designed to be that size. The writing on the sleeve notes is easily legible. I relish coming home with a new possession. Taking the album out and carefully putting it on the turntable, then reading the liner notes and studying the cover while it plays. It is substantial. It has weight. There is a reverence to the ritual of playing it. It adds gravity to the experience.

An MP3 has no substance. It is disposable. It devalues the art.

A CD is soulless. I want something that has an intrinsic worth.

It is the same with a book. A shelf of books is satisfying in a way that a full kindle is not. The covers are interesting. The feel, smell and weight is substantial.

Books and vinyl are forever in a way that digital cannot possibly be.

The opening section of Neanderthal – my latest Sci-fi book.

The opening section of Neanderthal. This is a Sci-fi book like no other – set in today.

Chapter 1

 

It was a sunny day in London. The brightness lit up the fancy brickwork façade on the old main block of the Queen Mary Imperial College, one of the many jewels of London University. On campus students were sprawled on the grass talking. Some were reluctantly strolling along the paths towards the many modern buildings that housed their lectures. It was one of those hot summer days in which nobody had any desire to be inside, indeed, nobody had any desire to do anything, except to loll about in the sun and talk.

But inside the Blizard Hall the Perrin lecture theatre was packed. It seated four hundred, but there was standing room only. They had come to hear Roger Comstock give one of his renowned talks on human evolution. He was the main man and could always be relied on to provide an interesting, lively exposition, with a few quirky controversial ideas thrown in for good measure. It made him extremely popular and well worth forsaking the pleasures of the languid summer heat.

Roger was coming to the end of his lecture.

‘And then there is the mystery of the Neanderthal man,’ Roger shrugged. ‘I feel very close to the Neanderthal,’ he explained with a broad smile. ‘Probably because, as a European, I always carry a bit of Neanderthal around with me. Up to 4% of our genome is made up of Neanderthal genes. They live on in us.’

There was a murmur of asides with some titters of laughter.

‘At one time we coexisted with the Neanderthal. We even bred with them. But then that isn’t so very unusual,’ he cocked his head and chuckled, ‘I’m sure we are all aware of some people who would try to bred with any species they could get their hands on.’

A louder chortle went round the lecture theatre.

‘Now I know some of you purists out there will be a bit sceptical here. Were Neanderthals really a separate species of humans? Surely if they were, by definition, they could not successfully interbreed. Well that is certainly open to debate. Perhaps we should technically regard them as a subspecies? It is a moot point. The truth of the matter is that these people were a distinct second group of humans with genetically different genomes and we did somehow manage to successfully interbreed with them.’

‘Just imagine what it would be like if we shared this planet with other species of man – human beings of a different kind with many characteristics that were not the same. Intelligent people like us but yet dissimilar. How would that affect our psychology?’

He allowed his audience to dwell on that for a moment or two.

‘Perhaps their thought patterns would be very divergent to ours. They might have novel ideas and views on life.’

‘Just think what an impact that might have on the way we behave if we weren’t the only intelligent beings on this planet.’

‘We’d probably wipe them out!’ One bold student called out.

‘hmmf – We probably did,’ Roger replied, peering into the dim vicinity from where the voice had come. He chuckled again. ‘We probably did.’

Turning back to address the auditorium. ‘At one point in our evolution, back in Africa, we did share the planet with other species of humans. There were at least four species of early man who coexisted on that continent. Would it affect our religious outlook? Our view of ourselves? Our social aims? Or our politics? I ask you, would we be different people if we shared this planet with other species of intelligent human beings? Would we see ourselves another way if we did not regard ourselves as the pinnacle of evolution?’

Roger paused and looked down at the floor as if in contemplation before looking back up at his audience.

‘When they dug up those early fossils in the Neander Valley near Dusseldorf, there was a lot of controversy. To start with there was this huge brain capacity. Neanderthals had considerably bigger brains than us. Their capacity was up to 1,600 cm3 as compared to our modest 1,200 to 1,450 cm3. We certainly couldn’t be having that now could we? It might well indicate that they were a good deal brighter than we were.’

There was another murmur.

‘Of course, brain size doesn’t necessarily equate with intelligence, does it? The sperm whale has a brain that is greatly bigger than humans, as does the elephant. Does that mean they are more intelligent?’

‘Neither of them have to work for a living,’ the same wag called out.

‘No, that is certainly true,’ Roger said smiling broadly, looking round towards the direction of the voice. ‘They don’t have to work. But they do get hunted and killed and none of them have yet developed any technology.’

‘Is developing hydrogen bombs a sign of intelligence?’ the discorporate voice called out.

Roger searched the indistinct shadowy faces for the source of this dialogue. He quite liked getting a response from his audience but liked to put a face to it.

‘Probably not,’ he agreed. ‘But what is certainly true is that human beings do not like their supremacy challenged. There has been much energy expended in attempting to prove that while Neanderthal brains might well be bigger they certainly weren’t smarter. The cynics have churned out paper after paper discussing the relative size of the optical regions and motor regions. According to these research papers, our friends the Neanderthal were brilliant at seeing and controlling their bodies but lacked the cerebral folds to challenge us when it comes to maths or science. They’d be good at body popping though.’

He pursed his lips and shook his head. ‘I’ll leave it to you to check out what you think on that subject and come to your own conclusions.’

‘But I digress,’ Roger said, looking round at them. ‘Getting back to that mystery. Neanderthals prospered in Europe. They had migrated out of Africa at a much earlier stage to us and colonised a wide area. They had developed a rich culture and technology. Their use of fire, tools and cave painting was at least as advanced as ours. But around 40,000 years ago they suddenly all died out. Why was that?

He held his hands out, leaned forward and raised his eyebrows as if wanting to illicit an answer from them.

‘Some say it was due to the climate warming. They were shorter and stockier, with shorter limbs, well-adapted for cool conditions. But personally I don’t hold with that theory. They migrated out of Africa and were highly intelligent. I don’t think they would have evolved that much to find a bit of climate warming a major obstacle. I reckon that if it became too hot for them I think they could easily have migrated further north or followed the herds, just like we did. It does not make sense to me.’

He strode to the side of the stage with his head down, rubbing his chin with his thumb thoughtfully, then stopped and looked back up.

‘Some say it was competition with Homo sapiens that wiped them out. Perhaps it was? We are a pretty competitive and vicious lot.’ He grinned round at them and began pacing to the other side.

‘Another theory is that they were bred out of existence.’ He paused again. ‘There, we’re back to those people who would breed with anything that moved – or indeed, a number of things that didn’t.’

Another chuckle went round the assembly.

‘Personally I don’t hold with any of these views,’ Roger said seriously, coming to a halt and peering round at the gathered students who were all straining to hear what he had to say. ‘All the evidence is that the Neanderthals were highly intelligent, had technology and yet suddenly disappeared off the scene.’

He raised his eyebrows and gestured.

‘So what was it?’ He spread his hands and looked around at his audience. ‘A cataclysmic event – such as volcanic eruptions? But surely that would have affected us too? Or was it a virus that did for them?’

He began pacing again.

‘I guess we’ll never know.’ He shook his head in sadness and then came to a halt centre stage, looking straight ahead. ‘So I guess we’ll never know what it feels like to share the planet with another species of human beings.’

As part of my prestigious Ron Forsythe Science Fiction novel collection I have just released Neanderthal!

It is available in both paperback and digital from Amazon!

This tells the story of an alien encounter like no other!

In the USA:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1677253606

In the UK:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1677253606

In India:

Nick Harper – The Wilderness Years – now available in paperback!

I first met Nick when he was a young child and over the years he has become a close friend. This book illuminates the genius that I feel is Nick Harper and is designed to accompany ‘The Wilderness Years’, a trilogy of vinyl albums. Nick talks candidly about many aspects of his music and career. I include, with Nick’s permission, the lyrics of all the songs featured in the trilogy. There are also many photos dating from his childhood to the present day.

In the UK:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1678850667/ref=sr_1_1?crid=WZEH68E0MC4S&keywords=opher+goodwin&qid=1577871447&s=books&sprefix=Opher%2Caps%2C168&sr=1-1

In the USA:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1678850667/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=Opher+Goodwin&qid=1577871858&s=books&sr=1-5

In Canada:

https://www.amazon.ca/dp/1678850667/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Opher+Goodwin+Nick&qid=1577872127&s=books&sr=1-1

Unfortunately – once again – it does not appear to be out in India! Sorry.

 

Quantum Fever – Fabulous new Sci-fi novel now out in paperback!

Quantum Fever – Fabulous new Sci-fi novel now out in paperback!

The latest in the Ron Forsythe set of Science Fiction novels is now available in paperback!

A great read! A great Christmas present!

Order yours now from Amazon!

In the UK:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1711327379/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Ron+Forsythe+Quantum&qid=1575722636&s=books&sr=1-1

In the USA:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1711327379/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Ron+Forsythe+Quantum&qid=1575722933&s=books&sr=1-1

In India:

For some reason India does not seem to always present my books in paperback form. I will chase this up!

Newsflash – Latest Sci-fi novel ‘Neanderthal’ now available!!

As part of my prestigious Ron Forsythe Science Fiction novel collection I have just released Neanderthal!

It is available in both paperback and digital from Amazon!

This tells the story of an alien encounter like no other!

In the USA:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1677253606

In the UK:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1677253606

In India:

Writing is about teamwork

Writing is about teamwork

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There are so many skills involved in writing a book. It is rare that any one person has the full skill set. Just think what is involved:

  • To have the ideas and enthusiasm
  • To organise them into a readable ‘story’
  • To create the structure for the book
  • To create characters, pace and ending
  • To have the punctuation right
  • To have the grammar right
  • To have the tenacity to plug away to the end and finish it when all the energy and enthusiasm has long gone
  • To edit the completed story
  • To design the cover
  • To write the blurb
  • To market and sell your completed book

That is why it takes teamwork. To receive encouragement when the going gets tough; to have people feeding you ideas on how to develop a section further and make it better, to have readers who point out what works and what doesn’t; to have editors who pick up the spellos and grammar; to have designers to make it look better; to have a blurb writer who creates a succinct enticing piece that makes people want to read more.

No writer can do all that themselves. They are too subjective with their own work. They depend on constructive help from others to provide the objectivity.

If the team is good what comes out at the end is worthwhile. It takes a team to write a book.

Quantum Fever – Fabulous new Sci-fi novel now out in paperback!

The latest in the Ron Forsythe set of Science Fiction novels is now available in paperback!

A great read! A great Christmas present!

Order yours now from Amazon!

In the UK:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1711327379/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Ron+Forsythe+Quantum&qid=1575722636&s=books&sr=1-1

In the USA:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1711327379/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Ron+Forsythe+Quantum&qid=1575722933&s=books&sr=1-1

In India:

For some reason India does not seem to always present my books in paperback form. I will chase this up!