Tagged: books

Hartlepool novelist finds inspiration in punk

A crime fiction writer who hails from Hartlepool is celebrating after the release of his latest novel.

Paul Brazill, 52, has brought out Guns of Brixton, which is inspired by a song by 70s punk band, The Clash.

Paul describes the book as Punk Fiction, and says it part of a series of books with each drawing inspiration from song titles from the punk era for the book titles and chapter titles.

Paul, who now lives in Bydgoszcz, Poland, where he teaches English, said:

“Punk was a very influential time for a lot of people of my generation.

“It was the first social network for a post 60s generation who felt let down by a country that should have been blossoming but was stagnating.

“Punk brought about social change and for a while democratised the music industry.

“It seemed as though anyone could form a band and make music that had an awaiting audience.

“A similar revolution is happening in many industries today because of the advent of digital and the internet.

“Ironically music has not really evolved as it should have, but f and other industries are seeing a broad acceptance of skilled and talented people who prior to the internet would never had had their voices heard.

“So in a way the internet is the new punk revolution that brings radical change to the masses.”

Prior to moving abroad, the former pupil of Hartlepool’s Rift House, Lynnfield and Dyke House schools lived in London for 10 years after leaving Hartlepool in the early 1990s, where he was a welfare rights worker.

His latest work is published by Caffeine Nights Publishing in paperback and eBook.

Source –  Hartlepool Mail, 02 Jan 2015

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20,000 Sunderland families struggling with cost of sending children to school

Almost 20,000 Wearside families are struggling with the cost of sending their children to school,  a new report has revealed.

Every year parents are forking out an average of £770 per child to meet the basic needs of their child’s schooling, according to a study published today by the Children’s Commission on Poverty.

Backed by the Children’s Society, the report found 78 per cent of parents in the North East are struggling to meet the costs of school clothing, sports kits, school meals, trips, books, materials for classes, stationery, computers for homework, travel to and from school and summer clubs or activities.

Collectively, Sunderland parents are spending £26,899,261 on meeting school costs and 19,303 families are struggling, according to the report.

Sharon Hodgson, MP for Wasington and Sunderland West, said:

“Schools have a growing responsibility to ensure that the significant disadvantages that their pupils face because of poverty are addressed, and they now have significant funding through the pupil premium to help them do that.

“Practical steps could be making sure that uniforms are generic so they can be bought cheaply in supermarkets, running breakfast clubs so that children who don’t get fed on a morning aren’t prevented from learning by hunger, or homework clubs so that children can use computers and other resources they might not have at home.

“Child poverty is a millstone around the neck of children throughout the rest of their lives, and it benefits us all to do everything we can to alleviate its symptoms as soon as possible.”

The Children’s Commission on Poverty, a panel of children aged 10-19 from across England, found the costs are not only affecting family finances, but also harming the wellbeing of the poorest children.

It discovered more than half of the poorest families are borrowing money to pay for essential school items, almost two-thirds of children living in the poorest families are embarrassed as a result of not being able to afford key aspects of school and more than 25 per cent said this had led them to being bullied.

Across County Durham, parents spent £47,073,023 on school costs, with 34,702 families classed as struggling.

The report also found that a third of children living in the poorest families had fallen behind at school because their family couldn’t afford the computer or internet facilities.

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said:

“Children are being penalised and denied their right to an equal education simply because their parents cannot afford the basics. This is just not right.

“The Government needs to listen to this crucial report by young commissioners and act to make sure no child is stopped from getting an education equal to their peers. It must stop children from being made to suffer because they are living in poverty.”

Source –  Sunderland Echo,  29 Oct 2014

Work Book Project – calling those on Workfare / MWA

I’m writing a book about work and am looking for people who are willing to share their experiences of Workfare or Mandatory Work Activity.

The book is called *All Day Long: A Portrait of Britain at Work*, and it
will come out from Profile Books next spring, before the election.

I’ve been visiting and interviewing people all over the country about their work – potters in Stoke on Trent, call centre workers in Hull, ballerinas at
Covent Garden – and I want to include the experience of someone who has
been on the government’s work programmes.

I’d like to find out a bit more about what the work was like: What did you do? How did you feel about it?  How did the workers around you react?  Anonymity and discretion guaranteed.

I’m a writer for the *London Review of Books* (where I also work), the
*Observer*, the *Sunday Times* and the *New Yorker*.

I can be contacted on
ukworkbook[at]gmail[dot]com.

Many thanks
Joanna Biggs