Word podcast 287 – Stuart Baillie on his brilliant book about music, Northern Ireland and the Troubles

Stuart Baillie’s book, “Trouble Songs” is, as he told us at this Word In Your Ear, his personal story as well as the story of music and the Troubles. Born in Belfast in 1961, Stuart came to London to work on the NME, returning to Belfast in the late 90s to run a music project in the city. His book paints a rich picture of a place with unique virtues as well as unique problems.

It’s the story of how entertainment has reflected both and how live music re-emerged from behind the ring of steel and came blinking in the daylight following the Good Friday agreement. It’s the story of Christy Moore, the Miami Showband, Stiff Little Fingers, Rudi, Van Morrison, the Undertones, Terri Hooley and scores of others, many of whom were interviewed specifically for the book. It’s also the story of the part played in the events of the time by outsiders like Lennon and McCartney, U2 and The Clash. It’s the story of how music both brings people together and sometimes drives them apart. It’s one of the best books we’ve ever covered in Word In Your Ear.

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