A Witness for Peace – Greg Stokes
Someone brought a blanket and covered him over. A man approached my mother, "Did you know the Americans bombed Libya last night?" She did not…. Following the bombing of targets in Libya by the USA in 1986, Dudley man Doug Stokes was murdered in Marrakesh by an Arab looking for Americans - an act reported across the globe as that of a "crazed knifeman running amok". "A Witness For Peace" tells the real story in a powerfully written account which takes the reader through a working class life which ended in tragic death, through a stoic fight with intransigent insurers and indifferent politicians to an ultimate statement of hope for the future. "A Witness for Peace" is a moving story at times angry and indignant, but not without flashes of humour. The work critically analyses the product of the media as well as describing their excesses in obtaining it; it tackles the issue of crime and insanity in a case where the culprit got away with it; and it examines the role of professionals in an expanding bereavement counselling industry. The conclusions are startling. For a full synopsis of "A Witness For Peace" click here Foreword by LENNY HENRY
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Black Country Stories and Sketches – Greg Stokes
"I've had a basinful. Low wages, filthy conditions, while you lord it over us… er… me." Rodney Tumeley in The Glorious Revolution A colourfully written collection of 29 short stories and word sketches reflecting aspects of Black Country life, past, present, and future. Includes the much admired "Christmas Card to Lev" in which the football fans of Dudley undertake to send greetings to the Russian goalkeeper who delighted the Molineux crowd in the 1950s; "The Minor and the Miner's Son" which takes the reader from the steps of Wembley 1968 to the bitter miner's strike of 1984; "The Glorious Revolution" set in the future when the only industrial workers left are in the heritage museums; the haunting "On Leave"; the hilarious "Baldwin's Monument"; the melancholy "Boy in the Basement"; "The Blue Teapot" recorded for people with visual impairment; and many more. For full synopsis click here.
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The Gulf – Greg Stokes
"The decision to bring Fatima to London had been taken a while ago. Still no sign of pregnancy, she would see a consultant gynaecologist in Harley Street in the morning." From Two Teenagers, a story from The Gulf. A collection of 29 short stories from the pen of Greg Stokes set in the oil rich Gulf state, the United Arab Emirates, and England’s Black Country when the coal has gone and industry is in decline. The is a stark gulf between the two locations and the two cultures. But the title story, The Gulf, shows their histories to be very similar with local lords fighting over land which held mineral wealth they weren’t aware of. The next four stories span both countries and move at turns from presidential palace in Abu Dhabi to council tenement in Smethwick, from expensive clinic to children’s home. The remaining 24 stories are in pairs, one set in Arabia and one in the Black Country, which look at common themes such as would be artists, local elections, royalty, and feuds. Like all Greg Stokes’ work, some are full length stories while others are snapshots of people, places, or events. Some look at the expat lifestyle, while others look at the local culture which westerners find difficult to fathom. At a time when there is fear of Islamic fundamentalism in the west, Stokes, who lost his father to such extremism in the Reagan/Thatcher war on terrorism, paints a picture of a religion with a huge welfare principle and a people who, while we might not fully understand them, are not to be feared at all. For full synopsis click here
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The Grant – Greg Stokes
Modern Art debunked mercilessly by four Black Country characters created by Greg Stokes. Recorded at Rocket Cottage Studio in West Bromwich, hear Black Country Theatre perform two of Greg Stokes' hilarious Les and Sheila stories on this CD. In 2003 the Baggies played Newcastle in the Carling Cup so Greg and family went up for the match, taking in the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in the morning.  Never a fan of modern art Greg penned The Grant the following month.  In this story the lead character decides to build a garden shed and stick it in an art gallery.  The announcement of the 2005 Turner Prize short list saw a garden shed in with a shout.  To show that we in the Black Country thought of it first, the Kates Hill Press decided to bring out a CD recording of the story. The big difference between us and the Turner Prize people is of course that we know that we are taking the piss! The CD also includes The Grant Part 2 in which Des and Steph apply for an Arts Council grant. They are joined by a Belgian woman who also applies in order to build a bird's nest on the side of the Rotunda in Birmingham. This really did happen! The Big Apple which was on an earlier version of this CD will be released soon on another recording.  
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Second City Stories – Greg Stokes
'In the lifetime of one government, decades of relative prosperity dissolved as even the mighty west midlands went down the tubes.' From Popper States in Second City Stories A collection of 29 short stories from Greg Stokes all set in England's second city, Birmingham. Greg writes; "I was born and bred in the Black Country, the old, and some would argue the first, industrial region in the English west midlands. There are as many definitions of what exactly constitutes the Black Country as there are people in it. There is one commonality however, it ay bloody Birmingham. Birmingham is our next door neighbour whom we are first to deride, and first to protect if the insult comes from further afield. As with all neighours, we know each other well. I have worked there, courted there, and married into a Brummie family. There is far more that binds us together than the banter would suggest drives us apart. There are differences however. Birmingham is a huge city of a million souls and at one time a thousand trades. It is truly the regional capital, and the second city of England, with all the facilities that go with that. It has evolved into a vibrant international city of the twenty first century. The politics of the late twentieth century however, the politics of Thatcher, put Brum and the Brummies under the cosh. The process of social engineering has been continued under Blair’s New Labour. Sometime in the mid nineties I decided that I’d put together a collection of stories all set in Birmingham. While the stories range from the Victorian period to the present, there is a theme through to book that highlights the nastiness of Thatcherism as it affected the city, and the society that Blair, son of Thatcher, is perpetuating. Some of these stories were written back in the 1980s." For full synopsis click here.
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Doctor – Greg Stokes
Two hilarious tracks from the Black Country comedy writer performed by black Country Theatre, and recorded at Rocket Cottage Studio in West Bromwich. 1) Doctor - Black Country Theatre perform this favourite from the Lamp Tavern shows. It starts with Bert and Edna bemoaning the fact that Dudley Council have started putting sculptures on the car parks now, but soon, a visitor from th’off needs to see the Doctor... (First performed at the Lamp Tavern, Dudley, 23/12/05) 2) The Reduced War Of The Worlds - Barry Harper narrates an alternative War of the Worlds in which the Martians land on Kates Hill. With Joanne Webster as Julie, and the many voices of Greg Stokes as Oggler,  the gunner, the Martians, the Vicar, and many others. (First performed at the Lamp Tavern, Dudley, 28/04/06) 3) Doctor - Greg is joined by Louise and Brendan for an alternative version of Doctor.
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American Toilet Tissue & Schrodinger’s Pussy – Greg Stokes
Greg Stokes has had audiences in stitches with his comic short stories since he began performing them in 2005. At last, Doctor, The Grant, the Les and Sheila stories and many more are available in print! Toilet tissue, to Brits its bog roll, to the Americans its an insult, arsewipe! Read how Les and Sheila Parkes, along with Les’s kid brother Des and his missus Steph tackle two arsewipe image rights attorneys from New York, and help one from another time zone! Find out what happens when the Daleks come to Dudley in search of their arch foe the Doctor. And what are those two Baggies fans doing going back in time to Kill Devil Hill to witness the Wright brothers’ first flight,,, Erwin Schrodinger, find out who the hell he is, and how he really reconciled quantum mechanics with Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity with his famous equation... In Dudley! Read how the world’s biggest particle accelerator is built under the Black Country and what happens when they find the elusive God Particle! Finally, read The Procedure only if you are not of a nervous disposition. One of these doctor Johnnies has to introduce a camera into a chaps bladder, and there’s only one way in apparently... Parental Advice: Contains some swearing, but no sex to speak of. Sorry. You’ll have to read Tried by Prejudice, some really serious shagging gets done in that... 20 stories, 128 pages packed with laughs.
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Tried By Prejudice – Greg Stokes
"He just lay there motionless, blood oozing from his head. I thought he was dead." Ken Simmons in Tried by Prejudice A Midlands community watch in horror as children are picked off one by one by an unknown killer while in a Gulf state the ex-pat community look on approvingly as the locals administer justice..... then rough justice strikes someone they know while at home the people have their culprit..... Or do they? Tried By Prejudice is a powerful drama set in the Arabian Gulf and English west midlands. It is a tale of murder, revenge, justice, and a torrid love affair between people who just won't go with the flow, people who won't look on while others are Tried By Prejudice. For full synopsis click here
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