Stop! Look! Listen! a weekly selection of some of my favourite films/books/people…
Saturday Night Fever is my favourite film. Set in Brooklyn it’s the story of many young working class people across the world, music and dancing being the passport from a boring life. In the late 70’s me and my friends would go and see the film and then head straight to the local disco. Brilliant dancing/brilliant music/brilliant John Travolta – shame that the BeeGees turned out to be Tories!
to the music of Kathleen Ferrier (1912-53). A Lancashire lass, she worked as a telephone operator and sang in local choirs. Spotted by Malcolm Sargent, she went onto become one of the greatest British classical singers of her day. She is still remembered by local people because she sang at so many local halls across Lancashire. Due to her early death she has not been given as high a profile of some of her contemporaries such as Maria Callas. The Bridgewater Hall is having an event to celebrate her birthday.
the poems of Pablo Neruda – poet and political activist. Born in Chile, he was a lifelong Communist who believed poetry and political activity were two sides of a coin. The film Il Postino stirred many people to discover his work (including me) but you need to read his true life story in biographies such as Pablo Neruda; a passion for life by Adam Feinstein (Bloomsbury) to see why his poetry and political activity still has meaning in 2012.
The Hard Way Up by Hannah Mitchell. (1871-1956) She lived most of her life in Manchester working in clothing sweat shops but educated herself and became a local leader of the Suffragette and Labour movements. This book is unique being one of the few histories written by a working class woman. In 1905 she summed up her life “No cause can be won between dinner and tea, and most of who were married had to work with one hand tied behind us.”
The Working Class Movement Library in Salford. Founded by trade unionists and Communists Ruth and Eddie Frow, it’s much more than a library, more an alternative to the education system. Attend a talk, watch a play, hear a choir…it’s all going on there. Check out the website for details