Stop! Look! Listen! my weekly selection of favourite films, books and events to get you out of the house…
Watch…The King of Comedy (1983) One Of Martin Scorsese’s finest films, although it was not one of his most successful when it came out in 1983. A mixture of fantasy and real life it features Robert DeNiro as Rupert Pupkin, a man with dreams of being a famous comedian. He stalks Jerry Langford (played by Jerry Lewis) whose character is based on Johnny Carson, the acclaimed comedian and talkshow host. Nowadays we are too aware of the celebrity culture and its domination of the psyche (and tv screens) so this film was prescient of its times. Painful to watch, but incredibly clever, it is Scorsese at his best.
Read…An Act of Love (2011) by Alan Gibbons. Alan is not just a writer, but an activist and founder of the Campaign to Save the Book. This is the story of two boys who grow up together through the 90s and 2000s. One of the young boys is white and the other Pakistani. The story is set against the rise of fascism in small towns in the north and also the growing tension in the Asian community as Britain and the USA invade and occupy Afghanistan and Iraq. There is lots more in the book, but for me I love the story of the young men’s friendship and the way in which Alan creates working-class male characters that are humane, complex and compelling.
Listen…Searching for the Young Soul Rebels (1980) A fabulous album by Dexys Midnight Runners. Led by Kevin Rowlands – not just the front man but the main man! Part of his search for his Irish identity the front cover shows a riot in Belfast as a young Catholic boy is caught by the camera as he makes his escape. Part of a whole Irish renaissance in the 80s, Rowlands mixes songs about being proud of your Irish heritage as in “Burn it Down” to “Geno” a celebration of soul singer Geno Washington. After 25 years the band is about to bring out a new album called One Day I’m Going to Soar which includes more musing on his Irishness identity “Take your Irish stereotype and shove it up your arse”. So nothing changes. Cannot wait to see the stage show!!!!!
Join the debate……. Was the election of George Galloway and 5 Respect councillors in Bradford a one-off, or part of a larger process, and what are the implications for trade unionists? Give your views on Wed 16 May at 8pm at the Mechanics Institute Princess St. Manchester. Speakers from Labour and Respect will star. more information here
Attend a book launch of Sarah Irving’s biography: Leila Khaled; Icon of Palestinian Liberation. Leila is known for her involvement in the hijack of a passenger jet in 1969. Find out about her activism today, the role of women in the Palestinian movement and the rise of Hamas. Blackwells Bookshop Manchester, 24 May 7-8.30 admission free.
Go to a play…about the lives of working class women.. noticed this on the 24/7 site.
Player’s Angels by Amanda Whittington, directed by Joyce Branagh. Presented by Manchester School of Theatre at the Capitol Theatre, Manchester Metropolitan University, Mabel Tylecote Building, Cavendish Street, Manchester M15 6BG. It’s 1953 and all the girls in Nottingham want to work at John Player’s, the best employer in town. Whilst Cyn dreams of being a beauty queen and Vee adjusts to married life, widowed Glad shares a secret with her young supervisor Bill. When the youthful Mae comes to work at Player’s, however, the lives and secrets of all the women change forever.
Wed 16 – Sat 19 May Further details More information here.
Go for a walk….The Irish in Manchester:Walk 1. Learn about the history of the Irish in Manchester including trade unionists John Doherty and Mary Quaile, the Irish at Peterloo, the Manchester Martyrs and Eva Gore Booth. Meeting point: Oxford Road Station at noon, Saturday 26 May, Fee £6/5. More information here