Stop,Look,Listen…my weekly selection of favourite films, books and events to get you out of the house
Watch…Shine on Harvey Moon (DVD) Made in 1982 it tells the story of Harvey Moon and his working class family in London following the end of the Second World War. Not the usual sentimental rubbish about soldiers returning to home and family, but real characters with complex lives and feelings. Harvey’s wife has been having affairs with American soldiers and is not a good mother to his 10 year old son and teenage daughter. Harvey has a close relationship with his Mum, who is the backbone of the family and acts as a moral compass in encouraging Harvey to be a father to both of his children. In 1945 people did have more hope for the future and Harvey epitomises that feeling in his struggle to organise a union at his workplace and as his Mum becomes ill he challenges the doctor who wants his payment up front. He goes onto join the Labour Party and become a councillor. I really like this series because the writers, Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran give a true and respectful insight into the life of a working class family with all their foibles. Its also funny and shocking in showing how poor people were in the 1940s and makes you realise why there was such a demand for a Welfare State.
Read…Sex,Race and Class;The Perspective of Winning Selma James has been an activist for six decades. She was born in Brooklyn, USA in 1930. Her father was a truck driver who was involved in organising a union, as well as being an active anti-Zionist. Her mother was a housewife and community activist working with homeless families. Selma was a factory worker and mother who at the age of 22 wrote her first pamphlet , A Woman’s Place. She wrote from her own experience and was the first person to set out a radical expose of the position of the millions of women who work in the home and on the land as unwaged workers. This book shows her political development and also the way in which she has, with other women, built up a campaigning network that is international in its perspective and in its political activity. It is a positive contribution to the many debates going on at the moment about organising, about getting people involved in campaigns and about what kind of future we want. Buy it at
Look at things in a different way…..David Dunnico, documentary photographer, reviews the way in which the changing covers of George Orwell’s 1984 have reflected the politics of their time. He is speaking at the WCML in the Invisible Histories series on Wednesday 31 October at 2pm: Under cover: designing Orwell’s 1984. Admission free, all welcome.
Go to… the Small Cinema Festival in Moston, North Manchester 27 October – 4 November. Not just showing films the project has been involved in listening to the memories of local people about their cinema going experiences in the past. Moston has a coalmining connection, several of my relatives were miners who lived in the area so its appropriate they are showing Bill Morrisons “The Miners Hymn” made about the North East coalfields.
Wear a White Poppy…….buy them at the WCML. The white poppy remains a symbol of grief for everyone who has been harmed by war, but also a symbol of determination to work to abolish war. Proceeds from sales of the poppies will go to the Peace Pledge Union. The Peace Pledge Union has been distributing white poppies for peace since 1934.
Organise……go to the Living Wage open meeting on Saturday 3 November 1-3pm at the Friends Meeting House, Manchester. Called by Unite the Union NW 6/159 branch to highlight the growing poverty in the North West as the ConDem government’s cuts affect both working and unemployed people in this area. The aim of the meeting is to set up a campaign for a living wage. All welcome.