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


About lipstick socialist

I am an activist and writer. My interests include women, class, culture and history. From an Irish in Britain background I am a republican and socialist. All my life I have been involved in community and trade union politics and I believe it is only through grass roots politics that we will get a better society. This is reflected in my writing, in my book Northern ReSisters Conversations with Radical Women and my involvement in the Mary Quaile Club. I am a member of the Manchester and Salford National Union of Journalists.If you want to contact me please use my gmail which is lipsticksocialist636
This entry was posted in biography, Communism, education, films, labour history, Manchester, music, poetry, Socialism, women and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Stop! Look! Listen! a weekly selection of some of my favourite films/books/people…

  1. Excellent idea for a blog post. May I share mine? I’m sure you know them all.

    Watch: Cradle Will Rock is a true story about a 1930s political threatre group in America, centered around a leftist musical drama, and the House Committee on Un-American Activities who try to stop production.

    Listen: Paul Robeson singing Joe Hill makes me want to weep then fight.

    Read: Margaret Harkness, A Manchester Shirtmaker, is a fantastic piece of realistic fiction about a single mum struggling to survive, used and humiliated by the bosses then condemnded for taking the only action she thinks left to her. Engels was a fan of Harkness.
    Also, alongside, Upton Sinclair, Steinbeck, Orwell I’d suggest Howard Spring’s Fame Is the Spur fictionalising the Peterloo Massacre.

    Visit: I’m with you entirely on that one.

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