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


The film  Frida (2002). A fictionalised account of the life of Mexican artist and political activist  Frida Kahlo (1907-54).  Her pictures tell the story of her life.  Crippled in an accident as a young woman  she portrayed this experience in  her paintings. She produced 143 paintings, of which 55 were self  portraits.  Apart from her physical suffering her paintings explored her tempestuous relationship with Mexican muralist Diego Rivera.There is much more in the film,  including the heady politics of Mexico, fabulous music and singing.

Listen to…

The music of Gustave Holst(1874-1934). Famous for “The Planets”,  he was also  interested in a wide variety of music and people. He mixed with socialists such as Vaughan Williams and became interested in folk music. He conducted the Hammersmith Socialist Choir, rode a bike and became a vegetarian.  His music would now be dubbed “world music” for the way in which it reflects  different musical cultures.  Listen to “Holst Orchestral Works Volume 2“ with the the Manchester Chamber Choir, BBC Philarmonic, and Andrew Davies.

Listen again…

My Generation, a play on Radio 3 by Alice Nutter (late of Chumbawamba and  now a writer for TV and radio). It tells the story of people trying to live an alternative lifestyle and the effect that the history of the last thirty years has had on their lives, from living in a commune to the rave culture, the Miners Strike and the present recession. Its all there but intertwined with real life stories of people who are trying to live a decent life and making a difference to society. Very different from the usual BBC drama. You can still catch it on BBC  IPlayer  until Sunday.


The books of Maude Casey and Moy McCrory.  Both are second generation Irish writers,  whose books reflect the lives of thousands of similar young people growing up in Britain.  Class, identity, location, sadness and laughter are all there. Written in the 1980s, they were part of an Irish renaissance of literature, poetry and music that reflected a growing confidence in the Irish community in Britain. Seek out their work, they still have something important to say about what it means to be part of a valued working class culture. Maude Casey wrote Over The Water (1987), Moy McCrory wrote a number of novels of which my favourite is The Water’s Edge (19850.

Striking a Light The Bryant and May Matchwomen and their Place in History by Louise Raw.  The story of 1400 poorly paid women workers who walked out on strike against a rich and powerful national company.  It’s not just the story of a strike of women workers but of the politics of the people who sought to represent them including  Annie Besant and the powers that took them on.  Louise overturns conventional histories of the strike and puts the women centre stage. Well written and researched this is  a book for all activists.

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. .If you want to contact me please use my gmail which is lipsticksocialist636
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