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


Testament of Youth.  The autobiography  of Vera Brittain, who grew up in pre-war  Buxton.  It’s a reminder of the restrictiveness of women’s lives in that period. Her parents did not see any point to her going to University,  but eventually gave in and she went to Oxford. Her life was shattered by the First World War, during which  her brother and many male friends were killed. Working as a nurse, she saw at first hand the brutality and banality of the war. This changed her life forever and after the war she become a campaigner for peace (amongst  many other issues) and a writer. Her book was published  in 1933 and filmed by the BBC in 1979 with Cheryl Campbell playing Vera wonderfully. It has been rightly commended as one of the best dramatisations of its era.


South Riding by Winifred Holtby. First published in 1936,  its subtitle is an “English Landscape”. Winifred came from Hull and the book is a fictionalised account of some aspects of the lives of women and men she knew – including her mother who was a county councillor.  Winifred  was a great  friend of Vera Brittain and a fellow campaigner on peace. She was a feminist, and running through the book is a sense of the  struggles of women and girls to achieve happiness and independence. It is  also fascinating for its description of local politics – in a period when local authorities had real power. (It was dramatised by Yorkshire TV in 1974,  with Dorothy Tutin memorably  playing Sarah Burton,  and this is available as a DVD from Network TV)

Listen to…

Slow Riot by Claire Mooney. Brought out originally in 1997 but still topical.  From the title to the words of the songs they are speaking to us about the time we are living today. Claire has a beautiful voice and through it conveys the reality of those (particularly women) who are involved in political struggle. She has made many more CD’s since this one and all are worth listening to. You buy this from Claire’s own website.

ABCDEFG by Chumbawamba.  The Leeds based anarchist band  have been making records for nearly 30 years. Famous in 1997 at a Mercury awards ceremony for trying to chuck a bucket of water over Cherie Blair and John  Prescott. Their latest CD (number 17) takes in music from different genres including opera/classical and folk just to mention three. It’s not only good to listen to but brilliant to sing along to as you head down the motorway to the next demo!


Unemployed Hack, memories of a downwardly mobile journalist. This blog records the day to day reality of life in Con-Dem Britain on JSA. As the author  says, “ Here I share my memories of life as a journalist, the day-to-day existence of attending Jobseekers’ Gym (where one walks everywhere) and the benefits of Dieting on the Dole (sardine curry recipes and a love of mushy peas)”.

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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