Watch... Germinal(1993, a film based on the novel by French writer Emile Zola. It tells the story of a mining town in northern France in the 1860s, where children and women are still working down the pits. There are many accidents due to medieval working conditions and the miners are paid a pittance. But in the 1860s across the world dissent is germinating (the theme of the novel) as Karl Marx in London starts the first international workers movement, the International Working Men’s Association. The film captures this seething anger of the workers as they challenge the mine owners. There are magnificent scenes as the miners and families move as a small army to other pits to bring out the other miners and sing the song of the French Revolution, La Marseillaise. Stunning is the depiction of the women miners and miners’ wives who are the most militant of the community. Watching it reminded me of the 1984-5 Miners Strike and the tremendous spirit of the miners, their families and supporters. Sadly in Spain the miners are being faced with a similar story of forced closures as their Government wants the workers to pay for the bankers’ misspending. Spanish miners are now occupying their pit in the Asturias. Join their campaign and read more about it here
Listen to...the Dexys (aka Dexys Midnight Runners) are back with a fantastic CD. its 27 years since their last record and Kevin Rowlands is still on his search for personal fulfilment and love. In the song Nowhere is Home he sings ” I don’t know where I belong” whilst at the same time telling the opposition to “take your Irish stereotype and shove it up your arse”. The music is a fantastic mixture of his love for soul and Irish melodies, perfectly in keeping with the maestros’ journey through his own back catalogue of life and pop history
Read… Bring up the Bodies(2012) by Hilary Mantel. The second book in her series about the Tudors. A frightening study of the real history of the Royal Family. Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell plot to get rid of Anne Boleyn and preserve the monarchy. Forget about the Mafia or Putin in Russia, these are the British mobsters of their era. Hilary brings together history and sexual politics of the highest order to light in a gripping, if scarey novel.
Experience..The Condition of the Working Class..a new play/performance piece by Not Too Tame Theatre and Inside Film. Mix together 25 volunteers and Engels masterpiece on the appalling conditions for people in Manchester in 1844 and the results are going to be exciting and provocative. See the results at
Salford Arts Theatre July 5&6 and Nexus Arts Cafe July 7&8