Watch...Nostalgia for the Light a new film by Chilean director Patricio Guzman. He contrasts the beauty of his home countrys’ Atacama desert and its hidden history of concentration camps and Pinochets’ regime. The desert has some of the most wonderful landscapes and the world’s largest telescopes but also women who are now in the 70s trying to locate the bodies of their families who were tortured, killed and buried somewhere under the ground. Guzman, who left Chile in the 70s, in the film shows us not just the terrible history of his country but how astronomy can, like the political prisoners in the desert, confirm our humanity against a political landscape of terror. See Guardian Chile through the Landscape
Read..Hannah Maria Mitchell;Radical Suffragist by Bill Johnson. Hannah was an extraordinary woman who was born in Derbyshire in 1871. Her education only lasted a week, she left a violent home in her mid-teens and worked in sweatshops most of her life. Her biography, now out of print, sums up her life “The Hard Way Up”. But she was a suffragist and rebel who took part in the campaign for the vote, was a socialist and member of the radical,grassroots organisation, the Independant Labour Party. Bill Johnson wrote this pamphlet because he could not get Hannah’s biography republished. Hannah’s secret ambition was to be a writer and here we can read some of her own stories and articles as well as look at photographs of where she was born and of her husband and son. The pamphlet is a bargain at only £4, available from Tameside Local Studies and Archive.
Listen...Nimissa(regrets) by Ba Cissoko. Ba is originally from Guinea but now lives in Marseilles. He uses the kora as a basis for his afro beat sound. His fourth album is a mixture of funk and groove, melodic and rhythmic. It tells us stories about his home, in Loumo of the weekly African market and in Politiki he lambasts Guinean politicians who are destroying the country.Ba is a skilled songwriter and in his latest album has produced a fascinating mixture of Mandingo tunes with salsa, rumba etc.etc.
Visit...the idiosyncratic Portico Library on Moseley St. in Manchester. Opened in 1806 it is a private, subscription based library but it is open to the public to view its 19 Century collection. There is a wide selection of travel literature. novels,biographies and history with a number of first editions. To celebrate Dickens year it has an exhibition called “Charles Dickens;Children and Childhood in His Life and Works”. It features a number of first editions of the author’s novels as well as illustrated children’s adaptation, graphic novels and translations. Its worth just going to look at the Library and a wonderful “oasis of calm in the heart of the city”.