Watch...A World Apart (1988) Written by Shawn Slovo, the daughter of S.African Communist activists Ruth First and Jo Slovo. Molly, a 13 year old living in Safrica in 1963 is the daughter of political activists who oppose the apatheid government. As the government closes down opposition parties she witnesses the effect it has on her home life. Her life closes down around her as her father flees the country and her mother is imprisoned. This is an important film because it explores the dilemmas for political activists who are also parents. It asks questions including should your children come second to your politics and through the main character in the film it shows the price that children play in the larger political story of causes such as the Anti-Apartheid Movement in Safrica. Of course the Slovos were privileged children and could escape to Britain but Ruth First who fled to Mozambique was assassinated by the S.African regime in 1982. In post-independance Safrica Joe Slovo, in 1994, became the Minister for Housing but died in 1995.See
Read..The Master and Margarita by Michael Bulgakov. He was born in Kiev in 1891.Trained as a doctor, he took part in the First World War and the civil war in Kiev and the Caucasus. These experiences had a profound effect on him and he became a writer and produced books and plays, many which were censored. Most of his work is satire and that is why, particularly during Stalins’ era he had little work published. This book was recently dramatised by Complicite theatre in London and singer Patti Smith was inspired to name her new album Banga after Pontius Pilate’s dog in the Master and Margarita
The novel is completely surreal. It is set in Moscow in the 1930s (so lots of references to the politics of the period) as the devil, disguised as a magician, enters the city with his talking cat and expert assassin. The action switches between Moscow and first century Jerusalem and the reader is introduced to many characters that confuse, surprise and make one smile. Bulgakov took eleven years and many drafts to complete the manuscript and it was not published in his lifetime. It is now considered one of the most important books of twentieth century Russian literature and has been translated into twenty languages further info
Look.. Harry Rutherford (1903-85) was an important artist in the Northern School which sought to depict the post industrial landscape of north-west England. He trained with Walter Sickert and later went on to become the first artist to have his own television programme. A new exhibition, at the Central Art Gallery in Ashton-u-Lyne, called Pocket Pictures shows drawings that have never been displayed publicly. Interesting to me is his insight into political events in the Tameside area including a sketch of a soup kitchen in Mossley in 1929 and a painting of a recreated scene of a Chartist Meeting in Hyde in the 1830s. The exhibition is fascinating and also revealing about events that have largely been forgotten. Further info
Listen…The War Symphonies..Symphony no 7 in c major Leningrad (Shostakovich) conducted by Valery Gergiev and the Kirov Orchestra.Shostakovich dedicated this symphony to the struggle against fascism and his home city of Leningrad. It became a worldwide symbol against the Nazi regime and today is a beacon of light to all political activists who seek to oppose fascism. Shostakovich understood the importance of politics to artists ”The Soviet artist will never stand aside from that historical confrontation taking place between reason and obscurantism, between culture and barbarity, between light and darkness.” A message for all activists in the 21 Century.