Watch Woman in a Dressing Gown, a film made in 1957 and set in London, it is the story of Amy and Jim. They live in a council flat, have been married for 20 years and have a teenage son, Brian. Amy is a housewife, spending most of her day in her dressing gown. Her world is the flat, trying to get to terms with keeping it tidy, making meals for her family and counselling a new wife and mother who is not so happy with the job description. Unbeknown to Amy, her husband is having an affair with his young secretary and is about to announce that he wants a divorce. Women’s lives have changed so much in the years since this film was made that it could be seen as archaic, but it’s the performance of Yvonne Mitchell as Amy that makes the film so interesting. Amy is like a hamster in a cage, going round and round on a wheel and never getting anywhere. She doesn’t even change from her dressing gown because she doesn’t leave the flat. Her life sums up the lives of many women of that era, a stultifying, small world where women lived for their husbands and children and were not expected to want or make their own choices. The film is a reminder of how much life has improved for women and by that change also allowed men to escape the repressive role that many of their fathers had to play.
Look…Ghosts; Disappearing Histories, an exhibition at the People’s History Museum . The exhibition is curated by Commonword and, according to them, “celebrates the Moss Side and Hulme nightclubs of the 1950s to the 1980s and the role they played in building and sustaining the community, from the early days of the Reno to the last days of the PSV.” It uses various artefacts to recreate this era; from clothes of the day to the recreation of a living room and a TV. I particularly liked the photographs, which included people in the clubs as well as scenes from the local streets and the annual Moss Side Carnival. Unfortunately many of the photos do not have the names or contexts of where the photos are taken. A key feature of many of the photos is the number of mixed race and white (Irish) people. Although the exhibition is mainly about the black community, I think few of the audience will realise the high numbers of black men who married/lived with white (predominantly Irish) women. This exhibition is a slice of the life of the area of Moss Side and Hulme and for those of who lived there at various times but it is just one aspect of a very vibrant and highly political community.
Listen,..Banga by Patti Smith. She is another Mikhail Bulgakov fan and her latest CD is named after Pontius Pilate’s dog in the novel,Master and Margarita. This is Patti’s 11th album and is as unique and one-off as she is. She is a performance poet, born out of the 60s, with all the weirdness that goes with that but her voice, songs and music are unique. This is an album that makes you want to listen to it over and over again. It doesn’t matter that you don’t know who Tarkovsky and Bulgakov are, it’s the songs that count..well, apart from the really bad rendition of Neil Young’s After the Goldrush. You can listen to an interview with her about Bulgakov here
Remember..each year the Red Cross commemorates those have disappeared in armed conflicts and gives support to their families. This year in Manchester they have organised a Community Arts Exhibition which includes artistic contributions from the community on the theme of “The Disappeared” or “The Missing”. It takes place Wednesday 29 and Thursday 30 August at Bridge 5 Mill, 22a Beswick Street, Ancoats, Manchester M1 7HR 9-5pm.
Join…the demo against Atos on Tuesday 28 August at noon at Albert Bridge House organised by Disabled People Against the Cuts. Atos are the government’s agent to throw 500,000 disabled people off benefits. They are also a sponsor of the Paralympics – how ironic is that?? Personally I do not understand why people feel the need to prove that they can run faster, lift heavier weights and perform better than other people, particularly as nowadays it is about who can access the right training to do so. It is interesting that the Proms are on at the same time and, although they get lots of publicity on the BBC, it would make a change for all people to be encouraged to understand and enjoy classical music. Maybe that would be encouraging people to think? Cannot have that. Back to the Paralympics then. Join us on Tuesday to show that we oppose the government’s decision to destroy the lives and civil rights of some of the most vulnerable people in society.