Stop,Look,Listen…my weekly selection of favourite films, books and events to get you out of the house

Watch….Community It’s a US series set in an adult education college with a collection of unconventional students and the script one long satire on sitcom tropes and popular culture from Star Wars to zombies. The leader of the gang is Jeff, a lawyer, who lost his job because he didn’t have a degree, he lusts after another student, Britta, who was a political activist and is now trying to get an education. They are joined by Shirley who is into Christianity and is a surrogate mother to the group; Abed, a Muslim young man who is obsessed with film and TV and has Asperger’s; Annie, who looks like the archetypal good girl but is a recovering drug addict; Troy, an ex-high school football star; and Pierce, an older man who is a millionaire and who is always on the outside of the group trying to get in. Some of the dialogue is just unintelligible to non-Americans, but it is extremely funny and becomes more bizarre as you watch each of the episodes.

Read.…..In the Sea There are Crocodiles (Vintage books) by Fabio Geda. Fabio is an Italian novelist who works with children who have problems. When he was doing the launch of a previous book, which was the story of a Romanian boy’s life in Italy, he met Enaiatillah Akbari. Ena approached him and told Fabio his story, and this book is the culmination of those conversations. Fabio says the book is a work of fiction because he has had to recreate Ena’s experiences from those conversations and some of the names have been changed. Having read many stories of refugees I did not expect to be shocked and horrified by Ena’s experiences; but I was. He is a Hazara, who are a minority community in the province of Ghazni in Afghanistan. Life is very difficult for Hazaras, and they are badly treated by the Taliban and Pashtun, so Ena’s mother decided when he was 10 years old to take him to Pakistan. When they got to Pakistan she left him, and he had to make a life for himself. The novel is the story of his journey to Italy, a story of scraping a living, making friends and trying to make sense of this new world. Alongside his incredible story is that of all the people who help him along the way, the strangers who give him food, clothes, bus tickets etc and make his escape possible. The really sad aspect of the book is that he had to leave his family and the place he loved to lead a safe life, an indictment of the way in which the West has destroyed countries such as Afghanistan and the hopes of children such as Ena.

Listen to…. The Anti-Capitalist Roadshow double CD: Celebrating Subversion. Twenty nine songs and one visionary poem on 2 CDs from singers & songwriters Frankie Armstrong, Roy Bailey, Robb Johnson, Reem Kelani, Sandra Kerr, Grace Petrie, Leon Rosselson, Janet Russell, Peggy Seeger, Jim Woodland and socialist magician Ian Saville. Eleven different voices with one aim – to oppose the ideologically driven austerity programme imposed by this millionaire government on all but the elite and to challenge the narrative that says there is no alternative. Release date 26 November but available now from Fuse Records. Send a cheque for £16 (inc. p.&p) to Fuse Records, 28 Park Chase, Wembley, Middlesex HA9 8EH. Make the cheque out to Fuse Records. Don’t forget to include your address.

Go to….the next talk in the Invisible Histories series on Wednesday 14 November at 2pm at the Working class Movement Library. Michael Herbert recounts the story of the Women’s Freedom League (1907-1961), an often overlooked suffrage organisation, whose members included Charlotte Despard, Hannah Mitchell and Teresa Billington. All welcome, admission free. Michael will also be doing a talk on the same day at 6pm in the Lydia Becker Room, City Library, about his new book “Up then Brave Women” Manchester’s Radical Women 1819-1918. More details here

Celebrate….A free event at the People’s History Museum. Celebrate the Luddites’ 200th Anniversary  on Sunday 18 November from 2pm  to 5pm. 2012 is the 200th anniversary of the Luddites’ uprisings against the  machinery which was destroying weavers’ livelihoods. This cultural celebration will include music by One Accord, talks, exhibitions and artwork. It is organised by the PHM and Luddites200 – a network of historians, scientists, artists and activists, which has been organising events to celebrate the Luddites’ 200th anniversary. Booking advised: please contact 0161 838 9190 or info@phm.org.uk

Get involved….derbyfiftythousand peopleclub  are organising a meeting about the cuts and privatisation agenda at the Quad in Derby on 15th November at 730pm. more details at derby50k.co.uk

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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. I am a member of the Manchester and Salford National Union of Journalists.If you want to contact me please use my gmail which is lipsticksocialist636
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