Watch….. Parks and Recreation (DVD) it was on BBC4 but the series has now finished. Set in the fictional town of Pawnee in Indiana,USA, it centres on a group of people working in the Parks and Recreation department. Actor Amy Poehler plays Leslie Knope, a manager: her hero is Hilary Clinton, and, apart from making her town the best place to live, she dreams of one day getting to the White House. Alongside her workplace colleagues she relentlessly dreams up crazy plans to raise the profile of Pawnee. The show is filmed in a mockumentary style with the characters speaking to camera. It isn’t sickly sweet but is a satire on the idealism of American life and small town parochialism. Played for laughs, but it has some serious issues running through it, including one episode of the series when city goes broke. Couldn’t happen here could it????
Go see … Lounge Fest at the Contact Theatre, 10 days of free events set up by the Contact Lounge team starting on Tuesday 20th August. The Lounge Fest highlight looks set to be ‘Contact Compacts’, two nights of new short plays which, as well as including a handful of Liverpool’s Annexe Writers, also features Manchester Theatre Award Winner and 24:7 Alumnus, Ian Winterton. There are some interesting plays being debuted, including commentaries on the economic crisis we are all experiencing as well as sexual politics. Further details see
Fight the Bedroom Tax…across Manchester there have been over £250 million pounds of cuts to the public services and 15,000 households are being hit by the Bedroom Tax and facing eviction. It is not all the fault of the Tory Government as the housing trusts running areas such as Wythenshawe could redesignate the housing stock, but the Labour members who are on the boards of these housing trusts are refusing to do so. People are fighting back and the Wythenshawe Smash the Cuts are organising a march against the Bedroom Tax on 30 August. To join the campaign see http://www.facebook.com/groups/smashcuts
Read…the Ragged -Trousered Philanthropists. A classic of working class literature, written by Irish man Robert Tressell.(His real name was Noonan). The book was not published until after his death. He commented on the book;”Being the story of twelve months in Hell, told by one of the damned, and written down by Robert Tressell. Robert was a house painter and the book is an expose of the poverty and exploitation facing working class people. It is a Marxist critique of the lives of workers who very often acquiesce in their own exploitation and Robert attacks those who do so , but he also provides a socialist alternative. The book is unique because he wrote it at a time when Britain was changing, as many progressive socialist organisations were formed including the Labour Party. You can find out more about the book by visiting http://www.raggedtrousered.com/1.html an organisation which was set up last year to promote the book and its philosophy.
Celebrate Peterloo..the anniversary is on 16 August…and local trade unions have organised a social at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester (around the corner from the event). It’s nearly 200 years since 80,000 met at St.Peters Fields to demand parliamentary reform; they were attacked by the local yeomanry and 18 people were killed and many injured. Join speakers plus radical singer Claire Mooney, poet Dave Puller and Salford rap collective Class Actions to mark the event. Further details see
Or if you prefer a walk….Saturday 17 August, 11.45am The Story of the Peterloo Massacre, 1819
On 16 August 1819 an unarmed, peaceful crowd, gathered in the centre of Manchester to demand basic political rights, was attacked by the military, resulting in many deaths and injuries. This walk will explore the political and historical background and trace the events on the day. £6/£5
Meeting point: Friends Meeting House, Mount Street
The walk will be led by Michael Herbert from Red Flag Walks, more information, firstname.lastname@example.org