Watch..the Battle of Algiers (1965) Like the North of Ireland to people in Britain in the 70s, so Algeria was to many French people in the 50s and 60s. An unknown part of the empire that few people visited or cared about. Algeria was as controversial a subject in French society, and this film shocked people out of their ignorance and lack of interest. It dramatizes the war that the Algerian people in the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN) waged against their French colonialists. The director, Gillo Pontecorvo, shows all sides of the story, as well as incorporating real and fictionalised characters in the drama. One of the most shocking episodes is when three Algerian women discard their veils and traditional dress for European garb so that they can get through checkpoints to plant bombs in French bars. It was a real incident and, like the Irish struggle, many Algerian women took part in the war. And, as you can imagine, the film was banned in France for many years and, even when it was shown over here and in the US, some of its scenes showing the French using electric shocks and water tortures against the Algerians were cut. It is a disturbing film and fifty years later in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan we see the so-called Western democracies impose the same human rights abuses. Its being shown by the Manchester Film Cooperative. For further details see
How far would you go for justice.. Desperate Measures.. the first production of the Manchester Shakespeare Company, adapted from the bard’s Measure for Measure is a story of comedy, power and lust set in present day fictional Mancia. John Topliff (founder of Three Minute Theatre) and Hannah Ellis are the directors. From October 23rd – 26th, 2013 at 730pm. You can book tickets at
Look at…one of my favourite artists, since he recreated the Battle of Orgreave, Jeremy Deller who has a new exhibition at the Manchester Art Gallery: All That Is Solid Melts Into Air. The exhibition is a mishmash of historical and pop icons, from pictures of industrial women workers to Noddy Holder’s family tree. Is it art or is it history?. Make your own mind up, I need to see it again Further details see
The personal is political… Alice Nutter’s play My Generation, which is set in Leeds over the last forty years, is about my generation, those of us who were involved in what is dubbed an alternative culture ie feminism and political activity. It revists a time when there was a lot of hope , particularly by young people and the working classes, and the highs and lows of the Miners Strike, the drug culture of the 90s and our present day austere and austerity society. We need more plays alongside political activity to remind us that we can win and give hope to the many generations of people who are despairing about the future. Further details see
Read my interview with Alice…see
Go to a meeting about drones…Ground the Drones at the Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount Street, Manchester, M2 5NS. 7pm, Thursday 17th October 2013 Over the past five years there has been a massive rise in the use of armed unmanned drones, often controlled from thousands of miles away, to launch deadly airstrikes. While supporters of drones say they are a ‘precise’ and ‘pinpoint’ accurate weapons, in Pakistan, Gaza , Afghanistan and Yemen, hundreds, perhaps thousands of innocent civilians have been killed. Come and learn more about drones, how they are being used and what is planned for the future. Together we can Ground the Drones! Listen to Chris Cole who is a researcher and activist. He is co-author of Convenient Killing: Armed Drones and the Playstation Mentality, secretary of the UK Drones Campaign Network and maintains the respected Drone Wars UK website (www.dronewars.net).
Hosing down the establishment….see what Belgian firefighters did in response to the government attacking their pensions…see