Watch…. People for Tomorrow | Selma James: Our Time Is Coming…Selma, campaigner and writer, made this programme for the BBC in 1971. She had been a factory worker and typist and in this programme she highlights the unpaid work of women, both as mothers and carers. It is of its era as she interviews women in Women Liberation Groups which range from Belsize (posh area) to Peckham (poor area) and gets them to speak about what it means to be a housewife and the relationship they have with their partners and children. Groundbreaking at the time but times have changed so much over the last forty years. Nowadays many of these women will be in work, more likely to be single parents and some of them will have got better jobs through the expansion of the public services and education.
What I really liked was the interview with the women from the Birmingham Claimants Union, a group of women who were challenging the sexism of the Job Centre and their attitude to single parents. The film ends with a demo by trade union women for equal pay ( a really big issue in 1971) and interviews with women in engineering who are angry about their lower pay but are positive that times were changing. Although forty years old there are plenty of lessons for us today, particularly around defending the benefits of vulnerable groups. Find out more about Selma at
Go see.. Counting the Days, a new play by New Moon Theatre, which is about staff facing redundancies and the effect it has on their lives. It is great to see a theatre company taking up issues that are affecting so many people. It is on at Three Minute Theatre, so support a theatre which gets no public funding, but supports new plays and young actors and writers.
Did you march in 2003 against Blair’s adventures in Iraq? And did you feel disillusioned when he went ahead with the war? Ian Sinclair’s book; The March that Shook Blair explores how we did have an effect on Blair’s actions in Iraq and he puts into context the importance of the anti-war movement. Listen to his arguments at the WCML see
Read...The Witch & Her Soul by Christine Middleton. Set in Lancashire in 1612 and 1652 Christine has written a fascinating, fictionalised, account of the politics of that era. Jane Southworth is the main character and it is through her life we learn that being the daughter and then wife of a nobleman is no defence when the King decides to target learned women as witches. It is a time when being able to read and write or run your own household is enough to get your arrested and killed. Christine has created complex female characters in Jane and Alice Nutter showing how it is really their humanitarianism that the King really wants to destroy. Buy it at
Listen to.….Rimur a collection from Steindor Andersen, a fisherman and chanter/singer of traditional Icelandic epic poetry. Rimur is a style of musical chant and this CD includes a variety of rimur chants. Steindor regularly performs with Sigur Ros. I really like this CD as it shows the beauty of Steindor’s voice and evokes Iceland.