Watch…Museum Hours(2013) …when I go to an art gallery I speak to the attendants because they spend hours walking around an exhibition and they often have an interesting comment to make about it. This documentary/fiction is the story of Anne, a Canadian woman who has journeyed to Vienna to see a relative in a coma in a local hospital. She escapes from the hospital to the Kunsthistorisches Art Museum and by chance makes friends with Johann, one of the attendants. He is an interesting character, in his late 50s, previously a tour manager for a band and a woodwork teacher. Through his eyes we watch the people coming and going in the museum and their interaction with the pictures. He also takes Anne around his Vienna, which is framed by the director like the pictures in the museum. There is not a lot of dialogue, the background to Vienna and the pictures are the main characters, but there is a strong sense of atmosphere and of people’s histories which make this a fascinating film.
Are you angry about the media in Manchester and the lack of any real investigative journalism?…the Manchester Mule is looking for new people to run the paper and presumably fund it. The NUJ in Manchester and Salford have organised a meeting on 25 February at 6.30pm at the Mechanics Institute; Manchester Mule and the need for a Radical Free Press in Manchester. We need another Stephen Kingston of the Salford Star but it is up to organisations on the left in the city to fund a radical paper because political commitment alone cannot pay the bills!
Go to some International Women’s Day events…it’s kicking off on the 1 March in Manchester. The Manchester Feminist Network has an event that day at the Friends Meeting House. Events include workshops on singing, dancing and craftivism. Political events, I think that is what they mean, include Feminist Avengers Creative Activism and Lesbian and Bisexual Women seeking asylum. Further info, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Palestinian Solidarity campaign have a series of events across the northwest for IWD, the first one on the same day on Resistance, Survival and Identity, 6pm-9pm at Birch Community Centre, Rusholme. It include a meal and a film. £5. Further details see
Support…the campaign against the cuts in Legal Aid. A conference in Manchester “Legal Justice Together – Call for Action” on 15 March aims to bring together legal practitioners and those affected by the cuts to decide a plan of action to challenge the cuts in legal aid. Further info, email@example.com
Read…Civil and Strange by Clair Ni Aonghusa. Set in modern day Ireland it is the story of Ellen, who is in her mid-30s and leaves Dublin and a failed marriage to return to rural Ireland and a village where she spent her summers as a child. I really enjoyed it because it dealt with universal issues affecting women and men and also issues particularly to Ireland. Modern Ireland, to me, seems very much like over here. But the massive changes that have affected their society ie changes in the law including divorce and gay rights are still percolating through peoples’ lives. One comment in the book is that you can change the law but it is not so easy to change people’s prejudices. In Ireland there is still no abortion so a teenage pregnant girl is seen getting the bus to England and presumably an abortion. Ellen is also confronted with the gossip of locals when she starts a relationship with a younger man and which threatens her job in the local Catholic school. Clair’s book is one of the most insightful books I have read so far this year.
Learn about real direct action….I am constantly stunned by the way in which people (including trade union members) are so accepting of the cuts in public services and I ask myself – why are they not angry? Watch this video here for some real trade union action by the Blacklisting Campaign, who are not prepared to allow the heads of companies such as McAlpine get away with destroying their lives…
More information on the Blacklisting Campaign here