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

WatchKinshasa Symphony (Cornerhouse) a documentary made in 2010 about the only symphony orchestra in Central Africa. The film is not just about the orchestra but also about the Congo, one of the most violent countries in Africa. The musicians are self-taught and rely on other jobs to make a living whilst dedicating themselves to their music and the orchestra. They get no funding from the government and have to pay for their own instruments, clothes and sheet music. There are many Congolese people in Manchester who have fled the war in their country, let’s hope they can get to the film or the concert given by the L’Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste at the Bridgwater Hall on the same evening. Watch a clip from the film at

Go to…the International Workers of the World meeting in Manchester. They are a very different kind of trade union from the British brands of Unite and Unison. They say; “The IWW’s unique approach to unionism is based on grassroots action and real democracy from the bottom up.” Their next meeting is an attempt to organise the downtrodden bar and hospitality workers and show them that organisation is the key to getting better pay and conditions. The meeting is 6pm on 8 September at Friends Meeting House. Further details see Have a look at their work in London see

Go on a tour.…of the John Rylands Library, one of the most distinctive buildings in Manchester (except for the glass extension!) I love the late-Victorian neo-Gothic architecture and the story of how Enriqueta Augustine Reynolds founded the library in memory of her husband Mr. Reynolds. The tours take place every Friday at 3pm, you do not need to book, just turn up. Further details see

Find out about.… Ashton-under-Lyne’s historic baths. Sadly Ashton is now best known for the blue box  Ikea monstrosity. These baths were built in 1870 and were at one time the largest municipal baths in Europe, it was closed a hundred years later when a modern swimming pool was opened. The building is Grade 111 listed and still has many of its original details intact. Gay Oliver is giving a talk about the history of the baths on Saturday 13 September, 1.45pm at the Tameside Local Studies and Archive Centre. Ring 0161-342 4242 to book a place.

Sign a petition…the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign says It is hypocritical and likely to be detrimental to community relations in the UK for the British government to be taking action against British Muslims who are fighting abroad while tolerating British Zionists participating in a military action that is being investigated for war crimes. Sign their petition at

Fancy yourself as a scriptwriter
….join this course at Oldham Library from 27th September – 1st November. Run by esteemed local playwright Cathy Crabb, Brandnewscripts is a six week course running on a Saturday from 2-4pm. For more information contact Cathy direct on cathycrabb@gmail.com Read my interview with her see

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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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