Selma….its 1965 and in this small town in Alabama black people make up 50% of the population but only 2% have been allowed to vote. This is the story of the campaign in Selma to get the vote and expose the corruption that lies at the heart of the political system in Alabama. Central to the story is the role of Martin Luther King and the movement for civil rights for the black population. It shows Martin to be a deeply human and compassionate person. We see him frightened of being killed, concerned about the effect of his political activity on his wife and children and horrified at the killing of adults and children as they oppose the racism which was, and some say still is, endemic in the American state. It is a deeply moving film because we know Martin is assassinated three years later but it is inspiring to see that given the worst of situations people fight back. We need that message in these dark times. Highly recommended.
..about the Shrewsbury 24. In 1972 building workers, including my Dad, went on strike. It was one of the most violent and challenging to the government . The strike lasted 12 weeks and they won a pay rise but did not get rid of the “lump” a system of taking higher pay whilst waiving rights. The government then went onto to charge. twenty-four pickets with conspiracy to intimidate, unlawful assembly and affray. Two men, Ricky Tomlinson and Des Warren were found guilty and jailed for two and three years. Many building workers were then blacklisted including Tomlinson and Warren. Today the 24 are still seeking justice. In this new play United we Stand the Townsend Productions use a mixture of song, political skits and cabaret to satirise the strike and the court case. See it at the Moston Miners on Saturday 28 February at 730pm, tickets £7.00 Join the men’s campaign for justice see
….one of Manchester’s most iconic buildings; the Portico Library and Gallery. Situated on Mosley Street in the city centre it was built between 1802 and 1806 by Thomas Harrison of Chester. It is a Grade 11 listed building. In 1806 it was opened as a subscription library and the library still exists in the upstairs of the building with its entrance on Charlotte Street. The library is beautiful and was designed by Harrison and built by David Bellhouse, one of its founders. They host lots of art exhibitions and talks. I love sitting in this unique and beautiful setting and enjoying their homemade lunches. Further info see
to some of the most beautiful music. Jean Sibelius is a Finnish composer but he is very popular in this country. Maybe it is because his music is so melodic, maybe it’s a northern hemisphere reaction. One of Britain’s best conductor’s, Simon Rattle , is performing them next week on BBC Radio 3 to celebrate the 150 anniversary of the birth of Sibelius. You can watch a documentary about Simon Rattle on BBC 2 Simon Rattle: The Making of a Maestro on Saturday 14th February. Listen to Sibelius’s symphonies 1-7 on 10/11/12 February. Further info see