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


45 years
45 years (Home) is about older people and relationships, not the usual subject for British films. Kate and Geoff Mercer (Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay) are a couple about to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary when a letter from Switzerland reveals the fissures in their relationship. Its a film about older people looking back and wondering why they ended up where they are and with that person. More people divorce at 60 these days so Kate and Geoff are not the norm in that they are reaching their 45th milestone. Courtenay is brilliant as the grumpy old man, obsessed with a woman from his past, and unhappy with everyone around him who wants to make him happy. Rampling is breathtaking as the wife who, it seems, has given him everything including agreeing to not having children. It is all about loss and it is incredibly sad, particularly in the last scene when they are at their wedding anniversary party.

we were not
and see a film about Italian women partisans during the Second World War: We Weren’t Given Anything For Free. Learn about the lives of Annita ‘Laila’ Malavasi, Gina ‘Sonia’ Moncigoli and Pierina ‘Iva’ Bonilauri, who were not just battling the Nazis but the chauvinism of their men. They played a key role in the fight against fascism and this film shows what that meant to women who were only in their early 20s at the time. Central to the film is the interviews with the women and indeed their comments about women and politics today in Italy. Well done to the organisers of the screening as it is only the third time its been shown in the this country. Get down to the Castle pub on Oldham St. in Manchester on 3 Sept at 7pm. Donations please to encourage the organisers to show more political films!
You can check out the trailer here
Further details of the screening see


dead dog in a suitcase
a new adaptation of the Beggar’s Opera; Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs), a production by Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse. If the show is as exciting as the trailer it’s going to be  tremendous. A play for our time, again, it’s a musical satire on corruption, greed and big business. They say; . Trip-hop combines with folk, Renaissance polyphony with psychedelia, ska with grime and dubstep, to create a gorgeous and powerful musical mix. See it at Home on 11 Sept-26. Further details see

the fishermen
The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma (ONE Pushkin Press). This is a novel about Nigeria, and the hopes of dreams of one family. Set in 1993 the family in the book are not poor, their father is an employee of the Central Bank of Nigeria, their mother has her own business and the children go to school. The novel spins around the title. As their disciplinarian father leaves the family home, the four boys decide to break the rules; beginning with fishing in the local river. This first act of defiance leads the boys to fall out amongst themselves and the break -up of the family. But the novel is more than that: it has a lot to say about the state of Nigeria today. At one point in the book the boys become involved with MKO Abiola, a millionaire politician who it was believed won the 1993 election but ended up, not in power, but military detention. I love the way the novel is written, rooted in African storytelling, and reminds me of other great African writers such as Chinua Achebe. It is a story of great hope, by the father for his boys, but a bit like Nigeria, that hope is squandered despite the dreams of so many good people in the country. Chigozie says of The Fishermen it; “first came to me as a tribute to my many brothers, and a wake-up call to a dwindling nation-Nigeria.”

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. .If you want to contact me please use my gmail which is lipsticksocialist636
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