Ladies who Do (free on this link ) a fascinating comedy set in London in 1963 about women cleaners from the east end of London who use their inside knowledge to play the stock market, well, its not that different from bingo. Many of the women went onto to become regular actors on our television screens including Peggy Mount, Miriam Karlin and Harry H. Corbett. Its great seeing these feisty women trick the stockbrokers although in the end there is nothing revolutionary about the choices they make.The film is a reminder of how life has changed particularly in London. The east end of London is now a place where the rich live and cleaners are now more likely to be Latin American or African workers who travel long distances across London to get to work.
Girl at War by Sara Novic. A fascinating novel about a girl in Croatia as the war breaks out in 1991. I have seen some incredible documentaries about the war eg The Death of Yugoslavia and read the books of authors such as Slavenka Drakulic but this book is a reminder of what the war meant to ordinary people and particularly children.. Ana is 10 years old, living in the capital Zagreb, and has the normal life of a girl with her parents, baby sister and best friend, a boy Luka. The book dramatically begins; “The war in Zagreb began over a packet of cigarettes”. This powerful statement reflects a child’s view of how she sees the world and its a world that rapidly changes for the worst as civil war breaks out and her life is turned upside down. Normal becomes watching the destruction of her country on television as Ana comments; “The news became the backdrop to all our meals, so much that television lingered in the kitchens of Croatian households long after the war was over.” The novel spans ten years as Ana grows up and moves to the USA but for her the war doesn’t come to an end until she returns to Croatia and confronts her own past, revisiting the friends and places that were so much about her life. It is a powerful novel and one, that once I started reading, I wanted to find out what happened to Ana, her family and friends. Buy it at
Out about the lives of women asylum seekers in the play Still We Rise. It is a shocking play because of the way women asylum seekers are treated in this country. An example is that last week two Kuwaiti Bedouin women were “dispersed” in Manchester. They could not speak English, had no food etc. Through an informal network they were met, taken to a foodbank and reunited with friends who live in the city.Still We Rise is written and performed by Women Asylum Seekers Together They say about the play that it ; is a window into a world of unimaginable pain and immeasurable hope, culminating in a show of resilience as their fightback begins, all told first hand by the people who felt it”. Its on in Manchester and Bury on 13 and 16 April. See more at
Shakespeare’s birthday with 3MT and their unique take on his life in a new play; Will and Anne. Written by John Topliff and produced by Gina Frost it is another production from their own Manchester Shakespeare Company. Catch it 21-24 April only!
Together with other lefties at the Manchester May Day at the Mechanics Institute on 30 April from 1145am. There is a march and from 1pm-530pm there are lots of events in the Mechanics. One of the highlights, at 145pm in the Mary Quaile room, is a new play about the life of Manchester Irish trade unionist, Mary Quaile and the links between her life and those of present day fast food workers. Further details see