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





public eye

 Public Eye (DVD.) As drama on our television screens seems to be dominated by murder and violence, it’s good to remind ourselves that there was a time when stories about the seediness and smallness of  people’s lives  were seen as important subject matter for a prime time series.  Public Eye  ran for ten years from 1965-75, starring esteemed actor  Alfred Burke as  a private detective (a spin on the title Public Eye) Frank Marker alongside many other up and coming  actors.  The  1969 series, set in Brighton,   begins with Frank coming out of prison after having been framed. He is now on probation, watched over by a benign probation officer who sorts out lodgings and a job (unbelievable today) for him.  Frank gets lodgings with an Irish landlady (played wonderfully by Pauline Delaney)  and settles back into his new life. The problems faced by ex-prisoners are played out as he tries to settle into working for a construction company and creating a new life. Watching the series is looking back at another era, pre-decimal, the shabbiness of Brighton and  also Windsor where the later series were shot.   There is nothing glamorous about the series:  it’s downbeat 60s and 70s Britain with all the attitudes and mores that went with it. His landlady has to pretend  to be  a widow to satisfy 60s attitudes to women whose  husbands have  deserted them.  Early series were made in black and white, which gives Frank’s life an added layer of shabbiness, although he comes over as a decent man trying to  make a living and dodge the corruption and immorality of the times.

Watch an episode here



international w m

International Workers Memorial Day on 28 April at noon  in Albert Square, Manchester. It may be C21st Britain but people are still being injured and dying in workplaces across this country. The  Blacklisting Campaign  showed that, even on multi million pound public service contracts, large companies were breaking UK and EU legislation on health and safety. Join campaigners on 28 April to raise the  importance of these issues and remember those people who have lost their lives just by going to work. Support the Hazards Campaign who are a voluntary group which  support people and their families who have been injured or lost their lives at work.



the hammer blow

The Hammer Blow, How Ten Women Disarmed a Warplane by Andrea Needham. It’s twenty years  since ten women took direct action to try and stop a British plane being sent to take part in a war in East Timor which  was  killing thousands of its citizens. Read the account of one of the women, Andrea Needham, and find out  why she decided not just  to become an activist, but also  to face a trial and potentially  prison for her political views .

Andrea did not learn her politics from her middleclass rural Suffolk family. Instead as a young woman she joined her sister in the USA and got involved in the campaign against the US funding of rightwing groups such as the Contras in Nicaragua,  and worked in community based projects which provided food and shelter for poor people. Working with the people who had been excluded from the system led her to question the  way in which the poor were treated in one of the richest countries in the  world. From there Andrea returned to England  and became involved in non-violent direct action in the peace movement . Her involvement in opposing the war in East Timor and the campaign; The Seeds o f Hope East Timor Ploughshares action led to her arrest and imprisonment.

Much of the book is taken up with her and her comrades  time in prison, preparing for the trial and their defence case.  They are not heroes, but ordinary women who have all the weaknesses and doubts that we all have who take part in politics. Unlike most activists, they were prepared to put themselves and their politics on the line, which could have meant 10 years in prison if found guilty.  Their story shows how a small group of activists can make a difference, and reveals the reality  which is that our government is complicit in maintaining some of the most despotic regimes in the world.

Find out how to get involved through the Campaign against the Arms Trade see .Buy this book at

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
This entry was posted in Blacklisting campaign, book review, drama, education, films, human rights, labour history, Manchester, peace campaigns, trade unions, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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