Up for Love (Home). It looks like your average French film-glamorous woman, Diane, who is a lawyer meets attractive architect. Big difference is that architect, Alexander, is only 4ft 5inches tall. Alexander is much more than his height- he is funny, kind and exciting to be with. So, Diane is challenged by her own conservative views about men and women, but at least she realises it, unlike her ex-husband who wants to fight Alexander and her mother who cannot see beyond his height. Its a funny film with a serious theme; is discrimination just beneath the surface for most of us and how difficult is it to get beyond our narrow views of how people should look. Culturally the film seems very French; not sure it would be made in the same way in the UK but for once its lovely to watch a funny romantic film.
To a new play about Morrissey by northwest playwright Tim Keogh. “Thorn” is on Monday 15th August, 7.30 pm at the Kings Arms in Salford. He says; The play explores the angst ridden teenage years of Steven Patrick Morrissey from the cocoon of his bedroom into the half light of 1970’s Manchester as he wrestles with his sexuality supported by the love of David Bowie and Glam Rock and by his greatest ally, his Mother, and a girl he meets at a party. Book here
At the photos of Spanish photographer Javier Camanas which are on display at Partisan in Manchester from 5-15 August. Always lovely to see a newcomer’s view of the city and love this one (above of Manchester Town Hall). His other photos are of the more glamorous cities including New York and London. He says that in the exhibition “he looks to share his street photography, of people that were walking or still in that unique moment: they were there and “YOU WERE THERE”.
Chernobyl Prayer by Svetlana Alexievich. This weekend is the annual commemoration of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the only use of nuclear weapons in history. The bombings, part of the Western Allies policy to end WW2, killed 129,000 people and since then, approximately 1,900 people, or about 0.5% of the post-bombing population, are believed to have died from cancers attributable to radiation release.
Unlike the West the Soviet Union and its people saw nuclear power as the safest energy source in the world –until Chernobyl. On 26 April 1986 a series of blasts brought down Reactor No. 4 of Chernobyl’s nuclear power plant; the worst nuclear disaster of the 20th Century. Belarus is a small country of 10 million people – and had no nuclear power station of its own – but the effects of the blasts has meant that the country has lost 485 villages and towns; 70 will remain buried under the earth. The land is polluted, and 2.1m people are living in a contaminated zone of whom 700,000 are children. The effects of radiation has led to a massive decline in the population and every year, due to constant exposure to low doses of radiation, there is a rise in cancer rates particularly affecting children.
Svetlana’s book is written in her style of allowing individuals to tell their story with the minimum intervention of the author, except for one chapter where she outlines why she wrote the book entitled The author interviews herself on missing history and why Chernobyl calls our view of the world into question. This is a powerful book, not just because of the oral testimony of so many people who have been ignored by the official history of Chernobyl, but because the author is from Belarus and she puts the incident within a context of the world. It’s also fascinating because we/I have grown up in an era where we and organisations such as CND have questioned, debated, railed against nuclear power, but this was unlike the Soviet Union where nuclear power was seen as safe and reliable. That is why for people such as Svetlana and the people of Belarus, Chernobyl was the most important event of 20Cth. It took her 20 years to write this book, because as she says; “Chernobyl is a mystery that we have yet to unravel”. Buy it from