Nick Grant

Starts Again

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After a globetrotting decade as a backing singer, Tawiah finally releases an album of her own. Ironically titled “Starts Again”, it is the fruit of collaborations in those years with Sam Beste and Alex Reeve of Hejira. She honoured Sam by singing the standard “For All We Know” at his father’s funeral last year. Other backing musicians at its live launch last October in her native Deptford now play in Michael Kiwanuka’s band.

Green Book

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“Driving while black” is no 21st century curse. Since the earliest days of the motor car black American drivers have faced oppression. At petrol stations, restaurants, resorts and motels white supremacy has reigned.

Thus Harlem postal worker Victor Hugo Green compiled a guidebook in 1936 so that “the negro motorist” could “vacation without aggravation”. It was unknown beyond black families and ceased publication in 1966.

Roma

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Yalitza Aparicio. Remember her name. As an amateur debutante she plays Cleo in Alfonso Cuarón’s latest film Roma. It’s a semi-autobiographical tale of upstairs/downstairs life in his native Mexico City, set in 1971 when he would have been ten.

Cleo is one of two live-in workers for the middle class family whose male doctor head deserts them, leaving mum, four young kids and gran to face their futures together poorer.

22 July and Utoya – July 22

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On 22 July 2011 a Norwegian neo-Nazi stunned the world with his cold-blooded slaughter of 77 people. Another 242 were seriously injured, many permanently disabled.

Most victims were members of the Norwegian Labour Party at a Workers Youth League camp on the tiny island of Utoya. Eight of the deaths plus most casualties were caused by his van-bombing of a government building in Oslo earlier the same day.

Two films; few answers

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Nick Grant contrasts two new films on the neo-Nazi atrocity in Norway in 2011.

On 22 July 2011 a Norwegian neo-Nazi stunned the world with his cold-blooded slaughter of 77 people. Another 242 were seriously injured, many permanently disabled.

Most victims were members of the Norwegian Labour Party at a Workers Youth League camp on the tiny island of Utoya. Eight of the deaths plus most casualties were caused by his van-bombing of a government building in Oslo earlier the same day.

Traveling Soul

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This Is My Country. People Get Ready. We’re A Winner. Mighty, Mighty (Spade and Whitey). Keep On Keepin On. Future Shock. We Gotta Have Peace. Power To The People. Ever since the Middle Passage, African-American struggles for freedom, justice and dignity have had a soundtrack.

At first it may only have been patterns beaten on a resonating surface and field songs of cruel Southern plantation work. But their steady elaboration into country blues, urban jazz and Sunday gospel forms became electrified after millions migrated north before and during the Second World War.

Idiotism

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Neal Curtis

You might recognise Neal Curtis' exasperation that: "Privatisation and the associated practices of deregulation, competition, and marketisation have achieved such ascendancy that it is almost impossible to challenge this discourse without seeming to be out of touch, backward, romantic, or even politically sectarian, unwilling to bend the knee to corporate absolutism"

We do indeed face idiotic politicians - like UK ministers George Osborne and Michael Gove. They dogmatically impose mean, whimsical, unworkable, wasteful and regressive policies.

Ken Loach at the BBC

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Today Ken Loach is an internationally feted filmmaker. But he was also once a prophet in his own country. Working with a generation of radicals, he excelled at what became known as the drama-documentary - a TV genre that was socially engaged, aesthetically experimental and politically influential. It made working class people the subject of public service broadcasting. This essential collection has many of the key works which now deserve the widest rescreening for their enduring relevance and artistic courage.

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