Culture

Five things to do or see this month

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Ordinary Giants: A Life and Times 1918–2018
by Robb Johnson, out now on CD
Ordinary Giants is a song suite by Robb Johnson about the life and times of his father, Ron Johnson, who served in the Second World War. It follows his acclaimed 1997 album Gentle Men, which looked at his grandfathers and the First World War. The many contributors on Ordinary Giants include the late Roy Bailey, Maddy Carty, Phil Odgers, Tom Robinson, Steve White, and even Dennis Skinner.

Martin Parr: Return to Manchester

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Almost 50 years ago, the teenage Martin Parr came up north to Manchester Polytechnic where he learnt his trade as a photographer, shooting in black and white. He looked for people, often managing to get close to them. He hung out in the city centre, Piccadilly Gardens, where he found young couples and fans of the Osmonds willing to pose for him. He explored every Yates’ Wine Lodge in the area on weekday dinner times, often rather sad places.

Sorry to Bother You

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Last August Boots Riley, the American rapper and activist, caused controversy by launching a blistering attack on Spike Lee’s blockbusting film BlacKKKlansman. Riley’s criticism revolved around whether police officers should be portrayed as allies in the fight against racism. For Riley, Ron Stallworth (BlacKKKlansman’s protagonist) “is the villain”.

Disobedience

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Disobedience is Chilean director Sebastian Lelio’s first English language film, a north-west London-set drama, based on the 2006 novel by Naomi Alderman. Compared to his previous film, 2017’s A Fantastic Woman, this is a downbeat, subtle story of two women who grew up in an orthodox Jewish community.

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.

A woman who created and recorded history

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A fascinating new exhibition in east London shows the work of suffragette and photographer Norah Smyth. The images, mostly taken from 1914 to 1916, record the work of the East London Federation of Suffragettes. They are on loan from the International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam and are displayed together for the first time.

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.

Charles Aznavour: a forgotten episode

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Charles Aznavour, the French singer and songwriter, died on 1 October, aged 94.

The son of parents who had fled the Armenian genocide during the First World War, his family’s involvement with the Communist resistance movement in Paris during the Second World War has not been given enough prominence in the obituaries that have appeared in the British press.

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