The feel good movie of the year, Pride, starring great character actors like Imelda Staunton and Bill Nighy has just hit the cinema screens countrywide to popular and critical acclaim.
Pride is set in London and the Welsh villages during the ’80s miners’ strike as an unlikely alliance and later friendship, is forged between hard-pressed miners and a group of lesbians and gays from the capital, moved to fund-raise for the miners.
The movie literally struck a chord for me, with a soundtrack featuring Bronski Beat bringing back memories of my gap year before University.
I was very trendy in the early 1980s, working in Our Price records, and we went to see the group in a club in Camden along with a performance poet called Jools, and a drag trio – the likes of which I had never seen before. It all felt very exciting.
Of course, by the time I was in my second year at University, they were using a Communards hit Don’t Leave Me This Way as the general processional at our Ballroom Dance Society lessons (subversive, it was not!) – how things change.
It is actually a really interesting time from the viewpoint of a Southerner as our experiences were so much more remote and, safe within the Home Counties, considerably more critical of the miners at the time. There appeared to be a direct challenge to the normal way of life – of course, this was true, but not in the way that it was being presented to us.
I remember seeing Brassed Off when we moved up here about 20 years ago and weeping because the news reports we had been brought up with were all about left wing revolutionaries trying to cripple to country and we had no idea about the individual family hardships and relationship turmoils.
It was an absolute eye-opener. It was only when I began talking more to friends up here that I realised the support here was totally different – it drove home how divisive the media reporting was then.
We were in Worksop recently seeing the NT Live: Streetcar Named Desire when my mother was asking why the town appeared to have been prosperous and now was so run down.
It is frightening when you are faced with the long-term results of such a devastating period for families, communities and country.