Saturday, 10 September 2011

Saved by the post

Yesterday was not the best of days. You don't need to know why, but it was saved by the post. You know, that old fashioned stuff that comes through a hole in your door. Top of the charts here was the Searchlight Education Trust special publication on the 75th anniversary of Cable Street. Never mind that it drew on and gave great coverage to our five new books on the subject, Steve Silver has put together a very attractive and readable pamphlet, which included his own family stories of the Battle. You can get hold of Steve's pamphlet on for four pounds. On the same subject, the latest of the dozens of Cable Street events is a party by Jewdas in Brick Lane on 1st October. "Party like it's 1936" they say. Kids, eh? Also in the post was a tenth anniversary compilation from Jewish Renaissance, a magazine that regularly reviews our books, features the occasional article by me and whose poetry editor is Liz Cashdan (currently waiting patiently for Five Leaves to publish her "New and Selected" in 2013). Janet Levine, editor of JR, said that people doubted the journal would last two years (or even two issues) when it started. Congrats to her and her team for JR's success.

Back to Cable Street - we now have a bundle of brochures advertising Cable Street 75 March and Rally on 2nd October, which we are sponsoring. The speakers at the rally include Maurice Levitas, aged 96, a Cable Street veteran, who will also be at our collective book launch the same afternoon.

Sticking to the labour movement, I also received Voices of Wortley Hall: the story of Labour's Home, 1951-2011 by John Cornwell. Some years ago I was one vote in the crowd at Wortley, a stately home near Sheffield (pictured) owned by the labour movement, taking part in a bitter inter-union dispute about the level of modernisation necessary at Wortley. I can't remember now whether I voted for the FBU or the AUEW slate, but I was in favour of en-suite bedrooms for all. Nothing is too good for the working class. Wortley has continued to modernise - it is a major wedding venue - and keep its links with the trade union movement. The best stories are of course those of the early years when strong characters, and passing strangers, achieved the impossible. In passing, one of the descendants of the Earl of Wharncliffe (whose family originally owned the building) trying to join as a member. He was turned down as he did not have a trade union card. He promptly joined the Musicians Union so he could, presumably, buy the odd pint in the bar in his old family home. The book does not have an ISBN but can be ordered over the phone for £10 plus £2.50 postage from Wortley Hall on 0114 2882100.

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