We won't be like that again.
January 26, 2009 10:23 PM   Subscribe

Behind The Rent Strike [YouTube playlist; six parts of 50ish min. documentary] Nick Broomfield's graduation piece, a documentary on the 14-month rent strike by the people of Kirkby New Town, near Liverpool, which began in late 1973 in response (it wasn't the only one) to the Heath government's Housing Finance Act. Broomfield gets plenty of insight from local people and examines the social conditions behind the events. Great viewing of good film-making and an opportunity for a bit of nostalgia if you're a viewer from round that way.
posted by Abiezer (8 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Got the date wrong; the rent strike started in 1972. The edit feature's looking to have great teeth and a glossy mane right now.
posted by Abiezer at 10:44 PM on January 26, 2009

Oh for the days when Liverpool was a genuinely radical city, rather than the self-pitying caricature of itself that it has since become.

Here's a copy on Google as a single film, rather than as four bits.

This is great. Thanks Abiezer.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:35 PM on January 26, 2009

Peter, Your views might have been true last century, have you been to Liverpool recently??
posted by gallagho at 2:21 AM on January 27, 2009

Lol just read your profile. I don't see much self pity from my side of the water but hey what do I know...
posted by gallagho at 2:31 AM on January 27, 2009

Thought you'd enjoy this PeterMcDermott. I had a rural childhood so some parts - about life on those big estates - were very different (we were never short of fields to play in) but the school scenes brought back memories, even if I am a bit younger than the kids in the film. Particularly enjoted the copper setting out how only authority and the Thin Blue Line stand between us an a blood-soaked war of all against all.
The woman who's interviewed at the start and then later again a couple of times is fantastic; also enjoyed that bit where another woman reminisces about bumming round Ireland for a bit busking before the factory got her.
posted by Abiezer at 5:54 PM on January 27, 2009

Yeah, that first scene is wonderful. A bit of good luck for the filmmakers to have encountered her. And a bit of good judgement to have opened with her.

This is really, really good.
posted by regicide is good for you at 6:38 PM on January 27, 2009

This is the Liverpool that I grew up in. I was born in the old heart of the city, but by the 60's they were tearing down our old communities and shipping us out to the new towns with the promise of green fields and brand new houses. My parents had the good sense to resist, despite the fact that we were the last people left in our street, and so we were rehoused within two miles of where my parents had always lived, but people who were sent out to the new towns were robbed of community -- something you get a sense of when you see the terrible litter and vandalism at those flats with the bad drains. And shortly after this, they were robbed of their jobs as well, as the American-owned multinational firms relocated to countries were labour was cheaper. One of the reasons why I invariably take a perverse pleasure in watching the same thing happen to American jobs thirty years on.

In those days though, the city was defined by its sense of both radicalism and of genuine community. Although we lived in slums, women scrubbed the pavement outside their houses every day, and if their next door neighbour was getting on in years, they'd do theirs as well. And all of my family were shop floor factory workers, active in the union, at Dunlops, Ford, British Leyland, etc. so these struggles were the meat and gravy of my childhood. One of my very own early recollections was my mother organizing other local mothers to take a protest up to the school to object to Margaret Thatcher's early iteration as milk snatcher -- stealing free school milk from the mouths of working class children.

So this was a trip down memory lane for me.

Interesting also is how unlike the modern Liverpool accents the accents in the movie are. At that time, the accent still bore traces of its Lancashire roots, now long indetectable.

That woman in the opening shots puts me very much in mind of local media whore Margi Clarke, who came from Kirkby and whose mum was a Labour councillor in that area. I wonder if it was her mum?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:21 AM on January 28, 2009

In a few year's time, there's no doubt about it, you'll start forming ideas.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:54 PM on January 28, 2009

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