The Battle of Orgreave

New Statesman screening at Tate Liverpool

The Battle of Orgreave

The New Statesman and BFI celebrate the 2009 Trades Union Congress with an exclusive film screening at Tate Liverpool on Wednesday 16 September 2009 at 6.15pm of Mike Figgis's 2001 film The Battle of Orgreave. The film will be followed by a panel discussion hosted by Jonathan Derbyshire, culture editor of the New Statesman.

Figgis's film follows the re-enactment, conceived by the artist Jeremy Deller, of one of the most violent confrontations between pickets and police during the 1984-85 miners' strike in the streets and fields of Orgreave, South Yorkshire. Admission is free, so if you're in Liverpool tomorrow evening (the 16th), do come along. In the meantime, read Paul Routledge's wonderful piece for the NS about This Working Life: King Coal, the BFI's season of films made by the National Coal Board's film unit.

Jonathan Derbyshire is Managing Editor of Prospect. He was formerly Culture Editor of the New Statesman.

Photo: Getty
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Moss Side Public Laundry, 1979

A new poem by Pippa Little.

Childless I arrive with a rucksack,
own no Silver Cross steered topple-high
by the bare-legged women in check coats
and bulging shoes who load and unload
ropes of wet sheets, wring them out
to rams’ horns while heat-slap of steam
dries to tinsel in our hair, frizzles our lips
gritty with Daz sherbert dabs and the mangle,
wide as a room-size remnant, never stops groaning
one slip and you’re done for…

In the boom and echo of it, their calls swoop
over Cross-your-Hearts, Man. City socks,
crimplene pinks and snagged underskirts,
Maggie Maggie Maggie Out Out Out! blasts
from across the park, whole streets
get knocked out like teeth,
in a back alley on the way a man
jumped me, shocked as I was
by the fuck off! I didn’t know was in me

but which I try out now to make them laugh, these women
who scrub blood and beer and come
with red-brick soap, quick-starch a party dress
while dryers flop and roar
before their kids fly out of school,
flock outside for a smoke’s sweet rest
from the future bearing down of four walls and one man.

Pippa Little’s collection Overwintering (Carcanet) was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre Award. Her new book, Twist, was published in March by Arc. 

This article first appeared in the 20 July 2017 issue of the New Statesman, The new world disorder