Sunday, 7 September 2014

'Pride' at Brixton Ritzy… and Mark Ashton

I went to see 'Pride' again tonight, this time at Brixton Ritzy. Yes, it still is a great film that everyone must see, but my thoughts were largely about what Fay Marsay (who plays the gobby northern lesbian) said in the Q&A after the NFT screening. Where are our activists today?

I thought of Mark Ashton who, in the film, sets up Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. He was a year younger than me and died in 1987 of HIV when he was 26. He was an activist who changed lives - including mine - but why don't we know about him? He ought to be a hero of the miners' strike, of the young communists, of gay liberation and where is he? Who knows his name?

Do his parents know about this film? What about his brothers and/or sisters? Are they proud of him? Is he mentioned in the annals of the National Union of Miners and the Labour Party? I don't know, but he clearly should be. Obviously, he didn't do it all himself but someone needs to light the touch paper, someone needs to make the first move and, in the telling of the tale, this was Mark.

Has anyone written the story of his short life? I'd like to know more.

This film means that I know his name and will remember him. Everything starts somewhere and this part of the miners strike started with him *fist in the air*.

1 comment:

Tomboktu said...

You might be interested to know that Sole Purpose theatre company has a play "Pits and Perverts" in RADA, London, for three nights 1-3 October.