By Ben Harker
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Extra info for Class Act: The Cultural and Political Life of Ewan MacColl
And saying, “This is my world! ”’48 It was a mood he’d later capture in his song ‘Dirty Old Town’. ñó Jimmie’s conversion unleashed confidence and heightened his impatience with the Clarion Players. 49 He was politically dissatisfied with their repertoire, which seemed mired in a previous era and hidebound by the belief that capitalism could be gradually transformed into socialism. Newly acquainted with the exacting discipline of Communist Party meetings, he found fault with the leisurely pace of rehearsals: the group were intent on tackling fulllength plays, but rarely sustained the momentum to finish anything.
40 She was a rebellious artist without a cause; he was radicalism embodied, without the training or vocabulary to give theatrical form to his many causes. 42 ‘Our views’, MacColl wrote in his autobiography, ‘coincided at almost every point. ’43 They made a gawky pair – he was freckly with big ears; she was boyish, waif-like, gap-toothed. Caught up in revolutionary zeal, their relationship deepened over the autumn of 1934. She joined the Communist Party and became Jimmie’s girlfriend. ’44 Jimmie was now running rehearsals three or four nights a week, and would even give up his Sunday rambling.
137 The campaign was certainly managed with media awareness not typical of the Communist Party. 138 The tone of the piece was unsympathetic – the more conservative Sheffield Ramblers Federation promptly denounced the BWSF’s plans – but the story carried the news of the trespass far beyond those who could have been reached by leafleting and chalking slogans. Rothman had planned to begin the trespass by holding an open-air meeting in Hayfield village recreation ground; the police, who turned out in force on the day, instantly issued an injunction prohibiting it.
Class Act: The Cultural and Political Life of Ewan MacColl by Ben Harker