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Matthew Edwards Ewan MacColl [2015 Centenary] (46) RE: Ewan MacColl [2015 Centenary] 23 Jul 13

Les, personally I think a centenary commemoration and celebration in Salford and Manchester of Ewan MacColl/Jimmie Miller in 2015 is an excellent idea. If you and Shimrod and Fred want to start the ball rolling I'm happy to come on board.

The late Terry Whelan used to organise some very enjoyable and interesting memorial events, and it might be possible to build on some of his achievements. Obviously the most important person to discuss plans with is Peggy, who quite possibly is already thinking on these lines.

Following Ben Harker's biography 'Class Act' I think it is certainly a good time to examine what MacColl achieved, as well as what he didn't achieve. So although a celebration is appropriate I think you'd have to include some critical responses too.

Given that he is still capable of stirring up controversy I'd expect that some people would refuse to attend any celebration of his life, while others would happily do their best to disrupt it. Some people might not come if certain others are invited, while others might not participate if some topics are to be discussed (such as his wartime record).

It would be worth approaching the Working Class Memorial Library and the People's History Museum for support, but I wonder about approaching the BBC too. Given that Archie Harding at BBC Northern Region was one of the first to give Jimmie Miller an opportunity, now that the BBC has "returned" to Salford they might consider a look back at his radio career as part of their own history.

These are just some thoughts, but I agree with Fred that MacColl is someone worth celebrating, not just for his songs and his politics but also for his theatre and radio work and for his championing of the travelling community.


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