The Faber Book of Children\’s Verse
Janet Adam Smith (Faber 1963)
I still have my copy of this book with my childish ten-year-old’s signature written in it. It was the book that introduced me to poetry and I used to devour it in my room. I would recite it over and over again – poems by people like Lord Macauley, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Hilaire Belloc, William Blake, Shakespeare, among so many others. The primary school I went to had a poetry competition every year. You had to learn a poem and I thought if I learnt the longest poem I could find they would have to give me the prize. So I spent hours learning the whole of The Revenge by Tennyson and can still quote most of it to this day. ‘At Flores in the Azores Sir Richard Grenville lay …’ I didn’t win the prize, no doubt on account of me making everyone listen to something for such a long time.
Hergé (Le Petit Vingtieme 1929-1983)
This is probably not a very politically correct book to have listed in a publication like Red Pepper but I wasn’t aware of the implications of Hergé’s politics when I read it. The thing about it was that I read it in French and it was a brilliant way to learn the language because the pictures were such vivid illustrations of the words and it was always a cracking good yarn. When my sons were very young I read the stories to them, in English, and, similarly, it was a great way for them to learn how to read. I read all the stories, many times over, to all three of them. I could probably walk away with the Mastermind prize with Tintin as my subject.
Crime and Punishment
Fyodor Dostoevsky (Penguin Classics 1866)
I was knocked out by this book when I first read it. It revolves around the murder of a hated female moneylender by an impoverished student Raskolnikov, who struggles to justify his act on the grounds that he is a superior being, and by killing the old woman he is doing the world a service. The murder occurs early in the story and the main body of the novel examines the delirious state of Raskolnikov’s mind and the psychological battle with the detective trying to solve the case.
Burnt Norton, one of The Four Quartets
T S Eliot (Faber and Faber 1935)
To me this is the greatest attempt by any English writer to communicate the ideas of eastern, particularly Buddhist, religions of living in the present. He plays about with Time in a beautiful, profound, poetic way, always coming back to the notion that the only real exisitence is in the Now. But he doesn’t merely do it in an intellectual way, he somehow manages to give you a glimpse of the physical feeling of what it is like to truly live in the moment, even while acknowledging that there aren’t really the words to describe an experience that is, essentially, beyond words. ‘What might have been and what has been point to one end, which is always present.’
Harold Pinter (First performed in 1960)
I think I can fairly say that seeing The Caretaker for the first time in 1960 was the most memorable evening I’ve ever had in the theatre. Suddenly, for the first time, someone was creating characters who spoke in a way that I recognised from the street. They were real to me in the sense that they faltered, they hesitated, they weren’t always articulate, they were inconsistent. There was poetry in their everyday speech. And above all they were hilariously funny. I got hold of a text as soon as I could, and in the course of time have played all three of the characters in the play. I’ve performed in several of Pinter’s other plays and its been a rare privilege to have got to know and work with someone who had such a massive impact on me as a student.
The London A-Z
The A-Z Map Company
This might seem a flippant choice but in fact I’m a bit of a map obsessive and I’ve probably spent more time looking at this one than any other, by virtue of the fact I live in London. I love poring over maps and planning routes, almost to the extent that I prefer it to actually going there. Somehow its just as interesting to me to see that contour mark on the Ordnance Survey as to actually experience it. There’s something about a map that promises all kinds of possibilities that aren’t neccessarily always fulfilled when you get there.
The Magical Child
Joseph Chiltern Pearce (Plume 1992)
This is a seminal work that was something of a bible for my wife and myself when we were bringing up our children. Essentially it’s a book that acknowledges the innate intelligence of a baby before and after birth and encourages the parent to let the child develop its abilities at an appropriate pace, to trust in its own instinctive survival mechanisms and to explore the physical nature of the world without fear.
The Collected Works of William Shakespeare
I used to give puppet performances of Shakespeare as a child and he’s been a friend to me ever since. I’ve been wrestling with the infinite complexities and subtleties of the iambic pentameter and I’m always going back to the ones I love, and to the sonnets. I’m still surprised at how many of his phrases and sayings have become a staple of the English language.
Roger Lloyd-Pack is perhaps best known for his roles as Trigger in Only Fools and Horses, Owen Newitt in The Vicar of Dibley, the evil John Lumic in Dr Who and Barty Crouch in Harry Potter. He is currently working on a new comedy.
His selections can be purchased here.
A portion of the sales from purchases made through Red Pepper/Eclector’s book store contribute money to Red Pepper. Not all titles are available.
Hilary Wainwright argues against reclaiming populism for the left and for a leadership that supports people’s capacity for self-government
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Omar Barghouti asks whether Donald Trump, in his recent break with America’s long-standing support for the two-state solution, has unwittingly revived the debate about the plausibility, indeed the necessity, of a single, democratic state in historic Palestine?
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In 1972 David Widgery wrote about the bitter intensity of love in capitalism
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Emma Snaith speaks with directors Emer Mary Morris and Nina Scott about the power of theatre to encourage community resistance to estate demolitions.
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Photos from The World Transformed festival in Liverpool, by David Walters
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In the second article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr reflects on the silencing of black women and the flaws in safe spaces
How progressive is the ‘progressive alliance’?
We need an anti-austerity alliance, not a vaguely progressive alliance, argues Michael Calderbank
The YPJ: Fighting Isis on the frontline
Rahila Gupta talks to Kimmie Taylor about life on the frontline in Rojava
Joint statement on George Osborne’s appointment to the Evening Standard
'We have come together to denounce this brazen conflict of interest and to champion the growing need for independent, truthful and representative media'
Paul O’Connell and Michael Calderbank consider the conditions that led to the Brexit vote, and how the left in Britain should respond
On the right side of history: an interview with Mijente
Marienna Pope-Weidemann speaks to Reyna Wences, co-founder of Mijente, a radical Latinx and Chincanx organising network
Disrupting the City of London Corporation elections
The City of London Corporation is one of the most secretive and least understood institutions in the world, writes Luke Walter
#AndABlackWomanAtThat: a discussion of power and privilege
In the first article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr reflects on the oppression of her early life and how we must fight it, even in our own movement
Corbyn understands the needs of our communities
Ian Hodson reflects on the Copeland by-election and explains why Corbyn has the full support of The Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union
Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 15 March
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Social Workers Without Borders
Jenny Nelson speaks to Lauren Wroe about a group combining activism and social work with refugees
Growing up married
Laura Nicholson interviews Dr Eylem Atakav about her new film, Growing Up Married, which tells the stories of Turkey’s child brides
The Migrant Connections Festival: solidarity needs meaningful relationships
On March 4 & 5 Bethnal Green will host a migrant-led festival fostering community and solidarity for people of all backgrounds, writes Sohail Jannesari
Reclaiming Holloway Homes
The government is closing old, inner-city jails. Rebecca Roberts looks at what happens next
Intensification of state violence in the Kurdish provinces of Turkey
Oppression increases in the run up to Turkey’s constitutional referendum, writes Mehmet Ugur from Academics for Peace
Pass the domestic violence bill
Emma Snaith reports on the significance of the new anti-domestic violence bill
Report from the second Citizen’s Assembly of Podemos
Sol Trumbo Vila says the mandate from the Podemos Assembly is to go forwards in unity and with humility
Protect our public lands
Last summer Indigenous people travelled thousands of miles around the USA to tell their stories and build a movement. Julie Maldonado reports
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Red Pepper’s new race editor, Ashish Ghadiali, introduces a new space for black and minority progressive voices
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Jenny Nelson reports on a session at The World Transformed
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Angry about the #MuslimBan? Here are 5 things to do
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Who owns our land?
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Don’t delay – ditch coal
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Utopia: Work less play more
A shorter working week would benefit everyone, writes Madeleine Ellis-Petersen
Mum’s Colombian mine protest comes to London
Anne Harris reports on one woman’s fight against a multinational coal giant