It wasn’t the subject matter which put me off, it was the singing. I’ve never liked musicals, not even supposed comedy ones, the songs always seem contrived, the melody sadly lacking in favour of the words which only serve to further the story or punch line. But I was pleasantly surprised by the catchy tunes by Tom Parkinson in a Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer sung by the cast of Complicite and the beautiful voice of Naana Agyei-Ampadu along with a wonderful cast and a touching performance from Amanda Hadingue. In fact some of them are still going around in my head. The refrain ‘my poor, poor body’ that particularly resonated as it evoked the care we feel surge in ourselves when our body enters the ‘Kingdom of the Sick’ as defined by Susan Sontag.
The book, a Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer by Bryony Kimmings and Brian Lobel translated into a stage production by the wonderful Complicite (having seen nearly every production by Complicite, it was one of the reasons I was keen to see this) and it is a very heartfelt and honest production. Certainly a brave attempt to expose the many unspoken aspects of cancer that patients recognise as so familiar yet so hidden.
Continue reading Review: A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer
This October, the US Navy and Israeli Air Force each took a pink fighter jet to the sky to join the fight against breast cancer. In the USA, the F9F-8 Cougar was painted a vibrant shade of pink called “Heliconia.” USS Lexington Director of Operations and Exhibits Rusty Reustle got the idea from a technique he saw during the filming of “Pearl Harbor.” The pink paint job is not permanent. A dishwashing liquid is added to the latex paint to make it removable.
These jets are weapons of war. This outrageous PR act serves only one end – to spin a weapon of war as a benign tool for public health and in neither country should this be allowed to stand. Continue reading Pink-washing at its most extreme
On Monday 31st October, we had a very special evening to mark the final day of Breast Cancer Prevention Month with From Pink to Prevention’s evening dedicated to the writing of Barbara Brenner, hosted by UNISON. Barbara was the American activist who first described the commercialisation of breast cancer as ‘pink-washing’ and who, in her many years of campaigning, also spoke loudly about breast cancer as a disease with environmental and occupational risk factors which needed addressing urgently.
Barbara’s partner of 38 years, Susie Lampert, shared some of Barbara’s writings by reading a selection of extracts. This included an incredibly moving article about the nature of activism and the need for health activists to stay true to their cause and beliefs, no matter how tough or how long the struggle may be. Continue reading Tribute to an American activist who spoke out on breast cancer
We’re delighted to see our October TOOLKIT poster has been translated into German and shared by colleagues in the USA and Canada. In Australia, we’re especially happy that our colleague Di Ward has been able to push the Toolkit out to a number of the key organisations in her home country with a very positive response from the Australian Women’s Health Network – a leading nationwide voice on such matters. In Scotland, our colleagues at Challenge Breast Cancer Scotland were recently at the Scottish TUC annual conference and found the resource an invaluable way in to explain to the general public just what our concerns are and we all need to be better informed on this issue.
Continue reading Reaching women around the world with our toolkit poster