I remember 1984. I was a student at Uni, we were dancing to Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Wham. It was nothing like George Orwell had predicted. At least, not in Deptford. Big Brother wasn’t watching me and, even if he was, I was probably too drunk to notice. But whilst I was idling away my life, I was more or less oblivious to the political landscape around me, including the miner’s strike. The only time it ever impacted on me was when my dear Grandad was taken ill and in his dying days, ranted about how Scargill would bring the country to its knees. I’m rather ashamed to admit, I don’t think I even knew who Arthur Scargill was.
‘Pride’ depicts events in 1984, when how Mark Ashton (Ben Schnetzer) and his friend Mike Jackson (Joe Gilgun) founded a support group for the striking miners. Unambiguously, the group was called Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) and it did what it says on their collecting tin. The Group raised money to support the families of striking miners and made contact with a Welsh mining village, which benefitted from the LGSM’s fund-raising. With a wonderful British cast including Imelda Staunton, Dominic West and Bill Nighy, the film depicts the ways in which two apparently disparate groups of people united for a common cause. The LGSM understood persecution, so they understood the plight of the miners.
The film is vibrant and funny, shot through with contemporary music and fashion, blended beautifully with the harsh realities of prejudice and hardship. It brought back a flood of memories about those early Eighties, including the scary media coverage about a new epidemic. AIDS. I was saddened but not surprised to learn at the end of the film that some members of the LGSM were affected by the disease. It somehow made what was achieved in a short life, all the more poignant.