The shipyard painter, political activist and razor-sharp cartoonist Bob Starrett has just written a new book The Way I See It on his eventful life and times. Below we reprint one of his stories and review an essential read
Mikron Theatre's latest production has hit a nerve with its audiences - even before they started touring the show, it had sold out in most of its northern venues.
Can You Keep A Secret? is set in Mikron's home town of Marsden and, with only four actors and a minimal set, the show tells the story of the croppers who turned to Luddism as their trade faced decimation by new technology.
They organised a people's army of Luddites who gathered on the Yorkshire moors at night and then went on to ransack mills and physically challenge the mill owners.
The play begins with an unemployed cropper begging in the streets of London and then switches back in time to west Yorkshire, where we learn how the Luddites were a secret society where new members were "twisted in."
There is a literal plot twist too as the newest member is the daughter of the mill owner who opposes her fathers' determination to get rid of his craftsmen.
Linked with the local story is the reaction of the government and the play shows their panic as the Luddites gain support from the local population.
Scenes featuring the Prime Minister Percival and the Prince Regent are hilarious, mirroring Cameron and Osborne in today's government, while Lord Byron makes a cameo appearance in support of the Luddites.
Events accelerate as the government decides to use the military to occupy local villages and stop the Luddite rampages.
All the action is interweaved with songs and a sharp script that tells the story of a determined group of workers and a government also determined to anhilate any opposition to their, and the mill owners', power.
The Luddites were eventually defeated by the combination of these forces and suffered a harsh outcome. Seventeen were hung at York in 1812.
Several of them were from Marsden and the play gives them an honourable place in history.
Written by new playwright Maeve Larkin it shows Mikron as an accomplished theatre company that doesn't just tell a good story from history. The implications for 2012 are bang up to date in this production.
Tours nationally until September. Visit mikron.org.uk for details.