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
The Welsh National Opera's production of Janacek's opera about the turbulent life and love of a fox - the cunning little vixen of its title - is the last in the line of the strong women which brings its short season of "free spirit" operas to a triumphant finale.
This is a production for all the family because young and old thoroughly enjoy the action as a magical forest scene unfolds with dancers playing the woodland birds and insects.
Then the young vixen, sung and acted by a captivating Sophie Bevan (pictured), is caught by the forester (Jonathan Summers) who takes her back home with him to try to domesticate her.
But his plan backfires badly. The wild creature is untameable and this leads to a glorious scene when the feminist fox tries to persuade the reactionary chickens to unite together to stop themselves being exploited for eggs and roast dinner.
The vixen escapes back into the wild and she is indignant that the plutocratic badger (Lawrence Cole) is unwilling to share the huge space he has in the forest.
The selfish badger tells her that her socialism isn't wanted and in a revolutionary moment she evicts him from his luxurious sett.
Vixen soon meets a mate and starts a huge family with her fox (Sarah Castle). But a terrible tragedy strikes and all action and movement is frozen in a stunning and highly moving tableau.
The blend of music, singing, dance, humour and tragedy- along with such a strong ensemble of singers, musicians and dancers - makes for a glorious piece of musical theatre and a production to cherish.
Go and see this opera and prepare to have your revolutionary fervour reignited by a cultural form usually associated with the ruling class.