Lockdowns suck. We don’t really have a better way of saying it, or really anything to sugarcoat it. Yes, we’re staying inside to keep our communities safe and, yes, solidarity is going to get us through this, but it doesn’t make it any easier to stop from climbing the walls.
The best you can do is put on a nice warm pair of socks, wrap yourself in a blanket, grab a cuppa and try to stay strong as best you can.
In the meantime, here are our top five picks for content to forget about lockdowns, with no mention of a pandemic in sight!
9 to 5: The Story of a Movement
This documentary streaming on Netflix was a much-needed reminder of the strength of working people. The story of 9 to 5 - an organisation for women working in offices in the 1970s - is full of fire and working-class grit. The activists of the day look back on the struggle they faced, and that women continue to face, and they aren’t afraid to tell what it was really like. Their courage in the face of harassment and ridicule spawned a movement that we owe a great deal to today.
(Bonus suggestion: the film 9 to 5, starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton, and which was directly inspired by the work of the 9 to 5 organisation, definitely still holds up in 2021 - we strongly recommend revisiting this classic!)
And We Danced (ABC iView)
Streaming on ABC iView, this three-part series on the history of the Australian Ballet gives a remarkable insight into an institution that has become the pride and joy of our arts industry. It is, at its heart, a workers’ perspective on the arts and is an important reminder of the fact that arts workers have kept us all entertained over the past 18 months of lockdown - and are one of the sectors who have suffered the most financially from this pandemic.
Keep an eye out for the story of the 1980s dancers’ strike! Overworked and undervalued the dancers cancelled their Brisbane production of the Three Musketeers and went on indefinite strike. What happened next? You’ll have to tune in to find out.
Ms. Represented with Annabel Crabb
Australia elected its first woman to Federal Parliament 100 years ago, but the struggle for equal treatment and representation continues. In this four-part series, host Annabel Crabb takes us back through that history and gets the perspectives of the women (on all sides of politics) who have walked those halls of power.
Dark Side of the Ring (SBS On Demand)
Think your workplace is weird/tough/demanding? Try being a professional wrestler! Like the dancers of the Australian Ballet, these performers push themselves and their bodies to the limit for their craft, but the industry is plagued with problems. The common thread, once you see it, is a need for better occupational health and safety and a multi-billion dollar employer repeatedly failing in its duty of care for the sake of profits. It’s a world unlike any other, where larger-than-life personalities clash both inside and outside of the ring, and these true stories will shock you. (No wonder there’s a growing conversation about unions in the industry.)
Devil’s Dust (Stan)
An intensely personal drama based on one of our country’s most shocking corporate scandals, this Australian production tells the story of ordinary Australians caught in a web of deception in the James Hardie asbestos saga. This is a story of workers’ lives being deliberately put at risk by a multi-billion company and those who sought justice for decades afterwards. Recommended for any unionist in need of a reminder of why we do what we do.