Despite the Sun will be showing at Tate Liverpool’s exhibition ‘Keywords: Art, Culture and Society in 1980’s Britain’, which is running from 28th February until 11th May 2014. The film investigates the state of the media and the context in which over 5,000 print workers, clerical staff, cleaners and secretaries lost their jobs. It was produced in 1986 by Despite TV, predecessor to Spectacle, both founded by Mark Saunders, documenting the dispute over Rupert Murdoch’s decision to relocate his printing operations from Fleet St to Wapping. There is also a new website dedicated to the strike where there is a lot of information.
“…Despite TV’s ‘Despite the Sun’… was shot on VHS at night, so it’s full of comma tails and smears and it was shot colour, but actually there was insufficient light, so it comes out as a greyscale, that’s I think one of the most gripping pieces of political documentary to be made in this country in the last 50 years, it’s a phenomenal piece of work. It was using the aesthetic of both the recording equipment and the playback, the immediate circulation for ‘Despite the Sun‘ were people in the immediate area of the dispute over moving the Murdoch group newspapers down to the Isle of Dogs and the famous picket lines. The BBC crews, which they interviewed, weren’t allowed through the police lines, but these guys were all locals, so they all went scooting round through people’s houses and so on to get stories that the national media weren’t getting, and it’s a fabulous piece of work, but it was designed to be shown locally and distributed through the library service in Tower Hamlets, so they were expecting domestic TV and VHS playback, so it was pretty raw, and also released very swiftly, I think they cut it in less than a week from about three weeks of shoots. So it was very important aesthetically as well as in terms of its politics.”
You can buy the DVD or read more here: Despite the Sun