As the credits roll, there is a deadly silence in Screen One. Normally, elderly Bath ladies can be heard reminding their husbands about the parking meter, or muttering about the price-of-things-today.
But today, silence is lingering in the room. People are still sitting in their seats staring at the screen. The reality of the film’s ending permeates the walls of a building whose foundations housed Citizen House a local community centre. 1
I can’t sit there any longer and dash to the ladies toilet in the foyer. I’ve run out of tissues and need some loo roll to wipe my eyes and my runny nose. I’ve just spent the majority of my time, watching I, Daniel Blake by Ken Loach in silent floods of tears.
It was a very moving film for me.
I’ve also been a single Mum, but only to one child.
I’ve also had to sign-on when I instantly lost my job as a retail manager many years ago.
The memory of standing in line, explaining myself and my financial situation to a complete stranger at the dole office who had just told me I wasn’t entitled to any money for 13 weeks while my child asked me: ‘Why are you crying Mummy?’ hasn’t left my mind. Those ghastly memories flood back and make me so grateful that will never ever, ever happen again because I’m self-employed with no boss to sack me.
This film is about that system, which 20 years after I lost my job, still makes enemies of people by the state designed to protect them in their hour of need:
I am not a client, a customer, nor a service user.
I am not a shirker, a scrounger, a beggar, nor a thief.
I am not a national insurance number, nor a blip on a screen.
I paid my dues, never a penny short and proud to do so.
So who was the person that directed this film?
Ken was born in Nuneaton in Warwickshire on 17th June 1936. He studied law at St Peter’s College Oxford, but there is no mention of him making a living doing that. He branched out into the theatre, performing with a touring repertory company. This led to television, where in partnership with producer Tony Garnett (3rd April 1936: Sun Aries, Moon Virgo) he produced a series of docudramas. Most memorably, the devastating ‘Cathy Come Home’ (16th November 1966), written by Jeremy Sandford (5th December 1930: Sun Sagittarius, Moon Gemini) whose impact was so massive that it led directly to a change in the homeless laws. 2
A Sunday Telegraph headline on the 8-1-19674 was titled ‘Stop Mixing TV Fact and Fiction’ but the film made such an impact, that criticism is now rarely heard.
We don’t have a birth time for Ken, even though I did tweet and ask. Maybe he or his staff don’t read his tweets. Never mind, we definitely have his date of birth and using the Whole Sign House system we can find out quite a bit!
Ken has a Grand Cross in mutable signs, wanting change and variety. Mutable signs tend to live in the past, so are usually good at remembering ‘how-things-were’.
Jupiter retrograde in Sagittarius (interestingly the only retrograde planet in his chart) brings him an international network of professional contacts. His Saturn in Pisces has a desire to improve the situation of the underprivileged. And his Neptune in Virgo suggests interest in improving work conditions and idealistic projects that can rouse the working spirit, motivated by the idea of service on a personal or political or level.
He has Sun, Mars, Venus, Chiron, Mercury and possibly Moon in Gemini (if he were born earlier in the day then he’d have Moon in Taurus)
With that amount of Gemini in his chart, he’s not likely to want to do anything too boring or repetitive.
“A movie isn’t a political movement, a party or even an article. It’s just a film. At best it can add its voice to public outrage.”
His Pluto in Cancer sometimes has a fanatical patriotism and desire for the state to take over the function of the family. And his Uranus in Taurus suggests alternatives to material security and untraditional ideas about money.
“I think our TV news editors are still sometimes using the language of government propaganda. We’re still hearing the words reform and modernization when what we really mean is privatization and public greed.”2
Jeremy was born in Chippenham on the 26th May 1949. While still at school he became active in his local Labour party and the League Against Cruel Sports. In 1966, the year that Cathy Come Home was broadcast he joined The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and in October 2015 became one of their vice-chairs5 He left school at 18, briefly became a reporter at 19 and went overseas for two years with the VSO. He had various jobs within certain Trade Unions and the Labour Party until February 1982 when he was elected Labour Party candidate for the constituency of Islington North. On the 9th June 1983 he was elected Member of Parliament for Islington North in the General Election that year. Fast forward to today which sees him as leader of the Labour Party.
His chart shape is a Bucket with Jupiter retrograde in Aquarius forming the handle of his bucket, giving him weird and wonderful ideas about freedom and belief.
Jeremy has a Yod linking his Jupiter in Aquarius retrograde hinting at unusual humanitarian goals, Saturn in Leo bringing strong ideas about leadership and Uranus in Gemini ensuring upheaval and renewal in education and ideas.
He also has a Grand Trine in Air signs = It’s All About Ideas.
He has Mercury, Jupiter and Neptune retrograde so one does wonder if his grip on reality will work for or against him in his political future. His Pluto also in Leo brings strong personal convictions and principles. He has been married three times (not an unusual Gemini trait).
Aspects are Moon conjunct Mars, maybe that’s where the angry-young-man in his youth comes from and Moon square Pluto = social conscience.
Both men have Mars issues.
Ken’s with his Sun…
Jeremy with his Moon and both of them have quite one-sided charts, which makes me wonder if maybe they only view life as Either Or,
…rather than Maybe.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPC_phLWNK4 or https://youtu.be/rPC_phLWNK4
VSO Voluntary Service Overseas