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The Other News From England

Week beginning 13 April 1998.

The Other News is made up as a single document, so that you can scroll your way through it.

Click here for Blackspot on .





Gabriele Gad





Unions and work


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Stop Press

Last week`s edition.

Index of earlier issues.

For conditions see end of document.

Hacker gets into GreenNet!

(This item has been held from last week as a lot of the week the site was disrupted and people were having trouble getting to it.) GreenNet (the server that carries The Other News) were hacked into during the past couple of weeks by a hacker who interfrered with the Othernews site and disabled the server. I don`t know if there was any other damage.

Blackspot - we can`t put your current article up because the email is not yet re-established.

It is pleasing to know that someone actually reads this stuff and takes it seriously enough to think it is worth interfering with. I had no idea we were so important.

The question now is who`s stuff is a threat? I think it was the stuff about freemasons, but I`ll bet Blackspot, who goes in for deflating sales lines and propaganda, thinks it`s his stuff. I rather doubt about the others, like Gabriele, who as far as I can see are a threat to nobody.

Not even sombody pathetic enough to want to hack into GreenNet.

Well, of course, it could be Thames Water........or the people who might or might not have got 500 million pounds out of the National Lottery to do nothing with Battersea Power station ...........Railtrak ..........


If you haven`t looked at the other News From England before, read this in case it may save you some time.

The Other News consists of a selection of articles on whatever subjects find their way to the top of the pile on the week in which it is written. Whilst some of it is intended to be serious, quite a lot is just a bit of light reading (or heavy, if you are a certain type of person), and intended to keep you amused, and cause people to question some of the assumptions of life. Most of the material here is written by the editor, but no single article necessarily reflects the views of the editor or anyone else who writes here. They only might.


Thames Water - it would seem they really are on the fiddle. This week a bill has come for the Occupier top floor etc for 783.62.

My problem is really whether I should just ignore it as the bill for the whole house is paid by the tenant, or challenge it.


FAR TOO MANY things in our society are too cheap. By that, I mean that if somebody has, say, a piece of wood or a CD player they don`t want a new one is so cheap that the original one all too easily gets thrown on the tip because it cannot find a buyer - or often even a taker if it is free.

Your average consumer would say `so what?` because that is how they`ve learnt to think, and so, although I like to imagine that those who read this column would be more conscious than that, I am going to explain the problem in case I am wrong.

If we take the piece of wood as a good example, we in European countries can see all around us perfectly good pieces of wood being thrown out - particularly by builders, but also by industry generally, and the media, who use wood like there is too much of it in the world instead of too little (look at the stuff thrown out by any television studio after even a very modest set has been built and you will see what I mean - I think they imagine it`s OK because they think of themselves as artists).

Every time a piece of wood is thrown out it has come from a tree that was cut to sell people like you pieces of wood from. The more you throw away, as well as the more you use, the more they cut. The trees are being cut faster than they can grow back by quite a long way, and a shortage of trees creates a shortage of rain, so that less and less trees can grow. We are all fairly familiar with this idea, so I won`t expand on it.

I have worked on sites where the policy with timber (wood) was to burn every piece less than 1.8 metres (6 feet) long regardless of it`s other dimensions or it`s source (ie a piece of oak 30 X 30 cm but only six feet long would get burned too! Even something very rare like ebony would get the same treatment because builders don`t normally know anything about this aspect of wood).

With the CD player it is the same problem with different materials - most of them materials that are mined and will not be replaced by nature for possibly millions of years......I`m sure I don`t need to go on.

There is almost no limit to this idea, including the food we eat, which, in Europe comes from all around the world, often by the most wasteful form of transport (air), and not infrequently could be well used in the country it came from. The farming processes used to get this abundance of food for export could often be questioned too.

As people don`t seem to understand this principle, I thought it would be better if they were forced by price to think before they buy, and to think before they throw stuff out. That would only leave the over-rich behaving like vandals and thick-heads (which might well be no change).


I belong to a small engineering club. We have a machine shop in which we can make things, with all the necessary equipment, but I don`t think this year I will bother to renew my membership.

The problem lies with the friendliness of the place.

I only get a chance to frequent the workshops a few months of the year, and so when I am there bobody knows me or what I can or cannot do.

That wouldn`t matter at all, but neither will they ever find out what I can or cannot do because they are so afraid I might do something silly (or perhaps something particularly clever) that every time I need to do something someone does it for me, and since I approach engineering with the mind of a well-seasoned woodworker they don`t understand how I make my calculations (I often don`t myself, but they work).

As they do the things they do for me at any standard and don`t have the same design principles as me, the work that I am getting done there is being done both very slowly and at variable standards (sometimes excellent, but frequently not how I would do it)....furthermore I am not in a position to practice this particular art, which is something I was declared to be rather good at - in fact so good at it that one technical college asked if I would teach engineering.

Interestingly, the other evening I was there and a man who I had never seen there before showed me one of the milling machines - a new-fangled fancy thing, and very good for small accurate work, but unpredictable in it`s design and operating procedures. This man was by nature a teacher, and showed me how each control worked, and then said "well, there we are. I`ll just stay here while you do it in case there are any other things you need to know" and stepped back to let me get on with it.

There were of course no problems, and the job I was doing came out fine. But had there been problems he would have been there to help.

I now feel I can use that machine with some delicacy, whilst the lathes in there (which are not identical to those I have used before) I would be able to use, but would need to get used to - and will never have chance to.

As nobody dares let me try anything else I have to stand and watch them do it wrong (or right - it just depends). This is both frustrating and counter-productive, but it does achieve one thing for these people even if nothing for me: It enables them to keep it an exclusive club.

And if that doesn`t work they can always make something disappear on an evening when a newcomer is there, and thus create an immediate mistrust, thereby making sure they are no longer welcome.

And so, even though the club has countless members, no doubt with countless engineering interests, there are always the same people in the workshop, always doing the same things - making miniature steam locomotives.

We get the same dodges in adult education if we don`t counter them.


WELL someone has been sabotaging the server, and I will say they have been quite effective, even if only temporarily.

To see earlier articles about freemasons look in the last six or so issues . To find them just click below.

Index of earlier issues.

Gabriele Gad on alternative therapy.



A press release has come regarding the launch of the new London-wide currency. This currency is not intended to replace the more local currencies, but to allow those who need it the facility of trading outside their own area. Here it is:

LETS Link Up Conference in London: 25th April 1998

Currently there are about 450 Local Exchange Trading Schemes in the UK, about three dozen of which are in the greater London area, and about 1,000 in western Europe. Local Authorities, under their Anti-Poverty policies and in Local Agenda 21 consultations, are becoming increasingly interested in the potential of LETS to play a role in their strategies for local economic and community development.

LETSlink London, the voluntary body which acts as a forum for schemes in the greater London area, was even the subject of a study tour by a delegation from Japan in March 1998.

News from Scotland is that a new national LETS currency, to be used for trading between voluntary bodies has been set up called SOCS (Scottish Organisational Currency System).

LETSlink London is now developing a common currency for London called Links, which will be used for London-wide trading between individuals, business and organisations including LETS schemes.

Meanwhile LETSlink UK has been spearheading a campaign amongst MPs for a "LETS & Benefits Proposal" to have the DSS rules changed to clearly exclude LETS from having any impact on benefits, since research has shown that those most in need are are often afraid to join in LETS in case they might be deemed to be earning and thus risk losing their essential cash benefits.

These and other developments will be explored at the forthcoming gathering for all LETS activists in the south-east of England on 25th April, with keynote speaker Liz Shephard of LETSlink UK. The conference is hosted by Merton LETS, contact Giles Barrow on: 0181-240-1517.

LETSSwing and others.

Gabriele Gad and Hugh Harris play at the Bonnington Cafe most Wednesday evenings - old-fashioned jazz and some poppish modern compositions with classical or jazz influences - you have to hear it to know what I mean. 50`s Beatnik atmosphere, cheap vegetarian food, and sometimes a fire in the hearth. Bonnington Square, London SE8 UK (Vauxhall BR and Underground stn nearby, plus buses).

LETSSwing are expected to be at the launch party for Links 25 April (see last issue and this).

Click here for sheet music.

If you are in a LETS somewhere and would like LETSSwing to play to you, please contact

LETSSwing and/or I also do gigs for money - a variety of types of music.


Sinclair Rag

Last week we talked about how to play Pavanne. Hopefully you got it going OK, so I will move on to Sinclair Rag.

Sinclair Rag is a kind of comedy tune that sounds like it is going fast when in fact this is not particularly so. It would usually be played at about 120 crochets to the minute, but as the notes are mostly only crochets this is quite a relaxed pace. Steve Hack who plays one of the guitars in LETSSwing manages quite frequently (as a result of this gentle tempo) to strum at four times that tempo creating a slightly hysterical atmosphere , rather like "The Entry of the Gladiators". I always wanted to start it off with a starting pistol, but have never had the instrument available to do it.

The best I have heard so far has been led by a saxophone playing bent notes through the tune, Steve Hack playing 4 times then tempo, the piano playing oompah (bass one beat, chord next, and so on), another guitar (which?) going in country western style, and Steve Barbe palying all the breaks on a variety of different kazoos, swannee whistles etc., and not necessariy bothering to get them well timed (Steve actually has a very good sense of time, so this is quite an echievement).

The whole piece was palyed about half a dozen times over, and Steve B wore a clown outfit. I played tenor sax, and a different variation every time we went through.

The actual playing? Read the chord sequence, strum it, bang it, thump it, stroke it, and bear in mind that transposing instruments must transpose their part, and each lead part refers to the tune as shown on this very site:

Click here for sheet music.


I`m sure someone`s been up to no good, but not quite sure who.

THE ULSTER TALKS, I have always suspected, have something else behind them - a hidden agenda, as it were - but I have never been able to quite suss out what it might be apart from a job for the lads, until this Wednesday, when I just chanced to overhear a BBC reporter telling us that in the final hours one could reasonably expect the participants to show their Bottom Lines.

I`ve been in and out of the design business all my life (though I was never a fashion designer), but I cannot recall a less likely place to show one`s collection. Furthermore, you`d expect someone to come up with some other titles along the lines of `the sack` (50`s), miniskirt (60`s) or other repeats.

It`s hard to imagine what the Bottom Line will be like, although I am sure all you fashion freaks will by now have seen it.

Unions and work


A student this week asked me if I could give him a list of workshop terms and their meanings. It is not a bad idea, and as I have nothing pressing to tell you about this week I thought I would start on the project.

Don`t get the idea that I know everything because it is quite untrue. Anybody claiming to know everything in this field must ne a charlaton or a fool. Rabbet - rebate, apiece cut out to allow a space for something else to go in, like the groove in the back of a picture frame, for instance. Rebate plane = a plane that will allow you to cut a rebate along the edge of a board. It has a depth stop and a width stop which you can set to your particular requirements. Router = Rabbet - rebate, apiece cut out to allow a space for something else to go in, like the groove in the back of a picture frame, for instance. Rebate plane = a plane that will allow you to cut a rebate along the edge of a board. It has a depth stop and a width stop which you can set to your particular requirements. Router = Nothing this week. Out of time.

Small ads


I want some Locolink stuff. This is the program and disks for getting data off Amstrad PCW`s onto ordinary PC`s.

Cheap laptop for writing the Other News when away from base. Contact

Wanted pc/Acorn monitor, London area.

Who knows where on the Internet I can get a good freeware or shareware score-writing program that will run on my p100 or Acorn 5000? Please contact

For sale or barter

(Will take LETS currencies): Industrial quality roofrack about 7 feet X 3.5 feet, made to measure for ford Sierra estate. I used it for woodwork contracting. It is the best I`ve ever seen. Contact

Same again, about 48" by 96", but lesser quality, for Ford Granada estate or Volvo 7 series - free owing to poor condition - but it works.


LETSSwing (the London all-LETS-members band) need a percussionist. Suit someone who thinks of playing and writing music as a creative, co-operative, gentle activity, who likes out-of-date pop and jazz, and who doesn`t like making a noise. We play so quiet you could have it in your livingroom without bothering the neighbours most of the time, and are looking at the possibilities for involvement in `the community` (playing in hospitals and so on). Contact

stop press

What, no stop press?

notes re publication.

Publication for non-profit and most educational purposes free, but must carry the sentence:

Copyright The Other News From England -

In a significant position.

All other uses are chargeable.

Editing must not be done in such a way as to misrepresent.

If you decide to print any of this copyright material in your periodical for profit, please (a)acknowledge by writing "" in a noticeable position(b) send some money to Editor, othernews co, 25 SE5 8BN, UK, and tell me what and where it is published.

Readers are invited to help prosecute illegal use of this material in exchange for receiving 70% of any financial gain resulting (after all overheads).

I sincerely hope no such event will occur.