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The Other News From England

Week beginning 17 August 1998 (2nd edition).

Yet another irresponsible edition

Having run out of ways of saying that we are still there but making an erratic output, welcome once again to this not-so-very-irresponsible edition of The Other News, again only three days early.

When you start being irresponsible, all sorts of things go wrong that you hadn`t really bargained for. Cars break down when they never did before (I`ve had one puncture a week since the start of this irresponsible period, and a water pump failure), bills don`t get paid and services cut off, and all goes into disarray.

For this reason, there is a bit of a shortage of new material this week.

instructions for use

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

List of subjects

Because a subject is listed does not necessarily mean there is an article. It has been listed because there probably is an article that week, and because the list is a good prompt for writing purposes.

Biwater Consumers crystal Palace Ecology Education Freemasons Lawyers LETSSwing Miscellaneous Music Planning Politics Science and Invention Unions and work Woodworking Small ads Stop Press

Last week`s edition.

Index of earlier issues.

Click here for Blackspot`s twenty articles on assorted subjects - mostly to do with transport, safety, engineering, etc. (It is up to you whether you take them seriously, but he intended them to prod you into thinking about the subjects concerned instead of just taking what you are told for granted).

Gabriele Gad on alternative therapy.

Gabriele is currently on holiday (gosh), but will be back soon (September?).

For conditions see end of document.


I have moved all the items that don`t change significantly to the end of the document. They do still exist.

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 has grown somewhat over the past months, and Josephine is gradually building a subject index for us. When it is completed, you will be able to log straight into the current edition and then look for the subjects that interest you in the subject index - these will often be in earlier editions. We are hoping this will help you find articles in your particular area of interest more easily than at present.

The Other News consists of a selection of articles written when we have the occasional `write-in` - on whatever subjects find their way to the top of the mental pile that week. 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 things.

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, except inasfaras the heretofore mentioned article in the first part affects those items covered by the Hot Air (Elimination) Acts as referred to in earlier editions (schedule 14, a, c, d et al but including those items not mentioned under) where they may be so far applicable as to deem them to be of interest to parties whose financial and other circumstances are such that they might need to make use of them, but who will nevertheless be bound by the terms and conditions contained herein and heretofore mentioned under certain headings that shall be chosen as and when required either by law or otherwise to be used as reference..........etc.

Is that clear?

Various articles about lawyers in most editions.


(this article held over from last week).

THE WATER MONOPOLIES seem to be using every strategy they possibly can to persaude people to have water meters installed, and one of the strategies I suspect will be that when a house changes owners they will try to persuade the new owners that they have an obligation in law to accept the change from water charges as they were to the new metered water.

A friend of mine - a lawyer (oh yes, I do have lawyers with whom I am friendly) is about to move house, and when I talked about this she said she was going to oppose them. After a brief discussion she came up with a simple plan. The water co. will come along saying they must fit a meter, and the response will be `you may not at any time fit any kind of meter on any property belonging permanently or temporarily to me`. It is to be expected that they will quote bits and pieces of imaginary or genuine legislation that says they may, and one should put one`s foot down, because the next move should be for the water monopoly to state that they have a statutory obligation to supply clean water to every dwelling, to which the answer must surely be that they may continue to supply it as they have done, or cut it off and risk litigation.

This should lead to the continuation of the old system of water rating that the previous owner had, and if it doesn`t it may lead to the water being cut off. This may well result in litigation from some other side and my friend making some serious attempts to do without mains water by using various recycling and rainwater cleaning processes.

It should also have the very desirable effect of relieving my friend of the reliance on this parsimonious and unreliable monopoly and a better knowledge of how to survive in a no-mains situation.

I hope to be able to tell you the outcome of this struggle soon.


Nothing this week.


IF YOU ABUSE ANOTHER SPECIES you are really abusing yourself.

I am not saying that to express a psychological idea about people symbolically abusing themselves by abusing some insect. What I mean is that if you abuse a species (any species) you are helping to throw the whole delicately balanced chain of life into disarray, probably pushing it further towards the point at which it collapses completely, by making further gaps where gaps did not exist before.

We do not know the point at which it will collapse, but to most people who think, it is becoming more and more likely that this is what will in due course happen. The reason we do not know at what point it will happen is that we have not yet got there, and if you think about it, I wouldn`t be here to tell you about it and you wouldn`t be here to read about it if we had got there.

I have been pushing this message in many forms during the past year or so, but it has never occurred to me before that I could compress the whole idea into a single sentence - the sentence at the beginning of this article. What I am talking about is the failure of the entire system of life as a result of humans destroying individual parts of it one at a time and getting away with it until (as in the straw and the camel`s back) one day the piece that has no substitute is removed and all life disappears.

But for the few people who have never really thought about this subject I should add a little more.

It appears from all available evidence that all species (even the ones you don`t like and humans) rely on each other`s existence for their survival - that you could call the whole life activity of all species on the planet a single species, namely `life`, which cannot exist properly (or possibly at all) with parts of it`s anatomy missing. Thus, if we knock out all mosquitoes or wasps because we don`t like what they do to us, we are probably knocking out the staple diet of a bird that is what certain simpletons amongst us would refer to as `beneficial` because it does something to some other species that causes that other species to protect wheat crops from being attacked by another species that, if it remained unchecked, would cause a world famine by rendering the ground unable to support wheat but strongly supportive of knotweed......etc.

If you have enough similar chain reactions it is possible and even likely that we will reach a point where there is such a large hole somewhere in the system (the ecosystem) that it all collapses - and of course, so will human existence along with it.


(It has been a very ecologically conscious week for me, and I have little else to talk about. See `politics` for another article that strictly speaking is addressing the above subject in another way.)


Nothing this week - but see `ecology` above and `politics` below.

Gabriele Gad on alternative therapy.

Lawyers and law.

Nothing this week, except to say that I am still finding the current solicitor excellent. He has done something already that the previous one could have done a few years ago.

This is hopelessly compromising my earlier stance of saying that all lawyers are bent and useless.

Only some are, perhaps.


LETSSwing and others.

Gabriele Gad and Hugh Harris not at the Bonnington Cafe this week.

Click here for sheet music.

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

LETSSwing and others here also do gigs for world currencies - a variety of types of music.



IF WE ARE TO BELIEVE The Times, Michael Meacher, our Environment Minister (!) is an ecological half-wit and a hypocrite to boot! (front page Tues Aug 4th - article about maize).

It`s a terrifying thought that such a person can manage to land the post of Environment Minister, but it does also serve to show us the kind of material politicians are made of. Not very inspiring is it?

Mr. Meacher was reported to have made a statement about genetically modified maize (which cannot legally be grown in this country, but which more or less inevitably will be grown in this country either by inquisitive gardeners or by wild propogation from seed thrown about - particularly on rubbish tips and compost heaps).

Environmentalists had complained that there was an ingredient in this genetically modified maize that can kill green lacewings, which are a species that feed on maize `pests` (refer to `ecology` above for an enlargement of this subject), and (probably to appear to be greenly aware) Mr. Meacher is reported to have said there was `no justification for such a ban, although he called for more research into the effects on beneficial insects`!(The Times` words are between inverted commas, and the bold words are the ones that demonstrate Mr. Meacher`s wide and intelligent understanding of ecological matters).

You may be (if you are of average intelligence, you probably will be) green enough for me not to need to enlarge on why what Mr. Meacher said is so shocking and sickening, so I won`t.

The hypocrisy lies in the fact that the House of Commons canteen has decided that this genetically modified maize is unsafe for MPs to eat, even though Mr. Meacher has decided that it is fit for the rest of us to eat, so perhaps I am being unfair about the hypocrisy. It might have been someone else`s decision that it was unsafe for MPs to eat it, and not Mr. Meacher`s at all.

But do you want a government of people like this?


IT IS (not surprisingly) a very big subject at the moment.

Dr. Pusztai, who was doing research on the effects of genetic modification of crops told us something about potatoes that, whilst not necessarily proven (although it could have been proven in secret) seems highly likely, particularly as his thoughts referred to a substance on which he is considered to be a world expert, and added fire to the anti-genetically-modified food lobby.

He became one of the fastest redundancies I`ve ever heard of. The question I now want to ask is whether he was forced to retire because the government don`t want the populace (who are far too thick to think for themselves, unlike, say, Mr. Meacher) to know the reality, or is it more that Dr. Pusztai deliberately misled the public and is therefore fired? Who funds the research? might also be a good question.

My interpretation of what is alleged to have happened is that the substance being added to certain potatoes as a result of genetic modification has been shown to cause cancer in rats, although the potatoes in question have not themselves been tested in this way, and Dr. Pusztai has pointed this out.

That, as far as I know, is all there is to it. Enough to destroy the whole human race (it could be argued that that would be no bad thing) - but it probably won`t happen to everyone.


(No change this week)

I have aquired an electric bass, and to my surprise I am actually quite good at playing it because forty years ago I used to strum a guitar. In fact, when I played some bass with LETSSwing they were heavily impressed with my rhythmic understanding and judicial choice of notes.

When I was a guitar strummer, I didn`t really know anything much about what I was doing - only that a certain shape was a given chord, and that if you played that same shape elsewhere on the fingerboard you could rename it appropriately, and thus by knowing a few shapes you could play any chord a person could name.

You would think this would be enough, but it isn`t, for several reasons. First of all, the guitar has six strings, and so some chords cannot be found by this process, because even if you use the thumb you still only have five available digits, and they won`t all necessarily go to the right place for you.

A bass is different. It only has four strings, tuned the same as the lower four strings of the ordinary guitar, but one or two octaves down (I forget which- probably two), and as the purpose of a bass is primarily to give a solid foundation upon which to build one`s music it is necessary not to know so much the shapes of chords as to know the position of individual notes.

Having got far enough to know where to find the root notes (root notes alone would be enough for a bass line, but with ingenuity one can can use many others) for simple pieces in the keys of C, G, and E, I then went on to start calculating where to find Bflat notes, and before an hour or two were out I realised that like all instruments it has it`s patterns, the most useful one being that on any given fret a note on either of the middle two strings has the root of the chord on the fourth of that key on the string next to it one side and the root of the chord on the fifth the other side (as in play a C on the third string and the F is on the same fret second string, whilst the G is on the same fret 4th string). This, then, can be developed so that whilst it may be necessary to work out one movement from time to time, the root of the following chord is normally to be found on the adjacent string (the one that is higher in pitch, rather than the one that is physically higher when you hold the instrument).

I found other patterns, but it would be presumptuous for me to tell you how to play the bass - I`ve only been at it 24 hours.

I hope what I have told you already will give you plenty of fun and a spur to find out more.

Click here for sheet music.

(the sheet music usually has chords with it, thus enabling bass practice from new chord sequences).

Long term articles

(These are articles that either don`t change at all or as good as don`t change from one week to the next).


This item has not changed this week.

If you want to know about Biwater, visit the following site:

And here are a couple more sites of interest in this field:

Barefoot Boogie and Others.

(no change to this article)

Barefoot Boogie are at The International Students` House next to Great Portland St. Tube on the corner of Great Portland St. and Marylebone Road London UK on the following dates at 8.15 to 11.15 pm.

June 12, 19, 26, July 17, 24, 31, August 14, 21, September 11, 18, 25, October 2, 9 23, November 13, 20, December 4, 11, 18. Alcohol- and smoke-free disco playing a wide range of music inc. classical! Biodanza says `vibrant Latin/African Rhythms; ambient, trance, classical and rock...... in London every Wednesday 7.30-9.30 No 7 Wakefield St WC1 (5 minutes Russell Square tube 9 pounds or 6 pounds, students half price, advance and block booking discounts` phone enquiries (0044 for UK from most other countries) 0181 295 1588`

Another - a bit vague - hand-written on a postcard: `Mary`s Wednesday Biodanza class continues at St Lukes Church Hillmartin Rd N7 - Caledonian Rd tube.

Bonnington Cafe.

Gabriele Gad and Hugh Harris sometimes play at the Bonnington cafe.

Bonnington Cafe is: 50`s Beatnik atmosphere, cheap but good vegetarian food, and sometimes a fire in the hearth.

Bonnington Square, London SE8 UK (Vauxhall BR and Underground stn nearby, plus buses).


No change this week.

To see earlier articles about freemasons look in issues round about May 98. To find them just click below:

Index of earlier issues.

To see stuff about Biwater, go to

Gabriele Gad on alternative therapy.

Small ads


(no new ads)

I want some stuff for getting data off Amstrad PCW`s onto ordinary PC`s.

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

For sale or barter

(Will take LETS currencies): Weril Master tenor sax. Selmer lookalike, plays perfectly with fine tone, but is only a cheap quality instrument 350 pounds. Contact


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 -

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All other uses are chargeable.

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

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