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The Other News From England

Week beginning 18 May 1998.

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

It has become necessary to redesign the Other News Layout a little owing to the time it takes to organise, so from now on the list of subjects is just a list.

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.

Click here for Blackspot - who seems to have disappeared, but who I hope will be back,

Consumers Ecology Education Freemasons

Gabriele Gad

Lawyers LETSSwing Music Politics Unions and work Woodworking Small ads Stop Press

Last week`s edition.

Index of earlier issues.

For conditions see end of document.

Hacker got into GreenNet!

This event happened almost immediately I pointed out that there was nearly conclusive evidence to support the idea that Lord Bingham was a freemason.

There is a little bit more about freemasons below.


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.

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.

Barefoot Boogie

Barefoot Boogie (see earlier issues) 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 May 15th and 22nd, (and thereafter every third and fourth Friday of the month) 8.15 to 11.15 pm.


ABBEY NATIONAL HAVE been excelling themselves again this week.

One of our local AN cash tills has always been trouble for the past several years. Those with perfect sight can, if they shade out the sun and get their face three inches from the screen, just about read what is going on. The danger is that if they make a wrong move owing to not being able to see what they are doing it will confiscate their card, so once they have started the transaction it is a matter of extreme urgency to get things right first time.

That`s one till. The other looks like it might serve you, and so I watched a man put his card in and dial his PIN. Then he ordered some cash, and the machine accepted the deal and returned his card. Then he waited.

Meanwhile, the queue (which had been about five to each machine when I arrived) grew and grew, and after about five minutes it became apparent that although the machine had recorded his transaction it was not going to give him any money.

That`s not too bad, you might think - but actually it is quite likely it has debited his account with that amount and AN will try not to pay out when he confronts them.

So I offered my phone number as a witness, with the intention of standing firm and backing him to the last if he needs help - but they`ll probably still win because they can afford all the Flash Alf`s in the law business if they need them.

The trouble was there was a whole weekend to go by in which the machine could confiscate from the customers hundreds of thousands of pounds before being stopped by the manager on Monday (if you`re lucky), simply because it went on inviting you to insert your card and PIN. This would, of course, leave thousands of people trying to prove that they hadn`t actually had the money, Abbey National noticeably better off as a result of their incompetence, and a large number of customers looking for legal aid to get their money back.

I`d call that a bum deal for everybody except AN, but somehow we all foolishly go on banking with them despite the problems.

The parsimonious fools who run such operations as this are only interested in how much profit they can get out of them, so they don`t even notice when they are in decline, as is indicated by all the equipment breaking down and the enormous queues they generate. This, from our point of view (I am, by the way, a shareholder even though I do disapprove of the way my firm treats both it`s staff and it`s customers) is not just a bit irritating. It also means that we have to keep an eagle eye on our accounts in case of a `digital error` (it used to be a human error) or some perfectly ordinary crook (more and more of those in computers) interfering with the function of the machines.

So it won`t be long before the aforementioned parsimonious fools realise that they have to invest in some maintenance work and put a little effort into treating the staff like humans. This, of course, will cost money, so somewhere behind the scenes they will get together and all agree to put up their charges to pay for this effort. Unfortunately, most of the increase will probably go into the pockets of the directors, but it isn`t a perfect world...

(Before I leave you, I should tell you that a couple of years ago an Abbey National cash till took my deposited cheque and debited my account with the amount, so I went into the nearest open branch and told someone behind the counter {this was the one by Holborn Station}. "Ah," said the lady behind the counter, "that program often does things like that, but it always turns out right at the end of the day"!)

You may not be better off if you run off and bank with someone else, as they`re all hopeless in their own different ways.


There`s so much wrong I can`t start.


A FRIEND OF MINE told me I was clever last week. Now that I`m no longer a dashing young man it happens a little more often, but it is nevertheless still a rare event.

I returned that indeed I was, but so was everybody else, and continued my argument along the lines of looking at what humans manage to do, and expanded till I came to the point where I was saying that if something is humanly possible then the vast majority of us can do it.

This principle is a useful one in the context of teaching, if only one can wipe away the guilt that teachers, parents and other kids put into people during their childhood about `being clever`. `You mustn`t show off`, they say, and so when you have just made a mighty achievement you are now made to feel guilty about both doing it and being proud of doing it.

This feeling of guilt appears to be able to go very deep into people so that they no longer even know it is there - they just behave in a manner that tries to show no ability, yet often at the same time doing things that take some considerable application.

My friend was no exception in this. She told me I was clever because I could do such a wide range of things to such a high standard that it was impossible to deny, whereas she did nothing much - except be an OT, talk wittily, entertain in a manner that I couldn`t possibly match......but she was unaware of her ability to do most of the things she would like to do because the fear of showing off (or failure, which runs parallel in most sufferers) got in the way of her ever trying.

So now she can`t do a great many things, whilst I can`t do a great many other things, and I feel a success whilst she feels a failure.

I rather think the reason I feel a success is because my mother (meaning no harm, and quite innocently) once said to me (twenty years too late) "well, it`s all right for you, you`re such a success....."

Well, yes I bloody well am - but only because I believe it and because I am not afraid of failure.

I daresay if you can first work out what success is, you, too, can be successful, so just go for it and think afterwards.


This is an issue that won`t go away even if I ignore it.

In discussion the other day the question of judges and lawyers came up, and without any prompting from me went straight to it: Do you hve to be a freemason to be a judge? Are there any judges who are not freemasons? Will your lawyer succeed in his case if he is not a freemason? Are there any black freemasons? Are there any Jewish freemasons? Is there any way a reasonable person could trust a member of a `society with secrets`?

All these questions came up, and none were answered conclusively.

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

Index of earlier issues.

Gabriele Gad on alternative therapy.


THE LAMBETH SYSTEM is something that I thought I would never feel the need to mention in The Other News, but somehow it has crept forward (appropriate bit of terminology that).

I am not sure if it still exists, but it must have been so profitable for certain lawyers that I imagine it still does.

The Lambeth System as seen by me could only have been applied to a small landlord because it relied on the local rent officer giving wrong advice, the judge ignoring facts, and the local freemasonry of property dealers trying to `help out`.

What I saw was a rent officer telling a landlord that if he was to be rid of his appallingly bad tenant he must throw some of the tenant`s belongings out in the street. This the landlord was unwilling to do, but the rent officer insisted it was the only thing to do, and went on to advise that the landlord should bring a case for possession but should not use a solicitor as they would only irritate the judge (probably true, since control freaks do tend to irritate each other).

The landlord, being the sort of person who assumes everybody is kosher until proven not to be, took the rent officer`s word and threw a few things out, thus enabling the tenant (who is believed to have `seen him coming`) to take photographs showing what a wicked landlord he was.

The rest of the court story is in the court records for 1987, and consist of an entirely predictable outcome being arrived at over several days of wasted time and the landlord being expected to foot the bill.

The financial bit is that a firm called Safeland PLC (probably a masonic firm) approached the landlord after he had been stitched up some, presumably in the hope of stitching him up some more, and a lot of the legal stuff is briefly described in an earlier issue of The Other News From England (in an article that starts `In the Lambeth County Court.....`).

Oh honourable profession!



He is not really very rich in the way most people mean it, but because he doesn`t waste things, and because of the way he makes his living he doesn`t need to be rich.

He has everything, and the reason he has everything is that he is a dealer in other people`s throwouts - he clears houses, barns and garages for them and doesn`t throw anything much out, so that all the stuff which the rest of us buy, like washing powder, cleaning things, furniture, paint, bedding, culinary equipment...all come for no charge. All he throws away is those things neither he nor his friends want.

Then he lives on the money he gets for the secondhand furniture - often to a very good standard.

In a LETS system we already have the potential to do this (and in some cases are actually doing it), in that we all have things we don`t want, and the LETS currency enables us to think we are being paid for it if we move it on to someone else. Some of us probably have a thing that might be put up for auction, too.

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 played at the opening of the new Green Adventure box vegetable sheme this Sunday 10 May.

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 money - a variety of types of music.


The Passion of Knowing

The Passion of knowing is verging on a sendup, but people enjoy it so much I have to ask you to take it seriously - it is also great fun to play on a saxophone, and fairly easy on the piano. I wrote it whilst trying to mimic Hollywood Spanish music, and consider it to be as good an effort as anyone else`s. It was sufficiently convincing for me to call it `South of the Black Beguine` when I First wrote it, but the words I came up with (ludicrous though they may be) forced me to change it.

It is very much a `tune`, and about all I can recomment people to do with it is to play predictable (Hollywood, Elvis Presley Spanish Eyes, Big Band, Under The Boardwalk) parts on your instrument. Listen to some pop Spanish beforehand if you don`t know what I mean.The art of making it sound good will lie mostly in having a good lead part uncluttered with overambitious accompaniment, and solos.

Like all music, you have to do more listening than playing to make it sound anything.

Click here for sheet music.


SLAVERY is allegedly quite common in the former Soviet Union, and is not confined to prostitutes. There are slaves of all types the papers tell us (I think it was the Independant last week)

If it is true (not everyting in newspapers is), we in the allegedly civilised West should do something about it, but somehow we don`t seem to do much.

I may be wrong, but I get the impression that our government would not ask another country to address issues like this if it were trying to trade with them, when what it should be saying is that it will try to stop all trade with them until they put the matter right.

It is, after all, just another human rights matter.


I ALWAYS KNEW I shouldn`t vacuum too often.

The reason I almost never vacuum the floors is that it is a danger to health.

Andrew Fenton (who spent years agitating about the Orkney children) told me the other day that he had written to the Independent newspaper to tell them that in fact an ordinary vacuum cleaner (and those other ones which by the nature of their volume of sales must also now be seen as ordinary) is a menace when it comes to `particulates`.

I had never come across this word before, but I am told it is the latest in health hysteria, and it refers to those parts of dust that are too small to be caught in a dust bag - and presumably too small to be caught in a bagless cleaner.

The story is this: Every vacumm cleaner must have an exhaust (the place where the air comes out after having been sucked in with dust in it). The exhaust contains those bits that are too small to be caught within the cleaner, so they get blown out into the air as you work. You then breathe them.

But that is not all. The exhaust from the cleaner usually blows down into the carpet, thereby stirring up the dust and blowing it up into the air in the very place where you are working at cleaning the carpet.

Of course, when you have finished vacuuming the dust you haven`t breathed in settles again, and becomes harmless, but that is only after you have gone to another place.

There are a couple of fairly obvious solutions, but none come to mind for me that are anything other than clumsy and expensive, and there is one slightly less obvious solution that is neat but might not work too well.

There is room for an innovator here.

Unions and work

I wish I had time to tell you about my constructive dismissal case, but it`s no good, I`m too tired with the effort of it all to be able to spend more time on it.

I will try next week.


If anybody has any questions on this subject, just email and it might inspire me to do something.

Small 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

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.

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I sincerely hope no such event will occur.