The Other News From England.

29th. May 2000.

Index of earlier issues - click here.

(Those who like digging about will find that there are hundreds of articles on many subjects to be found on this site.)

Old issues.

There are some much earlier Other News on this site. Click below.

early Othernews - 1992, 93, 94.


Click here for an email that arrived in January concerning a proposed reasoned approach to this tricky subject

A week in which something probably happened.

....But as I spent it trying to empty 600 gallons of water out from underneath a house which filled up again as fast as we got it out I didn't notice much - although I have learnt quite a lot about pumps and syphonage, and developed some nifty tricks for sucking water right near the bottom of a tank. One of the most interesting things I found was that unless you have a huge pump, it is better to just syphon the water out through and ordinary hosepipe. As to the kind of pump you use for your ornamental fountain - they are useless for this purpose.

I also learnt quite a lot about the behaviour of underground water, geological layering, and the law concerning adjoining properties and new building work. Not an entirely wasted effort, even if the goal was not attained.

Bonnington Cafe.

This Saturday - Hugh Harris, alto sax, Gabriele Gad piano. Old-fashioned quiet melodic jazz both old and new - A Separate Reality, Sinclair Rag, Pavanne, King's Cross Rag, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, Trouble in Mind, Sunny Side of the Street, etc. - stacks of titles. The hat goes round.

Bonnington cafe is a communally owned cafe in Vauxhall where a great many interesting things happen. The atmosphere is somewhat Bohemian, friendly, educated, and much wine (bought from the corner shop across the road) seems to get drunk. Good quality vegetarian. Cheap. The only lighting is usually candles stuck in wine bottles, and the furniture is a collection of odds and sods that people have thrown out.

The cafe gets very full.

Bonnington Cafe, Vauxhall Grove, London SW8 UK. Near Vauxhall underground and mainline station, and many buses. Booking is difficult.

Joe Punter's Shakespeare.

King Henry the 6th.part 1 Act 3.

ACT 3.


The plains near Rouen.

Enter Charles, The Bastard of Orleans, Alencon, La Pucelle and unnamed forces.


Don't worry about that little setback. Let old Talbot swagger about like a fool for a bit if it pleases him. We will soon regain Rouen if the Dauphin and others will be ruled.


You have been right in the past, so I suppose we shouldn't distrust you on the basis of this last little bit of folly.


Get a good idea, and we will make you world famous.


We'll give you a statue in the town square or something, and call you a saint.


Right. This is the plan then. By careful persuasion we will entice the Duke of Burgundy to leave Talbot and follow us.


Well! If we could achieve that, the English forces would not be able to do anything in France. They would be driven out.


They'd be gone for good.


You'll see how I make this happen. (drum sounds far off). Listen! they are marching towards Paris. (An English march plays, and Talbot and forces pass across the stage at a distance). There goes old Talbot with the whole British army behind him. (A French march plays, and Duke of Burgundy and his army enter). Now here is Burgundy. Get him to stop. We will talk with him.

At this point, Shakespeare has written "Trumpets sound a parley." This I believe refers to an internationally recognised bugle signal that can be used to arrange a temporary truce for discussion with one's enemy. Perhaps today it would be a radio signal.


A parley with the Duke of Burgundy! (sic)


Who wants to talk to me?


Your countryman Charles.


What do you want Charlie? 'Cause we're marching.


Speak Pucelle, and enchant him with your words. Brave Burgundy, our only hope! Let your humble handmaiden speak to you.


Come on then, but make it snappy.


Look on your beautiful country and see the damage the enemy have wreaked upon it, and you helping them! Have some pity on your fellow countrymen, look at the damage you yourself have done to them! Turn and face the other way, and drive the English before you. You should be grieving over every single drop of French blood that has been spilled, yet revelling in streams of foreign gore! Join with us now and put things to rights.


Either she has bewitched me or I suddenly feel like relenting.


Besides, all France are in doubt about your loyalty and birth because you have joined with a nation who are only interested in you because of any gain they can make out of you. Once Talbot has established himself, then Henry will be king, and they can just kick you out. If you want proof of this, then look: Duke of Orleans was your foe, and was he not in England as a prisoner? But when they heard he was your enemy they set him free without making any financial demands, in spite of you and all your friends. Look, you're fighting against your own countrymen. Come, return to the fold. Charles and the rest will take you in their arms.

BURGUNDY (aside):

I'm beaten! She has almost brought me to my knees. I apologise, my countrymen! My lords, my army and I join you.

PUCELLE (aside):

Like a true Frenchman. turn and turn again!


Welcome duke. You've done us a power of good.


And put new courage in our breasts.


Pucelle deserves a crown for doing this.


Now let's get on with things, and work out how to win.

All exit.

More next week.


APART FROM a great amount of stuff about babies, the newspapers this week got hold of a story about an Oxford College which refused a place to a young woman who was said by her comprehensive school teachers to have an 'excellent academic record'. This got various leftish people up in arms about Oxford's 'old establishment' interview system, which must, they say, necessarily exclude people it should not exclude. This was taken up as a political issue by one of our politicians, who made much television mileage out of it.

This led me to ask (myself, really) many questions not only about Oxford and comprehensives, but also to ask how the hell it was that such mediocre and dated establishments as the Oxford colleges have managed to get a monopoly of credibility, their ex-students almost a monopoly of highly paid jobs, and the comprehensives (equally useless in their own way) almost a monopoly of poor image and ill-paid jobs. Public funding for education, I believe, is also (when available) distributed in a manner which reflects these values.

The comprehensives, it would appear, in the eyes of politicians represent the Labour party whilst those foolish 'public schools' represent the conservatives (since both are equally ridiculous in their own ways, there should be little discussion, but somehow a great many envious statements about something good enough for miner's sons being good enough for director's sons are thrown about whenever the subject comes up), whilst in the same way 'Oxbridge' (Oxford crossed with Cambridge) represents the conservatives and the other universities the Labour party - miner's sons and director's sons over again, and still with no apparent justification except the age of the buildings.

But if you really want a useful education, you might well do a lot better by going to somewhere like Summerhill and then a 'red-brick' university, where there is at least a chance that education is taken seriously, knowledge viewed as a growing and valued resource and image largely forgotten.

We need to look again at what we perceive as priviledge, because it might well be unrealistic.


THIS WEEK a burglar phoned. I had advertised an item of property for sale, and he had phoned up to try to work out how to steal it. He beat all around the houses trying to get me to give him my address without giving me any details of himself (wasn't on his own phone, actually, no he couldn't remember this and......oh, wait one moment, my girlfirned is trying to get my attention, now - you were going to give me your address....) and eventually volunteered somebody else's mobile phone number hoping I would accept that (how silly!), so I decided I would give him the address just so that he could waste his time travelling over and trying to work out how to pass my concierge of a tenant, and the lodger, and to work out how to find the right part of the house to look in. I don't suppose I will hear from him again, because as soon as I had given the address the phone was cut off, giving me the clue I needed to be prepared for his raid, and telling me several other things about him.

If this burglar does turn up whilst I am here I will waste more of his time saying the guy who placed the ad. moved out, but I think I can get him the new address if he will just wait outside for a moment, and then I will give him an address that does not exist (make sure of that) and he will go away and waste more time trying to work that out.

Should I have been kinder, I begin to ask myself? Is this poor unfortunate, pathetic little guy who doesn't believe in himself likely to need help instead of all this? What could I do for him? Would it be a good idea to invite him into my home and give him the opportunity of casing it, whilst at the same time trying to give him some self-respect by treating him like a human being? Should I perhaps have offered this little runt an abundance of saleable items (if I had them) that would enable him to net enough money to maintain his habit for another week, and clear a little space for myself at the same time? Would this do anything to help him get off drugs (assuming that to be the problem)?

I think not. The only way I know of (as someone who has worked with addicts) that has helped people to get off drugs is to refuse to have them around if they are users, thereby making them homeless and showing them the danger they are putting themselves in. Strangely, it has been known to work more often than not. But it has just the one small snag that some of the people die whilst experiencing withdrawal - perhaps the ones who would anyway die, but perhaps not.

However, is there any reason why I should continue to feel as though I have a responsibility towards these people even when I am no longer being paid to help them and they would be quite happy to burgle me?


YOU MAY RECALL that I decided to take advantage of southwark's magnificent offer of a full apology if I was willing to invest a vast amount of energy and money in trying to get them to do their job.

I filled in the form and sent it off to Kay Brown as requested, and sure enough got a reply. It was a standard computer-generated letter which did not address any issues or answer any of 50 or so previous letters sent in the past few years, and re-assured me that Southwark are normally extremely efficient and conscienscious, but that there are times when things do go wrong (they readily admit) and they would like to do something about it. What it neglects to say is that they will not in fact do anything at all, and they will not even give the promised apology because they know so little about what they are doing that they would be incapable of wording the apology or finding anybody willing (and dare I say able?) to type it out.

Obviously, there will be more to relate on this subject, because it is already apparent from the past three years that Kay Brown sends this one letter and then forgets the matter, whilst David Mearns somehow manages not to get your letter.

Has anyone yet tried the ombudsman, though? He's a funny old quango whose alleged role is to see that councils and public bodies behave themselves, but who in my experience behaves as though he considers it his job to find out how to get them off the hook. He is paid handsomely for this, and on rare occasions is obliged to actually find in favour of a complainant in order to maintain his own credibility - but I think this is only a rare occurrence.

But of course, the People's Republic of Southwark are perfect, and have within their bounds the headquarters of the 'Labour' party, so he wouldn't be very likely to find anything against them.


The stuff that doesn`t often get changed now follows:


Click here for an email that arrived in January 2000 concerning a proposed reasoned approach to this tricky subject

This website is about accounting investigations and fiddles. If you like to look at financial scandals (both hidden and public) this might be worth a look. I have not been there myself, but the books produced by these people, although difficult to follow, cover a lot of mysterious ground.

This website is about the destruction of countryside and agriculture. Worth a visit if you want to find out about how it is thought the British countryside will fair under the ongoing creep of the multinationals.

This website is one to do with monetary reform.The British Association for Monetary Reform. If you are interested in economics it is worth a look.

This is a website about alternative currencies.Might be worth a look to those who have realised that you don't necessarily have to have money as such to be prosperous.

This is a website for something called The Green Guide. I know nothing about it, but am hoping it is something worthy. Please let me know if it is questionable.

This is a site concerned with one of the most unpopular planning decisions ever made in Greater London, the Crystal Palace Complex. It is so stunningly awful that only a handful of people who do not live near it appear to approve, whilst the rest are not entirely uninclined to mention such things as payola, name it! The site belongs to the London Borough of Bromley, but the aggro generated by it and the destruction of amenity caused by it will be almost entirely suffered by residents of adjoining boroughs and not the people of Bromley themselves.

This is a recycling site based in London, and offering materials to anybody. The organisation is a charity seeking to link suppliers of surplus materials with users. Especially good for the more ingenious designers amongst us.

The email of the people who run the above site is They are called Creative Supplies. Look them up for more info.

Here's an interesting education site - particularly for those who have young children and are not quite sure what to do to avoid the worst of what`s on offer in the mainstream of education.They are called

early Othernews - 1992, 93, 94.

Early Other News essays.

There were a few essays that went out with the early Other News as a freestanding item. You can read these by clicking below.


The Soup Designer`s Handbook.

The Soup Designer`s Handbook.

London Journey - a trip from Docklands through Beckenham and back to Docklands.

Friday Woodworkers.

(Friday Woodworkers are suffering a temporary break due to some of the episodes not having been fully edited at the time of writing. It may take some timne to fix this problem.

Episode 17.

(These articles were written in 1988, and were my first attempt at writing. Some people when shown these fell about laughing, some smiled faintly - and some yawned. I thought I was going to write a technical book, but it soon became apparent that I was much more interested in the people than the technology - and that is the main reason there are no drawings - although it might be rather good to do a couple of caricatures sometime.)

Index of Friday Woodorker articles (and a means of access).

Index of earlier issues.

Gabriele Gad on alternative therapy.

A READER COMPLAINED that it was not possible to go back more than 6 articles in Gabriele`s area. Regrettably this is because there is no index, and I have not the time to organise one yet. However, for those determined enough to find the early ones, they should be accessible by going to an early Other News and clicking through from it. This will not be fast, but I think will do the job. They started about November 1997 I think.

Cartoons and graphics.

drawings click here.

sheet music click here.



In an earlier issue I told you about my feelings regarding Tempo retailers and the Lexmark 3200 printer I bought from them.

The Lexmark 3200 printer I got from Tempo must surely be the most uneconomical printer I could possibly have bought. The black cartridge only does about 250 pages of ordinary type - for 28! That makes each sheet cost 11.2 pence plus the cost of the paper and probably another 11.2 pence more if any colour is used! - ABOUT 22.4 PENCE A SHEET! Nearly a pound for every four sheets!

I wouldn`t recommend you to buy it - but also look at my earlier article for an idea of Tempo`s service.


A person to help make up a subject index for the growing numbers of articles on The Other News From England. Email

8- or more-track tape recorder. email

All material on this site is copyright. Contact me if you want to use it. I am quite flexible. Educational non-profit use is free - but ask for permission and print an acknowledgement. If you can`t think what to print, put:

From The Other News From England.

Even better if you print the date of the article.

That`s all this week folks