19th. June 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.)
There are some much earlier Other News on this site. Click below.
early Othernews - 1992, 93, 94.
This Saturday - Phil singing songs with a guitar. I've never heard it, so cannot tell you what it is like.
Bonnington cafe is a communally owned cafe in Vauxhall. 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 overall result is relaxed and pleasing.
The cafe gets very full - although these last few weeks owing to holidays it has been quite quiet.
Bonnington Cafe, Vauxhall Grove, London SW8 UK. Near Vauxhall underground and mainline station, and many buses. Booking is difficult.
I have wondered for a very long time how it is that in our western societies where we arrogantly claim to have resolved most of our political and economic problems we in fact cannot even manage to have a respectable standard of living for all citizens. We have the ability to produce far more than we can possibly consume, we have a stranglehold on the economies of many other nations which (regrettably) we relentlessly ransack, and yet we still have homelessness, misery, ill-health and dissent at home.
We don't even have a basic minimum income guaranteed by the state, or a commitment to proper health care (a commitment we once had, even if European medicine itself is a bit questionable).
Politicians (who largely appear not to have made even rudimentary studies of economics) tell us that the reason this is and must remain so is that if you give people a basic income they will all stop work - which is of course why so many unemployed people eventually start working for nothing rather than sit about doing nothing!
Should we perhaps consider the fact that most of the things we are asked by commerce to pay for may be completely unnecessary, and also the fact that our neighbours can between them do nearly all the regular maintenance necessary to run a modern society? This simple fact, if properly handled, can lead us to a situation where things get done whether we have money or not - an important thing to bear in mind - and in some areas it is already happening. The same principle applies to most caring, and when the Thatcher government started the current strategy of seeing how much one could squeeze out of people without paying them it was much resented - but I suspect only because it was motivated more by greed than by goodwill. If people are left alone to do things without interference this problem might well go away, and we might begin to see a world in which we co-operate without having some control freak breathing down our necks.
How far could we push it before our 'leaders' panic and send in the army?
The man cleaning out the kitchen at Stepping Stones squirted a moth with cleaning fluid deliberately and maliciously, apparently with the intent of killing it. I asked him to stop, as he would kill it if he went on like that. Another person on our side of the counter asked him to leave small creatures alone. I took the law into my own hands, and walking into the kitchen I tried to catch the moth with the intention of setting it free outside, but every time I put my hands round it, it had a burst of energy and jumped out, settling on the floor, where people were in danger of crushing it underfoot. This happened many times, and there was much much giggling about the determination of this poor little creature, until eventually my friend the other side of the counter (for I was still in the kitchen) suggested that which should have been obvious - put a cup over it, then take a postcard or a piece of paper and slide it under, then carry the whole thing outside and release it. This was done (but only after a few tries because of the huge amount of energy the moth had), and I proceeded triumphantly towards the door.
The man in the kitchen suddenly said 'you know, it's only an insect'.
'I know,' I said, 'but have you never considered the fact that every single species on this earth relies for it's survival either directly or indirectly on the survival of all the other species?'
There was much silence. I put the moth out under a tree, where it could either recouperate or be eaten by some other species, all the time worrying about whether the cleaning fluid which had been sprayed on it would ruin it's ability to fly, whether the fluid was stinging like hell, and whether, in the event of it being eaten by another species, the cleaning fluid would poison the eater of the moth, and even whether the eater of the moth would go on to poison other species who in turn ate it, or it's own offspring by feeding them.
Having worried about that for most of the remainder of the day, I wondered whether the man behind the counter had any thoughts on whether the moth, with such a tiny brain, would necessarily not be able to think and experience all the horror involved in it's ordeal in just the same way that humans can. I wondered whether brain size in reality had anything at all to do with mental capability. We believe it to, because we cannot imagine intelligence coming from any source other than a material one, and therefore we are inclined to say the larger the brain the larger the capability. I do not know if there is any real evidence to support this idea, and I believe I have heard of species who have a brain bigger than the human one but with less apparent intelligence.
So finally, for me at least, greenness is not just about self-interest (preservation of the habitat in which I live by preserving the habitats in which other people and species live), it is also about compassion, aesthetics and conscience, and it is very confusing.
King Henry the 6th.part 1 Act 4.
In front of Bordeaux.
Enter Talbot, with trump and drum (I don't know).
Trumpeter, get their general up on the city wall by playing a tune, so that we may speak to him.
General appears, with other nameless persons. Talbot continues:
Surrender and make yourselves British subjects, or we will lay siege to the city, and then you'll regret it.
Unpleasant little man, piss off. We are well defended, and are not interested in being governed by a bunch of jerks. The only way you will get in here is by killing us all. Aside from that, there are French squadrons all around behind you, so that you cannot retreat. Whatever way you turn you cannot avoid disaster. Before the day is out, I think we shall se you dead.
Listen, I think I can hear them marching in this direction right now.
He's not kidding. I think I can hear them now. Someone go and take a look at them. (much patriotic waffle) Fight to the death, men. (as though they had a choice).
Plains in Gascony.
Enter a nameless messenger, who meets York. Also enter York with many soldiers.
Yes. The Dauphin has amassed a huge army that is going to Bordeaux to attack Talbot's army.
Pesky Somerset! He is supposed to have supplied us with further men and horses for this matter. I cannot support Talbot without an army. Dear me, if he persishes then there will be no more wars for us in France.
Enter Sir William Lucy.
Well, let's get on with it. Set out immediately for Bordeaux, or we lose our honour.(!)
As Somerset is a traitor and a coward, I wish he were in Talbot's place - then I'd be rid of him. As it is, we die whilst he sleeps soundly.
Sir W L:
Send some help!
Somerset's helping the dastardly French no end. It is most embarrassing.
Sir W. L.:
Talbot's son, whom he hasn't seen for seven years, is on his way to support him. The two of them are done for. (No mention of the hundreds of soldiers).
He'll be welcoming his son to his grave. I find it very annoying. Farewell Lucy, I cannot help him. We've lost no end of towns already just because of Somerset's delay.
Exit York with forces.
Sir W. L. :
Thus sedition and bickering in the wake of Henry the 5th's death loses all the gains he made: land, lives, and all.
More next week.
(This article held over from last week.)
THIS WEEK'S LOCAL newspaper carries a story about a fence which blew over into a man's garden. The fence belonged to the council, and so he contacted them, but of course they did nothing about it - they failed, as they habitually do, to even respond to his letter. He tried other methods, but none worked, and eventually after several months the local paper concerned made enquiries and got a promise out of somebody on the council that some action would be taken - and so a photograph of the man and the fence hit the headlines this week.
Those of us who live in London know that nothing at all will happen beyond that point, as we have all tried various things to get the local council to do something about something, but the reason is of more interest than the effect to me. I suspect that what is going on is that as politicians know nothing about economics (except how to feather their own nests), they have been taken in by the notion that you can't just go on employing people until you have all the necessary people to do the job in hand, and that in fact things like councils are more efficient if kept very short of funds (for we do, indeed, know how much resources they can waste, and how many internal fiddles are possible).
The strategy for putting this idea into practice (regular cutbacks) seems to have started with Thatcher (it wouldn't have taken a genius to know that there was plenty of latitude for cutting back at that time), but which has continued ever since in a mindless manner, resulting in a state of affairs where there are insufficient people doing the jobs that need doing, and where it would be expedient for a tory government not to get elected until the mess is sorted out by some other party.
The difficulty now is that we have that other party, and they are trying to be a copy of the Tory party with a Labour label, and in order to achieve this end they will continue to mindlessly cut back. Cutting back of itself may well achieve nothing at all, for a number of reasons, except a decline in effectiveness. Furthermore, it will not 'save money' because money is not, as the banks would like us to believe, a finite resource, but one which can be and is enlarged and reduced to fit prevailing circumstances. It is not even a fixed number of tokens of exchange which can move about between people and which represent x amount of somebody's time, or y amount of fuel - aside from about 1% of the money in circulation which is actual coins and banknotes, the rest is just cheques, electronic transfers and promises made against nothing - not even a few bits of gold.
So, the decision to be made may well not be where to direct scarce resources but how to provide money to who for what. British banks are licensed to issue money to the public in the form of loans which immediately bear interest. They issue the money from thin air, as far as I am able to work out - that is, there is no money until they say it exists by giving you an overdraft. This theoretically means there is no limit to the amount that can be issued. The result of this practice may well be that the people who get the vast bulk of the wealth of this country will be (a) bankers, (b) other people with no tangible product, and not the persons who are needed to answer letters and mend fences for the local populace, who in this transaction might well be thought of as the modern equivalent of cannon-fodder and therefore be considered not to be people who warrant such spoiling.
Aside from the pensioners, who represent a very large group of voters (and many of whom will also be of the cannon-fodder class anyway), these people will have been the ones who voted the present government to power - and who are now looking very disappointed. It is quite likely they will also be the voters who oust them at the next election if they cannot get the banks under control, learn something about economics and hire some people to get the jobs done.
(Some readers will remember a time when it was possible to write to the local council, have one's letter read by someone who understands it, and receive a tolerably intelligent reply, followed on occasions by appropriate action).
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. http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~bamr1
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, freemasons....you 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 email@example.com. 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 www.edrev.org.
early Othernews - 1992, 93, 94.
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.
London Journey - a trip from Docklands through Beckenham and back to Docklands.
(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.
(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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
8- or more-track tape recorder. email email@example.com
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. http://www.othernews.co.uk
Even better if you print the date of the article.