21st. August 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.
Bonnington Cafe and Bonnington Square.
This Saturday should be Gabriele Gad, piano, and Hugh Harris, sax. Quiet, old-fashioned jazz and own compositions. About 8pm onwards.
Bonnington cafe is a communally owned cafe in Vauxhall, Central London. 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. People tend to spend the whole evening over their meal.
The cafe gets very full, but sometimes there is a list of telephone numbers of the people who cater there in case you should wish to try to make a booking. Most Saturdays are catered by Marguerite - but not all.
Bonnington Cafe, Vauxhall Grove, London SW8 UK. Near Vauxhall underground and mainline station, and many buses. Booking is difficult.
A READER disagreed. The substance of her idea was that there is so much offensive material on the internet that there needed to be someone to monitor it and get it removed, and I know there to be a great many people who would agree. I almost agree myself, but we cannot necessarily rely on somebody else to censor the right things, given that each one of us has a different idea of what is offensive - even the most extreme things must have their followers, who presumably think they are perfectly OK.
How do we decide what is to be censored, and how do we decide who will do the deciding and the censoring? And then, when we have decided that, how do we avoid them censoring us when we feel we have a genuine message for the rest of the world and they don't like it? Like this one, for instance, which is quite genuinely my own. I cannot see anything wrong with having this opinion.
King Henry the 6th. part 2 Act 1.
London. the palace.
Enter Peter, and other petitioners.
If we all stand close together, that will be our best chance of handing our petitions all together to the Protector.
God bless him. He's a good man.
Here he comes, and I think that's the queen with him. I aim to be first, lads.
Enter Suffolk and Queen.
Don be a prat! That's the Duke of Suffolk, not the Protector.
Hello. do you want to talk to me?
Sorry. I took you for the Lord Protector.
For the Lord Protector? Can I look at them? What are you asking for?
Mine is against John Goodman, the Cardinal's man, for keeping my land, my house and my wife from me.
Your wife, too?! Good grief. What is your one...Hello! What's this? 'Against the Duke of Suffolk, for enclosing the commons of Melford'. Wad a ya mean?
I am afraid I am not alone in this. I represent the whole town on this matter.
PETER (presenting his petition):
Against my master, Thomas Horner, for saying the Duke of York was rightful heir to the throne.
What's that? Did you say the Duke of York said he was rightful heir to the crown?
That my master was? No. My master said that he was, and that the king was a usurper.
Who's there? (enter a servant.) Take this guy in, and also send for his master. We'll hear more of this in front of the king.
And as for you lot, who want to be protected by the Protector, bring your petitions to him. Meanwhile, sod off. (she tears the petitions). Let 'em go, Suffolk.
Come on, let's get out of here.
Is this how you do things in Britain? Henry is King and I am Queen, both of us by name only, whilst the whole show is run by Gloster? You impressed me in Tours when you seduced me to become queen of England, and I thought Henry would be a similar style of man, but this is definitely not turning out to be the case. He's all just ave Maries and stuff. The man's just a bloody poof. A pathetic whimp. I wish to hell they'd carry him off to Rome and make him Pope. That would be a much more fitting role for him.
Please be patient. As I was the cause of your coming here, I will do all I can to make you comfortable here.
Besides the Lord Protector, we have Beaufort the tempestuous cardinal, Somerset, Buckingham and York, and all of them can do more here than the king.
And the one who can do most of all cannot do mre in England that the Nevils. Salisbury and Warwick are no ordinary peers.
The one who annoys me most is the Lord Protector's wife, who ponces about the court like she is the queen herself. Strangers take her to be the queen. She's so damned rich it offends me. Christ, her best dress is worth more than my father's estate (before you gave him a couple of dukedoms in exchange for his daughter)!
Please bear with me. I have set a trap for her, into which she will fall in due course, after which I do not think she will trouble you any more. However, I would recommend that although you do not like the Cardinal we should for the moment join with him and the Lords til we have brought down Duke Humphrey. As for the Duke of York, that complaint will soon fix him. And so eventually, the whole lot will fall, and you will be in control.
A voluntary sounds. Enter the king, Duke Humphrey, Card. Bfort, Buckingham, York, Somerset, Salisbury, Warwick, and Duchess of Gloster.
I don't care whether it is Somerset or York. It's all the same to me.
If I haven't done very well in France, then let me be denied the regentship.
If I'm no good for the job, then let York do it. I won't resist.
We're not trying to work out if you are worthy or not. The point is that York is more worthy.
Warwick, let your betters speak.
This cardinal is no better than me in this field.
Everybody here is your better, Warwick.
I will live to be best of all.
Peace, son. Buckingham, please give some reason why Somerset should be preferred.
Because the king prefers.
Madam, the king is old enough to speak for himself. These are not women's matters.
If he is old enough, why does he need you as protector?
Madam, if he wants me to, wi will resing.
Resign then, and relieve us all of a burden. The Daupin has prevailed overseas and the whole show has gone to rack and ruin whilst you have been playing at king in this way.
You've ruined the nation with you extortions.
Your sumptuous dwellings and your wife's attire have cost the poublic purse dearly.
Your cruelty towards offenders has exceded the law, and now leaves you at the mercy of the law.
If we could actually prove your various sales of jobs in France, you would lose your head very quickly indeed.
(exit Gloster. The queen drops her fan.)
Give me may fan, minion. What Can you not?
(she gives the duchess a box on the ear.)
I cry you mercy madam! Was it you?
It most certainly was, you French bitch. If I could get near you and your great beauty, you'd feel my nails, I can tell you.
Please, Auntie, be quiet. She didn't mean to do it.
Against her will! Are you kidding? Give it time, and she'll be dandling you on her knee like a baby, and she'll be well and truly in charge. No dame can strike me and get away with it unrevenged.
I think I'll just follow on and see how things proceed. I think we've spurred them enough for them to make their own destruction.
Having cooled down a bit after a walk round the quadrangle, I have come back in to talk of commonwealth affairs. If you have objections to me, them prove them. I am open to the law, and may god have mercy. I love my king and country. But to the mater in hand. I say, my sovereign, York is the best man to be regent in France.
Before we vote, can I give a good reason why I think York the least suitable?
I can tell you why you think I am unfit for the job. First, I don't flatter you, next if I am appointed Somerset will keep me there without anything: no furniture, no support, no troops, no nothing, till the dauphin once again has control. Last time, we lost Paris whilst he failed to turn up with the necessaries.
I am witness to that. He's a damned traitor.
Peace, headstrong Warwick!
You proud git! why should I hold my peace?
Enter Horner, the armourer, and his man Peter, guarded.
Because here is a man accused of treason. May York excuse himself!
Am I being accused of being a traitor?
What are you talking about, Suffolk? What are these?
Please sir, this is the man who accuses his master of high treason. He said this: that Richard duke of York was rightful heir to the English crown, and that you were a usurper.
Is that waht you said?
If you please, sir, I never said nor even thought such a thing. God is my witness, I am falsely accused by the villain.
PETER (holding up his hands):
By these ten bones, he said that very thing - one night whilst we were scouring the Duke of York's armour.
DUKE OF YORK:
You villainous little arsehole! I'll have your head for this traitor's language! I beseech you, sire, to let him feelo the full force of the law.
Hang me if I ever said any such thing. The accuser is my apprentice, and when I chidded him the other day he vowed he would be even with me. I have good witness of this. Therefore, if it please your majesty, don't behead an honest man for his apprentice's bent word.
Uncle, what should I say to this from a legal point of view?
This is my doom, if I may judge. Let Somerset be regent in France because there is now suspicion of York. And let a day and place be set for them to have a duel over this, for he has a witness of his servant's malice. That is the law, and it is Duke Humphrey's doom.
OK. Let it be. Somerset, you be regent of France.
SOMERSET: I humbly thank your royal majesty.
And I accept the duel willingly.
Alas, my lord, I can't fight. Please, for god's sake pity me. Please. O lord have mercy upon me (etc) I will never be able to fight.
Sir, you must either fight or be hanged.
Off with them to prison. The day of combat shall be the last day of next month. Come, Somerset, we'll see them sent away.
More next week.
I HAVE BECOME a volunteer fot Victim Support, the charity which offers help to victims of crime. To do this work, one needs to do a certain amount of 'training'. This consists of various lectures and role-play excercises. Role-playing a victim was fairly easy (I know a bit about it!), and so was role-playing a support-worker. The general idea is that one is there to encourage the victim to make the best they can out of the situation they have unwillingly found themsleves in as the result of a crime.
But this week we had a lecture on the role of Witness Support, another charity who support witnesses in court. They support all witnesses indiscriminately, of course, since a witness is just someone who is thought to know something pertinent to the case and not in any way the accused or the victim except as those two persons are witnesses as part of their role in the plot.
I did actually manage to listen all the way through this lecture, but I was plagued by my own experiences within the British legal system, which made it very difficult to hear the lecture with an open mind. Every time the lecturer menetioned lawyers, in particular, I remembered just how bent they can be in their desperation to win even if unjustly, and when judges were mentioned I found myself recalling the fact that in order to be a judge you have to be a barrister first (whatever anyone tells you to the contrary, there is only a token number of other categories who are judges). I also remembered that barristers have an extremely strong tendency to behave like well-spoken hooligans, and memories returned with a vengeance of a judge who used to operate in a certain County Court who was so bent it would almost be impossible to describe how - and finally I was unable to take the matter very seriously, or alternatively one might say I took it so seriously I could not take it seriously at all.
This left me with a dread of having to go into court to support a victim of crime, simply because I cannot see how a criminal can be justly tried by a collection of people whose behaviour in their work (their career!) is essentially of a criminal type.
Perhaps somebody could give me some useful hints on how to stomach this stuff. The rest of the training has been fine.
IN 1921, or thereabouts, broadcasting of sound radio started in this country. It enabled those engaged by industry and the government for the purpose to talk to the nation, and a wide range of laws were rapidly passed to protect the airwaves from encroachment by any but authorised persons - largely on the grounds that too many radio stations would make it impossible to get clear reception, although not entirely.
The plan was that the British Broadcasting Corporation would be formed, funded by large electrical manufacturers, who would make radio sets to sell, so that the corporation itself was used as a sales device. Any bona fide manufacturer could join the corporation for a fee of £1, but there was another fee of £50 to pay (for what I cannot remember), and of course as £50 was a phenominal sum at that time this excluded the riff-raff. The only sets that could be marketed were ones which were 'BBC approved'. The BBC argued that it was democratic as anyone could join, and the government kept a close eye on the proceedings, but as far as I can make out they made no attempt to make membership accessible to anybody who wanted to start radio manufacture from scratch unless they had the £50.
The new company broadcast all sorts of things but was not allowed to talk about politics, although I am sure you will be aware that there is more than one way to talk about politics, and thus the government of the day would have a superb propaganda tool with which to manipulate the population into war, zenophobia, and a great many other ills as well as influence them in a more creative way. The same sort of stuff they do now, in fact.
But the the essential thing about the BBC was that it was one-sided, and the chance to have a say could be restricted to those the government approved of (having the odd rare dissenter to make it seem unbiassed), which was not the case with the Internet.
The Internet is a tool by which anybody can, at least in theory, send their message to everybody in the world without interference or censorship, and one must presume that it is for this reason that governments the world over must have begun to worry about it. In some countries, we are told, it has been banned except for certain government use, whilst in others there is a certain amount of 'spying' going on, particularly with email. The temptation to business to try to use it for 'secure transactions' and banking has probably kept it available in most countries, but we should perhaps recognise that it is a very attractive tool which a great many business people and politicians will be coveting right this moment. For someone like me it is difficult to fully understand the attraction, but history has demonstrated that this must be the case. Some people really do covet the crown.
Freedom of speech is something the British have managed to make themselves famous for, even though it is not quite as free as all that. We have freedom of speech on the radio and television, but these media are fairly tightly controlled, and I have been told there is a few seconds break between what is said and the moment it arrives on your receiver so that it can be edited if necessary.
On the Internet we temporarily have freedom of speech, and this country (which has made itself famous for freedom of speech not entirely with justification) is now trying to curtail that. The relevant act is right now on it's way through parliament, and will enable the government to require servers to remove material it finds offensive from websites. The more consciensious Internet Service Providers are preparing to resist on a selection of legal grounds, but those who are just in it for the money will presumably just remove the material with no further questions, thus driving their customers to the more consciensious servers, and then when those are tackled, to servers elsewhere - and no doubt causing people to devise ways of being 'pirate servers' just like we have 'pirate radio' - but of course it might be difficult to find them.
The time may be ripe for organising some resistance.
HERE'S HOW IT WORKS, based on certain assumptions about a real property under offer in Bromley at this moment.
An old lady becomes so mentally deranged she has to be put into a care home. Her home must be sold to pay the fees and to relieve her of any responsibilities in that area. Her solicitor has to decide how to sell her house, and you might wonder why he does not put it with a local agent. A board is erected outside the house, telling us all it is for sale. The agent does not give an address, only a telephone number. Joe Punter telephones to get details of the property and is told it is under offer.
'Never mind,' he says, 'I might make a better offer if contracts are not already being offered.'
'Well, actually we have five offers here on the table, so there is no point in your even looking at it,' says the girl on the other end.
'OK,' says Joe Punter, believing he doesn't have a chance, and rings off, leaving the ring in full control of the situation, and able to agree between themselves what the price should be and which member will have the property.
What we can assume has happened here is that the solicitor has gone to his lodge or other place of meeting fellow 'businesspeople', has arranged that at least five members of the group will put in offers, and has possibly even arranged what those offers will be, and has instructed the agents (who could be but do not have to be of the same ring) that as representative of the old lady he will accept one of the first five offers, five being a reasonable sample of the market.
The sale is made, and a 'right good drink' is bought for the solicitor and his cronies, whilst Joe Punter, who might well have offered a great deal more than was offered, has been deprived of the chance to even make a bid.
As for the old lady and her family - they can whistle.
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.