The Other News From England.

18th September 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.

Bonnington Cafe and Bonnington Square.

This Saturday, Phil with his folksy Bert Jansch-ish songs. From 8 onwards. No charge for the entertainment, but the hat goes round, and as seating is limited it is only fair that you should order something to eat.

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.

Gabriele Gad's workshop to help you cope with computer stress.

Gabriele's computer stress course may help. I have never tried it, but doing things with Gabriele can be fun. Details of this course may be found by clicking below:

Gabriele Gad's computer stress course this October.


WHEN I WAS an Open University student on the foundation course in science, I had cause at a tutorial to ask the tutor whether she thought it likely that the magnetic polarity of rocks could be artificially changed from that which occurs naturally. This valid question caused a considerable amount of sniggering amongst those who had many qualifications, and one member of the tutorial asked me if I was thinking of magnetising my garden, laughing heartily at the thought of my folly. I found it difficult to understand this joke, particularly in the light of the fact that scientists rely partially on the magnetic fields in rocks to tell them various things about those rocks - not least whether they have always been in the position they are currently in (if they have been moved, their polarity will be out of alignment with the other rocksaround them), but also because any bit of extra knowledge might at some stage be useful even if it is not so now.

I was talking with Tim Israel (a music teacher who thinks) this week when he told me of his experiences as an Open University student in the foundation course in psychology.

"I went on the thing because I was hoping to find something out about how people learn things, and what motivates people," he said, "but I'm afraid all the people on that course were interested in was passing an exam to further their career. They weren't the least bit interested in psychology."

For some people it may be difficult to see the difference between the two postions suggested by Tim's statement, but I would like to suggest that the people who are only in it for the exam are likely to be those who will further their careers, whilst the truly interested people will be the ones who should be in the lead but who will in fact be disallowed from entering their chosen professions at a suitable level for lack of qualifications.

Another music teacher I know cannot understand why it is that when a student shows a high standard of ability I do not immediately start pressing them to do 'grades'. The answer, which she will probably never understand, is that I know from experience that they will progress faster if they do it out of enthusiasm than if working for an exam.

Thus it appears that achievement in all walks of life is self-limiting. The real enthusiasts are 'under-qualified' whilst the least enthusiastic (and possibly the least able) are likely to be the most qualified and considered most suitable for the job.

I think there must be something wrong here, surely?

Fuel shortage.

For the past week Britain has been in crisis due to a shortage of motor fuel. The roads have been much quieter, and our street has been much more peaceful, people have talked about how pleasant it is to go out on foot, people with cars have queued for miles to get into petrol stations thought to have fuel in stock, blocking the general flow of traffic, and wasting large amounts of fuel in the process.

It has been a very strong illustration of why we should be looking at ways of reducing the amount of fuel we burn as a nation, yet nobody seems to wish to address that issue. The whole economy at present runs on fossil fuels, and we are burning them up fast with no apparent easy alternative, and apparently virtually no preparation (rape oil and the like are not practical for a number of reasons with present technology and habits). There is one measure which any political party could introduce which would begin to have some influence on how people perceive and use fuel, and which would to some extent give control over the amoiunt of fuel used per annum/person/district etc., as you will, and at the same time stimulate inventiveness in the area of fuel economy research, and I would like to try to describe it here (this will not be the first time, so forgive me if I am boring you).

Per Capita Motor Fuel Rationing is the measure I would like to propose, warts and all. Rationing is never popular, but rationing by price, which happens now in many fields, is not very popular either, so I think this might appeal to some.

With PCMFR, each person, upon attaining the age of 18 (or whatever) automatically gets a motor fuel allowance (they still have to pay for the fuel) which they can sell to the highest bidder or use for their own purposes, thus allowing them to be rewarded for not having a car at the same time as allowing the government to keep some control over the total amount of fuel used per annum by the whole population. The big car user would have to pay extra for the priviledge, and the small car user might have a surplus to sell, depending on the total allowance of all coupon-holders per annum. Designers would be encouraged to work on more economical designs, and the motor trade generally would sell a whole new range of economical motors to accomodate the new needs. Public transport would be stimulated. Special arrangements could be made for fleet owners and essential services.

This approach, which is black-market-proof but which might lead to some forgery (like paper money does) would enable particularly some of the old and the unemployed to supplement their meagre incomes by the sale of their allowance, and would probably lead to one or two new lines of business (ration-trading, for instance).

But of course it won't happen. Far too sensible.

Joe Punter's Shakespeare.

King Henry the 6th. part 2.

ACT 2.


A hall of justice.

Sound trumpets. Enter king, queen, Gloster, York, Suffolk and Salisbury, and Duchess of Gloster, Margery Jourdain, Southwell, Hume and Bolinbgbroke under guard.


Stand forth, Dame Eleanor Cobham, Gloster's wife. Your actions against god are punishable with death, (and to the others) and you four will return to prison and from there you will go to a place of execution. The witch will be burnt to ashes in Smithfield, and you three shall be hung. You, madam (to Duchess of Gloster), being of superior birth, shall be deported to the Isle of Man, where you will have to live with Sir John Stanley.

( was sir John Stanley a punishment? ed)


I would have been quite happy to die, but banishment is better than nothing.


Eleanor, you can see the law has judged you. I cannot decide who they condemn.

(exit all prisoners under guard). He continues:

This is really bringing me down. Please, let me go too. It would make my ageing less difficult to deal with.


Wait a mo. Just give up your staff (mace of office) and I will be my own protector. God will be my guide and protect me. You're just as much appreciated now as you were when you were protector. Go in peace.


Yes indeed. He is a grown man now and needs no protector. Give up your staff and go, and Henry will do the job on his own.


Right. Here you are Sir. I give it up as willingly as others would want to take it. Farewell, and my support remains with you, even after I am dead.


Blimey, that was a stroke of luck. Both the Duchess banished and the duke resigning. Let the staff now stay in Henry's hands.


And so the Gloster regime collapses, and Eleanor's ambitions are thwarted in her youth.


Lords, let him go. Today is the day appointed for the combat. Both the appelant and the defendant are ready, so let's go and watch the fight.


Yes. I came out specially for the occasion.


In god's name may the best man win, and this matter will be settled once and for all.


I never saw anyone so frightened before as the appellant, who is the servant of his opponent.

Enter now Horner the armourer (the defendant) and his neighbours, who are all drinking, and the armourer himself is drunk as a result of their all drinking to him. He enters with someone playing a drum before him, and a sandbag tied to his staff. At the other door enters Peter, his servant, also with a drum and sandbag, and apprentices drinking to him.


Here, neighbour Horner, I am drinking sherry to you. You will do well enough.


And here's a cup of charneco.


And here's a good double beer for you. Drink it and stop worrying.


OK. Let it all happen. We shall see. I'm not afraid.....


Here, Peter, I drink to you. Don't be afraid.


Enjoy yourself, Peter, and don't fear him. Fight for the credit of the apprentices.


I thank you all. Drink, and pray for me. Robin, if I die, you can have my apron, Will, you shall have my hammer, and Tom take all the money I have. Lord please help me, for my master is so much more practised in matters of arms than I am.


Come on. Cut out the drinking and let's see some fight. What's your name?


It's Peter.


Peter what?




OK. Then thump your master well.


I've come here, as it were, because my servant has caused me to come here by certain insinuations against myself, and touching upon the duke of York, king, queen, (etc). To prove that I did not say these things I am willing to risk my life against my servant in open combat. Therefore, Peter, have at thee!


I begin to think this knave is not entirely kosher.

(Alarm. They fight. Peter strikes Horner down.)


Stop, Peter. Alright, I confess. I confess to treason.

Horner dies.


Thank god, Peter, and the good wine your master drank.


Good god, have I won?


Take away the traitor's body. As he died he is guilty, and God has shown us that this poor man is innocent. Come, fellow, follow me for your reward.

(sound a flourish)

(All exit.)

More next week.


IN MOST TRADES, the more experienced an operator becomes the faster they complete the job in hand, and at the same time the higher is the quality of the work they do. Furthermore, the more skilled they are, the less they seem to be doing whilst achieving more. An finally, the more skilled they are, the easier they make the job look.

Since the public can see it is all so very easy, and it takes such a small amount of time to do things, they do not expect to pay a sensible sum for the work these people do.

The answer to this must be, then, if one is thinking purely in terms of making money, to start doing something else at which one has less experience in lieu of one's best skill!


FOR MORE THAN 20 years I have been able to observe the behaviour of a woman who learnt a trick in the playground at school in the nineteen twenties and has used it shamelessly throughout her life to achieve what little she has achieved. It is quite a powerful trick, and carefully handled can be at least a defence against the retaliation of those against whom one has committed such crimes as theft, and is capable in the most accomplished hands of being a further assault to that which has already been committed.

The trick is very simple. Whatever you have done against this person (theft, swindling, any dishonesty, harrassment, threats, you name it) you must yourself complain (preferably to the police) that your victim has been doing it against you - and if possible before they have a chance to make their complaint against you. Quite simple, really. And as such a person has no particular moral code, the evidence they give will not have to be truthful. It will just tell the story they have chosen to tell, which will not be compared to previous stories which contradict this one. Most people will not know how to deal with such a person, having a moral code themselves which will not let them make up false accusations, and knowing that there is every chance that the liar can tell a more plausible 'truth' than their own real truth.

I would like to hear from people who have developed strategies for dealing with such people. They can do an awful lot of damage to a perfectly innocent person's life.

(Whilst I was writing this article a student phoned up. We discussed this very subject, and he told me that such people are commonplace!)


You may recall that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago a person who was said to have been in solitary confinement in Israel for the past ten or more years. I have now found that this person's name is Vanunu, and that protesters intend to be outside the Iraeli embassy in Kensington on the 30th September from 10 am onwards. It is said that his only crime was to have told the world that Israel has nuclear weapons.


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