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The Other News From England.

20 December 1999.

This week.

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.

I am working again on old issues of Other News (1993) and hope soon to put a few more of them on the site.

Reduced edition.

This week has been a very busy one, with much charity work happening, and the end result is a shortage of ideas. This is a reduced edition.

London Rent Assessment Panel.

I can now tell you that we will not hear a result from these people before January 2000 - perhaps they are hoping that the end of the world will happen (as many people do) and so they will not have to address this knotty question.

For those of you who have not been following this, the system of resgistering 'fair rents' (fair for the tenant only) has been trying to alter to become 'market rents' adjusted down 'by an amount to take account of scarcity', but in the meantime a new market has arisen with no scarcity, and thus tenants sitting in half-million-pound houses whilst paying peanuts to do so are in danger of having to pay a rent which reflects the price of the building, and therefore in many cases will be in danger of eviction because the Dept of Social Security will not fund such huge sums.

The rent in question is one of these, and much energy has been put into finding out what a true 'market rent' might be, and how to assess it. I might have made a mistake by imagining that one might apply all the rules of normal economics and economic research. I suspect the LRAP do not like this idea - coupled with there being no scarcity it will push rents genuinely into line with the market, and make several problems for a selection of government departments, and individual tenants.

Overall, if the economy can weather the storm I imagine a better housing market will result - one that relates in a market manner to all the other things one might have to spend one's income on. I imagine rents like the one I am looking at coming into line with the market will create a lot of new customers for cheaper places to rent - a part of the market where not a few landlords are having trouble getting tenants - and possibly a better, more even, distribution of population. It will not do anything for tenants who damage their accomodation, steal things, or harrass their neighbours - but then neither would keeping things as they were.

But this is only an opinion.

LETSSwing at Crawley January 29, 2000.

LETSSwing have become very slick over the last couple of years. A well laid back group playing a great mixture of stuff - harmonised vocals, smooth old saxophone, Gabriele Gad on piano (so unique I can't describe it), instrumentals on flute and/or saxophone, old, new, LETS songs, folksy songs, jazz pop and swing, reggae, bluebeat - and near enough all of it danceable.

Many LETSSwing engagements are in hospitals and homes (working for Council for Music in Hospitals), and so are not open to the general public, but on January 29 LETSSwing is doing another show that is open to the public (last one was 8 Dec 99). This will also be an opportunity to see what LETS' are about if you are interested.

at Northgate Community Centre, Crawley, W. Sussex, 10 minutes walk from Station.

7pm till 11pm, admission 5, 2 for 10-15 year olds, under 10 free!

You could email for extra info.


Some weeks I look at newspapers. In fact, there are times when I manage to pick up a few newspapers on a train (the ones that go to Kingston are very good - they usually have the International Herald Tribune and New York Times as well as the English ones), and often there is something worth a read.

Last week I made a point of trying to find newspapers so that I would have something to write about, but was thwarted. The only papers I could find were those which devoted their space to stories about how one entertainment industry hack criticised another entertainment industry hack for being 'commercial' over Christmas (like everyone else), or beautiful bimbos who might or might not have brains but who anyway are not there to show intelligence - and plenty of photos of ladies who in one's deepest fantasies are available now - and to the (necessarily male?) reader himself, diluted with stories of hopelessly uninteresting people who happen to have inherited a position of control and do not know how to sell themselves to the public, and so engage whole promotional agencies to 'sell' them, like a pair of running shoes or a packet of cigarettes - but there was no news.

Amongst the papers I found an article about researchers who had (obviously very shallowly) researched the effects on one's health of playing various instruments and found that my own instrument - the saxophone - was by far the worst. They somehow managed to blame the statistic on cyclical breathing - something which, as far as I know, almost no saxophone players indulge in, but which was blamed for the death at a youngish age of one English saxophonist some years ago - and make little reference to the fact that a great many saxophonists of the old school used to spend most of their working lives in smokey clubs, and conceivably drank to some extent at the same time.

My own experience (for I become one of the old school more and more as the others die off) has been so significantly different to either of these two standardised and presumptuous images that I hardly know where to start to show the difference. I cannot breathe cyclically, and when I smoked it tended to be one and maybe a second one on Saturday night (stopped long ago), and most gigs I do tend to be up-market and slightly 'middle-class intellectual', with near enough nobody smoking - in fact, with the non-smokers in such a majority that they complain when the smokers smoke. As to drinking, on rare occasions I drink one glass or sometimes two of red wine, and that is the end of that. Coupled to that, I eat rather less than most people, which at one time would have been frowned upon, but which now is praised.


Southwark continue with their dodgy strategy for avoiding giving anybody council tax benefit, and I continue to discuss ways of putting things right with a certain council official, whilst at the same time hoping the bailiff will not appear at my door. Unfortunately, it looks very much like the only solution will eventually be a heavily publicised public demonstration of some sort. Anybody wishing to help organise this might like to email

The Housing Benefit department appear to be fairly badly bent.

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

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. 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).

Progress is slow but we`re still moving on.

We are still redesigning The Other News From England. Noticed the change so far?

There is at least one new article this week, and articles on many subjects in earlier issues (which can be seen by clicking below).

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.


(I wish someone would make a contribution before I am forced to put in some of my own stuff here).

So new, in fact, that there is nothing there. I want to open a section of this site to be used as a kind of green reference. Ordinary folks usually know what to do in order to be green, but there are times when (a) they don`t know the technology, or (b)they are short of ideas, or (c) they would like to see what some other people think.

So the purpose of this area will be for people to describe to others how they made their own electricity, or saved a great deal of domestic water being wasted, or captured the methane gas from their cesspit, designed their solar bicycle with regenerative braking and portable overnight windcharger, caused plants to grow in a desert, made a solar water pump, etc.

A site for forward-looking people, in fact.

It may be very difficult to edit, but I would like a few articles and tips that are concise, easily understood and ecologically useful. Authors will be named if they so wish. These will be left on the site, and gradually as the number of articles builds up hopefully somebody will construct an index. I won`t volunteer myself, as I have yet to make a subject index for the whole Other News site.



One week carried an article that might be of interest to anybody thinking of taking out an Abbey National mortgage - or those who already have one.

Interestingly, one of the London papers described them as being "among the greediest".

There will soon be a new twist to this story, but I am not sure what it will be until it happens. They are trying to make it as difficult as possible instead of as easy as possible to resolve the present dispute.


(see several weeks back).

This Lexmark business gets worse. I refilled the black cartridge with an ordinary cartridge refilling outfit and it won`t print despite telling me that the cartridge is full and that it is printing.

In an earlier issue I told you about my feelings regarding Tempo retailers and the Lexmark 3200 printer I bought from them. I have now found out another thing about it.

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

Also want good working VW or Volvo 7 series 2.4litre turbodiesel engine. This is the type that goes in an LT van or a Volvo 740TD. email

2,000,000 at 0% interest would quite good too, although I would probably waste quite a lot of it employing musicians to do the great work.

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.

That`s all this week folks