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The Other News From England.

23 August 1999.

This week.

Index of earlier issues - click here.

Advance warning.

THE RSI is still a little bit of a problem, so there may yet be further interruptions in the regularity of The Other News.

(Those who like digging about will find that there are hundreds of articles on many subjects to be found on this site. Look at the Index of Earlier issues for a start. There are also some drawings and sheet music.)

No news.

This, of course, is completely untrue, since the world does not stop happening when I stop looking at it, but from my point of view there is no news because I haven't watched television and haven't read a newspaper, and in the light of that fact I am now going to tell you nothing about the things I haven't done.

Most of the week was wasted on the 50-year-old teenager I mentioned last week, who has been trying to be threatening (in fact, who is threatening, but who is not sure how much I know about martial arts and therefore stands his distance like a typical teenage bully).

Between bouts of the 50-year-old teenager stuff, a gig at a mental hospital and a wedding gig on Friday, something else quite interesting has been going on. I have been working with Tim Israel to try to make a kids' saxophone! That is, a saxophone that is far more simple than the normal ones, and small, and therefore a lot cheaper and a lot lighter. In order to do this we have learnt how to make tapered metal tubes, mandrels on an engineer's lathe, to braze copper and brass, how to measure the volume of a cylinder, a cone, the use of Pi (in maths) generally, the rules regarding the spacing of holes in such instruments, the rules regarding mouthpieces, a selection of facts to do with a variety of different rates of taper and average bore size, the names and some details of a number of instruments I never thought existed, a way of converting the welding torch to run on gas and air..........

It has been a lot of fun, punctuated from time to time by some appalling sounds from a selection of tubes and mouthpieces, some lovely sounds from a few others, but never a full set of notes working properly, and occasionally degenerating into a trip to a pub or restaurant for a meal - what a waste of time!

During the coming week, I expect to hear a sound every bit as brilliant as my soprano sax can make, and all playing in tune. If that miracle occurs there will then be the question of how to persuade the public that they wish to take up playing this instrument, after which the difficulties will be even greater because we might both be tempted to go into business.


AT A QUAKER MEETING THIS SUNDAY (not in the meeting itself, but during tea afterwards) a man who had never thought about the subject before asked me what the point was in my going to Quakers if I am not religious, so I told him.

I had thought about it before, but it occurred to me that it was quite possible that the average religious Quaker had given the matter no thought at all. This means that I am now going to tell you, so that you know what an excellent organisation the Religious Society of Friends is. The reasons I go (from time to time, as the whim takes me) are multiple, but include the enjoyment of sitting in silence with a large bunch of people, the high ethical standards that Quakers try to maintain, the apparent equality between all members, the companionship of the members, their positive attitudes towards their children, their interesting history, the conversations over tea after the meeting, the eccentricities of many of the members (I don't know of anywhere else where there is someone who is so politically correct that they refer to an ottoman as an ottoperson), and the laughs. I also enjoy knowing that I am with people who actually go out of their way to do things for other people regardless of their religion.

Furthermore, I enjoy the fact that nobody tries to ram god down my throat. I believe the reason this does not happen is that Quakers believe that 'there is that of God in everyone' (probably originally said by a man called Fox), and by so saying they seem to imply that we are all collectively God. I think even I could stretch to that, although I cannot see how it could exclude any other species - or anything else for that matter.

In fact, if they were the Irreligious Society of Friends I would probably join, but until then I shall remain an occasional attender.


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

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