Week beginning 27 April 1998 (there was no issue on 20 April).
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Unions and work
Last week`s edition.
Index of earlier issues.
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It is pleasing to know that someone actually reads this stuff and takes it seriously enough to think it is worth interfering with. I had no idea we were so important.
The question now is who`s stuff is a threat? I think it was the stuff about freemasons, but I`ll bet Blackspot, who goes in for deflating sales lines and propaganda, thinks it`s his stuff. I rather doubt about the others, like Gabriele, who as far as I can see are a threat to nobody.
Not even sombody pathetic enough to want to hack into GreenNet.
Well, of course, it could be Thames Water........or the people who might or might not have got 500 million pounds out of the National Lottery to do nothing with Battersea Power station ...........Railtrak ..........and then there are all the people who do other things on GreenNet, some of whom must wind somebody up.
Index of earlier issues.
Blackspot - where are you? I hope you are OK. I think the server is running again now.
The Other News has grown somewhat over the past months, and Josephine is gradually building a subject index for us. When it is completed, you will be able to log straight into the current edition and then look for the subjects that interest you in the subject index. We are hoping this will help you find articles in your particular area of interest more easily than at present.
If you haven`t looked at the other News From England before, read this in case it may save you some time.
The Other News consists of a selection of articles on whatever subjects find their way to the top of the pile on the week in which it is written. Whilst some of it is intended to be serious, quite a lot is just a bit of light reading (or heavy, if you are a certain type of person), and intended to keep you amused, and cause people to question some of the assumptions of life. Most of the material here is written by the editor, but no single article necessarily reflects the views of the editor or anyone else who writes here. They only might.
Thames Water - what next?
They have been telling us through their very expensive radio sales campaign how very clever they are to apply basic Victorian science to stem the increase in massive losses of water through leaks, when their true ingenuity lies in the way they try to force their customers to part with more money for the same service they`ve been using for the past 100 years or so - possibly with far less leaks at some stages.
It is truly impressive, but it also raises a question that has been bothering me for some time: why do they need a sales campaign when they have a monopoly? Could it be that they are painfully aware of certain things that the public by and large have not yet noticed?
Dachau is a popular suburb of Munchen (Munich), and it is not difficult to see why. Everybody knows it`s history, but life has to go on (where permitted) and it is a pretty enough place to continue it in. So a great many people want to live there, and each housing site gets divided and then subdivided until there are three or four dwellings on every thousand square metres. This means that one can have a reasonably spacious place if one doesn`t want any spare ground (garden, say) to speak of around it, and normally this is alleviated to some extent by the fact that they build upwards into ever smaller flats.
The appearance of Dachau from the countryside around it`s edges is that of a collection of buildings standing straight out of an agricultural plot. That is, there is no hit and miss ribbon development, and as far as I can make out planning laws make it impossible for Dachau to spread into the surrounding countryside - a measure I heartily approve of.
Market forces wisdom says that once people have reached a point at which they will tolerate no more they will stop buying property in Dachau, and thus it will by `natural processes` reach an ideal population! (to a country person this idea would be an obvious jest, but they are rarely consulted on such subjects).
If we are lucky, the population of the world might stabilise at a sensible point, even though that doesn`t seem likely at present, but until it does this process will continue, and in Germany this appears to be a big ecological problem because when the Germans buy a house they want to knock it down and start all over again - apparently almost without any regard for what it is like at the time of purchase. A comfortable and modest house built in 1946 was described as a site of 900 sq. metres with an old house built 1946 on it!
This means, of course, that the house will be knocked down as it would only divide into two flats and will be replaced by a new building containing three flats, and just as almost everywhere else people will be forced to throw away the materials of the old house (Most of it will be used as hardcore, and the copper, brass, steel, wood, plaster, plastic, etc. etc will be buried because it is not economic to split it all up for recycling).
So when a great amount of energy, both in the form of human input and in the form of hydrocarbons and nuclear (electricity) energy has been put into demolishing it, and all the raw materials, recyclable or otherwise (there are often ways of avoiding things becoming unrecyclable, but these should have been done in 1946) have been buried or thrown on the tip a whole collection of new raw materials will be extracted from the gound and the woods and brought onto the site, and through much further input of energy will become three flats which might or might not suit their purchasers, but which will be a starting point for them to work out what further wastage they can get into by altering them.
They will then, mainly, in due course sell them to someone else who will waste more materials and time changing them again, and in another 30 years will be sold by an estate agent as a `site with an old block of flats on it`.
If there are any materials left the new owner will use much energy to demolish these three flats, throw away the materials and start again building six flats with no ground whatever and a hoist to carry the cars up onto the roof because there is not a space to park a bike, let alone a car - and of course Dachau will long ago have lost it`s feel of clean spaciousness. It will probably be a bit like Peckham Park Estate.
(Or they could just build on a bit more farm land - hardly a satisfactory solution, but a big windfall for a landowner or two).
All this makes plenty of work for the construction industry, which is very big in Germany, and Germany does still have unemployment, but even so there must be less damaging things for people to do.
For a great many people the population of the world has already become almost unbearable, and that is a dangerous thing to happen if we wish to behave like civilised beings, as we have already seen in the Germany of the thirties and forties.
(I was told by a shocked and disapproving Munchener that the Americans are not taking any notice of President Clinton`s pleas for a little ecological modesty. I hadn`t the heart to point at the issue discussed here.)
(SEE UNDER `POLITICS` below for an opinion on the subject of nuclear materials, their manufacture and handling).
I taught a young man the basics of reading music in about ten minutes this week.
He was a very bright young man, but not any more bright than a great many people who go to school and leave never having learnt to read.
There must be a reason for this strange phenomenom, and I am sure it is not entirely cultural. The people who don`t learn to read always seem to me to be candidates for getting so bored that they shouldn`t be in school in the first place - and the reason they get so bored is much more likely to be that the school is so obsessed with trying to get a charter mark or being a `centre of excellence` that it has no time to accomodate anybody above average brightness than it is that they aren`t bright enough to do anything. In fact, when I taught in a special school recently I had to admit a goodish proportion of the kids seemed brighter than average - even if the end result suggested stupidity.
Equally I am sure it is not always the fault of teachers - even though sometimes it might be. Nobody teaching a class of forty except Superman (bad choice? Perhaps Superman Plus) could be anything other than boring for most of them - unless of course they are stupid. Bear in mind that some wally working for the department of education has decided that teachers ought to be able to teach a class of forty despite abundant evidence to show that it is impractical, expensive on policing (all those young vandals and burglars), and poor value for money and you already have half an answer.
Given that we still have extensive unemployment, and given that educated people produce prosperity, would it not be sensible to invest in our own futures by getting together some teachers before it is too late?
To do that might even be cheaper than employing committees and teams of civil servants for years on end to write a report on the subject.
WELL someone has been sabotaging the server, and I will say they have been quite effective, even if only temporarily. It only could be freemasons, but that is by no means certain.
The server is back in business again, but I am being asked to change my domain name registration, thus stopping all those who regularly go to othernews from finding it. So I am resisting at the moment. To see earlier articles about freemasons look in the last eight or so issues. To find them just click below (if the server is working):
If they find me trying to knock their profession I don`t suppose it will help.
Never mind. The new currency - Links - was successfully launched, and as far as I know LETSSwing was ther subject of the first Links transaction.
There were several workshops, but as I was involved with the band I missed most of the. The one I went to was about trying to get ordinary business people involved in LETS, but things didn`t sound all that optimistic.
However, there was just one small light down the tunnel that appealed to me: I have in the past persuaded people to try LETS by telling them I will only do a certain job for them if they pay me in a LETS currency (I am considering doing this in EUROS, and once tried it in ECU`s - with very disappointing results). This usually doesn`t work, but on rare occasions it has gained the system another member.
The only way a person can possibly understand the benefit of a LETS systerm is by trying it - and even then it would take time to get a result. The benefits are not usually economic so mush as social - where, for instance, do you think LETSSwing came from?
This week I intend to get my tape recorder overhauled on the LETS. We have a specialist engineer, and it is a thing I could never afford if I were using cash to do it.
There is a LETSLINK UK website, but I don`t know how you get to it. More of this when I find out.
Gabriele Gad and Hugh Harris play at the Bonnington Cafe most Wednesday evenings - old-fashioned jazz and some poppish modern compositions with classical or jazz influences - you have to hear it to know what I mean. 50`s Beatnik atmosphere, cheap vegetarian food, and sometimes a fire in the hearth. Bonnington Square, London SE8 UK (Vauxhall BR and Underground stn nearby, plus buses).
LETSSwing were at the launch party for Links 25 April.
If you are in a LETS somewhere and would like LETSSwing or other music by experienced musicians, please contact email@example.com. We also do gigs for real money.
Tatler`s Rag is a tune that sounds like it is perfectly normal until harmonically it drives itself into a corner and has to miss out one chord from an otherwise reasonably logical progression to avoid changing key when it shouldn`t do so. It needs to be played in a fairly relaxed manner. It was written in an attempt to follow some instructions supplied many years ago by the jazz pianist Roger Marsden - but sounds like nothing I have ever heard him play. The instructions were that whilst chords could reasonably move in the usual way that they do when you put different `sets` of chords together, they could also reasonably move `sideways` in half tones, or the roots could go up or down the scale whilst the types of chords varied to the tast of the writer.
It didn`t quite comply with either of these ideas in their entirety, as you will find out if you try it, but it developed a life of it`s own and ended up as shown here.
The best I have heard so far has been led by a piano. The piano was played with a simple bass in the left and arpeggios and fills all in the right hand. Most melody instruments can manage this piece (particularly woodwind, who seem to find it quite natural despite it`s multitude of notes and chords), and people tried various solos. It is difficult to know what a drummer would do with it, although the bass was quite happy just playing root notes and the odd solo and fill.
The actual playing? Read the chord sequence, get someone to play the tune at least once before breaking into variations, and bear in mind that transposing instruments must transpose their part (see earlier editions). If the chord players play chords whilst the melodies become soloists that should give you a framework, as long as you listen and don`t all play at the same time. This last item is a bit of an art. Probably most of the time less is better than more - the homoeopathic principal!
Each lead part should make sufficient reference to the tune to enable the listener (and the players) to hear where we are. The fake book version is available on this site as a graphic file:
Click here for sheet music.
I would be interested to hear what kind of arrangements people can come up with for any of my pieces.
Somebody sent me a .jpg file the other day but my current graphics prog. would not open it and declared there to be a fault on the drive, so this may not be the best way to transmit arrangements.
I don`t know how I feel about it, but I think the story that it was accepted to avoid the risk of it getting into the hands of `rogues and dangerous regimes` is quite possibly somewhere near the truth. The only real question on this aspect of the issue is whether our own and the American regimes are also `dangerous` or not. I think regardless of that question I would rather know it has landed up here than not know where it is.
So now the next two parts of the issue: Why should the Scots have the stuff, and what the hell are we all doing producing it in the first place?
Humans may be very clever, but they don`t seem to be bright enough to know how stupid they are.
I expect it was by mistake.
They have been trying to persuade the government that it would be a bad idea to require all donations made to political parties in excess of 5000 pounds to be declared and their source revealed.
This perfectly reasonable requirement is presumably intended to help party organisers to resist the temptation to accept donations from criminals, bent administrations in other countries, large companies trying to buy the government, persons knighted for swindling the public, tax dodgers, and other undesireables.
I find it very difficult to understand why they are trying so hard to resist. Perhaps someone could enlighten me?
THE LAST government, when they were in power, passed all manner of legislation designed in such a way as to make ordinary working people gradually ever poorer, and often without any warning.
The various employemnt acts of the mid nineties were no exception. They were passed with no real knowledge on the part of the likes of me of their existence, let alone their effect on our lives.
For instance, did you know that if your contract of work is altered without consultation with you and you do not challenge that alteration within three months you cannot expect to re-establish your original position, but if you do challenge it your employer must make good your losses or make you a redundnacy payment?
I thought you didn`t. I think the idea is that once your contract has changed you are redundant from the contract you had, and therefore redundancy is payable in full even if the contract is replaced by a better one - unless you agree to accepting the new ccontract in lieu of the original.
The acts concerned sound like they might be fair and reasonable, but as your employer never told you they existed they did nothing to protect you unless you are the type of person who is constantly watching changes in the law.
A government that cared about the working people (most of us) would have known that in such an act there must be a provision that the employer must inform employees (clearly) of the new legislation or accept that the terms that applied at the time of commencement of employment continue to apply until the employee is informed.
Our union (when I was in it) managed to establish a principle whereby the employee would be informed and consulted in the event of any cutting back on staffing, and there are other clauses relating to offering alternative work where it is available. Bromley Adult Education College ignored this. Nobody knew their position, and we all lost many hours work and large sums of pay.
On Wednesday I go before the Industrial Tribunal in Ashford claiming breach of contract.
Nothing this week. Out of termtime I don`t normally do any woodworking, and so it slips to the back of my list of things to think about.
I want some stuff for getting data off Amstrad PCW`s onto ordinary PC`s. firstname.lastname@example.org
Cheap laptop for writing the Other News when away from base. Contact email@example.com
Wanted pc/Acorn monitor, London area. firstname.lastname@example.org
Who knows where on the Internet I can get a good freeware or shareware score-writing program that will run on my p100 or Acorn 5000? Please contact email@example.com
(Will take LETS currencies): Industrial quality roofrack about 7 feet X 3.5 feet, made to measure for ford Sierra estate. I used it for woodwork contracting. It is the best I`ve ever seen. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Same again, about 48" by 96", but lesser quality, for Ford Granada estate or Volvo 7 series - free owing to poor condition - but it works. email@example.com
LETSSwing (the London all-LETS-members band) need a percussionist. Suit someone who thinks of playing and writing music as a creative, co-operative, gentle activity, who likes out-of-date pop and jazz, and who doesn`t like making a noise. We play so quiet you could have it in your livingroom without bothering the neighbours most of the time, and are looking at the possibilities for involvement in `the community` (playing in hospitals and so on). Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
What, no stop press?
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