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The Other News From England.

27 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.

Further reduced edition.

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


DURING NEXT TERM I will be teaching a few classes using computers. I am not quite sure what I will be teaching because the Adult Education Dept for whom I will be taking the courses have forgotten how to communicate - or maybe it is only the IT staff, who may well be unaware that there is a difference between sending out a computer-generated message and communicatiing.

When the classes were booked, they were booked as 'Introduction to The Internet'.

When students phoned to ask about what they would learn on 'Introduction to Computers' I was a bit confused so I emailed the principle who, not being a computer enthusiast I presume, passed my email on to somebody else who emailed me back very promptly with a long list of instructions about how to log on to the college server, passwords, description of machines and programmes, paragraphs of welcome, and suggesting a course outline involving enough different subjects to fill ten or twenty times the lessons booked - and no answer to my question, which was "what are you expecting me to teach?"

So I emailed back and asked if they could answer the question or get somebody else to, and received an email in return telling me that as I had not submitted a course outline they had written one for me. They included it, a great intimidating list of jargon with little meaning for the average beginner, and I emailed back my alternative, less intimidating, simpler description with my original question reworded to try to make it easier to understand - something along the lines of 'could you please tell me what I am supposed to be teaching?' with a brief explanation of why I was asking. I didn't want to use capitals, which might have been a way of getting the question noticed, as it might be interpreted as a bit of aggression.

They didn't reply, so next term I will start my class unaware of what I am teaching, unsure whether I have become part of a power struggle between various members of the staff or the alternative, which is that being computer people they feel they don't need to communicate.

It does not bode well for the class or the Adult Education department, whatever is going on.

London Rent Assessment Panel.

This matter is suspended pending a decision in early January.

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 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! (I believe Crawley LETS members can pay part or all in the Crawley currency).

You could email for extra info.


IF YOU WANT A REAL COCKUP, see if you can get Southwark to help you. They seem to know better than anyone else how to achieve such things. This last few weeks they have been telephoning the self-employed and small businesses in the area offering them help, and I imagine most of them have been saying the most help the council could give would be to leave them alone. I think Southwark are trying to sell them the free services of the 'Southwark One Stop Shop'. I am so terrified of council involvement in my efforts to make a living that I have not tried to find out what it is about in case they start trying to help me.

During the week a magazine came through the letterboxes of the self-employed and businesses (in my case, several, because I have a collection of trading names!) in the borough called 'Successful Business in Southwark' warning us all of what - if we have any customers - not to do, and telling us all about Southwark Chamber of Commerce. For a fee, they will tell us again what not to do, and might be able to put us in touch with a few people who could help us (although having once been a member of London Chamber of commerce and not found any use for it, I have my doubts).

The magazine goes on to tell us about the 'modern apprenticeship' scheme, showing a picture of a young man doing some work in the street with a Southwark Council van standing behind him. He is a Southwark plumbing apprentice, and has a 'flexi-time' schedule over three years to complete the apprenticeship, with no examinations (that really is a step forward, if the person judging the result knows something about what they are judging). Guess what? They are using 'mentors' - gosh how original - who support them to 'excel' in their work (heard the term 'excel' before in connection with........?). The mentors received their training in southwark by being apprentices themselves, so that one can expect a consistent standard of work from these people. Has anybody ever looked closely at any buildings maintained by Southwark council?

They intend to create more of these 'modern apprenticeships' - maybe because it is the cheapest labour they can get.

The penultimate page of the magazine tells us that it is 'The information bulletin for local businesses', and goes on to tell us of the Property Register, Southwark Business Directory and Database, Free Courses in Communication Skills (something Southwark are famous for not having), lists one enviornmental contact (Waste Alert South Thames) who I know from practical expereince want a fee before they will even talk to you, Southwark Regeneration Scheme, who are hoping to make good some of the many eyesores and badly degenerated areas (most degeneration being the result of government policy when the real Tories were in power, as far as I can see, but largely unaltered by the present tories), and finally the Southwark 'Business Desk: Service to Business', with no information about what they do but a farewell message to the last business development officer who was doing whatever this work might be.

On the last page there is a free advert for a property company who are specialising in providing commercial premises, called 'Property business is booming in Southwark', and a short article explaining 'red routes' - a scheme whereby certain main roads are marked with red lines to show that you may not stop a car on them at any time between certain hours, so that buses and delivery vehicles may be able to operate more effectively - and other stuff to do with controlled parking zones.

But what are they doing to help businesses? I daren't ask them.


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