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The Other News From England

Week beginning 3 August 1998.

Another irresponsible edition

Welcome to the not-so-very-irresponsible edition of The Other News, this time only irresponsible in that it is two days early. The reason is still the pressing need of holidays. It feels like holidays ought to last forever, but we all know from past experience that it gets boring if they do.

The Other News is made up as a single document, so that you can scroll your way through it.

List of subjects

Because a subject is listed does not necessarily mean there is an article. It has been listed because there probably is an article that week, and because the list is a good prompt for writing purposes.

Biwater Consumers crystal Palace Ecology Education Freemasons Lawyers LETSSwing Miscellaneous Music Planning Politics Science and Invention Unions and work Woodworking Small ads Stop Press

Last week`s edition.

Index of earlier issues.

Click here for Blackspot`s twenty articles on assorted subjects - mostly to do with transport, safety, engineering, etc

Gabriele Gad on alternative therapy.

Gabriele has been on holiday (gosh), but will be back soon.

For conditions see end of document.


I have moved all the items that don`t change significantly to the end of the document. They do still exist.

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 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 - these will often be in earlier editions. We are hoping this will help you find articles in your particular area of interest more easily than at present.

The Other News consists of a selection of articles written when we have the occasional `write-in` - on whatever subjects find their way to the top of the mental pile that week. 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 things.

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, except inasfaras the heretofore mentioned article in the first part affects those items covered by the Hot Air (Elimination) Acts as referred to in earlier editions (schedule 14, a, c, d et al but including those items not mentioned under) where they may be so far applicable as to deem them to be of interest to parties whose financial and other circumstances are such that they might need to make use of them, but who will nevertheless be bound by the terms and conditions contained herein and heretofore mentioned under certain headings that shall be chosen as and when required either by law or otherwise to be used as reference..........etc.

Is that clear?

Various articles about lawyers in most editions.


I had a gas bill in May. As it was very big and British Gas are a monopoly I decided to scrutinise it carefully.

As far as I remember there was no indication as to whether it was an estimate or just a try-on, so I sent it back to them, asking them to send me an explanation and the original bill back.

They sent me a computer-generated list of figures with no explanation at all, and failed to return the original bill, so I returned the computer-generated list of figures asking for an explanation plus the return of the original bill, and the return of the computer-generated list so that I could understand what was going on.

So they sent me a gas bill with the letter E against some figures, and failed to return the other paperwork.

So I replied by sending them a note saying they would have to read the metre if they wouldn`t answer my queries.

So they sent me another bill with E`s on it and I noticed on this bill a telephone number which you dould phone for local call rate if you wanted to query your bill.

So I phoned it. The machine that answered asked me to quote my customer number, and having done that asked me to tell it my meter reading. As I hadn`t got any meter reading I waited for it to stop waiting and tell me it didn`t hear me, then I gave it a bit of a bollocking and told it that it would have to call round and read my meter if it wanted the bill paid.

When British Gas start threatening to cut off the supply, I shall write again, and if it goes on for long enough, either (a) I will have moved house before they get paid, or (b) I will sue them for wasting my time plus the cost of postage and phone calls.

I hope you will do the same thing too. They might start giving some service if we all do - and even hire some humans to do it.

Remember humans?


Nothing this week.


CAPITALISM may provide a great deal of cheap goods for people, but this unfortunately is becoming less and important by comparision with other matters.

I heard yesterday about Germans objecting to wind generators for their villages for years until a deal was struck by which the village would be able to sell it`s surplus electricity to the grid, whereupon suddenly everybody agreed it was a good idea.

It boils down to profit. If they can make a few bob out of it, then suddenly principles fly out of the window, and the wetland gets drained for housing, the antique building for a twenty-four screen ciema with a 200-car carpark on the roof, where the noise and smoke for the neighbourhood is maximised because it is well above street level.

They call it progress, but it poisons us at the same time, both physically and mentally.

Geneticists have been trying to tell us that plants have always been genetically engineered - the only difference now being that it is being done in the laboratory. Certainly people have been grafting and cross-polinating for centuries, but is this the same thing? A Group of `eco-warriors` got into a genetically modified crop-field not so long ago, and to show their disgust trampled a large cross in it going, as I undertand it, diagonally from corner to corner in both directions. A Department of Agriculture spokesman was reported as having complained that this was a very dangerous thing to do, as cross-polination from this crop, which could be facilitated by this action, could lead to a new variety of superweed.

Precisely so. That is one of the things people have been worrying about. They don`t need the eco-warriors to be there for this to happen.

But then, I suppose it is a possibility that if you offered me six million pounds to keep my mouth shut I might do so - quite possibly even if I knew for certain that it would be at the cost of all our lives, either through starvation or poisoning by agrochemicals - or some other thing.


Nothing this week.

Gabriele Gad on alternative therapy.

Lawyers and law.

Nothing this week, except to say that I am still finding the current solicitor excellent. He has done something already that the previous one could have done a few years ago.

This is hopelessly compromising my earlier stance.


LETSSwing and others.

Gabriele Gad and Hugh Harris not at the Bonnington Cafe this week, except if you happen to catch this very early edition, because they are there Sat 1st Aug. about 830-1100(see below in `long-term articles` for address)

Click here for sheet music.

If you are in a LETS somewhere and would like LETSSwing to play to you, please contact

LETSSwing and others here also do gigs for world currencies - a variety of types of music.


Bernard Shaw was fond of pointing out how desperately governments search for means of providing their unhappy populations with work. The reason he gave for this was that although people are normally only paid a subsistence sum, the work itself is sufficient diversion to stop them rebelling and allow capitalism to continue unabated.

It might also be argued that the provision of work for people helps capitalists to continue to expand their profits at the expense of the people who work for them - although it is rather unclear on close scrutiny what constitutes wealth, given that money can only buy some things.

We have a great many people unemployed, and probably an even greater number of people working who are being paid so little they would be better off drawing social security. The employers and parasitical rich would probably call the first category `scroungers` and the second category fools.

There are also people who without any doubt do not want to work, and it is these people I am interested in because probably they also do not want to rebel. Just give them their pittance and they will let everything to go on as it always has, and get on with fixing their bike, sitting in cafes chatting, gardening, playing music, and so on without so much as a whimper of protest.

They are, in fact, probably quite useful in that by staying unemployed they leave employment for those who want it.

But the government doesn`t seem to care about that. They would rather take the chance of a rebellion, and after these people have been receiving `job-seeker`s allowance` for a month or two they are cut off with nothing, thereby increasing the intensity of competition for jobs, and strengthening the employers` capacity to wring every ounce of energy out of those they condescend to employ for the aforesaid pittance.

It is said that these people and the lower-paid employed generally were the backbone of the Labour vote last election. I`m sure they weren`t thinking in terms of another Thatcher operation.

Rainbow Circle Camps

A BUNCH OF HIPPIES raving about with ridiculous clothing on, saying `yea man`, and indulging in a collection of ridiculous rituals that could easily be mistaken for `satanic` but turn out to be a bit of innocent phantasising would not be the kind of thing I would go out of my way to get involved with.

But, unaware that this was how it might be, I enrolled for a music, dance and craft camp thinking I would be able to get in a great deal of music playing, making things and dancing (this last is more hypothetical than real, as one of my legs doesn`t work too well).

From the first day I ignored the ritualistic bits, expecting at any moment to be criticised for not partaking or even be confronted by a press gang, but nobody said anything. By the third day, I had found myself a job helping with the children`s play area, where my ingenuity with my hands, trained over a whole lifetime, gave me ample scope to help people and feel like I was something of significance.

On the sixth day I got out my saxophone, and found myself joining keili bands and being asked complicated musical questions, and in the evening entertained the camp with some old-fashioned jazz accompanied by an extremely ill-sounding guitar - which nevertheless was sufficient to hear what chord was being played.

By the eighth day I had been booked by two or three bands to play as a `session-player` in the Friday cabaret, and by the last day I was leading a small jazz ensemble, with an impromptu guest trumpeter.

There is an obsession with drumming at these camps, and so the neighbours - a pretty conventional lot, I imagine - seemed to have assumed we were a field full of dangerous eccentrics performing an endless series of satanic rituals. This led to a curfew on drumming at ten o`clock - a time that I doubt any of those neighbours would have observed if they were doing something that worried us.

Dangerous? A collection of ordinary working-class and middle-class individuals playing at dressing up and being Gipsies and American Indians dangerous? Well, no, not as far as I know. They even left the field spotless.

I want to go on another camp now, and I might even join some of the circle-dancing rituals - but most of all, I want to form my own all-acoustic band - possibly the Rainbow Massed Tin Whistles!

Next two camps are Astrology (good grief!) 6 August and Healing (everything except the doctor, I reckon) later in August.

Rainbow Circle is non-profit-making, and has as big a mix of different social categories as possible. Camps are cheap to go on (nine pounds a day, I think), and there are also sometimes jobs available in exchange for your site fees.

Contact Rainbow circle, 16 Savill House, Rodenhurst Rd., Clapham, London SW4 8AG Phone 0181 674 1473.


I have aquired an electric bass, and to my surprise I am actually quite good at playing it because forty years ago I used to strum a guitar. In fact, when I played some bass with LETSSwing they were heavily impressed with my rhythmic understanding and judicial choice of notes.

When I was a guitar strummer, I didn`t really know anything much about what I was doing - only that a certain shape was a given chord, and that if you played that same shape elsewhere on the fingerboard you could rename it appropriately, and thus by knowing a few shapes you could play any chord a person could name.

You would think this would be enough, but it isn`t, for several reasons. First of all, the guitar has six strings, and so some chords cannot be found by this process, because even if you use the thumb you still only have five available digits, and they won`t all necessarily go to the right place for you.

A bass is different. It only has four strings, tuned the same as the lower four strings of the ordinary guitar, but one or two octaves down (I forget which- probably two), and as the purpose of a bass is primarily to give a solid foundation upon which to build one`s music it is necessary not to know so much the shapes of chords as to know the position of individual notes.

Having got far enough to know where to find the root notes (root notes alone would be enough for a bass line, but with ingenuity one can can use many others) for simple pieces in the keys of C, G, and E, I then went on to start calculating where to find Bflat notes, and before an hour or two were out I realised that like all instruments it has it`s patterns, the most useful one being that on any given fret a note on either of the middle two strings has the root of the chord on the fourth of that key on the string next to it one side and the root of the chord on the fifth the other side (as in play a C on the third string and the F is on the same fret second string, whilst the G is on the same fret 4th string). This, then, can be developed so that whilst it may be necessary to work out one movement from time to time, the root of the following chord is normally to be found on the adjacent string (the one that is higher in pitch, rather than the one that is physically higher when you hold the instrument).

I found other patterns, but it would be presumptuous for me to tell you how to play the bass - I`ve only been at it 24 hours.

I hope what I have told you already will give you plenty of fun and a spur to find out more.

Click here for sheet music.

(the sheet music usually has chords with it, thus enabling bass practice from new chord sequences).

Long term articles

(These are articles that either don`t change at all or as good as don`t change from one week to the next).


This item has not changed this week.

If you want to know about Biwater, visit the following site:

And here are a couple more sites of interest in this field:

Barefoot Boogie and Others.

(no change to this article)

Barefoot Boogie are at The International Students` House next to Great Portland St. Tube on the corner of Great Portland St. and Marylebone Road London UK on the following dates at 8.15 to 11.15 pm.

June 12, 19, 26, July 17, 24, 31, August 14, 21, September 11, 18, 25, October 2, 9 23, November 13, 20, December 4, 11, 18. Alcohol- and smoke-free disco playing a wide range of music inc. classical! Biodanza says `vibrant Latin/African Rhythms; ambient, trance, classical and rock...... in London every Wednesday 7.30-9.30 No 7 Wakefield St WC1 (5 minutes Russell Square tube 9 pounds or 6 pounds, students half price, advance and block booking discounts` phone enquiries (0044 for UK from most other countries) 0181 295 1588`

Another - a bit vague - hand-written on a postcard: `Mary`s Wednesday Biodanza class continues at St Lukes Church Hillmartin Rd N7 - Caledonian Rd tube.

Bonnington Cafe.

Gabriele Gad and Hugh Harris sometimes play at the Bonnington cafe.

Bonnington Cafe is: 50`s Beatnik atmosphere, cheap but good vegetarian food, and sometimes a fire in the hearth.

Bonnington Square, London SE8 UK (Vauxhall BR and Underground stn nearby, plus buses).


No change this week.

To see earlier articles about freemasons look in issues round about May 98. To find them just click below:

Index of earlier issues.

To see stuff about Biwater, go to

Gabriele Gad on alternative therapy.

Small ads


(no new ads)

I want some stuff for getting data off Amstrad PCW`s onto ordinary PC`s.

Cheap laptop for writing the Other News when away from base. Contact

For sale or barter

(Will take LETS currencies): Weril Master tenor sax. Selmer lookalike, plays perfectly with fine tone, but is only a cheap quality instrument 350 pounds. Contact


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

stop press

What, no stop press?

notes re publication.

Publication for non-profit and most educational purposes free, but must carry the sentence:

Copyright The Other News From England -

In a significant position.

All other uses are chargeable.

Editing must not be done in such a way as to misrepresent.

If you decide to print any of this copyright material in your periodical for profit, please (a)acknowledge by writing "" in a noticeable position(b) send some money to Editor, othernews co, 25 SE5 8BN, UK, and tell me what and where it is published.

Readers are invited to help prosecute illegal use of this material in exchange for receiving 70% of any financial gain resulting (after all overheads).

I sincerely hope no such event will occur.