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The Other News From England

Week beginning 4 May 1998.

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

Click here for Blackspot - who seems to have disappeared, but who I hope will be back

Consumers

Ecology

Education.

Freemasons.

Gabriele Gad

Lawyers

LETSSwing

Music

Politics

Unions and work

Woodworking

Small ads

Stop Press

Last week`s edition.

Index of earlier issues.

For conditions see end of document.

Abbrieviated edition.

This is an abbrieviated edition of The Other News because we are having a Bank Holiday to celebrate work - May Day - on Monday.

I`ve never been quite sure if it is rational to celebrate work, but it is done all over Europe, so there may be something in it. Who knows?

foreword

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.

Barefoot Boogie

I keep meaning to tell you about this, but other things come along and it gets forgotten.

Barefoot Boogie are an alternative disco with a wide range of music (inc classical, I believe), no alcohol and no smoking.

The problem is that I still can`t find the details of the next meeting.

Consumers

Thames Water - what next?

Ecology

AESTHETICALLY GHASTLY, ecologically dangerous and very profitable would be a fair description of the new car park at Bromley South. Very profitable because it makes it very easy for people to use their cars to get shopping from the adjacent John Lewis supermarket, ecologically dangerous because to help people to be able to use cars increases the amount of general pollution coming from the use of cars.

And aesthetically ghastly because there is something rather unpleasant about tarmacking over a perfectly good bit of grassland just to make it useable for cars. I am a lover of machines, but have to admit that a large collection of cars is far from pleasing to the eye, ear or nose.

Bromley council seem to be obsessed with money above all other things. This may be due to individuals being able to profit handsomely from council activities, or it may be that they started to use the economic rationality ikon from the very beginning of the most recent Tory years and have forgotten how to think in any other way. Whatever the cause they are about about to encourage the same thing only larger in the only decent-sized park in the north of the borough - Crystal Palace Park -, and I am pleased to see that many protesters have started attempting to block them.

CJD - Creuzfeld Jacob`s Disease - is said to be a human version of Bovine Spongiform Encephalitis (I think that`s what they call it) - popularly known as Mad Cow Disease. Like every other biologically existing thing it is part of a food chain - in this case an organism that lives off either cows or humans, according to which of the two diseases we are talking about.

I am interested in this because a lady who was said to have been a vegetarian for fifteen years or so died of CJD, and also because I am interested in the welfare of all living things - probably cows as much as humans.

A headline appeared in a popular rag telling us that this lady had been a vegetarian for fifteen years, and I instantl;y jumped to the conclusion that it was the meat industry that had promoted this story for their own purposes - though of course it might well be true.

It would do meat sales some good for the public to feel that it made no difference whether you ate meat or not, CJD was an equal risk for all of us.

The problem with this idea is that we don`t really know. But I would like to ask various things about this lady`s diet - particularly whether she ate a lot of cow`s milk products as most people who call themselves vegetarians do. There is no special reason to suppose that BSE stays within the cow and doesn`t get into the milk, except that most - but not all - milk is Pasteurised, which might or might not knock it out. And then this raises another question: There are milk products in a huge range of foods offered for sale to all of us, and an apparently growing number of people who suffer milk allergies. Are these allergies just another way for the body to get rid of poisons, and did the poisons come from the milk?

In nature, as modified by humans or otherwise, there is the possibility of allowing everything to take it`s course until eventually we end up with a balanced state, but the way humans approach the problem is hardly homoeopathic - we have the strange idea that if something is good then more is better, and I would question the logic of that idea. It leads to things like animals (including humans) who are so filled with antibiotics that we force the various diseases that try to live off them to develop resistance so strong that eventually we will have no way of fighting them off - either for cows or for us, or probably for both.

I suppose you might be wondering why I have raised this subject under `ecology`. The reason is that ecology is holistic - that is, you cannot get ecological balance in isolation. What I do here, now, can, and probably does, have an effect on the outcome of some apparently entirely unrelated activity on the other side of the world. Some things are more obvious than others, like putting fuel into a heater having an effect on the underground pressure in a gas field and changing the balance between oxygen and carbon monoxides and dioxides (etc) in the atmosphere, but it may well be that there is no activity that doesn`t force nature to try to re-establish it`s own balance.

And nature`s final solution might be to wipe out humans because they are such a nuisance to nature`s ends, or on the other hand it could be perceived that humans are a part of nature and that nature gave us this destructive streak for a reason.............which?

Education.

Somebody raised the subject of Summerhill school at dinner this week, and I was obliged (as I am from time to time) to try to present the idea of the place in terms that succinctly summarise the situation to those who believe that the primary purpose of a school is to teach subjects - in case someone amongst the surprisingly broad-minded dinner party could not grasp the idea that education might be a little more than that.

For the first time since I was twenty nobody protested or wished to argue with that which they believed to be my icon (it isn`t particularly), so for anyone else who is asked this question because they are thought to be an expert, but who wishes to keep the peace, I will try to repeat myself.

I described it as a self-service education system where instead of the teacher telling the kids what they were going to learn the kids decided what they wanted to learn in the light of what happened around them and were helped to learn it. I actually made a point of saying that it was probably reasonably common to find a Summerhill kid of ten or eleven who couldn`t read too well, but that it would be quite rare for a twelve-year-old to be in that condition, and then went on to point out what a large number of people from that school become teachers - quite remarkable really, and it must tell us something.

I then went on to say that because of this `self-service` approach my knowledge (as a Summerhillian) of Latin was incomplete but that I knew some because I am inquisitive, whereupon a person who had sent a child to a `public school` (typically British, this is a very private and expensive school which tries to teach a hotchpotch of unrealted subjects by force) with disastrous results then informed me that this would surely have been a far superior solution for a creative and bright kid like hers.

They nearly always do say something like that when it`s too late.

Freemasons.

Had lunch with a person who declared himself to be a freemason this week. A perfectly ordinary person, even if a little stiff in his relations with the rest of the world. I could see no particular reason to suspect him of any wrongdoing - but, of course, as he is a member of a `society with secrets` that studies politics one can never be certain.

It is most disturbing that people who can be so civilised can have such a blind spot on this subject of secrecy. To any ordinary person I know, you can never trust a person who makes a point of having secrets - and even less so if they `study politics` and try to manuipulate things from behind.

Last week someone suggested that the person who hacked into GreenNet might have been some wally who thought they had an important mission of some sort - to undermine various `Greeny` activities that were going on at the time, which even the most sceptical amongst us might not think to be an activity of interest to freemasons.

However, a `society with secrets` that studies politics might well be interested in stopping anyone enjoying a bit of freedom.

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):

Index of earlier issues.

Gabriele Gad on alternative therapy.

Lawyers

As lawyers are now able to take cases on the basis of `no-win-no-fee` there should be a huge amount of work about for them.

The only probelm from the point of view of Jo and Joe Pulic may be whether they will play the game. Will they, for instance, allow you to know that if you lose the case you will probably have to pay the other side`s costs, and will they resist the tempatation to take on a case `to see if they can win it` instead of considering it carefully?

LETS

LETS Link Up Conference in London: 25th April 1998

I had to report on this a second time, and it may be that some readers are interested in LETS in relationship to businesses, so here`s the report:

I have been asked to report to you my experiences at the conference on Sat. for the launch of London Links (a new London-wide currency).

I went as part of LETSSwing, and we performed three times during the course of the day for Links. This left little time for going to the working parties, but I managed to get in on part of one - on the subject of LETS and businesses.

LETS and businesses at first seems an unlikely combination, and as so many people have been traumatised by their dealings with businesses on one or another occasion not a few people would want nothing at all to do with them as regards LETS. Others don`t mind giving it a go. I am of the latter category because I once had a business and I know how it is to be both customer and supplier.

We talked about how to persaude businesses that it was in their best interests to be in a LETS. There are more than a few good reasons - like during economic downturns when nobody can get any cash together (spend your Links on getting the equipment overhauled, data sorted, cleaning, decorating, buildings up to date), using the LETS as a means of discounting to gain cash customers (charge so much percent Links, etc), getting the business more involved in the community - and therefore the goodwill that goes with that.

The problems of actually selling businesses the idea that it is worth being on a LETS are greater, and probably the best solution is to just make sure they know the LETS exists and leave them to it because they will always find an objection if they don`t want to join. I have on occasions refused to do something for someone unless they pay me in LETS currency, thus obliging them to join. This may be a particularly good strategy for businesses, who if they stay are bound to find out what else can be done - particularly if there are other businesses that serve theirs on the scheme.

There is just one other area one might try. Businesses usually want things like entertainment for the annual knees-up, and these are difficult to budget for in cash. If they were in LETS they might well access some entertainers who perform for LETS currencies and therefore the business would not have to find cash to pay them.

If a business has the right contacts in a LETS, it has financial shock absorber, and that can`t be a bad thing.

As regards an operation like LETSSwing, which at present only plays for LETS currencies, it has huge potential, because it means that anybody or any local LETS Scheme can have a live band when they want it without having to find hard currency. That can`t be a bad thing, and we are considering putting on a fairly elaborate show and dance later this year, with tickets chargeable in Links. This, if it happens, will employ not just the band but other theatrical and administrative services.

We would, however, like to find a venue that will let us pay them at least partially in Links.

END OF REPORT

LETSSwing and others.

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 at the launch party for Links 25 April.

Click here for sheet music.

If you are in a LETS somewhere and would like LETSSwing to play to you, please contact editor@othernews.co.uk.

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

Miscellany

A friend of mine, Lesley (female) was telling me about looking after a collection of miners in a nursing home.

`I was only eighteen,` she said, `and my aunt used to protect me. They were so tough and bawdy, you see, and as I was a young woman......`

`What do you mean?` I said.

`Well,` she said `I mean you couldn`t serve them sausages.`

music

Mo`s Art Choppin Liszt.

This piece is new-written this week, and so I cannot tell you what it sounds like with anything other than a piano. I tried several similar pieces over the previous year but none of them have been entirely satisfactory - and neither is this one. I consider it too short, and it is for this reason that I have not until this week bothered to write it down.

On the piano it is most satisfactory if played in the manner of a Chopin nocturne (see musical dictionary).

The Cminor9 chord in the second bar really is that, but to make it quite clear what I mean, I will tell you it should be voiced C-Eflat-G-Bflat-D, and strictly speaking stops being a Cminor9 when it resolves to the Eflat, because the D will not sound right along with the Eflat.

The tempo works well at about 55 crochets a minute.

Until I have had some time to mess about with it I cannot suggest anything else to do with it.

The fake book version is available on this site in the form of a graphic file:

Click here for sheet music.

Politics

Nothing this week.

Unions and work

We came to a further stage in the constructive dismissal this week. The college, during the holidays, threw out all the timber so that when the students come back there will be no materials for them to do anything with.

The students will therefore stop copming and there will be no need for the teacher. This will then enable the local worthies to buy all the equipment cheaply, and Bob`s your Uncle.

Woodworking

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.

Small ads

Wanted

I want some stuff for getting data off Amstrad PCW`s onto ordinary PC`s. editor@othernews.co.uk

Cheap laptop for writing the Other News when away from base. Contact editor@othernews.co.uk

Wanted pc/Acorn monitor, London area. editor@othernews.co.uk

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 editor@othernews.co.uk

For sale or barter

(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 editor@othernews.co.uk

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. editor@othernews.co.uk

musical

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 editor@othernews.co.uk

stop press

What, no stop press?

notes re publication.

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