28 February 2010

Will The Real Robin Hood Please Stand Up?

C.J. Stone

This story begins with Robin Hood, not least because he reminds us that it is not at all unEnglish to break the law. But there is more to it than that. Given that Establishment images of national cultural identity are foisted upon us from every angle, it is singularly refreshing to discover an historical or mythological figure who is so decisively anti-establishment.But who is -or was- Robin Hood? The first thing to say is that it doesn't matter in the slightest whether he actually existed or not. Many books have been written attempting to prove that he definitely did exist, and seeking to fix a date and a domain for his activities. Other books will tell you that he is merely a literary figure, while yet more are adamant that he represents a kind of wood-elf, a minor deity, the half-remembered descendant of ancient Woden. All of which, at different times, may seem plausible; and all of which remain matters of dispute. But what is certainly indisputable is that from somewhere -at the very latest- in the early fourteenth century, right until the present time, he has represented something to the British people, that he has continued to act upon our imagination, and that, therefore, he has contributed historically to our own view of ourselves. It is this that matters.I say "British people" and not just the English, because, though Robin Hood may be said to be the archetypal Englishman, it is also true that Robin Hood cults flourished in all parts of these islands throughout the middle ages, and that certain very early references came from north of the border. One particularly appreciative Scottish view was stated by a certain John Major, writing in Latin in 1521: "He would allow no woman to suffer injustice, nor would he spoil the poor, but rather enriched them from the plunder taken from abbots. The robberies of this man I condemn, but of all robbers he was the most humane, and the chief." Would our own John Major speak so kindly of a man who -in effect- made it his life's work to redistribute wealth?The first thing we have to do is to clear away the large amount of historical baggage that has accumulated around the figure of Robin Hood. People of my generation are almost certain to begin by singing the theme tune from a 1960s TV programme:"Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen,Robin Hood, Robin Hood, with his band of men,Feared by the bad, Loved by the good,Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Robin Hood."So let's get it sorted out: Robin Hood is decidedly not that '60s figure, complete with quiff and feathered cap. Nor is he Kevin Costner, nor Errol Flynn, nor anyone else who ever played the part in film or TV drama. He didn't wear a cap, and he didn't wear tights. He rarely rode a horse (and certainly never through a Glen). He wasn't well-washed, scrubbed, polished or clean. He didn't sport a pencil moustache, nor speak with an American accent. He was not a hero.He was dirty. He lived in the woods, sat by an open fire, climbed trees, slept in a bower. What's a bower? It's a structure of bent branches covered over in leaves. A bower is a bender, in other words. The closest modern equivalent of a Robin Hood figure would be a New Age Traveller, complete with skinny dog, cast-off patchwork clothing, feathers and bells and tattoos, maybe even nose rings, who knows? His face would have been streaked with dirt, and he would have smelt of woodsmoke and leafmould. His hair would have been unkempt and matted, probably a nest of dreadlocks, sprouting leaves and twigs, perhaps decorated with beads and feathers and flowers.Another historical misinterpretation of Robin Hood -though this time of more ancient origin- is that he was a disinherited aristocrat. He was not. He was of decidedly plebeian origin. As the Lytell Geste Of Robyn Hode, the earliest extant Robin Hood ballad, tells us:Lythe and lysten, gentylemen,That be of freebore blode,I shall you tell of a good yeman,His name was Robyn Hode.He was a yeoman, then, the equivalent of an artisan. A freeborn, landless Englishman, the type of the self-confident working class that we can still recognise today. The fact that he was of yeoman stock is repeated again and again throughout the ballads. His weapons are the longbow and the stave or staff, weapons that can be constructed by any clever artisan out of found objects. He is a kind of King of Staves. Ordinary. Down-to-earth. Robust. And his audience, too, were almost certainly composed primarily of the lower classes. The very language of the ballads makes this clear. They are bawdy burlesques, crude and humorous, scornful of the church and the aristocracy, the merchants, the landlords and the rest of the greedy rich. They represent a kind of literary revenge on all that is selfish, self-serving and self-righteous. Robin Hood represents honour and honesty in a corrupt world. He is a good man.He is also funny. "Jolly Robin" as he is rýÿÿÿ‚

26 February 2010

The Sleaze Factor.

It is a measure of the class-ridden nature of British society that we have a number of words for the same thing. On one level it's called "perks" and it goes with the job. On another it's called "back-handers" and everyone turns a blind eye. If you're working class it's called "fiddles" and you get the sack if you're caught. 


And, on my council estate, the same motivation - to take what you can, to line your pockets at someone else's expense- is called "burglary", and you get put into prison for it.


The current word is "sleaze". It's a great word. It even sounds slippery.Everyone is at it. MPs take cash to ask questions in Parliament. Ex-Ministers get Directorships of companies they had a hand in privatizing. Managing Directors of privatized monopolies award themselves huge increases, while cutting back on the pay and conditions of their staff. So now the Nolan Committee is investigating such practices, and we may soon have some idea of the extent to which these self-serving forms of government are undermining confidence in public life.


But how relevant is it? Is it merely an exercise in public relations, or does the government really intend to put its own house in order?I spoke to two people on my estate. Both of them are unemployed, and never likely to work in their lives. They said that corruption is the way of the world. But there is a difference between the corruption of public servants, and the petty fiddles of daily life. "It's a crime against the public, isn't it?" said Bill. "It's an insult." Nevertheless they expected it. "There's nothing you can do about it." And what would they expect from the Nolan Committee? They hadn't even heard about it, but they assumed it would be a cover-up.I also spoke to my Father. An Electrician by trade and an ex-Shop Steward, he owns his own house, drives a nice car, and has plenty of savings for his retirement. He told me a story. A friend of his, a newly-elected local councillor, was asked to vote a certain way on a planning committee. He was offered £2,000. He asked my Dad's advice. "Take the money," my Dad told him. "If you don't, somebody else will." But when I protested at the logic of this, it was the normal excuse I was offered. "It's human nature. And you can't change human nature can you?" I laughed at that as I always do.


Why not? We changed Wolves into Pekinese, Opium into Heroin, beautiful countryside into motorway intersections. We've changed everything else in nature, why not human nature?And actually I don't think it's human nature at all. There are societies where wealth is measured in terms of generosity, where the more you give away the wealthier you are. Wealth circulates. In this society, on the other hand, wealth is measured by how much you accumulate. The more anally retentive you are, the more successful. This is a constipated society. What we need is a laxitive. CJ.

24 February 2010

Avait une grande nuit



Hey Paul!
how's it going? hope you are well and all is fine in the bubble, whats been going on?
things here are cool - just kinda enjoying getting used to being here really, not up to much. sorted out a really nice pad to live in - spare room so come and stay any time. think i'll be needing to drag mates over to come and explore the nightlife with as i've not really plucked up courage to hang about in bars on me ownio yet! its fine tho - i only really miss going out for a few
beers at the weekend when of course everyone should be out talkin shit, drinkin beer and smokin spliffs!

weekday eves are easy to just chill in. and the place is really nice, sea, mountains, funny market to practice french in while i try and buy food - ha! quite entertaining really. also got mycomputer set up with adsl (or is is asdl??) finally, so am gonna look at downloading music and dvd's in a mo ..... i'm in slight danger of turning into someone who lives lift thru their computer! reallly really wanna go skiing, but don't fancy a) going on me ownio, and even more b) driving to find the place on snowy roads - yikes! think my desire to go is gonna help me overcome a) and b)!
work is okay, bit dull, but as its all new it keeps me guessing at the moment, guessing about whai'm supposed to be doing that is..... so thats me. what about you? write soon with news -
or no news :-) come and visit too - open invitation, don't wait to be asked.


well take care - oh yeah, get a skype account too for free internet talking - yes free! yep, geek girl has taken over .... taken over drunk falling down girl
that is .... zzzzzzzzz!
laters
love L xxx


L,
Veuillez pardonner me qui mon français n'est pas bon. Bon avoir des nouvelles de vous et ce qui vous vous installez OK. Wow. Online et tout. Meilleur que parlant sur le téléphone. Seulement a obtenu le billet à travers dure pour ça appel qui i a fait à vous 20 minutes et il a coûté £11.50. je seulement bavardage sur dans emails au lieu. Je suis OK. est pourtant le moulin un morceau avec délit civil qui m'a déchargé [unceremoniously] l'autre semaine seul me traîner dans sa pièce à sa réception de l'anniversaire une semaine fou rire plus récente aime une femme a possédé. Tout ce merde du montagnes russes émotif est seulement trop d'autrefois. Je vois encore son une fois ou au plus deux fois une semaine et nous sortons encore et refroidissons le truc donc
c'est positif et choses vont amende-ish encore. Ah ha ces jours de la pipe et [vibe] de la pantoufle. Réellement je ne manque pas ils l'un ou l'autre.
A commencé un nouveau cours pour travail nivelle 4 maths pour est capable d'apprendre numeracy de base. Il est niveau Comme et je [ai] pas maths faites pour années donc joue prise en haut premier avec un GCSE livre du étude alors je suis sur Un niveau alors finalement Comme niveau qui ce cours est monté à. Ne sachez pas pourquoi je suis y. Je suis comme ce gros morceau dérive et quelqu'un dit fait c'et je vais OK. Je suppose le vieux changeant vos décisions de la vie commencent avec pensées aime ce. Autrement travail est OK. Est-ce que je suis dans le travail bon? Enfermez et salaire les billets. Eh bien vie de l'amour qui est-ce qu'OKish travaille OKish ce qui environ la vielle vie sociale? Ne devez pas grogner et tout ce mais vous savez
quelquefois que choses peuvent être un morceau plus provocateur et passionnant. Je suis skint immobile donc suis actuellement organising des événements qui je peux obtenir dans pour libre et aime la musique aussi bien que fait l'habituel inscrit d'invité du blagging et m'obtient a invité
à réceptions du dîner et autre si d'intérieur bas dépense des poursuites destinées aux loisirs. Je n'ai pas ai obtenu dans jouer jeux ou cartes cependant mais a été sérieusement étant donné lui sur occaisions bizarre quand mes sommets du [insaninty] et hé il paraît comme une bonne
idée. J'ai été réellement dehors tout à fait un terrain et devient le maître du pas de dépense. Oh pas de merci je conduis suis mon favourite. Pas de qui je ne pouvais pas peut-être oh bien OK alors seulement une existence mon deuxième. Je suis aussi manque dans ponctuation minime au moment virgules éteintes seulement par égard pour lui seulement le voir comment lit et voir si je peux confondre m'et mon lecteur. Avait une grande nuit à Wheelers Pêche chose de l'Endroit dans la Bulle un on étrange DJing éteint dans Maidstone avec Shaun un Brenley très
étrange chose de la Grange et un wierd au revoir pour mon ami Lisa qui a seulement a déplacé à France et a commencé emailing je;) Phew, cercle plein. Bonne chance avec vous endeavours mon vieux chummage et vous jamais ne savez pas aussitôt que qu'i obtient du prix du billet de l'air et un morceau de truc du spendy qui je peux traverser y peut-être à demi terme qui sait et prend vous matraquez dehors la nuit avant que nous faisons du ski. Bien que j'étais censé aller à Amsterdam avec délit civil seul qui j'ai soufflé il au dernier moment voit des raisons
au-dessus . Drôlement assez d'une semaine après qui elle me disait le perdant du revoir du au. Ne faites pas se un rapport là d'une façon ou d'une autre.
Paul x




ha ha ha ha!
you are too modest - really. that french wasn't bad
at all, a few minor mistakes, but nothing that i'd
pull you up on massively! was gonna write back to you
in chinese, but thought that might be taking a joke
too far! very good, made me laugh.
made me laugh, but i've not much of an idea what you
were on about - you should have seen what it
translates back to! something about civil unrest and
emotional russian mountains. yes sireeee.
so another weekend is here again .... i'm gonna go to
toulon with a friend emma tomorrow and then we are
gonna drive back along the coast stopping off at st
tropez for a wander and a coffee ---- oh la la!
sounds nice, though, just a tiny seaside village, and
in the winter none of the posh, so thats a relief.
won't have to be spitting at anyone.
gonna try and be brave and drive up to the mountains
on sunday, maybe try a bit of a ski if i get there
before dark, its supposed to be an hour and a half
away - so we'll see.
so thats the days - evenings as i'm nobby no mates
still (dunno where to meet people, really can't face
going to bars on my own and talking to strangers ...
yet), i'm at home but its cool, got some wine, some
music, could do with some herbage but i guess you
can't always have everything!
so, you are gonna have to tell me again your news, in
english, as my french is clearly not as good as yours!
hope tings is good
love L xxx
that last email: scroll down to the bottom of the page for the english
translation
i'll send you another email later about this weekend...
English Translation-
L,
Good to hear from you and that you're settling in OK.
Wow. Online and everything. Better than talking on the phone. Just got the bill through for that last call I made to you. 20 minutes and it cost
£11.50. I'll just prattle on in emails instead.
I'm OK. been though the mill a bit with Tort who dumped me unceremoniously the other week only to drag me into her room at her birthday
party a week later giggling like a woman possessed. What is a man supposed to do? All that emotional roller coaster shit is just too much
sometime. I still see her once or at most twice a week and we still go out and do cool stuff so that's positive and things are going fine-ish again.
Ah those days of the pipe and slipper vibe. Actually I don't miss them either.
Started a new course for work doing level 4 maths in order to be able to teach basic numeracy. It's AS level and I ain't done maths for years so
am playing catch up first with a GCSE study book then I'm onto A level then finally AS level which this course is pitched at. Don't know why I'm
there. I'm like this lump drifting along and someone says do this and I go OK. I suppose the old changing your life decisions begin with thoughts
like that. Otherwise work is OK. Am I in the right job? Shut up and pay the bills.
Well love life OKish work OKish what about the old social life? Mustn't grumble and all that but you know sometimes things could be a bit more
challenging and exciting. I'm still skint so am currently organising some events that I can get into for free and enjoy the music as well as doing
the usual of blagging guest lists and getting myself invited to dinner parties and other such indoor low spend recreational pursuits. I haven't got
into playing games or cards yet but have been seriously considering it on odd occasions when my insanity peaks and hey it does seem like a
good idea. I have actually been out quite a lot and am becoming the master of the no spend. Oh no thanks I'm driving is my favourite. No I
couldn't possibly oh well OK then just the one being my second. I'm also into minimal punctuation at the moment missing out commas just for
the sake of it just to see how it reads and to see if I can confuse myself and my reader. Which it does a bit but is also kinda funny too.
Had a great night out at Wheelers Fish Place thing in the Bubble (pics here) a strange one out DJing in Maidstone with Shaun (ditto) a very
strange Brenley Barn thing (here) and a weird farewell for my friend Lisa who has just moved to France and has just started emailing me ;-)
who I didn't want to go but I knew she had to because she wanted to but hey I'm a selfish git just thinking of myself and the support she gives
me and it would only have meant me not seeing her as often as I'd like to (probably seen the pics but here they are anyway) but who I will visit
when I can.
Phew, full circle. Good luck with you endeavours my old chummage and you never know as soon as I get some airfare and a bit of spendy stuff
I may come over there maybe at half term (ah teacher stuff) who knows and take you out clubbing the night before we go skiing. Maybe not
the skiiing bit but you never know do you. Although I was supposed to be going to Amsterdam with Tort only I blew it out at the last moment
see reasons above. Funnily enough a week after that she was saying au revoir loser to me. Don't see a connection there somehow. She's OK
about it now. I took my punishment like the man I am.
Oh well. Write soon and I will visit just not this weekend maybe when the sun comes out and the snow has gone and I discover the use of
commas again coz I've read this back and its a little confusing. Don't take this missive as one long whinge. I'm only joking. I'm looking at it
from my usual cynical POV and I love my life really and I'm glad you're learning to love yours again. Take care. I'll talk to you soon.
Paul x
Short Version;
Went out some, played a few tunes some, listened some, talked some, ate some food some, saw a few chums, ate again, talked and listened
again, watched TV, bunked off work, went to college.
Long Version:
Well, Friday night I was DJing in Folkestone at the harp club which was a bit like a biker bar from a 70's Larry Cohen exploitation film; it had a
motorhead logo on the wall with a panty liner pinned underneath; it smelt of BO and beer mixed with stale cigarette smoke and all the seats
had rips in them; dogs wandered around and there were many people with piercings in places I would only rub moisturiser into and tattoos in
others I would only have my shirt sleeves over; a fluorescent light made everyone's skin look like they were extras from night of the living
dead; it stayed open really late and you had to get out through a side door; on the street, down the hill a bit, teenagers brawled and shouted
and the temperature was freezing but they were all wearing nice shirts. I really enjoyed myself actually in that ooh must stay straight so I get
out of this godforsaken town as soon as the needle is off my last record kind of vibe; luckily the people there made everything alright; having
left my tobacco in the car I spent most of my set frantically trying to get stoney to get me a pint and a fag and being rather thirsty swallowed a
lot; I'd bought some new records so was listening to new tunes; Stoney was depressed because his mate who was 53 was found dead and they
said he was as fit as could be; he'd caught some superbug and it killed him; It was also Sara's birthday but she didn't bother to come despite
the fact that she said she would but never mind. Ey. Instead, I heard, Linda came round to hers with a bottle of something or other spirit and
they sat in and drank it on their own. Much as I'd sat and watched Sara drink a bottle of tequila the week before I went off to the brenley barn
party after having a smoke with Sara. I took a car full down which included a rather upset rosier who had, just hours before, had an horrendous
punch up and hair pulling and shouting session in the street with Julia. Apparently she mentioned Simone. I must have been the full moon that
night. Also in the car was Cagey who, when we went into the club, went to the bar and bought me a pint but ignored rosier and tort standing
next to me and didn't buy them one. How quaint? Later, at home around 3am, he said how he enjoyed wetting people by driving past puddles
in his lorry and splashing them a la Bridget Jones's new movie. Tort, who had a pint of water in her hand, said later, that she was temped to
pour the water on his head and go 'how do you like it' but she didn't and later we still laughed at the image anyway.
Saturday Night was spent cooking a fine yellow bean curry with a bit of monkfish cut into chunks, some coconut milk, a few bits of nice
vegetables in season accompanied by some fat rice noodles all washed down with 2 bottles of spot on wine which I got at tescos earlier in a 2
for £8 reduced from £12 special, ooh, and a pear tart to follow then a bit of watching not very much on TV. Started falling asleep in front the 3
marias on BBC4 which is a Brazilian revenge western with a twist. The twist being it was really violent but it was women being violent so that's
OK, I guess, in a post modernist kinda way?
Sunday, after a long lie in and a loll around reading the papers and eating breakfast, with the central heating on full blast, listening to Spooney
and Vernon on radio 1, they are funny them two but in different ways, both bad, but funny, I went to Dukes and met a few people including
Cathy and brummy john where we talked a bit and John told of the flat he's buying and doing up in hernia bay with the help of his parents who
in the morning said it looks like snow and fucked off back to Birmingham leaving the half redecorated bathroom unfinished; he wasn't happy;
and then went and watched Nigel hobbins in the stables annexe play his guitar and sing; so that was nice. I came home around 3 to cook
Sunday roast vegetables with a quorn pie. That was nice too. Sunday night I watched my favourite show, Huff, on channel FX289, on TV and
also the third episode of Joey, the spin off from Friends, that I really wanted to be good but is only OK. Which is a shame.
Monday, today, about 20cm of snow fell overnight and it was the coldest night of the winter the weather people said; they were loving it; the
Thanet way was blocked and no trains went past my house; so I took the day off work. In the morning I worked on my maths assignment to be
handed in when I go to night school Tuesday night. In the afternoon I went for lunch into town at Tea and Times and had a roast vegetable and
mozzarella panini and salad. I looked around a few charity shops after to see if I could pick up a check shirt and cowboy hat for Emily
Bagpusses party next week, also at Brenley Barn. The theme being the wild west and me being particularly bad a fancy dress parties and all
that kinda stuff. I may have to settle on a fake moustache and a bandanna round my neck. Just for a cheap laugh. I bumped into Terry who
was also taking the day off. The kids on the estate were having one big snowball fight and I read in the paper that a boy had made a big
snowman which rolled on top him and killed him. Bizarre. After college on Tuesday night, which is in Thanet, I'm going to Jon and Jayne's to
talk to him about setting up his website so he can sell prints of his work on. I may, if I'm lucky, get fed and watered. Which will be nice.
Take care me old chummage ;-)
P
No! emoticons are not passé.

22 February 2010

SKEEGER

SKEEGER, sometimes SKEEZER, n. sl. A crack-smoking prostitute, according to a list of narco-slang collected by America's National Criminal Justice Reference Service. Often accompanied by a woolah, a hollowed cigar containing marijuana and crack. When the crack is broken down into small crumbs, they're called kibbles or bits. All part of a list put out on the Internet to keep the law-and-order forces up to date.

20 February 2010

DRUGS STICK TO U.S. MONEY

More than three-quarters of all the paper money in Los Angeles has some amount of cocaine or other drug stuck to it, according to a federal appeals court decision that vividly reveals how extensively the drug trade touches mainstream commerce.
Of every four bills in circulation in Los Angeles, more than three have traces of cocaine or another illicit drug stuck to the paper, according to the 9th United States Circuit Court of Appeals which relied on that fact to dismiss a case against a man suspected of drug trafficking.

In powdered form, the court said, cocaine is so sticky that a bit remains when the drug dealer wraps it in a bill folded like an envelope or a user snorts it through a rolled dollar bill used as a straw as that bill is pressed against another in a wallet or counted in combination with others in a bank or cash register, those other bills get contaminated too. That means that virtually everyone in Los Angeles is conceivably at risk of being barked at by drug sniffing police dogs.

"The bottom line" said attorney Jerold Bloom, "is that anyone with tainted currency can be stopped and alleged to be a drug dealer".

The notion that most US currency is tainted with drugs has been well known in law enforcement and scientific circles for about 10 years. However, the decision issued last week by the San Francisco based 9th Circuit Court, shows how widespread the taint has become.

Because it's so widespread, the court ruled, the ability of police and prosecutors to rely in court on a "positive alert" from a drug sniffing dog will now be seriously diminished - a drawback in cases in which authorities have seized cash and the federal government is seeking to forfeit drug money.

18 February 2010

In Girum Imus Nocte Et Consumimur Igni

In Girum Imus Nocte Et Consumimur Igni - "We wander in the night and are consumed by fire".

16 February 2010

Time's Circular.

The Earth is a garden. But if God cannot tend it, then we must.There's a Larch at the bottom of my garden. Except that I don't have a garden. But anyway, it's out there. It looks like a lyre, or some kind of a cock-eyed angel with its wings raised. I put food out for the birds, who gather in its branches, twittering and scattering about, all chaotic activity, squabbling amongst themselves. There's a number of Magpies who visit it regularly, and a Blackbird or two who fix you with malevolent glances. And a Robin. Jolly Robin.Do you know that you can train Robins? They're the least fearful of all the wild birds. Leave food regularly in a trail to your window. Eventually it will wait on the sill. And then you can open the window and lead the trail indoors. Be patient. In the end it will eat from your hand and shit on your carpet.

"Jolly Robin in the woodWaiting for the gift of food..."

I spend alot of time looking out at that tree. I do a lot of thinking. Sometimes I think about Time. I think of all the time that is gone. All those countless hours, what were they for? And all those days and months and years. All those centuries. All those Eons. An immensity of time. An ocean. We think we can count time. But how do you count an ocean?Do you know that there are dinosaurs still on the Earth? They were not reptiles, they were something else. When the cataclysm came and ripped out the belly of the Earth and with it all those lumbering monsters, the little dinosaurs grew wings and became birds. Little twittering things, living time on another lifescale. Echoes of the past. Ripples in Time's ocean.I think about reincarnation too. Not that I remember any of my past lives. Somehow I can't imagine that I was ever a Pharoah or a Buccaneer, or any of those other things. I expect I've always been as I am now, the son of a Birmingham carworker with a strange, speculative imagination. I imagine that all through the immensity of Time I've always come from Birmingham, and have always been sitting here like this, looking out my back window.What are we? Our bodies grow rigid and cold, and we all die.

But we are electromagnetic beings. We live on the interface between the synapses of our brains. In the arc of energy. And energy does not die. Our brains are Quantum computors and we leap in Time and Space.Time is a product of the Universe, like matter. As the Universe unfolds, so Time unravels. Onward and outward. But come the time the Universe collapses, drawn by the inexorable weight of matter, the pulsing heartbeat of Gravity, then Time will reel back again. And we will live these moments over again. Backwards. And who can say if at this moment Time is running backwards or forwards? Whichever way you are living, Time will always be running the right way.But when I think about reincarnation, the nature of the Universe changes for me. It means I've been here forever. That we've all been here forever, since the beginning of Time. That we are part of the process. That we are It.

And it also means that Mozart is still amongst us. That he was always amongst us. And Einstein, and Marx. And I expect that Mozart is sat in a bedroom right now, a weird genius with a DAT and a computor, making house music. Altering our perceptions as he did the first time. Messing about with our melody-lines.Moments are like atoms. Parcels of energy. When we split the atom we unleash the Universe. When we look into the immensity of the moment, all time is there for us to see. In the infinitesimal, infinity is unfurled. The outer reaches of the Universe warp in the smallest particles of matter. Boundless moments expand. An ever widening circle. Ever circling Time. Revolution of the Spirit. Reincarnation.

"Jolly Robin in the woodWaiting for the gift of food.Be he humble or be he boldHe'll turn a tumble, and then grow old."

CJ

14 February 2010

AAH...NO NAMES EH?

THURSDAY 22ND DECEMBER

tVC's solstice caper was a guarantied heave-ho-ho-'kin-ho 100% grin-a-thon. The over the top antics of previous 7th's was wuss fodder for sock knitters. Overkill central was the foot on the floor destination as the hedos' OTTed consumptive consumerables in an heroic attempt to neck a near fatal cocktail of mind bending things and alcohol as one notch above unconsciousness was achieved as quickly as possible. And that's PDQ. Well Austin was. And he wasn't there.Forget stumbling eye rolling antics and think purple bloated tongues and lax sexual morals. Fly's and legs flung open in a crumpled post-Borgia decadence Bosch would blush at. And that was just us at HQ before we went out. Arf.Tangentopoli's "coming of age" (missus) was forgotten (have you tried reading small smeared print with double vision in a chuffing club?) as some serious gobbling took place. And that was just ...aah...no names eh?The DJ's mee-owed and spat like half a dozen cats in a sack; so no change there. But spots were worked out with Tejen manfully submitting to the first spot post clarty at HQ on condition "no play" at 7th. Why, we asked? We were to find out much later.Now! This music; this event; these people; cement. It's so damn powerful it's overwhelming in its intensity. Stimulated synapses? Serotonin surges? Biology alone cannot explain the high level of sub and unconscious primeval and intellectual connection.These times. Swirling through my mind. Not always immediately assimilated. A retrospective, layered emotion, driven forward never to step back. Reinforced with each successive gathering. A drive. The pleasure principle. He-do-nism. Say it again. Speak it loud. Shout it out. Savour the exquisite syllables floating on the air as the tongue gently brushes the palette. He-do-nism. It's a verb.

Well, all the rumours predicted it was gonna be a stonka of a night, with a full on Whitstable posse in the area, and it lived up to all expectations, with the club full to bursting with mad, up for it, genial, smiley faced clubbers, chums and general mad bastards, racing to start the New Years festivities as soon as possible.Deck wizards were the full tVC crew, keeping it deep and laid back (even Keef was spotted dancing to it!). The floor was a heaving, throbbing mess from 10 till 2, with everyone exhibiting their most revolting habits and body parts (so no change there then). The sound was what could be called a mite louder, with a couple of tiny speakers added for good measure by Lumpy, and was enjoyed by the jumble of flailing limbed, starey oot eyes, stumbling, eye-rolling, snogging, gurning, seating, teeth grinding, gusset wetting hordes. Lots of new faces and lots of old (no, not Martyn and Maurice, or Walt). The Whitstable crew were out in hedonistic excess; Mr and Mrs back in their rightful role as prince and princess of the floor; Dawn as queen of the speakers, and her apprentice Anna; Sarah, Polly and Cathy (Walts new fashion consultants); Watson seen shaking a leg (or was that just shaking?) whilst grinning uncontrollably; Now Ey not diddlin away as he had work the next day (I kid ye not!!) and was knackered, so by the time he woke up to the idea that as he was at a party he'd better start partying, the party had ended; Jodie actually awake and not lying down unconscious somewhere; Torchy and Swishy (yes!) ex VJ's extraordinaire coming out of their early semi-retirement and S getting his bell out at the end for old times sakes. After of course it was back to that certain abode situated in a sleepy seaside town where nothing ever happens apart from episodes of extreme debauchery and totally out of order behaviour, and where everyone is a complete and utter, total nutter. And the night moved up a notch, swiftly carrying on from where it had left off, with banana central swiftly being reached etc., etc., etc., ad nauseam. Nunc est bibendum.

12 February 2010

PERFECT WORLD III

Saturday 12th November 1994

The tVC bandwagon continues its relentless stumble toward obscurity as Oz, pre PW, plays an hours warm up set to two of his friends, in a restaurant, cum club, called Taco Joes, in Brixton. Hi to Pete, from "A Friendly Affair", "really famous DJ" Grub (and Jules). by the end of the set people had filtered in, and the club was filling. 1am. He left Grub to it as a pressing headline at Sherlocks big party beckoned. Already swaying, (from not being paid, and something else. Life at the bottom, eh?) he headed for Sues big-fast-blue-car-with-a-loud-sound-system-in-ideal-for-driving-quickly-between-venues-mobile, or for short., the fluff car, or overview mobile music car, and within minutes they had parked behind Nicks broken, new, second hand car (cheers, Ivan, you ****) and were, after an arrogantly brief flash of their access all areas, "we're not paying" pass, hey it's only rock 'n' roll, cards were plunged knees first, into a different world.Populated by strange wistful people some of whom, with large black pupils for eyes, extend messages of love-and-solidarity-and-beauty. Sometimes I dive into their eyes.Immaculate decor. "Someone spent a lot of time and energy on this," said one party peep next to me. Yellow 'silk' completely enveloped the curved tunnel like main room. Curiously like the inside of an inside out banana. With cubes, papier mache worlds of varying sizes and some excellent backdrops this adult playschool was primary coloured, bright and very cheerful. Upon entering this space people didn't break out in a profusion of overworked water expelling skin pores, then melt, whilst at the time losing a stone in weight. Instantly. And that's before dancing all night."Tight, drawn, hollow facial features anyone?" No siree. Not a hot sweaty body in sight. Why? That club essential for the 90's now installed. Air conditioning. What a treat. Even our spinal fluid levels felt fine.Room two had the DJ's in the roof. Now I don't know about you but, personally, I like to SEE them . Ugly bunch of bastards that they are. People like to, er, interact with them. For example "got any Status Quo?" (one of my faves), or "can I borrow your lighter?" (just as the mix is supposed to happen), or, even more bizarre "what the fucks that tune called?" All part of the rough and tumble of doing something that you have to really concentrate on whilst dealing with people completely off their bollocks.And, believe me coz I've been to a couple of parties, it was FUCKING BOILING. Easily knocking FLY off the top of the "really fucking boiling places we've been to" list.Musically Room1 was good old pumping and bouncy hoose crowd pleasers (it is after all what we want to hear at a Perfect World party). Whilst Room 2 was deeper, more vocals, mellower. Just more. Even with a too loud rig.Come six am a prompt finish meant that the thirty or so (arf) tVC contingent were left high and reasonably dry. We still had the problem of the lemon, sorry new car, that had broken down. After approaching a garage in a neighbouring arch we tentatively enquired about a fix or a tow. "Oooh, I don't know about that", said the mechanic (who I'd just woken up) scratching his face and sucking his teeth. "Let's have a look shall we?"After a bit he looked up from his computer screen. "One hundred and forty quid," he said (quite confidently and without laughing). To put a new gear box in? "No, to tow you home."Faaark. Skipping that, a short limp to Brixton saw us at "FRESHLY SQUEEZED" a new chill club. They were still kicking the punters out from the party the night before when we arrived. "No music 'till 10", says the gaffer. It says nine on the flyer though. "No music 'till 9 then". It was about 7. Popeye, Drew and Sherlock were supposed to be playing but no-one had arrived. There was no "Freshly Squeezed" people there yet either. Only 20 or so Kent maniacs gasping for a party and a pint. An hour later, with the management allowing us to play some tunes ("but only through the monitor") Oz got his 12"s out, and, proverbially speaking, we were off. A Freshly Squeezed person arrived a 9 and was surprised to see the floor pumping profusely. Popeye showed and the PA switched on. He surprised us all with a divine, laid back mellow proffering only resorting to his usual somewhat more mid-evening style for the last half hour. Nice one man. By the time Drew had taken over we were off back to Kent. There was still the small matter of a bust car. "BT" Chris to the rescue ("Love to Maddie"). One AA Relay Card, one phone call, one very nice man. Back in Kent. Just in time to catch the last hour with the Sunday Soakers.I'm going to stick the standard paragraph in here that seems to go in every issue at the end of every weekend. In subsequent issues it shall be referred to by the tag name of the first six words. Whenever you read it refer back to this paragraph."Then it was back to HQ....for an extended chill workout with the fluffcore love posse draped and chatting. Totally at ease with each other they smoked, drank tea, watched vids, listened to music, DJed, shagged, talked, snogged, danced or whatever else they fancied doing in complete freedom and comfort".Sounds like the manifesto for a club night.....now there's an idea!

9 February 2010

emma DiY

7th HEAVEN - EMMA - Thursday 10th November 1994

Last of the month long specials (for now, anyway) sees Emma guesting. "Rushed off her feet" and "working constantly", this top female DJ gives tVC a few hours off her hectic, hard-working schedule to entertain, yet another capacity crowd of clued up clubbers, with a set of pure perfection.One, usually cynical, 7th Heavener, said she was "the best DJ we've ever had down here".Praise indeed. And well deserved.DJ Josie, opened up what was to be yet another classic night. Practising hard and long, and advancing rapidly, Josie plods the slow moving tVC DJ treadmill with great patience. Starting off on the pub gig circuit, advancing to free parties, she broke her club virginity with a soulful set of beautiful house You can tell she's on her way up because she now has her own 'record box carrier' called Steve. Aah, aint that nice.Nick, now confident enough (at last) to vacate her permanent occupation of the 9 - 10 slot moves up to 10 - 11. A big jump for her, but one she handled well. Her uplifting US meanderings tickling the spot. At this rate she'll be headlining by Christmas 95. (2095 that is! Only joking Nick)Martyn, 'the paper shop's open' Ramsden, top tVC sound bod (who'll work for anyone for a price) done his soundly duties soundly and dutifully, producing a 90 minute masterpiece (wot no feedback?) of Emmas deep groove, techno tinged 2 hour set. well done, MATE, look forward to receiving a copy of it some time during December 1995. (Let's just say that Martyn copies tapes 'in his own time' Of course I'm only joking. A tape fell into my grubby palm not two days later.)Keeping the floor packed, their bodies rocking, and a fuck off grin on their boats were the following guilty people :-Various bods from Crow, Kent's premiere Psychedelic groove merchants, Mr. and Mrs. E themselves dancing delectably and winning sexiest dancers of the night award, Polly and Sandals, psychedelic Walt, Tejen falling flat on his face on the dancefloor in front of our guest whilst trying a particularly adventurous dance movement, Dancing Queen Dawneo herself, seizing back control of the dancing platform at the front of the stage, Queen Shroom and her fairy princess Pam, John, fresh from experiencing the magical powers of visualisation a la Pam, computer Gazzer, Trudi and Debbie, wide eyed Toby, looking, well, wide-eyed, Aaron exercising his already well developed chin muscles while drinking a pint of milk, Bud lurking by the bar area, and a whole host of other lovely, wobbly smiling chums. Thank you, we love you all. And it was only a Thursday!

7 February 2010

SOUTHERN EXPOSURE/JUMP - 31st DECEMBER 94 - NEW YEARS EVE

Off to sunny Maidstone with a full car and keen anticipation of the nights festivities. I'm the driver tonight so a sober New Year for me. The car's intent on falling apart around our ears, as usual. The boot and drivers door remain locked. Managing to avoid too many arguments we arrive at the club, after having driven round the one way system only 5 times instead of the usual 10, and enter before the club's actually open. Inside with no-one in, it looks even larger than ever, so we sit down and start drinking. (Well I don't of course). We're soon joined by Tejen, Laura, Now Ey, Jodie and Jon, and the 4 of us already there start to feel much better now we have some chums to take the piss out of. Everyone proceeds to get shit-faced in that time honoured fashion. I don't of course. Well I don't drink. As it starts to fill up, everyone relaxes. Paul's and Tejens sets are beset with technical problems as they don't have a monitor, and there's no-one really to hear them so early. But they manfully play on. I sit there being a miserable bastard, but everyone seems to be having much fun, as the festivities warm up.Come 12 the place is full of kissing, smiling peeps. There are a lot of people we know here. Plus a lot of new people we meet who are all very chummy. I start to relax after the drive then before I know it, it's time to go. Hand out flyers. Climb shivering in the car (it really was bastard freezing that night) and orf to London. A very interesting drive follows. London is reached very quickly. And there are shitloads of cars on the road. All probably doing the same thing. Brixton has never looked so welcoming as now I know I can relax and get loaded as I will no longer be driving. Excellent. My spirits lift amazingly, and as we walk into the club we are hit with such a powerful combination of heat and full on, off yer face hedonism it can't but help to make you smile and want to hurl yourself through the door in a cartwheel of appreciation. Unfortunately only old age, extreme lack of physical fitness and sheer numbers of people stop me from doing it, so I stumble self-consciously in, instead. I don't know who the DJ was, but he truly was fucking excellent. (Later found out to be Jes a.k.a. Sonar). And all of us start throbbing straight away in appreciation. The crowd are going ape-shit, and the club looks and sounds spectacular. It's good to see, and feels so intimate after the sheer size of the previous club. I find a cool wall to half slump and dance against. It feels weird spending New Year with hardly any of your chums around you to help you celebrate but it's still fun. By 4 I've made it upstairs to listen to Oz's set, but I'm afraid the heat totally gets the better of me and I find myself lightweighting out and falling in a stupor before the speakers, in a half sitting, half lying position for the next few hours. It was like being in a bread oven. But it was still fun. Spotted - Timo waving his arms about wildly, and waggling his fingers at head height in perfect time to the music; the other Tim (promoter Tim) looking only slightly more moist and off it than he normally does, also propping the floor up but much more stylishly than I was managing. Tracy back from her travels to New Zealand, back that very night and shaming everyone in the room with her untrammelled energy and love of partying; Mariane wilting slightly in the heat, but still going for it non the less; Anna and Simon, our lift sharers, still stumbling around in that way one does when you're in that certain frame of mind, Pat the barsteward cum door person clearing up whilst dancing in a very professional manner; Tony the owner cranking up the volume (he'd given up his flat for the night and it was now populated by hordes of sweaty party peeps); Louise for giving me a free beer, even though I wasn't drinking, oh no, I can now, too late there's hardly any beer left anyway. Oh well. Cheers for a truly excellent night to the Jump team. The mood, atmos and music was spot on, and Oz played one of his best sets ever.Swift drive back to Kent. Swift shimmy to Chavland to wait the arrival of our other chums who'd gone to other parties. But I'm afraid, half an hour of waiting in Walt's lair with only his strange adult entertainment films for company, and an accapella tape that does everyone's head in, our heads were severely done in and we slunk off about 10 mins before everyone else turned up. Oh well, here's to the 2nd space mates.

5 February 2010

POLICE ACCUSED OF 80-FOLD MARK UP ON DRUG VALUES

Duncan Campbell on how over-valuation affects sentencing

The prosecution in a drugs case which finished this week over-estimated the value of the drugs seized by 80 times a court has accepted. The case, which finished this week at Croydon Crown Court, is the latest example in what drug experts claim is the frequent over-valuation of seizures which can lead to heavier prison sentences or long periods in jail on remand.Matthew Atha, a drugs researcher and consultant from Wigan, who gave evidence in the latest case, has been asked to access values in more than 30 recent cases. He said the latest was the greatest over-valuation he had come across.The case involved two men from Orpington, Kent, who had been growing cannabis plants on a table in their flat. Eighty four seedlings and 40 'mother' plants of what was alleged to be 'skunk', a strong form of cannabis, which originates in Afghanistan, was found.

The men, John Hone and Colin Bevan, were arrested last July. When magistrates were told by the prosecution that the police estimate of the value of the drugs was £800,000, the men were refused bail. Such a high value clearly indicated the men were involved in the production of drugs for sale. But this week, Mr Atha told the court that the total value of the plants was less than £10,000. The men, who pleaded guilty to the production of an illegal drug, were each jailed for 12 months. One was released immediately because of the time spent inside on remand. The other was detained because of another existing sentence."This is the highest over-valuation, I have ever come across," said Mr Atha, who has been an expert witness in cases since 1991 and has a background in drugs and chemical research. Mr Atha said magistrates were particularly badly informed. "They are too willing to accept unsubstantiated estimates," he said. "Usually they are given only one valuation, by the prosecution, which they accept." He had come across another recent case in Yorkshire where 'skunk' seized had been estimated at £200,000, which he believed was about 50 times it's value.

Mr Atha said that in every case he had been involved in, whether advising the defence or the Crown Prosecution Service, the police estimate of the value of the drugs had been too high.Greg Poulter, of the drugs advice agency, Release, who also frequently gives evidence of the value of drugs in court, said "Often the police grossly exaggerate the potential value of the (cannabis) plant." The police sometimes calculated the value of drugs through test purchases, but this gave an inaccurate picture as dealers routinely over-charged people they did not know. Courts were handing down sentences based on officers' opinions and not on hard fact, he said.Mr Atha said many of his cases had involved home grown cannabis, with estimates being made as to the value of the plants based on the size the plant would reach in it's natural environment."

The plants grown here tend to reach three to four foot compared with eight or ten in a tropical climate."A spokeswoman from the Magistrates Association said magistrates were in the hands of the prosecution when it came to drug estimates. They normally decided whether to pass a case to Crown Court on the basis of whether the drugs were for personal use or for sale.

3 February 2010

SOUTHERN EXPOSURE - FRIDAY 3rd FEBRUARY

The vibe was really nice upstairs. We think it was all the misfits who couldn't fit in downstairs.Despite being promised that we could use our love-core sensual-a-round-a-sound PA, a call late on gig night gave us the sad news that the in-house rig had to be used. Oh well, always a crew to rise to a challenge (plus more money for the DJ's) we gamefully dived in there and got the insense burning whilst Nick Brown and his chums got the shake 'n' vac out (it aint all International jet-setting ya know.) So with the room smelling nice, a brand new, just out the package, set of 1200's, a new mixer in place and a free crate of beer guzzled, the night was off.Oz was first on the decks (as usual) and played a fucking blinding two and a half hour set of brand new tunes, superbly mixed to Sara, Austin and Nick. At 11 a few of the tVC pop stars deigned to turn up, but all wanted to "play late" (pout, pout). We didn't tell them all the beer had gone. Taking our cue from the guy who promotes High Spirits and who called us "the DiY of the South" (don't, ever, call us that again. Ok?) we put Tom and Kier and Ed on last. Tejen, as usual, was good (fluffy) for the first half of his set and shit (hard) for the second half. Kier and Tom, headlining, chugged away merrily in their, now expected seamless way. Leila danced with appreciative joy. Ed's set was much more up and positive. A better set, with vocals. Ed, playing vocals? Farkin' soo-perb. Groovy, bass-line led sumptiousness. Nice one mate! Sue and Martyn "chose" tonight to tell all they were running away to France. How romantic. There was only one problem as far as tVC were concerned and that is; he's our fucking sound-man. He was. Don't worry though, we'll survive. As I'm sure S & M will, see ya in a couple of weeks. You all know Maurice the Magnificent - he'll be doing the honours at 7th Heave-ons from now on, and for the parties something will be sorted. Welcome to the team. All set for the summer of laugh? Damn right we are. Can't wait for that first open air sunrise set!

2 February 2010

NITE-SPOT CUM.....

7th HEAVE-ON - FEB 2nd

Another night at our fave local nite-spot cum discotheque saw the temperatures soar to that four to the floor, as they came through the door, and it was heaving. Well the DJ's were (Tejen, Jasper and Oz that is). Josie, unable to attend due to a nasty bout of the flu, ducked out, and her spot was quickly squeezed by that young Chav charmer, Tej. He immediately proffered us his cheesey delights, showcasing some very nice inches of sheer throbbing pleasure whilst so doing.

Practically all the tVC DJ's managed to drag their enjoyment starved carcasses the few miles down the road that was needed to partake in this most wondrous form of social entertainment. As the late, great Glen Miller said "..there is no expression of freedom, quite so sincere as music..". Cool. Tonight saw the rebirth of the Ministry of Crap Dances, sure to get a really large membership surge as the seasons move swiftly towards summers mellow fruitfulness (and all the over the top consumption that will entail). Chief leg shakers were definately Ed Formally and Now Ey, how ya' diddlin', Burns oot. The latter, it was readily observed, was hardly on what one would term "top form", complaining of having flu, in fact just complaining! Austin had already beat a hasty retreat, claiming he was off to get some trousers (don't ask why he wasn't already wearing any). At 10 o' clock at night, in Wincheap? Once returned, just as trouserless from whence he came, he was quite well behaved, obviously saving his best blags for the fun-filled weekend ahead. Pen too was on tipp topp behaviour, and was even seen to procure his own half a lager, much to the shock of his assembled chums/moneylenders.

Laura was in gin-guzzling-frenzy mode, making the most of her day off work the next morning. Pammy Poos, Jaspers greatest fan cheering him on from the front of the floor, along with all the other large lunged house whores of the inebriated variety. And a damn fine set it was too, Jasp. John looking frail and delicate after his near brush with ill health, Roger with his arm-pits only slightly moistened, and in that lovely Armani tee-shirt too! Keef and beau snogging constantly and rubbing their bodies together in a rather suggestive, sex-crazed manner, with Keefs nipple rings getting caught in anything that got close enough, rather in the manner of a Dutch gangster, one young chap was heard to remark. Roy (Bouncer) had his heater nicked, for which he is not at all impressed, coz now he's gonna "freeze his nuts off" whilst searching you all for naughty substances. Ok, who did it?Suffice to say, for this world weary reviewer, 7th Heave-on was reached, and maintained most admirably through the night. Hurrah!

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