Copyright Claim is Denied

copyright claim

 

 

Copyright claim victim Ben Emlyn-Jones is today celebrating a YouTube victory after the infringement claim against him was denied.

Film-maker Ben has been fighting the unjust removal of his Colonel Halt Briefing film after a person connected with the film claimed his copyright had been infringed.

YouTube reinstated Ben’s film this week after an in-depth investigation into the claims. The full story on the circumstances leading up to the claim can be found here.

This is very good news for those in similar situations where a person has made a groundless copyright claim in order to have a film they simply do not like removed.

In this case, Ben believes that the false copyright claim was made as an attempt to silence him and prevent widespread viewing of the film. He believes his views on some of the film’s subject matter may differ from those of the person who had the film removed.

copyright claim

Top right corner – Ben Emlyn-Jones filming the event as agreed.

Ben was present at the event where the film was made specifically to create the recording for the organiser. However, when he put the film together, he expressed support for a person who was heavily criticised in one of the lectures that featured in the film. Ben believes this support may have upset the organisers prompting one person to make the copyright claim against him.

The fact that YouTube removed the film immediately and launched the investigation shows a strong commitment on their part  to protecting the copyright of even the ‘little guy’ who is unlikely to have the money or clout to sue. Despite this not being a huge claim by a powerful organisation whose roar might frighten YouTube’s lawyers, they still removed the film straight away. And that, in my view, is a good thing because it shows the safeguard  is designed to protect everyone, not just the big guns.

But what is even more encouraging is that after weighing up all the evidence Ben presented them with, YouTube stayed true to UK copyright law and reinstated his film. This shows how robust the law is – particularly Section 58.

Well done Ben, you fought back and won. You have blazed a trail others in similar situations in the future can follow.

As I said in my previous article here on the copyright claim – the law is there to protect, it is not a weapon to be swung at those whose opinion may annoy some people. Ben’s film can be seen by clicking here.

Copyright claim

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Rendlesham Forest Incident

The Rendlesham Forest Incident must be one of the most talked about, divisive subjects in the world of Ufology in the last 35 years.

When Charles Halt (Colonel USAF Retired) returned in July 2015 to talk about the incident  for the first time in Suffolk in 35 years, the Rendlesham Forest Incident community flocked to hear him speak.

Rendlesham Forest Incident

Colonel Halt returns to the UK

News of Colonel Halt's return was a big deal.

It doesn't get much bigger than when a key military figure in a world renowned UFO incident returns to the place where it all happened. Colonel Halt was Deputy Base Commander at RAF Woodbridge in 1980 when 'something' happened in the woods adjacent to the USAF Airbase where he worked. The Rendlesham Forest Incident was possibly his worst nightmare come true.

RAF Woodbridge and its neighbouring twin base RAF Bentwaters were key US military installations during the long and hard-fought Cold War with Russia

The Rendlesham Forest Incident is as big today as it was 35 years ago.
In fact, some would say it is even bigger.

The Rendlesham Forest Incident is as big today as it was 35 years ago. In fact, some would say it is even bigger. Click To Tweet

The passage of time has allowed for more and more people to get on board the RFI train and for stories to grow ever more elaborate.

Many of the newer fans of the Rendlesham Forest Incident are too young to remember it and some, were not even born when it occurred.

Many of the newer fans of the Rendlesham Forest Incident are too young to remember it and some, were not even born when it occurred. Click To Tweet

Much of the information that has been circulating for years relies on hearsay accounts from civilians  who were not actually there. Perhaps some have a vested interest in keeping certain versions alive.

When it was announced that Colonel Halt was coming back to speak, the UFO/paranormal/RFI community waited in eager anticipation of the revelations he would bring with him regarding the Rendlesham Forest Incident.

Rendlesham Forest Incident
World famous - Rendlesham Forest looms on the edge of the old US airbase where Colonel Halt was stationed.

At this stage, I should say I am not a part of the Rendlesham Forest Incident  community - I am a writer who has several friends within the RFI community.

I also do not have a Rendlesham Forest Incident book to sell.

As a few of the RFI key players  live close by, I have been fortunate enough in the last year, to meet up with some of them and listen to their stories.

The group I have started getting to know is made up of a few gentle souls who are at the heart of a community which spans the globe, thanks to the internet.

The Rendlesham Forest Incident - Key Players In the Local Community

Rendlesham Forest Incident
Brenda Butler - original local civilian Rendlesham Forest Incident investigator

Brenda Butler and friend Dot Street are two of the original civilian Rendlesham Forest Incident researchers/investigators in Suffolk.

Brenda lives very close to the Rendlesham Forest Incident site and has co-authored several books on the subject.

She is well-known as a speaker on the Rendlesham Forest Incident and she is recognised by many as being the voice of the British witnesses.

She lives about 30 minutes away from me and along with her partner Bernie, she regularly visits mutual friend, Derek Savory.

The three of them, along with a few other RFI fans occasionally work as unpaid volunteers to help facilitate local RFI events put on by a UK publisher.  

Brenda Butler and friend Dot Street are two of the original civilian Rendlesham Forest Incident researchers/investigators in Suffolk. Click To Tweet

Brenda and her group of friends help make these events happen for the publisher, who is not local and may find it hard to stage events without local assistance.

They are an amiable group of people who enjoy the social side of being interested in UFOs and the paranormal.

Rendlesham Forest Incident fans from all over the country often come to visit Brenda, Bernie, Derek and other local friends.

They all enjoy exploring the forest together and sharing ideas about what may have happened.

The RFI is so much more to them than a vehicle for selling books; it has almost become a way of life that provides a community atmosphere.

Rendlesham Forest Incident

One of the books co-authored by Brenda Butler. The book is available on Amazon by clicking here.

The Rendlesham Forest Incident could be described as a way of life that connects them to others who share their interests.

Some of the things they discuss when they get together would make some people run for cover!

But the warmth and simplicity of their friendships is endearing in a world where many people are too busy to share simple evenings like this.

Folklore and fantasy play a huge part in their interests and evenings with them are very entertaining.

Through their contacts in the wider UFO research world, I have recently met two of the biggest names in the ongoing saga of the Rendlesham Forest Incident.

Meeting Rendlesham Forest Incident Participant - Larry Warren 

In May this year, I met up with Larry Warren who is known and loved worldwide for speaking out about his RFI experience.

I spent a few hours with him and recorded interviews. From that experience, I found Larry to be a hugely entertaining, warm, complex and interesting person.

At the time of the Rendlesham Forest Incident, he was a 19 year old Security Police Officer in the USAF based at Bentwaters, home of the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing during the Cold War.

As someone who was there in 1980, Larry has a story to tell. His story cannot and should not, be taken away from him.

For better or worse, it has had a profound effect on his life.  

And make no mistake, whatever anyone thinks of Larry Warren, he has a legion of fans across the world who will stick by him no matter what.

Rendlesham Forest Incident
Larry Warren - Rendlesham Forest - May 2015

Many people, it seems, are fiercely protective of Larry. Their loyalty should not be underestimated; this is a man who is loved by many.

He is quick to point out he is probably disliked by just as many too.

In life, it is the easiest thing in the world to have an ill-informed opinion on absolutely anything. Talk after all, is cheap.

However, having an informed opinion is a little harder because it requires work and research or better still - first-hand experience of the subject.

How many of the non-local people who claim to be authorities on the Rendlesham Forest Incident or have strong opinions one way or the other were living in Suffolk at the time and have any genuine first-hand knowledge of it?

How many of the non-local people who claim to be authorities on the Rendlesham Forest Incident or have strong opinions one way or the other were living in Suffolk at the time and have any genuine first-hand knowledge of it? Click To Tweet

I mean knowledge that has not come via someone else or from a book. Only a very few civilian Rendlesham Forest Incident researchers come directly from the area and actually remember the events of December 1980.

On the military side, Larry Warren was living and working smack bang in the middle of it all at the time and therefore has first-hand knowledge that other people coming into the saga years later do not have.

Like it or not, Larry Warren was an A list participant in certain aspects of the Rendlesham Forest Incident.

Regardless of whether you believe him or whether you don't, Larry Warren has something most other people do not have - actual knowledge and experience of the Rendlesham Forest Incident at the time it happened.

In whatever capacity and on whatever day, Larry Warren was there. We should not forget that.

If he stood up tomorrow and said he lied about any aspect of it - I suspect people would not care because it is Larry the man who people are drawn to, not Larry the incident participant.

There is a huge difference - people like him for who he is and it goes far beyond the Rendlesham Forest Incident.

I do not pretend to know Larry beyond my first impressions on meeting him.

However, I do know he is loved worldwide by many in the UFO community. So it may have been a bad idea for anyone to allow a character assassination of him to take place in public.

Meeting Rendlesham Forest Incident Personality -  Charles Halt (Colonel USAF Retired)

On July 10th 2015, I met up with Larry's old 'boss' from 1980, Charles Halt (Colonel USAF Retired).

An interview was arranged for me by the conference promoter through Brenda Butler, the day before Colonel Halt's long awaited return to the Rendlesham Forest Incident arena.

He was here to take the stage and speak publicly about it in Suffolk for the first time in 35 years.

Rendlesham Forest Incident
Charles Halt (Colonel USAF Retired) after our interview in Woodbridge, UK.

Colonel Halt was Deputy Base Commander at RAF Woodbridge at the time of the Rendlesham Forest Incident; he then went on to become the Base Commander at a later date.

We met at his hotel where I spent an hour recording our interview. Colonel Halt came across as a highly intelligent, witty, charismatic military man who seems deeply tired of the history he is inextricably linked to.

That was the impression I was left with. After 35 years of the same questions from a never-ending stream of people with a 'right' to know 'The Truth', Colonel Halt, I believe, is bored out of his military brain with the whole saga.

He is, it appears, stuck in a no-win situation. Thirty-five  years after the event, he is still expected to explain himself to new generations of 'truth-seekers'.

Throughout the interview, as he talked at length about what happened that night, the same phrase kept popping into my head - 'loose lips sink ships'.

There was a war on at the time. The twin bases of Bentwaters and Woodbridge were not holiday camps.

Rendlesham Forest
A reminder of the Cold War at local level - Dave Baynes of Lazy Co. Cold War US. Living History and Airsoft Group at a Bentwaters Cold War Museum event.

The bases were military installations engaged in a deadly Cold War with Russia.

Detailed knowledge of the enemy's capabilities and hardware were of paramount importance to international security.

We only have to think of the Cuban Missile Crisis to remind ourselves exactly how serious the Cold War was.

Highly top-secret 'stuff' went on. 'Stuff' no-one dare even breathe about at the time because, if Joe Public knew the state secrets regarding how vital intelligence was being collected, then so would the Russians.

Loose lips really do sink ships or in this case, could have annihilated us all. I believe that Colonel Halt had an extremely challenging job to do in December 1980 when he was called out of a Christmas party on base to find the Rendlesham Forest Incident unfolding.

Loose lips really do sink ships or in this case, could have annihilated us all. I believe that Colonel Halt had an extremely challenging job to do in December 1980 when he was called out of a Christmas party on base to find the… Click To Tweet

It is my belief that he may have come out to find his worst nightmare unfolding on the wrong side of the perimeter fence.

Rendlesham Forest Incident
Perimeter fence at the old RAF Woodbridge Air Base in 2015

Perhaps the various levels of security clearance that are vital in wartime made Colonel Halt's life extremely complicated that night and the nights that followed.

Covert recovery of whatever came down in the woods on the wrong side of the military fence cannot have been easy to handle.

Did a large proportion of the lower-ranking military workforce need to remain unaware of what they were dealing with for international security reasons?

Was a cover story necessary to preserve secrets about how highly sensitive intelligence was being obtained?

Why did a mystery person turn up at the house of Brenda Butler, a locally known ghost-hunter and investigator of the paranormal at the time and offer the information that 'aliens' had crashed in the woods the night before?

What needed covering up so desperately that this fantastic story was given to the local community immediately to 'explain' a strange occurrence in the woods?

These are questions I ask myself after feeling that something is not quite right with the official story. Of course, it is just my opinion.

But it is an opinion based on reading between the 'official' lines spoken by Colonel Halt during our interview and then again, when they were repeated almost word for word the following evening during his presentation to the public.

The 'official' story was run off both times as if by rote. All the anecdotes, diversions and asides in the same places throughout.

There is an ordinary, friendly family man behind the robotic military figure who trots out the military line when asked about the RFI.

When he finally took the stage on the night of the long awaited 'Colonel Halt Briefing', many people seemed deeply disappointed in the content of his talk.

Although it isn't clear what people were expecting him to say, it was very clear that most people were not expecting the attack on Larry Warren. Or for that matter on his book Left At East Gate (co-written with author Peter Robbins).

Rendlesham Forest Incident
The Colonel speaks.

The way Colonel Halt delivered his diatribe against Larry Warren came across to me as a final snapping of patience.

It was almost as if the Colonel could no longer stand the continued insubordination of a young airman to his superior ranks.

However, this is 2015 and neither are in the military anymore.This just seemed like a parent losing his temper with a naughty child during a tantrum.

But this was in the public arena after a 'tantrum' lasting 35 years. The curious thing was, Colonel Halt seemed not to be in the least bothered about potential repercussions.

He was very confident about what he was saying. He knew he was being recorded.

There was no provision made for rebuttal from Larry but no-one seemed to care.

The Rendlesham Forest Incident Has Damaged Lives

No one fought back on Larry's behalf. Most people seemed stunned. The big question is, how does Larry feel now?

The rumour is that he was asked to stay away from the event. Larry has since confirmed this and stated he was 'categorically banned' from attending by the organisers.

However, he has seen the controversial  film of the event made by Ben Emlyn-Jones. Ben's film has now been removed from YouTube amid accusations of copyright infringement. (Update - the film was reinstated several weeks later after YouTube found that there had been no copyright violation)

Rendlesham Forest Incident
Was  UK Copyright law misused?

Larry was naturally very angry about the claims made by Colonel Halt and was, at one stage, considering legal action.

He was also understandably upset that none of the many friends he had there stood up for him. Has Larry Warren suffered enough from a horrific experience he had 35 years ago? Did he really deserve further pain from it?

Larry's crime, at the time of the incident, may have been to keep on asking questions that the top military brass did not want asked and could not, safely, answer.

GIs are expected to carry out orders without asking awkward questions. That is the nature of being in the military.

Loose lips do need to be silenced in wartime, even a Cold War and I am sure the military has ways of securing silence and creating deliberate confusion inside GI minds when needed.

Loose lips do need to be silenced in wartime, even a Cold War and I am sure the military has ways of securing silence and creating deliberate confusion inside GI minds when needed. Click To Tweet

But what happens when you are just 19 years old and you get caught up in the middle of something that seems so terrifying you need to talk about it and get answers?

What happens when 'they' mess with your head because 'they' don't know how much you saw and who you might tell?

What happens when espionage goes wrong and a bewildered young serviceman has no choice but to end his career and spend the next 35 years trying to make sense of what happened?

These are the questions that run through my mind when I consider some of the more scientific explanations for the Rendlesham Forest Incident.

Whatever 'The Truth' is, there are no winners here. And how guilty are we, the public, for continuing to scratch at other people's old wounds?

How much more can Colonel Halt or Larry Warren say? Maybe it is time to leave them both alone with their very different accounts of December 1980 and accept that the public just doesn't know what happened and probably never will.

rendlesham forest incident

These are real people whose lives were deeply affected by whatever happened in the woods.

I suspect that Larry's hell has been vastly different to Colonel Halt's as they were at opposite ends of the military command chain with vastly different security clearances.

But still, it appears they have both suffered in their own ways for 35 years - as have many of the other key players in the RFI. How much more can any of them say?

The Rendlesham Forest Incident Controversy Says So Much About Human Beings

Since the 'Colonel Halt Briefing' event on July 11th a new 'cold war' has allegedly broken out with mature adults slinging mud and various accusations being made.

Excuses are being made by people who did not stand up and challenge the Colonel. But the simple truth is, we are British and sadly we just don't do that. We are too 'polite'.

I am told that 'unfriendings' have happened on Facebook and rifts have developed between various factions involved in the whole event.

Apparently, this is the norm after a UFO event. I would find it all vaguely amusing if it were not so tragic that supposedly educated people can behave  this way.

At the end of all this, I am left wondering why we have such an interest in looking outward from our planet to see if there is any intelligent life 'out there'.

As human beings, we don't appear to have that much intelligent life on earth.

We bicker, fight, jostle for limelight, lie, cheat, kill and make life generally unpleasant for each other in the most ridiculous situations, usually in the name of making money or scoring points.

It is shameful. If there is any intelligent life out there they may well have visited us already. Some people claim they live among us.

If they had any sense, they would get back in their spaceships and go as far away as possible from us. We are not ready to receive visitors from Outer Space.

We can't even get along with 'aliens' from other countries - never mind from other planets!

Rendlesham Forest Incident
Rendlesham Forest 2015 - Normal stuff happens here too.

Who are we to judge what 'intelligent life' is?

As a species we are about as stupid as it gets because we are wrecking the beautiful planet we live on and killing each other in the process.

As for the interview I did with Colonel Halt, I will probably never publish it because I don't want to scratch away at Larry Warren's old scars.

And as for my own film of the event, I will leave it up to Larry whether or not anyone sees it because he, after all, is the one who stands to hurt the most from what was said.

From my brief encounters with both, I liked Larry and I liked Colonel Halt.

In my opinion, they experienced the same event from different angles and from different ranks. They will never agree. Maybe we should leave them both alone. The Cold War is long gone - let's not keep this new one going.

You can find Larry's book here on Amazon.  

You can read about my personal view of the copyright infringement claim against Ben Emlyn-Jones by clicking here.

A presentation given by Colonel Halt in 2007 can be seen by clicking here Colonel Halt Presentation 2007

A 1993 interview with Larry Warren can be seen by clicking here Larry Warren Interview 1993

There are many more interviews and a huge amount of Rendlesham Forest Incident information online - they can be found very easily with simple Google searches.

The Rendlesham Forest Incident - fact or fiction - what do you think?

Copyright claim

Copyright infringement claims have recently been made following one of the UKs most hotly anticipated UFO events.

(Since this post was written, there has been an update on the story – you can see the update by clicking here)

 

Flyer-For-Halt-Conference-Anonomised-July11th-2015

Since the eagerly awaited Colonel Charles Halt Woodbridge Briefing event that took place in the UK on July 11th 2015, things appear to have got a little out of hand. The already contentious subject of what actually happened in Rendlesham Forest in December 1980 has now descended into chaos with one film-maker’s event footage being removed from YouTube amid claims of copyright infringement.

As  stated  in a previous post, I am not a part of the Rendlesham Forest Incident (RFI)/ UFO research community. I am a writer who has several friends within the RFI community. In the last year, I have met up with some of the original key players locally and had some interesting conversations with them. I do not have a UFO book or any associated ‘space products’ to sell. I am a reporter with an interest in people and events of all kinds. As such I deal in facts as far as possible. Sometimes, as with a situations like the RFI, hard facts are in short supply.

copyright Infringement

Brenda Butler was the first civilian investigator. Her work began while the incident was still warm in 1980.

Millions of spoken or written words have been generated since the incident. A huge proportion of them are based on the hearsay and opinion that has developed over 35 years. There were a finite number of civilians and military personnel  who were actually living and working in the Rendlesham area at the time. Only a relatively tiny proportion of those people had any truly direct, first-hand experience of the incident, as it happened, 35 years ago. A few were at the epicentre of the incident and a few were on the edge of it. They are the ‘hot’ A listers of the Rendlesham Forest Incident. 

Rendlesham Forest Incident

One of the books co-authored by Brenda Butler

Anyone else who was not there in the woods or immediate area in December 1980  is dealing with secondhand information that, over the years has become third-hand, fourth-hand and so on. 

The original civilian investigators, such as Brenda Butler and Dot Street, who did research and interviews with the incident A listers at the time are warm B listers . Those who got on board within 10 years as the trail was rapidly cooling and talked to the A and B listers are very luke -warm C listers. Beyond that, there are hundreds of  people who  have jumped on board the RFI bandwagon at various points along the way over the last 35 years. Many are not local, they do not have first-hand experience of the incident and they simply regurgitate, re-work, embellish or add yet another opinion to the many that already exist. These people are stone cold D to Z listers, rated according to when they got involved, who they spoke to and what their agenda is. It should be noted that the D – Z list grows bigger by the year. Hards facts or first-hand experience of the RFI are as rare as hen’s teeth. Conversely, opinions on what really happened in the woods and who is telling ‘The Truth’ are as common and varied as supermarket plastic bags.

copyright infringement

Where does everyone stand in the Rendlesham Forest Incident A – Z of knowledge and experience? Who is Hot, Warm or Stone Cold?

Copyright Infringement – Or Not?

With that in mind, I move on to the main subject of this post –  a copyright infringement claim that happened following the Colonel Halt Briefing event. The claim has risen from the ashes of what could have been an informative, fact driven evening in the company of interesting speakers, one of whom was hot property from the incident’s A list and another from the B list. Colonel Halt and Brenda Butler are two of the very few people who were there, in the Rendlesham area in 1980. It was no surprise that people were willing to pay £20 each to hear them speak. If they had been the only speakers at the conference, with no superfluous padding, this copyright infringement claim would never have arisen.

copyright infringement

Based on my knowledge of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, I believe this kind of copyright infringement claim to be grossly misguided. As with all journalists who trained with the NCTJ college at Harlow, I have a  grounding in the Act.

copyright infringement

The Journalist’s Bible

When I heard that the video of the Colonel Halt Woodbridge Briefing had been removed from YouTube due to a copyright infringement claim, based on what I witnessed happening at the event, I was astounded . The video was shot and edited by Ben Emlyn-Jones.  Ben is known for the films he makes when he travels all over the country seeking out paranormal phenomena and associated public events. He has a YouTube channel called HPANWO and it is widely known in UFO/paranormal circles that Ben is a film-maker. And for those who perhaps don’t know what he does, the camcorder he carries everywhere on a tripod does give a bit of a clue.

Ben, as I understand it, had been asked by the organiser to film the Colonel Halt event. It is  also well known within the RFI/paranormal community that Ben always publishes his films on his YouTube channel. Ben’s filming began on the morning of the event when we met up with Colonel Halt at Rendlesham Forest where the Colonel was to conduct a tour. I was there for the first 30 minutes of the tour to get film clips and pictures for my blog. It was absolutely crystal clear that this walk in the forest was a picture opportunity (to which the local press had been invited as well).

copyright infringement

Everyone was fully aware of filming. Next to me was the press photographer who had been invited. Faces have been blurred here through personal choice – NOT because the subjects have any complaint in law.

A local press photographer did indeed attend and he took many pictures. Some of his shots were set up and some were ‘action’ shots of the whole group walking towards the camera. At no time did any member of the group ask him not to do this. It was very obvious to all concerned that filming and photography was going on. And as it was happening in a public place, photography could not have been restricted anyway.

No requests were made to refrain from filming anybody taking part in the walk. During the 30 minutes I was there, I set up various group shots that were both filmed and photographed while the subjects willingly stood where they were asked and posed for the cameras. While the group shots were going on, a youth, who was there with his father, declined to be in them. Out of courtesy, he was invited to be a part of the large group picture but did not want to be and that was fine. When I was happy that I had the shots I wanted, I left the woods to go home. The tour continued, with Ben filming until the end.

Copyright Infringement – Another Scene of the Alleged ‘Crime’

Later that afternoon, I went over to the Woodbridge Community Hall where a group of local (unpaid) volunteers were working  hard to help the organisers get the hall ready for the evening’s proceedings. Ben was already setting up his camera to film the event. He was positioned in a very prominent place at the front of the stage.

Below is a screenshot taken from video footage clearly showing Ben’s prominence in filming the speakers. He can be seen in the top right corner as the speaker speaks in the direction of his camera.

copyright infringement

Ben Emlyn-Jones filming the event as agreed.

Ben had been provided with access to an electrical socket to plug his camcorder in. The extension lead he used had been taped to the floor to comply with Healthy and Safety requirements. You could not miss it. I set up my own cameras in two very prominent, visible places on the stage. Conversations took place with the eventual copyright infringement claimant about where he would be standing when giving his talk.

We discussed where he would stand to ensure getting the projection screen in shot as well. He told me, and the sound technician, he would be speaking from the stage. The stage had an especially designed set that was to form the backdrop for the speakers. The PA system and microphones were being set up by unpaid, amateur volunteers. No provision was made to employ paid professionals to set up the sound. The sound system was set to operate with the speakers presenting on the stage. This would create the best experience for the paying guests, especially those further back.

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The stage set was not used for the first two speakers

However, when the first speakers came on, they spoke from the floor, at the same level as the audience. This caused problems which naturally irritated some of the paying audience. The speakers spoke directly in front of the camera that Ben was using to film the event. They could not possibly have been unaware of Ben’s camera, and several others in the audience, pointing at them. The organiser of the event did not, at any point, make an announcement saying that filming was prohibited or restricted in any way. In fact, Ben’s filming of the event had been very obviously facilitated by, and had the blessing of, the organiser.

Section 58 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, particularly point C, is very clear on what should happen if a speaker wants to make copyright restrictions on a speech is he giving.

copyright infringement

An excerpt from McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists – Page 399

 

copyright infringement

An excerpt from McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists Page 400

Note the final paragraph of the above extract from McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists. Could a speaker have second thoughts about his remarks and prohibit reporting of them afterwards? Clearly – he cannot.

Unlike ben, I was not in a hurry to produce a film or blog-post about the event. Ben however had many people, who were unable to attend the event, looking forward to seeing his film. He had edited his film and published it on YouTube by Sunday July 12th.

For reasons known only to the claimant, who had stood happily in front of Ben’s camera (and many others) only hours earlier, he ( as I have been advised by Ben), contacted YouTube and  had the film removed. He allegedly complained that his copyright had been infringed. I refer you again to the above extract. This cannot be done after the event.

Copyright infringement

The Act is there to protect – not to silence people who have a different opinion to yourself

This surprising development was yet another disappointing aspect of what originally promised to be an upbeat event headlined by Colonel Halt.  One of the talks was practically impossible to hear. Another one, in my opinion, was illustrated with some very odd looking pictures and seemed to consist of regurgitated information about astronauts and the possible moon-landing hoax that we all know about anyway. We also learned that astronauts have supposedly seen many UFOs while zipping about in space.

However, as some of the Apollo astronauts (some of America’s biggest heroes) were then referred to by the speaker as ‘recovering alcoholics’, (some of whom, apparently still like a drink – according to the same speaker), it did leave us wondering what to believe. The speaker intimated that he has spent years meeting with the said astronauts. He implied he had great fun plying one astronaut in particular with ‘jugs of Margaritas’. Alcohol, apparently, made former astronauts loose-lipped in the company of the speaker and tell him stuff. Ok… sure…moving swiftly on… How happy would you be to be called a recovering alcoholic in public? Not nice and not professional – in my opinion.

Further disappointment came later when Colonel Halt took the stage and launched the apparent attack on Larry Warren, who was not there to defend himself. I began to wonder why this event consisted of unpleasant slurs on people who were not present.  It was deeply uncomfortable for Larry’s many friends. Should they have stuck up for him? Maybe, but for whatever reason, they did not.  I suspect that no one wanted  to take on the two men who kept a tight control over who spoke, what they said and when they said it. The vulnerable usually find it hard to stand up to those who they may perceive as ruthless. That could have happened here. That is life. It is my belief the only person who could have and definitely would have spoken out was Larry himself which is why, I suspect, he was not allowed to be there. Questions from the audience were vetted beforehand and kept to a bare minimum. The event was brought to a sudden end well before the expected time and some people appeared to be left a little shell-shocked.

copyright infringement

This is Larry Warren in Rendlesham Forest May 2015 – he featured heavily in the event but was not there to defend himself.

 

 Copyright Infringement Claim – The Effects

 

Regarding the film’s removal from YouTube, Ben tells me  he believes that the claim of copyright infringement has been made because some people are unhappy that the film expresses support for Larry Warren. Ben has now made another film, which is on YouTube, stating this view. Surely if a person is ripped apart in public, they and their supporters have the legal right of reply…in public. 

When I attended the event, I did not expect to be writing a feature about copyright infringement. I expected to be writing something interesting and upbeat about a very positive RFI event. However, as I perceive the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 is probably being misused in this case, I have to speak out. As a professional writer/photographer and amateur film-maker I know what an important piece of legislation the Act is for everybody who produces creative work. We need protection against those who seek to misuse the hard work of others. However, the Act is not a weapon to be swung at someone who has upset you by having an opinion different to your own.

YouTube, it seems, is swift to remove anything that someone claims copyright infringement on. In some ways that is a good thing because it protects victims of true copyright infringement immediately. However, I hope that their appeal system is supportive of those who fall victim to blatant misuse of the Act. It must never be used as a way of silencing those with controversial opinions.

An excellent example of a copyright infringement claim that appeared to misuse the 1988 Act can be found by clicking on this link YouTube & UK Copyright Law by Darren Locke . You can see how this was resolved by clicking here A Small Victory by Darren Locke Although this case is slightly different – it is still a great illustration of how false copyright infringement claims can affect ‘the little guy’ and what happens when ‘the little guy’ fights back.

copyright infringement

We HAVE to fight dubious claims

Regarding your rights to film or take pictures in public places, there is an interesting film on YouTube made by another ‘every-day guy’ who is standing up for your rights by promoting what the law says. You can find his film here Photography & Filming Rights In Public by Stevie B . His film includes a shocking recording of an alleged exchange between a photographer and a Police Officer who had allegedly confiscated the photographer’s camera for taking pictures in public.

The guy who posted this film on YouTube also posted a link to a copy of a letter that was allegedly sent out to all Police Chiefs in the UK from the ACPO,  informing them that their officers cannot confiscate cameras just because people are taking pictures in public places. The link can be found by clicking here A police letter regarding the right to take pictures in public. If you are a photographer or film-maker – these links are worth a look because the information is from ordinary people who are fighting back against the bully-boy tactics  sometimes used by those who try to censor with aggression.

Many people are behind Ben Emlyn-Jones and are watching with interest to see if his appeal to YouTube is upheld, the copyright strike lifted and the film reinstated.

You can read more about my thoughts on the Colonel’s Return by clicking this link to Part 1 The Colonel Returns

 

 

 

 

 

 

What to do with ashes after a cremation is probably one of the most difficult decisions to make following a death. Whether your loss is a person or a pet, what to do with ashes can be an emotive subject.

what to do with ashes

A grand old lady called Penny

We got the call from the vet telling us our beloved dog had died in the night, the morning after we had taken her there with disturbing symptoms. She died there of old age. We were naturally distraught. So when, in the next breath, the vet nurse suggested that we have her ashes in a box, we agreed straight away. It cost a lot of money; it cost more to have her cremated alone to ensure we got just her ashes. Twelve years on, we still have a box of ashes that we don’t know what to do with. We won’t bury it in our garden as we are likely to move. We also don’t want to scatter the ashes anywhere. So what is the answer?

what to do with ashes

Was this the best we could do with her ashes?

Well, it seems there is another choice that is gaining in popularity. People who have suffered a loss are turning to specialty jewellers like Natasha Susman for help. Natasha is a skilled artisan based in the UK. She turns ashes and even hair, into treasured memorial jewellery.

The idea is not new but it has been making a comeback here since the 1990s. Mourning jewellery has been worn for hundreds of years. It is sometimes referred to as Memento Mori, a Latin term  meaning ‘be mindful of death’.

I recently visited Natasha’s studio workshop to find out more about her intriguing work. The tiny workshop is tucked away at the back of Curiouser & Curiouser, the amazing  jewellery shop Natasha runs with her mother, Ingrid Zeige. The shop has been a part of Brighton’s colorful alternative shopping district, The Lanes, since 1992 when Ingrid opened the shop with partner Paterson Riley. (You can find out more about Curiouser & Curiouser here in a post from a few weeks back.)

To me, the shop is a curious mix of boho, goth, classic and chic all rolled into one. I have never been into a jewellery shop like it. So I was not surprised when I discovered that Natasha was designing bespoke memorial jeweller to order. And after talking to her, I was not surprised that clients  are finding Natasha based on her growing reputation.

what to do with ashes

Natasha Susman – A Jeweller at Work

What to do with ashes after a cremation? Keepsake jewellery is a comforting option for some.

Natasha prefers to call her pieces ‘keepsake jewellery’. She never intended to go into the business of creating fine jewellery incorporating the cremated remains of people or animals that have passed on. It was more a case of keepsake jewellery discovering Natasha than the other way round. In 2009, the beloved pet of a good friend passed away. His dog Cory had been with him for 17 years and he was naturally distraught.  He begged Natasha to make him a piece of jewellery incorporating his dog’s ashes and hair. And so she did. It was the start of a new business for Natasha, a graduate of the London Guildhall University.

what to do with ashes

Remembering Cory

Another commission quickly followed for more pieces of bespoke keepsake jewellery for several members of  a grieving family. However, this time, the tragedy that prompted the commission involved the death of a person. Natasha, quite understandably, will not talk about the circumstances of the commission. It was an untimely death that left a family heartbroken and with a deep need to keep their loved one close. She was honored to be trusted with such a sensitive commission and moved by the comfort that the family got from having the jewellery.

Keeping a loved one close.

Keeping a loved one close is a great comfort for many.

 

When interviewing Natasha about her work, I got a strong sense of her having been pulled into the world of keepsake jewellery slightly reluctantly. But once there, it seems as if the peace and happiness she has seen her jewellery bring to grieving relatives has made her stay. She comes across as deeply philosophical about death and is passionate about the peace keepsake jewellery can bring into someone’s life.

Having previously seen only pictures of some finished pieces, I was intrigued to actually see and hold one of her creations in real life. Watching Natasha work and listening to her talk about her commissions gave me a great insight into the world of keepsake/memorial jewellery. Natasha spoke of the sensitivity needed when taking on the huge responsibility of creating a memorial from the ashes and/or hair of someone’s cherished relative.

A plait of hair around a picture encased forever in silver.

A plait of hair around a picture encased forever in silver.

It is clear that this work can never ever be taken lightly. Natasha  finds working with the death of a child the hardest. She also worries that people may come to her too soon after a death. She said:

“I am not a trained counsellor. It can be really challenging to make sure I deal with these situations carefully. People often need something to focus on when someone has just died. They are looking for comfort – it’s a journey, it’s a way of carrying on to the next level. People are left wondering, how do I get on with my day now that you have left me? It is always the ones left behind that suffer the most in the long-run.”

Maybe it is the very fact that Natasha does not take this work lightly that makes her the ideal person to be dealing with people who are seeking comfort. The concerns she has, in my opinion, make her more than just a jeweller turning out keepsake pieces to order. I could see during our interview, every aspect of every new commission is important to her and she thinks about everything in depth.

what to do with ashes

A very special piece with great significance to the client

The issue of price is another thought provoking area for Natasha. Her main concern is to keep it fair and accessible. She said:

“I want to be someone who is affordable. If someone has a budget, I try to work around that. Some people don’t have anything – some people are millionaires – it isn’t easy and I want to be fair.”

When people come to Natasha, she knows exactly what to do with ashes in a way that creates something beautiful and comforting.

Another of Natasha's early pieces - a huge comfort to the wearer.

Another of Natasha’s early pieces – a huge comfort to the wearer.

So what exactly happens to the ashes once someone has made up their mind to have a piece of keepsake jewellery made? Natasha explained that she goes through the ash to find pieces of bone that she can mix with resin. In the case of a ring for example, the resin/ash/bone mix is then put into a reservoir either inside or outside the ring.  She told me that the ‘Secrets’ ring is the most popular because the groove is on the inside and no one knows it is there. The ring is then hand-finished to an incredibly high standard.

what to do with ashes

Secrets – inside the ring where resin, hair and ashes are held.

Natasha uses 925 Sterling Silver – a sought after grade due to the exceptionally high silver content. It is 92.5% silver with the remaining 7.5% being the  metal alloy that gives the precious metal durability and allows it to be shaped. She also works in 9 – 18ct gold. The wax carving work done prior to reaching the metal stage is carried out with extreme skill and precision. Natasha honed these skills during her time learning from fellow jeweller Chris Hawkins.

Although Natasha is a Guildhall graduate, she believes the guidance she received from Chris took her skills to another level. Her resulting expertise can be seen in the wax models she carves when creating  tiny details such as the mint leaf and Frangipani flower seen here.

what to do with ashes

Beautifully hand-carved waxes ready to be cast in silver.

These waxes will be used in a process that will create delicate silver charms depicting a mint leaf and a Frangipani flower. Natasha created these as part of a keepsake commission for a person whose pet used to go into the garden and roll in the mint leaves. It is pieces like these that show the diversity of the kinds of things clients ask for when discussing designs for their jewellery. And Natasha does her best to accommodate whatever people want.

Keepsake jewellery will not appeal to everyone I am sure. There are probably some people who will find the concept bizarre. However, we all deal with death in different ways and some people find having keepsake jewellery an enormous comfort. If at least some of the cremated remains have been kept and incorporated into a piece of jewellery to wear close, the rest of the ashes can be scattered. Maybe this helps alleviate the feeling of complete loss if all the ashes are buried or scattered. Perhaps it is a huge comfort to know there is always a tiny part of a loved person or pet still close by.

 

what to do with ashes

Keeping a loved one near

Natasha can be found here at Forget You Not. She has just returned to work after taking extended maternity leave and is in the process of updating her website. However, you can still contact her there. Natasha works worldwide and is willing to consider commissions from most places around the globe.

If you are ever in the difficult position of wondering what to do with ashes after the death of a beloved person or pet, remember this option. After talking to Natasha for this article, I can honestly say you will not find a more compassionate, fair and thoughtful person to trust with such a sensitive task.

What to do with ashes? The last word goes to Natasha…

 

The 'Secrets' ring showing the secret groove containing the ashes and the high standard of hand-finishing.

The ‘Secrets’ ring showing the secret groove containing the ashes and the high standard of hand-finishing.

 

“When I was approached by a dear friend of mine, to make a keepsake of his recently deceased dog Cory, I was a little hesitant. First of all I had never worked with hair before and, my only reference to this kind of jewellery was the somewhat morbid Victorian rings with braided hair.

I accepted the challenge but decided I would make the piece more about love than grief. I also wanted to reflect the personality of my friend in the piece, so that when he wore it, the piece would be as much a part of him, as was Cory.

Word got around, and I started getting commissions for people as well as pets. Due to this quiet demand for a precious memento, I decide to form a small company, Forget You Not, dedicated to designing and producing exquisite jewellery that honours the unique artifacts within.

A unique way to remember your loved ones. A keep sake that is both affordable and beautiful. All commissions welcome. We create custom made ‘one of a kind’ pieces tailored to suit your individual desires.”

Forget You Not

 

According to the online Urban Dictionary, the Grey Pound is “the money being spent by old people…the old people putting money into the economy.” The online Cambridge Dictionary’s definition is “the money that all old people, as a group, have to spend”.

Grey pound
Over 50 does NOT mean grey hair!

So who, exactly, are these ‘old people’ spending the ‘grey pound?

Well, according to a 2005 article on catererandhotelkeeper.co.uk, the ‘grey pound’ describes the money spent by consumers over the age of 50.

Yes that’s right…50. The article states that the ‘grey pound’ was a 70s term. Apparently, it became such a cliché that around the start of the new Millennium, advertisers and businesses decided the over 50s market was too ‘untrendy’ to ‘target overtly’.

So there you have it, over 50s were seen as untrendy and not worth bothering with. So it isn’t our imaginations going wild when we feel invisible out there and that we are treated as a bit of a joke by any young ‘trendy’ people who do happen to notice us.

Grey Pound v Generation Y

The author the 2005 Caterer and Hotel Keeper article went on to say that the people advertisers had in their financial sights at that time were ‘teenagers and Generation Y”.

Generation Y, in case you didn’t know, refers to those born in the 80s and 90s. In other words the children of the grey pounders…OUR children.

Perhaps it is no wonder that the younger generation came to disregard us as a viable section of society when the business world had apparently written us off as ‘too untrendy to target overtly’. We were deliberately down-played in the media.

Grey pound

Brainwashing takes many forms and maybe younger people subliminally picked up on the fact that they were the darlings of the consumer world while we, the over 50s, were unworthy of being sold anything ‘trendy’ by anyone

Maybe we should have stayed indoors with bags over our offensive ‘untrendy’ heads. However, the 2005 article did go on to say things were changing.

It said: ‘those conspicuous consumers born between 1947 and 1961 – the so-called Baby-boomers, the next wave of grey pound spenders – are making a comeback. They are appearing in the strategic business plans of corporate leisure companies.”

Ok, we have gone from being ‘untrendy’ to ‘conspicuous consumers’. WTF!

Not sure what makes us ‘conspicuous’, certainly not the color of our pounds which are a drab grey apparently, (not like the nice ‘pink pounds’ of another much insulted section of our society – but that is another story).

So the business world was finally waking up and realising that it wasn’t really a good idea to sideline us because there are a lot of us and we do have spending power.

But have they woken up enough in recent times to understand that if they want our money, they have to stop insulting us? I think not. I think

Generation Y was so brainwashed by the media’s disdain for the over 50s back then, that those now in their 30s and 40s see no wrong in using a very insulting term to describe our collective spending power.

I found this out first-hand last year at a business exhibition in London.

Grey Pound

As a woman who was part of a busy working world only a couple of years ago, I found it very hard to come to terms with being flung out, overnight, from a job I loved and excelled at.

It was done in the most callous, uncaring and illegal way possible by younger but more senior colleagues, to cover-up some serious wrong-doing I was about to reveal.

After I was done with the very robust and successful legal case I hurled back at my shocked, arrogant employers (how could I do such a thing! Why didn’t I just go away and play Bingo for goodness sake?), I found myself in an employment wasteland where the only job I could get at 56, was wiping the bottoms of those in possession of the seriously grey pound. 

And much as I love my fellow human beings, I have no desire to clean up their waste products for £7 an hour.

So The Great British Business Exhibition 2014 was the ideal place for me to go to get inspiration for starting my own business. When I saw the list of speakers, I was excited to find Vince Stanzione, a self-made millionaire, on the list.

Vince was one of the people I most wanted to hear speak. I also wanted a copy of his book The Millionaire Dropout.

So off I went on the train to the Big City to hear a whole list of successful business people speak.

All the speakers were good but Vince Stanzione was going to be the icing on the cake of my day out.

The Millionaire Dropout

Vince Stanzione’s one and only seminar of the two-day event was so popular, I had to sit on the floor, almost at the front, almost at his feet actually, surrounded by other floor-sitters who were so keen to hear him, they didn’t care about the discomfort involved.

He had me in the palm of his hand as I devoured every word.

I wanted his book and I had thirteen of my precious pounds ready and waiting.

Then came the blow I did not expect.

Without batting an eyelid at the very mixed age audience, Vince spoke of the ‘grey pounds’ spent by the over 55s. I sagged inside.

He may as well have said the ‘wrinkly’ pound.

I looked round the room and saw many people like myself.

Many of us, incidentally, sitting on the floor and getting up again with no problem!

I knew from observing the thousands of other visitors at the exhibition that it was likely there were many ‘over 50s’ rejects from the working world who had suffered the same fate as me and who were looking for a new lease of life as their own boss. In the sleepy backwater where I live, it is easy to feel old and over-the-hill.

London, I always thought, was different.

You can be who you are there and no one bothers you. In my case, the ‘who I am’ is a woman still keen to work, live life to the full and be a part of life, not someone peering at it from behind the wall society tosses you over on reaching 50.

The grey pound thing happened about halfway through Vince’s talk and for the rest of the seminar, I fought to forgive him.

grey-pound
Indignant Grey Pound Makes a Fuss

I wondered if it was just me or whether any of the other 55+ people felt stung by the reminder that we are old and defined by the color grey.

At the end, I left without the book.

I decided to keep my horrible grey little pounds in my bag and make my fortune without the help of Vince’s book.

Cutting my nose off to spite my face?

Yes definitely, because this book is a good read for anyone wanting to create wealth.

It is packed with honest, simply written information about how to change your life. It covers areas that similar books do not even touch on because Vince Stanzione takes a holistic approach to the concept of making money.

However, I really only want to give my money to people who don’t insult my whole generation by calling our money horrible names that insinuate we, as a group, are drab and old. 

Many of us have to fight that prejudice on a daily basis whilst being forced, by economics, to participate in a world that doesn’t seem to take us seriously any more.

I have since relented and bought The Millionaire Dropout from Amazon because the author is one person that people who are sick of the 9 to 5 grind, with all its injustices, may need to listen to (in spite of what our mother’s told us about dropouts!).

On reading the book, I am convinced that Mr. Stanzione is the last person on the planet who would want to want to insult anyone.

He comes across as a thoroughly genuine and humble person who, despite his current wealth and status, has memories of being badly bullied as a child. I am sure his use of the term the ‘grey pound’ is simply an indication of just how brainwashed younger people have been into seeing us ‘oldies’ as fair game for insults because we have the audacity to show faces in public.

grey pound
Insult me – insult the Queen. Well, she is 89, so HER pounds (millions of) must be positively WHITE by now!

So all you marketing people out there trying to sell stuff to us ‘Baby-boomers’, you really need to find another more upbeat and respectful name for our pounds if you want them that badly.

Perhaps you need to understand that we are not a blanket demographic of grey people shuffling around sucking peppermints.

Rather, we are a generation of individuals, many of whom are still young and fit at 50, 60, 70 and 80+ who resent the portrayal of us as grey old people with grey money.

After all, we are expected to go on working well into our mid 60s now that the pension age (in the UK) has been rudely shoved up our former expectations.

What about all those pounds we will be earning?

I wonder what they will get called because the ‘grey’ pound is definitely well past its sell-by date now.

Any ideas anyone?

My choice is the ‘golden’ pound because I consider we are in the long autumn of our lives once past 50.

And I for one am enjoying an Indian summer that could go on for many, many years before turning into the winter that will be my last.

I quite like ‘purple pound’ because it’s funky. like us ‘oldies’.

Please share your thoughts on the grey pound issue with me – and I would love to hear from readers in the US to see if your dollar gets called insulting names too!

If you forgive Vince Stanzione and would like his book – get it on Amazon.

What is your opinion of being the spender of the ‘grey pound?’

Bentwaters Air Base in Suffolk

was on Red Alert last night for the first time in more than 20 years.

But don’t panic – it was all for fun as Bentwaters Cold War Museum opened its doors to the public last night as part of the UK’s Festival of After-Hours Culture and Heritage.

bentwaters

Dave Baynes of Lazy Co. Cold War US. Living History and Airsoft Group

Bentwaters may have been in the grip of a cold, wet and miserable night but that didn’t stop the dedicated museum staff from putting on an excellent show. It also did not stop the public from trekking out to the windy airfield to go back in time. The old Bentwaters air base has been a huge part of Suffolk life for more than 70 years, however, for its active life it was shrouded in secrecy. It has a rich military history having been in the hands of both the British and United States Air Forces. Bentwaters and its nearby twin base, RAF Woodbridge have held great mysteries for Suffolk residents over the years, with most people never being quite sure what went on there.

And there was a good reason for that, given the highly sensitive work of the military. So who could ever have imagined that one day, the previously impenetrable ring of security around Bentwaters would open wide to reveal its secrets. Who could have dreamed that the day would come when some of the most protected activities of the US Air Force during the Cold War, would be explained in detail to a public hungry to discover what went on under their noses. Back in the days when Bentwaters was operational, it was beyond the wildest imagination to think anyone could stand in the War Operations room and be told how it all worked. However, that is exactly what happened on the night of May 14th when a group of BCWM staff re-enacted a state of alert in the War Ops room, a room also known as ‘the pit’.

 Bentwaters Comes Back to Life

bentwaters

Re-enactors give the public a taste of days gone by when Bentwaters base was on ‘red alert’.

The War Operations room is housed in a bomb-proof bunker that has an atmosphere you could cut with a knife. For first-time visitors, it is quite a powerful experience walking in and seeing it for the first time. The War Operations room is the jewel in the crown of BCWM and usually sits quietly at the heart of the museum, off-limits to visitors, except from the observation windows that overlook the room. The dim lighting of the bunker makes it look and feel like an eerie fairground attraction however, there are reminders everywhere you look that this place was once a  serious nerve centre at the heart of a deadly international game. It was a game that could have resulted in a nuclear war.

bentwaters

The eerie quietness of the War Operations room is deafening. The room is watched over day and night by two mannequins in uniform.

This room, once the scene of top-secret activities in the heart of the leafy Suffolk countryside, came to life again briefly as museum visitors watched and listened to a live re-enactment of military operations during a NATO ‘red alert’ situation.

bentwaters

Museum Volunteer Mark Shields shows how complicated military processes were carried out before the digital age.

Most people living near the USAF air bases when they were operational were familiar with the term ‘red alert’. Anyone who had American friends was aware of when the bases had gone into ‘red alert’ but how many really knew what that meant? The reality  is quite staggering when you listen to USAF veteran Bob Hale who was  stationed at Bentwaters when the US military finally left at the end of the Cold War.

bentwaters

War Operations Room in Action – Bob Hale (far left) explains in detail what went on here during the Cold War.

 

Bentwaters

Master Sergeant Bob Hale – Former USAF Serviceman in the War Operations Room at the Bentwaters Cold War Museum

During normal museum opening hours, Bob can be found in the control room that overlooks the main operations room, giving very detailed talks about what went on there. As people stand and listen, Bob takes them on a verbal tour of a day in the life of the War Operations room. He points a laser down into the darkened room to show how the massive charts were used but no-one usually actually sets foot in there. So it was a rare treat for those who braved the miserable weather to attend the event, to be allowed into the hallowed space to watch the re-enactment close up.

Volunteer actors manned the banks of analogue communications equipment while others brought in messages and orders to be recorded on the boards that dominate the room. As the actors gathered pace and got into the spirit of the event, they did a very good job of portraying their various roles. Despite the lack of American accents, the whole group was so convincing, there were times when I forgot the people in uniform were actors!

bentwaters

More senior military personnel play their parts in the state of alert.

Bentwaters In A State of Alert

Meanwhile, in other parts of the bunker and outside, visitors were being treated to some very real scenes of what it could have been like in this part of the world if the balloon had gone up. Cold War Re-enactment players Dave Baynes, Lee Shave and Jonathan Calver were very convincing with their silent, ominous looking patrols. Clutching some deadly looking weapons and wearing full protective clothing, including sinister looking full-face masks, they mingled silently with the visitors like ghosts from another era. It’s an era that you can’t quite believe was real – but sadly, it was.

bentwaters

Team members from Lazy Co. A Cold War US. Living History Group send shivers down the spines of visitors looking into this room.

And outside, there was a rare visual treat that was not diminished by the rain – in fact, in some ways the rain added atmosphere. Museum Manager and Chairman of the Bentwaters Aviation Society, Graham Haynes, along with his dedicated team of volunteers had worked very hard to provide a visual spectacle on the night. The Harrier and the Phantom aircraft that stand in the grounds of the museum  were lit up thanks to the work done on the wiring. To add to the effect, the planes had signs next to them warning that they were armed.  They were being guarded by mean looking men with guns!

bentwaters

Dave Baynes, Lee Shave and Jonathan Calver of Lazy Co. Cold War US. Living History and Airsoft Group guard the planes.

And there was more…

Museum volunteer Jon Saunders on duty with Lanie inside the bunker.

Museum volunteer Jon Saunders on duty with Lanie inside the bunker.

bentwaters

Lee Shave and Jonathan Calver look menacingly real as military personnel protecting the base.

The cast of re-enactors had gone all out to make this a very special night for those who attended. Even press photographer Simon Parker had ditched his camera for a shooter of another kind – and he looked a good deal scarier than he does with a camera round his neck!

bentwaters

Do Not Approach The Plane

The passion that these guys have for the history of Bentwaters is very clear and we in Suffolk are lucky to have such a valuable historical resource available to us to learn from. In moments when the play-acting stopped and the re-enactors took a break from looking deadly serious about protecting the base – it was easy to see what makes them such a productive team.

bentwaters

Chris Balmer and Simon Parker share a lighter moment during the event.

 

Bentwaters Night Opening a Big Success

Chairman of the Bentwaters Aviation Society and Manager of the museum,Graham Haynes with volunteer Mark Shields - working on the Harrier wiring before the event.

Chairman of the Bentwaters Aviation Society and Manager of the museum, Graham Haynes with volunteer Mark Shields – working on the Harrier wiring before the event.

Graham and his team worked hard prior to the event to make it all happen and today, Graham said:

“The evening was a great success with around 100 visitors braving the rain. This was the first time that we have ever put on an event like this and all the staff thoroughly enjoyed themselves. No doubt it won’t be the last time we stage a night event.”

Sadly, while Graham was busy at the sharp end of running a museum night event – he missed the team putting the finishing touches to  a brilliant night by having a group picture taken in the War Operations room – can’t believe no one went to drag him out of the Harrier cockpit!

So it looks as if the museum really will have to do it all again to make sure the whole crew gets into the shot next time.

bentwaters

The cast of Night At Bentwaters Museum.

And finally, while the guys and a lone female (see centre of the group if you haven’t already spotted her) were working hard to pull off the historic night, there was another large team of civvies providing support to make sure the event went smoothly. Karen Haynes and her helpers spent the evening keeping visitors fed and watered in the cafe – not to mention thirsty actors!

bentwaters

Lazy Co. and Graham Haynes take  a break in the ‘mess’.

Bentwaters Cold War Museum – Well Worth a Visit

And if you missed the night event – don’t worry, you can still see everything the museum has to offer, albeit in daylight hours. The museum is open the 1st and 3rd Sunday of every month during the season – for more details visit the website by clicking here.

Thanks to the former US servicemen from Bentwaters who have got in touch since reading this. It’s great hearing about your memories. I would love to hear more from former Bentwaters personnel. Please visit https://www.facebook.com/gilly.maddison or fill in the contact form here.

 



Craft kit chaos is over! 

I have completed the Guidecentral multifaceted lamp kit and survived!

craft kit

 

 

In completing this craft kit, I have proved to myself that you do not have to be a maths genius to make this lamp. The misery I felt at the start of the project all melted away when I plugged the lamp in whilst singing Climb Every Mountain very loudly.

My house has been neglected and my studio, once again, looks as if someone picked it up and shook it. But hey, I have a wonderful, unusual lamp, designed by a young Italian designer and put together by me. The messy house is not a problem. During the day, I don’t have time to look at it and in the evenings, the shadows cast by the new lamp hide most of it. There is a very good reason my website is called anything except housework! I have to live up to that name and I must say I do it very well.

So, the craft kit – how was it for me?

It was a roller-coaster ride during which I said most of the things that people say when on a roller-coaster. For example at the start of the ride, while going very slowly up the big hill feeling quite cocky you say, ‘I can do this! Of course I can! Nothing to it!” Then there is that moment where you say ‘Oh bleep, what have I done?’, juuuust as the front wheels go over the top and the screaming begins.

If you read part one of Craft Kit Challenge you will know that my first ‘oh bleep what have I done’ moment came when I got stuck on Step 1. I could not divide the 19 cm square pieces of corrugated cardboard into eight frames and one small square. But I got over that one when I let the computer do it for me and I produced the perfect template – or so I thought.

craft kit

Eureka or I beat ya?

Ok, so making this template was like the exhilarating moment when you get to the bottom of the first big drop on the world’s tallest roller coaster and realise you didn’t die. Straight back to cocky again. So that was me the morning after realising my teachers were wrong when they said ‘loozerr!’  Anyway, the last laugh was mine for about 2 minutes. I printed off five templates, ran the removable adhesive roller over one and attempted to fit it to my first piece of card. It was slightly too small all round. My heart hit the floor and the maths gremlins came back to taunt me. I still have no idea why the computer insists my template is 19cm squared – because it isn’t.

After many adjustments and wasted paper (oh don’t tut you greenies, I have saved it and will make a nice hat or something), I got the template the right size to fit the cardboard and the brakes were off again. Gremlins were slayed and I was back on the ride feeling like I might make it to the end in one piece.

A Craft Kit Could Change Your Life – it Changed Mine – I think I am Clever Now!

craft kit

How’s that for size – eh?

Now  this is where the hard work really begins with this particular craft kit from Guidecentral’s range. Cutting corrugated cardboard neatly is not easy – it is a challenge. However, my reason for making the lamp was vastly different to that of someone who has bought the kit. For example, I wanted to get it done as quickly as possible because I could not write this review until it was finished. I did not want it to drag on for days so I put pressure on myself to get it all done at once. For someone who wants a challenging craft project to pick up and put down at will, the cutting wouldn’t be a big deal.

Cutting down the corrugations (I may have made that word up, I’m not sure), is easy enough, but, cutting across them is trickier, although eminently doable. After going at it like a mad woman gutting a fish, I realized I needed to go very gently across the card with the tip of the craft knife to ease it through the corrugations in stages, going deeper each time. There is definitely a technique to it. Going at it like Norman Bates (aka Anthony Perkins) in the shower scene from Psycho doesn’t work. Light, confident, relaxed strokes of the craft knife down the lines works really well.

The craft knife that is supplied with the kit is perfect for the job. I did try a Stanley knife at one point but preferred the one that came with the craft kit. One word of caution, if you get this kit, make sure you lock the blade in position once you extend it for cutting.

craft kit

Lock the Blade!

Sounds obvious now but, I neglected to do this  and consequently made some bad cuts when the blade was unstable and I hadn’t stopped to figure out why (see ‘slapdash’ on my old school report in Part 1 of this review!) In my defence, there were no instructions with the craft knife. This is an issue that I think needs to be sorted.  The black button where the arrow is (see above) needs to be pushed back (as in pic) to lock it and pushed forward to move the blade in and out. I guess most craft knives work that way but I don’t know much about that type of knife.

The other issue I found with the craft knife was that I could not snap the end blade off when it got a bit dull. Turns out that I needed a man to do it. Sorry if any feminists are reading this but I couldn’t do it and he could – deal with it. I quite often use my husband as a craft tool/adviser/assistant but unfortunately he wasn’t here at the time I needed to use a new blade. No amount of whining on the phone would make him leave work to sort out my craft knife. So it did get harder to cut the cardboard towards the last few cuts – but that was my fault for not waiting

From Craft Kit Chaos Comes Order

GuideCentral Kit Review Pics

The First Signs of How This Kit Will Shape Up

Once the first 19 cm square was cut successfully into frames, I became delirious with joy and celebrated with a cup of tea. Designer Linda has told me she is very impressed with how clean my cuts are – so I really didn’t want to disillusion her by including this photo. But I have to be honest about it – my first cuts weren’t that great because I was using the Norman Bates approach to using the craft knife.  Linda, as the designer of this kit, is naturally keen to see how I got on with it. So now you know the truth Linda – one side ain’t that great! But I did improve as time went on.

After cutting each of the five cards, I stopped to assemble and glue them so they could dry while I was cutting the next one. I don’t normally get excited over things like white glue – I mean why would I? But in the case of the glue that comes with this craft kit, I have to make an exception. It is the best white glue I have ever used but I can’t pronounce it because it is Italian. It says Ceys Cola Blanca Rapida Para Madera Acabado Transparente. From that I can just about work out that it’s white, rapid (at drying I guess) and transparent. Never had glue dry so ‘rapida’! I was worried about gluing all the sides together. I thought I would have to sit and hold them but this stuff is amazing; it was holding the sides together after about one minute.

crfat kit

Look Ma No Hands!

The cube was put together pretty quickly because the glue was perfect for the task – no waiting around or sides falling over.

craft kit

Voila! (That’s French for ‘there you have it, aren’t I a clever girl give me a round of applause’).

Then it was time to tackle the more challenging tasks such as the light fitting and the base. In hindsight, these were not really that hard at all. If I were to make this lamp again, and I am sure I will, I would not be apprehensive about this stage. It seemed complicated at the time but it really wasn’t – it just needed common sense.

 

craft kit

Breakout the Poundland Geometry Set Again!

craft kit

Mark a square around the circle and cut – easy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Craft Kit Ups and Downs As The End Is In Sight

So with some mega glue, common sense and lots of tea I made it almost  to the end of the roller coaster feeling exhilarated. Instead of wind in my hair, I had a bit of glue. But here was one more hiccup right at the end when an obstacle threatened to derail the car but guess what – I smashed it with some cheating or ‘hacking’ as I think cheating is now called.

There is a very bulky, heavy ceramic light fitting with this craft kit. All along I wondered how there would be enough clearance under the lamp to stand it on a surface. The instructions that come with the lamp are quite vague about making the base; when you get to Step 6, it simply says ‘compose a new frame using cardboard strips’. However, the web address for Linda’s original instructions on Guidecentral is provided and so I went online to get clarification. Well the answer to that one is, you need to build a 7 cm tall base from the cardboard left over from making the sides of the lamp. At least, I assume that is what you are meant to use.

craft kit

Each side of the cube is made using only the first, third, fifth and seventh frames. That leaves all the rest. However, as the biggest left-over frame is smaller than the lamp base, you would need to cut them up and make new frames from the pieces.

As I couldn’t face the arduous task of building a neatly cut 7cm tall base from the left over frames I turned to the only other cardboard supplied with the kit – the box it came in. After creating about four layers of the base frame and finding it only measured 2cm tall – I began to lose the will to live. There is nothing like the prospect of a long walk home to make you look for a shortcut – so that is what I did. I figured out it is much easier to measure and cut small squares from strips of cardboard than it is to compose whole frames. So I added five more centimeters of height to my base by making four ‘legs’ and attaching them to the four corners of the base. Once I started making the legs, I had the base finished within 15 minutes.

 

GuideCentral Kit Review Pics

 

 

So I was really happy with my craft kit hack (doesn’t that sound better than cheating!).  And it worked really well because instead of having to cut out part of the base to get the plug through – it just passed easily through the legs. Job Done! Then it was freewheeling all the way home. I stuck the shade to the base and left it all to dry thoroughly. It had been a marathon effort to get this done in a couple of days but I learned so much from the process.

craft kit

The amazing transformation of a pile of cardboard.

I absolutely love this lamp. If I had bought the craft kit – it I would be very pleased with it. There are a few niggles with it that a beginner crafter may find difficult, so I would not recommend it to anyone just starting to explore crafts. Guidecentral does have kits that are much easier and gentler on the mind! However, I prefer a challenge and I certainly had one with this lamp. It is amazing to me that a small pile of lightweight corrugated cardboard could translate into this lamp.

The reason for the bulky ceramic light fitting becomes clear once you fit it into the shade (apart from the obvious one of providing light!) – the weight it adds to the lamp stabilizes it and makes it heavy enough to be a viable fixture on a side table. One word of caution – only use an LED bulb in this shade – my pictures do show an ordinary bulb but that is because I did not have an LED one when I did the pictures. Remember, the shade is made of cardboard – so don’t put anything inside it that could heat up.

craft kit

A worthy addition to my house.

I give this craft kit a very healthy eight out of ten and would recommend the craft kit to anyone thinking about getting one. However, be warned that you will need extra cardboard to make the base if you do not want to  be messing around fitting left-over pieces together. I am not even sure there would be enough unless you do what I did and use the box it comes in. I also think the instructions should be clearer but then there is always the option to visit Linda Rose’s Maker page on Guidecentral to see the step by step instructions there. You can find Linda’s instructions here. If you would like to choose a different craft kit, click here to visit the Guidecentral shop. If you would like to ask me about the kit or this review, please visit my face book page here.

Thank you to Guidecentral for supplying me with the kit for review and to Linda Bellosi of Linda Rose Design for developing the it.

Happy crafting!

Craft Kit From Guidecentral –

 Learn Something New!

craft kit

So excited to get my Guidecentral Parcel!

Craft kit chaos hit my house this month when I received my much-anticipated kit from Guidecentral. When I say chaos, I don’t mean the general kind I find myself in when I am in the middle of a project. No, this chaos was confined to my brain when I opened the Guidecentral craft kit box and realized I needed some very basic math skills to get going with it.

Give me words to deal with every day of the week and I am in heaven. Give me numbers and I can feel the flames licking at my toes as I descend to that other place. When Catherine at Guidecentral asked me if I would review a craft kit, I had the whole gorgeous range to choose from. So naturally, I chose the multi-faceted cardboard lamp because it was going to be the most challenging. That’s me all over.

craft kit

Pic Courtesy of Maker Linda Rose and Guidecentral

 

Do not misunderstand me here – this craft kit is not difficult to make – if you can do simple division without crying. Unfortunately, math is a form of torture for me. It makes me frown, swear and cry as my smallish brain begs me to break out the glitter and make something frivolous.

More Than Just a Craft Kit To Me!

When the craft kit arrived, it was all done up in brown paper and it felt exciting.  I was very tempted to rip the paper off, like a child on Christmas morning, to get at my lovely new kit. However, I realized the packaging of this kit presented me with some wonderful resources to use for other crafts. So I was very careful. I treated all the packaging with as much care as the actual craft kit. You will probably only understand this if you are a frugal Maker/Crafter but I was thrilled to have a load more ‘stuff’ to add to my resource box. I am already dreaming about what I will make with it all. And it comes free with the kit!

craft kit

Added bonus – lovely craft resources!

 

So, there I was with it all out of the box and buzzing with crafty energy. I spent a few minutes just feeling the cardboard and being really impressed with the quality of it. Again, you’d probably only understand that if you are a Maker/Crafter. Everything in the box is really good quality down to the pencil they give you to make your lines.

 

Superb Kit parts from Guidecentral

Superb Kit parts from Guidecentral

And that was where the craft kit began to defeat me. Ah yes, the lines. Such a simple little task really. Divide the 19cm square cardboard pieces into eight frames and one tiny square and cut them out. I cried quite early on in the process. I also took some paracetamol for the headache I developed when banging my head against the craft room table. My reasoning was, that if you needed to divide the squares into nine other squares to give you frames of equal thickness but diminishing size, then you needed to divide 19cm by nine. That was 2.1cm (remainder 0.1 of course, but no-one is that pernickety surely).

Anyway, I measured it all out very carefully. I marked out 2.1 cm sections along all the edges of a piece of paper 19cm square. I didn’t dare work on the precious cardboard until I had it all worked out perfectly.

This is what I got. Sloped lines. Yes I know. Sad isn’t it.

This is why my geometry teacher ran away to sea.

This is why my geometry teacher ran away to sea.

This Craft Kit Will Not Defeat Me!

All my old maths demons from school came back to laugh at me as I surveyed the lines all sloping off to the left. I remembered poor Mr. Prosser having to go off and have a lie down after trying to teach me how to mark off points and join them up. I have now concluded that I am very special because no one else I know has this kind of talent for screwing up simple measurements. And yet I can do it without even trying.

Having committed myself to writing a review for this craft kit. I dried my eyes, blew my nose and tried again. I dug out my geometry set, bought recently in Poundland, and used the pointy divider things to take more accurate measurements off the ruler. However, being the quality you would expect from a 15 piece set costing £1, the dividers kept moving. This is what I got. As my dad later pointed out – “Your markings are not equal!!!!!’ Er, yeah – I know.

craft kit

Wrong!

As I sat rocking backwards and forwards waiting for the men in white coats to come and get me, I wondered how I had got through life unable to do something as simple as divide a square into eight frames. After managing to mark off my nine sections reasonably equally (don’t look too closely!) and join them up with straight(ish) lines, I was confounded to find it only gave me four frames and one small square. I screamed so loudly my neighbour called the police.

They couldn’t help and advised me to try Facebook. So I put out an emergency plea for help and to my delight, I had three responses from intelligent people who obviously did not bunk off school to play pinball in the local cafe like I did. Sadly, they may as well have been speaking Martian because I still didn’t understand enough to do what they said. They all said something different and an argument was brewing on my timeline. So that was cool.

I then turned to my 89 year old dad who has a proper technical drawing geometry set that I probably should have learned how to use 48 years ago when he first offered. Telling him to shove it, as a moody teenager, has finally come back to haunt me. This craft kit would have been much easier to make if I had bothered to learn basic math while at school. But my pinball skills are rather awesome and you can’t have everything. Looking back at my school reports from the 60s and 70s, I can see it’s never been any different.

This extract below from one of my junior school reports describes me as ‘careless’, ‘slapdash’ and ‘finds it difficult’ (for arithmetic as it was called back then) – well guess what – nothing has changed!

craft kit

Gimme the dunce’s cap!

 

Looking at my second disastrous template, it was obvious to me that I needed to draw more lines to get my eight frames and one small square but I couldn’t figure out why dividing by nine wasn’t working.

craft kit

Not Enough Frames

Then my husband, who I had thought had fallen asleep, suddenly piped up and explained to me why dividing 19 cm by nine won’t work. It is, he said very casually, because the frames are 2.1 cm wide on all sides which means you need to divide 19 by 18 which is 1.055555556. Great. My dad sat there frowning and started talking about Vernier scales and slide rules. At that point I stood up and said “for goodness sake, it’s only a bleeping cardboard lamp!!!!” My mother winced at such language and asked whether I might consider going home to sleep on it.

So that is what I did. And guess what? I woke up the next morning with the answer. The computer! Of course, this was a very simple job to do in  design software using the grid tool.

I leapt out of bed and went into the office. Within 30 minutes it was all done and my template was printed off with perfect measurements and lines. It was a challenge for me to work out how to set it all up but I did it. As the template came off the printer, I felt like I had climbed a mountain.

craft kit

Never give up!

When choosing the craft kit to review, I am so glad I decided on the multifaceted cardboard lamp. I have learned a lot already and I am only at Step 1. That’s what Making and Crafting is all about, challenging yourself and learning new things. I will post here again in a few days with news of how the next stage goes. I have worked out how I can use my lovely template on the cardboard to make accurate cuts. Will it work? We’ll see. I cannot wait until my beautiful lamp is finished. If you want to have a go, you can buy your own craft kit, designed by Guidecentral Maker LindaRose here at Guidecentral. Come back again soon to see how I get on with the rest of the project. Can I do it? Yes of course! Can you?

Carnaby Street - it was once a fab place. I mean fabulous in a time when anything truly 'fab' was just being invented.

I still recall the magic of Carnaby Street from 1970 when I tried to lose my parents there. I was 14 and in the grip of anything vaguely psychedelic in appearance.

Carnaby Street - it was once a fab place. I mean fabulous in a time when anything truly 'fab' was just being invented.I still recall the magic of Carnaby Street from 1970 when I tried to lose my parents there. I was 14 and in the… Click To Tweet

If it was purple I loved it. If it had flowers too - great. Fab. I was in love with the image of Carnaby Street.

I was also in love with Jimi Hendrix and had been convinced I was going to marry him until he died the year before.

My parents just got sick of my incessant pleading to take me to Carnaby Street and so we went. It was totally embarrassing.

All I wanted was to waft in and out of the boutiques and be cool. It's impossible with your parents waiting outside holding your coat and a picnic lunch.

Carnaby Street

What a difference three years makes. By the time I was 17 in 1973, I had a really cool boyfriend with a sports car and he totally 'got' Carnaby Street.

 

So off we went. He was an avid photographer and was busy snapping while I wandered off. I didn't feel so fab and cool when I realised I was lost.

So I stood nervously by a lamp-post in the middle of Carnaby Street between Foubert's Place and Ganton Street wondering when the hell mobile phones might be invented.

I wanted to cry I was so scared. Meanwhile, the boyfriend knew exactly where I was. He very kindly snapped my discomfort before letting me know I didn't have to get the bus home alone.

Carnaby Street
Carnaby Street

A year later we were back in Carnaby Street so he could buy his outfit for our wedding.

Where else could you buy a white suit with massive flares, a lilac shirt, a white silk kipper tie and a pair of gigantic white platform boots?

Time moved on of course and we left the UK to live abroad in 1975 when the whole Carnaby Street/Swinging London thing was going punk.

My memories have never died. The name Carnaby Street sends me into retro heaven even to this day.

So it was really weird when last year, I had a flashback to those days while walking in the famous Lanes area in Brighton.

An Echo of Carnaby Street in Brighton

The name of the shop could not have been more accurate; Curiouser and Curiouser is exactly what I became from the moment I got drawn in by its intriguing aura.

My curiosity began before I even saw the shop. From 50 yards away, as I wandered through Brighton's Sydney Street in September 2014, I spotted Paterson Riley's long blonde hair, dark glasses, black cowboy boots and hands encrusted with bold silver jewellery.

Carnaby Street

As he sat nonchalantly in the sun on the window ledge of Curiouser and Curiouser, I immediately thought of Carnaby Street in 1973. That was weird; I later found out that's exactly where he set up his first shop the year before I got 'lost' just yards from Ganton Street where his shop was.

 

My first thought was - if this guy is not in Iron Maiden then he should be - but Paterson turned out not to be the rock star I imagined.

My disappointment at him not being a major part of Iron Maiden disappeared when I found out exactly how he has been putting the metal into heavy metal for bands like them for decades.

Paterson Riley is a member of the rock brotherhood - just not in the way you might expect when you first see him.

It was impossible for me to walk by and not find out who this guy was. Brighton is stuffed to the brim with creative souls who wear creative clothes and do not get old - just like Carnaby Street used to be. But, you have to be really outstanding to stand out in the crowd in the Lanes, because everyone is a bit off the wall - in the best way imaginable.

 


 

Carnaby Street

However, Paterson kind of eclipses anyone else's ‘off the wallness’ because of the quietly enigmatic thing he has going on. So I asked if I could take his picture. He said yes in a vaguely amused way and after I got to know him a little better, I could kind of see why a mature woman from the provinces might amuse a man of his diverse experience. I got the feeling he has lived a very colorful life.

Paterson Riley is a member of the rock brotherhood - just not in the way you might expect when you first see him. Click To Tweet

Even MORE Echoes From the Carnaby Street Heyday

We started chatting and the more he talked, the curiouser I became and just when I didn't think I could get any curiouser, he took me into the shop to meet Ingrid. If Paterson made me think Carnaby Street, Ingrid made me think Mary Quant, Vidal Sassoon, Biba, Zandra Rhodes, Twiggy and 60s chic all rolled into one.

 


 

Carnaby Street

She was standing behind the glass counter of Curiouser and Curiouser and was exactly the kind of partner I would have expected a man like Paterson to have - exquisitely glamorous in a very European way with a gently husky German accent to match.

Ingrid, who is also a jeweller, was surrounded by gleaming glass cabinets, inside which Paterson's darkly beautiful silver creations shone under bright lights.

Ingrid made me think Mary Quant, Vidal Sassoon, Biba, Zandra Rhodes, Twiggy and 60s chic all rolled into one. Click To Tweet

The most intriguing and beautiful pieces of silver jewellery were displayed on glass shelves. Eye rings, famed for appearing in the Harry Potter film, stared unblinkingly from the display cases. Solid silver skull rings sat boldly alongside other statement pieces – clearly designed to be worn on fingers that thrash electric guitars. The bright spotlights revealed the intricate markings of a maker who gets lost in his craft.

Paterson Riley - Founder of The Great Frog - a Carnaby Street Institution to This Day

Paterson Riley, it turned out, is a founder  of the world-famous brand, The Great Frog, a renowned jewellery shop in Ganton Street London. The Great Frog, since its creation, has provided niche jewellery to rockers, bikers and other edgy, image conscious people outside the mainstream. The brand has always catered to international clients in the fashion and music industries and is now run by Paterson's son Reino, who he describes as a 'extremely talented' designer and maker.


 

Carnaby Street
Carnaby Street

Paterson Riley's ground breaking company hit the London scene in 1972.

It hit at a time when exciting new trends for rockers were likely to find eager clients keen for an edgy new look after an era where the mod image ruled.

And Paterson's designs really were at the cutting edge for the rockers whose time was about to come.

At that point, the Great Frog was just a tadpole swimming upstream on Carnaby Street in post sixties London. Now, over 40 years later, with further stores in LA and New York, the brand has a list of celebrity clients that reads like the who's who of rock royalty. But Paterson does not drop names easily; he shrugs off the whole celebrity culture thing and talks only of his love of being in the workshop at the back of the shop in Brighton; the shop he opened with partner Ingrid in 1992.

When Paterson, who is originally from New Zealand, founded The Great Frog in 1972, he worked from the basement of the Ganton Street shop at the heart of the Carnaby Street scene.

It was there that he designed the original skull ring adored by many famous heavy metal and rock musicians such as Aerosmith, Metallica, Iron Maiden and Motörhead.

He designed the original skull ring adored by many famous heavy metal and rock musicians such as Aerosmith, Metallica, Iron Maiden and Motörhead. Click To Tweet

The shop premises that Paterson took on in the early 70s, and where it remains to this day, dates back to 1676. It is reported to have been built on top of a plague pit, a claim that can only have added spice to the macabre nature of Paterson's designs.
The Great Frog is one business that has stood firm against a backdrop of change. It remains a solid feature of Carnaby Street and although Reino now runs the business, Paterson remains a director of the company.

When Paterson created his first designs, he was blazing a trail along which many bikers and rock 'n roll heavyweights would ride in search of the very masculine, gothic style jewellery he produced.

Some impressive and sought after names in the music, fashion, entertainment and literary world own jewellery that has come from the Great Frog or, directly from Paterson's workshop in Brighton. But despite his celebrity connections going back many years, any names he reveals when pushed are spoken matter of factually in his quiet manner.
He is not interested in TV and does not own a computer. i Phones mean nothing to him. It seems as if everything that means anything to him is right there in the Lanes where he and Ingrid run their little shop of delights, Curiouser and Curiouser.


He is happiest, he says, at his workbench in the small workshop inside Curiouser and Curiouser.

Most days, he can be found there carving bold, beautiful and sometimes bizarre designs into the green jeweller's wax that forms the starting point in the process to create his iconic pieces of bespoke silver jewellery.

 


 

Carnaby Street
Carnaby Street

I returned in March this year to complete an interview with Paterson and take some pictures of his workshop.
It is a far cry from the basement in Ganton Street where it all began in 1972 but then Brighton does have the creative buzz that artistic people like Paterson and Ingrid seem drawn to.

There are times when the culture of the Lanes really reminds me of how the public face of Carnaby Street appeared to be 40 years ago.

The Lanes attracts musicians, photographers, artists, poets, writers and makers of beautiful things. And of course, it also attracts the tourists who come to soak up the vibe created by such people and to hopefully buy their wares.

However, they may find it hard to buy some of Paterson’s special creations because he does not like being parted from them.

It is not easy to get hold of some of his more elaborate pieces and I suspect some arm twisting may have to happen to persuade him to let some of his works of art go.


 

Carnaby Street
Carnaby Street

People like Paterson and Ingrid help make the Lanes the incredible hive of creativity it is today.

And when Paterson takes a break from his workshop to sit on the window ledge and watch the world go by, he adds something to the rich imagery of the street. He adds to the magic that is Sydney Street and he makes us want to know what is inside Curiouser and Curiouser.
When I dared to ask Paterson Riley how old he is I already knew he wasn't going to tell me. People like him don't have numbers, they just are. Stereotypical aging is not for people like Ingrid and Paterson. They are part of the new breed of people who just live and grow without ever buying into the whole Old Age thing and quite rightly so.

Paterson told me it is all about striving and improving and he is probably right. When people stop striving they must surely get old and die.

I have been to Carnaby Street twice since 1971 when I was an impressionable 14-year-old wanting to buy anything that was purple. Click To Tweet

I have been to Carnaby Street twice since 1971 when I was an impressionable 14-year-old wanting to buy anything that was purple.

Once when I got lost briefly in 1973 and again in '74 when I accompanied the fiance to buy his flamboyant wedding attire. But Paterson tells me Carnaby Street has changed.

The hippy ‘paradise’ of the 60s and 70s is long gone, if indeed it ever really existed outside the hype of the press. But somehow, Ingrid and Paterson keep the spirit of the original Carnaby Street fantasy alive with their beautiful Brighton shop and the vibrancy of their own image.

Why else would the sight of Paterson Riley have made me think of Carnaby Street when I had absolutely no idea of the connection and had not been there for 41 years?

Carnaby Street

Like I said, it really is Curiouser and Curiouser and it is a place well worth a visit. The shop is multi-layered. Not only does it house Curiouser and Curiouser and The Great Frog but also an intriguing business called Forget You Not. If you want to have an in-depth look at what Forget You Not is all about, read my interview with Natasha Susman about her unique, hand-crafted memorial jewellery.
Visit the website or better still - visit the shop in The lanes next time you are in Brighton. Click here to go to the Curiouser & Curiouser website.

If you feel nostalgic about Carnaby Street in the 60s and 70s - head for the Lanes in Brighton.

The Rendlesham Forest Incident of 1980 has captured the attention of people all over the world for the past 35 years. There is nothing like tales of an alleged UFO sighting, landed spacecraft or strange lights swooping around the woods to fire the imagination.

 

Rendlesham Forest

Rendlesham Forest – A Place of Mystery

Many conferences, lectures and seminars have taken place on the Rendlesham Forest Incident all over the world throughout the years. Such events continue to this day. Many of them have a ticket price so that followers can hear experts on the topic speak.

A large number of people have written books that dig into the events of December 1980 and beyond. There are also many websites that cater for the interests of people who want to know more about alleged extra-terrestrial visitations to our planet. There is no shortage of material to feed the voracious appetite of those who hunger for ‘the truth’. More in-depth information about the incident can be found by clicking here.

However, the one burning question about the events of late December 1980 has never really been answered. Was the Rendlesham Forest Incident a top-secret military mission that went wrong or was the craft, which allegedly landed there, alien to our world?

One thing is for sure, any mention of the Rendlesham Forest Incident will start a lively discussion in any pub as people debate that very question.

Rendlesham Forest

What Secrets Lie Within?

 

Rendlesham Forest continues to be the scene of alleged UFO sightings to this very day and from time to time, local newspapers carry reports of lights hovering over the forest, often in a triangular formation.

The forest is a short drive from where I live. It is one of my favorite places to walk because it is so peaceful. I am one of those people who does believe that an incident did take place in the woods in December 1980. I am also one of those who believes that any beings, landings or strange lights involved were of this world.

My own belief is that the US military, at the time, found it convenient for the Rendlesham Forest Incident to be clouded by the mystery and intrigue of possible alien visitation. From my reading, it appears that many of the expert accounts from those at the very core of the incident were from the US military air-bases on the edge of the forest.

Stories of Strange Images Taken  in Rendlesham Forest

Following intriguing conversations I have had with Rendlesham Forest Incident enthusiasts recently, I decided to  approach the forest with a more open mind. Some of the things I was told, on a dark winter’s night over a cup of tea, would make most people’s hair stand on end. Some of the pictures I was shown of alleged paranormal activity in the woods defy immediate rational explanation. But of course, that does not mean there isn’t one.

As a professional photographer of many years, I am familiar with the ways that ‘spooky’, ‘genuine’ looking photographs can be produced, especially since digital photography was introduced to the masses. However, much as I wanted to find plausible explanations for what I was seeing, I was at a loss to do so.

The conversation and the images sparked my curiosity and I began to visit the woods more frequently to study specific areas and find out more about them.

A Walk in Rendlesham Forest

Rendlesham Forest

A walk in the woods.

On Sunday February 15th 2015 in the mid-afternoon, I went to Rendlesham Forest with my husband and a friend to take straight-forward pictures – nothing ‘spooky’ of course as I do not believe I have the gift to capture such elusive beings. There are, I am told, people whose cameras pick up apparitions that do not appear on the SD cards of other photographers shooting in the same direction. While my mind is open to this possibility for other people, I feel that my camera and I are not ‘tuned in’ to that wavelength…if one does indeed exist.

Having said that, on that Sunday, while wandering amongst the trees and off the beaten track, we did find something very strange lying on the forest floor. What we saw could add fuel to a touchy subject that is already hotly debated around the world in UFO circles and beyond.

Half buried in earth and pine needles was a ‘thing’ that cannot easily be described. Whatever the thing was, it was oozing a large globule of glistening bright green gloop from one end. It stopped me in my tracks and my imagination went into overdrive. Had I been wrong about extraterrestrials? Suddenly, the forest felt different.

Rendlesham Forest

The green gloop globule after it had been probed with a stick.

 

Rendlesham Forest, to me, has always simply been a beautiful place to walk; nothing more, nothing less.

I was living abroad in 1980 when the world famous UFO incident occurred and I have never taken much interest in it.

I returned to live in the UK in late 1983. Like many local people, I have simply enjoyed the forest for what it is for many years without really paying attention to the rumours and stories that are kept alive by the constant world-wide UFO chatter.

When the US Air Force occupied the adjacent military airfields on either side of the forest, I, like many others, enjoyed watching the A-10s flying in and out. The Americans left in the early 90s at the end of the Cold War. They had been a huge part of local life since 1952 when they first arrived to take over the bases and as I said earlier, military personnel featured heavily in accounts of the incident in 1980.

When US military operations ceased at the twin airbases, an uncharacteristic quietness descended on the area as the control tower and buildings on the once busy airfield were mothballed.

 

Rendlesham Forest

The ghost of a US airbase.

The Americans left but the stories and rumours about what happened during the world-famous ‘Rendlesham Forest Incident’ in 1980 remained and only became stronger with time. Local people who witnessed the incident, or in some cases just the aftermath of it, continued to write about it and talk to whoever was interested.

Rendlesham Forest is a deeply atmospheric place; there is no getting away from it.

As you walk down the old crumbling road that leads straight to the east gate of the old base, there is forest to the left and airfield to the right.

As daylight fades, a dense gloom permeates the forest. It makes looking into the mass of silent trees quite creepy. With the sun falling away behind the old hangars on the airfield, they become huge black, imposing shapes. The forest becomes filled with gloom; so no matter where you look, it is really easy for your imagination to take over and to start spinning stories in your head.

 

Rendlesham Forest

The gloom of the forest can play tricks on your mind.

On our first sunset visit a couple of weeks before finding the green ‘gloop’, I had stared into the darkening wood and I could see the odd movement of who knows what. Animals? Birds? People? But with two fearless and down-to-earth men at my side, I wasn’t much bothered.

The silence at sundown is quite eerie. It is broken here and there by bird call and the occasional echoing voices of children still out playing in the woods. By the time we left the forest that day, it was completely dark and very peaceful. I had no reason to change my opinion of the Rendlesham Forest Incident. However, I did have more respect for people whose opinions and experience is vastly different to my own. I accept that other people have had experiences here that cannot be explained.

More trips to Rendlesham Forest followed at different times of day.

On the day we found the ‘thing’ in the woods, we had gone there earlier in the afternoon to stay longer and walk further in.

The ‘thing’ really did stop me in my tracks because it was green and nothing like anything I had ever seen before. We had been joking irreverently about ‘little green men’ moments before, so my imagination was primed. The globule I laid eyes on was held in some kind of skin which had burst at one end. My companions had moved on and I yelled for them to come back. One of them, Joe, came back to look. His first response was, ‘that’s really weird, don’t touch it.”

Rendlesham Forest

The globule of green gloop.

I squished the burst skin a bit with my foot and more of the green goo oozed out. It had a jelly like quality with a very strange, glistening texture. There did not seem to be any odour. I took a picture and asked Joe to squish it more while I filmed. More goo flowed out. Joe then picked up a stick and poked at it, breaking the globule open. There were chunky white lumps inside.

Whatever ‘it’ was, was shaped like a long fat snake. It had clearly been there a long time and had been partially buried.

We stood there debating what on earth it could be. The gloop was very green and the outer skin was also green. We left it and walked on. We could not come up with any reasonable explanation for what it could be.

While we agreed amongst ourselves it surely had to be something with mundane origins on our own planet, we also realised that there may be people throughout the world who would have more adventurous ideas.

There are many aspects of the forest that could easily fuel imaginative stories of landing craft from another place. To me, the green goop was potentially another aspect.

The little alien faces on posts along the tourist’s ‘UFO Trail’ through the woods do much to encourage the legend of possible alien visitation. The fake flying saucer further into the forest has much the same effect and if you are in that frame of mind, it is entirely possible that you could ‘see’ practically anything in the woods.

We continued our walk and along the way encountered a huge dip in the landscape that raised questions. Is this a natural indentation or has something landed here? We laughed and joked our way around the forest for another hour or so and then headed back to the car.

After returning home, the origin of the green gloop began to bother me and I wished I had taken more pictures and probed the ‘thing’ a bit more.

The Return To Investigate the Green Gloop in Rendlesham Forest

So a couple of days later, Joe and I returned to investigate further. Armed with protective gloves, a jar for a specimen and a big stick for protection – a little humor doesn’t hurt – we ventured into the woods.

After an hour of fruitless searching in entirely the wrong place, a call to my husband, who was doing more sensible things in the real world, put us on the right track and we found the gloop. I took pictures which you can see here.

 

Rendlesham Forest

Don’t just lay there, say something!

Rendlesham Forest

Chasing wild geese in the woods.

If anyone has any ideas on what this green thing is, please feel free to visit Facebook and let me know. You can try posting comments on this blog, however, the spamshield I use seems to not let anything through. I have someone working on it to see why all the comments are going to the blocked log – so for now, probably be best to tell me your ideas for what this ‘gloop’ could be via Facebook. I am really keen to hear from Rendlesham Forest Incident experts who can explain what this gloop could be. Thank you.

Rendlesham Forest
Just sayin’ 😉

Rendlesham Forest Update On Green Gloop

We can now reveal that the mystery object in Rendlesham forest was a discarded nappy/diaper.

Yes that’s right, it was carelessly discarded junk left behind in a beautiful forest.

Rendlesham Forest

It’s a Nappy/Diaper That Someone Could Not be Bothered To Take Home

Brenda Butler, a well-known Ufologist and Researcher of the Paranormal is a regular visitor to the forest. She has told us that she has seen hundreds of discarded nappies/diapers left in the forest. What a shame that this is happening in such a well-loved place.