ACCESS: Those who saw
our summer newsletter may remember that when Salisbury District Council
'reluctantly' approved, in April, the solstice ban for this summer, they
"promised every effort would be made to restart talks within next six months
to try to find a solution in time for the 1998 solstice." "Nothing would
be ignored in an attempt to solve the problems... in talks between English
Heritage, police, councillors, travellers, Druids and other interested
groups." Is anyone surprised that they have done absolutely nothing in
the following eight months? There were arrests as usual on Solstice day,
but no charges. On midsummers day (Jun 24), English Heritage allowed an
unknown group of 80 American and other Druids into the Stones and told
the media, some of which confused this with the Solstice. At the Autumn
Equinox, the small group gathered at the Heelstone were surprised to be
let in for the sunrise. What this means for the future is unclear, and
English Heritage were careful not to inform the press this time. Then on
Hallowe'en a group of people who booked, paid and agreed to various conditions
were able to perform a ceremony. Those who had also come on the quest for
Excalibur were, however, refused access for the sunrise the following morning.
Will the Stones be closed at Winter Solstice? English Heritage aren't saying.
Don't bother trying to get in next midsummer's day- there is a performance
of A Midsummer Night's Dream there. It's not open to the general public
and tickets are £300.
[English Heritage have pointed out that this price is for a holiday package, and that EH members will eventually be offered tickets for the play only for £15]
VISITOR CENTRE: When the huge Stonehenge Visitor Centre at Amesbury (and the last-minute scaled down version at Larkhill) was turned down for funding by the Millenium fund in June, the government hinted in a House of Lords debate that they might get the money for an even smaller scheme at Larkhill from the Heritage Lottery Fund. (One Tory Lord pointed out that in ancient times there were regular festivals at Stonehenge, and that holding festivals could help pay for improvements. He said that festivals he saw there in the 80's 'had problems' but were 'rather delightful.') Local Tory MP Robert Key then suggested the Stones should be closed to the public until money was found for a solution. The PM told him it was ' not necessary or sensible to close Stonehenge.' Last month the Heritage Lottery Fund was cut in half, making it, as one report put it, 'harder to fund major schemes such as restoring the downland setting of Stonehenge.' Later in November, Culture Secretary Chris Smith visited the site and talked to local politicians. He said that the MoD no longer objected to an access road being built from the north-east to a Larkhill site. (The proposed site is not at Larkhill, but alongside the Cursus where the track crosses it). Locals do still object, not wanting the traffic. But they do want an enlarged A303, whatever the effect on the setting of the Stones. They want a Visitor Centre west of the Stones, opposite Fargo Woods. Apparently all options are open again, even the expensive long tunnel ruled out by the last regime, and other sites for a Centre.
What about an eco-village, Wandsworth style visitor's centre on a suitable site near Stonehenge? They have been very much to the point (vegetable kitchens, compost loos etc) and architecturally least offensive of all the options and as similar to the ancient customs as they existed when Stonehenge was built. Just a suggestion but this could look beautiful and serve a useful purpose and within our capabilities and dare I say, pockets. This could be put in place by the Millennium. John Rety.
STANTON DREW: English Heritage recently announced the discovery of evidence of what has been described as 'the largest prehistoric building ever found anywhere in the world.' A magnetic scan of the soil at the largest of the group of stone circles at Stanton Drew, seven miles south of Bristol, revealed a complex of more than 400 buried pits inside the stones. This appears to consist of nine concentric rings, 23 to 95 metres in diameter, of holes roughly 1m in size and spacing. These are assumed to have held posts for a huge open or roofed structure, about 5000 years ago. Thought to be 'of comparable significance to Stonehenge', the finding of yet another remarkable prehistoric site is making some archaeologists wonder if they should be looking for a lost civilisation in Britain. The site is aligned on the midsummer sunrise, and English Heritage officials are reported to have said that 'it is likely the discovery will become a place of pilgrimage for those following alternative lifestyles and believers in earth powers.' Their chairman Jocelyn Stevens, had an explanation from the right wing of archaeology for the site; 'They were expressing their power by building these great rings, just as we are celebrating the Millennium by building a huge dome.'
EXCALIBUR: Arthur Pendragon was arrested by the Met. at the RTS March for Social Justice in Tralalgar Square in April, and his sword confiscated as an 'offensive weapon.' Although other police forces had already decided it was okay for Arthur to wear the sword, the Met. threatened to destroy Excalibur. After a Samhain rally at Stonehenge and a four day march to London, Arthur successfully reclaimed the sword at Southwark Crown Court on Nov 5th.
Tribal Voices Co-operative has grown from the magic of the campfire, from the sense of comradeship we have found, coming together as one people to fight against the destruction of our common heritage: Our sacred sites, hallowed hills and ancient forests are under constant threat from modern lifestyles, consumerism, "growth", building, fast cars, new roads, pollution and destruction. Gathering the tribes at the head of the Dragon' on Twyford Down, we made our stand. Empowered by nature's forces and a tangible connection with our ancestors - We focussed on our cause with painted faces, music and pixie pranks - We defied the diggers and the media looked on with interest. We held the moral ground, Non-Violent Direct Action was news at Twyford - M11/London, Solsbury Hill, Newbury, Fairmile and many other protest camps. Four years later, the roads programme has been cut back, the Government announcing that there will be no more new roads and an ever growing army of ordinary folk who are prepared to say "No" to the injustices of our society. We have time to reflect on the messages we are giving to the public, to become even more environmentally aware, to find harmony with nature, living low impact lifestyles. We find our true identities. Clive & Chrissy We have two cassette tapes, 'Tribal Voices 1' and 'Tribal Voices 2' for sale, and hope to produce more in the future , and CDs, videos, etc. The tapes cost £5.50 each (inc p & p), cheques payable to "Tribal Voices", from Tribal Voices, 73 Brailsford Rd, Brixton, London. SW2 2TB
Review by diceGeorge of Merrick's book
"BATTLE FOR THE TREES" isbn-0-9529975-0-9 (£3)
I feared it'd be a name-droppy list of super-heroes
but no: 'twas from the heart; his story of 3 months
at Newbury 1996: what he did and how it felt
and how it changed him, what we want freedom from
of tobacco, frozen eggs, local baths and chocolate,
of sharing biscuits with security guards,
of bonking quietly so's not to wake others,
of a shitpit named "Rendel", of blind police,
of Susanna's lockon, of danger, and burnout,
of saving three trees at Mary Hare,
of Josh's strange brew of roots and herbs
- how will you explain it in 23 years?
NO LETTER FROM KARELIA ** dec97 **
The last line from september's letter
(PPS congrats to Blair - the People's PM) was cut -
allegedly from lack of space.
I'd spent weeks writing that cheeky line:
cutting it spoilt the letter's balance.
(1984ish Young Liberal News changed from
"Heroin and alcohol are dangerous and
addictive drugs that ought to be illegal"
to "Heroin and Cannabis are..."
and 1985 RifRaf Poets made over 100 changes:
libel - I still want "right to reply",dg.
(but GreenAnarchist and others
never changed a word or line-end)).-
(I write "letters" or "poems" not "articles":
it fences my opinions / mistakes / wordage/
prejudices / jokes / ideas / diceisms
from those of the magazine,
and vice versa. (see webpage dicepubl.htm)
So I will not write here of Equinox,
how our lot overslept by the west track
and missed getting into the Stones again!
love from your hypergolicky pseudographer,
===== from (dice) George === visiting chic ====
====== email@example.com ==========
One misty morn on Salisbury Plain
A swirling came about
A snake of people circling in
From east, north, west and south
Before the dawn they did arise
Before the sun they crept
Into ancient henge of stone
Across the plain they swept
This place, since ancient times
Great many a celebration
The rituals of joy and mirth
For earth and her changing seasons
A circle of people, a circle
Double helix spiral dance
Weave together, twine as one
Life force creation pulse!
We give our love to the sacred
We people wild and free!
Our mother calls us home to her
And now we must take heed
It has begun - it has begun!
The magic of the land
We move as we are meant to do
Rekindling spirit, hand in hand
But violence has scarred this
Where sun and moon are bound
Blood of tribal people spilt
And marked this sacred ground
Now ten long years have passed
One score one hundred moons and two
The wheel of fortune, changing, turns
And now we come anew
And somewhere, somehow, midst
The dark ones lose their power
And our hearts, touching, touch the earth
We root, and now, we flower
And so returns the dragon green
Returns the dragon red
And by her fiery spirit flame
Are earth and people fed
And midst the Stones we danced
A magic day was truly seen
Until the golden sun did set
Over our land, lush and green.
The Stonehenge Campaign c/o 99 Torriano Av London NW5 2RX
(End of http://www.phreak.co.uk/stonehenge/psb/scn9712.htm)