Archive: July 15th, 2002

US planning to recruit one in 24 Americans as citizen spies

When I first read this article, I thought it was satire.

It’s true:

"Operation TIPS - the Terrorism Information and Prevention System - will be a nationwide program giving millions of American truckers, letter carriers, train conductors, ship captains, utility employees, and others a formal way to report suspicious terrorist activity."

The main difference between the TIPS informants and the Stasi is that the Stasi never got bumper stickers.

The sounds of Summer

The trip to Somerset went pretty well.

We, (myself and my bandmates, that is) set off on a beautiful sunny morning from Brighton and drove straight into a long, snaking traffic jam.

This is what happens on the first nice day of Summer; everyone gets in their cars and parks them on a motorway.

I would have thought that more people would be going in the other direction, towards Brighton, for Fatboy Slim’s big beach party.

After a couple of hours, the traffic let up and we made it to the designated field by mid-afternoon. We were going to be staying the night so the first thing we did was to pitch our tents. Once that was done, we could relax and list to some of the bands that were playing before us.

There were around one hundred people there and most of them were either in bands or were DJing.

As I sat there on the grass, listening to the music, I spotted a woman nearby who looked just like Polly Jean Harvey.

I pointed out the similarity to Jessica and I was about to tell Chris. Before I was finished, he was slowly nodding his head and he said "Yeah, it’s her. I didn’t want to tell you in case you got nervous."

Jessica gets nervous before gigs anyway. Now one of her favourite singers of all time was sitting in the small audience for whom we were about to play.

We were all a bit nervous, our music didn’t really fit to the lovely weather and we had some technical difficulties but overall, it went fine.

We were joined on stage by Clare MacTaggart, the sister of our drummer, Catherine. Clare plays fiddle with the John Parish Big Band.

P J Harvey was chatting with her friends for most of our set. I think she was there to see Christmas, the new band of her former bandmate, Rob Ellis.

Still, my estimation of her has shot up even further than it was before. Spending an entire day sitting in a little field listening to bands is very cool, un-rockstar like behaviour.

Well, it sure beats spending the day crushed in the smelly throng of Fatboy Slim’s big beach party.

Salter Cane