Bath Bomb #10 Out Now

The monthly outpoured bile of Bath's idealists and misanthrope's reaches double figures...

The Bath Bomb
Issue #10
free/donation
May 08

Shock As 200 Shoppers Freeze Solid In Town Centre!

Last weekend saw a break from the banality of the familiar shop-till-you-drop routine of town centre. A couple of hundred people, using Facebook, organised a flash mob in which people milling around town would freeze at a given time, and stay that way for five minutes before, at another signal, continuing on as normal. Bath Bomb sent a reporter into town to see what the fuss was about, and the results proved pretty impressive. Two hundred people, frozen in mid sandwich, conversation and dance blocked a large area of the city centre while confused onlookers laughed and speculated. At one point, a miserable shopper laden with bag upon bag of disposable culture walked past moaning to her daughter that the frozen mob was 'probably just a bunch of protesters'. My reaction had been that this was more an arty style event than a protest, but the miserable woman straining under tonnes of plastic got me thinking. Whether intentionally or not, this was a protest, and a very meaningful one. The message was that town is ours, the streets are our playground - the staging ground for fun, adventure and frivolity. The frozen masses briefly wrested town from those neon gods of consumerism who would see our
town centre reduced to nothing more than a means to get to shops, buy things, then go home again. The freeze event gave us a brief glimpse of how we can transform and re-imagine our surroundings, turn the banal into the beautiful and do something with our town more important, fun and interesting than more f**king shopping! So let's take a leaf out of the book of our frozen comrades and start using town as a place for meeting, frolicking, sharing and creating. Who needs capitalism, when we've got imagination?!

The End Of The Beginning Of Something Special In Chippenham

Remember last month we brought you news of a new squat in Chippenham? We are sad to report that the building is now back in the hands of its lawful owner - a man who has let the place rot while living miles away for over 25 years. During the brief history of The 78 as the building became known, it provided a glimpse of what a fair society could look like. As well as providing a home for some, the space was a communal meeting place, organic garden and a centre of learning, co-operation and fun. Before the eviction, The 78 was in the process of organising gardening workshops, a free shop, free child day care for young parents and a weekly vegan cafe. The building itself was considerably renovated by the occupiers and neighbours (who were entirely supportive and glad that
space was no longer wasted ) agreed that it has never looked nicer! Still, the eviction is not the end - everyone who went to the place was inspired by the passion, dedication and commitment to equality and the environment showed by the occupiers. Where one liberated space falls, another springs up and we can't wait to see what the future holds for Chippenham. In its short history, The 78 succeeded in winning hearts and minds of people who would otherwise have negative views of squatters, radicalised and inspired a community and brought together strangers who are now friends, comrades and partners in liberation and adventure. The 78 is dead, long live The 79!

Top Shop Sweat Shop Stitch Up

A 17-strong coalition of students from Hayesfield Ethical Group and Bath Uni's One World Society, as well as the usual rent-a-mob from B.A.N., endured the sunshine and soulless concrete on Wednesday the 24th April, to demonstrate outside Top Shop's use of sweatshop labour. Indeed, the vast majority of UK high street fashion gets rich from the exploitation of desperate workers in the global South, but the Arcadia Group, of
which Top Shop is the leading brand, is highly influential. Whereas owner Philip Green made the record books in 2005 for netting the biggest share dividend in history, $1.2 billion, workers in Cambodia are coerced into involuntary overtime work below any living wage, suffering shocking health and safety, physical/verbal abuse from management, daily
strip-searches, and are barred from unionisation. Women are often refused employment if pregnant, and if they do become so, are still forced to do standing work in uncomfortable temperatures, until they quit. To add insult to injury, workers often contract bladder infections from lack of access to drinking water or toilet use. Demonstrators leafleted and held banners airing Topshop's dirty laundry, asking customers to persuade their favourite brand to genuinely change its ways: like it or not, these fashion cartels have the power to change industry conditions for better as well as worse, if only they'd stop spouting empty PRomises for one second.

Hair today, gone tomorrow?

I'm not going to make this any more complicated than it needs to be - for most women to go about their daily lives feeling like their natural form, their unadulterated bodies, are at least wrong, at worst disgusting, is in itself wrong and disgusting. It's not just women, although presently they do seem to fare worse, a significant proportion of us have problems these days feeling inadequate and ugly, as if we need to change our appearance constantly, daily, to be acceptable or even to look stunning - it is our duty to look as fabulous as we can at whatever cost. You've got women in their 60s with designer vaginas matching that of a 16 year old, 16 year olds having cosmetic surgery when they're barely grown yet and 10 year olds being taken to salons to have their legs
waxed.

A healthy backlash is beginning to grow. For example, the live journal site 'fuck shaving', and on recent body image shows I've seen not one, but two women living their lives perfectly happily, with full on natural beards. I am fascinated - to me, they don't look ugly, or wrong, or disgusting. They don't even look like men. They just look like themselves. So, I beg of you society, can't we just be us? This may seem like a simple thing on paper, but it is a huge step to take (or maybe lots of little ones.) But it is such a worthwhile step to take and I feel the world would be better off for it, changing many things, not just how we feel about ourselves when we look in the mirror. Cause this image stuff ain't just vanity - it really does deeply affect, and even destroy, lives.

Mayday! Mayday! The Ducks Are Revolting!

And now for our obligatory foie gras campaign update: we've recently heard that good old Christophe at The Pinch, the French restaurant in St Margaret's Buildings formerly known as Le Petit Cochon, has decided to brave the storm of controversy and put the 'delicacy of despair' back on the menu. When will they learn? Meanwhile, we received this anonymous report: "In the early hours of the 2nd May, in anger at Bistro Number 5's continued sale of foie gras, Animal Liberation Front volunteers d-locked their front entrance, costing them hours of lost revenue for the following day. It's high time they re-evaluated whether profiting from animal abuse really is good business!" If you feel moved to let the management of either of these outlets know your feelings on force-feeding and animal torture, here's their contact details - The Pinch tel:
01225 421251, info@thepinch.biz and Bistro Number 5 tel: 01225 444 499,
fax: 01225318 668 chrome@globalnet.co.uk /ym/Compose?To= chrome@globalnet.co.uk&YY=10755&y5beta=yes&y5beta=yes&order=down&sort=date&pos=0&view=a&head=b.

And remember, The Bath Bomb in no way condones repeated phone calls or threatening behaviour, and neither does it condone spreading these companies' details to every spammer or junk mail list you can think of.

Government gets F- As Teachers Strike

There were impressive marches and rallies in towns and cities across Britain on Thursday 24th April. More than 2000 striking teachers, lecturers and civil service workers from across Bristol, Bath, Gloucestershire and Somerset joined a lively and noisy march which brought traffic to a halt in Bristol. This march was supported by members of Bath
Activist Network. This action occurred to a background of an economic crisis where the poor are being forced to bail out the rich. Taxpayers are expected to pay £100 billion to Northern Rock, when in a time honoured fashion, the man who oversaw the collapse of his bank, walked off with a £750,000 pay off. The response of politicians to this crisis is for new labour Brown to abolish the 10p tax law, hitting the poorer workers the most and for the shadow chancellor, George Osborne, this week, to call for greater control of trades unions as a matter of urgency. With almost everything rising in price, the media warns of a 'summer of discontent' here and abroad. This means through riots, strikes and days of actions, workers and the poor are taking control of their own lives and not relying on politicians and bosses to sort out their problems.
This growing spirit of resistance must be supported by all those who wish to build a more just society. If you're fired up about these issues, come to Bubbling Under on Sunday 18th May, 1-4 as usual at the porter cellar bar on George Street, where there will be a free showing of 'The Gama Strike: A Victory For All Workers.' This is a film about migrant workers in the Irish Republic who were supported by local workers to fight back against slave conditions.

Free Your Time-www.myfreethyme.com

Why buy when the best things in life are free? Credit cards, student loans and debt are the vices that trap us into this consumer culture. Man made money and money made man: mad. Media brainwashes us into thinking that if we work harder, earn more money and buy more things then we will be accepted. Excessive consumerism is ruining both the air we
breathe and the ground we walk on. All we need is an awareness of what we can contribute to a society of freethinkers that is simple and rewarding to become part of.

So, the website, www.myfreethyme.com, was set up with this ethos in mind, with a mission to discover alternative ways of living which help preserve the planet, inspire trust and keep change in your pocket jingling. The possibilities are endless from Freecycle, grow-your-own and nettle munching, to bin diving, couchsurfing and woofing, the ultimate aim being to create a nurturing eco-space rather than a money grabbing metropolis. There are many communities which function on human compassion, not on money; the aim is to get these voices heard and known about. As a student at Bath Spa University, I was amazed at how little the general student population knows about the ways of free living. I was
inspired by reading about the Free Economy walker, Mark Boyle, and his attempt to get to Gandhi's birthplace without a penny in his pocket. Though angry that most of the newspapers ridiculed his journey and didn't focus on the philosophy behind it, it led me to become part of the FreeEconomy landshare/skillshare community (justfortheloveofit.org) and I realised this was something worth shouting about.

Seeing these things in action can inspire change, and who better to help out than the Bath Activist Network. As part of the Big Green Week bonanza, a live Freecyle stall was set up at the SU and welcomed with many a "What? Free? No fee?" squawks of glee as the skint students rummaged and browsed. In a university where they charge 15p for a sachet of tomato sauce and 30p for hot water, the general reaction was welcome shock mixed with curiosity and many a student-friendly bargain picked up. All in all, it went gloriously well. If you have any free living stories, feel free and let me know at thegreensofa@yahoo.com , I'd love to hear them.
Bath FreeShop is outside Holland and Barratts the second Saturday of every month if you've got some a hankering to get rid of some stuff then join us for some free
Earl Grey tea.

Green Space Invaders Evaded

Congratulations are due to the residents of Twerton and surrounds, who've just fought off plans to destroy green space near the much-loved Bath City Farm, flooding the Council with over 1,000 objections. Somer Housing, well-known for its commitment to selling off needed social housing to unscrupulous private landlords on the cheap, whinged about the foiling of their ploy to build 30 houses on the 1.6 contested acres
between Cotswold View, The Hollow and the City Farm: where they no doubt would have done the same. Bath City Farm is manned by dedicated volunteers and provides woodcraft skills, interaction with the natural world and meaningful leisure to local youths, and need the land to both progress their work and provide residential allotments.

Boris Johnson - Mayor Or Maniac?

Boris Johnson says he's a feminist. Actually he's sexist. And the worst kind of sexist. He thinks that by stating he's a feminist and saying a few pro-women things, that when he begins one of his ridiculously misguided rants about men and women and the education system, people will say, well, he can't be sexist, the man says he's a feminist. Truth
is, as far as this writer's concerned anyway, as long as we carry on gender stereotyping, this idiotic tug of war that is the perpetual see saw of men on top, women on top, men on top, will continue - with casualties on both sides (domestic violence against either sex, rape, misogyny, hatred of men, unfair pay at work and general disharmony and fighting against rather than helping each other.)

Boris Johnson may be entertaining, he comes off like a character from a comedy show, and maybe that's a nice change next to some rather boring politicians, but is this the kind of figurehead we want as mayor of London? He's out of touch, outspoken and seems so harmless. But it seems to me, to let someone like this have such a position of power is a very dangerous thing. When are people going to wake up to the mockery our governmental system has become, from the jibes and jeers of the commons, to the buffoonery of Mr Johnson himself, and choose something different? (ps - NOT the BNP.) As for Boris - do us a favour, give the man some bells and a funny hat and call a numpty a numpty.

SHAC Attack

On Saturday 26th April, a contingent from bath went to Horsham, west sussex, for the National Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty demos against Norvartis, a company that tests on primates and supplies the notorious vivisection lab, Huntingdon Life Sciences. The protest started at Horsham park and around 500 people marched through the centre of Horsham to suburbia where the animal abusing company is located. After a few speeches some of the protesters understandably got upset and started shaking the fences. The companies body guards (police) soon stopped this however, after a brief struggle. All in all a good day, and we went back to the park where legendary vegan caterer Veggies provided vegan burgers and cake. It seems Norvartis UK got off lightly, the Spanish HQ having been vandalised at a recent demo in Barcelona.

EVENTS

Monday nights Bath Hunt Sabs Meeting, 8pm, Bell
Wednesdays 4-7pm London Rd Food Co-op, Riverside Community Centre
Saturdays 11.30am-12.30 Bath Stop The War Vigil, Abbey Courtyard
12th May, 7.45pm Greenpeace meeting, Stillpoint, Broad Street
14th May, 8.30pm Bath Green Drinks, upstairs, the Rummer
17th May, from 6pm Punk benefit gig, The Junction, Stokes Croft, Bristol
18th May, 1-4pm Bubbling Under, Poter Cellar Bar, George Street
21st May Smash EDO phone/email blockade-see www.smashedo.org.uk
29th May, from 7.30pm Talk by chair of CND, Friends Meeting House, York Street
31st May-1 June Bristol Vegan Fayre, The Waterside, Bristol
2 June, 8pm Friends of the Earth meeting, Stillpoint, Broad St
3 June, 12-3pm There is such a thing as a free lunch stall, Queen Sq
And now, to the disclaimer: As anyone is free to contribute, the opinions expressed in each article are not necessarily reflective of each contributor. Naturally, any right-wing or corporate bullshit will be binned and spat on. Needless to say, the opinions of the author of this disclaimer does not necessarily represent the views of any other contributor...

For further info on any of our stories see www.myspace.com/bathbomb

Q: Who Are Bath Activist Network? A: A local umbrella group campaigning on issues as diverse as development, environmentalism, anti-war, animal rights, workers' rights and more. Helping to produce The Bath Bomb, we are open to anyone, and our members range from trade unionists to anarchists, liberals to greens, and people who just want to change Bath for the better. For details on meetings, demos, or just to get in touch, ring us on 07949 611912, email bathactivistnet@yahoo.co.uk , or see our website: www.myspace.com/bathactivistnetwork

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