Sunday, June 27, 2004

'Thank you is what you say to someone who holds the door open for you. What do you say to someone who saves your daughter's life?' -- Ilya Ostrovsky speaking about Ron Johnson's donation of the lower lobe of his right lung for a transplant operation on Ilya's daughter Lisa

I've added a new publication to the archive, 'For the love of a stranger' (first published to accompany a Channel 4 'Dispatches' documentary, 3 February 2000). It seems especially worth putting this online in tribute to Ron, a very brave and generous man, who I feel very privileged to have met.

Direct link:

For the love of a stranger

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

22 June 2004

Sometimes it's simply amazing how much you can fit into a single day - even when it's the longest one of the year and so there's a lot of day to fit into. Yesterday was one such, when the gods smiled on both England and me.

I'd managed to quadruple book the evening, so that I was supposed to be simultaneously playing football, watching it, attending a Christy Moore concert and celebrating the summer solstice. (I'll spare you the details of the rest of my day.) Something had to give, didn't it?

Well, no, as it happens. I got the football (playing) in first, finishing for 7.30pm, swapping shirts on the hoof and cycling home like a boy racer on speed. On with the telly in time for Croatia's first goal, on with the video to record the rest of the game, in and out of the bath by the time 20 minute have gone (still 0-1 to Croatia), and then back on the bike for the mile to the Forum, where I'm sweating English salt in a sea of Irish steam.

It's a bars-closed, no-smoking gig. (Can it really be Ireland that's leading the world on banning the auld baccy?) You don't notice what you're missing until you wake up the next morning with no hangover and smelling fresh as an Irish breeze. And Christy puts on a performance to match the best that is occurring in Lisbon.

Somehow, I manage to avoid hearing the score in the football - with the help of some headphones turned up high on the bike ride back home. I know that omens were good (very good) and I catch sight of some people waving a St George's flag on the way home. But there's still enough of a doubt in my mind to make watching the recording of the game a good second best to seeing it live, and at 4-2 to England what more could I want to round off the day.

Time before bed for another quick blast of one of the many songs Christy performed earlier. The 'Burning Times' was his special choice for the solstice. And here, a day later, I offer it to you.

In the cool of the evening, they used to gather,
'neath the stars in the meadow circling an old oak tree.
At the times appointed by the seasons of the earth and
the phases of the moon.
In the centre often stood a woman, equal with the others
respected for her worth.
One of the many they call the witches, the healers and
the teachers of the wisdom of the Earth.
And the people grew in the knowledge she gave them,
herbs to heal their bodies, smells to make their spirits whole.
Hear them chanting healing incantations, calling for the wise ones
celebrating in dance and song.

Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali, Inanna.

There were those who came to power, through domination.
They were bonded in their worship of a dead man on a cross.
They sought control of the common people by demanding allegiance
to the church of Rome.
And the Pope he commenced the inquisition, as war against the women
whose powers they feared.
In this holocaust, in this age of evil, nine million European
women they died.
And a tale is told of those who by the hundreds, holding hands together
chose their deaths in the sea.
While chanting the praises of the Mother Goddess, their refusal of betrayal
women were dying to be free.

Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali, Inanna.

Now the Earth is a witch, and we still burn her. Stripping her down
with mining and the poison from our wars.
Still to us the Earth is a healer, a teacher and a mother.
The weaver of a web of life that keeps us all alive.
She gives us the vision to see through the chaos,
she gives us the courage, it is our will to survive!

Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali, Inanna.


Monday, June 21, 2004

Direct link to the John Major files as I gather this isn't showing up on search engines yet:


The article that prompted the libel action, 'The curious case of John Major's mistress' is at:


Thursday, June 10, 2004

The John Major files: the curious case of John Major's 'mistress' have now been uploaded to the steveplatt.net website. I've transferred what I can from the old website, plus some new (to the web) material. I've had technical problems with some files, both text and images, but the main articles are there. I'll add other material later, depending on interest and time.

This is what's there so far:

Introduction (June 2004)

The curious case of John Major's 'mistress' (New Statesman, 29 January 1993)

The article as it appeared in the New Statesman
First page
Second page
Third page

Comment at the time

Would you sue your paper boy? (New Statesman, 12 March 1993)

The curious case of John Major's libel action (New Statesman, 16 July 1993)


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