Special third edition - Summer 2016
h er e S o l
BOUNDLESS Bristol‘s Housing Crisis Hauntings at Arnos Manor Spain’s Revolutionary Outlaw
Exhibiting Creative Talent And much more!
his special third edition of ‘Boundless’ features a range of articles, investigations, interviews and artistic pieces. Copies are available from approved homeless and unemployed distributors for £1.99 (enabling them to make £1 of each sale), as well as selected venues. If you have already brought this magazine from one of our distributors, thank you! If you would like to become a distributor yourself, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Boundless Third Edition, published by Arkbound While every effort is made to ensure the contents of this magazine are accurate and presented in acccordance with the Editors’ Code of Conduct, the publisher bears no liability for any views or opinions expressed herein.
Edited by Charles Gidney, Steve Jackley, Kate Bishop and Tim Watson. Front cover and illustrations by Ben Simons. Graphics by Christina Freeth.
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Contents 3 |
A World of Extremes
Spain’s Revolutionary Outlaw
Bristol’s Housing Crisis
An interview with Enric Duran
Uncovering the true situation
The Green Party writes about housing
‘Bike Back’ project
An investigation at Arnos Manor
Go Bananas: Baking Fairtrade
Views from Afar
Book Reviews and Competitions
A photographic journey to Jamaica
Climate News | 3
A world of extremes A
ccording to the United Nations, droughts across the world are becoming more common and intense. The last 10 years alone have witnessed spreading desertification in Africa, Asia and America, unprecedented wildfires, increased depletion of fresh water sources, and mass migrations of species further towards the poles. At the same time, the World Resources Institute
expects those affected by flooding to rise from 21 million to 54 million by 2030. Based on current greenhouse gas emissions, the International Panel on Climate Change has predicted rising temperatures and sea levels, along with increased intensity of droughts, localised flooding and storms. It seems we live in a world of increasing extremes... both environmentally and socially (see page 26).
Feature | 4
Bristol Housing Crisis Revealed A home for all?
n the late 1980s, an epidemic of homelessness saw the numbers sleeping rough on the streets of cities such as Bristol increase for the first time in the post-war era. The miserable sight of swelling numbers of people forced into vagrancy shocked a society that had become complacent, prompting a call to action. Charities sprung up, while government programmes funded hostels and other services.
Digging deeper, the data raises troubling questions about the extent to which some of the most vulnerable people in Bristol are being squeezed out of society. Various measures are used in the government’s official data and available online to analyse homelessness in British cities. By every measure, in Bristol, the number is soaring. From 2012 to 2015, the number of homeless applications formally requesting assistance, increased by 194 percent. The number of households accepted as being homeless stood at 1.435 per 1,000 in 2015, up from 0.43 in 2012. To put this in plain English, the number of families without homes in Bristol has tripled in the past four years.
In 1997, the incoming Labour government established the Rough Sleepers Unit, a coordinating body for charity work headed by “homelessness tsar” Louise Casey. By 2002, when it was phased out, the numbers sleeping rough in British cities had fallen by 70 percent. Through the early 2000s, confidence was high that the problem was firmly in hand, and politicians vowed to end rough sleeping for good. Since this high water mark, however, homelessness has started to climb again and in recent years, climb fast. In London, for example, rough sleeping has more than doubled in the last five years rising from 446 in 2011 to 940 in 2015, according to Homeless UK. This is the same level as when residents of the capital were shocked into action in the late 1980s. If London, inevitably, generates the headlines, no city is experiencing the new homelessness epidemic to a greater degree than Bristol. Among local authorities, Bristol ranks second only to Westminster in terms of rough sleeping.
negative spiral, and it ends with people forced on to the streets.
2012 2015 homelessness
House prices in Bristol grew 10.2 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to Land Registry data cited by Bristol City Council. The average house price in February 2015 was £198,556. House prices in Bristol have far outstripped the national average; a 29 percent increase compared with 16 percent across England and Wales. Prices in Bristol increased twice as fast even wellheeled parts of London such as Hammersmith and Fulham. Rising housing prices force many would-be homeowners to remain stuck in rented accommodation, sending rental prices ever high. Even securing private rental accommodation can be an ordeal, as anyone who has sought a room in a house-share or dealt with sharklike letting agents will be acutely aware. To illustrate the demand bordering on desperation for private accommodation, Arkbound placed an ad on Spareroom.com (the results are shown separately). Where do eligible residents turn if they cannot afford soaring rents? Social housing.
Bristol City Council has acknowledged the scale of the problem and says only Birmingham among “core” cities reported a higher number of “homeless acceptances” in the first half of 2015. “Bristol shows a much closer correlation with the returns reported by a number of inner London Boroughs than it does with other core cities,” the Council noted in its last report on the housing market.
f there is no single reason for the rise of rough sleeping in cities such as Bristol, one issue that highlights how quickly the problem is escalating is housing. The data shows how Bristol is caught in a chain of unaffordably soaring house prices leading to escalating rents, which leads to burgeoning demand for social housing that the local authority cannot afford to supply. It is a
In 2013-14, 2,287 properties became available to bid for through the Council’s ‘HomeChoice Bristol’ system. How many people were registered to bid? Over 13,000. According to central government data, the total number of “general needs” lettings in Bristol dropped from 1,609 in 2012/13 to 1,327 in 2013/14. Meanwhile the average weekly rent for these properties increased from £74.50 to £78.10. Rising house and rental prices creates a double whammy effect, not only does it force more people to seek social housing, but it also makes it more expensive for local authorities to provide new dwellings. In Bristol, the new social housing supply has been steadily dwindling. In 2011/12, there were 360 new social housing dwellings, but by 2013/14 that number was just 80, according to Department for Communities and Local Government data.
Feature | 5
Charles Gidney uncovers the shocking crisis that has spiralled out of control
England and wales House Prices INCREASE 2014 - 2015 16% 16%
360 NEW SOCIAL HOUSING DWELLINGS
2,287 HOUSES AVAILABLE
80 NEW SOCIAL HOUSING DWELLINGS
ith simply not enough social housing to meet demand, homelessness is an inevitable consequence. According to Homeless UK, one third of people living in a homelessness service are waiting to move on. With house prices forecast to continue rising, this spiral is only going to become more acute. Projects like the Bristol Arena may attract visitors and rock bands, but the lack of any social housing in such a major brownfield redevelopment is just one example of the lack of joined-up thinking. While awareness of the issue is rising again housing and homelessness was a frequent theme in the recent Bristol mayoral election - there isn’t the same sense of crisis as there was in the 1990s, even though the number of homeless people is returning to those levels. All sorts of factors could be in play. A (mistaken) belief that the majority of rough sleepers are migrants, say, or the feeling that we have all suffered, in our own way, since the 2008 crash and through the subsequent years of austerity. Nothing symbolises the callous attitude to homelessness than the construction of spikes to deter rough sleepers. At central government level, the rise in homelessness has been recognised, with Chancellor George Osborne promising £115 million to tackle homelessness in his last budget. However, in the recent Queen’s Speech, there were no new legislative measures announced specifically targeting homelessness. Even this money is a drop in the ocean compared to what would need to be spent to increase the levels of social housing and the sea-change in mindset that would need to occur for that to happen. The silver lining is that we have learned, in the past, how to reduce homelessness. The question is how many people we need to see sleeping on our streets, vulnerable and exposed, before we decide that the time has come to start helping again.
Feature | 6
Spareroom Survey W
hat is the best way for a single person on low income to find accommodation in Bristol? Many would argue it would be through getting a ‘spare room’. The leading house share website, Spareroom.com, has become increasingly popular for people looking to live in Bristol. We placed an advert there to see what would happen. The room we advertised was not exactly given high praise, with reference to multiple animals (including a cat that ‘malts* on a perpetual basis’) and a ‘noisy family’. Yet, over the course of only 7 days, 47 responses were made to the ad. Of these, 26 were from people who had travelled from outside the UK. A massive 85% were from people aged between 19-25.
With reportedly over 10,000 people on the waiting list for council accommodation, which also requires people to be resident or working in Bristol for over 2 years, we should perhaps not be surprised by these results. But with housing benefit for single people in shared accommodation set at just £275 per month (and likely to fall further) – and the average rent being well above £300 – where exactly are poor, vulnerable people supposed to live? Let alone under 25s, who do not even qualify for housing benefit? More homes and better use of existing ones may well be one solution, but with such insatiable demand we could find ourselves building to the borders of Wales. *Note: Although this would of meant that the cat would be running a brewery. The proper term is ‘moults!’
n the last edition of Boundless we heard from Nathan, a ‘companion’ of homeless charity Emmaus, as he just got back from Calais. Nathan visited Calais to help with the refugee crisis and also assisted with Homelessness Awareness Week (between 20th-26th February), which managed to raise £740 for homeless causes. Nathan next plans to help with the Emmaus ‘solidarity sale’, which happens in June (details at www. emmausbristol.org.uk), with a focus on stopping the exploitation of women and children in Africa. He is also involved with a sandwich run for homeless people, made from excess supplies, and distributes these around the Bear Pit and up Colston Street four times a week. Boundless also caught up with the new Emmaus CEO, Jessica Hodge. Jessica highlighted the continuing problem with homelessness in Bristol – with shortages in affordable housing, escalating rents and welfare cuts all playing
Emmaus CEO Jessica Hodge a part. She noted that companions like Nathan are finding it harder to move out and become independent because they can’t afford anywhere to rent, in turn preventing Emmaus from housing more people. In an official count last year, 97 people were found to be sleeping rough on the streets. With housing benefit for shared accommodation set to drop from £114.50 to £67.37 per week from 2018, things are unlikely to get better. As noted by Jessica:
“Where in Bristol can you find a room with that budget? It is certainly far below the costs Emmaus Bristol has in providing a home and support for our companions.Ultimately we need more and cheaper housing. As rents increase and housing benefit decreases, the problem will get worse.”
Feature | 7
Land and Home a Different Perspective
o buy and own one’s home is seen as an inaliable right in Western society – one of the founding blocks of our economy. Once money has been paid for a property, it then lies under sole control of the owner, to do with as they please. It is rightfully ‘theirs’, in law and in deed, until such time as it is sold to another. Yet, in other cultures, such a concept would be regarded as alien. To the native American Indians, land is something that cannot be owned or bought. It is shared and sacred, something reserved for all, to use with responsibility and respect to the natural world. What people build on the land is simply an extension of the soil, which ever sustains life and human existence. Look around you. The city houses of today stand as objects, separate fom the land they are built upon. They crouch like hulking monsters, pressing down upon the ground upon layers of concrete foundations. How many of us take a moment to consider what was there before? When concrete, stone and mortar had not yet encroached upon grass, trees and soil? For each house and building, there is a plot of land where food could be grown and people could share. The land itself is indiscriminate: rich or poor, young or old, black or white – all have equal potential to benefit from it. Man-made structures are what carve out these divides. In this way, home owners may be perceived, at best, as temporary care-takers.
The buildings we live and work in are not, essentially, “ours”. They are built upon the land, where our ancestors once roamed freely, where nature bloomed freely, and where there are no divides except in the social concepts we choose to erect. In a century from now, many fields surrounding cities will have been built upon. These open, accessible places will be turned into estates, veined by roads, which the residents have taken ownership of. It matters not if they have come from afar, whether they have any connection to the land or culture – only that they have enough money to buy or rent the houses for themselves.
The land itself is indiscriminate: rich or poor, young or old, black or white – all have equal potential to benefit from it. For every acre of land, about 80 percent the size of a football field, enough edible food could be grown to feed a family of four* 1. Buildings destroy that possibility, whilst creating new pressures and demands on the environment. Sewage, electricity, gas, water, pollution.... the list goes on. Bird song is replaced by honking cars; a fresh breeze by exhaust fumes; a clear star-studded sky by the dull glow of street lights. All the things that humans can take pleasure in, which we could
even regard as sacred, are forgotten. Disease, inequality, crime and poverty grows from this artificiality. This is not to say that homes and neighbourhoods should not exist. In fact, they are very much needed – of that, nearly everyone agrees. It is not always possible to live in some kind of rural idyll: for many, urbanization is a necessity, rather than a choice. But we should remember that each building, regardless of the owner, once stood upon land that could have been used by all. When established in 1217 the Charter of the Forest gave the right to every freeman to cultivate, mill, fish or forage the land. ‘Forest’ was not just confined to trees, but could include fields, moorland, heaths, farms and even villages. In the words of the Charter:
”Henceforth every freeman, in his wood or on his land that he has in the forest, may with impunity make a mill, fish-preserve, pond, marl-pit, ditch, or arable in cultivated land outside coverts, provided that no injury is thereby given to any neighbour.” Thus, even in England, there has been a forgotten tradition – one could say a founding law – which gave equal rights of use by freemen over the land. As all properties rest upon the land, each is to some extent a part of our heritage. Note: *1 Source: ‘Sustainability starts at home,’ Dawn Clifford (2015)
Feature | 8
Funding for South Bristol Sports Centre and new homes
ristol & Bath Regional Capital CIC (BBRC) has announced the completion of its first fundraising effort on behalf of South Bristol Sports Centre. BBRC successfully raised c.ÂŁ1m of investment to create six five-a-side football courts and secure the Centreâ€™s long-term future. Community and environmental initiatives across the region may also be eligible for assistance from BBRC, which connects communities, companies and institutions in the West of England. The new Bristol-based organisation aims to facilitate collaborations that encourage deeper civic engagement by directing investment into commercially viable projects that enhance the social, environmental and economic fabric of the region. The not-for-profit investment intermediary also says that it supports the new Mayorâ€™s plans to deliver affordable homes, which he announced before the election. If these go ahead as the Mayor stated, we could see 2,000 new homes being built each year (800 of which are affordable).
Comment | 9
‘Bike Back’ project helping prisoners to contribute
Ed Norton talks to Boundless about Life Cycle’s ‘Bike Back’ project Life Cycle UK was founded back in 1999 with a simple mission to help more people to take up cycling. Over the years our approach has evolved and we increasingly focus on reaching out to those who need a little extra support to unlock the benefits of cycling and bikes. We do this through a range of “inclusive cycling projects” which include everything from tandem cycling for the blind, to a mental health support project and our bike recycling work in prisons.
ur work at Bristol prison started back in 2010 when we were approached by the Cycling City initiative to run a bicycle recycling project. What makes “Bike Back” so special is that it offers benefits on many different levels: we divert hundreds of unwanted bikes from landfill every year, prisoners spend time outside their cells and gain recognised qualifications as cycle mechanics, then hundreds of local people can access an affordable refurbished bike to help
them reduce their transport costs. Probably the most rewarding part of the scheme is to see how spending a few months in our workshop can transform the confidence, selfbelief and outlook of the prisoners we work with. A lot of the men come to us with complex personal circumstances and are really struggling with their situation. We can’t offer all the answers, but for some people, just having someone believe in their value as a person can be a huge step forwards.
We can’t offer all the answers, but for some people, just having someone believe in their value as a person can be a huge step forwards. In the words of one prisoner: “It’s made me feel happy that I am doing something positive, something for the community out there. I had two nice bikes come in I’ve stripped and put back together. I like to think that someone might get them for Christmas, it makes me smile.”
Challenges Running a project in a prison can certainly be a challenge! We’re lucky that HMP Bristol are very supportive of the work we do - they give us prime workshop space (both within the secure prison and outside, where we prep bikes for recycling and run a volunteer programme). However,
sometimes our scale as a small charity works against us - for example, it took three years of negotiations to become an accredited City & Guilds training centre. In many ways, working with the prisoners is the easy bit, as our workshop can only fit 8 at a time. The places are much sought after, so most of those we work with are extremely well behaved and grateful to be given the opportunity.
The future We hope to expand the support we offer to prisoners after their release and to become more financially sustainable. A key part of this is running City & Guilds “Level 2 Cycle Mechanic” courses - the industry standard for anyone wanting to work as a professional mechanic in our publically accessible workshop. At the moment, anyone in the South West wanting formal training as a bike mechanic has to trek all the way to London or Aylesbury. We hope to fill this gap in the market to generate some income. Crucially, this also gives us the chance to help prisoners to build on the “Level 1 Cycle Mechanic” qualification they achieve inside prison after release and - hopefully support them into employment in the bike industry.
Gallery | 10
writing - art - poetry
e are proud to feature a diverse range of artwork and creative writing in each edition of Boundless. Much of this work is by talented local artists and writers. Many are disadvantaged and use the arts as an important way to communicate and participate. If you would like to buy any of the original artwork featured in these pages, please contact email@example.com. All sales go towards the artists and 10% goes to supporting The Gallery. We hope you enjoy looking through these pages.
All the artwork displayed on this page is ÂŠ Copyright Prodigal Arts 2016
Gallery | 11
Graphic Design by Lewis Clarke
‘Tilly’ By Ben Simons, 2016 Soon to be featured in Ben’s forthcoming children’s picture book, published by Arkbound.
‘War’ By Cecilia Montague, 2016
Gallery | 12
Our favourite Riddler returns! The Riddlersâ€™ Question:
There is a thing that nothing is, and yet it has a name. Itâ€™s sometimes tall and sometimes short, joins our talks, joins our sport, and plays at every game. What am I? See page 31 for the answer!
Gallery | 13
By Waltraud Popischil, Bristol
hen I was a little girl there were still lots of maybugs in Austria. After warm, sunny days in May, they suddenly started to come along from just about everywhere - buzzing deep, a bit clumsy, flying rather low - while the sun disappeared behind the hills. We children always ran outside when we heard them. It was also easy to catch them. My older brother said they were a pest and needed to get destroyed. They would eat too many leaves off the redcurrant bushes in our gardens. He was going to inherit everything, so they would be his one day. He had a large, green bottle. I saw him fill it up with all the maybugs he caught: some by hand, others getting picked up from the ground or from leaves and grass they clinged to - and some got hit down in their flight with a badminton racket. Soon a few hundred maybugs filled up half the bottle. They tried to escape and climb out, but the sides where too slippery for them. They climbed on top of each other, each of them pushing the ones they managed to get on top of, further down. No chance - none were allowed to escape. The bottle was filled with water and closed up, until they all drowned. I wonder today: Why do we all try to push others down and try to get up higher and higher? No matter how much we struggle and squeeze to get to the top, we won’t be able to get out the bottle we are locked into.
Three Quotes I
n every edition we look at three quotes by a historic figure. In this issue, we introduce: Mary Shelley (1797 - 1851, author of ‘Valperga’, ‘The Last Man’ and most famously ‘Frankenstein’).
‘The beginning is always today.’ ‘Nothing contributes so much to tranquilize the mind as a steady purpose - a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.’ ‘Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos.’
Gallery | 14
Death of a Superhero By Christopher Fielden
eath looked up from where he was seated on the Throne of Bones, behind the Desk of Deliverance, in front of Death’s Door. Although dressed like Batman, the person standing before him didn’t exhibit the level of physical fitness you might expect to see from a successful crime fighting vigilante. For one thing, there was an unacceptable disparity between their height and girth. Said disparity would probably make leaping from buildings, running quickly or fitting into the Batmobile somewhat problematic. The person also seemed to possess a general lack of understanding regarding Batman’s gender. “Nice suit,” said Death. “Thanks.” Batman obviously had no concept of sarcasm either. Death looked back at his Recent Expirees’ Manifest. He tapped the page with a bony finger. “You’re listed here as Doris Claymore,” he said. “Never heard of her,” said Batman. Death reached out and stroked the decaying blade of the scythe that rested against his desk. “This is quite simple, Doris. To progress peacefully into the afterlife, you need to confirm your name. It means I can be certain of who you are, what you’ve achieved in life and, therefore, where you
should spend eternity.” Death dished out his best glare. As glares go, it was pretty impressive. In the past, it’d made stars think twice about shooting. “Can you tell me your real name please?” “Already told you. I’m Batman.” “How can I put this politely?” “No need to be polite,” said Bat-Doris. “Got skin as thick as armadillos, us crime fighters.” Given the invite, Death decided to be blunt. “Not only is Batman fictional, he…” Death left a pause which he hoped would scream with meaning, “… is a man.” “And?” “You have breasts.” “They’re pecs.” “No, they’re breasts,” said Death, “and Lycra does little to mask their magnitude. I feel I should add that Batman was always depicted as an athletic individual, at the peak of physical fitness. Clearly, you’re not.” A tear trickled from beneath Doris’s mask, suggesting her skin might not be as thick as she’d led Death to believe. “OK,” she whispered, “point taken.” Despite the scythe, the rotting cloak and the distinct lack of flesh coating his crumbling bones, Death was a sensitive individual. He
disliked causing upset. Most people found the experience of dying traumatic enough, without him being disagreeable. In a more gentle tone, he said, “Good. What’s your real name?” “Bruce Wayne.” Death took a moment. His was the greatest of jobs, an eternal vocation no other would ever undertake. The pride he felt in this most trusted position was indescribable, the honour overwhelming. Still, on certain days the downsides of immortality became glaringly apparent and he realised how lucky mortals were to die. This was one of them. “You’re not Bruce Wayne,” said Death, deciding it was time to unleash some even harder truths. “Or Batman. Your name is Doris Claymore and in life you were a fat, frumpy nurse.” Another tear appeared beneath the mask and trickled down Doris’s chubby cheek. Death felt guilty. He’d allowed irritation to control his words, creating insults when he should be showing more respect. Eternal life would be dull without the challenges people like Doris presented. One of the lessons he’d learned by existing for as long as things had been dying was the art of patience. It would be a shame to forget that lesson today. There would be a reason why Doris
Creative Writing was behaving in this manner. It was Death’s duty to discover the reason and deal with it. He decided to try a different tack. “How did you die, Doris?” “I was doing some vigilante stuff, you know, chasing a psycho across rooftops, that kind of thing.” “And?” “I did a jump from one building to another. And missed.” Given that Doris probably had a bodily mass similar to that of an adolescent rhino, it wasn’t hard to imagine gravity prevailing while she battled with thrust, momentum, distance and the laws of physics. “That’s exactly what I have written here,” said Death. “See, I’m telling the truth.” “Next to the name ‘Doris Claymore.’” “Must be a typo.” “It also says that you were at a superhero convention, had a Jägerbomb or seventeen…” Death paused and double-checked the number, “…a Jägerbomb or seventeen too many and got a bit carried away. Does that sound familiar, Doris?” “Stop calling me Doris.” A tremble in Doris’s voice caused Death to look carefully at the woman standing before him. Fear danced in her eyes and she kept glancing over his shoulder. “It’s the door, isn’t it?” asked Death.
Gallery | 15 Doris nodded. Death’s Door was huge and set into a wall of light behind the Desk of Deliverance. The portal was sinister, black and fleshy. Blood oozed from its surface, which gave the impression the door might be alive, but only just. Death often wished he could alter its appearance, and the foul smell that emanated from it, but there were always barriers to major changes in the Realm Beyond Life, including politics, beings who believed they were gods, the dead’s expectations and laws dictating The Way Things Should Be. Sometimes it was easier not to bother. “It’s going to judge me, send me to hell,” said Doris. “Judgement is my job,” Death replied, “and there’s no such place as hell.” “You said what I’ve done in life tells you where I should spend eternity.” “I did.” “I haven’t done anything.” Doris looked at the door again. “Well, I’ve done plenty, but none of it was much use.” “And Batman did lots of good things, right?” Doris nodded. “I’m going to a bad place, aren’t I?” Death looked back at his notes. “You were a nurse in a children’s hospital, working on the cancer ward. It says here that you were good with children. You could put them at ease, even in the most difficult of circumstances.” “Anyone can do that.” Death shook his skull. “It’s a difficult thing to do. I can see why you sought escapism by drinking and playing superheroes. But you were gifted.
You did a great deal of good with your life. You helped others.” “Lots of people help others.” “True. But you – you were better at it than Batman.” A smile crept onto Doris’s lips. “You’re good at this.” “Thank you,” said Death. Doris pulled off her mask. “Sorry if I was difficult.” Death saw that all the tension had left her. She looked radiant and, more importantly, ready to state her title. “What is your name?” asked Death. “Doris Claymore.” Death stood, hefted the scythe and tapped it against the door. There was an unpleasant squishing sound. Fresh blood oozed from the door’s surface. As if this meant some toll had been paid, the portal swung open, revealing Doris’s pathway – a glimmering road that led through stars and galaxies towards the Ever. “This is your path beyond life, Doris Claymore,” said Death. “May it bring you peace.” Doris stepped through the doorway and embraced eternity. The door shut behind her. Death rested his scythe against the desk and sat on his throne. “Next,” he said, looking through the manifest, trying to find his place. He heard some shuffling footsteps. Without looking up, he said, “Name?” “Wonder Woman,” replied a gruff voice. “For fuck’s sake,” said Death.
Gallery | 16
‘Bristol Pecking Order’ by Dave Bennett
Feature | 17 Each edition of Boundless tries to cover a subject that all other press is particularly uncomfortable, or biased, to report seriously. We want to give you something truly edgy, which you cannot read elsewhere, with the hope that it will challenge any previous stereotypes. In the last edition we covered the dark web. In this one it is...
GHOSTS “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.” Albert Einstein
Investigation by Steve Jackley I sat in a dark room listening to something respond to the questions of a paranormal investigation team. A shadow seemed to grow in the corner of the room as the ‘voice’ – or whatever it was – grew louder. It was then, for the second time, that a thought crossed my mind: could ghosts be real?
cience and technology define our world, creating an illusion that we have all the answers. But do we really? For all the super-computers, we still cannot accurately predict the weather next week. For all the advances in medicine and psychology, the functioning of the human brain remains obscure. We can look further and further into space, and yet we can still only guess at how life began. How much about ourselves, and the world around us, do we really know? So many times throughout history, the beliefs of our ancestors have been found to contain some element of truth. One of the most persistent and prevalent beliefs is that of a spirit realm, where entities (both malevolent and benevolent) exist alongside us. From the Shamanic tribes of Amazonia to the Arabic cultures of the Middle East; from Europe to Asia - this belief can be found expressed in different ways. Yet, for the most part, the idea of ghosts is dismissed by modern science and indeed by the majority of educated people. Despite all the stories and continuing use in popular culture, it is said that there is no concrete evidence of such things. Moreover, a number of investigations have shown how paranormal phenomenon can be attributed to insignificant natural causes, frauds, or simple tricks of the mind. Yet there have been occasions where no explanation could be provided. Those may be few, and the evidence subject to debate, but they remain as a tantalising suggestion of the unknown. Many respected scientists, from Carl Jung to
Feature | 18
Wolfgang Pauli, did work in this field, raising far more questions than answers. All highlighted one thing in common - that the mind, developed over millions of years, may be aware of things that our scientific instruments are not. There may be subtle factors and connections that science is still to identify.
minded.” The other two, Ellie and Jon, were more sceptical. “There’s been a few times when I couldn’t explain something, Jon noted, but it can probably be put down to a natural cause.” The team used a number of techniques in their investigations and had recorded some ‘phenomenon’, mostly related to ‘orbs’* 1 and ‘EVPs’ * 2
Against this background, I joined the Avon Paranormal Team as they investigated an allegedly haunted location: Arnos Manor Hotel in Bristol. The hotel has a rich and varied history, being originally built as a mansion in 1755 by William Reeve. A leading figure in the then Merchant Venturers, Reeve also erected a ‘black castle’ from the waste material (‘slag’) of his copper works. He eventually became bankrupt twenty years later and the estate was divided. The original mansion, now Arnos Manor Hotel, was made into a Catholic Convent in 1850, before seeing a brief interlude as a gambling venue in the 60s and 70s. In 1941, whilst clearing the wreckage of a Nazi bomb raid, workmen uncovered a human skeleton that was believed to be that of a nun. The story was that she fell pregnant and, in her shame, committed suicide.
APT had visited the hotel in 2010 after hearing stories of unexplained activity in different locations, including Room 160. “On that occasion we picked up some interesting readings, ” Damien, leader of the team, said. “But nothing concrete.” As the team went about setting up their equipment, I began to read through the historical material. Most of it related to the hotel’s past as a convent, then a gambling venue, but scattered amongst this were some accounts that stood out. In 2004 a guest had abandoned Room 160, taking his duvet to sleep in the chapel downstairs, after saying that he had felt like someone was sitting on his chest and feeling the bed move. A housekeeper reported many occasions when the bath taps were found running and the windows shut by themselves. One chambermaid apparently quit her job after entering the room. But such accounts were vague and could certainly be attributed to mundane natural causes.
The green light of the desk-top EMF detector suddenly rocketed up to dark green and amber, before falling back down again. I entered the hotel with three members of the Avon Paranormal Team (‘APT’): Damien, Jon and Ellie. It was a grand building, with an ornate staircase that led up to the second floor. Here was room 160 – our temporary ‘base’ for the night. There was nothing discernibly ‘spooky’ about the room, although after a few seconds of being there I felt a slight ‘pressure’ on my chest that I attributed to the warm temperature. Casually joking, the team began to remove equipment that might have been taken from a scene of ‘Ghost Busters’. Digital cameras, dictaphones, temperature readers, microphones, ‘EMF’ detectors (devices that detect electromagnetic fields) and even motion sensors were amongst what they used. But there were no crystals, ‘dowsing rods’ or spiritual mediums! APT were founded in 2005 by a group of local people who had a balanced measure of interest and scepticism in alleged ‘paranormal’ activity. Damien, who works in Bristol as a carpenter, had been one of the founders. “I had an experience when younger” , he explains, “and ever since then have had an interest in the paranormal. I think you’re missing out if you’re not open
It was around 10pm when the team, spread around the room, turned the lights out. Myself and Ellie held EMF detectors, with a third one being placed on the desk in the centre of the room. Damien had also set up a camera in one corner. I lay on the right side of the large double bed as Damien announced that the microphone was being switched on. He began a ‘calling out’, whereby any ‘presence’ or ‘spirit’ was invited to come forth and make contact. Despite my scepticism there was a distinct ‘atmosphere’ in the room. Then, when Jon repeated the requests for ‘contact’, something happened. The green light of the desk-top EMF detector suddenly rocketed up to dark green and amber, before falling back down again. Silence. I will confess that my heartbeat went up a notch or two then. After a few seconds, Jon repeated the request. And again, exactly on cue, the EMF detector reacted to something. It continued like that for a while, with Damien and Jon making open requests for activity, but nothing further happened. The only difference was that Ellie made a protracted cough, which was followed by a personal sensation of discomfort. There were a few minor variations in our hand-held detectors, and the feeling of a bug landing on my forearm, but nothing else. A few minutes later, Damien turned the lights back on.
Damien, Jon and Ellie
Arnos Manor Hotel
Notes: *1 Orbs: These are generally a spherical balls of light or bright colours that can be captured on digital cameras in the presence of dust or other small particles of matter. However, some appear when there is no apparent dust or other matter present. *2 EVPs (short for ‘electronic voice phenomenon): The ‘staple’ of any paranormal investigation, these are recordings of sounds that are not discernable to the human ear. Often attributed to our tendency to make patterns from randomness (i.e. interference), some EVPs seem clear and distinct – sometimes making whole words or even sentences.
Feature | 19
The team was enthusiastic about the EMF reaction, but immediately wanted to rule out any natural causes. Damien had already done a sweep of the room, looking for sources of electromagnetic fields, but none had previously been around the desk. “What about phones?” Ellie asked. Normally the team switched off all their mobile phones, but Jon had accidentally left his on. Since he was sitting closest to the desk, it meant that the EMF readings could have been from when his phone was picking up data. However, attempts to duplicate a similar reaction failed: the detector only lit up when Jon’s phone was placed and used in relative proximity to it. Previously, the reactions had occurred when he had been sitting at a distance. As for the timing of the reactions – made just after the spirit had been asked to make contact and approach the green light - we all agreed that it was strikingly coincidental.
“There’s been times I have felt like the dark got darker, like there were loads of people crowded around you. Its something I have never felt before.” Damien then took out what he called a spirit box– a device that scans through all radio frequencies at high speed to avoid picking up words. The lights were turned off and a series of questions were asked. Amidst the devices staccato fuzz of random noise, there were sudden peaks that came across as words. ‘Who are you?’, ‘are you happy?’ and ‘can you say my name?’ were the questions that seemed to elicit the strongest reactions. However, I was more inclined to believe this to be consequential interference or a psychological trick than actual responses. Nevertheless, in the darkness, there was a sensation of someone else being there – especially in one corner of the room. Other questions resulted in little or no clear differences in sound; the same as when no questions were asked at all. Moreover, the room seemed somehow less oppressive, with the slight pressure I had felt earlier completely disappearing. With the lights back on, I took the opportunity to ask the team about anything that stood out on previous investigations. “We recorded one very clear EVP once,” Damien said, “of what sounded like a child saying hello. There was no one else in the room, and no children nearby, but the EVP was so clear. Another time, we caught two very strange breaths, which other people also heard.” It didnt seem very much to go on, so I asked Ellie – the teams strongest sceptic –if she had experienced anything.
“Theres been times I have felt like the dark got darker,” she replied. “Like there were loads of people crowded around you. Its something I have never felt before.” We proceeded downstairs to where the nun’s skeleton had been found. Apart from being dark and cold, I did not sense anything unusual. Nor did any of the EMF detectors react, including after Damien and Jon did a calling out. Only when ascending the hotel stairs were a few electromagnetic variations detected, but these were minor and could probably be attributed to faulty wiring. We continued exploring different areas of the hotel, pausing here and there, but there was nothing as striking as what happened when first entering Room 160. I came away from Arnos Manor Hotel with my reporter’s scepticism still firmly intact... yet with more questions than answers. Editorial note: A few days before going to print, Damien came into the Arkbound office. He had something to show us. Amidst the hours of camera footage and digital sound recordings, there was an orb of intermittent flashing light that drifted above the bed of Room 160, corresponding
to when our reporter had felt particularly uneasy (a still image from this footage is shown above). As the light drifted to the left side of the room, pausing and moving at different speeds, the EMF detector reacted. Unexplained natural phenomenon or ‘ghost’? We will leave you to decide.
About APT Avon Paranormal Team are a not-for-profit group that seek to investigate reports of paranormal activity, where possible finding scientific explanations. Listed with Bristol City Council, APT prioritise confidentiality, professionalism and courtesy when conducting their investigations.
To find out more, visit: www.avonparanormalteam.co.uk
views from Afar
Photography | 21
“It allows me to express myself and to share my perspective without words.”
n each issue, Boundless takes you on a journey somewhere around the world. Within this third issue, we take you on a photographic journey to Jamaica. These photographs are taken by Melissa Eittie. Melissa was born in 1984 in St. Ann, Jamaica. She says her photos “preserve time and memories, illustrating the soul and emotions of everything that surround us.” Melissa is passionate about travel photography, she likes to experiement using natural light to “capture nature in its rawest and purest form.”
Interview | 22
Outlaw An Interview with Enric Duran “To denounce the banks and build better alternatives to society.”
In a world where the super-rich exploit tax loopholes and avoid paying their fair share, one man says it’s time for ordinary people to boycott the system that is responsible for so much inequality.
n 2008 Enric Duran announced to the world that he had stolen around half a million Euros from dozens of Spanish banks through taking out loans. His motive? “To denounce the banks and build better alternatives to society.” What followed was a scramble for Duran’s arrest after his story had been publicised in the media. To Duran, it was an act of civil disobedience and resistance to what he saw as a predatory capitalist system. He became known as ‘El Robin Hood’ and protests were made in over 100 cities to showcase alternatives to capitalism (something which the Occupy Movement became a branch of). At his initial hearing a year later, Duran argued that the judiciary was biased in favour of the powerful, citing the pardon that was given to one of Spains top banking executives. With no faith in the judicial system, Duran went into hiding whilst on bail in 2013 and that is his position as we write.
Enric Duran This is an exclusive interview with Enric Duran, who communicated via encrypted messages on TOR. Why did you announce to the world what you did and give the money away rather than run away with it? “Because mine was a public civil disobedience action since the very beginning when I decided to do it. My idea was to tell the people that we are heading towards a big crisis due to the structural problems that are caused by how the banking and monetary system works.”
Interview | 23 What are you doing now? “I’m focused on continuing the extension of FairCoop for building a new economic system for a postcapitalist society. There are a lot of groups, collectives and networks who share similar visions and we aim to collaborate with all of them to make it possible. In our case, we give an specific focus for connecting local and biorregional selfmanaged initiatives and help each other worldwide.”
How can TOR and Faircoin make a difference? What are the main points you have against capitalism and the banking system? “Central banks are global economic decisionmaking centers. Those who control it have dominion over the global financial system without any democratic control, and use it to benefit the interests of a minority. Most money is created by private banks far from the common interest and hidden from the majority of the population. Also, dominant economic models based on perpetual growth are causing destruction of life on the planet.”
How have you helped develop alternatives to capitalism (i.e. cooperatives, financial resistance)? “When I started to plan the action to expropriate the banks (in 2005), I already had the primary objective of promoting the creation of a social alternative based on cooperation and selfmanagement. I had been planning its development since 2002. At that time I didnt know what we would call this alternative construction, nor what form it would take. I was, however, very clear that my disobedience action would serve to draw strength, in every sense of the word, to create something. In 2006, we took inspiration from the de-growth movement in generating a grassroots construction process. Finally, the Catalonian Integral Cooperative (‘CIC’)* 1 was established in May 2010. Right now, I’m totally involved in extending the ideas and practicing integral revolution around the world, though FairCoop, which was created in 2014.”
What’s it like being on the run? “It can be difficult to organize a movement like FairCoop, when I try to avoid public talks that shows where I am, and is a pity not being able to stay in Catalonia, but more than that I’m happy that I can work on radical social change as I was doing before that situation.”
“Faircoin seeks to create fairer and less corrupted world with needs related to privacy protection, especially in the communities which fight against the injusticies of the state and their allies. In that sense Faircoin can adapt to the needs of each moment, becoming a voluntary action that the software is ready to supply. Of course when we talk about privacy, TOR is an important resource.”
How can people get involved? “FairCoop* 2 is a cooperative space open to the world that uses the internet as a meeting point for sharing, discussing, making decisions and growing together towards a fair world. You can join the cooperative through the fair.coop social network, whichis open to everyone and allows you to take part in forums, groups and teams. Also you can create or be involved in a ‘local node.’ Local nodes are the territorial extension of FairCoop, they offer the link between the local projects, initiatives, individuals or collectives to the faircoop.”
* 1 The Catalonian Integral Cooperative is a ‘Transitional Initiative for Social Transformation from below, through selfmanagement, self-organisation and networking’ based in Catalonia, northern Spain.
* 2 Faircoin is a form of digitial currency, but unlike the ‘Bitcoin’ it is based upon an alternative economic model to capitalism where fair and equal distribution takes priority.
What do you see the world in 10 years time? “I dont know where we’ll be in 10 years, but I trust that we’ll be freer and more diverse, and able to choose from a great selection of life choices. I’m convinced that we will live through a transformation of the state and capitalism as we know it today, consolidating other ways of being in society and establishing more supportive and cooperative economic relationships. I think we’re going to live through the loss of exclusivity in governance currently held by the state, and the disassociation of the concept of state as the exclusive managers of the territory. Individual sovereignty will reclaim its real meaning of complete positive freedom, thoroughly legitimate collective processes. That very significant phrase from the Zapatistas, ‘for a world in which many worlds fit’ will begin to materialize in the coming decades. This is why we are building with so much energy right now, to get there.”
TOR was covered in the previous edition of Boundless, which you can find at:
www. arkbound.com/ magazines/
If you want to contact Boundless securely, we recommend using encryption and TOR. Our address for sensitive stories and whistleblowers is: firstname.lastname@example.org
T h e Soa pb ox
Soapbox | 24
‘Let the people decide.’ - Pericles of Athens
Every issue, Boundless invites one of the country’s political parties to make a contribution. In this issue, Charlie Bolton of the Green Party writes about housing.
ousing is the biggest issue in Bristol today. It won the mayoral election for Labour (along, perhaps, with a bloke called Jeremy). We have a housing waiting list with thousands of names on it, and have done so for years. House prices are at record levels: when I moved to my home in 1991, it cost around three times my then average salary. The same house would now cost something like twelve times the current average salary. I simply would not be able to afford to move here now. But I have it lucky: I have a home. Huge numbers of younger people will struggle to buy for the foreseeable future. And with this have come issues around exploitative renting, with companies arbitrarily forcing up rents and charging management fees at will. Add in the rise in levels of homelessness, and the crisis is there for all to see. As Greens, we want a sustainable future. But we all know that people aren’t going to worry about tomorrow, if they can’t sort it out today. So a basic part of a sustainable future is making sure that people have their basic needs met: food, warmth, and in this case, shelter. Hence, we recognise the need for housing solutions. As Green councillors, we proposed that the council adopt the ACORN ethical lettings charter, which was supported unanimously by the other parties. I co-chaired the allparty Housing Inquiry day run at Bristol City Council, which proposed a housing company as a delivery vehicle - a measure now taken up by all parties, and the new assistant mayor for Housing, Paul Smith.
unaffordable is still unaffordable! We found in the run up to the housing inquiry day that government had basically made it just about as difficult as it can be to deliver affordable homes. The ‘Right to Buy’; the cap on the Housing Revenue Account; cuts in council rents (thereby cutting amount of money available to the Housing Revenue Account); the inability to switch between council general fund and HRA; demands on selling your best housing assets, and so on.... The housing company is a ruse to try and get around these. Set it up in a way which gets round the right to buy, and you at least have the opportunity to hang on to your stock of social housing. But it isn’t a short term fix - I don’t think there are any short term fixes. It will take substantial investment: houses will need to be built at a profit, which then help finance the others. It also has to deliver. And there are a set of other issues which also need to be addressed. Our climate is still going pearshaped, so it is absolutely vital that we build to the best environmental standards - PassivHaus, for example. And we need to take advantage of other models for
building - such as co-ops, co-housing and self build. We need to work out where all these homes are going to go. The crossauthority Spatial Plan, now being drafted, has identified a shortfall in space for homes, even after available brownfield sites have been taken into account. To put it another way, green space will go. When it comes to the private rented sector, the first thing to say is that not all landlords are evil. Many would be more than happy to comply with the ACORN charter. But I can still remember the demonstration outside ‘a local estate agent’ a year ago because it put a flier out around our area suggesting owners could get higher rents. The housing company could also be a longer term solution for this. If the Council owned or managed rented properties, well at least in these properties it would be much easier to introduce ethical lettings standards. But my main message to the new administration in Bristol is this: you have made big promises for housing in Bristol - now you need to deliver.
The real test of any housing policy in Bristol is how many affordable homes get built. And, by that, I mean homes which actually are affordable. The definition used in planning is around 80% of full market value. Well, 80 percent of totally Boundless is politically neutral but believes that a vibrant democracy requires active political participation. We are open to contributions from all political parties, working on a ‘Rainbow’ rotation system (Red for Labour, Orange for Liberal Democrat, etc). We ask Parties to write about pressing social or environmental problems and how they would address them, rather than attribute blame to one another. In the next edition we will be asking the Conservative Party to write on a selected theme.
Readersâ€™ Letters | 25
Readers Letters Feedback from the last edition
I want to thank you for your excellent feature on the dark web. I have never before seen a report on this subject that goes any further than portraying TOR and encrypted messaging as something used by criminals, nerds or the military. I found it really interesting.
- Dan Steel
I was disappointed to find a propaganda piece by the Liberal Democrat Party in your magazine. So much for being politically neutral! As for what Kay Barnard says, what a joke! The walk from Temple Meads to the city centre is like a park stroll compared to the pollution and traffic on Union Street. - AC Haynes (Ed.: We do not publish propaganda from political parties and give equal coverage for each party on a rotation basis per edition, as explained in the introduction to The Soapbox. ) Homeless? A week ago I was approached by a man with a bucket selling pamphlets with H4H written on them, standing for Help the Homeless. When I asked where the money was going he mentioned something about Boundless/Arkbound. Is H4H now part of what you are doing? I must say that it seems a bit steep asking 50p for a 2-page brochure, even if you are giving the proceeds to homeless people. - Anonymous (Ed: No, H4H, is not part of Boundless or Arkbound. We have mentioned this apparent fraud on page 28 here in and advise other readers to contact us should they encounter similar.) Vendor Thanks I would like to say a big Thank You to one of your vendors on Gloucester Road, who picked up my shopping bag when I dropped it and helped me put my groceries back in. Unfortunately I never got his name and did not see him again, but he brightened my day. - Jackie Harris Perturbed by Buses When is there going to be some proper coverage by this cityâ€™s newspapers/ magazines on the state of our buses? Time and time again they are hailed as a solution to congestion and pollution, when really they are often causes of these problems themselves. Not to mention the terrible way in which they are run: high fares, poor service, squealing brakes, dangerous manoeuvring, etc. Its high time to bring back trams, like most other cities in Europe, or put a ban on buses using toxic diesel. - Abi Norman (Ed.: We aim to cover the bus issue in a future edition of Boundless and are seeking comments from First Bus.) Advertisement
Feature | 26
As society continues to feel the impacts of austerity, we examine increasing levels of executive pay.
t is no secret that the gap between rich and poor is growing. Despite seven years of economic austerity, resulting in significant cuts to public services and welfare, top earners have experienced an overall increase in earnings. Such a situation appears paradoxical, especially where the original arguments for austerity were to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy and to improve efficiency. The reasoning used to justify executive pay generally includes arguments like the need to reward hard work and responsibility, along with encouraging talent. Certainly, in a corporate sense, it is easy to see the logic of such arguments. Where a company executive succeeds in improving profits for the benefit of its shareholders, a pay rise or bonus would represent an incentive for future performance. But what about where the company has not done well; where the executive has overseen massive losses, or tried to mitigate this through cutting jobs? Britain’s banking crisis shows that it does not necessarily work both ways, with many executives both within and outside of the banking sector receiving bonuses in spite of huge Government bailouts. Nor is the situation confined to the private sector. Executives in all levels of Government departments – from regulatory bodies like the Information Commissioner’s Office to NHS Trusts - have consistently been awarded pay rises, even as their staff are made redundant and have pay frozen or reduced. Such inequality has spread right across society, even to NGOs and charities. Even for this delicate sector, often founded upon grants and donations, a salary of above £100,000 is not particularly unusual.
and charitable sectors. Nearly all echoed the arguments around rewarding hard work, recognising responsibility, and encouraging talent. Comments included: “It is built into the culture now. None of your colleagues, the ones you associate with, think it is unusual. My job has more responsibility than others – if things go wrong, I take the blame. There’s a lot of pressure. And it takes a lot of hard work to get here.”
“It takes a lot of hard work to get here.” “I am expected to have a wide range of skills - leadership, management, financial, sales, marketing, people skills, property, investment, HR and legal knowledge, and be able to quickly assess opportunities. Whilst others may have better skills in these areas, a decent working knowledge in all of these areas is needed. Ultimately the buck stops with me.” Executives noted how “the clock does not stop” like in other jobs, with a need to handle problems as they arose and plan ahead for their organisations. Interestingly, most agreed that high pay should not be given in the presence of failure, and that it would generally be wrong to take pay rises when the organisation as a whole is not in a position to reward other staff. It was also observed how high pay exists in other areas of society, including professional sport. However, the argument that (very) high pay is necessary
So how do executives justify these sums? It was difficult finding direct answers, but we eventually managed to interview several former and current executives in the public, private
The trickle down theory was based upon the Victorian allegory of hay being eaten by horses eventually working its way down to the sparrows. In the allegory the rich are the horses and the poor are the sparrows.
to attract talent could well be regarded as insulting to some working people. It is an argument that implies that anyone who is not earning over £30,000 a year does not have ‘talent’; where the average person can only dream of making even half the salary of a CEO. It disregards the fact that some of the greatest scientists, politicians, artists and so forth were often on very low (if any) salaries. What about people who are not executives? Unsurprisingly, nearly all those we spoke to disagreed with pay rises to executives in a climate of austerity. Whilst people were more understanding in cases of private companies that had done well, thanks to the work of bosses, there was wide condemnation on
Feature | 27
“Britian has the 6th most unequal incomes of 30 contries in the developed world.”
cent this year. Meanwhile, the economic measurement of inequality – the ‘Gini coefficient’ – shows that Britain has the 6th most unequal incomes of 30 countries in the developed world. Why, some may ask, is such inequality bad? One of the most well-known studies of inequality was published in ‘The Spirit Level’. The book outlines the “pernicious effects that inequality has on societies: eroding trust, increasing anxiety and illness, (and) encouraging excessive consumption”. Social problems like mental ill-health, drug abuse, imprisonment and obesity were found to be significantly worse in highly unequal rich countries.
Continuing pay rises for executives belies the rhetoric that “we’re all in it together” – a reassurance echoed by many of the same politicians who received a 10 per cent pay rise in 2015, followed by a further 1.3 per
By nature, inequality is a divider. It separates individuals and groups from one another, often causing conflicts and the erosion of social cohesion. Extreme inequality can be found in countries like
public and charitable sector pay rises. When we mentioned the 20% per cent pay rise that Bristol City Council executives had been given in May, an overwhelming proportion expressed astonishment and even outright disgust. Of course, it would be easy to dismiss these reactions as envious and ignorant. But, bearing in mind that citizens are the equivalent of stakeholders in the public sector, it would be inappropriate to dismiss them.
South Africa, where the rich live in high security gated estates and the poor are crammed into ghettoes. Dystopian films like ‘Elysium’ envisage what such inequality could be like in the far future, with an Earth left ravaged by pollution and overpopulation as an elite minority orbits the planet in a luxurious space station. How unequal must society become before people take action? The sad thing is, the longer and more intense inequality gets, the harder it becomes to reverse under the same system (since those with the power and wealth gain increasing control over it). Yet it doesn’t necessarily have to end in outright revolution. In the words of one executive:
“Our world is unequal and always will be - what we really need to do is encourage those who earn more to give it back to make the world fairer.”
Investigation | 28
Scam Spotlight - Government complacency over increasing levels of fraud -
An anonymous source showed us two text messages that he had received from ‘Gov.uk’ purporting to offer a council tax refund. The text messages directed us to a website with the HMRC logo and name. On this website there was a form requesting credit card details ‘for the refund to be paid’.
When we went onto the official HMRC website it directed us to a separate organisation in order to report instances of ‘phishing’ (the term for this type of fraud): http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/. We completed Action Fraud’s form about attempted fraud, but no specific information was asked that would allow the fraudster to be identified or for ActionFraud to contact us for further details. When we called Action Fraud (at a rate of 12-45p per minute) we were unable to reach anyone, despite waiting 15 minutes within their stated office hours.
‘The question arises: what is Action Fraud doing to address instances of fraud, or indeed HMRC?’ We then tried their online chat facility. A message told us we had 5 seconds to wait before we were next in queue. This was actually closer to 5 minutes. It transpired that it is possible to use the form for actual frauds to submit information about attempted frauds (even though both forms are completely separate and the guidance on the website is different). However, we did not hear anything else from ActionFraud until two months later, where they stated in an email:
“Your report has been assessed by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) and I regret to say there are insufficient viable lines of enquiry for a successful criminal investigation. Therefore your report has not been sent to a local police force or other law enforcement organisation for a criminal investigation at this time.” The question arises: what exactly is ActionFraud doing to investigate and address such instances
of fraud, or indeed HMRC? From this investigation, it would appear very little indeed! Upon going to press, another source showed us a message received by his elderly relative from ‘HMRC’. The message read:
‘Dear Customer. Please note that, at this moment we owe you a refund of: 482 GBP, tax for the past two years. Please visit: http://hmrc.refund-online. co.uk/’.
Despite reported levels of crime being stated as ‘decreasing’, there is a continuing surge in cybercrime – usually revolving around fraud – that may well go largely undocumented (possibly due to the failings identified in our investigation). Many illegitimate sources are now able to get your personal information, such as your mobile number, relatively easily. Guard against becoming a victim of fraud by thoroughly checking out all suspicious text messages, calls and emails – before clicking on any link, and certainly before entering any financial details! Given the above, it would appear that taking preventative measures are far more effective than seeking help in the aftermath of such fraud.
SCAMFLASH It has come to our attention that some sellers of a pamphlet entitled ‘H4H’ have been fraudulently ‘raising money on behalf of Arkbound/Boundless’ to ‘help the homeless’. Given the very real homeless problem in Bristol, it is an outright disgrace to act in this way. We allow vendors to make 50% of each sale from copies of Boundless, and Arkbound works with homeless charity Emmaus, but we do not work with ‘H4H’ or raise money for any cause on the streets. Please contact us if you encounter anyone saying they are ‘raising money for Arkbound/Boundless’.
Recipe | 29
Go Bananas Baking Fairtrade By Louise Vargas at 280 Bakes
hen you think of Fairtrade products, what springs to mind? Coffee, tea, sugar - that’s all great, ethical produce, but there are ways to take a fairly traded food item one step further and turn it into a delicious cake. Banana loaf is one of the favourite cakes in my family. Mum likes the crispy topping, Dad likes the fact it’s low-fat, and my brother loves a moist cake - which this is, every time it’s baked. I always use Fairtrade bananas – not only do they taste better, they also help the people who are growing them. When considering social and environmental values, every purchase matters in consumption of food and products. Bananas are grown by millions of small-scale farmers and plantation workers in tropical regions, a staple food for millions of people in developing countries and the favourite fruit in our grocery baskets here in the UK. Fairtrade Standards are designed to improve employment conditions, to protect the rights of workers on certified plantations, and to support certified farmers to increase their incomes and gain more control within the banana supply chains. One in three bananas bought in the UK are Fairtrade - we’re proud to be a part of it.
Why not try this recipe next time you need something to finish off your tea?
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease an 8x4 inch loaf pan. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Add egg whites, bananas and applesauce, stir until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 50-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into 3 centre of loaf comes out clean. Turn onto wire rack and allow to cool before slicing.
The fruit in the recipe replaces the traditional fats (e.g. butter) found in standard cake recipes, and using just the whites of the eggs also helps to make it good for your cholesterol.
Ingredients: 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1¼ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 bananas (mashed)
¾ cups white sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 egg whites
¼ cup applesauce
You can find out more about 280 Bakes: www.280bakes.weebly.com Or find us on Twitter and Facebook.
Book Reviews and Competitions | 30
Alexandra Psaropoulou takes you on an emotional journey, making you feel like there is a sense of mindfulness. The book becomes more alive towards the middle, like a cloud was lifted - this emphasised the feeling when looking into the echo-like visuals.
This is a fantastic picture book for children between three to six years old. It has been written by a local Bristol artist and doubles up as a mini tour guide of Bristol attractions, whilst telling a nice story about a lost teddy bear. The illustrations succeed in drawing you into the story, no matter what your age, and it could well be turned into the first of a series. Join Ben and Amy on an exciting trip around Bristol, where they discover what the city has to offer and make new friends.
More so, the visuals add some subtle use of photography, teasing the audience with small details to the narrative, creating a more personal journey.
ll the Stars has a very unique feel, expressing poetry and If you would like to get your book a sense of spirituality with a featured feel free to contact us. lyrical narrative. Want to publish a The poetic writing shares a book with Arkbound? wonderful balance that really Visit arkbound.com pulls you into the book and eagerly encourages you to read from one page to next, until you have reached to the end.
Best short story:
The theme is Inspiration. What is inspiration? What sort of things do we expect it to lead on to? You will be the judge of this. We are looking for a piece that stands out, that grabs the reader’s attention, even if perhaps it may be unconventional. Word-count: Maximum 5000
Arkbound is welcoming submissions to its annual competition. There are three categories:
Write an investigative report into a project or initiative that relates to the above. There is no restrictions in terms of location: it can be anywhere in the world. But the project or initiative you are writing about must have taken place in the last 3 years. Word-count: Maximum of 750.
Best Visual Art:
Technology surrounds us; indeed, for some, it is a part of us. It is often thought that technology and nature sit in opposition; that, as technology develops, the natural world becomes more distant. But this is not necessarily the case. We are looking for a piece of visual art that shows how technology and nature can be parts of the same thing, with the promotion of one not excluding the other. Any medium will be considered as long as it can be featured in the magazine and website.
Timescale: All submissions should be sent to
email@example.com or by post to: Competitions, Arkbound, Backfields House, Upper York Street, Bristol, BS2 8QJ before 1st November 2016. The winner will be announce on the 15th December 2016.
Prizes: 1st - £100, with feature in magazine and website. 2nd - £50, plus featuring on the website. 3rd - £25. 3 runners up, each will receive £5.
Entry Requirments: There will be a fee of £2.50 for each entry and you must be the sole author of work submitted. No entry form is required.
Games and Puzzles | 31
This sudoku is made up of two standard sudoku puzzles overlapping. Each of them cannot be solved on its own; you have to use clues from one puzzle to solve the other, and vice versa.
Across 1 Teacherâ€™s Boss 4 Earned Diploma 5 Exam 7 Prepare 10 Additional Assignment 11 Reading Facility
Down 2 Learning Space 3 Manual 6 Instructor 8 Certificate 9 For Storage Clue - School Days
The Riddlers Answer:
Be creative and stress-free with this Adult Colouring!
Publishing a successful book is not e a s y, b u t w i t h A r k b o u n d yo u w i l l re c e i ve a l l t h e s u p p o r t yo u n e e d to m a ke i t a s u c c e s s .
o Founded in early 2015, based in Bristol.
Fro m c o m p re h e n s i ve p ro o f re a d i n g a n d rev i e w s to n a t i o n a l d i s t r i b u t i o n a n d e f fe c t i ve p ro m o t i o n , w e w i l l e n s u re yo u r b o o k g e t s n o t i c e d f a s t .
o Winner of Go Green sustainability award (2016).
o Created the ‘Zooker’ literary award. o Good links to regional and national press. o Innovative and creative publishing methods. o Voted ‘4*’ for customer service, with top reviews.
What people say about us
‘Everything I could ask of a publisher and more. I am very pleased with the work they did for me and actually quite impressed by the range of services they offer… very creative company that deserves praise. Thank you once again.’ - Stacy Sheer, Bristol
Backfields House Upper York Street Bristol, BS2 8QJ
Published on Jun 7, 2016
The third edition of Boundless, featuring a review of the Bristol housing crisis, an exclusive interview with Enriq Duran, a 'paranormal' in...