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Review: Altered State – The Story of Ecstasy Culture and Acid House – by Matthew Collin

altered state

I’ve already read a Matthew Collin book – This is Serbia Calling – so I was chuffed when I stumbled upon this work, a history of UK dance music culture. As a DJ and Promoter for 24 years I’m quite aware of a lot of the history of dance music in the UK. This book, however, filled in many of the gaps, and was a thoroughly entertaining and enlightening read. The well known story of how acid house culture came to the UK via Ibiza’s Summer of Love where Nicky Holloway, Danny Rampling, Paul Oakenfold and Trevor Fung experienced the delight’s of Alfredo weaving magic on the White Isle and brought back their ideas to the London clubscene, is a familiar tale, often recited religiously in club culture publications like Mixmag. The author gives a comprehensive account of the beginnings and it was great to hear the true story and what bliss these guys must have experienced. Shoom, Spectrum and the Milk Bar launched successfully and the early adopters were soon welcoming new ‘Acid Teds’ and a hippy revival based on lush house electronica began to hit the mainstream. The book looks at London and Manchester in detail as well as exploring some of the less likelier destinations of UK club culture like Blackburn and later the countryside free party and rave movement. The study of the fracture of dance music into its various sub-genres and the movement of people that followed each branch provides much analysis and we see Warehouse parties, techno anarchists, drum and bass division and later the emergence of new genres like speed garage, grime and dubstep. The book focuses a lot on the role of narcotics in this new ascendant youth culture. The critical importance of ecstasy (MDMA) to the whole movement which eventually led to a massive increase and normalisation of drug culture across the country, with polydrug use becoming popular and clubbers and ravers exploring acid (LSD), cocaine, heroin, ketamine, amphetamines and the various different types of cannabis. It’s amazing how much anti dance music propaganda was spread by the media. Governments were scared and there was a great deal of legislation set up to counter the whole movement. Enlightened masses were a danger to the establishment and the whole culture was seen as an alternative political situation. The long-running battles between promoters, DJs and the UK Police was interesting and it was…

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Aneurin Bevan University Health Board: Complaint about Criminal Psychiatrist, DR DARRYL WATTS

Judith Paget

When I found out just prior to Christmas 2014, about my former psychiatrist Dr Darryl Watts’ criminal convictions (see category http://endofterror.org/?cat=191 for more details) , I was upset, to say the least. I decided to follow the appropriate channels and sent a complaint to the Chief Executive of the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board Trust, the local NHS for this area of SE Wales. They are ultimately the employer of Dr Watts and were responsible for him being assigned to my care in the first place. Judith Paget is the current Chief Executive and having attended a private meeting with her in the past to address mental health issues, I do know her personally. I addressed the complaint to Judith, as I discovered (here: http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/866/opendoc/169907 ) that she was part of the small committee that actually gave Watts the job in the first place. From the newspaper articles surrounding his conviction I know that he is forced to disclose the full details of his criminal history to any future employer. Therefore the Aneurin Bevan UHB had full knowledge of the character of the man that they were employing. Here is the relevant text from the above cited NHS WALES document (pp13-14) surrounding the appointment of Dr Watts. “3.3 Appointment of Consultant Adult Psychiatrist with a special interest in Forensic Rehabilitation The Health Board held interviews for the post of Consultant Adult Psychiatrist with a special interest in Forensic Rehabilitation on Friday 25th February 2011. 13Aneurin Bevan Health Board Wednesday 23 March 2011 Agenda Item: 7.2 The appointments panel comprised the following members: REPRESENTING THE CHAIRMAN: Miss Sue Kent, Vice Chair, Aneurin Bevan Health Board REPRESENTING THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE: Mrs Judith Paget, Director of Planning and Operations, Aneurin Bevan Health Board REPRESENTING THE MEDICAL DIRECTOR: Dr Stephen Hunter, Associate Medical Director, Aneurin Bevan Health Board REPRESENTING THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF SURGEONS OF PSYCHIATRISTS: Professor Gary Sullivan, Regional Advisor, Bwrdd lechyd Cwm Taf Health Board REPRESENTING THE ANEURIN BEVAN HEALTH BOARD: Dr Steve Attwood, Consultant Psychiatrist, Aneurin Bevan Health Board 1 applicant was interviewed for the post. The recruitment and interview process was conducted in accordance with Health Board policies and procedures. The appointments panel recommended Dr Darryl BallantyneWatts for appointment to this post.” I heard nothing for quite some time from the Trust and then received the below letter that I was told was a final resolution to my complaint about all…

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Review: Open Secret: The Autobiography of the Former Director-General of MI5

Open Secret: The Autobiography of the Former Director-General of MI5 by Stella Rimington My rating: 4 of 5 stars I can remember the media furore when this book was first published though it’s taken me some time to get around to reading it. Stella Rimington was certainly a woman who achieved a lot for the fairer sex, in becoming the first female head of such an important government department. Her views are quite pro-feminist throughout yet she is not overly patronising. I was expecting the book to be full of details on covert missions yet James Bond it ain’t. I think Stella depicts life in the security services in a very humble, human way. She is just a down to earth single mother, trying to raise children as a single mother, who through circumstance, happens to work for the much romanticised MI5. I think her ideas on public perception of the security services must be one-of-a-kind. Not only was she the first female head, but she was the first publicly declared head, in an age of aggressive media, in a period of massive political change (end of Cold War, rise of terrorism). Her views seem well-balanced and although some of the anecdotes are really way out of this world (the visit to Russia, for example), much of what she has to say could apply to any ambitious career woman’s life. It’s a good tale, and although I was initially disappointed with the lack of revelation, I came to grow to enjoy Stella Rimington’s insight into life and through that her telling of her life story. View all my reviews

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