Re: New book about New Age Nomads

Marcus L. Endicott (
Thu, 07 Oct 1993 13:40:34 -0700 (PDT)


By Richard Lowe & William Shaw

First published in Great Britain in 1993 by Fourth Estate Limited
(289 Westbourne Grove, London W11 2QA).

ISBN 1 85702 140 1

UKP 8.99

>Drug-fuelled nomads who terrorise the British countryside with
>their illegal festivals? Filthy parasites living at the
>taxpayers expense? The New Age Travellers have become one of
>the most vilified groups in our society.
> Who are they and where did they come from? Why have their
>numbers swelled so dramatically in recent years? Are they
>really the lawless layabouts of popular demonology, or are they
>in fact refugees in their own country? And how do they explain
>their belief that they live a better life than the rest of us?
> In TRAVELLERS Britain's New Age itinerants talk openly and
>revealingly about their life on the outskirts of society.

> At the Conservative Party conference in autumn 1992, during
>the party leader's traditional crusading diatribe about rising
>crime and falling standards of morality, John Major underlined
>his determination to deal with 'the illegal occupation of land
>by so-called "new age travellers".
> 'You will have seen the pictures on television or in the
>newspapers,' he said. 'If you live in the West Country and
>Wales you may have seen it on your own doorstep. Farmers
>powerless. Crops ruined and livestock killed by people who say
>they commune with nature, but who have no respect for it when it
>belongs to others. New Age travellers. Not in this age. Not
>in any age.'

>Persons Unknown
>Part One
>Trucks, Trailers, Tarps and Teepees
>'My father thinks I'm mad. I went to see him and the first
>thing he said was, "See you're still a tramp then".'
>'Round here we can go hunting rabbits, hares, deers,
>pheasants... and you don't have to do much shopping because
>they've got a good skip in Tescos.'
>'Scrap is money... and all in all you get a better class of
>scrap in a council estate than in a posh place.'
>'You can be living in a teepee a long time before you learn how
>to do it. I spent a lot of time in the corner huddled under a
>blanket trying to keep away from the smoke.'
>'Go find yourself a nice leek field and hoe that for a couple of
>days. I can recommend it.'
>'My standards haven't changed that much... but when everybody
>that comes in has to walk up and down a quagmire there isn't
>much point in sweeping your rugs three times a day.'
>'People come up and ask, "How do you go to the toilet?" And you
>say, "Well how do you go? You mean you shit in your own
>'I just stepped into the little Commer walk-through and thought,
>"This is absolutely brilliant. I want to do this." It was all
>there on four wheels, and you took your whole home with you,
>wherever you went.'
>'"The Archers" is my soap habit. It's a bit of a cult with
>travellers. They had people like us parked up at the Grundys.
>I love the Grundys, excellent characters.'
>Part Two
>The Beanfield and Beyond
>'He smashed a window with his truncheon right next to my face
>and he was standing there screaming at me to turn the truck off
>and get down.'
>'I had a jerrycan full of petrol and a Zippo lighter. I went up
>to them and said, "Fuck off. What do you want? I'm not scared
>of you."'
>'I've had it so hard off the Old Bill over the years that I
>don't even hate them anymore, I feel sorry for them. They're
>seriously sick people.'
>'They just kept rocking and rocking the police van. First the
>bag with the hash came out, then the people they'd arrested.
>Then we turned it upside down.'
>Part Three
>A Thinker, A Visionary, A Seeker
>'I've seen a few bits of this country, and I still think that
>the less people per square mile, the happier folk are.'
>'The modern way of life destroys the earth. The world's been
>falling apart since people stopped living off the land and
>respecting it. It's a necessity to the whole eco-system that
>people actually live like this.'
>'We're consuming too much. I can't cope with that. I take
>myself away from the world of men and seek the kingdom of God.'
>Part Four
>24-Hour Party People
>'There's nowt wrong with somebody smoking a bit of hash in a
>field, listening to a bit of rock'n'roll and having a good time.
>That's not hurting anybody.'
>'At Stonehenge you got high on the vibrations, so incredibly
>high you could stay awake for days just bubbling all the time.
>There was a spiritual energy in the air.'
>'I loved the live bands. I loved walking round and meeting
>loads of people. I just used to have a really good time
>staggering around being pissed.'
>'I knew when I went to a festival that there would be thousands
>of people similar enough to me that I'd feel secure. I never
>felt secure in life in general, but being with other travellers
>at festivals is when I've felt most comfortable.'
>'The music has an amazing effect karmically on each and every
>person who comes into contact with it. Techno is folk music and
>never before has folk music been so accessible and so loud.'
>'We had all the rigs on the buses so anywhere we went we could
>steam in, drop it all out, plug it in and we've got a party.
>All you need is an empty warehouse and a pair of bolt-cutters.'
>'We went from Wales to Castlemorton Common and after that
>everything just went whoosh.'
>Part Five
>The Four-wheeled Family
>'So we sold the guest-house and spent every penny staying in
>really posh hotels, jet-setting up and down the Cote d'Azur
>until the money ran out.'
>'Men I met had always wanted houses and a nice little wifey to
>cook for them and I'm not that. I wanted to be out there
>chopping wood.'
>'Wanda was born in the back of a van. I had this series of
>children that shot out like rockets, never where or when they
>were supposed to.'
>'The other kids thought I got all this extra help because i was
>a traveller, but I passed my GCSEs fairly and anyone who says
>different is mad.'
>Part Six
>The End of the Road
>'I do find it quite difficult to ad apt to living in a town,
>because living on a site you always had your mates around you.
>Nobody was ever hungry, there was always tobacco for a smoke,
>there was always a cup of tea going and something to do.'
>'Sometimes I get pissed and listen to some Levellers music and I
>think, oh yeah, I want to get back, buy a bus and show a lot of
>people we don't have to be put down for this and that. But then
>I've got my life to get on with.'
>'I've been running on luck for the last fifteen years. It's
>time to stop drifting, to change the way I work in the world.
>It's time to get my shit together.'

>Richard Lowe and William Shaw would like to thank all of those
>who helped us to put this book together in such a short space of
>time. Among those whose advice and knowledge were invaluable
>were Ann Bagehot of Save The Children, David Gosling, Ian
>Cairns, Chris Gilham, Jane Sand and Jane Irwin from the West
>Penwith Travellers Support Group, Richard Cotterill and the
>Travellers School Charity, Paul Simmonds, Chloe, Bella, Tim
>Everson Naomi Lowe, Grace Pachman and Jane Carr. We'd also
>like to thank Jane McMorrow for her interviews and
>transcriptions. Finally, we're especially grateful to all the
>many travellers up and down the country who invited us into
>their vehicles, trailers and benders, plied us with endless cups
>of tea, and gave up hours of their time answering our questions.

= = =


travellers = gypsys
John Major = British Prime Minister (~President~)
skip = dumpster
Old Bill = police
pissed = drunk

= = =

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