Category Archives: Crime

The U.K. legal system, where you are presumed guilty until proven innocent

Yesterday’s Sunday Herald on Luke Mitchell

I was reading a piece in Scotland’s Sunday Herald newspaper yesterday. I have absolutely no idea about the true facts or the guilt or innocence in this case, but there is an undeniable truth when the imprisoned guy says:

“The court system and the police, they’re not separate bodies, they’re all part of the state. The justice system isn’t there to protect you, it’s to get the conviction.”

The UK court system is inherently corrupt. It is not designed to uncover innocence or guilt. The police investigate a case and find the person they believe or claim they believe is guilty. That person is then presumed guilty unless he or she can (via an expensive paid advocate) prove themselves innocent or apparently innocent. The court prosecutes the person on the presumption of guilt and a judge or jury decides which of two paid advocates has constructed a better case.

It is a contest and career-building exercise between two highly-paid, trained debaters. The accused person is presumed guilty until and unless proven innocent. It is illegal for any jury member to attempt to check any evidence other than what is presented in court.

The Stefan Kisko case – the clearest miscarriage of justice

The only evidence which can be considered is the evidence of two trainee debaters paid to hide anything which might throw doubt on their own version of events.

Hiding facts is as important as presenting them. Points are effectively awarded for presentation, style, skill and content. The verdict is about which advocate has been a better performer. It is a bit like competitive ice skating with people’s lives, often on thin ice. Or like politics.

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Filed under Crime, Legal system, Politics

How I got ripped-off and my iMac was messed-up by a computer repair man

This is a longer-than-normal blog. Only embark on it if you want to share my trauma… Though I do think the piece builds to a fairly strong climax – not written by me but by one remarkably plain-speaking Alan Evans… At the start, though, this is me…


It is embarrassing to admit, but, one day couple of weeks ago…

I found I could not access WiFi on my Apple iMac although, on the same desk in the same room, my iPad and iPhone COULD access the WiFi. So it was not a WiFi signal problem; it was an iMac problem. The iMac was working perfectly well otherwise; there was just a problem getting online via WiFi. I could not solve the problem – I tried all the normal things – so I succumbed to getting a repair man in via what seemed to be a safe website – bidvine.com

Via them, I was approached by a guy called Jon Draper of Ace Computer Services who, again, sounded plausible. He quoted £55 as an estimate.

A simple problem. He sounded plausible. My big mistake.

On arrival, he said he had meant to quote his normal £80 but would do it for the £55. 

Without telling me in advance and without asking my permission, while I was out of the room, he added four programs to my computer which he claimed would stabilise my computer and which cost £95 – so total price £150. 

They were CleanMyMac, IDFrag and Onyx. Plus MalwareBytes – which he only told me about after I queried it. He also told me the inbuilt Apple Disk Utility was “useless”.

As far as I am aware, none of the four non-Apple programs he installed are designed to specifically and solely target a WiFi problem. They are designed to mess around with the internal workings of the Operating System.

The WiFi, of course, now worked, he told me. I paid him by credit card. He was very plausible. And then he tried to show me the computer working.

It took forever to even start. He tried to solve the problem – “I don’t know why it’s doing that,” he said. It took perhaps 6-9 minutes to get it going. Getting online took similar minutes. “I don’t know why it’s doing that,” he said. I began to think this was his mantra. The picture was unstable. It rolled. “I don’t know why it’s doing that,” he said for a third time after Googling on his phone to see how to sort the problem. None of these problems had happened before.

He talked about wiping the hard drive and reinstalling everything from my back-up. I said, “No.” I was not letting him anywhere near my previously working hard drive.

After maybe half an hour, he left because he had to go to another appointment saying, as he went through the door, that to solve the problem, he could sell me a £150 hard drive for £100. I said No… Obviously.

He claims he has a “No Fix – No Fee” policy so I suppose, pedantically, that is true. The WiFi problem had been fixed. But he had buggered up the computer by – without my permission – installing four programs for which he charge £95.

After he left, I removed (as I told him I would) two of the four rogue programs – CleanMyMac and IDFrag – and got the computer working perfectly well again – except that I cannot now access my Network Preferences panel and the hard disc icon on my desktop has been replaced with a Network icon. The third program – MalwareBytes – I removed, but an icon for it remained in the MenuBar.

I sent a message asking Jon Draper how to remove this and asking where the fourth program he installed – Onyx – was. He said he would find out and get back to me. I had to find a MalwareBytes uninstaller on the internet which I downloaded and got rid of the rogue MalwareBytes icon.

I still have been unable to find the Onyx program he charged me for (it is Freeware). I also sent a message asking for a refund for the cost of him supplying and (without my foreknowledge or permission) installing software which collectively buggered-up my previously working computer. I got no reply.

He left the computer in an unusable state, installed software I did not ask for without my foreknowledge or permission and charged £95 extra to make a working computer slow and, in practical effect, unusable. Appalling. I got the computer working again myself.

I complained to Bidvine who, basically, said, “Not our problem, mate.” They put people who require service in touch with people who provide service and it is nothing to do with them if the service is shit.

“At Bidvine, our goal is to successfully connect you to professionals and we aim for everyone to have a positive experience in using the platform. We value your feedback as this serves to inform us.”

Interestingly, Bidvine’s website showed Jon Draper had been hired only 4 times via Bidvine, but had received 6 reviews for jobs done on different dates.

I looked more into Jon Draper (which, of course, I should have done earlier).

I noticed that, on his website, it claims he is part of an organisation with multiple technicians covering six counties. Yet, when I looked at the different counties’ details they all seemed to have his own telephone numbers. And the only name in alleged testimonials from satisfied ‘members of the public’ in different areas was his name.

The company “HQ” – that’s what it said – is an unremarkable suburban house in Woodstock Avenue, Golders Green, NW11 9SG, if you want to Google Streetview it.

The ‘company’ is said to be managed by a mysterious Tony Hawkins who “has been involved in the computer repair business for many years” and is “well trained to oversee the company, having previously worked for computer data services… We can GUARANTEE your business first page of Google!… So, for example, type in ‘pc repairs’ followed by any town in London, Surrey or Hertfordshire, and you’ll see our website on the first page.”

Obviously I tried this and it is a load of bollocks.

I enjoyed cowboys when I was a young boy watching movies. I do not appreciate them as much as an adult.

I also found that Jon Draper trades on Facebook as Any Distance Computer Services, on Twitter as PC & Mac Repairs and as 24 Hour PC and Apple Mac Repairs on BidVine’s competitor website freeindex.co.uk (although this 24-hour business confusingly claims that business hours are 0700-2300).

Never let it be said I fail to give credit where due.

He has done the same scam before, though not, it seems, with such disastrous consequences. The latest two 2018 reviews on freeindex.co.uk were both 1-star and the latest also mentioned in detail dodgy installation by him of unnecessary programs. (BELOW)

Suspiciously, all previous reviews (5-star) were posted before July 2017. 

Here are two reviews of “Jon Draper” on FreeIndex:


From: ALAN EVANS, Horley. Posted 26 Jul 2018

Jon rudely hung up on me during our call, but I will here summarise my complaint(s) with the nature of his service provision. The originating issue and reason for calling Jon was, and is, with regard to a slow iMac which often shows the spinning wheel for long periods. Since Jon came to address the problem, the spinning wheel persists so nothing has changed.

Very soon after Jon arrived he suggested that High Sierra was the problem. He suggested this before conducting any diagnostics but I assumed he knew what he was doing – being the ‘expert’ and all. Then the task was, apparently, to revert back to the previous software. While the computer reverted back to its previous software which takes time, Jon suggested looking at 2 other computers in my home; another iMac and a Dell laptop, to see if anything could be done there too. At the time I thought he was being helpful and service-oriented by making good use of the time I was already paying for @ £40 per 30 minutes. He had said over the phone “I charge £80 per hour but most problems can be fixed within this time”. As it turned he took 90 minutes and charged me £120. I wouldn’t have an issue with this charge. But, in fact, I do because: 

He spent the extra half hour loading ‘helpful’ apps onto all the computers. I assumed this was part of the service because he never asked if I wished to purchase any apps. He then casually announced before leaving and by pointing at each computer, that the software for that one is £45, that one £35 etc to the tune of £215 bringing the total cost to £335. I was shocked and told him that one of the computers was my wife’s work based computer and I did not want to be charged for fixing the computer of a corporation. He removed the apps from this computer and £125 from the fee but I was becoming increasingly irritated and my trust in him dropped dramatically as a consequence of his approach. 

Still reeling, I paid £210 online under duress and without having had a chance to review the outcome. Which of course I now have. Jon advertises a ‘No Fix – No Fee Policy’ but at the same time rushed me, the customer, to pay online before he had left and before I had a chance to check if anything had in fact been fixed. It hadn’t. 

The apps he mis-sold me, I have since discovered, were free and gratis anyway. He appears to have provided a month subscription and these ‘subscriptions’ then run out. They were MalwareBytes, IDFrag (I can buy memory defrag for 99p on the App Store if I wish to) Onyx, ClamXav (also free but only £19.99 to buy the full version) and CleanMyMac 1.5. CleanMyMac is now on version 3 and I am unable to upgrade to this from the software he loaded which is very old. 

I believe Jon is using customers who are experiencing computer issues as opportunities for selling old software that he happens to have on a memory stick. These unsuspecting customers do not know any better and so put their trust in him. Worse, he knowingly abuses this trust for personal gain. Jon is a highly immoral predator. 

When I eventually got hold of Jon on the phone (he failed to return my calls several times) I attempted to calmly put my thoughts to him, making the assumption that perhaps he has unknowingly made an error and just doesn’t realise how he is coming across either. Rather than listen he continuously interrupted and stated several times ‘that’s your opinion’. He rejected any attempt at providing feedback designed to help him see how his service appears to us customers. 

I used an analogy to suggest that a car garage doesn’t charge a customer for works on a car until they have explained the options to allow the customer to decide what they are and are not willing to pay for. They don’t just customise your car then tell the customer ‘You owe us £X’. Jon countered this with “Well then I want the number of your garage because mine does and all garages do…” In effect telling me I am wrong and he is right and demonstrating an inability to listen, learn and change. 

After our call I checked the reviews of his company on some review sites and such and noted that other complainers attempting to share their views are similarly attacked by Jon with attempts to discredit them and their criticisms. An open reply to one person says; ‘This customer was visiting dodgy websites’. Another customer implores us to contact them first so they can warn us of what to expect and to avoid Jon. Jon’s approach disgusts me. 

His operation represents bad customer service at best. But it is cruel, rude, bullying, damaging to both home and business and lacking in any kind of ethical business practice at worst. Jon is self-serving and money-oriented at whatever the cost. And the cost is the appropriate level of care toward the customers. Jon should serve time in prison as his activities are criminal.

I want a full refund. But I expect nothing from these sharks other than more name calling, denials and lies (see Jon’s response below!)

To state the obvious: avoid Jon and his company like the plague.


From: AARON, Amersham. Posted 22 Jan 2018 

Very disappointed with the service from Jon. The initial contact was ok, but it took me following up on 3 separate occasions for him to come out to pick up my hard drive for data recovery. Post pick up I had to follow up with him on a number of occasions before he did the work I had asked him to do. I would respond to his questions within minutes but then he wouldn’t communicate back for days.

When he completed the work he sent me my data but kept my hard drive, which we had never discussed and which I had never given him permission to do. After following up with him about it he told he had destroyed it to get the data, which he had also not communicated to me before doing it. 

I requested he send it back to me, destroyed or not, as the SSD hard drive of a MacBook is worth more than his service. He said he would, but has since avoided my calls and text messages. I can only imagine he is trying to reuse the part to sell to someone else. I would take the old adage that you get what you pay for, but he wasn’t that much cheaper than a corporate level data retrieval service in the end. Use at your own peril. 


From: DEREK EMBLEM, Royston. Posted 12 Jul 2017

Jon came to my house to repair two faults on my pc, one he did cure, the other one is a dropdown advert which is still doing the same, he sold me a anti-malware package which expired one day after he left and charged me a lot of money, yet his advert states “no fix no fee”. I am a very elderly person and don’t fully understand how these machines work that’s why I contacted this person.


Meanwhile, back at bidvine.com, they appear to be harbouring rogue traders rather than rooting them out. Obviously this is unacceptable.

Bidvine’s current directors appear to include Ghaith Yafi of Bdd 1082, Beirut Digital District, Bechara El Khoury, Beirut, Lebanon. But they are unwilling to confirm this,

For those with a steely determination, a masochistic love of rough rides and a love of people who openly claim to  be certified, never let it be said I don’t promote improvisational comedy performers. Jon Draper advertises thus…

… THERE IS A RESPONSE TO THIS BLOG HERE

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Micky Fawcett remembers the gay Kray Twins and their talkative mynah bird

Krayzy Days – remembered as they were

Micky Fawcett, a close associate of UK gangsters the Kray Twins, pops up every now and then in this blog.

He wrote arguably the definitive ‘inside’ story about Ronnie and Reggie – Krayzy Days.

So we were having a chat in Stratford, East London, yesterday…


MICKY: Did you know the Twins had a mynah bird?

JOHN: I don’t think I did.

MICKY: They were given this mynah bird and it was very good at imitations.

“Mum! Mum!” it used to say and COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH. – it used to take off their dad’s cough – Old Charlie. 

“Some money! Some money!” it used to say; “Get some money!” and “What’s YOUR name?”

It frightened the life out of people. They used to have it in the corner of the kitchen.

The best one was when Old Charlie ‘outed’ Ronnie.

There was me and Dukey Osbourne and Ronnie, who was sitting at the table with a basin of stew and a bull terrier laying at his feet. 

JOHN: What was the dog’s name?

MICKY: Dunno. Don’t know if it had one. Anyway, this was about 4 o’clock in the afternoon and there was a bit of noise in the hallway. And it’s their old man, Old Charlie, coming home pissed.

Ronnie squawks like his mynah bird and says: “Mum, mum! The drunken old bastard’s here!” 

And the mynah bird goes: “Drunken old bastard! Drunken old bastard!”

Old Charlie Kray – the Twins’ father

Old Charlie comes in, straightening his shirt cuffs and his tie – he was always straightening himself up – and he says: “Shuddup, son! What I’ve heard about you today, you’re gone! You’re GONE! You’ve completely gone! That’s what you are. What they’re saying about in the pub, in the 99 (a pub in Bishopsgate) is disgusting! You make me sick!”

Ronnie says: “Shuttup, you old cunt! Shuttup! Fucking shuttup!”

He got up, rushed over to Old Charlie and he’s got hold of him by the collars and he’s still got the knife and fork in his hands and the dog was attacking Old Charlie’s leg, but not fiercely. And, with the knife in his hand, Ronnie – he hadn’t actually meant to, but he – scratched Old Charlie’s cheek by his nose – a little trickle of blood.

And Old Charlie’s shouting out: “Violet! He’s cut me! He’s cut me!”

At that point, I took my leave and was out the door. I was gone.

Next day, I went round to see Reggie and he was limping slightly. I asked what was wrong and he said: “Ronnie kicked me up the bollocks.”

JOHN: Why?

MICKY: I dunno why. I didn’t ask. You didn’t ask questions like that.

JOHN: Surely everyone always knew Ronnie was gay from the beginning? From when he was a teenager or whatever.

MICKY: No. I don’t suppose so. Well, people didn’t want to know. Nobody used to say it, did they? Not in them days. I remember the first time anybody told me.

JOHN: About Ronnie?

MICKY: Yes. Well, about the pair of them. It was a close friend of mine. I don’t think ‘gay’ was a word then. ‘Poof’, maybe. He said: “They’re poofs” or whatever. 

I said: “Yeah?” 

He said: “Course they are. Why do you think all them young boys are coming round? Can’t you tell?”

Micky Fawcett (left) first met Ronnie Kray around 1956

JOHN: How long had you known them at that point?

MICKY: A couple of years, I guess. About 1956 maybe. They were quite young. (The Kray Twins were born in 1933.) It was billiard hall days. I remember we were outside this billiard hall. I think Ronnie had done his famous escape from Long Grove mental hospital.

JOHN: Which was?

MICKY: Reggie went in to visit him and Ronnie walked out.

JOHN: Being twins.

MICKY: Yeah. I knew Reggie but not Ronnie then.

I remember the first time I met Ronnie. I saw him from the back and thought he was Reggie. He was walking up to the billiard hall and I come up behind: “Hey! Reg!” 

And he said: “I think you want my brother.”

JOHN: But they looked different. Reg had a narrower face and Ronnie’s was wider.

MICKY: In the pictures when they were younger, they don’t look so different.

The Kray Twins in their younger, boxing, days

JOHN: Of course. The boxing pictures.

MICKY: But they didn’t look quite the same. Ronnie was scruffier the first time I met him. Not scruffy intentionally.

He had just come out of a mental hospital.

The bottom of his trouser leg was roughed-up a bit and his boots were a bit… You know how you can imagine someone who has just come out of a…

Reggie was very, very smartly dressed.

JOHN: Was that always the case?

MICKY: Later on, towards the end, Ronnie was a very smart-dressed feller who went to Savile Row tailors for his clothes. Reggie dressed very smart, but went to Wood’s in Kingsland Road. It was like East End boy and West End girl.

JOHN: Ronnie being the West End girl.

MICKY: Yeah.

JOHN: You always dressed very smart yourself.

MICKY: You had to be. It was part of the thing. I was five years younger. Reggie was very impressive when Ronnie was away. Reggie was running the Double R club. You always get trouble in clubs. He was very smart. You can imagine the rest, can’t you?

Maybe it played a part in their hatred for the rest of the world.

JOHN: What did?

MICKY: Being gay at that time. Although it worked for them as well because the stars – a lot of them were gay – used to come to see them in the Kentucky club or the Double R.

When they were younger, they didn’t want anybody to know.

JOHN: Did they get picked-on at school for being gay or did no-one know?

MICKY: Well, I think they were frightening everybody. I imagine that. Reggie didn’t want anyone to know. He wanted to be one of the boys.

JOHN: He didn’t ‘come out’ at all, did he?

MICKY: Not totally, no. He did when he was in the nick. I don’t want to… People talk about them when they were away in the nick; what they did. But it’s too… distasteful.

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The Kray Twins and why violence is more effective when it is unexpected

So I was having a chat with Micky Fawcett at Westfield in Stratford, East London.

Micky wrote Krayzy Days – arguably the definitive book about his sometime close associates the Kray Twins.


(L-R) Micky Fawcett, Reggie Kray & Reggie’s wife Frances

JOHN: A few weeks ago, you were telling me about a director who was writing a film script from your book, but there were disagreements over the script.

MICKY: Yeah. 

JOHN: One was the incident where, instead of sudden, unexpected violence, he wanted to build up the tension.

MICKY: Yeah. There was a feller I was friendly with – Ronnie Curtis – and his wife was having an affair with his best friend – Albert Lovett.

JOHN: Are these people still alive?

MICKY: No.

JOHN: Thank God for that. Carry on, then…

MICKY: Ronnie said to me: “Albert’s been seeing Sheila. I’m going to…” You know. And a couple of days went on and he never did anything and I thought to myself: Oh, well, nothing much is going to happen here.

But there was three of us all working together and we had a meeting at 10 o’clock one morning in Joe’s caff in Upton Park, just off Green Street. We had our meeting and coffee or whatever we had and, as we walked out of the caff, Ronnie Curtis said to me: “Oh, I got a letter from a pal of ours. The heading is in red ink. I wonder if that means anything?”

So I got the letter and I’m looking at it and – BOOM! as quick as that – the blade has gone right through down Albert’s cheek and into this mouth… Cut all his gums. And Albert has turned round and he’s got his overcoat on and Ronnie is slashing at his arse and it’s all being shredded and there’s blood everywhere. And two policemen were walking along in plain clothes on the other side of the road and they ran across and there was chaos but I was gone and so was Ronnie Curtis gone.

JOHN: And the argument with the film director writing the script was…?

MICKY: He said: “What we do in a film is, in the cafe, we build up the tension – We will have Ronnie fiddling around with his dinner and we can see something is wrong and something is going to happen.”

And I said, “No. No. No. The whole thing about it was the surprise. The shock.” We really argued about that. He’s not doing the script now. I don’t see him any more.

JOHN: Well, I think you’re right. Ultra-violence happening without warning is much more shocking than seeing people’s foreheads sweating and the audience knowing something is about to happen.

MICKY: Yeah. That’s what it’s all about.

JOHN: If anyone ever says: “The way it is normally done in the movies is…” that is a very good reason NOT to do it that way. It is usually better to tell the truth. Though the only problem about the truth is that it’s often so OTT it is unbelievable. The truth is often just so Over The Top you have to tone it down.

MICKEY: That thing that happened at Joe’s caff is just something that has always stuck in my mind. Second only to when I was out having a glass of beer with Reggie (Kray) and he shot a feller in the toilet.

JOHN: What had the other guy done?

MICKEY: Well, we went to a drinking club in Islington. We went downstairs to the toilet and BAAAAAAAAAAAANNNGG!!!! and Reggie has shot the feller standing at the next urinal in the leg. The echo!!! It was deafening!

JOHN: Why did he shoot him?

MICKY: He never explained it and I didn’t ask. We went back upstairs and we left as casually as I could muster.

JOHN: Who was the guy?

MICKY: Soppy Cooper was his name. All I know about him is he came from Hoxton. That was probably enough for Reggie. Neither of them – the Twins – liked people from Hoxton.

JOHN: Because…?

MICKY: I dunno. They had come from Hoxton. It was before they had got their own way with the world. They were ordinary people once, weren’t they… Frances, Reggie’s wife, came from Hoxton.

JOHN: But Reggie never said why he shot the bloke?

MICKY: No. He said: “I think I shot him in the head.”

And I said: “No, it was definitely the leg.”

“But as I shot him,” Reggie told me, “the gun jumped and he put his hands up to his head.”

“That was because it was so loud,” I said. “He was putting his hands up to his ears. It was deafening.”

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Which gangster films do gangsters like?

Reggie Kray, Micky Fawcett, singer Lita Roza, Ronnie Kray, actress Barbara Windsor & actor Ronald Fraser in the 1960s

In a blog a couple of weeks ago, I was saying the word ‘gangster’ is a strange word but, if it has to be used, then Micky Fawcett, a close associate of the Kray Twins, probably counts as one.

A former one. He wrote the highly-admired memoir Krayzy Days.

I got talking to him about movies.


JOHN: You told me that people in the business like The Godfather: Part II. That surprised me.

MICKY: Did it?

JOHN: It’s a lovely film, but I think about two-thirds of it is in Sicilian. I think Paramount considered putting it up for an Oscar as Best Foreign Language Film.

MICKY: Maybe that’s why people liked it. My favourite ones usually are the French ones – I’m watching one now on television – Spiral – this is the second series – it’s a subtitled French police thing.

JOHN: Oh, like those Scandinavian noir TV series.

MICKY: Not so much the Scandinavian ones; more the French.

JOHN: Why?

MICKY: Realistic. In the last one I saw, there were two policemen on a stake-out who have a fight with each other. You didn’t get that in Dixon of Dock Green. When I was growing up, everyone used to say: Oh! English gangster films! They’re useless! I remember them talking in The Kentucky Club with Joan Littlewood and one of her crew. You go down to get costumes for them films and you get a black shirt and a white tie… but nobody dresses like that! They were in the Kentucky surrounded by genuine gangsters.

JOHN: I think British gangster films got better after Get Carter. That and The Long Good Friday were good.

MICKY: They didn’t do much for me. There was Villain with Richard Burton…

JOHN: That was based on the Krays, wasn’t it?

MICKY: Richard Burton thought he was playing Ronnie Kray, yeah.

JOHN: Why was that good?

MICKY: I never said it was.

JOHN: It just felt to me like watching Richard Burton playing a part. I never really believed in it. I believed Donnie Brasco.

MICKY:  Yes, that was very good. But it was too good for the ordinary person.

JOHN: Why?

MICKY: Well, people like to see more shooting and violence and all that type of thing if they’re gonna watch a gangster film. But Donnie Brasco was very, very realistic. The scenes with Al Pacino in the house. A really, really good film.

JOHN: I don’t know if it’s true, but there was a distinction made in it that, if you introduced someone as “a friend of mine” he was a friend of yours but, if you introduced someone as “a friend of ours” he was a made man in the Cosa Nostra.

MICKY: That worked. It used to. They’re gone now: the Mafia. It’s the Russians now.

JOHN: I think maybe it helped it was made by an English director – Mike Newell, who did Four Weddings and a Funeral – he could see things objectively.

MICKY: Goodfellas I liked – That beginning and the cigarette as a currency.

JOHN: I don’t really like Martin Scorsese – in Mean Streets they really did just mutter.

MICKY: I thought that was a good film.

JOHN: The Departed was OK and I liked Casino. I think a lot of that is based on reality. The head-in-the-vice scene where the eye pops out.

MICKY: The line I remember in Casino is when the old-timers are talking and the boss says “Look, why take a chance?” So they shot him.


(EXTRACT FROM THE CASINO SCRIPT)

The BOSSES are gathered around a conference table as the 

lawyers and nurses silently walk out the door as if on cue.

                      NICKY (V.O.)

          See, when something like this happens, 

          you know how things are gonna work out.

          It’s always better with no witnesses. 

          So, what about Andy?

THE CAMERA PANS FROM ONE BOSS TO THE OTHER.

                      FORLANO

               (Putting down his 

               oxygen mask once the 

               door behind him is 

               shut)

          He won’t talk. Stone is a good kid. 

          Stand-up guy, just like his old man. 

          That’s the way I see it.

                      BORELLI

          I agree. He’s solid. A fuckin’ Marine.

                      CAPELLI

               (Holding his oxygen mask) 

          He’s okay. He always was.

          Remo, what do you think?

                      GAGGI

               (Pause)

          Look… why take a chance? At least, 

          that’s the way I feel about it.


JOHN: And I think that was based on a real incident too. Any British equivalent to that?

MICKY: No. No. The trouble is, for me… If you was a professional footballer, you wouldn’t really want to watch films about professional football too much, because you’d be criticising them all day long. When you’re surrounded by it, as I was for years…

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Anyone who thinks they have witnessed the objectification of women needs to come here

Kate Copstick working for Mama Biashara in Kenya

My last two blogs have been edited extracts from Kate Copstick’s diary. She is currently in Kenya working with her charity Mama Biashara.

Copstick covers 100% of her own costs, including accommodation and flights and takes zero from the charity… 100% of all donations go to the charity’s work.

Here are the latest edited extracts from her diaries. The full versions are on her Facebook page.

Copstick writes:


Doris, one of Mama Bishara’s main workers

Stand by to get very angry. Remember with all this stuff, nothing helps quite like having the money to do something about it.

So never forget Mama Biashara has a BTMyDonate page. Feel free (in fact feel obliged) to share this… If you can get someone else to donate then you don’t have to …

THURSDAY

In tonight’s news from Kenya… Opposition proscribed as a criminal organisation. Media blackout continues. Until government ‘investigation’ is done. Gulp.

I have slept like the proverbial log. Our first stop is the delightful oasis that is Wildebeest Camp to collect the farming tools I have left there. They are for the new Maasai group I am visiting.

I send a plangent plea to Vikram Dave for school fees for the Ruai children Mama Biashara has been supporting. Nowadays the school fees are crippling for us.

I am VERY late to meet Doris at ChickenMaster. She is asleep at the table when I arrive, having been up all night taking phone calls from desperate mothers of abused children who have nowhere to turn. The group we are meeting tomorrow seem quite emboldened now they have made the decision to meet us. As if they can see light at the end of the tunnel and are at least 99% sure it is not an oncoming train. They will be bringing actual business plans. They are ready to go.

FRIDAY

I have a meeting with Julius – Baba Biashara in Western Kenya.

Julius has been doing great stuff. We now have a functioning kibanda (a small single-room building) with walls and everything at the entrance to his plot. We just need to put in an electrical socket (we got the wire to bring electricity to the plot last time) and we can do everything there.

Julius has been making the most of the stuff Mama Biashara left him with – cod liver oil, glucosamine sulphate etc etc and he has a long list of quasi-medical complaints from his last get together with our groups. Generally of the “I get ulsas (acid indigestion) when I eat a big ugali” variety.

I am really hoping that Vikram Dave (if he gets back to me) will be able to help with shoes for these people. The jiggers that infest the soil, burrow into the feet, lay eggs, explode out and leave septic sores are kept at bay completely by shoes. We have a great jiggers project here with Julius and we can treat them. But with no shoes they just burrow back.

Our businesses are doing well and the area is gagging for more raincatchers. It is now dry here and a full raincatcher will keep a small community for about six weeks through the first part of the dry spell. When there is any rain at all, it is more or less all they need. And while they use raincatcher water there is absolutely no waterborn disease.

I ask Julius about the problem of child rape in Western (my Mama Biashara peeps are our eyes and ears on the ground across Kenya).

Not a biggie, I hear.

It is frowned upon in Luhya culture – as Julius says: “People will not like you because you have done a bad thing”.

However “Rape case is upon the family” he says. Meaning it has to get sorted out amongst the people themselves. Hmmmm. There is one case, he suddenly remembers, of a boy “with blood coming down” which was noticed by the mother. Julius says he will look into it. I think about shrieking: “You must contact the police!” But I realise this would do no good.

David arrives and we meet Doris and set off for Kitengela.

I do not like Kitengela. This is more or less Maasai country and every bar and restaurant is full with men eating meat (OK slight exaggeration but not much). Anyone who thinks they have witnessed the objectification of women anywhere in the west really needs to come here. Even I, hyper-insensitive as I am, can feel like I am being looked at like a cross between nothing at all and a breeding cow. I am almost overwhelmed with the urge to do something appalling or to face off with one of these arrogant, meaty-eyed, entitled (in their own way) patriarchs. But TBH, the thought of what my Dad would say stops me.

I do not fail to see the irony in that.

We find a space at the back of a bar and our group arrives. So as not to arouse suspicion, one representative from each mini-group comes. Four young women and, surprisingly, a man.

I am at a loss as to imagine how the man fits in… Is his wife getting jiggy with his son? Surely not.

Absolutely not.

Ntoto represents four men who met time and time again at the police station or at their local Chief’s office. They had all come to report the same thing. These men are Maasai from Tanzania who have married across the border into Kenya. The Kenyan Maasai do not like them and they display their Kenyan dislike by raping the wives and the children of the incomers. Repeatedly. With absolute impunity.

Ntoto and his friends went to their local Chief and to the police and none of them would do anything.

So he is here with a plan to move back into Tanzania with his wife and five children and his three friends and their wives and ten children and make a new life. They are going to manufacture charcoal. Ecologically dubious, but a good business. He almost cries when I hand over the money.

I almost cry when I hand over the money but there is no time because now we have Naserian, representing four women and sixteen children. With this little group, the husbands wait until the girl children are “big” – ie 11 years old – before raping them. The group have a good business plan, an escape route and have organised a place to stay in their new town. We have a counsellor in place there who will be there for sessions with both mothers and children as soon as they are safe and established.

Next, Mary – heading a group of four women with thirteen children and Jane, whose group of four women have sixteen children between them. With these women, the husband does not bother to wait until the girls are “big”. The rape starts, we hear, when the children are as young as five.

All the groups are going to the same town, which is great for moral support. And for the reason that they can all go to the same hospital to get checked and our counsellor can do group sessions. One of the ladies in the last group has something of an additional problem. She has five children with a child rapist. But was herself raped by another man in the community. And is now pregnant with his child.

It is brain-addling that, as I am here, my Facebook is hotching with horror at the abomination that is having ‘Brolly Dollies’ on the grid at bike races because it objectifies women. See above.


Mama Biashara subsists solely on donations from the public and from sales at its London shop. Copstick covers 100% of her own costs, including flights and accommodation and takes zero.

100% of all donations go to the charity’s work.

You can donate HERE.

COPSTICK’S DIARY CONTINUES HERE

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Filed under Charity, Crime, Kenya, Rape

Banksy, the Lawyer and the Gangster – and the confusing matter of copyright

Micky Fawcett – art lover – at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, East London.

My last blog was about an artist who was interested in gangsters.

This one is about a gangster who took an interest in art. 

The word gangster is faintly meaningless. It just means someone who is in a gang. So schoolchildren could be gangsters if they are in a gang, if you wanted to use the word in that context.

In the UK, the Kray Twins are another type of gangster. And, if someone was a close associate of theirs – if he was part of their ‘gang’ – then I suppose he could be called a gangster.

Micky sips a quiet coffee while perusing a shot of himself and ‘Brown Bread’ Fred Foreman in Brian Anderson’s recent photographic book

Micky Fawcett was a close associate of the Krays.

In Lock Stock and Two Smoking Cameras, Brian Anderson’s recent book of photographs of British crime figures, shot over ten years, Micky Fawcett is described as “a man who would not hesitate to use guns and razors, a well-known associate and part of the inner Kray circle in the 1960s. Author of Krayzy Days, which is said to be the best book written about the Krays due to Micky’s first-hand knowledge”.

(In the YouTube video above, Micky Fawcett appears at 1 min 03 secs.)

Krayzy Days tells of far more than just Micky’s life with the Krays. He was and is a man of many interests. Around 2006/2007, he took an interest in art and was involved with the Smudge Gallery in Spitalfields Market, London.

Page One of the letter from Banksy’s lawyer

On 17th November 2006, the street artist Banksy’s lawyer, sent a three-page letter to Micky. It started: “It has come to our client’s attention that a number of our client’s copyright works have been used by you without our client’s permission first being sought or obtained.”

The letter referred to “the continuing flagrancy of the infringement complained of (within the meaning of Section 97 (2) of the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1998)”.

Particularly miffing – Banksy art ad

Banksy – who is, lest we forget, famous for painting graffiti, usually uninvited, onto walls owned by other people – seemed to be particularly miffed that ads had appeared saying: 

PSST!

WANNA BUY A BANKSY?

VISIT SPITALFIELDSARTMARKET.CO.UK

A couple of days ago, I asked Micky about what had happened:

The Smudge Gallery in Spitalfields Market in London in 2006. It is no longer trading.


JOHN: Have you still got the shop?

MICKY: No.

JOHN: Because?

MICKY: The market was completely redeveloped and we no longer had the premises. So that was that.

JOHN: How long were you involved in the gallery?

MICKY: A couple of years, maybe.

JOHN: What had you done to incur the wrath of Banksy’s lawyer?

MICKY: We had hired a cameraman to go around taking pictures of all the Banksies, which we then transferred onto canvas and sold and we were very, very busy. The one with two policemen kissing was very popular. They all were, really. It was a tremendous business.

JOHN: That’s surely legal? You were taking photographs of something on a wall in public view from the public street so that’s in the public domain, isn’t it?

MICKY: No, it’s not legal at all.

JOHN: Surely, if it’s outside in the street, I can take a picture of it, can’t I? And the photograph is my copyright.

MICKY: You can take a picture of it, but you can’t put it onto a canvas as if you’ve done the picture.

JOHN: Banksy never put them on canvas, though. He put them on walls. So it’s not masquerading as his work. It’s your original work of art – a canvas print of your original photograph of something Banksy did on a wall in a public place.”

MICKY: When he puts it on a building, they can sell the building.

JOHN: So that’s private property. But, you could surely take a photograph of Wembley Stadium and then sell a canvas of your photograph. I think you should go back into the art business again.

MICKY: No, I don’t want to go into the art business or any other business. You do it.

JOHN: But you might sue me for stealing your idea. Banksy is famously secretive. What was your response to the lawyer’s letter?

MICKY: Eventually, via a barrister, a straightforward Who is this Banksy? We never heard another word from them.

JOHN: Nothing?

MICKY: They came and put a sticker on our window saying NONE OF THE CONTENTS IN THIS SHOP ARE GENUINE BANKSIES. THE ONLY THING BY BANKSY IN THIS SHOP IS THIS NOTICE.

JOHN: You should have taken a picture of the notice, printed it on canvas and sold it.

MICKY: I know. We should have kept the notice.

JOHN: Come to think of it, how do I know you are not Banksy?

MICKY SAID NOTHING AND JUST LOOKED AT ME.

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Filed under Art, Crime