Friday, January 25, 2008

Afflecks palace to go?

It seems likely that Afflecks Palace is like Leeds corn Exchange in serious trouble as higher rents push out alternative stalls as has been on the cards for a long time. There are last minute talks but if this is resolved favourably Manchester will have achieved something Leeds and Camden failed to do:

Afflecks talks on hold
Manchester Evening News, UK - Jan 25th
TOWN hall-mediated talks over the future of Afflecks Palace have been postponed for 24 hours - with the centre's landlords and managers holding further discussions in private.

Bosses from the shopping emporium were due to meet landlords Bruntwood in public yesterday in a bid to thrash out a deal to save it from closure.

The future of the centre - and its 100 stalls - has been hanging in the balance since the original lease ran out in June.

Traders fear a huge hike in rents that could accompany a new agreement would put them out of business. But Bruntwood wants the dilapidated building to be refurbished and insists that the costs of any future improvements should be covered by the lease.

Negotiations have broken down several times and Afflecks founder and manager Elaine Walsh warned traders they could be given notice to quit by the end of this month.

8000 behind Afflecks battle
Manchester Evening News, UK - 23 Jan 2008
TRADERS at Afflecks Palace have collected 8000 names on a petition to save the iconic Manchester emporium from closure. The lease at the shopping centre .

Smells Like Teen Spirit
Manchester Confidential, UK - 21 Jan 2008

Protesting ought to be a sport reserved for the young – they look a damn sight edgier and cooler doing it.

Hundreds of angst-ridden pubescent teenagers stampeded to the rescue of Manchester’s landmark shopping centre Afflecks Palace on Saturday. Cars beeped their horns as squeaky girls chanted “Save Afflecks” at decibels that could be heard over at Piccadilly Gardens.

The protest not only demonstrated a huge amount of support but the array of fabulously experimental and individual clobber with which the kids kitted themselves out also illustrated what a fundamental impact Afflecks has had on youth culture over its 26 years in residence.

Music legends back Afflecks
Manchester Evening News, UK - 18 Jan 2008
THE campaign to save Afflecks Palace has been backed by some of Britain's biggest music legends.

German youth culture vs UK

Interesting article compare life in Warrington where someone was recently killed by violent yobs to Germany where peaceful goths roam the streeets:

Sunday People, UK - 19 Jan 2008

Drunk teens still plague hero Garry's estate yet Warrington's twin town stays calm.. WHY?

It's Friday night in the town where dad-of-three Garry Newlove was kicked to death by a gang drunk on cheap supermarket booze - and nothing much has changed.

I watch as clutch of scowling hoodies knock back can after can of lager outside an offlicence in Warrington before wandering off to cause mayhem and fear.

Sunday People, UK -19 Jan 2008

A gang of Goths gather in the street on Friday night with bottles in their hands - but there's nothing menacing about these teenagers.

The bottles contain water because here there are no badges of honour for binge-boozing, drunken vandalism or beating up innocents.

I'm in Warrington's twin town Hilden 20 miles from Dusseldorf in Germany. Both towns have rich and poor suburbs, high-rise flats and the same Adidas-clad chavs, sports-mad teens and anti-establishment Goths.

But when it comes to the behaviour of teenagers, Hilden is in another world.

One of the Goths, Kevin Sadowski, 17, trots out the age-old moan that "there's nothing to do here" - but he still won't be going home with a criminal record.

He tells me: "I tried booze at about 12. But getting 'hammered' as you English say, and smashing windows or hurting someone is just pathetic. If we do drink we have one or two cans of beer because it tastes nice.

"But if you cannot have fun without booze, you must be a bit odd."

In the town's Area 51 youth centre - one of three in the 57,000-resident town which runs regular concerts, fitness classes, sports matches and cinema nights - 15-year-old Sadine Udder tells me: "I can't understand British teenagers.

"Why would I want to stand out in the street drinking then cause trouble and crime just for the sake of it?

"That's stupid. My parents would kill me. And I would be scared of the Polizei."

Sabine and her friends are not the Brady Bunch.

Ranging in age from 12 to 17, some have a sneaky cigarette and all admit to having tried alcohol.

Jessica Baker, 14, says: "I once got so drunk on beer I passed out. Everyone laughed at me.

"I didn't feel good about it and no one thought I was cool. I didn't do it again."

The gang also tell of a pal who once went to hospital after boozing. Their voices are low and faces ashamed. Having your stomach pumped carries no status here.

At the Polizei station, the duty cop claims it's been a busy night for youth crime. But while in UK towns that means fights and maybe a stabbing, in Hilden it means three boys arrested for kicking street lamps. Chief of Police Wolfgang Busch recoils when told about Garry Newlove's fate at the hands of drunk yobs.

A few years ago Hilden feared alcopops were becoming popular and set up a task-force between council, police and youth services.

It had two aims - to make sure there were enough youth facilities and to punish young offenders within weeks of a crime so they learned their lesson quickly.

In this town, carrying a knife will earn you two weeks in jail. If you have repeated behavioural problems you face being sent to Siberian boot camp.

For nine months you will have to collect firewood to keep warm, dig your own toilet outside your hut and pump water from a well.

Herr Busch, who is to meet Warrington cops to discuss techniques, added: "The worst youth crime we had was a youth murdering another eight years ago.

"But they were both foreigners visiting here."

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sophies Festival Of Music (from Lancashire Telegraph)

A two festival dedicated to Sophie to be held in Preston:

Sophies Festival Of Music (from Lancashire Telegraph)
6:48pm Monday 21st January 2008

A TWO-day music event is taking place in aid of the Sophie Lancaster memorial fund.

SOPHIE - Stamp Out Prejudice, Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere - was set up after the brutal attack on Sophie, from Rawtenstall, at Stubbylee Park, Bacup.

Sophie's friend, Anastasia Roe, 23, has arranged the music event on February 1 and 2 at The Venue on Lloyd Walk, Preston.

Anastasia said: "The first night will be a goth night and the second will feature all kinds of different music.

"Sophie was a brilliant girl. When I heard the news I was devastated."

The venue holds a 750 capacity and tickets are available on the door for £3. Friday runs from 8pm to 2am. Saturday is 3pm to 1am.

Long Hair Discrimination case in N. Ireland

The court has ruled against Grant in Northern Ireland in his desire to have long hair despite evidence showing how women in he school could adopt any hair style they liked. In enforcing a ban against long hair for men Ballyclare High finds itself in ignominious company alongside Nazi Germany and modern states well known for ignoring human rights like Iran, Turkemistan and North Korea. (See previous posts on Long hair and Fury as long-haired son suspended) What has not been given prominence in much of the coverage elsewhere is the fact Grant was attacked by a thug waving a pair of scissors during the dispute. An interesting example were the prejudice of the authorities results in violence. More details below:


21 January 2008

BALLYCLARE High School has welcomed a High Court ruling that its uniform and disciplinary policies are lawful.
The school had gone to the High Court seeking approval of its code of conduct, including its uniform regulations, after a row erupted over the suspension of fifth form pupil Grant Stranaghan for failing to comply with hairstyle regulations.
The Rathcoole teenager was suspended for three days in November for refusing to get his hair cut and was later segregated from other pupils on his return to school.
Lawyers for the 16-year-old and another pupil disciplined for the length of his hair had contested the action, claiming that the school's rules sexually discriminated against boys.
However, after a three-day judicial review hearing, the judge said he was satisfied that the school's code was not unlawful.
Mr Justice Weatherup ruled that Grant Stranaghan's human rights had not been breached, but added that he should have been put on detention rather than being segregated from his classmates.
The judge said that as segregation was "not part of the disciplinary policy", a lesser sanction should have been used upon his return to school after his suspension.
"We are obviously pleased that the judge has decided that our code of conduct, including our uniform code, is lawful. This is an important decision, not just for Ballyclare High School, but for all other schools and organisations which operate a uniform code.
"We have been deeply grateful for the huge support which we have received from all quarters throughout this process. We know that the overwhelming majority of our parents and pupils will be pleased and relieved that we can now carry on with the proper business of the school," a statement issued on behalf of the school said.
Speaking to the Newtownabbey Times on Monday, Grant's father, George Stranaghan, confirmed that he is awaiting confirmation from his solicitor regarding the exact wording of the appeal decision and advice on what steps he can take next.
Mr Stranaghan has vowed to appeal against the ruling that his son wasn't discriminated against, vowing to take the case further, including possibly to the European Court of Human Rights.
"If the appeal doesn't work then I am willing to go the whole way for him. We will go as far as we can with this," he commented.
"I am waiting for the school to apologise at the very least. I think we are due an apology after they put him (Grant) in solitary confinement for six weeks," Mr Stranaghan added.
Grant is currently sitting his mock GCSE exams, and his father is waiting to see what action the school is going to take when he returns to classes.
Ballyclare High School's rules on hairstyles do not permit male pupils to grow their hair to a length that reaches their blazer collar.


Newtown Abbey Today
16 January 2008

A SCHOOLBOY at the centre of a row over the length of his hair is the victim of sexual discrimination, it has been claimed in court.
A photograph of prefects at Ballyclare High School with girls "breaking rules on appearance" was shown to the High Court in Belfast on Monday.
"This is one of the clearest instances of direct discrimination this court is likely to see," the barrister said.
The school is seeking a court ruling on the validity of its uniform policy and procedures amid claims that it is discriminating against fifth form pupil Grant Stranaghan for having long hair.
The 16-year-old was suspended for refusing to cut his hair.
At the judicial review hearing, a barrister, appearing for a second boy given detention on the same grounds, urged the court to find the policies unlawful.
The lawyer claimed that enforcing uniform policy in the school differed between the sexes and that boys received less favourable treatment through being denied their choice of hairstyles.
According to the school's uniform and dress code rules girls with long hair should have it tied back. They are not permitted to have extreme hairstyles and colours.
Boys, meanwhile, are forbidden to have hair touching blazer collars or severe number-one cuts.
Opening his response, the barrister produced a photograph of prefects from a recent school magazine.
He said: "What one sees is a number of boys and girls. The boys in the prefects' picture are all in compliance with the school's policy, they appear to have hair cuts in keeping with the policy.
"The girls, on the other hand, have a variety of hairstyles. On a quick count I see 30 female pupils in the image, and of those, 27 are in breach of the school rules.
"They do not have their hair tied back neatly with a clip or ribbon. There may be three female pupils who are in compliance."
The hearing continues.

Hair row boy Grant is all cut up about scissors attack - Education - News - Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The father of a teenager caught up in a court battle over his hairstyle last night told of the terrifying moment his son was attacked by a young thug brandishing a pair of scissors.

Grant Stranaghan (15) stayed away from school yesterday as a result of the sinister incident - which happened as he was travelling home on the school bus on Friday afternoon.

His father, George, took the decision to keep his son at home over concerns that his safety could not be guaranteed after the attack.

The schoolboy has become embroiled in a row which could have massive legal implications for schools across Northern Ireland.

Last month, he was given a three-day suspension from Ballyclare High School because his hair was two inches long. Since returning to school - over two weeks ago - the teenager has been kept isolated from his classmates.

Mr Stranaghan said: "We just aren't sleeping over all of this.

" Grant was sitting on the bus on Friday when he realised that someone was coming up behind him.

"He turned around and there was a boy there with a big pair of scissors. Grant was able to push him away but when you think what could have happened it's very worrying.

"If the bus driver had to brake - it was like coming at him with two big knives. We kept him away from school because we just don't know if he's safe or not."

The Belfast Telegraph revealed yesterday that Ballyclare High School - where Grant is a fifth year pupil - is seeking affirmation from the High Court that its actions have been legal.

A statement from the school said: "Ballyclare High School has begun legal proceedings to support its position regarding the case of a boy who was suspended for deliberately flouting school rules by refusing to have his long hair cut."

The school took the action after Mr Stranaghan said he intends to apply for leave for a judicial review into the matter and ask for his son to be allowed to return to class, claiming that he is suffering sexual discrimination, as well as a breach of his human rights.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

12 year old girl in Blackburn attacked by group of girls

I have not been updating regularly due to other pressures so a number of important stories slipped me by chiefly one which Diva posted in a comment here a few weeks back a sickening attack on a twelve year old teenager in Blackburn for dressing differently. It seems about 11 others were chasing this one girl.

This is all the more poignant in that alternative teens were recently blamed for hanging out together in the town (see Blackburn). Hardly surprising if they do go round in groups if they are subjected to this kind of attack if they are by themselves. Despite the good news on the trial in Exeter and on Sophie's Bench, it seems the sad saga of violence continues. Read the illuminating comments at the website:

Girl attacked 'for how she dressed'
Lancashire Evening Telegraph, UK - 11 Jan 2008

A YOUNG girl was chased and attacked in school grounds - because of how she was dressed, her mother claims.

The 12-year-old, who was wearing "emo" style clothing, with skinny black jeans and a hooded top, was set upon by a gang of girls at 3pm on Sunday.

Her mum said the attack, in Blackburn, could have been much more serious if she had not managed to escape.

Police said they were treating the incident very seriously because of the vicious nature.

However, a spokesman said they were unable to confirm whether the offence was prompted by the girl's appearance as the officer dealing with it was on holiday.

The girl's mum, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals, said the gang were calling her daughter, a Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School pupil, a "goth".

She had gone into Blackburn town centre shopping for her mother's birthday present when she was targeted in the Boulevard.

One of the gang shouted 'Are you wearing those shoes for a joke?'

She then ran along Church Street where she was assaulted. Police said she got to Preston New Road when the gang stopped her again and tried to take her iPod.

The mother said the girl ran to the QEGS school grounds to hide and was running up the steps when her legs were grabbed and she fell.

Her mum, 38, who lives in Feniscowles, said: "They were calling her a goth.

"One had hold of her while others were punching her. They made her aplogise for being a goth and were making her beg for them not to 'break her legs'.

"They held her hostage on the steps until she did."

She added: "She was in tears and cried the whole night.

"She has been left completely traumatised by it."

She said the attack was a stark reminder of what happened to Sophie Lancaster, who was allegedly murdered for wearing goth-style clothing in August, The mother said: "We all know what it can lead to after what happened to the girl in Bacup.

"That could have been my daughter and I want to warn all parents."

PC Mick Smith said: "This was an extremely serious incident but fortunately she wasn't physically injured.

"We won't tolerate attacks on anyone, and we are appealing to anyone who might have seen what happened to come forward and let us know."

Police have arrested three girls on suspicion of assault. The girls, all aged 14 and from Blackburn, have been released on police bail pending further inquiries.

Anyone with information about the incident should call Blackburn police on 01254 51212 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 .

A tribute to Sophie - Whitby Today

The tribute bench has now been in place for a few weeks quality article in Whitby Gazette has more pictures there are plans for a dedicaion ceremony at the April Whitby Gohic Weekend:

A tribute to Sophie - Whitby Today

The memorial bench erected on West Cliff in memory of Sophie Lancaster. Pausing a thought for Sophie are, from left, Whitbys Fiona Clewlow, Mike Edwards and Glenis EdwardsPicture by Richard Ponter     w080212a
The memorial bench erected on West Cliff in memory of Sophie Lancaster. Pausing a thought for Sophie are, from left, Whitbys Fiona Clewlow, Mike Edwards and Glenis Edwards

A MEMORIAL bench to commemorate a tragic young goth woman who was killed last year has been placed in Whitby thanks to the efforts of generous fund-raisers.
The bench in honour of Sophie Lancaster, who died following an incident in a play park in Bacup in East Lancashire, has been placed on the West Cliff.

It follows the generosity of both Whitby residents and goth visitors who raised almost £3,000 for the memorial bench.

Five youths have been charged with murder in relation to Sophie's death and a trial is due to take place in Lancashire, where Sophie (20) was from, on 10 March.

Sophie was a regular visitor to the Whitby Gothic Weekend and the goth community in Whitby have really taken her to their hearts.

The official unveiling of Sophie's bench will take place at the next gothic weekend in April and Sophie's mother, Sylvia, is planning to visit the town to personally thank everybody who helped get the memorial bench in place.

She told the Gazette: "The support from the goth community in Whitby has been very comforting.

"It is lovely to know that Sophie's memory lives on in Whitby because she really used to enjoy spending time there."

The plaque on the bench reads: "In memory of Sophie Lancaster 26th November 1986 – 24th August 2007 – an angel too soon."

Not only does the bench mean a lot to those who knew Sophie, but for others the memory is also significant.

Martin Coles aka DJ Martin Oldgoth, who helped to organised last year's fund-raising, said: "I'm really pleased to see the photos of the bench now that it's finally in place, and am looking forward to April when I can sit there, stare out to sea and just spare a few moments thinking of someone that I never met, but who had such an impact on me."

Ade Varney and Joolz Hyland of Blinding Horror Monster FX ran a special make-up lab workshop at the last gothic weekend to raise money for Sophie's bench.

They told the Gazette: "I know the vast majority of our supporters were deeply affected by this tragedy and they bowled us over with their loyalty and generosity towards the family Sophie left behind."

A campaign entitled S.O.P.H.I.E. (Stamp Out Prejudice Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere) has been started by Sophie's friends and family following her death.

It has so far raised more than £6,000 and special wrist bands will be on sale at April's gothic weekend to boost the coffers.

Whitby man Mike Edwards said Sophie was an intelligent young woman with a bright future ahead of her.

He added: "The awful events of Sophie had a devastating effect on people far beyond the reaches of those that knew her.

"As one of the group of goths from Whitby which travelled to her funeral to pay our respects, I can say it was a heartbreaking, yet peaceful experience.

"She was proud to be a goth – one of us – and we are a close-knit group of people.

"Goths and goth bands across the world have paid tribute to her, and the bench is our tribute to her in what we considered to be probably the most fitting location for a goth memorial.

"We have always been so grateful for the warm welcome we have received in Whitby and now Sophie can rest in peace and safety in the town that loves goths rather than wanting to destroy them."

* A website has been set up for Sophie in which people can pay their own tributes to her and see how fund-raising is going.
Go to:

You can also buy a special S.O.P.H.I.E. wristband from Pandemonium in Flowergate – they cost £1 and all proceeds go straight to the campaign.

Goths banned by bus driver

This case has got quite a bit of media attention in the Daily Mail which used the headline 'I'm a human pet' (check out the comments there) and on the net even on Fox News. :

Goth who walks fiance on a leash is banned by bus driver who told him: 'No dogs allowed'| News | This is London

Jan 22nd

Given that she describes herself as a human pet – and is happy to walk around on a lead – Tasha Maltby is used to odd looks and even odder remarks.

But nothing had prepared her for the reaction of the bus driver who allegedly told the self-styled Goth and her boyfriend: "We don't let freaks and dogs like you on."

Miss Maltby and her fiance Dani Graves were so angered they have complained to the bus company of being "victimised".


Going walkies: Dani Graves and girlfriend Tasha Maltby were allegedly barred from a bus

"It is definitely discrimination, almost like a hate crime," 19-year-old Miss Maltby said yesterday.

The music technology student had this defence of her lifestyle.

"I am a pet, I generally act animal like and I lead a really easy life," she said.

"I don't cook or clean and I don't go anywhere without Dani. It might seem strange but it makes us both happy. It's my culture and my choice. It isn't hurting anyone."

The bus driver, however, has obviously not been listening.

He has repeatedly refused to allow Mr Graves, 25, and his "pet" on to his bus in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire.

Last month, with Miss Maltby on a leash as usual, the couple tried to board a bus at the bus station.

The driver, who was off duty, was standing near the door.

Mr Graves alleged: "He shoved me off the bus. He called us freaks and he called Tasha a dog.

"He said, 'We don't let freaks and dogs like you on'.

"He basically grabbed my T-shirt and slammed me backwards.

"I got a bit angry and called him a fascist pig."

In a separate incident, police were called when the driver, who has not been named, refused to allow other passengers on board after the couple ignored his orders and sat down.

The couple, who live on benefits in a council house and plan to start a family, have been friends for years.

They started going out together in July and became engaged in November.

Paul Adcock, of bus company Arriva Yorkshire, said: "We take any allegations of discrimination seriously.

"Mr Graves has already contacted us directly and as soon as our investigation has concluded we will inform him of the outcome."

Goth couple's upset at 'freaks and dogs' jibe

  • 19 January 2008
  • Source: Dewsbury Reporter

TWO goths say they are being victimised by a bus driver because of the way they dress.
Dani Graves, of Thornhill, said he was once physically pushed off a bus by a driver who said he and his fiancee Tasha Maltby were not allowed to travel on the service.

According to Mr Graves, he said: "We don't let freaks and dogs like you on." Mr Graves, 25, said on December 8, he and Miss Maltby, 19, went to Dewsbury bus station to get an Arriva service to Thornhill.

An off-duty bus driver was also on the service, getting a lift back to the depot at Mill Street East. This driver, who was still in uniform, allegedly pushed Mr Graves off the bus and refused service to the couple. Mr Graves said: "He shoved me off the bus. He called us freaks and he called Tasha a dog. He said, 'we don't let freaks and dogs like you on'.

"He basically grabbed my T-shirt and slammed me backwards. I got a bit angry and called him a fascist pig."

Mr Graves reported him to the manager at the bus depot, who said his complaint would be dealt with.

But last Saturday, the couple tried to get on a bus at Dewsbury bus station, at about 10.25pm. The same driver was at the wheel and as they approached he shook his head.

The pair showed their passes and sat down on the bus but the driver refused to let any other passengers on until they got off.

Mr Graves and Miss Maltby refused to get off the bus but were eventually forced off after being threatened with police action. And on Monday, Mr Graves was waiting for a bus in Thornhill, this time alone. He said he held out his arm to flag it down, but the same driver smiled and drove past.

Mr Graves relies on the bus service as he does not drive and suffers from a circulation problem that means he cannot walk long distances in cold weather.

He said he always got on with other bus drivers and although he took his fiancee round on a lead, they always took it off before getting on a bus as it could be dangerous.

Mr Graves said he believed this driver's treatment of them was purely down to the way they dress. He said: "He doesn't like the fact we wear black clothing. We expect the odd comment, but we don't expect it off a bus driver.

"I have been a goth most of my life and it's the first time I've come across anything like this. It's crazy."

Paul Adcock, operations director for Arriva Yorkshire, said: "We take any allegations of discrimination very seriously and we will be investigating all of Mr Graves' claims. Mr Graves has already contacted us directly and as soon as our investigation has concluded we will inform him of the outcome."

Goth culture grew out of the gothic rock scene of the 1980s. Goths typically distance themselves from the rest of society and wear black clothes and make-up.

Skaters slam park's vandals and drinkers - Kenilworth

Skaters slam park's vandals and drinkers - Kenilworth Today - Back to Home Page

11 January 2008

ANGRY Kenilworth skaters spoke out this week at the misuse of the town's skate park by drinkers, drug users and vandals.
The £40,000 facility, near the Castle Farm recreation centre in Fishponds Road, opened in 2004 after a long campaign by skating enthusiasts and supporters.

But this week, a skater emailed the Kenilworth Weekly News to say the behaviour of a few is making the facility dangerous for everyone and said the police and Warwick District Council are not doing enough to combat the problem.

He said: “I am extremely concerned about the skate park and the state of the vandalised half-pipe, which the council are supposed to be looking after.

“We have a major problem with the amount of alcohol consumed and glass broken and have had to resort to bringing our own brooms in the morning to clear up the glass as it is impossible to skate over the broken shards.

“We want to get away from the people who smoke, drink and vandalise the park.

“After a recent visit to Stratford skate park, we can see a massive difference in the quality and appearance of our park.

“Recently, we called the police because of some individuals who were drunk, smoking marijuana and vandalising and the police took three hours to come to check.

“By this time, we had cleared up and even then only one police officer came.

“We don’t know what to do and feel we have no options left.”

He also expressed concern that all visitors to the park are branded “thugs” by nearby residents who complain of noise and anti-social behaviour.

He said he and his friends have been forced to try and skate elsewhere, even resorting to using ‘no-skate’ zones’, which they realise is not allowed.

Town councillo
r, Pauline Edwards (Con, St John’s), said she was unaware of the problem and would raise the matter at Tuesday’s council meeting.

She said: “If this is the case, it would be a great pity because it is such a useful venue for all ages to enjoy.”

A spokesman for Warwick District Council, the authority responsible for the upkeep of the skate park, responded to the claims.

He said: “One of our park managers went out there yesterday (Monday) and couldn’t see any graffiti or evidence of damage or vandalism.

“We haven’t received any complaints about the skate park and would encourage people to let us know if there are any problems.

“The site is regularly cleaned by our contractor and there is flexibility to allow for extra cleaning if necessary.

“We are really keen to maintain the facility as somewhere for young people to go.”

Nobody was available to comment for the police.


Justice is done in the case of the Exmouth goth attack. See previous post: Trial of goth attacker in Exeter

Express & Echo, UK - 10 Jan 2008

Attack victim Anthony O'Neill believes his "Goth" clothing was the likely trigger for a violent street assault which left him needing stitches to his face.

Mr O'Neill voiced his relief after a jury at Exeter Crown Court yesterday unanimously found Ashley Matthews guilty of assaulting him, causing him actual bodily harm.

Matthews, 20, of Midway, Exmouth, had denied the offence against Mr O'Neill, a follower of the Gothic rock scene, in an incident on Friday, February 10, 2006.

Mr O'Neill, who was 19 at the time, had visited the Famous Old Barrel pub in Exmouth town centre with friends and was walking through the neighbouring car park when he was assaulted.

He was wearing a distinctive long black leather coat and black hat.

Witnesses described Matthews grabbing Mr O'Neill's hat, then following him as he tried to walk away, punching him to the ground.

The court heard Matthews kicked him as he lay on the ground, leaving Mr O'Neill needing hospital treatment and several stitches to his face.

Matthews claimed he was acting in self-defence and had only punched Mr O'Neill once after being attacked by him first.

But a passer-by told the jury how she saw a man matching Mr O'Neill's description lying on the floor, being kicked by another man.

Defence counsel Gareth Evans said in mitigation, after the verdict, that Matthews had no previous convictions for violence and his behaviour that night was out of character.

Matthews had one previous conviction for theft in 2003, a warning for disorderly behaviour in the same year and a reprimand for criminal damage in 2002.

Recorder Nicholas Hall adjourned sentencing until February 6 and released Matthews on unconditional bail.

He told him: "Kicking a person on the ground would normally attract a custodial sentence.

"There may be circumstances that could lead to a suspended sentence or attract a community penalty, so I invite the probation service to prepare a report. Can I make it clear that the fact that I'm asking for a report on you does not rule out a custodial sentence."

Mr O'Neill, from Exmouth, said he had been in the public gallery when the verdict was announced because he wanted to see justice done. He told the Echo, after sentencing: "I'm happy with the verdict and I definitely wanted to be here today to see what happened.

"I haven't got a clue why he attacked me. I'd say it was probably because of the way I was dressed. When I woke up afterwards, I felt confused. I wasn't 100 per cent sure why I was being taken to hospital or what was going on. For a while it messed me up. I even stopped wearing my hat and long coat when I went out.

" What helped was that I had a lot of support from family and friends."

Mr O'Neill said he also thanked PC Sean Cashin, the officer in the case, and prosecutor Emma Smith, for their help.

"I've come to terms with it now but for a while after the attack I felt really anxious," he said.

"The court case has been at the back of my mind for the last year and a half and I'm just glad it's all over."

Bullied Emo faces possible trial for "Death List"

Massive panic in a school in the States when it is discovered that a bullied teen kept a diary in which he slagged off his tormentors. He dressed in black and even worse he had a MySpace page in which he mentioned his frustration at being bullied. Clearly a psycho... lucky the authorities caught him.

Yet he had no weapons, or any history of violence. I thought there was freedom of speech in the United States, but not if you are unlucky enough to be bullied, if you voice your frustrations and if you dress alternatively clearly you are likely to kill at any moment (See this previous story for a similar incident US Police target alternative teen):

Lockport Teen Creates High School Hit List | WKBW - TV Buffalo, New York | Local News:

A Lockport student is accused of coming up with a high school hit list and tonight the teen's friends are coming to his defense. School officials say a student from Lockport High kept what amounts to a diary of death. But tonight the student's friends say he's the victim of bullying and that he would never have acted out his chilling threats.

The graphic descriptions of death that we are told were outlined in this notebook would cause anyone to be concerned. The teen allegedly wrote of hangings, breaking ribs and choking off air to 40 of his peers. But friends of the student who created the so-called "hit list" say he is misunderstood. Heather Tschaepe said, "He wasn't really going to kill anyone or anything. He was just letting out his anger because everyone always picks on him. He was just letting out his anger by writing it in a book. He didn't mean for anyone to see it or anything."

Tschaepe and Emily Doctor are close friends with the teen who wrote the list. They say its been blown out of proportion by fellow students and school leaders. Doctor said, "He's not the kinda person who would actually do any of it. He wouldn't have to nerve to. Its just what he would hope to happen... but maybe not that bad."

However, when a student came forward and reported the notebook hit list, Lockport school officials reacted quickly to the potential threat. Superintendent Terry Anne Carbone said, "The student is not in school at this time and we will be conducting a thorough and complete investigation, appropriate consequences and support networks will be put into place."

Students tell 7 News that the teen started wearing black in the last year and mostly kept to himself. But his friends say he was just acting "emo" which is teen slang for acting emotional, and that he wore black to show that he was hurt and scared from being picked on. Doctor said, "People are really taking it the wrong way. Like if they really knew him, they would know he's not like that and they're just blowing it way out, calling him crazy and psychotic and he's just not. He just expresses differently."

His friends say he's in a hospital tonight, getting mental health treatment. Tschaepe said, "I just want them to stop picking on him because he gets emotional."

The teen's friends tell us that he wants to come back to school, but they don't think it will happen. Meanwhile, the Lockport Police Department is investigating this for the school district. A detective will hand over his findings to Superintendent Carbone who will make the ultimate decision on what will happen to this student. The Lockport police chief told 7 News its possible that this teen will be referred to family court.

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal, NY - 12 Jan 2008
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Like any other high school, Lockport has its share of cliques and groups. Despite their differences, students say they generally co-exist peacefully.

Students had mixed reactions Friday to news that one of their own had compiled an alleged “death list” and had been removed from classes.Some said they felt safe, despite the details they were hearing. Some were clearly feeling scared. But few we spoke to felt that cliques had anything to do with the student’s alleged threats.

Nonetheless, the topic of the threats was foremost on the lips of students, parents and school personnel in conversations at LHS on Friday.

The furor began after school officials were tipped off to a notebook that allegedly contained a kind of “death list” with about 40 students on it. Sophomore Tim Ritiss said he felt “pretty confident” about his safety in school.

Jessica Palermo, a 10th grade student, said she didn’t know much about the student’s group of friends, but described him as “gothic.” The student’s friends were described as “just kind of out there.” Palermo added that some students did not take the threat seriously.

One student, who did not want his name used, said the student in question belonged to a group who were known as “emo.” It is a slang term describing someone who is emotional and introverted.

On the social networking Web site MySpace, the accused student, who lists his age as 15, does describe himself

as “emo.” The page, on which the student has more than 200 friends listed, includes references to cutting, or self-injury, and threats about people who make fun of “emos.” Also on his MySpace page, the boy wrote there are people he’d “love to kill.”

Sophomore Katie Schaunk said she can’t understand how someone could have so much anger at such a young age.

“He’s only like, 15. He must have come from a bad family,” she speculated. “He was only 15 years old, a freshman. How can you go through that much when you’re 15?” she asked.

Lockport High School resource officer Scot Snaith keeps a close eye on everyone walking the halls of the high school.

“They usually stay in their little groups,” he said. “Students with similar interests stay together. The jocks hang with the jocks, and so on. But we watch for anything that draws attention and find out if there’s a problem.”

In addition to the student athletes, groups at LHS include band members, drama participants — and a whole range of kids bound together by separate interests and kinships.

As the resource officer, Snaith is expected to have a relationship with students and teachers, address classes on crime prevention, investigate possible criminal activity within the school, advise the school on how to deal with law enforcement agencies and keep records relevant to his position.

But Snaith’s primary purpose is to help ensure the safety of students and staff.

Snaith “took immediate action with the school to investigate and intervene,” Wednesday when the notebook was found, a press release from the Lockport Police Department said.

“My presence in the hallways helps, they let me know if they see anything,” Snaith said. “I would rather check out 50 million reports that were wrong than to miss something.”

Lockport doesn’t try to break up the groups, but the resource officer’s strength in keeping the peace is in the daily contact he has with the students. Snaith said everything he hears is checked out.

Of course, there are confrontations from time to time, but that is expected, some students said.

“There’s always going to be fights,” said Damian Mavrak, a sophomore.

“You do see other groups pick on other groups — the more passive groups,” Snaith said. “But a lot of students are forward with me, and they let me know what’s going on. Communication is the most important thing.”

Snaith said there wasn’t any one group that causes more problems than the rest. All of the different groups in the student body are watched.

“We’ve had our share of problems from all of them,” he said. “We try and pinpoint if there is a problem.”

As to what happened at Lockport High School last week — and why — there’s no immediate answer.

“We’re investigating,” he said.

‘DEATH LIST’: Anger, emotions evident on MySpace
Niagara Gazette, NY - 11 Jan 2008
By April Amadon/
Niagara Gazette

LOCKPORT — The LHS student who wrote a “death list” is being described as an energetic but quiet student who often dressed in dark clothing.

On the social networking Web site MySpace, the student, who lists his age as 15, describes himself as “emo,” a slang term used to describe a person who is emotional or introverted.

The page, on which the student has over 200 friends listed, includes reference to cutting, or self-injury, and threats about people who make fun of “emos.”

“Oh yes there are some people in this world that I would love to kill but they will not be listed, you know who you are, you are the people that I want to jump up and down and kill and throw (their) body in the (canal),” the student wrote. “I don’t need help my life is fine, I just want to be left alone.”

Freshman Thomas Felcher, 15, said he’s had French class with the student for years. He said the teen has recently begun to change his fashion style, but has otherwise stayed the same.

Felcher said when he first heard about the list, he thought it was just a story, because the student “usually writes stories like that.”

“I never knew that it was supposed to be a real list,” he said. “I didn’t think much of it.”

Lockport Police Chief Larry Eggert said he can’t speak specifically about the boy in this case, but in general, many teens may have a hard time adjusting to the new social structure in high school, while at the same time dealing with hormones, stress from schoolwork and possibly problems at home.

“We all know what those years were like. You throw in some other variables ... before you know it, it can blow up to a real problem,” he said. “If you let it fester, there may come a day where the kid might just say, ‘You know what? Now’s the time.’ ”

Civic dubbed a 'pit of harassment' - News - General - The Canberra Times

In a familiar pattern in Australia alternative teens face hassle from authorities and shop keepers:

Civic dubbed a 'pit of harassment' - News - General - The Canberra Times

20 January 2008

CIVIC shop owners have expressed fear and outrage at what they say is a growing culture of anti-social behaviour and pack youth mentality in the area.

Coupled with the complaints were allegations police were complacent in patrolling the area.

According to one retail outlet owner, the Beats Police office looking over Garema Place is staffed only at night and periodically at weekends, allowing unlawful and aggressive behaviour to escalate.

But according to an ACT Policing spokesman, the office is not a police station and is used only when Beats foot patrols are on duty. "The community expects high-visibility policing and for the beats teams to be away from their desks and out on the streets. In close proximity to Garema Place, the City Police Station is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and there for anyone who is in need of assistance," he said.

None of the business operators Sunday Canberra Times spoke to in and around Garema Place were willing to be named, citing safety reasons. "A pit of harassment and aggression. That sums this place up," another owner said. "Once these kids know that their scare tactics are working, they are like vultures to a dead carcass. They just won't go away."

The Sunday Canberra Times spoke to a group of youths in Garema Place yesterday about the complaints raised by business owners. Twenty-one year-old Natalie Stevenson, of Braddon, cuts a striking figure, her short bleached hair contrasted by a uniform of black on black, a ripped pink singlet tied around her waist. She acknowledges her appearance is out of the ordinary but says she and her similarly attired friends are misunderstood by a majority of the public.

"We get just as much abuse from passers-by and shop owners. They call us emos [a term for a subgenre of youth] and tell us where to go. We have been followed store to store by security guards who reckon we are going to steal from them," she said.

"I work in Civic, hang out here and have just as much right to this place as anyone. It is a free world. We are not aggressive. It is narrow-minded people who are so quick to place us in that basket."

Street Culture and What is Emo?

A potentially good article on street culture in Manchester features some spectacularly inaccurate statements:

Manchester Confidential - A matter of taste…and bile:
"A matter of taste…and bile
Sian Claire Owen explores the fractured music scene and finds individuality and manipulation

Musical history is littered with bloody musical genre clashes. Skinheads hated hippies, mods loathed rockers, and punks just spat at anything that moved. Hell, the minstrels and sonneteers were probably at each others throats back in the day."...

Far from the mod'n'rocker riots on Brighton Beach in the 60s, today's musical genres have reached a Zen-like state of harmony. Either that or today's musical landscape is blander than a Barratt housing estate.

"There's no animosity between different scenes," said Shaw. "There are a lot of good collaborations. Most people at BBC 6 Music happily mix between the best of the music styles. Although saying that, as a teenager I would never have listened to Goth or heavy metal. And still wouldn't, come to think of it."

Dream on... people in Lancashire are regularly beaten up even killed for looking different.

Meanwhile another article attempts to define Emo... and works out that much of what the average person understands about the term is nonsense:

Finding emo: It eludes a real definition
Wisconsin State Journal, WI - 11 Jan 2008

They might be your kids. For sure, they know all about emo and you do not. It is a well-known and common international youth subculture, a celebration of depression that, so far, is virtually invisible to most adults.

"For me, the most disturbing part of this emo ' phenomenon is the whole I hate my life, I want to die ' part, " says Chelli Riddiough, a junior at Madison West High School. "The I want to cut myself ' joke that 's not really a joke at all. Thanks to the rejection of forthright emotions, teenage depression is being dismissed as just being emo. "

Emo is a kind of music, and a kind of fashion style, and above all a kind of demeanor. It 's so well known among young people that they already see it as cliche. It 's verbal shorthand for "emotional. " If the term had been current a generation ago, humorous depressives such as Charlie Brown and Woody Allen would have been labeled emo. Except that today it 's not funny.

"I have a lot of friends that are truly emo, " says Alex Policastro, a 17-year-old student at the Madison Area Technical College. "I think emos are people that have had a tough life, or just a tough time, and either need help or should be helped. "

Searching for emo

Finding emo is rough, if you 're older. On the one hand, it 's so well known that if you run "emo " on the Google search engine, you 'll find 50.3 million listings. Compare that to, for example, 8.16 million for "Jesus Christ " or 1.94 million for "bill of rights. "

That 's perhaps not surprising; according to a survey conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, the average age of the most active creators of Internet-content is 25. Emo seems to skew far younger than that, reaching down even into middle school.

On the other hand, we asked adults if they knew what emo was. We asked school psychologists, area high school and middle school counseling staffs, experts at the UW-Madison School of Education, and the Madison-based Briarpatch youth crisis intervention service. Some had heard of emo. No one could even define it.

So what is emo?

"Oftentimes, emo is used as a derogatory term, a sort of grow up and grow out of it ' statement, " says Riddiough. "For the most part, the term is typified as pessimistic, angsty, self-injurious and even suicidal. And sometimes homosexual, since male and female emo styles are pretty much the same. "

"I don 't know if I 'd really classify myself as emo, " says Jennifer Wilson, age 21, a Madison sales associate. But others have called her emo. "It 's kind of one of those things that outsiders label others as, if that makes sense. Like, a football player wouldn 't label himself as a jock. ' "

"I have been called emo before, " says Policastro. "I am not emo. If you want, you can categorize me as punk, maybe. "

Says Riddiough, "Nobody I know would gladly admit to being emo. It 's become such a joking term, such an insult, even, that few would seriously describe themselves as such. "

So despised is emo that one contributor to Yahoo Answers, an advice Web site, confessed to cutting himself. But that wasn 't the problem. The problem was that friends labeled him emo as a result. He plaintively complained, "I don 't get why ur emo if u cut. It 's stupid I think. "

Emo as a demeanor apparently arose in America. It spread via the Internet to Europe a few years ago. There, at least, it has begun to receive press attention. London 's Daily Mail reported that "teenagers are less equipped to manage strong emotions and a cult of suicide could have real and horrible consequences. " Kathimerini, a Greek newspaper, warns that psychologists there are concerned. In Australia, according to the University of Queensland 's Newspace, "Emo is the new vogue. "

A musical start

At first, emo was just music. "I believe emo came out of the hardcore scene -- metal plus punk, " says Jennifer Hanrahan, a host and DJ at the UW-Madison student radio station WSUM. "However, by the 2000s, emo had become more of a fashion style rather than a musical genre. "

Hanrahan says that acts such as Fall Out Boy, Dashboard Confessional and My Chemical Romance all became known as emo, even though one could argue that there were differences in their music. Another famous emo band is the Brooklyn-based Rainer Maria, which started in Madison. The band has not responded to requests for comment.

Like individuals labeled emo, "The bands who are commonly called emo don 't appreciate the term, " says Hanrahan.

Still, emo as music was relatively non-threatening, and it therefore played on top 40-radio stations and music television channels, "and so became popular with white middle to upper-class pre-teens and teens, " Hanrahan says. It became commercial. "Due to its young and affluent audience, emo began to get a bad rap with the wider musical public, whether deservedly or not I can 't quite say. "

The music defined the message, and the message came to define a more or less uniform androgynous fashion sense. "Nowadays, emo is considered as a white teen wearing tight black jeans, heavy mascara, and a floppy hairstyle, " says Hanrahan. Every emo Web site agrees with the stereotyped portrait: bangs over one or both eyes, Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers and band T-shirts are signature emo traits. With the crystallization of outward style came a defined demeanor.

There has been teen angst as long as there have been teens, of course. We just keep coming up with different names for it; Romeo 's Juliet was only 13, after all. Before emo there were the black-clad "goths, " whose clothes and black and white make-up resembled that of television 's "The Addams Family. " Emo is very different.

"From what I 've observed, Goth is about being angry and trying to be different, " says Riddiough. "It 's about rebelling and, yes, wearing black. Emo is about being sad and emotionally weak. "

The emo world

If you 're an outsider, emo is, above all, easy to ridicule. You can visit ( "The glass is: a) Half empty, b) Half full, c) Shattered in a million sharp pieces, d) Full of blood "). There are also online cartoons, mocking emo in an artistic style resembling the big sad-eyed kitten posters of the 1960s. One shows a weeping young man, and announces, "Emo is just an excuse for boys to act like girls. " Another shows an emo kid working on a poem, asking another emo kid, "What rhymes with razor blade? "

Another common Internet joke is, "I wish my lawn were emo, so it would cut itself. "

"As for the cutting thing, I don 't cut myself, " says Wilson. "I never have. I know people who have cut themselves that wouldn 't be classified as emo. ' I know people who are emo that don 't cut themselves. I think that it 's more of a stereotype than a fact. I wouldn 't say there isn 't any direct correlation, but then again the whole emo thing ' is a huge stereotype anyway. "

Still, sometimes emo can be a call for help.

"I have a male friend who used to be extremely emo, " says Wilson. "I once called him to ask what he was up to. He said, I 'm laying on the floor of my dark, cold basement listening to depressing music. I know, I 'm emo. ' "

"From my understanding, emo means emotionally disturbed, ' " notes Policastro. "I am trying to spread help to people who need it. "

Given that emo is most often an unfair stereotype label applied by others, is it necessarily bad?

"I think I definitely have certain emo characteristics, but overall, I 'm a happy person, " says Wilson. "The things that I would say about myself that are similar (to emo) are the fact that I love to express myself through things like art, writing, fashion and music. I dress a little less conservatively. I guess if you 're going by what emo ' is short for, emotional, ' then I suppose that could be true too. Everyone 's emotional. Maybe we 're all a little emo. "

Riddiough agrees.

"It means the manifestation of sadness and pain, " she says. "Everybody feels it. Everybody is emo. "