FRAW site logo (left)

The Free Range Activism Website

Since 1996, FRAW has been the virtual home of The Free Range Network, ‘Rambinactivist’ Paul Mobbs, and other campaigns the site informally hosts content for.

FRAW site updates   (in reverse chronological order)

May 2022

Title frame for ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.13: ‘Silent Spring’ (1962) ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.13, 24th May 2022:

‘Silent Spring’ (1962)

An historically significant book, its hypothesis proven right, its message undimmed by the passing of six decades – and yet it is so seldom discussed today.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

Title frame for ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.12: ‘Rules for Radicals’ (1971) ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.12, 6th May 2022:

‘Rules for Radicals’ (1971)

In this review of ‘Rules for Radicals’ I’m not going to list those ‘rules’. Nor the oft-neglected list of ‘means and ends’. That’s because, if you read the book, that’s not the point of these lists. Alinsky’s philosophy is broader than that.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

The title image for Ramblinactivist’s Video No.16 of 2022 ‘Ramblinactivist’s Videos’, 2022/16, 1st May 2022:

‘Minster Lovell Hall & its ‘Romantic’ Graffiti’

Minster Lovell Hall has a surreal quality; especially if the weather adds to the atmosphere. It’s a classic ‘ruin’, but at the same time you can see that centuries of less reverent visitors have scrawled graffiti over many parts of it. More then anything, it’s just an ethereally beautiful place to visit.

Landscape image, ‘Minster Lovell Hall’ Banburyshire’s Ancient Sites, Beltane 2022:

Minster Lovell Hall

Minster Lovell Hall has a surreal quality; especially if the weather adds to the atmosphere. It’s a classic ‘ruin’, but at the same time you can see that centuries of less reverent visitors have scrawled graffiti over many parts of it (a practise common before modern times). And while today it seems a backwater, the history of the site ties it to some major events in history.

April 2022

A Kelly Kettle being used to brew nettle tea in the countryside Long Walks & A/P, Part 6, New Flower Moon 2022:

‘Kelly Kettles and the Practise of Zero Carbon Cooking Outdoors’

Metal containers for boiling water are ‘ancient’; but what do you think ancient Greek (their word, ‘kotyle’) or Roman people used to heat their pans? Electricity? Kerosine? Compressed petroleum gas? Heating water is foundational to human society – a technology that defines us. How do we maintain that skill in an increasingly uncertain world?

Go directly to the video that accompanies this post.

Dowload PDF version this post.

The title image for Ramblinactivist’s Video No.14 of 2022 ‘Ramblinactivist’s Videos’, 2022/14, 18th April 2022:

‘The Awakening Moon’ (sunset & moonrise time-lapse)

I was uncertain about this one. I made it for myself, but wasn’t sure about sharing. However, having slept on it, perhaps others will find it pleasing too. A time-lapse of the setting sun and the rising ‘Pink’ or ‘Awakening Moon’, Saturday 16th April 2022.

Go to the rambles blog to see the full set of pictures from my walk.

Landscape image, ‘The Awakening Moon – tea brewing’ Banburyshire Rambles Journal, 17th April 2022:

‘The Awakening Moon ’

Saturday 16th April 2022: I want to add a couple more locations to my ‘Ancient Sites’ collection. It’s also the full moon, which Americans call the ‘Pink Moon’ and Europeans call ‘The Awakening Moon’. Either way, this evening the moon will rise almost the same moment as the sun sets, and that sounds like a perfectly good excuse to sit in a field and make some tea.

Title frame for ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.11: ‘A Short History of Progress’ (2004) ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.11, 13th April 2022:

‘A Short History of Progress’ (2004)

This is the last in a series of three ‘techno-critical’ reviews, examining the excuse that underpins the whole project of industrialisation: ‘Progress’ – looking at Ronald Wright’s 2004 book that, 18 years later, still provides well-observed (if bleak) view of the future.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

The title image for Ramblinactivist’s Video No.12 of 2022 ‘Ramblinactivist’s Videos’, 2022/12, 8th April 2022:

‘A Frosty April Dawn’ (sunrise & dawn chorus)

A lovely frosty Sunday morning, out on Bretch Hill to the west of Banbury, to watch the sun rising over Crouch Hill; then looping around the woodland near North Newington to hear the dawn chorus in the woods.

Note that there is also a 1-minute YouTube short version available.

March 2022

Title frame for ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.10: ‘My Name Is Chellis and I’m in Recovery from Western Civilization’ (1994) ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.10, 29th March 2022:

‘My Name Is Chellis and I’m in Recovery from Western Civilization’ (1994)

This second in a techno-critical review trilogy might seem unrelated to the previous book on ‘The Luddites’, and yet it provides the same kind of criticism from a completely different angle – that of ecopsychology, and the trauma that the modern lifestyle creates for many of those subject to it.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

 There’s reports of an incident in the BBC Newsroom ‘The Meta-Blog – short-form’, 16th March 2022:

‘There’s reports of an incident in the BBC Newsroom’

Some days I have, ‘irony issues’. It probably comes from having a memory, which allows me to place past events alongside the moment I’m in, and thus appreciate the duplicitous nature of the modern political and media environment.

Title frame for ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.9: ‘Rebels Against the Future’ (1995) ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.9, 16th March 2022:

‘Rebels Against the Future’ (1995)

In the late 1990s, on the back of the rising and soon-to-burst dot-com bubble, the media often featured Kirkpatrick Sale. His 1995 book, ‘Rebels Against the Future’, presents a detailed history of the Luddite movement, and what that historic movement represents to our ‘modern’ society today.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

Pouring hand-mashed oats through a sieve to make oat milk ‘An Anarchist’s Cookbook’, Part 5, New Sap Moon 2022:

‘DIY Oat Milk’

Contemporary ‘consumer’ veganism has an over-packaged/over-priced credibility issue. This is especially true of plant-based milks, and their impact compared to ‘DIY’ options. In this post I explore how you can avoid this by making your own oat milk – cheaply, easily, and with minimal waste.

Download the PDF version of this post.

Go to the YouTube video accompanying this post.

The title image for Ramblinactivist’s Video No.7 of 2022 ‘Ramblinactivist’s Videos’, 2022/7, 9th March 2022:

‘Venus, the Crescent Moon, and a Blackthorn Winter’s Dawn’

I hadn't intended to make this video, but the images from the walk, and the especially the music, were bugging me. Sometimes the only way to excise such demons is to make them whole. The original Monplaisir music track sounds nothing like it does here, but with a little knob-twiddling I was able to recreate how I heard it in my head after playing the track a few times that week.

Click here to view the blog post for this video

Landscape image, ‘Venus & the Crescent Moon over Manor Farm, Twyford’ Banburyshire Rambles Journal, 1st March 2022:

‘Venus, the Crescent Moon, and a Blackthorn Winter Dawn’

Sunday 27th February 2022: Wednesday is the new ‘Sap Moon’, and right now Venus is the ‘Morning Star’. I decide to get out early as the two should be close together, sitting on the dawn horizon. Leaving the road at Weeping Cross I find the ground crunches beneath my feet – there’s a good frost just to add a little spice to what will be a clear, bright dawn!

February 2022

Title frame for ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.8: ‘The Conquest of Bread’ (1906) ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.8, 28th February 2022:

‘The Conquest of Bread’ (1906)

Peter Kropotkin’s 1906 book doesn’t just challenge the power elite. At its core it challenges the general approach of ‘the left’, and the left's infatuation with lofty ideals rather than the basic needs and conditions of the people.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

Banburyshire’s Ancient Sites: ‘The Wroxton Fingerpost’, image 1 Banburyshire’s Ancient Sites, Imbolic 2022:

New site – ‘The Wroxton Fingerpost’

Most people speed past it along the A422 Banbury to Stratford road. Even if they notice the monument, they may not realise what it is. When you get up close to ‘The Wroxton Fingerpost’, though, if you really think about it, it’s telling you a story which – in the modern context – seems to make no sense.

January 2022

A picture of Boris Johnson looking sillier than usual Free Range Network, 21st January 2022:

Time to Reboot the Website;
More to Follow!

A New Year's Message to the Muggled Masses: For the last few years the Free Range Network has been rather 'quiet', for a whole number of reasons; with the world finally grinding back into motion following the populist pandemical paranoia, that period is now coming to an end. It’s time to 'reboot' – time to try a new approach.

Title slide of 'A Book in 5 Minutes' espisode 7 ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.7, 19th January 2022:

‘The Deep Ecology Movement’ (1980)

Forty-two years on from its publication, Bill Devall’s paper and its clear critique – now realised in the predicted failure of the movement to make change – deserves a much greater audience.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

Landscape image, ‘Winter Solstice Plus One’ Banburyshire Rambles Journal, 1th January 2022:

‘Winter Solstice Plus One’ (pictures)

Wednesday 22nd December 2021: I saw the sunrise yesterday morning, but was detained by events later that day and couldn’t go out to greet it. Out well before dawn this morning, the scene was immeasurably better as I was greeted with clear skies and a good frost.

Route: Banbury, Giant’s Caves, Broughton Park, Broughton, Crouch Hill, Banbury.

Metrics: Distance, 10.7km/6⅔ miles; ascension, 130m/425ft; duration, 3½ hours.

Click here to go direct to the YouTube video

Title frame from ‘Winter Solstice Plus One’ video. Ramblinactivist’s video, 1st January 2022:

‘Winter Solstice Plus One’ (video)

Another dawn, another frost, and hence cause for another walk. Except this time there’s an added impetus: The Winter Solstice. The landscape, now asleep, will wake in the coming weeks to give a new Spring, another Summer, and the promise of an Autumn with a harvest of roots, fruits, and seeds. Our ancient ancestors knew that, and marked its significance.

Click here to go the walks blog for this video

December 2021

Landscape image, ‘To See the Sunrise, First Walk in the Dark’ Banburyshire Rambles Journal, 19th December 2021:

‘To See the Sunrise, First Walk in the Dark’

Can't sleep. It's 6am. It's frosty outside. Only one thing to do: Go for a walk. I pound through the town centre and head east towards Nethercote and Overthorpe, to catch the frosty sunrise across Warkworth and Astrop.

Route: Banbury, Bowling Green, Overthorpe, Warkworth, Overthorpe Crossroads, Overthorpe Hall, Nethercote.

Metrics: Distance, 10.3km/6⅓ miles; ascension, 125m/410ft; duration, 3 hours.

WEIRD issue no.6 cover page WEIRD, Thinking Beyond Technology:

Issue No.6: ‘The Ecological 'Lie of the Land'’, Yule 2021

An edition for the long dark nights on why a radical change to property rights in Britain is essential to changing our global impact, looking at UK 'land rights' in the context of the ecological crisis, not simple land ownership.

For more information goto the WEIRD Main index.

Landscape image, ‘A waxing crescent moon over the Cherwell valley’ Banburyshire Rambles Journal, 8th December 2021:

‘Walking into the Wintry Sunset’

This is what I like to call ‘a quick around the block’ walk. I realised that being near Solstice, the sun would set roughly down the line of Canal Lane between Warkworth and Bodicote. I headed out not expecting much, but the gathering cloud provided quite a spectacular scene illiminated by the sunset and dusk.

Route: Banbury, Nethercote, Warkworth, Canal Lane, Oxford Canal, Banbury.

Metrics: Distance, 8.9km/5½ miles; ascension, 80m/260ft; duration, 2 hours.

November 2021

Landscape image, ‘Castle Bank in the bare Winter trees’, March 2015 Banburyshire Rambles Journal –
Banburyshire’s Ancient Sites, November 2021:

New site – ‘Castle Bank Enclosure’

The remains of a large, ancient enclosure sit above a large groups of springs in a local hidden valley. Though not well preserved, it’s a lovely location to pause and take-in the surrounding landscape.

Title frame from ‘From Banbury White Cross to a Misty Sunset’ video. Ramblinactivist’s video, 17th November 2021:

‘From Banbury White Cross to a Misty Sunset’

It started out as just a walk 'around the block' to view the slowly fading colours of Autumn. It ended up as something a little more out of the ordinary as the temperature fell and the mist rose. Earlier that day I'd been listening to a lovely piece of free improvisation by Daniel Triunfo, ‘Mental Break’. As I walked into the dusk, spotting planets and stars, somehow the music just seemed to fit with the mood.

A hand holding a copy of ‘This Land is Our Land’ ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.6, 7th November 2021:

‘This Land is Our Land’ (1987)

A book which traces an arc of how the shift from Feudalism into Capitalism, via the reciprocal Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions, not only changed the landscape, but also created many of the social ills that still afflict society today.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

October 2021

Opening scene from the 1993 TV production of 'Stark', by Ben Elton The ‘Meta-Blog’, no.18, 25th October 2021:

‘Forgotten, but not gone’ – How governments have deliberately ignored the safety of contaminated sites in England, and why climate change makes this worse

This is an over thirty-year long story about my involvement with contaminated sites, and helping communities to get action to clean them up. This tale is innately connected to my home town, Banbury. It’s an average small town; a backwater on the border between the Midlands and the South East. Yet in the 1980s, this place taught me about the issues of waste and land contamination. Not because it was exceptional, but because these issues affect communities across Britain.

Click here to go direct to the YouTube video

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

Title frame from ‘Enjoy it whilst it lasts’ video. Ramblinactivist’s video, 7th October 2021:

2021/22: ‘Enjoy it whilst it lasts’

Walking the ancient Roman Salt Road east from Banbury – a diminutive relic of its status to the west of the town – I consider how property rights and land access continue to define our relationship to “the land”, and hence “this Land”.

Click here to go direct to the YouTube video

An MP3 version of the my music for the video is available on the web page.

A hand holding a copy of ‘Post-Scarcity Anarchism’ ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.5, 4th October 2021:

‘Post-Scarcity Anarchism’ (1971/2004)

Murray Bookchin foresaw the rise of consumerism, and the changing dialogue in society towards a politics of ‘post-scarcity’. ‘Post-Scarcity Anarchism’ is an anthology of Bookchin’s essays around this theme.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

General Jack Ripper, from 'Dr Strangelove' The ‘Meta-Blog’, no.17, 2nd October 2021:

‘Weaponising Space Debris’ – Britain, DARC, and the military’s control of space

Britain is to become part of a US network to ‘dominate space’. The UK government are promoting this as a way to create greater ‘security’ for our technological lifestyle. The reality about what this system is for, and the US military’s strategy behind it, is somewhat different to that public message of greater security.

Click here to go direct to the YouTube video

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

September 2021

WEIRD issue no.5 cover page WEIRD, Thinking Beyond Technology:

Issue No.5: “Research for the End of Your 'Normal' Everyday Existence”, Mabon 2021

A special edition on the white-heat of eco-research about British consumption 'on-the-never-Neverland'. In summary: We are not in a situation of having ‘problems’ with ‘possible solutions’; we are in a ‘predicament’ with only a few, mostly unwelcome ‘outcomes’ to choose from.

For more information goto the WEIRD Main index.

A hand holding a copy of ‘Diet for a Small Planet’ ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.4, 20th September 2021:

‘Diet for a Small Planet’ (1971)

I think there are very few books that you can truthfully say, ‘this book changed my life’. When I first came across it almost forty years ago, this one changed mine. It explained clearly to me what it was I needed to know to eat well.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

A hand hold a copy of ‘Ecological Economics For Humanity’s Plague Phase’ ‘A Book (or report) in 5 Minutes’, no.3, 15th Sept. 2021:

‘Ecological Economics For Humanity’s Plague Phase’ (2020)

Each morning the Sun comes up. We instinctively know this. The problem is that in the modern world, people sometimes find it difficult to tell the difference between: Natural phenomena – like the Sun rising; and the grandiose myths we tell ourselves – like the functioning of the economy.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

A hand takes a copy of 'The Limits to Growth' from a shelf ‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.1, 1st September 2021:

‘The Limits to Growth’ (1972)

Published in 1972, and shrouded in controversy since that date, ‘The Limits to Growth’ is the most successful econometric projection ever made, and a groundbreaking ecological book that the environment movement itself has a deep-seated fear of discussing in public.

Go to the YouTube video for this post.

August 2021

Image of a happy drone The ‘Meta-Blog’, no.15, 12th August 2021:

‘On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a drone’ – Are you selling your soul to whack the YouTube algorithm?

YouTube has become a warped subliminal marketplace; a confidence trick of misdirection. Digitally disembodied people pretend to be your best friend, while the platform they use fleeces your computer of as much information as possible in order to commodify your soul.

Click here to download the PDF version.

Go to the YouTube video accompanying this post.

An audio podcast of this blog post is available on the page.

July 2021

An image of ‘The World Turned Upside Down’, from the 1640s ‘Radical References’ No.2, Lammas 2021:

‘(The prologue to) A Watchword to The City of London, and The Army’

Written three-hundred and seventy-two years ago, this prologue outlines some of Gerrard Winstanley’s key phrases and ideas. It’s about the importance of action to create change rather than ‘just talking about it’, and the unwelcome reality that too many people talking about change delays the achievement of it through direct action.

This blog post also contains an podcast recording of the text.

June 2021

May 2021


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