A Worm Of An Idea
Phasm begun life as a concept in the early 1990’s. At that time she was known as Persephone and was represented by a flower logo constructed from various symbolic images (the sun, the moon, the tree of life, the male and female trigrams of the Ye Ching) that I felt represent the holistic objectives that I was then and still do strive towards.
She was the name and flower that was to launch a concept in composting and horticulture; Jersey Worm Farm (JWF),
but sadly the local planners had other ideas. The argument had been over whether or not I was agricultural. An argument that I technically won on the day; but after declaring the planners view as:
“quite extraordinary and somewhat disturbing”
the Royal Court judgement went on to uphold this view, ruling that it “was right in Law”. However to be ‘right in Law’ in a democracy a public body has a duty of ‘reasonable behaviour’. A condition that does not apply to the phrase ‘alarming and disturbing’ nor to a Court that similarly upholds such a view.
Perhaps though the Courts earlier comments in that judgment “we do not understand what operational development is”, in reference to art. 5(2)(a) of the Island Planning (Jersey) Law 1964, sheds light. For clearly a Court that admits to a an inability to interpret the very Law it presided over. [1997 JLR 78] can hardly be expected to comprehend and adhere to the implicit concept of reasonable behaviour.
So as with her mythological namesake Persephone begun life by being raped and whilst I had the opportunity for appeal, and more than sufficient grounds, I was after 2 years flat broke and worn out. Furthermore my antics had bought out the casualties of past battles, the hard done by who had taken on the State and…lost; and who had hoped to cheer on another ‘brave soul’ to carry on the good fight.
It was these, the battered and bruised litigants of past actions, who having come out to encourage me to fight on actually convinced me to instead cut loose and find another way whilst I still could.
That way came in the form of Dr. Peter Harris, the admission tutor and soil microbiologist at the University of Reading. After writing up the work of JWF and producing a summary document a friend encouraged me to send the work to Universities.
I took the advice and after receiving an unconditional offer from the University of Reading I enrolled onto an undergraduate course in Habitat and Soil Management. The document that got me there, the story of Jersey Worm Farm, can be found in the publications pages
Free Cultural Works: Malcolm McEwen (2011) (CC BY-NC-SA)