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Hatfield Court


Nr Leominster



Phone: 01568 760333

Slightly expanded copy of letter originally dated 16 June 1999

To: Ann Bageholt


The Gypsy Council

Dear Ann

Thanks for yours of 8th June. Please apologise to Charlie and George for my not answering their calls directly. The reason is very simple – for some years I have been under doctors’ orders to avoid stressful situations at all costs. I can’t risk my life or health by allowing myself to go into a stressful situation and the angry calls on my answerphone suggest that George and Charlie would like to create one.

I’m so sorry that something has come up to cloud what I always thought of as a warm friendship between myself, George, and Charlie; but I am sure it is only a momentary blip!

I do feel I should make one or two things clear about ‘Spirit of the Gypsies’.

And my loyalty to the Gypsy Council as a whole remains as loyal as ever.

I have had a word with BECTU, the film industry’s union, and the Arts Council and the situation, according to their advice, is clear and is expressed by the simple formula: No Cash, No Film.

I arranged with three donors to give £9,423 to the Gypsy Council to make what was then called ‘Gypsy Songs Video’. The Gypsy Council employed me (Hatfield Court Studios) to make it.

Charlie encouraged me to double the length and this more or less doubled the price. The final cost of the film was £14,783 without my time or £19,303 with my time (at national minimum wage).

This decision was made as an act of faith. We felt that if the film was good enough I’d recoup the extra money through sales and I was happy at that point to give my time free for the moment on that basis.

Our projections included some tapes for the Gypsy Council to sell or dispose of. And also tapes for me to sell or dispose of. Each tape costs about £4 per unit to manufacture, excluding some free labour.

Of the total of £9,423 due to Jeremy for making the film, £6,598 has so far been paid.

Until 1999 the Gypsy Council were exemplary and scrupulous in paying and some £6,500 was passed on when they received it, to me. My accounts have been sent for approval about once a quarter.

Since January this year the policy has apparently changed and despite increasing and extremely anguished requests (some 20 phone calls and 10 letters) from me, £450+ has been withheld in the Gypsy Council Treasurers (no.2) account and not been passed on to me. I have been warned by Gypsy Council members that it is planned to spend it on things quite different to the film.

This places a strong question mark over whether the Gypsy Council Treasurer would pass over the remaining £2,500 grant money, when it reaches him, or whether our sponsors, on learning of the situation, would withhold the rest of the grant.

The master of the film is being held by the transfer studios on the same basis: No Cash, No Film. I owe them money.

I don’t understand why the Chair and Treasurer of the Gypsy Council should have embarked on a course which appears to me to be so against the interests of the Gypsy Council as a whole and I would like to raise the matter at a future Gypsy Council meeting, as I don’t think it would be the wish of the majority of the committee.

My advice from BECTU, of whom I am a member, is that the Gypsy Council has no rights whatever over the film they have received money for but have not paid for. I have asserted copyright in the film and, to repeat the adage which is axiomatic in the industry; No Cash, No Film.

If or when I am sued in the civil courts I would sadly have to sue the Gypsy Council for what is owed (presumably first resigning).

It is not hard to remove all reference to the Gypsy Council in the film.

To get back on course the Treasurer needs to pay the money that has been owing since January - £450+, and send an assurance that the rest of the £9,500 is passed on when received by the Gypsy Council – i.e. about £2,500, plus, I suggest, the new bank diaries as they become available.

On receipt of the cash and the assurance I will be most happy to meet and work out how copies can be made available for the Gypsy Council, and a marketing strategy.

There may well be queries about the accounts already sent and I am of course happy to write in response to enquiries at any time.

The last meeting between Charlie, George and me was on 13th May 1999.

No copies of the film were for sale at Appleby Horse Fair.

I expect to be in London in mid July and perhaps we could all meet in central London then. I’ll let you know when I will be there.

An order of 1000 copies would cost about £4,000. I think you mentioned on the phone you would like the Gypsy Council to receive this number of copies.

As I see it, there has never been a question of the Gypsy Council having exclusive rights in distribution.

With best wishes


P.S. I’m sorry that all this has occurred and hope it can be resolved, perhaps most of all because I had thought of this as the prototype for many further Romany cultural events, including more films, in which I’d join forces with you – a powerful team, I felt.


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