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A Hero for High Times by Ian Marchant review – the forgotten man at the heart of the counterculture

The stories of Bob Rowberry, the first person to sell acid to RD Laing, provide a perfect initiation to four decades of beats, hippies, punks and freaks This book is not for me. Nor was it meant to be. I am pretty much the age of its star witness and involuntary co-author – the old man of the woods, the retired thief, friend of the future famous and prompted taleteller, Mr David Robert Rowberry (AKA Bob), who is a fantastic but evidence-supported conduit to the vanished culture of Freakdom. A Hero for High Times is Ian Marchant’s monumental defence of the alternative way, and Bob is the capitalised Hero, an honourably weathered and charity shop outfitted crusty who dabbles in dragon sculpture and free-festival jewellery. Smell the woodsmoke, the wellington boots, cats, dope and hot metalwork. “Low mist has lain over Radnorshire like a mildewing duvet for about a week.” Here, then, is a formidable double act: the Ancient Mariner who struggles, with distant mountain-focused gaze, towards the impossible conclusion of a smoky monologue, and the eager, overweight, stool-splintering theorist, born at the dawn of the action, mopping his wrinkled brow and arriving panting too late, with primed recording device, into an abandoned yurt. Marchant brandishes a pad of strategic questions to nudge his yarn-spinner to the next topic: situationism, skiffle, Gurdjieff, Profumo, CND, women’s liberation, Glastonbury, the Angry Brigade, drugs and more drugs. The old man skins up and plays along. “The easiest way to live a superficially non-alienated life,” the author concludes, “is just to have lots of money.” Continue reading...

submit in news via The Guardian at 2018-2-20

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Ireland condemns Kate Hoey's 'reckless' Good Friday agreement remarks

Irish deputy PM says talking down accord could undermine peace in Northern Ireland Ireland’s deputy prime minister has condemned the Labour MP Kate Hoey for “reckless” and “irresponsible” remarks after she declared that the Good Friday agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland 20 years ago, was “unsustainable”. Her comments, coming swiftly after similar comments made by the former Conservative Northern Ireland secretary Owen Paterson and pro-Brexit MEP Daniel Hannan, were also roundly condemned by Labour’s shadow Northern Ireland secretary, Owen Smith, who questioned their timing. Continue reading...

submit in news via The Guardian at 2018-2-20

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Netherlands becoming a narco-state, warn Dutch police

Officers say many victims do not report incidents and organised gangs have a free rein The Netherlands is starting to resemble a narco-state with the police unable to combat the emergence of a parallel criminal economy, a report from the Dutch police association has warned. Official figures suggest crime is on a downward trend but officers say many victims have stopped reporting incidents while organised crime syndicates have been given a free rein. Continue reading...

submit in news via The Guardian at 2018-2-20

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UK factory order growth hits four-month low; German economic confidence falls – business live

All the day’s economic and financial news, including the latest healthcheck on Britain’s manufacturing base * Latest: UK manufacturing order growth slows * German economic confidence dropped this month * Pound bounces back after Brexit report * Sterling hit by Brexit jitters 11.24am GMT Newsflash: UK factory order growth slowed this month, according to the CBI’s monthly ‘industrial trends’ survey. The CBI found that 30% of manufacturers reported total order books to be above normal in the last quarter, and 20% said they were below normal. “This month saw another strong showing from UK manufacturers. Although order books weren’t quite as buoyant as they were last month, demand remains strong and output grew briskly. “With the Brexit negotiations reaching a critical juncture, many businesses are concerned about future barriers to trade and are looking for clarity over the future relationship with the EU. Remaining in a comprehensive customs union will help alleviate some of those fears and give firms the confidence to invest and grow.” 11.05am GMT The UK stock market has dipped into the red, dragged down by three heavyweight members. Mining giant BHP Billiton is leading the fallers, down over 4%, despite posting its best six-monthly profit figures since 2014 and raising its dividend. Reuters reckons traders aren’t impressed by rising costs at the company. Continue reading...

submit in business via Economy | The Guardian at 2018-2-20

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A London craft beer brewer – in pictures

Jaega Wise is head brewer at Wild Card Brewery in Walthamstow, east London, where she produces several of the core range of beers as well as the odd special brew. The Artisans is a series showcasing artists and craftspeople in their working environments – from the traditional to the cutting edge, the mainstream to the unexpected – and we’d like your help discovering more people doing interesting work. If you know of an artisan making something in an interesting way who might have a story we can tell through photography, share information you have about them here and we will do the rest Continue reading...

submit in news via The Guardian at 2018-2-20

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'Sloppy and careless': courts call out Trump blitzkrieg on environmental rules

A cascade of courtroom standoffs are beginning to slow, and even reverse, the EPA rollbacks thanks to the administration’s ‘disregard for the law’ In its first year in office, the Trump administration introduced a solitary new environmental rule aimed at protecting the public from pollution. It was aimed not at sooty power plants or emissions-intensive trucks, but dentists. Every year, dentists fill Americans’ tooth cavities with an amalgam that includes mercury. Around 5m tons of mercury, a dangerous toxin that can taint the brain and the nervous system, are washed away from dental offices down drains each year. Continue reading...

submit in news via The Guardian at 2018-2-20

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Is Spotify getting ready to challenge Apple with its own speaker?

Music streaming service is gearing up to make its first physical products as it faces blockade from rivals Spotify is working on a line of “category defining” hardware products and is ready to start setting up the manufacturing process. The streaming music company intends to create a hardware category “akin to Pebble Watch, Amazon Echo, and Snap Spectacles”, according to job adverts posted over the past year. Continue reading...

submit in news via The Guardian at 2018-2-20