Monday, April 30, 2007



This is a rare bird, purchased at Lewes station newsagents: a genuinely original and almost eccentric magazine/journal both in format, style, design and intention. The brainchild of the splendidly named Tyler Brûlé (surely the invention of a master chef or Tom Wolfe), there is obviously a lot of money behind it: HQ in central London, bureaux in Tokyo, New York and Zurich. There is an impressive and tres sophistique website, sponsored by Rolex. Here can be found the concepts and history underpinning Monocle. 'We believe its time, ' they say, 'for a new, global, European-based media brand.'

The sections of the magazine, they describe as follows: Affairs A global mix of reportage, essays and interviews with the forces shaping geopolitics; Business Devoted to identifying opportunities and inspiring the reader; Culture With a tight group of opinionated columnists, reviewers and interviewers, it devlivers the best in film, television, music media and art; Design Bypassing hype, design is dedicated to unearthing emerging and establishing talent; Edits Bite-sized and thought provoking, Edits are vital life improvements curated in a fast-paced well-researched collection.

I love the language -breezy with a twist, written by men in aeroplanes, alternately gazing into the cool blue screen of their HD laptops and looking down on the European landscape below, eager to spot new opportunities, new excitements. Constantly arriving at foreign cities for swift meets with men who are designing the future.

The quirks of the magazine (Issue 3) are as follows: 1) the cover story 'Pedal Politics: A global Survey of bicycle culture and commerce' is composed of a number of pieces scattered throughout the magazine which you have to search for. The page signage doesn't take you from one to the other, and there are a bewildering number of cute little icons and logos to confuse things further. 2) Most of the 178 main pages of the mag are printed on a feely matt paper, except for pp163-178 which are on a glossier paper. This whole section is an account of a flight made from Tehran to Caracas, an eccentric route initiated as a gesture of contact between the leaders of the two countries concerned, who got on well together it says. This story sets you up well but never really catches fire. The photos are bland. 3) Separately bound into the magazine is a 24pp manga comic - 'Kita Koga' (Story and art by Takanori Yasaka) which one reads, in Japanese; the back cover is the front, the story reads from top right to bottom left. Great idea but the contents is a bit weak.

I scanned every page of Monocle and read a high percentage of it. I also made notes of things that I learnt: 1) Gronigen is the World Cycling City - it has 150,000 residents and 300,000 bikes. 2) There were 500m cyclists in China until a decade ago but bike ownership has fallen 25% in the last five years; car ownership increased 20% last year alone to 22m 3) The highest car ownership in the world is in Liechtenstein (718 per 1,000 head of population) whilst Nigeria, oen of the world's largest oil-producingt nations has only 2 per 1,000. New Zealanders only take 2% of their journeys by bus and 1% by rail. Car ownership there is 655 per 1,000. 4) Less than 4% of the world's air traffic is in Africa but one-third of the world's air disasters happen there. 5) There is a sushi boom in Moscow 6) At the biggest ice cream trade fair in the world, they were selling cuttlefish ice cream and gorgonzola ice cream with prune sauce. 7) TOTO build the world's most intelligent toilet - The Washlet - which will, amongst other things, wash your bottom and even blowdry it to the sound of music. 8) The world's largest bicycle firm is Giant in Taiwan, run by 73-year old Mr Lin, whose dream it is to make Taiwan a cycling island 9) The best bikes in the world are made in the Nordic countries and Japan. 10) There is a good-looking music shop in New York called Other Music and a great mag shop in Lisbon called Tema.

Monocle feels good, is easy to read, entertaining and fresh. Worth £5.00. Issue 4 is out in a few days.

[Footnote: I bought a great magazine in Lisbon once, a special issue of 'American Photographer' on Cartier-Bresson, which helped keep me together during a flight through a thunderstorm on our way to Orly.]

Friday, April 27, 2007


Following on from my post about the discovery a rare signed copy of a book by beat poet Jack Micheline in a Lewes second-hand bookshop ( see
Jack Micheline: Beat Writer), the Beat Library was further enhanced by the gift of two great books, purchased in a second-hand bookshop in Castlemaine, in Victoria's Gold Rush region by friend and poet Lin Heyworth. [For new poem by her, see end of this post]

The Ginsberg book by ex-Fug Ed Sanders (published by the Overlook Press in Woodstock) in 2000) is a book-length poetic narrative (in Ginsberg's style), recounting the poet's life and times. Sanders writes: 'The life of Allen Ginsberg was very complicated, so 'The Poetry & Life of Allen Ginsberg' is really a kind of pathway through the Forest Ginsberg.'

It really is a wonderful book, and ideal prelude to reading the two major biographies - 'Ginsberg' by Barry Miles and 'Dharma Lion' by Michael Schumacher - and engaging with the poetry itself. A truly remarkable man. Sanders has also produced '1968: A History in Verse' and one volume of 'America: A History in Verse' which I shall report back on.

See Previous Post: My article on Ginsberg - A Prophet on the Electric Networks - based on the interview I did with him in Miles' flat in London on April 25th 1985.

The copy of Book of Dreams is a 1973 seventh printing of the City Lights edition first published in 1961. It features a wonderfully atmospheric cover photo by the legendary photographer and filmmaker Robert Frank.

[Kerouac wrote an introductory essay for Frank's wonderful book of black and white photography 'The Americans.' This was originally published in 1959 by Robert Delpire in Paris and Grove Press in New York. There was a 1968 Museum of Modern Art edition published by Aperture Press, which is in the Beat Library alongside the more recent reprint from Cornerhouse Publications in Manchester (1993)]

It was while Jack was working in North Carolina at the Rocky Mount Textile Mill that he began the dream notebooks that form this book. They were typed up when he was living with his mother (Memere) in Richmond Hill. Jack saw his dreams as another extension of spontaneous writing, almost automatic writing.

He wrote: 'The style of a person half awake from sleep and ripping it out in pencil by the bed, yes pencil, what a job! bleary eyes, insaned mind bemused and mystified by sleep, details that pop out even as you write them you don't know what they mean, till you wake up, have coffee, look at it, and see the logic of dreams in dream language itself, see?' (JK to Al Aronowitz in the New York Post (10.3.59)

Barry Miles devotes a couple of pages (pp 236-237) of his excellent Kerouac bio ('Jack Kerouac: King of The Beats' [Virgin Books. 2002]) to discussing 'Book of Dreams' and warning against snap judgments, quoting Freud as to the dangers of analysing dreams without knowing the context in which the dreams occured. The book contains many of the characters from his novels in bizarre situations, such characters all being based on people he knows with nom de plumes. Thus the real-life Neal Cassady appears in 'On the Road' as Dean Moriarty and in this book as Cody Pomeray.

In Kerouac's own foreword he writes '...the fact that everybody in the world dreams every night ties all mankind together shall we say in one unspoken Union and also proves that the world is really transcendental...'

The Moolort Plains: Victoria Australia 2007

And the sky opens up
Domes out egg blue
Into the delicate horizon
Possessed by an egg.

And the clouds rear
And buckle on its edge
And make no inroads

The spare and bony land
Beneath unfurls its map
A landscape barely written on
All scribbled over with spindly trees

And the heat beats in on the plains

The great grey stone slabbed ruins
Stand square and hollow eyed
In the face of - nothing

Once I saw a harvest moon
Rise over these hushed plains
To create its own comic universe
In denial of the living

The blank empty enormity of it all
reeled beneath

Lin Heyworth

Previous Posting: A Journalist's Death of Socrates by Lin Heyworth

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


I founded The Beast magazine ('The Magazine That Bites Back') which was first published in June 1979. It ran for ten issues until Summer 1981. It was possibly the world's first newstand magazine on animal liberation and welfare.

At that time, these issues were very marginalised and considered quite extreme. There was scant knowledge about what was being done to animals, compared to today, and the number of animal groups and people seriously involved was small.

So when I read in Hattie Ellis' book about the size and scale of the activities of Compassion for World Farming it is more than encouraging. In the days of The Beast it was a tiny shoestring operation, struggling for the oxygen of publicity. And it is good to read in her excellent book of the Real Meat company and people who are genuinely and actively worked to change livestock practices and welfare within the UK and abroad. Heartening in fact. And to read about the undeniably growing level of concern and awareness amongst shoppers, the growth of farmer's markets and the 'slow food' movement. Brilliant.

But in order to reach these causes for optimism, one has to take a journey through the first half of the book, into some very dark sheds where we are forced to confront - nay experience, such is Ms Ellis' skill - the realities of what we are doing to the chickens, or rather what is being done to them in our names by others.

I had rather naively begun to think that some real progress had and was being made in animal welfare. After all, we had been through Foot and Mouth and BSE and with Bird Flu looming like a Beak of Damocles, you would think that hygiene and biosecurity alone would drive reform.
Such is not the case.

Ms Ellis tells us that we are in the centre of a Livestock Revolution equivalent to the Green Revolution in agriculture of the 1960s/70s. More of the world want to eat meat on a regular basis and chicken is the meat of choice. It is a lower status meat and thus cheaper and available to all. It accounts for the majority of the 50 billion food animals eaten worldwide each year.

In order to meet this insatiable appetite for chicken, we humans have built an industrial production line system of infinite cruelty, one virtually guaranteed to ensure that the short life of these young birds is as full of as much pain and distress as possible. I'll spare you the details but this book won't.

Some glacially slow progress towards better animal welfare has been made but the figures speak for themselves. The majority of chickens are still subject to barbaric conditions - more than 96% in the UK are raised in 'factory farms' - .with little expectation of that changing much over the medium future. Unless we do something about it that is. That is only buy the best organic or highest welfare chicken you can find. It will be more expensive so you will eat it less but appreciate it more. Or become a vegetarian.

Consumers can create change and there is an urgent need to make it happen. We need to vote with our wallets, to force supermarkets and giant chicken producers to move rapidly towards humane farming methods, and with our votes to pressure our legislators to change the laws - or enforce the existing welfare legislation we have more effectively.

'Planet Chicken' is an important book, engagingly written, shocking and sensuous by turns. The author, a distinguished food writer of boundless curiosity, with many fine books already to her credit, employs her trademark technique of getting away from the desk and out onto the land and into the market and kitchen, to meet people of all kinds and many cultures, seeing the reality for herself, asking the right questions and remaining by turns full of delight and disgust at what she discovers.

The book leads us through a dark underworld, points a light towards an optimistic future and gives us the information we need to do our bit. It is a work of bravery which will encourage and challenge many to take up the task of creating a more humane future for all farmed creatures.

'Planet Chicken' by Hattie Ellis (Sceptre. £14.99)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


This is the original text of a piece I wrote on the Operation Julie story - Britain's largest LSD bust - as Dick Tracy for the NME (published March 18th, 1978) shortly after the verdicts had gone down. Published over two pages with pics (can you imagine that in the NME now). Additional research by Mike Marten.

It is very much of its time and I think reflects the widespread community/ street feeling that the whole thing had been hyped up to fit authoritarian agendas through the mouthpiece of the national press. Also that the sentences were savage.


"Never in the history of British crime has the police public relations been so effective and so exaggerated. It has been accepted blindly and blithely by all concerned."

- Defence lawyer

In an incredible display of media hand-holding, the official version of the Operation Julie story has now been splashed across the headlines of the press and featured on primetime TV.

It's a comforting picture of police efficiency smashing an evil international drug network so that the schoolkids of our nation can be protected from the threat of that of "heaven-or-hell" drug LSD. Comforting maybe — but accurate?

Simply put, the police offered the press their version of an exciting story, and they took it hook, line and sinker.

Of course, in a story this complicated, where everyone has an axe to grind, there is no such thing as he "ultimate truth". But in choosing to serve up only the police version of the story, and lace it with biased comment and questionable facts, most of the national media have shown themselves once-again to be unreliable and only too willing to cooperate with the authorities.

What follows is an attempt to show up some of the media inconsistencies, and to provide some alternative views on what the BBC described as "the most sustained and successful police investigations ever carried out."

In order to fully understand the police's attitude and hence the press's stand on Operation Julie, it is necessary to realise that the whole affair had a great deal to do with internal police politics.

The 28-strong Julie team, seconded from eleven different police forces, worked outside the traditional police structures as an elite crew, and their activities formed the basis for Det Chief Supt Greenslade's vision for a national drug squad.

The team, characterised by the Mirror as "a handful of shabby supercops", were so secretive that, according to The Times, even the Metropolitan Police did not know about the planned raids until the last possible moment.

The Julie squad used every available trick in the book to break the case. At the farm in Wales they used for surveillance, "tons of secret monitoring equipment and scrambler telephones"-— some on loan from the Whitehall security services — were quietly installed. Policemen masqueraded as hippies for months on end, infiltrated festivals, communes and the like in search of information.

Foremost among these was Detective Sergeant Martin Pritchard, described by the Mail as "more hippy than policeman".Interestingly, the Mirror, who published his own story, revealed that they had taken a picture of Pritchard when he had to give evidence after he bust a cannabis racket in 1975. He said:"The Daily Mirror published a rear-view picture of me so that it wouldn't blow my cover."

Even Detective Chief Inspector Lee, the operations expert from the Thames Valley Drug Squad, indulged in fancy dress, posing as "a London businessman recuperating from a major heart problem.” The police's Maigret-like expertise has been widely praised but, according to one defence lawyer, it's a myth. He told Thrills that Julie was a "disastrous operation" and claimed "they never got information as a result of their own investigations. It was all handed to them on a plate.”

The main leads were provided by Ron Stark, a former associate who shopped the others when busted for heroin in Italy.

As the Mail pointed out, Lee knew of the existence of the acid factory at the Welsh Mansion House in Carno for some time before the final raids. According to them: “He knew the drugs from the Mansion House would be distributed throughout the world. He knew they would be taken by young pople whose lives could be ruined – they might even die as a result. He knew he could stop their sale by raiding the house, he decided not to. This the Mail presented not as a criticism but as a picture of Lee’s heroic dilemma

Perhaps as a result of Lee's delay tactics, two key figures — the international dealer American Paul Annabaldi and an Israeli named Zahi — escaped cdespite being under surveillance for some time.

Following their success, real or overstated, Greenslade and others began pushing their idea for a super-police unit – an FBI style national drug squad – who, they claimed, would be able to combat the drug menace more effectively. Many papers took their lead and made their own demands for such a force to be set up – notably the Mirror and the Express.

All the comments on this — including the bitter denunciations by the six members of the Julie squad who have resigned amidst complaints about "penny-pinching" by Whitehall, and their bitching about the police treating them as regular coppers rather than continuing the impetus of Operation Julie into a special force — should be seen in this context: as an attempt to pressurise the Home Office into setting up a special task force which neither they nor most local chief constables deem necessary. Greenslade boasted: "The operation was successful beyond my wildest dreams. This could pave the way for a national police force." Presumably, also in his dreams, with Detective Chief Superintendent Greenslade at the helm.

It was obvious that following the-huge police operation, including dawn raids by 800 police on March 26 1977, that much would have to be made of this case in order to justify the huge expenditure involved.

Greenslade was at pains to point out in the press that: "In two years' operation Julie cost £500,000 - but normal wages, transport and expenses have to be deducted. We hope to reciver enough in cash and property so that it will have cost Britain nothing.” (In other words, kids, your acid outlay is financing this police operation…) It remains to be seen whether Julie breaks even, and whether Greenslade’s lobby will be successful.

Throughout the press reporting on the Julie case, numbers have been thrown about with gay abandon. How much LSD was actually produced?

The Mail claims 15 million doses; the Times 20-60 million, supplying a dozen countries. The Mirror claimed that in 1976 alone the gang’s turnover reached an estimated £200 million — equal to that of the British Homes Stores. This is disputed by the defence lawyer we spoke to - he claimed that the total syndicate take was nearer £700,000:throughout their entire operations.

Then there was the question of what fraction of the total LSD market the syndicate's output represented. The Mirror claimed it was "two-thirds of the world's supply," the BBC News said 90 per cent of Britain's and 60 percent of the world's supply, while-Greenslade told the Express: "In our view 95 percent of LSD in Britain was coming from this source and so was half the world's supply " Of course, these things are impossible to gauge, but the mere act of printing them renders them 'official'. When it came to the street price the estimates were even more diverse. The Express claimed that it was £l a tab when the syndicate was in operation but that, since the bust, the street price had shot up to £5 or even £8 a tab, a fact quoted in court. On the other hand, the Times said: "Last week in London it could be bought for £1 a dose or £40 a thousand."

Release, who are closer to the street than any Fleet Street journalist is ever likely to get, told Thrills that bulk price was now £40 for 4,000 (l0p a tab) with street price at £1. They also claimed that LSD, far from drying up, is now "almost as easily obtainable as cannabis ', putting the lie to the police's claim to have wiped out Britain's LSD market. Of course, this has now led the press to speculate about a new 'Mr Big' who is moving in on the scene — speculation instigated, it should be noted, by Det. Supt. Dennis Greenslade, whose proposed national drug squad would, of course, track down the 'international godfathers' behind the new source.

Other random statistics appeared in print with no hint as to where they came from. An unknown 1973 survey was quoted which suggested that 600,000 people in Britain have tried LSD. Greenslade himself told reporters that he estimated "60 million LSD tablets have been made and swallowed in the last decade." It would be interesting to learn how he arrived at that figure.

It has been standard practice in the British and American media for many years now to distort the true nature of the drug LSD. Medical research into the subject has been officially frowned on, but nevertheless there is a considerable body of evidence available, enough to refute most of the basic untruths. Needless to say, medical facts were ignored in favour of selling newspapers. Operation Julie provided the press with a field day, allowing them to dust off all the old cliches and trot them out into print.

The Mirror did not miss a trick in this respect. Their headline story read: "An entire city stoned on a 'nightmare drug — that was the crazy ambition of the masterminds behind the world's biggest LSD factory. They planned to blow a million minds simultaneously by pouring LSD into the reservoirs serving Birmingham." The water supply story can be traced back in the media to at least the mid-'60s and probably before, I have had personal experience of this while working in the information caravan at one of the large Isle of Wight festivals, when I heard an almost identical story being dictated over the phone by a Mirror reporter. It wasn't true then, either.

Most insidious of all was the Express story: ‘All too many young people have experimented with LSD for the thrill. One was 16-year-old June Duggan and it killed her.’ Now for the punchline. ‘It could not be proved that her pill came from the gang sentenced at Bristol, but in view of their huge output it seems possible.’

The piece continued: ‘Her father said: “She liked pop records but many of them by people like David Bowie mentioned drugs. I suppose she didn't want to be square and felt she had to 'try it'.” Other young people who ended up in hospital from an LSD trip have lived — or rather, have not died. They have stayed there staring at the walls, transfixed with a terror they cannot explain and cannot be freed from."

Ironically, in a moment of high comedy, proof of LSD effects were provided by three policemen, who accidentally tripped out while cleaning up one of the acid factories.None of them jumped
out of the windows or became uncontrollably homicidal. Nonetheless, the Police Federation is now backing their claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.

Mind you, the press were only following the lead of the police. In the Guardian a police spokesman said that half the admissions to mental hospitals in the USA were caused by LSD! This apparently referred to a brief period in the 1960s in Los Angeles, but the precise details were not forthcoming. Department of Health and Social Security figures were also quoted to show that 12% of all drug-related admissions to mental hospitals in the UK were “LSD-related”, some 265 cases in 1976. Exactly what the relationship was is unclear.

The police in turn were supported in their attitude by the trial judge, Mr Justice Park, who ignored the expert evidence of Dr Martin Mitcheson, who runs the University College Hospital drug dependence clinic. Mitcheson told the court that LSD carried “relatively small risks compared to other dangerous drugs," and he claimed that any comparison was irrelevant.

Surprisingly only the BBC report by their science correspondent provided an accurate analysis of the drug's effect, pointing out, for instance, that it is not addictive.And nobody at all mentioned the fact that acidheads have gone almost totally underground these past few years — or, at least, acid has become completely unfashionable.

The defendants stood little chance, it seems, against the weight of public opinion which, in turn, was shaped by the media. They were variously described as the "international firm of L.S.D. (Unlimited)" and "one of the most educated teams of criminals the world has ever known."

The Guardian said "the flower of British post-war education were in the dock" and, described them as a mixture of evangelists, middle-aged Americans and get-rich-quick merchants, many of them Cambridge educated." Their story, it was said, "sounded like the history of enterprising businessmen, too busy making their venture succeed to worry about a few social casualties."

Christine Bott and Richard Kemp were typically characterised as star-crossed lovers and tarnished idealists but, as Release pointed out, by providing the finest quality acid ever produced, Kemp ... could be claimed to have been providing “community service". His acid was "less likely to have negative effects" due to the fact that the impurities, which often cause the teeth grinding and stomach churning which sometimes lead to bummers, had been removed.

The Leary connection was another interesting aspect of the case's coverage. There was no hard evidence to support this, of course, but mention LSD and you're bound to find California and Dr. Timothy Leary not far behind. One report claimed that the link was "a major strand of the counter-culture, stretching back 10 years to Dr. Timothy Leary and the heady days of the California acid heads." Much play was made of Leary's Brotherhood of Eternal Love, a semi-mythical outfit which ceased to exist years ago; as a fashionable conspiracy theory, it makes 'sexy' (Fleet Street jargon for exciting) copy, but its veracity is questionable.

Even worse was the piece in the Evening Standard headlined: EXPLODING THE MYTH OF POP FESTIVALS. It read: ‘The myth that free pop festivals were innocent happenings where youth did its own harmless thing and sought peace through flower power has been finally exposed by the Operation Julie drugs trials.’ They further claimed that, at the trial, ‘pop festivals and the vast open-air happenings were finally shown up in their true form — as gatherings financed out of LSD manufacturing profits to attract hard-core drug takers with sufficient numbers of innocent fans to cover up the illicit drug trafficking and introduction to the drugs scene of new recruits.’ So much for the Standard's understanding and attitude towards the youth culture.

Perhaps the saddest aspect of the whole affair is the lack of support and interest from the 'hip' or head community. International Times editors Max Handley and Lyn Solomon (David'sdaughter) are writing a book on the whole affair, all royalties from which will got to the defendants - most of whom are appealing.

But a few short years ago Kemp and Co would have been hailed as "psychedelic outlaws". Now it seems most people are content to accept the official word on the subject and go back to their Bovril and bedroom slippers. On the other hand, many people I spoke to were beside themselves with anger at the whitewash job performed on the affair.

The only positive aspect of the case is that many lawyers, angry at the sentencing, are planning to push for a new law which would make the appropriate distinctions between LSD and other hard drugs like heroin, and change sentencing policy accordingly. After all, the people involved in the largest heroin ring ever busted in Britain only got maximum sentences of 12 years!

Only one thing is going to change this kind of inconsistency in the law — an inconsistency fostered by the police and perpetrated by the national press — and that's concerted pressure in the face of public witch-hunts such as Operation Julie. Pressure from you.

The republished book 'The Brotherhood of Eternal Love' (see previous post),records what has happened to some of the main protagonists since this story was written.

'Ron Stark was the man who linked the activities of the Brotherhood and the LSD chemists who succeeded them in Britain. He died in a San Francisco hospital in 1984, from heart disease...

'The chemists and dealeers caught in Operation Julie have largely disappeared. David Solomon, who started the English connection, is dead. His chemist Richard Kemp and Kemp's girldfriend Christine Bott, apparently retreated into anonymity after serving their sentences. Henry Todd served seven and a half years of a thirteen year sentence and then followed his love of mountaineering ot Nepal and a career running one of the largest climbing supply companies. By his mid- 50s he had become a ccontroversial legend among climbers in the Himalayas for his no-frills operation based in Nepal. In the summer of 2006 he and two others faced a private prosecution for manslaughter mommounted by the family of a climber who died climbing on Everest but the case was thrown out.

'Dick Lee, the man who put Todd behind bars, left the police to become a freelance journalist and shop-owner. His book on the investigation drew sharp criticisms from former coplleagues who felt he had gone too far in describing police operations such as telephone tapping, not normally discussed publicly at that time.'

Saturday, April 21, 2007


This is an updated reissue of the book which has become a cult classic since its first publication in 1984. Written by the former Sunday Times journalist David May and The Times' crime correspondent Stewart Tendler, it is a textbook example of solid investigative reporting into the history of LSD in general and the underground characters behind its manufacture and distribution during the '60s and '70s in particular.

Based on scores of original interviews with many of the key particpants - both lawbreakers and feds - it take us into a clandestine world where visionary chemists linked to the Grateful Dead and the utopian Brotherhood of Eternal Love conspire to produce enough LSD to power a cultural revolution.
The scale of their ambition and activities, inspired by the antics of Timothy Leary (one of the book's central characters), requires their engagement with Hell's Angels, career criminals, professional fantasists and other duplicitous and shadowy figures who often turn out to be undercover agents or intelligence operatives. The links extend to a major LSD production ring in the UK, who were famously brought to trial in the late 1970s by a massive police operation codenamed 'Operation Julie.'

A fresh epilogue in this new edition traces the fate of all the book's main characters up to the present day and provides a valuable historical perspective on a utopian time when it really did seem likely that this 'problem child' (the phrase used to describe LSD by its discoverer, Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman) could change the course of history. Certainly it changed the minds of thousands of key creative people during this period.

In a world of half-baked conspiracy theories and loosely researched internet tittle-tattle, in which myth and supposition take the place of documented fact, it is easy to see why this important intensively detailed work continues to maintain its credibility - it's a powerful tale well told, happily devoid of emotional judgments but stuffed with extraordinary tales and characters.

'The Brotherhood of Eternal Love' - by Stewart Tendler & David May [Cyan Books. London]

(Left) Cover of the original version, now a collector's edition, published by Panther Books in 1984 [The Generalist Archive]

Interesting LSD Links:

'Revealed: Dentist who introduced Beatles to LSD' by Ian Herbert (The Independent 9.12.06)

'The trip goes on' - It was the drug that fuelled the psychedelic 60s - and was tested as a weapon by MI6. But whatever became of LSD? Duncan Campbell traces its colourful past, and finds that the acidhead are still out there
The Guardian 28.2.07

Nine drawings done by an artist under the influence of LSD

‘MI6 pays out over secret LSD mind control tests’ - Rob Evans (The Guardian 24.2.06). ‘The Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, has paid thousands of pounds in compensation to servicemen who were fed LSD without their consent in clandestine mind-control experiments in the 1950s. MI6 has agreed an out-of-court settlement with the men, who said they were duped into taking part in the experiments and had waited years to learn the truth.’

The full text of Albert Hoffman's book 'LSD - My Problem Child'

Slideshow: LSD: The Geek's Wonder Drug ? (Wired 16.1.06) Participants from around the globe came to Basel, Switzerland, to celebrate Albert Hofmann's 100th birthday and ponder the future of acid.

‘A dose of madness’ - Johan Jensen (The Guardian 8.8.02) Forty years ago, two psychiatrists administered history's largest dose of LSD. ‘Mystified by the new wonder drug LSD, the psychiatrist Louis Jolyon West and his colleague at the University of Oklahoma, Chester M Pierce, were looking for a new way to investigate the drug in 1962. They came up with an idea so outlandish it could only happen in the world of experimental psychology. Male elephants are prone to bouts of madness; LSD seems to cause a temporary form of madness; perhaps if we combine the two, they reasoned, we could make an elephant go mad. Their research paper about this venture is a tragicomedy of high hopes and lessons not learnt. For only mindless optimism and blind faith can account for the events that unfolded on a hot summer day in Oklahoma City's Lincoln Park Zoo 40 years ago.’

LSD Photographers

LSD Blotter Art Gallery

'Psychiatrist calls for end to 30-year taboo over use of LSD as a medical treatment - Sarah Bosley (The Guardian 11.1.06)

Leonardo DiCaprio to play Timothy Leary?


Two great new exclusive longform interviews have been added to our audio site.

Everett True (below) talks about his new book on Nirvana

Nick Kent (right) talks around the subject of 'The Dark Stuff', his classic collection of rock journalism, recently republished in an updated version.

Enjoy them both at

Friday, April 20, 2007


Press Release
20 April 2007
Greene King announces reinstatement of Harveys at the Lewes Arms

The reinstatement of Harveys to the Lewes Arms has been announced today. Greene King Local Pubs managing director Jonathan Lawson and regional manager Andrea Greenwood were at the pub today talking to their team and to the regulars, and letting them know of the decision. Jonathan said that the order for the beer had been placed and that following secondary fermentation in the cellar, it should be ready to drink towards the end of next week.

“We are passionate supporters of cask beer, are proud of our own brews and have recognised the intensity of feeling around Harveys at the Lewes Arms.” He said that the history of the pub, including its role as former brewery tap, combined with activities ranging from dwyle flunking to pea throwing made this hostelry very special.

“Now that Harveys is going back into the pub, my team and I are hoping that we can make a fresh start with our customers and are looking forward to helping the Lewes Arms once again play a full role in the local community.”

Greene King chief executive Rooney Anand added, “The Lewes Arms is a very special local pub with a unique place in the life of the town.

“We underestimated the depth of feeling and level of reaction about our initial decision and I believe that the conclusion the team put forward to return Harveys to the bar is the right one. I'm pleased that Jonathan and the team have taken on board our customers’ feedback and hope people will be pleased with the news.”

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Yours truly with son Louis performing a few numbers as part of a crowded bill of bands, musicians and singers of all descriptions, which raised £1300 for the cause. Much merriment ensued. Photo: Andy Gammon.
Read Greene King's latest statement here

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


There have been five other biographies of Phil Spector published over the years, (none of which I have read) but I would be surprised if they were able to match this magisterial piece of music journalism.

'Tearing Down the Wall of Sound' developed out of an assignment for The Telegraph's Saturday magazine. Mick had managed to secure the first interview with Spector for an age (and successfully survived the encounter without being threatened or locked in). The same weekend the piece was published in February 2003, Spector was arrested after actress Lana Clarkson was found dead in the hall of Spector's mansion with gunshot wounds. The trial, after much legal prevarication, began on March 19th this year.

The book opens and closes with extracts from Mick’s interview (which can incidentally be heard on The Telegraph website here) together with the latest state of procedural play at time of publication. Expect an update paperback version reporting on the trial and its outcome.

The biggest celebrity trial since pop star Michael Jackson's 2005 acquittal on child molestation charges, it will be shown live on American tv. Spector, now aged 67, is free on $US1 million bail. He denies the charges that he killed Clarkson. He told Esquire magazine in an interview shortly after his arrest that Clarkson "kissed the gun" in a bizarre suicide for reasons he did not understand. Opening statements in the Spector case are likely to begin in late April or early May, with the trial likely to last up to three months.

Spector’s is a complicated tale. Needless to say, he came from a disturbed background, had a supernatural genius as a producer, had lots of guns, turned ugly when on pills and alcohol. The talent and the chaos are mixed up together.

The young Spector’s aural vision of the Wall of Sound, created by the Wrecking Crew, an assemblage of top LA session players, in a relatively crummy studio is fascinating and well evoked as are the stories behind ‘You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling’ by the Righteous Brothers and ‘River Deep, Mountain High’ by Ike and Tina Turner. The first has now become the most widely played record ever; the latter was a relative flop in the US charts when first released, which broke Spector’s confidence and stellar run of chart successes.

Spector’s personal life makes for depressing reading.
His father had committed suicide during his young life. He was dominated for many year's by his mother and sister and had many disastrous personal relationships. He had a dread of women leaving him, which is why he often locked them in his house against their will.

At the launch of this book which 'The Generalist' attended at Daunt’s bookshop in London, Mick said that, strangely, the people who told the nicest stories and said the kindest things about Spector (and there are many in the book) were the ones who were most reluctant to be named.

What did I learn: well for a start, I hadn’t appreciated that Dennis Hopper had planned to make 'The Last Movie' first and had financial backing from Phil Spector before getting into 'Easy Rider' and then making it later and thus effectively ending his Hollywood career for many years, such was the mayhem it caused.

I hadn’t known that Barney Kessel was the young Spector’s great guitar hero (Spector himself being a bit of child prodigy on the instrument by the age of 12) and actually rose to his defence in Downbeat magazine who hadn’t included him in their Great Guitarist of Jazz poll. Spector’s mother heard that Kessel was recording in LA and arranged for the young Spector to meet him. Kessel took the boy under his wing and taught him the tricks of the trade. Strangely, later in Spector’s life, Kessel’s two sons chaperoned Spector around LA's nightlife for a period; they found Spector's mad and dangerous antics hilariously funny and seemed to have no fear in extreme situations - of which there were many.

I was also unaware of the closeness of the friendship between Spector and Lenny Bruce and interested to read more about his relationship with John Lennon and about his first visit to England, when Andrew Loog Oldham followed him round like an acolyte. It was also surprising to read that Brian Wilson often was to be found worshipping the master, overawed, in the control booth during some of Spector's recording sessions.

This is a well written, researched and crafted book which manages a huge array of complex material and multiple narratives successfully and brings us haunting visions of Spector in the studio, in his darkened mansions, in extremis, in a brief period of blissful parenting before his young son was to died of leukaemia.

It is the extensive original research, which gives Mick's Brown book its authority and authenticity, and his readable style that keeps you firmly in the thrall of the story of this star-crossed life of a tiny genius who produced some of the most powerful and romantic pop music of all time, yet who was cripppled by insecurities, haunted by demons, and may yet be proved to have committed the ultimate crime.

'Tearing Down the Wall of Sound' by Mick Brown (Bloomsbury.£18.99)