Thursday, July 13, 2023



This is a truly wonderful album. Joyous. A huge range of wonderful instrumentation. Spiritual. Calming. Healing. I played it to an audience who were of one mind. Brilliant. Composed by Peter Culshaw who plays piano throughout. Peter is a really great music journalist who has travelled the world and interviewed at least 100 of the greatest musicians on the planet. He was the first to discover the Buena Vista Social Club. He has written many books perhaps most notably his biography of Manu Chao which Talking Heads David Byrne rated as the of the best music books ever. This is a great record produced in Mumbai, London and Odessa by ISKRA Music. It will be welcomed and celebrated by people in many cultures. Don't miss it. It's a work of love and beauty. Good for the soul.

Friday, June 23, 2023



This article was published in  19 Magazine on May 5th 1973.

Text is by Mick Brown and photos by Jean Kisch and John Tibera


If you're the slightest bit interested in yourself, your body, the planet you inhabit and anything connected with it, you should be interested in a publication scheduled to appear in October. Titled The Catalogue: An Index Of Possibilities, it is basically a reference work on everything you ever wanted to know. The publishers responsible for collating 'the whole extent of human knowledge' (their words, not mine) into the five volumes which constitute The Catalogue were all formerly connected with the late, lamented underground paper Frendz. John May was editor, John Trux business man-ager and Mike Marten and John Chesterman were occasional contributors.


The Catalogue's inspiration was the American Whole Earth Catalogue (the last volume of which is available here in Penguin), which established itself as an indispensable aid to Americans on a back-to-the-land kick, giving practical advice on everything from where to buy specific tools to methods of growing food organically or building geodesic domes:

 The Whole Earth Catalogue was fine, for America; but, because there isn't the land here to get back to, and most of the tools listed were only available in the States anyway, the book was of little practical use to British readers. The Catalogue, claims Mike Marten, is more concerned with information than tools, and is part of a more radical philosophy than frontiersmanship alone.

"It comes down to the fact that the information you need to change anything, even your immediate environment—where you live, what you do—is very difficult to get hold of in this country, and it's made more difficult because, although we're only a small country, there seems to be greater resistance by people who have in-formation to disseminate it.

 "If you take societies, such as the British Astronomical Association, everything is very tight — it's old colonels, old astronomers and the like, all sitting fuddy duddily together in Piccadilly, watching the skies. If you ring them up or write to them they regard you as an intruder —it's almost a closed shop.

"In the States, on the other hand, where it's a part of their philosophy to be as outward about everything as possible, a similar institution would probably deluge you with piles of information —the opposite extreme."


"What The Catalogue will do is give as much information on the subjects we cover as is practically possible. We'll review books on the subject, and organisations devoted to it—ranging from governmental to the cranky to the alternative; we'll list films and video-cassettes which can be bought or hired, on the subject, details of further education classes readers could take." The Catalogue will be published in five parts over three years.

 The first volume concentrates on power and energy systems, also dynamics and forces —both physical and metaphysical. The volume progresses from the theory of relativity and nuclear physics, through the power and energy systems of the earth and body to those of the mind and, finally, to God and the numerous religious interpretations.

"As The Catalogue is intended as a working book wherever possible, practical information will be listed —the open days at Jodrell Bank Research Station, techniques of dowsing, how to construct water wheels, even how to cast astrological charts."

Volume Two deals with structures. "Social structures, business structures. We're going to examine very closely just what organisations, such as The National Health Service, do and how people can get the most from them . . ." Volume Three deals with communication, knowledge and dialogue. Volume Four is Down To Earth—"farming, flowers and beasts".  Volume Five is inventions, discoveries, explorations and games.

As well as serving to broaden people’s interests The Catalogue will act as a sort of information pool, firstly generating interest in subjects, making reader’s aware of their own possibilities for further involvement and finally, listing the facilities by which they can do so.


“We’ll explain the essence of a subject first,” says John May, and then examining it in a number of different ways, all the time leading from the theoretical to the practical, so you get people involved in the ideas of the subject, capture their imagination, then they turn over the page  and there’s the address and phone number of people who are actually doing it. It places the onus on the reader so if they want to find out more they can actually do it themselves.”

“The real hope,” says John Trux is that people will use The Catalogue as a tool for getting into all types of a radical activity. A lot of good thins are happening with small groups of people but the only media outlet for hem at the moment is the Alternative Press and the occasional piece in other publications. A lot of radical ideas are feasible if enough people are into them. At the moment, there is either scattered groups of people or not enough people aware of what's happening. We're going to say 'This is happening; if you're interested these are the people to contact."

The American Whole Earth Catalogue started out with a minority, predominantly freak readership, and finished up as one of America's best-selling paperback books in years. John May hopes much the same thing will happen with the British Catalogue. "We're not just aiming at young people, or people in communes, or whatever. We hope our audience will be as varied as our contributors who are a strange mixture —old-age pensioners, lecturers, students, people in mundane jobs who have information on interest-ing subjects to pass on."

By making The Catalogue factual and accurate he aims to set a precedent, which other 'alternative' publications will follow, and also break down the prejudices people have against the underground Press in general.

"Up until now, the whole alternative underground Press scene has been very much 'Wow, man, that's really far out' — all rhetoric and no facts, no careful, critical examination of things."


 "The Catalogue will have the minimum of rhetoric and will examine things such as gurus and psychic phenomena —or any of those sort of fashionable things —carefully and says, 'These are the facts'; not 'Wow, isn't it freaky?'

"As long as people dismiss information and ideas as hippy bull-shit, the longer it'll take to change things. At the moment, it's when The Sunday Times does an article on drugs that people read it and say, 'Yes, that must be the truth'. If they read it in IT they just say, 'Oh, that's them hippies . . .'

 We aim to establish ourselves in such a position that when we come up with something startling about, say, social structures, it will be credible, people will believe us. Above all, we aim to make The Catalogue as interesting as possible, so that people do respond and get involved. I don't know how many will actually use it. We hope a lot."

Work on volume one of The Catalogue has already begun, but John May needs information and people willing to recycle it for subsequent volumes. Anybody with anything to offer—even if only help in the office — should contact John May at 2 Blenheim Crescent, London W11 (01-727 4712). •

Friday, May 19, 2023



Mick was one of the most prominent figures of the British counter-culture. A poet, author, musician, activist. In the late 60s Mick headed the protopunk band The Deviants and later released solo material under his own name. he is the author of more than 30 books both non-fiction and fiction. Here are some of them.
A biography and a chunky collection of his lifetime work.

This highly illustrated book  with design and layout by Edward Barker is a counter-culture classic. That's Ed and Mick with me just behind them. Cover by David Wills

Thursday, May 18, 2023


 Monday 15th May: Spotted  a hardback copy of 'The Letters of Allen Ginsberg' in the window of the Bow Windows  bookshop in Lewes. Edited by Bill Morgan who was Ginsberg's  literary archivist for many years. The letters are lengthy and full of thoughtful topics which make great reading. He is described as one of the most prolific letter writers of the 20th century. letters to Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, Neal Cassady and Carolyn Cassady, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gary Snyder, Gregory Corso, e.e. cummings, Peter Orlovsky, Herbert Hunke, Bob Dylan, Timothy Leary, Jimmy Carter, Paul Bowles, Bill Clinton and many more. He travels extensively and the reader is carried into a wide variety of adventures and countries. When searching for a possible extract I settled on his letter to President Jimmy Carter on October 26th 1979.

'It has recently been brought to my attention that no writer currently sits on the National Council on the Arts. Although the performing and visual arts have their own lobbying groups, there's not a commercial market for poetry large enough to support a heavy pressure group. Some assistance is open to writers within the National Endowment for the Arts, but Literature has the smallest budget in the N.E.A.

'Poetry practices control awareness and purification of the language, it makes up penetratingly communicative word pictures. Because poetry is like the central nervous system of the body politic, poetic projection of image has a compelling role in the history of human actions. That's why Shelly said, "Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the World". That's why someone representing poetry and prose word arts should sit on the National Council on the Arts and have some say in national arts monies. Maybe it would be better to give no money to art at all, see what happens, if arts have been brought up by national patronage, and made lethargic to the pain of America's present history, politics etc. Painters have an industry with vast slush funds flowing up and down Madison Avenue. Because poetry comes out in little magazines, non commercial, it would be best to beef up the least fat-cat art. If we are going to have subsidiz- ation at all, put a poet to buffer it from commerce, censorship, and government interference. You need somebody with brains on top to figure out how to do it right - namely some writers on the National Council on the Arts.' Sincerely Allen Ginsberg.

I asked Jonathan if he had any other Ginsberg work and, within minutes I held in my hand a rare and wonderful book 'The Riverside Interviews 1: Allen Ginsberg' published by the Binnacle Press in 1980. First Edition 1/600 copies.:https//

This was the first of a series conducted by Gavin Selerie - a prolific poet and teacher in his own right. see

The other Riverside Interviews  2: Lawrence Ferlinghetti; 3: Gregory Corso; 4: Jerome Rothenberg [with Eric Mottram]; 6: Tom McGrath [Binnacle Press, produced between 1980 and 1984]

The text is produced on a typewriter. This interview was conducted at Riverside Studios, Hammersmith, London, before Ginsberg's reading on 4th November 1979, and at Miles' flat in the West End after Ginsberg's reading at Battersea Arts Centre. Some additional material was supplied in a conversation which took place after the reading at the Round House on 17th November 1979.

There is a 5 -page intro: Selerie writes on page iv: 'In conversation with Ginsberg, I found that I was dealing with a mind continually alert to new situations and ready to absorb new information.....

'On meeting Ginsberg, I was struck first of all by the authority of his bearings; here was a man who knew things from experience and who could muster facts and examples to support his argument. Then, gradually, the confident assertion of beliefs or opinions seemed to be counterbalances by a certain humility....Ginsberg's knowledge of literature commands respect. The ease with which he quoted from other people's writing underlined his sensitivity to language.'

The follows 42 pages of interview. Ginsberg talks in great depth about making poems, the rhythm of poems and his own experiences in life. I like this extract:

'Ezra Pound was the one who pointed out long ago that poetry, music and dance were one. His proposition was that at one time word, movement and melody were one art or parts of one performance...

'The person who comes nearest to that in pronouncing language aloud is Mick Jagger; or some other rock or popular musicians and ballet people. OK, so just to be classical about it: let us be reminded that in the immemorial mists of history poetry and music and even dance were allied and that this combination is nothing new.'

The book comes complete with photographs by Chris Schwarz. The cover is Ginsberg outside the front of William Blake's cottage at Felpham. November 1979.

One other is the Ginsberg and three others in front of the Public House Bookshop in Brighton  - Richard Cupidi who owned and ran the bookshop, Lee Harwood and Peter Orlovsky.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023


 Back in January/February 2020 I wrote an extensive groups of Climate Crisis posts on the Greening of Transport: Aviation/Shipping/Railways and three posts on cars -Global Overview, Hydrogen Fuel cars and the Fall and rise of SUVs. 

This new post concentrates on Electric Vehicles, battery development  Rare Earth Metals and China's domination of all three.


      This is a  vital and important book. 
      China has a global hold on most of the world's Rare Earth metals.
      These have to be mined and this will create a new level of pollution.                                                           Pitron reveals that by breaking free of fossil fuels we are in fact                                                                 setting ourselves up for a new dependence on rare earths.
      These are essential to electric vehicles, wind turbines and solar panels                                                         as well as smartphones, computers, tablets and other technologies.

30th January 2021: China controls 95%of the rare earth metals market, making between 80% and 90% of the batteries for electric vehicles and more than half the magnets in wind turbines and electric motors. The production of rare metals will double every 15 years in order to satisfy demand from non-ferrous magnets and lithium-ion batteries. [The Rare Metals War' by Guillaume Pitron (New Scientist)

20th February 2021: Copper demand from renewables and electric vehicles is expected to grow more than seven times by the 2050s. [Financial Times]

3rd March 2021: Three North American companies are setting up a rare earths supply chain to cut dependence on China for the vital metals used in weapons, electric vehicles and other advanced technologies. New Performance Materials of Canada and Energy Fuels of US have found an efficient way to produce rare metals from radioactive monazite sands, a by-product produced from mining sircon, titanium and other, supplied by US based chemicals group Chermours. Energy Fuels has developed a method of extracting the radioactive element to use in nuclear fuel. Monzanite contains about 50% rare earths  and 0.3% natural uranium. It also contains 15 of the 17 of the rare earths. Fighter jets rely heavily on rare earths. A  Lockheed Martin aircraft contains 417kg of rare-earth materials and a nuclear submarine more than 4 tonnes. [FT]

24th December 2021: Three of the leading rare-earth companies in China have merged to form the China Rare Earth Group. It will control 70% of China's rare earth output of 17 minerals. [FT]


7th July 2022: China's BYD ("build your dreams") overtakes the world's most popular battery car maker outpacing Tesla - a goal that Volkswagen, Ford and General Motors were aiming to do. BYD delivered  641,000 cars in six months, 300% higher than in 2021 and ahead of Tesla's 564,000. 

BYD began as manufacturer of rechargeable batteries and expanded into the car business in 2000. The fact that they make the batteries means they own the crucial supply chain. The company now has around 10 % of global capacity for EV battery production. They also have energy storage divisions and a computer chip unit. Sales are mainly in the domestic market but they have international ambitions. Half the cars they sell are plug-in hybrids which count as "new energy vehicles" [NEVs] as well as pure battery and hydrogen powered models [FT]

1 November 2022: BYD is backed by Warren Buffett and is one of a dozen Chinese brands preparing to storm Europe's markets. One in 20 electric vehicles sold in the region in the first six months of 2002 was a Chinese-owned brand. BYD will begin selling its three models before the end of the year. It is expected that the Chinese share of this market will be one in six cars by the middle of the decade. Nio, a premium brand was launched in Germany, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands with Norway to follow. It claims to have orders for 10,000 vehicles. [FT]


7 December 2022: China battery makers' clout raises fears in European motor industry.

China is turning itself into the battery workshop of the world. Europe is the second biggest market for EVs and it is predicted that China will have 322 gigawatt hours of production capacity there by 2031 than any other country. Some 40 % of the value of the electric vehicle is in its battery. In the new world, says  Volkswagen's tech head, the electric vehicle world will be defined clearly by battery costs. South Korea will be second largest with 192GWh followed by France and Sweden. the US is 5th thanks to a Tesla plant in Berlin, 6th is Germany, 7th is Norway and the UK is eighth with 20GWh,

VW is leading European manufacturers with plans for five factories in Europe and one in North America. Meanwhile it has a supply deal with China's CATL, the largest battery maker. Europe is planning to end the sale of combustion engines by 2035. 

Rising metal prices hinder car affordability

The price of lithium ion batteries rose for the first time in more than a decade. The car industry has long believed that a $100 per kWH battery pack was the point at which electric cars would be competitive price wise with combustion engine vehicles. However lithium prices have  increased 10-fold since the start of  2021, nickel has gone up 75 % and cobalt prices have doubled their 2020 average. Battery prices would have been higher if the Chinese industry had not switched to  cheaper lithium iron  phosphate (LFP) batteries These don't use  cobalt or nickel but have a shorter range.

Un 2022 there were 603 gigawatt hours of demand for lithium iron batteries, double that of the previous year. Supply chains are struggling to keep up. The world's largest lithium producers have warned about the difficulties of increasing production to cope with rocketing demand. Europe, US and other countries are making efforts to reduce their dependence on China.[FT]

2023 BYD and peers make their marque as Chinese car sector comes of age.

Chinese consumers will buy 8mn to10mn EVs in 2023 up from 6.5mn in 2022 and 3.5mn in 2021. Sales in Europe are projected to be3mn and 2mn in US. China had the largest sales with a 35% year-on-year rise of rapid growth. So 7 out of  every10 electric vehicles are now sold in China. The pace of growth means China is on the cusp of hitting 50 % of car sales being EVs by the end of 2025 - the first major economy to do so.

This would be far ahead of Europe,  The market share of battery cars is rising slowly. A third of sales in the final months of 2022 were fully electric or plug-in hybrid.

BYD  is spearheading a wave of overseas expansion. Exports are forecast to grow six fold to 300,000 units this year. Further plans to build factories in Asia, Europe and |South America. 

The US unveiled restrictions to stop US companies selling technology to China. It followed with state support in the US and Europe to counter China's rise. [FT]

30.3.2023: Tesla loses ground in China after price war.

 In the first two months BYD sold more than five times the number of units that Tesla did in China.

In 2022 Chinese car makers accounted for 47 % of total passenger sales volume. BYD's vertically integrated  structure - from mines to  batteries and chips has given it an advantage as the world transitions away from the combustion engine. BYD chair said he expected first quarter sales to jump   80 % year on year. The company reported a 400% surge in net profit for 2022. However sales are generally down as the country emerges from the pandemic. [FT]

Wednesday, April 05, 2023


 Three valuable new additions to the Generalist Archive:

'Photography of Protest and Community' by Noni Stacey [2020]
Noni Stacey's valuable highly detailed academic source documenting street photography of radical collective photo groups in the 1970s, like the Hackney Flashers, pioneering Half Moon Gallery and The Photographer's Gallery and mag Camerawork.

Whole World In An Uproar: Music Rebellion and Repression 1955-1972 by Aaron J. Leonard [2023] Xcellent book . Deeply researched. Musicians' FBI files revealed. Sets the music into the background of Black Power, anti-Vietnam events, festivals, riots, Lots of busts. Valuable source.

GRAFFITI: 'Two Thousand Years of Wall Writing' [1971] by the late jazz writer Robert Reisner. 'They express the beliefs, hopes, aspirations, hang-ups, angers and obsessions of the common folk through the ages.' A great pub read.

Wednesday, March 08, 2023


 It seems totally appropriate that a copy of 'Hail Sisters of the Revolution' by my dear friend writer/poet/musician Caroline Gilfillan with photographer Andrew Scott should arrive in the post on International Women's Day. They met in the 1970s when squatting was a big thing In London and shared a squat in Stepney.

During this period Caroline joined one of the very early women-only band The Stepney Sisters and subsequently went on to play with Sisterhood of Spit, Hi Jinx, The Ponytails and Crikey Aphrodite.

She writes the story of the squats and the band in poetic form and the excellent black and white shots by Andrew bring that world to life. This wonderful book is published by Cowslip Press at 9 Casson Street, Ulverston LA12 7JQ. The Poetry Society recommended it as one of the Books of the Year.

In 2001 The Stepney Sisters reassembled and made their first ever recorded album. Excellent article on all this here:

Wednesday, March 01, 2023

Nebra Sky Disc


This is the Nebra Sky disc, believed to be the oldest surviving representation of the cosmos. It was buried 3,600 years ago and was illegally excavated by two metal detectorists in Germany and is now in the State Museum of Prehistory in Halle. It is crafted in bronze and gold which originated in Cornwall.

It is the most valuable artefact yet discovered from the Únětice civilization, a large group of early Bronze Age communities in central Europe - especially Bohemia, Bavaria, south-eastern Germany and western Poland - which is believed to have survived from 2,300BC to around1600 BC. 

The dots are thought to represent stars with the cluster being the Pleiades with the circle and crescent being the Sun and Moon.

There are various theories as the purpose of the disc - an astronomical clock, a religious symbol or a work of art.

Friday, February 24, 2023




'London's Arts Labs and the 60s Avant-Garde' by David Curtis.
The Worthing Workshop is mentioned in the list of Arts Labs across the regions. This an excellent book, fully illustrated, and deeply researched. It gives valuable picture of a time and a space when all the arts were able to intermingle. Reading it one feels that a new network of Arts Labs would be very valuable in the times we live in.


Monday, January 30, 2023



 Harold Pendleton who died at the age of 93 in 2017 is perhaps a name not known to the general public but as this book shows he was a key figure in the development of music in the UK. A huge jazz fan he got the bug for promoting and staging bands in various venues leading to his establishment of the Marquee in 1958 which he ran for 30 years. The venue itself may have been pretty scuzzy but it became the place that every band wanted to play. In the prologue to the book his son explains why.

'A gig at the Marquee announced that a band has left the orbit of the suburban pub circuit and was on its way up. It was the place where agents managers and journalists went to check out new talent: contracts could be signed before the stage was cleared and a memorable performance could land a band their first notices in the music weeklies. It was the gateway to the big time.'

This classy book written by Robert Sellers is highly detailed and manages to give the reader a fantastic picture of this remarkable club that played host to literally thousands of bands of all types and styles. A Timeline at the end of the book highlights the standout nights and the most frequent performers. There is also a list of live recordings. The main text is peppered throughout with quotes from fresh interviews with leading figures in all the streams of music. 

To give some idea of the intensity of the task of compiling this history take the year 1977. Sellers writes: 'It saw first gigs for the Jam, Ultravox!, the Only Ones, the Motors, Generation X, the Vibrators, X-Ray Spex, The Police, Squeeze, the Boomtown Rats, John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett, the Damned, the Buzzcocks, Wire, Tom Robinson, Japan, Sham 69, Adam and the Ants, and XTC.

The catholic booking policy meant that the in the same year there were appearances from 'the influential folkster Bert Jansch, the reformed Pink Fairies, Medieval progsters Gryphon, the old school rock of Edgar Broughton and Wishbone Ash and a nostalgic two-nighter in the company of Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames. Not to mention what was supposed to be a farewell concert by Motorhead.'

Lemmy is quoted at the front of the book: 'The reason I liked the Marquee was because it was scruffy and a hellhole, and your feet stuck to the floor, and that's exactly what a rock and roll club should be like'

The book as a whole is beautifully put together with some great photos starting with a fab shot of Guns and Roses on their first gig in the UK. A valuable addition to the history of British music.