Courtney Love In Liverpool: The Scousers Who Taught The Grunge Icon How To Rock

By Dave Haslam

Published in the Guardian on 25th May 2020

In 1982, a tearaway called Courtney Love blazed into the city, intoxicated by its exploding post-punk scene. We reveal the feuds, filched raincoats and grotty flats that set her on the path to stardom.

If you were in Liverpool in 1982 and had a habit of wandering down Mathew Street, perhaps on your way to Probe record store, you are likely to have seen Courtney Love. She was 17 and living in the city, having been invited there by Teardrop Explodes frontman Julian Cope. Probe was one of her favourite places to go – if not to buy records, then to sit outside on the steps, drinking cider with her friend from back home in America, Robin Barbur.

A hundred yards from Probe was the site of Eric’s. From 1976 to 1980, Eric’s had hosted everyone from the Ramones to Joy Division. One band formed by the venue’s regulars was Big in Japan with lineups including Jayne Casey (later of Pink Military), Bill Drummond (later of the KLF), Holly Johnson (later of Frankie Goes to Hollywood) and Ian Broudie (later of the Lightning Seeds). “We were the most damaged children society turned out that year!” recalls Casey. “And we just happened to be on stage together.”

Love wanted to get close to them, particularly the Teardrop Explodes and Echo & the Bunnymen. She later recalled seeing Ian McCulloch of the Bunnymen “swanning around” the city: “He used to wear a big thick coat and glasses and hang out with Pete Wylie and mumble.” Wylie, of the band Wah! Heat, also had a big coat. Liverpool winters are cold – but the coats stayed on at parties and gigs. Love claims she once stole McCulloch’s, but he isn’t so sure: “I think she might have stolen a look rather than actual clothes. But if she did, good luck to her.”

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Image: Robin D Bradbury

Defying The Cosa Nostra: The Man Who Accidentally Bought A Mafia Stronghold

By Lorenzo Tondo

Published in the Guardian on 26th October 2019

Gianluca Calì was threatened by the mob for years, but now he’s turning an old mafia villa into a holiday house

The view from the terrace is breathtaking. On the left, the ancient Greek ruins of Solunto; on the right, the splendid Arab-Norman city of Cefalù. In the centre, a crystalline sea as blue as the sky.

For twenty years, Sicily’s most powerful mafia bosses plotted the murders of countless policemen and politicians from this spot, part of a 400 sq metre villa in the coastal resort town of Casteldaccia, known as the Miami of Sicilian mobsters, a few kilometres from Palermo.

But the godfathers are now gone and in their place is Gianluca Calì, an anti-mafia businessman who is about to turn their former stronghold into a holiday house.

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Image: Alessio Mamo/The Guardian

Five Ways To Rate

By Robin Hanson

Published in Overcoming Bias on May 19th 2020

When we have people and orgs do things for us, we need ways to rate them. So we can pick who to have do what, and how much to have them do. And how we evaluate suppliers matters a lot, as they put great effort into looking good according to the metrics we use.

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How John Maynard Keynes Learned The Folly Of Market Timing

By John Stepek

Extract from Stepek’s book The Sceptical Investor. Published in Money Week on May 25th 2020

Keynes was smarter than most people – but not the market.

John Maynard Keynes is of course, best known for being one of the most important thinkers in economics. But he was also a prolific, and eventually, very successful investor.

When Keynes (allegedly – there is no primary source that I’m aware of for this quote) warned that “the market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent”, he was speaking from experience.

Keynes was perhaps the last human being on earth that you would describe as possessing intellectual humility. Both his education and his temperament led him to feel that he was a man apart from the norm – a cut above, both intellectually and morally.

The son of a pair of upper-middle-class academics, he won a scholarship to Eton and excelled. As Robert L. Heilbroner observes in a review of Robert Skidelsky’s biography of Keynes in the New York Times, “Keynes won nearly every competition he ever entered, a performance not likely to encourage humility in a developing personality.”

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Image: Getty

The Steve Marriott Saga: How The Mob, Peter Frampton And Daddy Osbourne Snuffed Out The Small Faces And Humble Pie

By Don Jacobson

Published in the Beachwood Reporter on November 26th 2007

The other day I was listening to a great old album on WREK-FM, one of our better non-commercial, student-run stations, from Georgia Tech in Atlanta. The program was Stonehenge, WREK’s weekly “deep tracks” classic rock show, and the album was Humble Pie’s first effort, 1969’s “As Safe As Yesterday Is.” It was so good, it got me wondering, why didn’t Steve Marriott ever become the ultra-special hyperstar he should have been? What happened to him in the years between Humble Pie’s break-up in 1975 and his premature, accidental death in a 1991 house fire?

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The Spirit Of Place In A Multicultural Society

By Ole Moystad

Published in Architecture Norway on 24th August 2012

On how Christian Norberg-Schulz developed ‘place’ into a basic concept in architecture, and the use of that concept as an instrument of national cultural policy.

The concept of ‘place’ has become firmly established in the understanding of architecture within Norway, and even in the building legislation, within the past two or three decades. How do we build places that are not only good, but meaningful?

Ole Møystad has looked at how Christian Norberg-Schulz worked to define meaning in architecture, an effort that culminated in the concept of Place.

But there is a contradiction between the accepted definition of the homely and the demands of an increasingly mobile and multi-cultural society. Møystad points to significant uncomfortable knots in Norberg-Schulz’s work, knots that remain crucial theoretical challenges for Norwegian architecture.

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Meet The Man Who Spent 10,000 Bitcoins On Two Pizzas

By Molly Jane

Published in CoinMarketCap on May 23rd 2020

While you may not know Laszlo Hanyecz’ name, you might have heard his story: he’s the man who paid 10,000 Bitcoin for two Papa John’s pizzas in 2010. The transaction was the first recorded instance of exchanging Bitcoin for a physical item (in this case, two cheesy ones), and as Bitcoin’s price skyrocketed in the years following the purchase, even mainstream media became obsessed with the man who bought two pizzas for $500, $5,000…and now today, over $90,000. There’s even a dedicated Twitter feed for those too lazy to do the math themselves.

Perhaps surprisingly, Hanyecz has no regrets about spending so much money on cheese and bread. And in fact, his interest in Bitcoin has only grown since the original Bitcoin Pizza Day transaction ten years ago.

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