Review – The Naked Guide to Cider by James Russell

We discovered the revised 2nd edition of the Naked Guide to Cider by James Russell on sale at the Bristol Anarchist Bookfair earlier this year. Tangent Books were selling it on their stall. After a short conversation that involved singing the praises of Herefordshire cider over the Somerset varieties it became clear that Tangent Books is run by serious cider heads.

The book is a comprehensive guide to everything cider and perry related. With masses of information that can either educate the novice or entertain the seasoned cider connoisseur. With chapters on cider-producing regions, cider history, cider culture and a step-by-step guide on how to make cider, what more could you need.

The interviews with cider makers and assorted experts give the book a personal element which is always a bonus if you are new to a subject.

James Russell clearly has a passion for cider and a little digging revealed that he’s a respected authority on orchards and cider making. All this knowledge doesn’t seem to have dampened his sense of humour as the Naked Guide is often tongue in cheek. In fact, Tangent’s aim is for the Naked Guides to be “sharp, informative and witty guide books, packed with information”. We recon they’ve succeeded with this one.

The only negative is the guide book lay out which isn’t conducive to a cover to cover read. But as it’s not trying to be a novel that’s probably just my issue and I have to get over it. Although, as in the style of guide books, there are tonnes of great illustrations and photographs which make it a very enjoyable read.

We live in a county steeped in cider and perry related history, so whether you drink it, fancy making some or just live next to an orchard this book will satisfy your interest in all thing cider. 9/10

Rural Anarchist

(You can buy a copy here)

London Anarchist Bookfair 2012

On Saturday 27th October the annual London Anarchist Bookfair is being held.


It’s the biggest event in the UK anarchist calender, with stalls from hundreds of different activist groups, campaigns and publishers. As well as these, there are discussion meetings, talks, workshops, films and more.

Hereford Heckler will have a stall there as usual, with items from our shop for sale. Come and find us and have a chat!

The bookfair will be held from 10am-7pm at Queen Mary, University of London, Mile End Road, London, E1 4NS.

The English Defence League are due to hold a demonstration on the same day, also in east London. Anti-fascists are calling on people to head to Walthamstow to oppose them. If you’ve got time and a bit of a plan, why not do both?

For the benefit of Mr Keyte?

Hesitantly entering the ungovernable nether regions of the bloggerati. On a mission to inject fever back into football. Using classically-lucrative Jekyll and Hyde press formula – build ’em up, then knock ’em down .

This must be the way to popular acclaim for an otherwise-ethical journo.

So follow this twisted mantra as I crash sideways into an enigma, supercharged only by a massive steroid prescription.

Earlier this week, I relaxed in a Gumper’s forest jaccuzzi, helpfully provided by a combination of over-enthusiastic anarchist pollarding , po-going and abundant rainfall. Then a bedraggled tofu grower emerged into view, ruining any chance of hardcore meditation as she screamed about ‘kinel’ Purdie.

Now one can understand the axe being taken to the player budget at Hereford United and the need for all of us to sensibly accept whatever 50% slash in wages the bosses deem necessary in these austere times when not even Barclays can successfully fiddle their way to plentitude.

From Estadio Edgar......

Take a bow, Robert Purdie. You were our midfield Pirlo. A graceful act, cavorting across the Estadio Edgar stage. You had your front teeth smashed by a Halifax elbow in the Play Off Final but still played on through three shirt changes.

An ever-generous passer exuding truly magnanimous thoughts, allied to simply laser-powered sight. The vision of a starship captain enriched by the wisdom of the ancients, you glided through 90 minutes of effortless artistry, whilst all around succumbed to the irresistible attractions of the Blue Square Bet Premiership.

Now you choose to forego the Keyte coffers in order to move to Shrewsbury Town, a club I pass regularly on my way to out-patients, in order to achieve an optimum level of expectoration for the benefit of medical science, thermo-nuclear levels of self-satisfaction and complete inner peace.. Aimed at a club with an out-of-town Lego stadium, ideas above its station and a slew of vile supporters who alternate between ghoulish ‘Salop’ chants, sprinkled with a pathological determination to shout everything in proper grammar, howling when the sentences won’t come out right.

Purdie fled to a veritable Bedlam of gutteral disgrace. The whole sorry affair leads one to reflect on whether we ever saw his true character on the hallowed turf of a proper club.

It must take a heart cacked-up with gritty realism to turn your aging back on the Bulls support. Fans lionizing you even as they pretended to curse vacant moments caught in possession. But did you go to a club a reasonable distance away to allow them, slowly, to forgive and forget? Slop

NO. You-went-down -the-A49-to… Slop. Turning your back in the most hurtful way imaginable short of Newport. What did you expect us to do? How did you think we’d react? Was it just the lure of the Turner lucre that blunted your emotional bond with the Bulls? That blinded you to the harsh reality awaiting any out-of-favour midfielder warming the Slop bench?

Did we really glimpse a Brady-esque talent? Or were we blind to a future hindsight of a moderate personality, slow, somewhat cadaverous on the turn; with lamentable communication skills and a sublime flouncing attitude leagues ahead of anything Ashikodi produced?

Now there may be Bulls fans penning hagiographic poems to Purdie, even as I dribble on the laptop through to another fading, but putatively feminist, sub-masochistic literary climax, all the better to release comforting endorphins from a reader’s warped inner soul.

There is perhaps little doubt whether resignation or damnation will infect our fans the next time we play a team fielding a reject.

The fact remains that concentration on Purdie’s finer qualities has little relevance when seeking to quench a rising thirst for swift sonic retribution – but we don’t even play the Slop next season.

Historical records indicate that the Purdie family originated in Shropshire.

Like any outrage of this magnitude, this just adds to our distress.


Review- Disbelief 101: A Young Persons Guide to Atheism

Imagine there’s an Invisible Flying Clown, or IFC. This IFC is an all powerful force that created the whole universe only 6000 years ago. All he asks is that you believe in him and his son. His son was born of a virgin, walked on water, healed the sick by touching them, was killed then came back from the dead.

This is the opening salvo of S.C.Hitchcock’s book Disbelief 101: A Young Persons Guide to Atheism. As the title suggests this book is written for young people struggling with faith. Although written a couple of years ago it’s still very relevant, especially for people, like myself, faced with the possibility of having to send their children to a faith school.

The book begins by putting the Christian/Islamic/Jewish view of god in perspective. The IFC argument is a simple but effective way of explaining how ridiculous the basic beliefs of these religions are. Later chapters put the dangers of these beliefs in context. Hitchcock explains how religions deny scientific evidence and rely on ‘faith’ to support their views on creation, intelligent design, homosexuals, women and the existence of god.

This book is written as a tool to aid young people who are faced with inevitable arguments when they deny the existence of god. At times these arguments are a little hard to follow and seem to ramble, but in general they are well thought out. Hitchcock provides the ammunition needed to combat the challenge that Atheism is just another form of belief, and argument that many atheists face.

The distain shown by the author towards religious arguments is well deserved but could be quite off putting for a young person filled with the fear of hell and damnation.  Having said that, the same young person should find in this book the confidence to break out of the dangerous confines of ‘faith’ and become an open minded critical thinker.

The last chapter ‘Religious Indoctrination of Children Is Child Abuse’ compares religion to fast food corporations. Both snare people at a young age at a time when they are unaware of the dangers of the products. We only have to look at Freedom Church in Hereford to see how modern churches are recruiting impressionable young people. Although eating unhealthy shit sold by unethical companies is bad, I’m not aware that MacDonalds tells its customers to kill homosexuals (Leviticus 20:13), or Kentucky Fried Chicken see incest and rape as good things (Genesis 19).

I read this book from the perspective of an adult atheist. I found it refreshingly easy to read compared to Dawkins or Hitchens, it’s full of humour and a great starting point for someone shaking of the shackles of religion. 7/10

Buy the book here

By @Rural_Anarchist

New radical bookshop opens in Bristol

Hydra Books, a new radical bookshop, coffee shop and meeting space was opened in Bristol, on Saturday.

Events were held over the weekend to kick off the opening, including a talk by veteran anarchist, Ian Boneon Saturday.

“As well as selling some of the best coffee and cake in the city, we stock ‘radical‘ literature on a wide range of issues; politics, history, feminism, animal rights, environmentalism that it may be difficult to track down in the usual high-street bookshops (if you can find one!) The bookshop provides an outlet for independent non commercial publishers and authors to make their books and ideas accessible to the wider community. Run by local people as a workers co-operative, the shop grew out of Bristol Radical History Group and similar networks across the city. It is a space for exchanging ideas and finding those books.”

You can find the bookshop at:

Hydra Books
34 Old Market,

A list of events can be found on their website here.