Rebels and mavericks

Enter the poet, trailing chaos

The Guardian, October 30 1979

Tambimuttu arrived in Rhode Island last month, still wearing the battered sheepskin slippers he has worn every day for the last ten years, with the only corrected proofs of his new magazine and the complete works of Bob Dylan in two canvas bags. Then he lost the lot at the station.

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Shooting fat cats

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, March 28 1988

At first sight, John A Mulheren Jnr is ripe for the Rogue's

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The man who saves lives on Death Row

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, June 13 1988

Jim McCloskey's journey to death row began in the suburbs of Philadelphia nine years ago. He was then a successful management consultant, aged 37, with a comfortable home, an air-conditioned Lincoln Continental and a fat monthly pay cheque, and yet he was troubled.

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Death of a legal legend

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, September 5 1988

The last time I saw the greatest criminal trial lawyer in the world, he was laid out on his sofa like a fallen tree, all six foot four of him, with his huge grey head hoisted up on two white satin pillows and his black walking cane propped up beside him.

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In praise of rebel weirdos

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, November 14 1988

Robert T Morris Jnr - or RTM as he is generally known - struck a special chord here last week when the computer virus which he had developed in his study at Cornell University raced through the Defence Department and out into the rest of the country paralysing more than 6,000 computers as it passed.

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The woman who kills bulls

The Mail on Sunday magazine, August 1 1989

Ernest Hemingway believed that bullfighting was a great and uplifting art, a sacred ritual in which courage, honour and death were all perfectly blended into the most tragic and most inspiring of spectacles. But Ernest Hemingway never saw a bullfight on a Friday night in Frontignan.

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Captain Jack's Great Adventure

The Guardian, March 28 1992

The strange tale of Captain Jack and the Great Adventure is the sort of story that would once have been made into a film by Ealing Studios. It is full of very English characters - the boatload of unlikely rebels striking out for freedom, the country vicar who joins them, the village policeman who helps them, and the man from the ministry who pursues them with his big book of little rules - and...

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Climbing out of old age

The Guardian, August 1 1995

There is something about climbing that lends itself to symbolism - the struggle towards the highest peak, the search for footholds on the future - and so naturally, it is tempting to take one look at Sid Thompson and Cliff Sandham, clinging to a rock tower in the Lake District like two gnats on a knitting needle, and see them as a metaphor for the conquest of old age.

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Bob Hoskins and the rebel story which the media missed

The Guardian, May 14 1998

He was obviously an idiot. In the summer of 1991, most national newspapers carried a short story about a man they called 'Yorkshire's answer to Captain Haddock' who lived in Whitby and owned an ancient boat and, for some bizarre reason, had decided to sail all the way to the Arctic with a bunch of friends, thus threatening chaos, confusion and the imminent loss of life.

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Profile of Assange

The Guardian, July 25 2010

Julian Assange is self-consciously an individual. He thinks in his own way, primarily as a physicist, having studied pure maths and physics at university in Australia where he grew up.

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One little river - one big story of drought, pollution and flood

The Guardian, October 8 2015
This is an unedited version of the story published by The Guardian

This begins with a man in the street. I often used to notice him, because he looked so out of place. In amongst the townies with their anoraks and sensible shoes, he was blatantly a country man in weather-beaten tweeds and clumpy boots. More than that, he seemed to come from another era, a big stocky man with white whiskers running down both sides of his round ruddy face, like a yeoman farmer from...

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