Showing posts from June, 2023

In Search of Smiles, by Andy Roberts

Hardback ISBN: 9781916266773 Paperback ISBN: 9781916266780 *OUT 10.06.2023* This is Andy Roberts’s fourth book of British psychedelic history and I think it’s his best. It’s a history of one Alston Hughes, more generally known as Smiles, the photogenic chap on the cover with his corvid friend. Smiles was a major distributor of the (excellent) LSD made by Richard Kemp and others of the ‘Microdot Gang’ who were busted in the 1977-8 police extravaganza known as Operation Julie.  The early chapters outline Smiles’s early life, giving a biography that adds depth to the stories we read of his later exploits. However, the book is carefully framed as an important bit of British psychedelic history, an area in which ‘Establishment’ narratives have dominated the discourse for too long. Andy writes about the directions his research for his earlier books on psychedelic history took him: ‘… one event repeatedly drew my attention: Operation Julie. This was the British government’s police-led init