Phil Rogers obituary

Welsh studio potter, tutor and author in the anglo-oriental tradition whose work is found in museums worldwide

Phil Rogers, who has died aged 69, was one of Britain’s leading potters and advocates for his craft. From his rural studio near the village of Rhayader in Powys, Wales, Rogers created work that drew on an eclectic range of global styles, from medieval German salt-glazed wares to 15th-century Korean porcelain.

His jugs, platters, bottles, teapots, bowls and cups were decorated with abstract brushwork, impressed marks, designs painted in wax-resist, or simply by a swipe of the fingers through a still-wet glaze, combining robust forms with a sense of spontaneity.

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Closure of an iconic Paris bookshop alarms French bibliophiles

Hit hard by the pandemic, the flagship Gibert Jeune store is closing its doors – one of many booksellers in the city feeling the strain of Covid-19

Paris, a great literary city, is losing one of its most celebrated bookshops. Gibert Jeune, a popular chain, has announced it will be closing its flagship shop in the Latin Quarter in March – the latest in a series of closures and appeals for help that threaten the future of the city’s booksellers.

Gibert Jeune once attracted long queues of students in search of cheap secondhand books before the start of each academic year; most students who have studied in Paris will have paid a visit to the six-floor shop at some point to find a book for their course. The family-owned company was founded in 1886 and started out as a bookstall on the banks of the Seine, quickly expanding into several shops in the fifth arrondissement, selling a mixture of new and secondhand books. Its bright yellow awnings along the Boulevard St Michel became a familiar landmark of the Latin Quarter, historically Paris’s literary and intellectual neighbourhood, and home to the Sorbonne.

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‘A force to be reckoned with’– fantasy world pays tribute to Storm Constantine

A pioneering novelist, she was also a passionate publisher, highlighting voices neglected by the mainstream. My life was one of many changed by her enthusiasm

Storm Constantine, the fantasy author and book publisher who has died at the age of 64, was a prolific novelist and short-story writer. Her work, dealing deeply with gender and sexual politics, was far ahead of its time.

Constantine came to prominence with her 1987 novel The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit, which introduced her androgynous Wraeththu race and spawned two sequels, The Bewitchments of Love and Hate, and The Fulfillments of Fate and Desire. In a 2016 interview with the writer and editor Nerine Dorman, Constantine said of her bestselling series: “Wraeththu are simply how the human race would be if I could design it myself; androgynous, beautiful (mostly), magical and housed in a more efficient vehicle of flesh and blood.”

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Pride or guilt? 10 emotions you experience when parenting your parents

From frustration to glee and all the sentiments in between, many of us feel uneasy about our parents’ limited knowledge of recycling and sustainability

You never thought the day would arrive so soon, but here you are. Just a few short years since the mere fact of having a Snapchat account made you the go-to person for fixing the TV or sorting the wifi, you’ve become the fully fledged parent of your own parents. And they are a handful.

While your parents may try to seem superior by asking: “Is that hair … on purpose?” or saying: “Good afterNOON!” no matter what time you get up, when it comes to sustainability and, you know, keeping the planet intact for the rest of your life, parents are hopeless.

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Roast, grill or grate, and heap with flavour: how to cook cauliflower | Kitchen aide

Treat a piece of cauli as you would a piece of meat, add spices and marinade, or bake it into a pie

• Do you have a culinary dilemma? Email feast@theguardian.com

My partner hates cauliflower, but I love it. How can I make him see the error of his ways?
Hannah, London N4

“Cauliflower is social,” says Ravinder Bhogal, chef-patron of Jikoni in London. “Its mild flavour invites the company of all manner of nuts, seeds, spices and herbs. Open your larder – find the heavy hitters, from soy and miso to tahini – and cauliflower will stand up to every one of them.” She’s not kidding about its versatility, either – you can grill it, grate it into rice or pizza bases, blitz it into bolognese, fritters or soup, mash it (to top lentil pies, say) or cut it into florets for curries. This should, in theory, help convince sceptics.

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Galaxy Buds Pro review: Samsung’s AirPods Pro-beating earbuds

Great sound, solid noise-cancelling, decent battery, comfortable fit and small case are potent combination

Samsung’s latest Galaxy Buds Pro earbuds add noise-cancelling, virtual surround and improved sound, making them a challenger to Apple’s AirPods Pro.

At £219, they are the new top-of-the-range earbuds from Samsung, sitting above the £179 Galaxy Buds Live and £159 Galaxy Buds+.

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How can we get a refund from Virgin Atlantic?

We are owed £1,163 for cancelled flights and have been waiting for many months

In January 2020 we paid £1,163 to Virgin Atlantic for return flights for a July visit to see our grandchildren in Boston. When the flights were cancelled in May we requested a refund as, at the ages of 72 and 74, and with health conditions, we could not be certain of our future ability to fly and were therefore unable to accept credits.
Many months on we are still waiting. We feel we have been patient, accepting the situation faced by the airline. The chief executive, Shai Weiss, said all refunds would be completed by the end of October, but not ours, seemingly.

All of our attempts to contact the company have met with no response. We left a WhatsApp text as requested – but still nothing. We are at a loss to know what to do.
DC,
Basildon

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How we met: ‘A fortune teller told me how I would meet my partner. She was right’

Teachers Naomi and Huw Beynon, 41 and 49, met at a salsa class in 2005. They live with their children in Swansea

Naomi Lewis was nursing a broken heart at the start of 2005, after splitting up with her boyfriend a few months earlier. She had recently moved into a new flat in Swansea, alone, and befriended Saffron, a woman who lived above her in the building. “In January, Saffron went on a bad blind date to a salsa class,” she says. “Although there was no spark, she loved the dancing and begged me to go back with her. I’ve got two left feet and didn’t fancy it, but she persuaded me.”

When they arrived, Saffron’s date from the previous week was there – and he had brought a friend. “I’d not long broken up with someone and I went with my friend Julian because it seemed like something to do on a Wednesday night,” says Huw Lewis. While Saffron told Naomi that Julian’s friend “was cute”, Naomi insisted Huw wasn’t her type. But after the class they got chatting and realised they had a lot in common. “We discovered we were both teachers and that both our parents were from the Welsh valleys,” remembers Naomi. Their personalities clicked; when Huw went to the toilet, Naomi told her friend she was going to marry him. “I must have had a special power,” laughs Huw. “I don’t think she’d even had a drink. When I started talking to her, I really liked her. She was quirky and interesting.”

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Sustainable tourism key to Cumbria’s new carbon neutral plan

Ambition to become the UK’s first carbon-neutral county, by 2037, looks to reduce the impact of visitors, especially in the Lakes

Across Cumbria local communities, businesses and grassroots organisations are being mobilised to map out ways that they hope will help it become the UK’s first carbon-neutral county. The county is aiming to decarbonise by 2037, an ambition initially supported by £2.5m of national lottery funding, awarded last August and to be drip-fed over five years starting this month. Tourism will be an area of focus, alongside housing, transport and agriculture.

“The national lottery funding is an injection of adrenaline at the beginning of a long journey,” said Karen Mitchell, CEO of Cumbria Action for Sustainability (Cafs). The funding was secured by the Zero Carbon Cumbria Partnership, which was set up by Cafs in 2019 with the help of the county council. The partnership has 68 members tasked with leading the drive to cut emissions, including the Lake District national park authority.

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UK small businesses: how have you been affected by Brexit?

We would like to hear from small and medium enterprises on their Brexit experiences

Small businesses in the UK have been suffering since the country left the EU on 1 January, experiencing problems such as delays at borders and complicated paperwork.

We would like to hear from small and medium enterprises on their Brexit experiences. Have you encountered any difficulties? Do you have any concerns?

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Have you become a delivery driver during the coronavirus pandemic in the UK?

We’d like to hear from people who have started jobs as delivery drivers during the coronavirus pandemic

With the pandemic worsening and the nation going into another lockdown, Britain has never been more reliant on delivery drivers. Online grocery sales now account for 13% of all food sales, up from 7.4% in March and experts expect to see this figure rise in the coming months.

We’d like to hear from those who have got new jobs as delivery drivers during the pandemic, alongside more experienced drivers.

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Tell us: has your pub received financial support during the pandemic?

We would like to hear from pubs across England who have been promised a £1,000 grant during the pandemic

Nearly three-quarters of the pubs promised a £1,000 grant by the prime minister to help them survive the loss of Christmas sales in England are still waiting for the money, the industry trade body has warned.

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said it was “scandalous” that many of its members were still awaiting cash promised in December, warning that much of the industry was on the verge of financial ruin.

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Did you live on Barking’s Becontree estate?

We’d like to hear from people who have lived on the Becontree estate about their memories and experiences on its 100th anniversary

The Becontree estate in the East London borough of Barking and Dagenham was a landmark developing in public housing development. The first homes in the social housing estate were built in 1921 and were described as the world’s largest council estate.

On its 100th anniversary, the Guardian is keen to speak to current and former residents about their memories of the area. We’d also like to see your pictures.

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How will Trump pass ‘nuclear football’ to Biden if he’s not at swearing-in?

Physical transfer of brief case containing nuclear attack plans has become part of inauguration ritual

It is a responsibility that has passed to every president since John F Kennedy – the custody of the so called “nuclear football” – the hardened brief case that is handed over on the day of the inauguration of new presidents by their predecessor.

The question being asked, given Trump’s almost unprecedented decision not to meet Joe Biden or attend his swearing in, is what will happen to the nuclear football?

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Trump’s presidency: a lesson in the true meaning of ‘American carnage’

For four years the outrages piled up so high they were hard to keep track of but the coronavirus pandemic proved to be one crisis he couldn’t bluster away

In a cold, sombre, damp Washington four years ago this Wednesday, Donald Trump took the oath of office as the 45th president of the United States and delivered an inaugural address now remembered for two words: American carnage.

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Cerrie Burnell: ‘Disabled people have been shut away during the pandemic’

The former CBeebies presenter and actor asks why disabled people are still treated as if they are inferior, especially during Covid-19

“As a disabled person you have to be so political every day,” says Cerrie Burnell, “just in how you go about your life; being joyful has to be a choice because you are told at the beginning that you’re not really welcome here or there is something wrong with you.”

Burnell, a former presenter on the children’s channel CBeebies was born without the lower part of her right arm. The subject of prejudice by some parents when she got the CBeebies job, Burnell – also an actor and writer – explores the origins of negative attitudes towards disability in a BBC Two documentary on Tuesday, Silenced: The Hidden Story of Disabled Britain.

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‘The Capitol riot was our Chernobyl’: James Comey on Trump, the ‘pee tape’ and Clinton’s emails

The former FBI director was sickened and angered by the attack incited by the president. But has he come to terms with his part in getting him elected?

As an investigator turned author, James Comey has developed a forensic eye for detail. The colour of the curtains in the Oval Office. The length of Donald Trump’s tie. Something about the US president that the camera often misses.

“Donald Trump conveys a menace, a meanness in private that is not evident in most public views of him,” says Comey, a former director of the FBI, from his home in McLean, Virginia, a suburb of Washington DC.

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Simple change to fishing gear saves thousands of birds in Namibia

Birds that became tangled in baited lines appear to be scared off by coloured pipes

A cheap and simple change to the equipment used by Namibian fishing boats is saving tens of thousands of vulnerable seabirds annually, researchers have estimated.

Some industrial fleets often use long lines fitted with thousands of baited hooks, which attract seabirds. In attempting to snatch away the bait, the birds can become tangled in the lines and die.

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The day my voice broke: what an injury taught me about the power of speech

When I damaged my vocal cords, I was forced to change the way I spoke – and discovered how much our voices reveal who we are

Some years ago, I was invited by my then boss, Jann Wenner, the owner of Rolling Stone, to be the lead singer in a band he was putting together from the magazine’s staff. I had just turned 41, and I jumped at the opportunity to sustain the delusion that I was not getting old. “Sign me up!” I said.

My chief attributes as a singer included impressive volume and an ability to stay more or less in tune, but I was strictly a self-taught amateur. I had, for instance, never done a proper voice warmup, and had certainly never been informed that the delicate layers of vibratory tissue, muscle and mucus membrane that make up the vocal cords are as prone to injury as a middle-aged knee joint. So, on practice days, I simply rose from my desk (I was finishing a book on deadline and spent eight hours a day writing, in complete silence), rode the subway to our rehearsal space in downtown Manhattan, took my place behind the microphone and started wailing over my bandmates’ cranked-up guitars and drums.

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‘Now Togo is free!’ – long lost photographs of newly liberated African nations

In the late 1950s, Todd Webb toured Africa – and captured a new spirit as the shackles of colonialism were cast off. Missing for decades, his extraordinary photographs are finally being published

Betsy Evans Hunt wasn’t sure what to expect when, in 2015, she descended a staircase into a California basement. Her journey, thousands of miles from her home in Portland, Maine, had been decades in the planning, but what she was about to discover, in this part cat-and-mouse, part detective story was more than she’d ever hoped to find.

Evans Hunt first met the American photographer Todd Webb at a gallery she ran in the late 1980s. She lived and breathed photography, and her new friend did, too. Their relationship quickly developed into something akin to family: Evans Hunt became like a daughter to Webb and his wife, Lucille, who didn’t have kids.

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Java’s ring of fire rumbles on: Indonesian volcanoes erupt – in pictures

Volcanoes in Java continue to show worrying signs, with authorities closely monitoring seismic activity as they spew lava and ash many kilometres into the atmosphere.

At 3,676 metres (12,060 feet), Mount Semeru in East Java is one of the highest volcanoes in Indonesia. Mount Merapi in central Java is a 2,929-metre (9,610-foot) active volcano with a hiking trail to its summit and a surrounding national park. Both continue to trouble authorities.

On 16 January 2021, the Semeru volcano observatory issued a notice for aviation warning of an ash cloud moving to the north-east with an ash cloud top at around 5,676 metres (18,163 feet) above sea level, but it may be higher than what can be observed clearly.

Here’s a look at this month’s eruptions

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Are We Lost Forever review – breakup drama runs out of steam, if not sex

This Swedish relationship drama starts promisingly, but the script is too soapy and laboured

Sheets in disarray, two lovers avoiding each other’s gaze; Swedish director David Färdmar opens his feature debut with an emotional bomb blast in a perfect white bedroom. “So you can’t even say it any more,” spits out Adrian (Björn Elgerd). Finally, Hampus (Jonathan Andersson) concedes: “I love you. But there is no more ‘we’.” Leaving the wounds hidden, this is a promisingly imposing opening scene – but Färdmar, as he charts the pair’s breakup, can’t fully flesh it out in a stiff and increasingly laboured LGBT drama.

Initially, it’s a duel for moving-on supremacy. Adrian seems to take the early lead, hooking up with an ex, while Hampus appears the needier, tearfully manipulating him back into bed. But it’s Hampus who strikes out first on a new relationship, while Adrian – resentment weighing behind his eyes – remains hostage to the issues that sabotaged them in the first place. Seeking to give these intimate negotiations epic dimensions, Are We Lost Forever follows in the footsteps of Abdellatif Kechiche’s Blue Is the Warmest Colour, sharing the same taste for establishing its naturalistic credentials through explicit sex scenes.

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Why are so many classic PG-rated films being changed to 12A?

Until recently, under-12s could see films such as Jaws unsupervised, but the BBFC’s new ratings reflect the public’s changing values

In the Guide’s weekly Solved! column, we look into a crucial pop-culture question you’ve been burning to know the answer to – and settle it, once and for all

Anyone who grew up in the 1980s knew the Russian roulette thrill of watching a PG-rated film. What might have appeared tame on the surface could also contain hearts being ripped from sacrificial victims (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom), potty-mouthed children (The Goonies), serious kink (Flash Gordon), alligators biting off limbs (Romancing the Stone), children killed by sharks (Jaws), James Bond cheerfully throttling a woman with her bikini top (Diamonds Are Forever), Sylvester Stallone taking ludicrously severe beatings (the Rocky films), or even paranormal investigators being, er, “pleasured” by departed spirits (Ghostbusters).

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The letting agency that welcomes tenants on benefits with open arms

A little kindness – and practical help – goes a long way to helping people get back on their feet, says a landlord turned social entrepreneur

“If you’re just kind, great things can happen,” says Susan Aktemel. Kindness isn’t a trait landlords are famous for, but Aktemel is on a mission to change this with Scotland’s first social enterprise letting agency that specialises in housing people on low incomes or benefits.

Aktemel, an experienced property developer and private landlord, founded Homes for Good in 2013 after cutting ties with a letting agency that had been managing her properties in Glasgow. “We took our portfolio back from them and I made a point of going and visiting all my tenants and finding out who they were,” she says.

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Why a youth violence campaigner is focused on housing: ‘People need a stake in their community’

An activist inspired by the death of a friend wants new housing estates planned in a way that designs out crime

When a teenage friend was stabbed to death 14 years ago, Darwin Bernardo was inspired to become a youth advocate against violence. He founded Nutmeg, an organisation aimed at deterring young people from knife and gun crime.

“Recently there has been a lot of discussion about freedom of movement in the context of Europe and how the idea of feeling restricted would affect people,” he says, “But some young people on estates don’t have freedom of movement within their own neighbourhood at all.”

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The housing crisis and the scandal of empty homes: ‘You do not grasp how key this is’

A shocking number of properties are lying idle while families languish in temporary accommodation. Two activists see clearly how the government could rapidly right the wrongs of the UK’s imbalanced property market

Empty homes are one of the most visible signs of the UK’s housing crisis. “They’re the most obvious example of what’s wrong, which is that there is empty housing in places where people are having to live on the streets or in appalling temporary accommodation at vast public expense,” says Chris Bailey, campaign manager for the charity Action on Empty Homes.

More than 268,000 homes in England are classed by the government as long-term empty, which means they’ve been unoccupied for more than six months. This represents a 19% year-on-year rise. Meanwhile, more than a million families are on waiting lists for local authority housing.

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