Mystical experiences on the cheap…?


Here’s (sadly only a trailer for) Ken Kesey\’s Magic Bus
a very interesting 1hr 20min video on the story of LSD in the 50s and
60s, with such characters as Ken Kesey, Timothy Leary, and others
talking about the drug, and the time. Back in the day, between 1982 and
1984, aged 19-21, I read Leary’s book “The Psychedelic Experience” and
“Be Here Now” by one his colleagues who took the name Baba Ram Dass, and
experimented with the drug myself on a handful of occasions. This
programme does a good job of exploring all the issues, including giving
airtime to Roger Scruton – contemporary and detractor of Leary’s. I
certainly don’t regret my experiments, and I would say gained a good
deal from them. The consensus of Hofman – who first synthesised the
drug – and others, that the mystical qualities of the experience are
best (indeed perhaps only) brought to the fore under controlled
conditions, is something with which I would concur. ‘Sacred teacher
plants’ and other substances and activities (like starvation) used by
priests, shamans, and spiritual seekers the world over are always used
under controlled conditions and with the oversight of trusted elders who
can be relied upon to ensure the experience does not end in tears.
It’s a good documentary!

MacBook Pro


So to bring us up to date I am proud to announce that I have acquired a MacBook Pro, and created this blog with it.


I used Apple Macs between 1988 and 1998 – yes I’ve been a bit of a geek for quite a while – see the archive page
for websites I’ve made over the last decade or more – then went onto
PCs in 1998, and have about three on the go at any one time at the
moment, but since January 2007 I am now back on Macs as my main laptop
and working environment and very happy about it!

Update Feb 2012:
A quick update – composed on my MacAir, my iPad2 beside me and my iPhone4S in my pocket – I can say that, following Steve Jobs’ death, I am glad to see that Tim is opening up the distribution network he created to ethical scrutiny []



Also in September 2006, I visited Krakow, Poland, for a conference, and took a day out to visit Auschwitz. This is something one simply has to do, once in one’s life. My father’s mother’s family, the Bergmans, and her mother’s family, the Dembitzers, all Polish, would all have been despatched at Belson or Dachau, long before Auschwitz was built to despatch the rest of European Jewry. But Auschwitz is certainly the largest, and most awesome of the camps, and a death camp where on one day at the peak of its operations 100,000 people perished.


In September 2006, before the start of term, I took the opportunity for a short weekend break in Carcassonne, which is my favourite French town, staying with a friend of 20 years standing, Arabella Churchill, in the delightful villa she and her husband have bought and done up in a
village nearby.