Posted by: nickwardscenarios | March 14, 2010

The Inner Donovan

Donovan (March 12 2010): “The Beatles and I brought back from India the lost art of meditation. Now, with David Lynch, we pass it on to thousands of students worldwide. Join us to help save the world.”

To learn more about The David Lynch Foundation, visit The David Lynch Foundation
Posted: March 12, 2010  3:38 p.m.

Legendary folk-rock-pop troubadour Donovan, known for hits such as “Mellow Yellow,” “Sunshine Superman,” “Hurdy Gurdy Man” and more, will headline a benefit concert for the David Lynch Foundation on Friday, March 19 at the El Rey Theater.

Doors will open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 for general admission and $110 for VIP seating and a meet and greet with Donovan after the show, and can be purchased through Ticketmaster.


I’ve been reading the Donovan autobiography The Hurdy Gurdy Man (Century 2005). Donovan went electric four months before Dylan – that’s quite something – and so young to be picking that good and delving into the great ‘oneness’. Delving? I’m sure there’s a better word to describe what Donovan was up to in 1965, ‘nowing’ perhaps or ‘thening’. Now

The Hurdy Gurdy Man scenario which might very well have caught the mind’s eye of Cupid was the one when ‘Bobbie’ invited the Prince of Folk up to his suite in the The Savoy, overlooking the Thames, ’65.

Dononvan enters the dark room and finds Bob watching ice-scating on the television.

Donovan sits on the floor and starts trancing out on the pot, saying nothing… slowly the kid’s eyes adjust and the Beatles emerge from the shadows.

George gave him a lift and they stay in touch.

Donovan also introduced the sitar to Western pop concsciousness and was the first to electrify the violin… one of his ‘personal’ missions according to Hurdy Gurdy Man is to find the links (linguistic and spiritual) between the ancient India of the Vedas and occidental-celtic travellings and stayings (sayings). The Goddess Tara appears in Ireland, as a name, before she appears in India, as a name. The nameless Goddess was in both places before the beginning of time itself – if it is possible to imagine the earth predating time. The word ‘act’ is a great example of a word rooted in Sansrit and originating in the Celtic dawn. Which way did it travel? Who can say for sure? By what means did the act noun-verb travel from these islands to India or from India to these islands?

There was no need for Donovan to create a Guthrie character and there was no reason for him not to either.

‘Love, love, love’… a line by

Donovan – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Donovan (Donovan Phillips Leitch, born 10 May 1946, in Maryhill, Glasgow), is a Scottish singer-songwriter and guitarist. Emerging from the British folk…

Six months before meeting the Beatles with Bob he’d been washing seaside dishes and listening to the the fab four on the Juke Box. How did he keep his cool ushering in a new conciousness like that?

Donovan Leitch (p71): I remember falling asleep and seeing myself from above. While I slept on the little bed, I could plainly see my body below and from a distance. I was aware that I was experiencing Astral Travel, that my fine and subtle spirit form had left the physical body, still attached by the silver chord which attaches us to so-called real life. This direct personal experience of consciousness outside the fleshy body was proof to me that what the mystical books in my small library had taught me was true. The spirit world is more real than the material one. I was immersing myself ever more deeply in my twin obsessions of Buddhism and Celtic spirituality. The Britain I was brought up in – the Britain of the 1950s and early 1960s – appeared stiflingly respectable and ruled by an intellectually bankrupt authority. It was grey, lacking poetry and spiritually sterile.

Above all ‘Hurdy Gurdy Man’ is a love story and a guitar tutor – reading Donovan you come away wanting to pracice. He taught John Lennon to finger-pick in India and you can hear what kind of student John was if you listen to The White Album. I broke my thumbnail two weeks ago and I was trying, unsuccessfully, to adapt to using the Dunlop plastic thumb pick – it wasn’t working for me – so I warmed it up with a lighter and bent it around with a groove on the outer edge – and now I love it. Reading Donovan makes me want to play, one way or another.

Jester: Shaman, what do I have to do to get guitar lessons from you?

Donovan: Just turn up, Jester.

Drug bust.


In mid-1966, Donovan became the first high-profile British pop star to be arrested for possession of marijuana.

Gordon Brown versus scientific truth (Nov 2009)


I smoked too much free marijuana when I was nineteen picking grapes in Mildura, NSW, in 1981: so much so that I hardly touched the sacred weed all through my twenties.

Stephen 'the winner' Daldry x

It was not until 1993 when I was struggling to come up with a play for the Royal Court workshop I’d been offered by Stephen Daldry that I had another smoke with Tracy, a dope-fueled experimentalist I met in the pub on London Fields (can’t remember the name, lol). Within ten days I’d written (and directed) The Present (then called Danny Rule).


At nineteen it had freaked me out because it seemed to lead to nowhere creative, at 31 it completely unlocked my subconscious mind (right brain, if you prefer) and my subconscious mind delivered a piece of work which continues to thrill me with it’s crystalline (prismatic) depths. Since then I’ve made a serious study of this unique plant and its properties.


I can paraphrase Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras (the earliest known treatise on the esoteric art-science of  religious-philosophical ‘union’ – recommending pot-consumption for one in four ‘types’ of spiritual seeker); I can quote the Shakespeare Principle which extols the great virtues of the weed in the sonnets (and elsewhere, if you have an ear for it). I use cannabis carefully. Quite apart from the spiritual-creative applications is is a muscle relaxant and improves my banjo-picking finger speed. I could go on.


Or I can bring to mind the mind-blowing achievements of the singer-songwriters like Bob Dylan, Lennon-McCartney, Bob Marley, Harrison, Ringo. Let’s stops there, Jagger-Richards.

dreds and heads

‘Tantric Rasta’ (2009, detail), photo Kirsten Lavers

I’ve just remembered Bob Marley interviewed by a stiff BBC square in the early-mid 70s who pompously asks the great Rastaman to ‘confess’ that he misuses the dreaded substance and what kind of message is this giving to ‘Youth’? Bob says: You want to talk about religion?


Or cricket?

dylan in chalk

Again and again the brain-numbing menadacity of Gordon Brown and the New labour pc box-ticking pen-pushers make the elementary mistake of judging the few by the many. To have sacked Professor Nutt (who has given over ten years of unpaid service as an advisor on the dangers of recreational drug abuse to this loathsome Government) is every bit as irresponsible as the hounding of David Kelly. Does M15 intend to murder Professor Nutt for telling the truth? For exciting intelligent debate about a complex substance and its effects on the little understood body-mind mechanism?

smoke coming out of his ears

The legalisation of cannabis would be good for the Afghan economy, for a start.

Of course cigarettes and tobacco are more dangerous than cannabis! Nicotine and alcohol are more addictive too. As I write this I have not used cannabis for 6 days with no cravings and no withdrawl.

What kick-backs do the British armed forces get for the secret deals undertaken to protect the safe passage of heroin to our streets? Now there’s a deadly trade.

Added 2nd November: When Alan Johnson writes in today’s Guardian that he wishes to avoid seeing young people in his constituency ’sucked into a world of hopeless despair through drug addiction’  he is using the shrill, tabloid, langauge of a Home Secretary who should read the Daily Mail’s front page story which claims that there is an unprovoked attack (in the UK ) fueled by booze every 30 seconds. Alcohol is the violent drug. This Govenment’s relaxing of the licencing laws is doing much to increase hopeless despair and fear – but I guess Brown is only looking at the tax revenue.

Why with the time do I not glance aside
To new-found methods and to compounds strange?
Why write I still all one, ever the same,
And keep invention in a noted weed,
That every word doth almost tell my name,
Showing their birth and where they did proceed?


Re: For Professor Nutt‏
From: David Nutt (David.J.Nutt)
Sent: Monday, 2 November 2009 9:26:23 PM
To: Nick Ward
thanks - impressive
David Nutt
Professor of Psychopharmacology
Head of Department of Community Based Medicine

University of Bristol
Psychopharmacology Unit
Dorothy Hodgkin Building
Whitson Street
Bristol BS1 3NY
--On 02 November 2009 15:06 +0000 Nick Ward wrote:

> entific-truth/
> With kind regards,
> Nick Ward
> Playwright
> Post Graduate Certificate Course in Radio, Film and Television
> Bristol University (1985)


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