I’ve just heard that Paul O’Grady has died and I want to pay tribute to him here. He once invited me on to his TV show and was genuinely interested in Druidry. After the show he told me about a druid site he believed was on his land, and just as he and I waited to go on air the pet lamb he was holding started to pee on him as he walked out onto the stage to the cheers of the audience. He struck me as a warm and kind-hearted soul and it felt an honour to have met him. Here’s the conversation he and I had about the Spring Equinox all those years ago:
Simon Emmerson, the central figure in the shades in this photo, a Grammy award-winning record producer, Honorary Bard of the Order of Bards Ovates & Druids, a guitarist, DJ, musical director at Lush, and founder of the bands Afro-Celts & Imagined Village, died this week. On 13th March, after a long period of illness, Simon began his Great Adventure, heading home to the Summerlands, the Isles of the Blessed, as the Otherworld is sometimes called in Druidry.
I’ve known Simon for years, meeting him first in London, then on an OBOD retreat on Iona, and then numerous times over the years, most recently at the Lush HQ in Poole, working on one of their spa treatments before the pandemic, and then more recently still when we talked about his career on a Tea with a Druid broadcast. You can find that here, and on that post you’ll find links to other conversations with him.
Simon had a big heart, a wide range of interests, a highly developed social and political consciousness, and will be greatly missed by his Druid friends and within the wider world of music, and of course within his family. Dear Simon, May your Journey to the Blessed Isles be swift and sure! All our love, and many many blessings of deep peace to you!
Here are two photos a fellow Honorary Bard and member of the Afro-Celts, the harpist Myrdhin, has just sent over.
Myrddhin & Simon Emmerson October 96 London
Festival ART ROCK de St-Brieuc (Brittany) May 1997. Photo by Jean Pierre Corbel
Join me in spending a week in one of the world’s top well-being resorts with daily personal well-being sessions, incredible food, gorgeous surroundings, and at the same time improve your sleep quality. Here’s what the resort says:
Three pillars support optimal physical and mental health: exercise, diet and sleep. If you can get these three right you’re well on your way to building up your health.
Spending time at the Bodyholiday in April this year can help you with all three: you’ll get fabulous, healthy nutrition, a myriad of opportunities for exercise, and from 11 to 18 April we’ll have Philip Carr-Gomm as our resident sleep psychologist, who will be available for individual consultations, and will be teaching two classes a day, in which he’ll take you through an easy to follow six-point program that combines techniques and insights drawn from sleep science with thirteen different ways to help you drift off into sleep. You’ll learn about the best ways to optimise your night-time, about how you can avoid sleep procrastination, night-time worries and ruminating, and you’ll learn about many of the ways people have found to help them sleep soundly. You’ll explore the cures for parasomnias like sleep-walking and talking, the upsides and downsides of using sleep medications, alcohol, cannabis and CBD. And you’ll come away with an understanding and practice of the most effective ways to improve your night’s rest, together with possibilities for ongoing support and a comprehensive resource guide.
Philip’s book, The Gift of The Night: A Six Step Program for Better Sleep, due out in November, has been praised as “a brilliant, important and inspiring book that will be so helpful to so many people,” by Dr Rosalind Watts, Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Lead for Imperial College London’s psilocybin trial, and has been highly recommended by Peter Mobbs, Professor Emeritus and former Dean of Life Sciences and Pre-clinical Medicine at University College London. For more information click here.
A painting for Lughnasadh by artist Jamie Reid, held aloft by John Marchant of the John Marchant Gallery Brighton
I’ve been interviewed for rather a lot of podcasts recently, so it feels a bit of an overkill to mention yet another one, but I have to say that being interviewed for this podcast was one of the most enjoyable of these experiences – perhaps because Greg and I had worked together for a year on the integration programme for some of the participants of the Imperial College psilocybin trial researching its effects on depression, so we knew each other. Perhaps because we were chatting in his comfortable Brighton flat, rather than over zoom. Perhaps because he breaks up our chat with cool music. Whatever – I think you will enjoy this conversation too. We cover using the Tarot, what it means to feel scattered and how it’s ok, how being an amateur and a generalist has its gifts, and what value talking about our purpose might – or might not – have.