Things have been silly busy since I got back from NYC. I've been gigging with Cliff, promoting the new Telling the Bees album, teaching in Oxford and Bath and then piping as part of a major dance piece, Common Ground, in Greenwich. All of which means I haven't had a chance to say what a fantastic time I had at the Horizons conference in New York.
Debate about psychedelics seems much more advanced in the US than here. When I mention 'Shroom' to people in the UK I'm typically met with sniggers and titters, nods and winks. How refreshing then to have the subject taken seriously for a change. Maybe it's the proximity to NY University, but I found people to be friendly, open and, most importantly, critically informed, which made for some fascinating conversations. Hard to pick one or two talks as favourites, but Earth & Fire Erowid were as engaging as ever, and it was great to here how psilocybin research is finding its way back into the academy both in Switzerland and the US. Dan Pinchbeck was a no-show, which was a shame as I'd have relished the opportunity to debate with him again.
I also got a glimpse into the possibilities of the New York beatnik art boho scene (every bit as cool as you'd imagine) - there's some great stuff happening there (not least the robot-gamelan). It's a dreadful cliche, but the American can-do attitude was infectious and intoxicating, a tonic for a jaded old-world soul like myself. And get this - the event was declared a Goan-trance-free zone. There is a God!
So, if you want to hang out with cool psych-types who like to think as much as they like to get experienced, then head to Horizons. I know I'll be back.