A few days ago, while I was on holiday in Santorini – one of the Greek islands – I was contacted to be told that one of my oldest friends, David Botsford, had died. He was only 49 years old.
David, a graduate of King’s College, London, is someone I first got to know back in 1988, when he was working at the time for an outfit called Outlaw Films. David was part of that libertarian circle of friends in London that I hung out with (Brian Micklethwait, Antoine Clarke, Tim Evans, Chris Tame and Kevin Macfarlane, among others) in that time. David was not the most high-profile libertarian activist, maybe, but he was certainly one of the most prolific, and insightful, in terms of the material he produced.
In the early 1990s, David decided on a change of career: he entered the field of psychology, and studied fields such as hypnotherapy, using his skills to treat people who wanted to give up smoking, beat stress or eating disorders. Shortly thereafter he went to the US – he held a dual British-US passport – and worked for a while in Los Angeles. He returned to the UK a few years later to develop his work in the UK, and spent a long time living in the Notting Hill area. I spent many happy hours in his company – David seemed to know just about every cool restaurant in the area and, given his interests, he also had a wide circle of friends. (One of them invited me – to his perhaps regret – to play in his cricket team). David was a stage performer. On one memorable night, he gave a stage hypnotism performance in deepest Soho and he also performed such acts in the US, such as Las Vegas, and gave talks to various groups and appeared on television.
His essays for libertarian publications on issues such as gun control, the arts, foreign policy and education stand the test of time. David was also a kind, generous and funny person to know and he was very dear to me and my wife. He will be greatly missed. Later this year, some of us who knew him intend to go to a restaurant and raise a glass or two in his memory.