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David Botsford, RIP

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.

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11 comments to David Botsford, RIP

  • Brian Micklethwait (London)

    Count me in. Loved the man. And how he wrote and what he wrote.

  • Antoine Clarke

    Sean Gabb once told me that David Botsford’s “The Case Against Gun Control” was a pamphlet he wished he’d written. Which I think reflected well on both of them.

  • Paul Marks

    May the gentleman rest in peace.

  • Elizabeth Botsford

    David’s funeral will be at golders green cremetorium west chapel august 1 at 1pm. His friends are most welcome to attend.

  • Patrick Crozier (Twickenham)

    I loved the series of pamphlets he wrote on education – a big influence on me.

  • I had lunch with David a few years back during a hypnosis convention in Orland Florida. I did not know about his Libertarian side. I enjoyed his company.

  • I first met David Botsford as a child whilst recovering from surgical heart investigations at Great Ormond Street. This was in the early ’70s! He had a video camera and filmed and directed me as “Frankenstein” in Regent’s Park. It was only decades later that we met again through a mutual friend, Doris Butler. We became great friends & even worked together on his Dr Omni Show at Madame Jojo’s in Soho. He had a boundless capacity for kindness, was hugely intelligent and so unaffectedly different. I miss him.

  • J Ross Hester, PA-CH

    David and I met through the Hypnosis Education Association in Central Florida, and I was privileged to spend most of the weekend with him at the Orlando conference and at his home in Davenport where he was kind enough to allow me to “crash.” We later corresponded frequently by email which is how I learned of his return to the UK. I will remember him as a gracious host and knowledgeable colleague and competitor. We shared many political views and it was refreshing to find a Brit who didn’t lecture us colonists. The downturn in the national economy came at a particularly bad time for David’s expansion plans in Florida, due to no fault of his own. We commiserated in that regard, as we were all similarly affected. May he enjoy his next stage of growth. He will be sorely missed here.

  • Samantha Brightman

    I met David as his Realtor when he purchased a home in Davenport,Florida. He and his mother were both charming and very entertaining.
    Later,we met at New World Wellness where he began participating in yoga classes and taught a class on hypnosis.He was a warm and lively character that won’t be forgotten.

  • Amanda Dunn

    Just totally by coincidence thought of David and decided to Google him – I NEVER do that. Clearly something was guiding me. I was shocked to learn of his premature death. David was my first boyfriend – kind, funny,very intelligent. My condolences to Elizabeth.

  • Douglas Rutherford

    Toady is the 4th of Sept.
    Like Amanda I was just thinking about David. To be honest I was just thumbing through his The Smoking Cessation Mastery Seminar manual. I googled him and learned David had passed on.
    I never met David in person but we did have a few chats by phone and e mail.

    Sorry for your loss…