Some things that may have contributed to the making of Give Me Your Love
Posted on 26 Nov 2015

photos : War Neuroses : Netley Hospital 1917 courtesy of the Wellcome Library


Going to the Imperial War Museum and seeing a one-man nuclear detection capsule attached to the side of a warship

Feeling anxious zipped up in a sleeping bag zipped up in a sleeping compartment zipped up in a tent on family holidays

Searching for a theatrical form in which to accommodate the bleak landscape of post-traumatic stress

Meeting Dr. Ben Sessa, psychiatrist and coordinator of the UK’s first MDMA/PTSD clinical study

Talking to war veterans in Virginia who had been on the MDMA trials in South Carolina

Changing the name of our play from Idiot at War to The Good Soldier to The Happy Ones to Lovely to Give Me Your Love

Being diagnosed with title-it is – a chronic condition characterized by an inability to settle on a title

Giving the play a subtitle: ‘A Progress Report on MDMA assisted therapy for war veterans with chronic treatment resistant post-traumatic stress disorder in Port Talbot’

Wanting to hide from an audience

Playing soldiers at primary school and feeling proud on acquiring nasty grazes on the knees and rescuing a damsel in distress

Being given a couple of Nazi war medals by my great uncle, who had been a Desert Rat and helped to defeat Rommel

Deciding I didn’t want to have an Action Man

Proposing the motion ‘This house will not fight for Queen or country’ in the school debating society, being roundly defeated and subsequently ostracised

Feeling privileged to watch video of an Iraq war veteran in MDMA therapy, sitting on a futon bed with his pet dog as two empathetic therapists sit either side of him

Leading a residency for the remarkable Hijinx Theatre in Cardiff and being inspired to improvise twenty minutes of brilliantly sustained mania

Swearing loudly when we realise we haven’t been recording it

Thanking Gods we don’t believe in when one of the participants reveals she was recording it on her phone

Trying to act like Americans and finding it difficult because everything we say sounds like it’s been said already in a film

Changing the characters from Americans to Welsh and our hearts instantly fragmenting in a thousand pieces

Resurrecting a couple of characters from nine years earlier, Ieuan and Zach, two hapless Welshmen forever talking about rehearsing their music but never getting round to doing it

Reading about Bob, a Vietnam vet with chronic post-traumatic stress who was rejected from the clinical trials and sought his own therapist and MDMA

Taking quite a bit of ecstasy and worrying that I may have impaired cognitive functioning and short-term memory problems as a result…or have I already said that?

Taking street ecstasy for research purposes, but doing so in the wrong setting and morphing into a dancing flirty monster

Feeling a definite pro-MDMA therapy bias, but only because I’ve spoken to people who’ve tried every other therapy going for eighteen years and – having participated in the trials – are now transformed


Watching the existential horror movie Buried

Retrospective consumption of Gavin And Stacey, Rhod Gilbert and Locke

17 years of living in West Wales as an alien

Reciting Welsh poetry in the Eisteddfod

Being on the rugby bus

My macho mate in the marines

Going to Welsh rugby games at the Arms Park

Playing rugby

Watching the Imperial War Museum film archives on WW1 neuroses

The documentary Wartorn and that really long one with found footage of marines gloating in their tank. Hurt Locker, American Sniper, Jarhead, The Long Way Home, Platoon and Deerhunter

Hanging out with Steve Macdonald of PRISM and the other psychedelic conference delegates at Entheogenesis Australis, 2014

The cleaners chucking out the cardboard set

The homeless guy outside the Warehouse at Arts House

Marco Cher Gibard’s sound scaping

Trainspotting, a shared house in Sheffield, lonely nights in Travelodges and “units”

Trying to join the army at 16 to get a scholarship in sixth form and university but not really wanting to. The recruiting officer telling Mum about a trainee being squashed when his tank rolled

The shot gun my brother and I nicked from an old farmhouse

35 years of nursing and counselling friends and family through nervous breakdowns, psychotic episodes, bipolar mania and depressions, obsessive compulsion, personality disorders, anger, hatred and grief

American diners, cheesecakes and all you can eat buffets

Barry Island

Failed Psychotherapy sessions

The Acid Test by Tom Shroder, Ecstasy: The Complete Guide by Julie Holland M.D., The Psychedelic Renaissance by Ben Sessa,

The paintings of Callum Innes

The music of God Speed You Black Emperor, Efterklang, Meira Asher’s album Child Soldier,

The dirty protests at the Maze prison, Guantanamo and Nauru

Cubism, Dada

Gary Owen’s Violence and Son

 “Johnny get your mouse” on This American Life and Haunted Dreams on Radiolab

Donnie Darko – more for the music

The preamble to Yes,Yes,Yes hidden in a box losing the circulation in my legs

Napping in the afternoon on a busy day

All the love I have received, given, taken, enjoyed and been tortured by

The Prodigy at Bimbotown in Leipzig

Grandad’s vinyl (pronounced “Vin-YIL”)

MAPS, The Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies


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