“A Gap Life” by Glencoe author David Cooper. Reviewed by Iain Ferguson
David Cooper is a well-known character in Glencoe, owner and mine host of Crafts and Things, sailor and active members of the community.
Each year he produces a photographic calendar of beautiful views from the locality which are always popular sell-out. In addition to this he has now turned his hand to writing, penning a story of his life experience in a journey across the world.
The back cover describes the contents as ‘capturing the spirit of the 60’s, this is the story of one man’s physical and spiritual journey through those extraordinary years’.
Starting in Aberdeen, finishing in Glencoe, David Cooper travels across Europe, North America and Asia. From a commune in California to the rooftops of Istanbul, traversing the deserts of Iran and Afghanistan, crossing the Karakorum on foot, staying in Tibetan monasteries and remote Sumatran tribal villages, travelling alone, he encounters many iconic 60’s figures.
They included John Lennon, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, renowned Scottish Psychiatrist, R D Laing and Alan Ginsberg founder of the Beat Generation (a group of authors which explored American culture in the 1950’s).
Before setting off on this grand journey around the world and back, a young David, then a student of Edinburgh University and member of the ‘Blues Society’ set off with a bus full of like-minded fellows to concert in Newcastle, featuring such musical heroes as B B King and Fleetwood Mac.
They enjoyed the show so much they decided to stay a second night, but as not all of them could be found, the bold young man set off backstage to ask the compere (later to be known as Long John Baldry) to make an announcement.
Venturing through the stage door, he met the great B B King just sitting on the stairs who said: “Hey son, d’ya want a drink. A tad overawed at first, he chatted for most of the evening until B B was called on stage and asked David to pass him ‘Lucille’ – his famous guitar.
David’s adventures took him from Newcastle to include future MP’s in an Edinburgh flat, the man who would become Hagrid shacking up with a girl downstairs, world travel and the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi comes to Glencoe, camping unexpectedly on a Islay roundabout, a meeting with the man who phoned Prime Minister Churchill during the war to say he had just captured Rudolph Hess, Buzkashi (a game played in Afghanistan with a decapitated goat) Pakistan, the Himalayas, California, Kathmandu, Malaysia, Thailand and many more world destinations where it is just not safe to go anymore.
What a journey, what interesting people, places and events to cram into a single book. It is impossible to mention all of them in this review, but then, if I did you wouldn’t need to read the book and find you own favourite or interesting bits.
What a rollercoaster of the times … and of course available from the very same Crafts and Things in Glencoe at which the Maharishi popped into all those years ago, which must add a whole new ‘psychadelic’ dimension to latte and cake!!