Friday 30 March 2018


The first post in this series now has 68 page views on the fourth day of publication. The second post - yesterday's - has 55 page views. No copies of TRC sold yet through these two blogs but I'm an optimist ... (here's that link again - ... and I'm delighted that these extracts from the book are getting this kind of circulation. Today, I offer some thoughts about our brains.

Here's the Interpreter responding to Pilgrim's enquiry about whether he thinks people are born with different degrees of brightness and dullness:  

'Pilgrim was considering his own views on the matter even as he asked the question.

Interpreter:  'Indeed I do not. The human species has evolved from other higher primates and possesses an electro-chemical powerhouse – the brain – that is species specific. There may be glitches and twists in the hard-wiring of that brain that become evident in specific individuals from conception or from birth but by and large human beings are gifted similar human features. You and I have eyes to see, legs and arms to move, noses to smell, lungs to breathe, ears to hear, and brains to use to coordinate movement and thought and language and action. The differentiation in the wiring of the brain, the degree of complexity in the arrangement of the axons and dendrites, the whole cellular structure that is opened up by the knife of the brain surgeon, all that is the fruit of the inter-relationship between the brain of the individual and the life experiences of that same individual.

We are human ...

Here in this land they called it the nature-nurture issue and debated how much importance should be given to each in explaining our actions in life. Not before time, there are now academic voices

Thursday 29 March 2018


Sixty-four page views in three days for Part One suggests some interest in TRC - here's Part Two and some light, if serious, reading for you over this Easter break.

First, more from the book itself - the end of the first chapter in which Pilgrim meets the Interpreter:

Pilgrim:  'You speak of market forces … It is a term with which I am unfamiliar.'

Interpreter:  'The idea of the market is one I know that you understand. Quite soon in their history,
human beings began to buy from each other the things they needed but could not themselves grow or make. Humans became buyers and sellers in the market place. Soon the market became a place where humans sold their own labour to others for a price. Money was minted to make this buying and selling more straightforward. Humans worked for others to make or grow things and were paid with money which meant they could go back to the market to buy what they needed. A new force had now entered the world. People began to realise that a profit could be made from such market

Green shoots? 

deals. More money could be made from making sure that the deal was fixed to your advantage.
Money and power became inextricably linked. Power was needed to gain the advantage; money
helped ensure you had the power. The industrial revolution which I have already explained accelerated these market forces in a way that humans have not yet fully grasped. Now there is a
market place that fills the whole world, a global economy, in which those who have fallen in love
with money invent ways to make more money, more profit. Money can be made from money. It is
commercial alchemy. Every activity, every transaction between humans, can potentially become part of this market. You will see much of this on your journey.'

Pilgrim:  'But surely these market forces will mean your developed world will always seek to have the advantage over the developing world? And won’t the rich and powerful always be striving
to keep their wealth and their status at the expense of those who have less?'

Interpreter:  'You have already begun to draw your own conclusions about how far the few who have wealth shape what is called democracy. As you consider these matters, remember those things

Monday 26 March 2018


How ‘The Road to Corbyn’ began - and came to see the light of day
In 2008 when the financial crisis erupted, I sensed the historical significance of the time.

By 2010, I was compiling material from a range of sources that helped me make sense of what was happening in society and in politics.

By 2013, I was writing ‘Deception – a modern day Pilgrim’s Progress through the lifetime of the 2010-2015 U.K. government’.

By early 2014, the final draft was finished and I began the search for a publisher or agent hoping for publication before Christmas that year in time for the May 2015 General Election.

Some kind words and praise followed in 2014 but no one wanted to take the plunge.

A week before that election in May 2015, I had an email from an Edinburgh publisher that showed some interest. A phone conversation followed between us. He recommended getting the book read in a readers’/writers’ group. I did.

Sunday 18 March 2018


This blog uses material already posted in my March Mailchimp Newsletter, my monthly update on the story of the research and production of the biography of Jago Stone. As I have explained before, the advantage to you of signing for a free subscription to the Newsletter is that you get to read the news and see the pictures first before I later use them in blogs such as this. And the more people I have signed up for the Newsletter and expressing an interest in the book, the better it looks to those who are considering publishing the biography. Here's the link for anyone who would like to add their name to the list of subscribers - there are 55 at the moment, English and American: press here.  

This month's Newsletter focussed on a Jago Stone palette-knife painting that is dated 1976.

Here is a section from Chapter 7: 'The American Connection' of the first draft of the biography I have written:

"But here I am talking of his water-colours. He himself once remarked to the TV presenter, Lionel Hampden, in an ATV programme in 1972, that he painted these to provide the money he needed so he could paint the real art:

‘I paint pictures of people’s property for money in order that I may paint the other sort of painting which is a palette-knife painting – which is directly derived from my prison experience.’

 These words of Jago are given detailed attention in Chapter Nine: ‘Jago on Jago’. At this point, I want only to raise the question: Why did Jago apparently cease to produce the palette-knife

Saturday 10 March 2018


To be honest - and that's a start that's going to get me into philosophical problems straightaway - there never was a Part One, strictly speaking. But for the sake of creating a series of posts dedicated to the theme of Philosophy, could you please accept that my post on 'Robert Pirsig and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance', dated 15 December 2017, was Part One. Here is a link to that post

which is now formally declared to be the first in this occasional series, titled 'What does a philosopher have to say?'. Press here for an introduction to MOQ - the Metaphysics of Quality.

Interestingly, a couple of weeks ago I received this message out of cyberspace from Anthony McWatt, the author of the article in 'Philosophy Now' that inspired my blog in the first place:


Thank you for your kind review of that PHILOSOPHY NOW article about ZMM, LILA and the MOQ.
I've just retired so it was a lovely note to finish on.
A whiter shade pale even...

(Dr McWatt)'

The reference to ' A whiter shade pale ...' was of course to Procol Harum's iconic recording from 1967 which Anthony embedded in his message. I listened:

And then replied:

 'Good morning, Anthony
What a lovely way to start the day! An unexpected and delightful
communication - thank you. I have just spent quality time exploring the

Sunday 4 March 2018


A few days ago I put the finishing touches to the 'Summing Up', my conclusion to 'Jago' - the biography of Jago Stone (1928-88), the burglar-turned-artist. The work is now complete - although subject of course to revision, amendments and additions. At present there are 66,537 words and the illustrated book comprises 206 pages. I have already started the journey to find a literary agent who can secure publication.



By Rob Donovan

Above is the working title page for the biography. The image of Jago at work is used with the permission of Michael Mort, originally from Michigan and now resident in Abilene, Texas having retired from the United States Air Force . Michael's contribution to the biography is evident in the following extract from Chapter 7, 'The American Connection' and the accompanying photos that he