Songs that feel like a shot of heroin

My relapse hit list. I hope you like my tracks.

You don’t have to have ever used an opiate in your life to enjoy these songs. For those of you that haven’t, you’ll probably get the vibe anyway. For those of you that have, this is my “relapse” playlist. Not literally. I don’t relapse. I exercise free will. Choose life, Mark.

Regardless, drug use is not some “temporary failure of judgment” (the definition of a “lapse”). It’s a choice; often a medical necessity. But I couldn’t think of another word for “experiencing an opiate after a period of abstinence”. Revisit, maybe. I realise the word has a medical definition that could be used to describe the same circumstances. But the cultural definition is negative. We need to change the semantics if we’re going to change cultural attitudes.

1. Heartbeat – Wire

Anticipation. This is a really interesting song. It’s like the language of music is all but stripped away here, leaving pure feeling. Be careful listening to it. It has magic. It was originally intended as a love song.

2. Cosmic Dancer – T. Rex

Preparation. Nostalgia, a love song. A relapse revisit track. Not my favorite. But it’s nostalgic.

3. Ocean – The Velvet Underground

Here come the waves. Take a shot of heroin [never take a shot of heroin] and I think you’ll find this is Lou Reed’s ultimate heroin song, not that other one. I could shoot up to this song 365 days a year.

4. Long, Long, Long – The Beatles

Warm glow. Obviously, if you listen to this one repeatedly, it will turn bitter. Another one only suitable for a relapse revisit playlist. This is a nice sleepy song to play on guitar. The feeling of playing it matches the feeling you get listening to it, which isn’t as common as you would think.

5. Indian Summer – The Doors

Sedation. This beautiful, simple song is an outtake from The Doors’ first album. You may wonder why the hell it was cut. Supposedly, it’s the first song they ever recorded together.

By the way, just say no to drugs.

Find what you love and let it kill you

L'Atalante

If you don’t know well enough what you love (or love well enough what you know) to throw caution to the wind, to accept the cruelty of chance and failure and death in pursuit of what you love, then you aren’t living. You’re just killing time.

His body ravaged by wounds and years of exertion, Alexander the Great died after a brief louvre-portrait-alexander-great-356illness. His army had refused to march further into India, forcing his return to Babylon. He was 32; killed by what he loved—war.

Jean Vigo’s weak health was exhausted by the effort of finishing his first feature film, L’Atalante. After he finished editing it, he died from an illness complicated by the tuberculosis he had managed to survive for years. He was 29.

In other words, a life worth living is worth dying for.

If Alexander had halted his campaign after conquering Persia, he would simply have been Alexander III, a Greek king who was born at the right place and the right time. Philip II had already laid the groundwork for a Greek invasion of Persia. Alexander was a brilliant general, but he would not have earned his place in history had he not been driven to death by what he loved in life.

JeanVigoVigo, in contrast, had never been a healthy man. He devoted himself to cinema after reading books about filmmaking while in hospital. With just one feature-length film to his name, he is remembered today not only for his films but as the grandfather of the French New Wave, a movement that arguably caused the most radical change in the art of filmmaking since sound.

What you let kill you will define your fleeting existence in this world—and sorry, gunslinger, there are no other worlds than these.

So, stop killing time waiting for death, and start dying for what you love.

The origins of the quotation, “find what you love and let it kill you,” are unknown. It has been misattributed to Charles Bukowski.