all dead heroes

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I walk with dead heroes in a sea of broken statues, of ancient gods with stoic faces that weep spiders as they stare into the sun. We shiver in the heat, drift like ghosts through city streets, scattering the happiest of crowds. People roll away from us like waves do from the shore, our desperation sensed by those desperate to ignore.

I live with dead heroes who speak to me in murmurs, across the veins of dry rivers that once swelled in the sun. Now I float where your river takes me. I sleep where your shadows make me. My dry rivers have long since vanished into darkness where they died weeping crimson tears. I am an escape artist. My heart whispers of escapades, but my pockets are full of prisons and my stomach is sick with keys. So I spend my nights alone with you and all my dead heroes in these quiet, cluttered rooms.

Tonight, I slip past sleeping statues, I abandon all dead heroes. I find peace on crowded city streets with youthful gods at play, who in dance and drink live to die another day. But my dead heroes always find me, and trace their lines upon my arms. These people flow around me like ripples on a pond, my presence sensed but my life soon to be foregone.

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Government shoots celebrity, society blames the gun

Peaches Geldof had heroin in her system when she died. Who’s really to blame for accidental overdoses… hmm… Do you often find yourself accidentally overdosing when you take prescription medication? Oh, man. That Lipitor, it was way stronger this time. No. You accidentally overdose on street drugs that vary in purity. Why do they vary in purity? Because they are made in underground labs by amateur chemists with no potency controls and then sold on to people who cut them depending on their whim. Why is heroin made in underground labs? Because of prohibition.

When a celebrity dies of a drug overdose, prohibition must be defended. Like peachessuperstitious, ignorant shamans warding off evil spirits, society blames the drug itself when it can’t bring itself to blame the victim. If all else fails, they toss out the the devil’s messenger trope, and blame the poor sap who delivered the drug to the willing recipient. But if you died, assuming you’re not a celebrity, they’d just blame you.

If you want to blame someone for the absurd, pointless deaths of those you love and admire, blame your government for caring so little about your lives that they refuse to end a war against their own people. Do they need to be taught this lesson repeatedly? Alcohol prohibition, anyone? Black markets grew, gangsters took over, cartels formed, violence spread, and people died trying to enjoy a cocktail. The prohibitionists know their history. They just don’t care, because it’s not their loved ones who are dying.

Coroner Roger Hatch says the post mortem shows Geldof used heroin shortly before she died … and that the drug is “likely to have played a role in her death.” -tmz.com

Love, Death and Suicidal Blood Junkies: Only Lovers Left Alive

Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive is a great drug film. Atmospheric, romantic,
doomed. Really, it’s the allegory of a tortured artist, but the drug metaphors are constant and in keeping with that theme. Imagine what being a vampire would really be like. Lonely and sad, you watch ordinary human beings (the zombies) destroy themselves and their world, making the same mistakes century after century. So you isolate yourself. only lovers left aliveThe world falls apart around you, while you sit like a junky Buddha, filled to the overflowing by thousands of years of knowledge, creativity, and dead heroes. Unlike real-life Zen philosopher Nan-in, Adam (Tom Hiddleston) can’t empty his cup. The misery spills everywhere. So he stays still, composing music he wants as few people to hear as possible but is compelled to record. He’s surrounded by the ephemera and detritus of a thousand past lives and his walls are covered in portraits of his dead heroes. He explains his artistic depression and isolation to his vampire wife, Eve (Tilda Swinton): “It’s the zombies I’m sick of. And the fear… of their own fucking imaginations.”

But scoring clean, pure blood in the 21st century doesn’t make for a fun life, either. You have to get the good stuff – medical grade type O negative, available only from crooked doctors. “Now they’ve succeeded in contaminating their own fucking blood. Nevermind the water.” Like junkies, they drift through the night, trying to score, passing the alley onlyloversleftalivebloodjunkyshadows of Tangier dealers who have nothing to offer them, and in the midnight midst of the empty ruins of post-apocalyptic Detroit. Travelling anywhere is a nightmare of organizational set-up to maintain blood supply and avoid the daylight. The blood drinking scenes are performed with junky ritual. The euphoria hits and their faces are shown in close-up, falling back into oblivion in that trademark shot that has come to represent the hit. And, of course, as with junkies, the zombies wouldn’t want them even if they knew they were there.

This is Jarmusch, so there’s no three act plot. But the film is so atmospheric, you can smell the guitars, antique electronics, the antique clothes. The soundtrack is fantastic. It will grow on you after you leave the theater. So will the film. I didn’t like it at first. The intellectual references are a bit forced. You have to settle into what the film is trying to do. I thought there might be something missing apart from plot, but the film grows on you after you feel it. Like heroin.

Sex, Drugs and Self Destruction: FILTH (2013)

Jon S. Baird’s film adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s Filth is finally out in the U$A, on demand as filth patrol kevin kellyof today, and getting what looks like a very limited theatrical release on May 30. It’s pathetic that this award winning film isn’t getting a wider release in America, and that it took so long to find a distributor in the first place.

For what it lacks in visual style and cinematography (despite all the Kubrick references and some Trainspotting style), the film makes up for in chaos and characterization. It isn’t as extreme as the novel. It isn’t “ghastly and unpleasant” as one reviewer put it. It isn’t as willing to take risks as the novel. But the script does make some wild and intelligent choices in adaptation.

James McAvoy is the real engine of the film. He has the suffering intensity of Michael Fassbender in Hunger combined with the gleeful insanity of Malcolm McDowell in Caligula. He looks like he put his soul into the performance and maybe even taken some years off his life in the process.

The script is better than the direction. Baird parses it down and makes the right decisions. He embraceFilths the chaotic self-destruction but tames it down and stylizes it. It’s not a bad approach. He just doesn’t go far enough. The climactic ending, however, is beautifully twisted and worth the price of admission alone.

Filth was considered unfilmable. It’s one of the few novels I have ever stopped reading mid-way through. The protagonist is totally unredeemable and Welsh’s talent at eliciting disgust is in high gear in this story. The novel actually made me feel dirty—a pretty impressive feat in my case. In other words, it’s pretty good. If you think the film is extreme, though, try the novel.

Valium Blues

Never ever ever never pick it up. Let ring. Avoid contact. Don’t go outside without protection. valleyPractice safe interactions. There are people with intentions. I was fine yesterday before I woke up today. The phone rang. The adrenaline surged. The lorazepam is in the other room, and I’d have to crawl. I used to be fine. Then a bad man gave me Ativan. Children should never trust doctors who offer them prescriptions.

You haven’t really died inside until you’ve experienced benzodiazepine withdrawal. Just line the pills up like a sequence of self-destruct buttons to kindle your central nervous system before the bomb hits. It takes more than a few months to really destroy your GABA receptors. Go slowly. Relax and enjoy. It’s nice to feel calm. Take them and take them. Take them with alcohol and methadone. Who cares? They’re peaceful and good for you. Take them and take them some more.

Now stop. Good idea.

Until something jerks you awake into a world of walls and razor blades and draped windows backlit by the sun of a peaceful, post-apocalyptic afternoon. You shake and your heart pounds and those people on the other side of the wall can hear the palpitations of your heart. They’re listening at me through the walls, but that’s not a problem because I feel like I’m someone else watching myself and it’s hard to know for sure who you are. One thing is clear, the world is in collapse and there’s one way out, and that is to hurry up and die before I and you have a seizure.

arrowsGo slowly. Shave off another 10% and be unable to go outside for a week. It’s a serious, physical withdrawal, not just a sense of anxiety. You seem like you’re crazy when you shake in public and your jaw clenches and your muscles tighten and your vocal cords are so tense your voice cracks with what sounds to everyone else like fear. Maybe it is. Gives people a bad impression. What am I supposed to say? I’m just going through benzo withdrawal, so don’t mind me? Try to smile and say, I never had anxiety until I got on anti-anxiety drugs? Wear a t-shirt that says I’d rather be going through heroin withdrawal? Because I would, really.

How to quit benzos: use the Ashton Manual. Seeing as the doctors who prescribe these drugs usually don’t have a clue about the withdrawal, you had better print out parts of this and bring it to them.

This is not medical advice. I am not a doctor. Do not do anything I say, ever.

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Damon Albarn says heroin made him creative and productive

Damon Albarn, frontman for Blur and Gorillaz, is set to release a new solo album, Everyday Robots. He’s now given a rare interview in which he discusses his past heroin use as a creative and productive experience, but he also admits it’s a cruel drug to be addicted to. He describes his habit in one of his new songs, You and Me:

“Tin foil and a lighter, the ship across … Five days on, two days off.”

So he was smoking heroin, not injecting, and he was not using daily. The technical term for this is Damon_Albarn_Performingmoderation. Sure, five days a week could be considered more than moderate use depending on quantity. But what people refuse to understand is that moderate use of heroin can actually exist. There’s been so much demonization of the drug that it’s caused mass cognitive dissonance, even hysteria. Smoking heroin occasionally is not the same as lying in alley with a syringe stuck in your arm. People can’t seem to grasp that, yet they find it easy to understand that having a glass of wine five nights a week with dinner is not the same as drinking a quart of vodka a day.

I hope this turns into something instructive for someone out there, but I imagine Albarn will just be demonized for admitting there are benefits and harms associated with heroin.

As a former junky and as a guitarist, I have to add that to get any creative benefit from heroin (like any other drug), you better use it in strict moderation. Opiate addiction can really sap your creative drive and even deaden how music feels. Again, compare it alcohol: you might be inspired after an evening out with friends talking and having a few drinks. Whereas if you started drinking every day it might ruin you, and soon you could wind up with no friends to talk to and few new ideas to talk about. Then again, according to addiction experts, alcohol is much worse than heroin. And as with any drug, most people who try heroin do not get addicted. The statistics vary by study but tend not to rise above 30 percent.

Damon Albarn’s new album, Everyday Robots, is out April 29, 2014.

Excerpt from the Guardian:

Damon Albarn has given a rare interview about his past heroin use, describing it as an “incredibly productive” time in his musical career.

Although the singer is now sober, the singer addresses his drug use in a new song, which describes how he would regulate his heroin intake to “five days on and two days off”.

“[Heroin] freed me up,” Albarn said in this month’s Q cover story. “I hate talking about this because of my daughter, my family. But, for me, it was incredibly creative … A combination of [heroin] and playing really simple, beautiful, repetitive shit in Africa changed me completely as a musician. I found a sense of rhythm. I somehow managed to break out of something with my voice.”

Albarn began using heroin “at the height of Britpop”, after returning home from tour and finding it “in the front room”. “I just thought, ‘Why not?’ I never imagined it would become a problem,” he said.

“I’m happy I found that poetry,” Albarn told Q. “I can move forward now without all the nudge nudge, wink wink innuendo I’ve had in the background for years.”

 

What a shot of heroin feels like to a Buddhist monk

A federal law enforcement officer once asked me what heroin feels like. She tried to hide the glimmer of that long suppressed, reckless teenage curiosity I caught in her eyes. Cops, you see, are really just latent criminals. Late developers. First I dismissed her with the Trainspotting cliché: take the best orgasm you’ve ever had, multiply it by a thousand and you’re still nowhere near it. This actually seemed to peak her interest though, so I decided to go Zen on her. I should have stuck with the sex metaphors. This is what I said:

You’re a slow lizard in the cold dawn of a black desert. Your blood is frozen in your veins. You can’t move. You feel icy, you feel cold, you feel old. Your eyes cry for the sun. And the sun rises like a shot of heroin, and you’re bathed in the warm glow. The black sand cooks your belly and the heat hits your lizard brain and you lick your lizard lips with joy as the sunlight courses through you.

Understand?

She didn’t say anything.

OK…

You’re a dry, empty glass, standing alone in the arid sun of the Sahara. Your glassy skin is baked dry with caked sand. All you feel is pain as your delicate body starts to crack in the heat. Then the rain comes in a torrential rush out of the bright sunlit sky. It washes over you and fills you to the brim until you overflow with joy and you are now finally alive.

She looked puzzled, but thoughtful. Like a curious horse.

OK…

You’re a horse and—

—Nevermind, she said.

Heroin. It’s nirvana.

The greatest drug films: MORE (1969)

More, 1969, Barbet Schroeder — heroin chic

More, 1969, directed by Barbet Schroeder, cinematography by Nestor Almendros, Soundtrack by Pink Floyd

Isn’t this film exactly what heroin is like? Like washing up on a magical island in 1969 and living in a villa on the sea where you have group sex with hot European models on smack, drop LSD, and listen to the some of the best music Pink Floyd ever made, then lay out in the sun like a lizard and embrace the beautiful nihilism of a fantasy world where it’s better to set the controls for the heart of the sun than to fade away?

Well, in my head, at least, that’s exactly what heroin is like. I think this may be my favorite More_(film)drug film. More is the only film I can think of that simultaneously portrays the romanticism of heroin as a drug, and the opiate allure of actual romance—on heroin. The film is a play on the Icarus myth, and Schroeder uses female lead Estelle (played by heroin chic Mimsy Farmer) as a representation of the sun. Falling into heroin is like falling in love, and doing them both at the same time is life changing, life shattering, and usually does play out like a Greek tragedy.

Almendros’ cinematography here is dreamy, mythic, and alluring. He started out working with Eric Rohmer and Francois Truffaut. His direct shots of the sun in More are iconic and would have made Akira Kurosawa proud.

Unfortunately, Ibiza seems to have degenerated into a Eurotrash techno haven for drunken tourists and rich speculators who grabbed up all the Spanish villas as investments in the late 2000s. You can watch the decline on film, actually. From More (1969) to F For Fake (1975) to Ma Mere (2004).

This is a very cult film and, supposedly, junkies still make the pilgrimage to one of the key locations near the castle tunnel. I guess it’s better than heading to Leith.

Really, you should check this site out. Read about the film and see some more great stills: http://www.barbetschroeder.com/movies/more-1969/

The French trailer with subtitles: http://www.videodetective.com/movies/more/179856

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Stop Offering Me Marijuana

"With me it's a full time job. Now behave yourself."

“With me it’s a full time job. Now behave yourself.”

Every time I go uptown, people come up and try to offer me marijuana, and I have to explain to them that they’re contaminating public perceptions of my drug philosophy. Recreationalists should not be allowed on the streets. They are a danger to our children. If only there existed a drug squad that could send all these heretics to reeducation camps. Behind barbed wire, professional drug users could counsel these misguided souls to stop wasting their lives on soft drugs and social lubrication, and turn them into professional philosophers of the one true church of psychonautic smack addiction. This is a way of life, not a pastime for dilettantes and the homeless.

Now hiring: experienced junk counselors to advocate drug use as a philosophical modus vivendi. First we go door to door like Mormons. Then maybe try Kickstarter.

Kurt Cobain Murder Theory Flaws: The Overdose

 

Tom Grant and murder theorists contend that Kurt Cobain’s blood levels of morphine were so high when he died he could not have pulled the trigger of his Remington Model 11 20 gauge shotgun because he was unconscious from a heroin overdose with blood levels of 1.52 milligrams of morphine per liter.

Tom Grant writes:

Cobain’s heroin, (morphine), blood level was 1.52 mgs per liter. This would require a minimum injection of 225 mgs of heroin, three times a lethal dose, even for a hardcore heroin addict. The drug Diazepam, was also found in Cobain’s blood system.

The problem is that the reality of drug tolerance renders the theory impossible to prove without knowing exactly what his tolerance level was, which is exactly what the toxicologists have said. Addicts routinely inject huge quantities of heroin and experience no more than typical highs, while nurses at methadone clinics have been known to die from stealing a sip well under 30 mg, the (low) starting dose for an addict; while there are people on hundreds of milligrams of methadone per day. I’ve read of a case of a patient exceeding 800 mg of methadone daily. I doubt there even is a tolerance ceiling to opiates, just increasing side effects. So, one man’s poison is another’s painkiller.

Even when you do overdose, you can often fight to maintain consciousness and stay awake, at least for a while. But most deaths from so-called “heroin overdoses” aren’t caused by heroin at all. They’re usually caused by a combination of drugs, especially alcohol, which is such a toxic poison that it can kill you if you mix it with just about anything.

Did anyone at the Seattle Police Department look for possible signs that Kurt was unconscious before death? The telltale bluish-white skin and blue lips? Who knows if those signs would be observable three days after death, or noticed at all by ignorant, inept SPD investigators (who can be seen contaminating the crime scene in newly released photos), or even noticed by the doctor who performed the autopsy, who was an ex-concert promoter and friend of Courtney Love’s, and who probably didn’t conduct a very meticulous investigation. And if Kurt was given a hot shot, as Grant seems to allege, who placed his works, spoon, syringe, etc. back in the cigar box? Would a murderer do that? At the risk of leaving fingerprints? Unfortunately, the idiots at SPD probably didn’t bother checking any of the paraphernalia for prints. They didn’t even check the shotgun until the following month, and it had already been contaminated by the cop who handled it at the crime scene.

Basically, when you screw up an investigation, you invite conspiracy theories. But the idea of an instant, fatal overdose is far-fetched to say the least.

Kurt Cobain cat