My column got spiked

Over the weekend I wrote my Morning Star column, which this week is about LSD. Then yesterday, for the first time, the editor refused to publish it. 

The subs told me: “Not that we’re anti-drugs or anything, but he reckons you’ve crossed a line by actively, massively advocating the stuff.”  

So I’ve written them something new, which I’ll email in the morning, though it’s probably too late for this week’s copy of the paper.

Meanwhile here’s the column they didn’t want. If you regularly read this blog but not my MS columns, it’s worth remembering this was written for print, not a blog, with their house style in mind (ie. it’s a bit different from most of my blog entries and not so readable onscreen!) and also it might be old hat because I’ve boffed on about this subject here already. But anyway… 

Chris thinks we should all get high.

Of all the illegal drugs that I think should be legalised – which is all of them – top of my wish list for a Get Out Of Jail Free card would be LSD.

I know when you argue for legalising drugs, you’re supposed to place your argument within the context of accepting that they are fundamentally a Bad Thing. Drugs are bad, m’kay?

I know legalisation or decriminalisation are meant to be presented as a strategic change-of-approach for combating drug use. I also know lots of people have ruined their lives by getting hopelessly addicted to substances, legal or illegal.

But with all that in mind, the point I want to make is: acid is bloody fantastic and, if you haven’t had a go before, I think your life would almost certainly improve if you tried some tomorrow.

What else have you got on? Get home from work and spend dinner time discussing whether Kate should’ve won The Apprentice, or why the nazis got two seats in Europe? Doesn’t sound like much fun to me. Then you’ll probably watch telly.

No access to a dealer? Ask anyone you know in the arts, or your scruffiest friend, or best of all, your kids’ coolest mate, to hook you up.

In one go, you’ll not only score but also your son or daughter will suddenly have fat kudos to spare, once the school rumour mill finds out their parents know how to party.

What you need is a warm summer evening, some trustworthy old friends and a pleasant field. Maybe take a picnic. Don’t try LSD out clubbing though, because you’ll get your head done in.

“Mind expanding” is a clichéd and vilified phrase, yet it is drop-dead accurate, when referring to acid. Apart from what you may get up to while you’re not quite in control – which is itself largely myth – it’s about as dangerous as a cup of coffee.

On acid, I have thought, visualised, smelled, heard and imagined in ways different to those which my mind was/is capable of straight. It’s not in any way a replacement for ‘real’ experience, however it is a powerful, memorable additional experience.

Cocaine is a drug about me, me, me. Marijuana is a drug about doing nothing and eating crisps. Booze is a drug about fighting, crying and kebabs. MDMA (ecstacy) is about hugging people on the dancefloor while the beat goes on.

But I believe LSD is a drug about tapping directly into whatever it is that we channel as creative. So, almost God then. A direct line to the part of our brain we most need more of in our existence.

By the way, sorry if the acronym “LSD” sounds scarily out-of-date and a bit faux-hippie, especially when most kids talk like an episode of The Wire and blow their allowances on ounces of cocaine.

I only started calling it LSD recently because I realised that when you say “acid” in the United States, quite a few people don’t actually know what you’re talking about. I guess the nickname never filtered across the Atlantic properly.

At the end of last year, I got back into acid as a creative tool, after a long, long break and I’ve been working on some improvised (mainly piano and electronic) music under its gorgeous influence, ever since. I set up recording equipment in the living room, get high and play piano or mess around with beats until I get bored and do something else. No idea whether it’s any good – only time will tell – but it’s a lot of fun and I feel that the rest of my creative life has been enrichened by the experiment.

Quite apart from unbanning the stuff, it should probably be on the national curriculum or added to MMR.

Amid the MPs’ expenses scandal, we’re finally beginning to understand the extent to which we, the public, can not know stuff. Conspiracists and engaged sceptics have understood this all along; that assuming huge, grand sleight-of-hand tricks upon the wider public can’t take place because of checks and balances is just poppycock.

So here comes the next layer – that they’re all junkies as well. Those who seek to control our personal behaviour through the making of laws are either rattled out of their minds on expensive whisky, snorting cocaine, or, it turns out, stealing every duck pond they can get their grubby mits on.

Let’s do a substance analysis of all the pipework in the Houses Of Parliament. If they don’t find just the fattest, fuck-off-est proportion of cocaine, I’ll be very surprised.

More than that, it’s a grand addiction to stuff. Material possessions as the mark of status – the classic capitalist fail. You know, the current recession is one of the biggest arguments I can think of for living the life you really want to live. Fuck the law and the fear of poverty; if there’s a thing you want to try or a place you need to visit, you’ve got to just do it.

And if that includes taking a beautiful hallucinogen that will make even just one evening unforgettable, then stop being such a pussy and go for it.

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23 responses to “My column got spiked

  1. Oliver (who else?)

    Peter Green?

  2. a bad trip on acid, makes the MGMT video for Kids seem mild in comparison.

  3. Personally, I would never encourage people to actually take acid. I agree with everything you said, but I think that acid is not for everyone. I think to successfully enjoy a trip, you need to be confident and happy within your own self. Any lack of self belief, or niggling issues in the back of your mind will almost certainly materialize and have the potential to send you reeling out of control. So if people CHOOSE to do it, then that’s great, but I think they need to get to the place where they WANT to take it on their own, without any encouragement from others.

    That said, I think it is awesome. It changed my life in many ways, and I am happy it did so

  4. Chris, sorry dude however you have no idea what you are talking about… when you spend time watching withdrawal then have a go at advising on any form of drug in take… I am very surprised at this blog man… hey what do I know? however I watched people die from this sort of high and I lost a great deal of my life to drug abuse… the way to experience GOD is through helping others, pray, gratitude and meditation not through any form of drug, legal or illegal… sorry man just needed to get that off my chest

    • David, some of us actually use drugs like LSD *as* meditation and prayer. Of course some are harmed with their drug experiences… then again some are hurt by their church experiences too.

      But I don’t think everyone should trip – at least not at certain times of their lives, depending on where their brain is at and their personal mood and environment (the old Tim Leary trifecta: set, setting, dosage) – and some just aren’t right for it.

  5. I’m against it…

    ‘..Experiments with LSD were also done on animals; in 1962, an elephant named Tusko died shortly after being injected with 297 mg, but whether the LSD was the cause of his death is controversial.’ [wikipedia, so it must be true..]

  6. Aside from these responses, I’ve had a pile of negative (as well as a few positive) emails/DMs/tweets about this blog, some very angry, so I guess the editor of the Morning Star was right to bottle out of publishing it.

    Although the style is too brash, it’s something I believe in. It was written in the context of LSD being illegal and not widely used or available within drug cultures. We have an entire generation of young people either drunk, stoned, popping pills or snorting coke. Whether it’s legal, quasi-legal, prescribed or scored off dealers, few of them are experimenting in the more uplifting, gentle, psychedelic, collaborative or even experiential way that people used to, when acid was more popular. What we have now (especially in the UK) is a youthful rites-of-passage process built on aggressive, nihilistic escapism.

    The stats on LSD are clear that it is virtually harmless in physical terms and also there have been very, very few documented cases of people doing such stupid things that they caused themselves harm. Peter Green type casualties are very few and far between and any evidence is entangled with other drug types and aspects of lifestyle. Certainly it’s absolutely nothing, statistically, compared to the number of people clogging up Accident & Emergency on a Friday night with alcohol-related injuries.

    Evan’s is the best point and I totally appreciate it Ev, but I wrote the thing in the knowledge that it’s peoples’ own responsibility to take what I say as my opinion.

    And it really is my opinion that you should do it, unless you don’t want to! I’m not going to come round your house and put it in your wine. I don’t have any left, for a start. I wrote no more coercively than someone saying “Go on, have a pint,” or “Surely you can help finish the bottle,” or “Another slice of cake, Chris?”

    David, you feel strongly but don’t produce a cogent argument about, well, anything. Your personal experiences don’t make a point, they’re a subjective, anecdotal guilt-trip: would you prefer I didn’t give my honest opinion because it’s different from yours? An esoteric response:

    1. I do know what I’m talking about.

    2. There’s no physical withdrawal from LSD. You mean withdrawal from other things and there’s no way I’d advocate booze or especially cocaine, in fact anyone who knows me knows I loathe that shit – another reason that my positive comments should have context.

    3. I’m not ‘advising’ from a position of medical or psychological one-on-one, I’m a writer doing a personal column. Your use of the words ‘advising’ and ‘drug intake’ to imply I’m taking the high or ‘medical expert’ ground is actually a bit unfair.

    4. I appreciate your battle (and admire you very much for how you’ve taken it on) but it bares no relation, the challenges you face are with other things. And for example, it’s as if you encouraged me to try snowboarding, which is equally pointless/thrilling and more dangerous, and I replied “Well I knew someone who died in a skiing accident because they were addicted to dangerous sports.”

    5. There are many ways to experience what you call ‘god’, including both yours and mine. What I wrote was an encouragement to widen creative experience. But what you write is reductive and controlling, laying down rules about how one should experience God, through doing things that you approve of. Worse, you assume that I’m not doing them already (‘helping others’? ‘gratitude’!?) as well. That’s moralising, not an argument.

    That’s all really. I feel a bit squished and sorry that the article wasn’t more measured, and was so exuberant – but that’s what I was hired by the Morning Star to do, not skirt around the issues.

    x

  7. Nice Chris – really well put.

    I’d like to comment on Evan’s point about bad trips/self-confidence. I think having a group of friends with you, as Chris suggested, who are supportive, and if possible, have been through the trip before, is so helpful. I think most cases of a “bad trip” can easily be talked through if you have someone with experience around. However, of course the very bad bad trips do exist, and well, they’re not called Good Trips are they.

    I’m not sure everyone should do it because I’m not sure everyone is ready for the experience. It’s truly like no other and is indeed a mind expanding journey.

    And go outdoors – that’s key.

  8. that’s all well and good, but what about the fucking elephants??

  9. Chris,
    what a load of bullshit. The truth is pal you have no experience of drug use, you have never been in a metal hospital and you have no experienced of the truth behind your statement that LSD is harmless, what a load of cobbles… and yes Chris I have seen all these things first hand… so the next time you walk back into your middle class family and sit down having lunch with your parents with a nice glass of wine (as you know I have had the pleasure of meeting your parents and they are very nice people, much like yourself old buddy) think about the poor fucker from the town ship in The Cape, who spends 28 days on a government funded rehab course so he can regain his life, only to be asked to leave becuase there is no more feeking money and he goes back into his tin house surrounded by drugs and alcohol, sexual abuse, rape and murder, and has to fight his need to escape.

    What you are telling people is that is it cool and creative to escape reality, and I would not teach this to my children Chris. In fact I remember the day I started experimenting with soft drugs thinking that they would never have an effect on me. And I also remember sticking a needle into my penis.

    Chris you hold a position of authority one to which I have always and still do respect, and I appreciate the opportunity to share on this topic, and I am glad you have not come across as rather pompous and patronizing with your insistance on your intellectual position.

    From one who has been to hell, I can promise you that the issue of addiction, escapism, art, love, G.O.D. cannot be intellectualised. You will never win the battle this way.

    Be careful for what you wish for my friend as the universe is always listening.

    L8ter
    David

  10. I think ‘squished’ is dead on. The fact is you read a 100 articles explaining why drugs are evil and bad and none of them ever say “but it’s also quite nice and lots of people have fun on them and don’t get addicted at all”.

    But when someone comes along and writes an article about purely about the good side of things, of why it’s fun and you should try it, it gets people’s hackles up as it’s equally imbalanced. It doesn’t touch on the potential negative aspects of LSD of which there clearly are some.

    But it’s an opinion piece, written to a tight word-count. It is just one side of the arguement, but it’s the side we never get to read. Hence I found it a fascinating if slightly uncomfortable read.

  11. Chris I have been thinking about your column and you know I am powerless over my addictions… but man I am an addict, and I am guessing you are not.

    It is not for me to say what is right and wrong, or to project my own fears onto someone else… there is part of me that wishes I could use without any devastating effects and I am pleased for you buddy that you can find some light at the end of the very dark and personal tunnel.

    See ya pal
    David

  12. Great article, very thought-provoking and from a very personal viewpoint.

    Evan and Rifa are both right though, LSD can go horribly wrong.

    Drugs can be very destructive and don’t distinguish between classes. Addiction can happen to anyone and can end life (or worse) within any social class. Being addicted to anything and the repercussions of that addiction will affect someone for their whole life not just for the period of time they are using drugs.

    Recreational drug use is clearly a very contentious subject. Once you start talking about it people make assumptions about you – either you know too much or you don’t know enough.

    All kinds of drugs have been proven to have a direct impact on mental health, particularly if someone is ‘at risk’. This is a good reason not to encourage others to take anything. Although LSD is not the most chemically addictive of drugs it should be used responsibly due to its properties.

    Having said that, lots of people do drugs and lots of people experimentally try drugs and lots of people then go on to have happy healthy lives and are not damaged by the experience. Some of these people will feel better off for trying drugs. Chris, you have expressed your personal view and experience. The piano tracks sound really interesting – can’t wait to hear them.

  13. I fear nothing as much as a metal hospital.

  14. The last Taylor

    I’m all for drugs, don’t get me wrong. I think its great to free your mind yadda yadda yadda, but one thing does get my goat in this infernal row.

    The comparison to alcohol is always drawn in the standard pro-drug arguement, yet it is the least cohesive and relevant of them all. In this instance, the analagy is used thus:

    “it’s absolutely nothing, statistically, compared to the number of people clogging up Accident & Emergency on a Friday night with alcohol-related injuries”.

    This is undoubtedly true, but given the fact alcohol is one of (if not the) most widely consumed and advertised drugs in the world, it isn’t exactly a relevant analogy. If acid were as available as alcohol then there would be a comparison to be drawn.

    Show me a world where everyone takes LSD on a Friday night instead of getting pissed and I’ll show you the plans for the spaceship I’m building to get the fuck of this planet.

    x

    (by the way is a kiss at the bottom of a point supposed to be slightly patronizing because I think that’s how it comes off)

  15. Blimey, I’d love to meet you Dave and give you a big hug. This debate has got into a bit muddle – as debates on drug-use usually do. Needle in the penis? I didn’t think that’s how you took acid but I could be wrong 🙂

    I also have personal issues about most kinds of drugs, legal or otherwise but I support intelligent debate about the rights of people from all backgrounds to make informed decisions on drugs (what’s Chris’s parents got to do with it?).

    Please see the campaign by Release: Nice people take drugs. http://www.release.org.uk/

    There was a great telly programme a while back about the top 20 worst drugs – in terms of how many people are killed or injured and how addictive it is. Number one killer is rock star fav 1. Heroin, number 2. Cocaine with Acid and Ecstasy way low on the list, below Alcohol and Nicotine. LSD came below Cannabis. So there. Here’s a nice chart to show you:
    http://uk.gamespot.com/pages/forums/show_msgs.php?topic_id=26201626

  16. I really hope The Last Taylor is the person who stumbled on this blog after googling “drying meth that has been wet accidentally in the washing machine in a zippy”.

    New entry drastically overdue I think.

  17. Thanks for this Chris. What do you think is the best age to start introducing LSD in my child’s diet?

  18. Lou Purplefairy

    Chris, you’re a man after my own heart. I have long advocated the use of LSD and Psilocybin A in a controlled manner to help people with mental health issues, instead of pumping them full of crap like paraoxetine (Seroxat) and fluoxetine (Prozac), and I am not alone, especially since the ban on ‘shrooms came in 6 months before SmithKline Glaxo announced its trials of Psolocybin A in mental health patients in The Pharmaceutical Journal (now you know why this harmless fungi was “banned” and classified as a Class A drug to to Joe Public within 6 weeks of it aplication thru Parliament). The effects of LSD in mental Health is well documneted too, and you can find positive one, which are not written by government whores using scaremongering tactics. I have found both agents to be very productive in creative terms, and in aspects of philosophical self discovery and meditation.I have also found that it one of the best substances to induce real belly laughter, which produces positive enzymes and “feel good” factor beneficial to boosting your immune system. Like any substance it can be abused, and the results can give negative effects, if you are stupid enough to take a large dose on your own when you feel suicidal, which is the equivalent of a complete a-hole with violent tendaencies in a bad mood downing a whole bottle of JD while listening to Leonard Cohen and then picking a fight with anyone in the street. But on the whole I am in agreement that there are far worse health damaging substances out there which people injest every day, and are taken unwittingly in the form of processed foods and drinks, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. People need to do their research and get some perspective, preferably while on a happy little trip! lol! Nice blog Chris, and look forward to hearing your improvised piano concerto. Is it as erratic as a spider on “cid spinning a web? lol!

  19. An intimate group of friends, a quiet beach, a starry night, maybe a few cocktails… Context is everything.

    Worst side effect? Every facial muscle is done-in from smiling so much 😉

  20. is it possible to be spiked by cocaine? and has anybody heard of such cases in the newspapers!

  21. Personally I don’t take drugs, even alcohol I rarely drink. I do however think that drugs should be legalised and regulated, and that people should have a right to take them.

    Here’s a graph showing the risk of self and risk to others in relation to different drugs:

    Interestingly LSD is way down the bottom of the graph. It is important to cite such studies in order to reduce personal bias in such debates as this. It seems most people are talking from personal experience, which of course is important too, but people should get in the habit of using evidence to back up their claims.

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