Saturday, July 03, 2004

Learning how to use a teabag. How to dip a teabag
If you sneak over my way. I’m gonna string your little teabag too

How about this for a scene to warm the hearts of politicians in their war against drunkenness and alcohol fuelled violence.

I was recently at a cafe at one am. It served booze but a quick look around the tables revealed that most people were sipping cokes or drinking lattes.

The place was packed. All the seats were taken and others loitered waiting for tables to become available. A DJ was in one corner playing nicely chilled tunes, while the clientele either listened intently or were involved in their own small group conversations.

The overall atmosphere was one of calm. The queue for drinks was well ordered and friendly. Customers were even spotted helping each other carry their larger drinks orders back to their tables.

The age rage varied from 18 to 60. The dress was casual and a relaxed attitude to closing time meant punters were able to arrive and leave at whatever time suited.

So how does that sound Mr Posturing Politician? Pretty good huh? The very model of European, cosmopolitan cafe lifestyle, right?

You'd vote for that, wouldn't you? No under age kids drinking alcopops. No fights over spilled pints. No puking in the toilets.

No doubt even the most ardent Tory would think it the ideal vision of what British nightlife should aspire to.

Except for one thing. It was the Greenpeace cafe at Glastonbury and being handed around every single group was a very large joint. Shocking.

The Greenpeace Cafe

If you believe the papers then the Glastonbury crowd are all middle class professionals these days. But, they take drugs. Most people take drugs. If not marijuana or Es or coke or whatever, then alcohol. Drug users are not all down and outs (although some are), drug users are everywhere and for most of them their drug use does not impact negatively on their life as a whole.

It's alcohol that is the real problem drug. Booze is a violent drug. It turns decent people into absolute messes. But, all the same, I still reckon they have the right to drink - just as they should have the right to take whatever drug they choose.

I always hark back to my own drug education. A local copper came into my school and ran through all of the drugs with us. He'd tell us: "This is marijuana, has been linked to short term memory loss, it's not addictive, is largely harmless, penalty for possession is etc etc"

Then he went on to: "This is heroin, will mess you up badly, probably kill you, will turn you into a thief, a liar etc, "

It was good information. Information that allowed us all to make up our own minds on drugs. The trouble with the "all drugs are bad" message is that once you've tried one and found out they were lying, then it's tempting to dismiss the warnings about the rest too.

Of course, in an ideal world, there would be no drugs. And that includes alcohol. But in a world where alcohol is permitted and seemingly actively encouraged, then you can hardly ban the less harmful substances.

And if you want a quick route to that European style, cosmopolitan cafe lifestyle then legalise marijuana. It would have to be the quickest way of changing our cities. Watch the huge groups of scary drunken people give way to grinning idiots munching on pizza slices and drooling over a fresh mug of coffee and a piece of carrot cake.

Simple isn't it?

The final word from Bill Hicks, just because it's been a while since I have quoted him:

"I'll tell you something about drugs. I used to do drugs, but I'll tell you something honestly about drugs, honestly, and I know it's not a very popular idea, you don't hear it very often anymore, but it is the truth: I had a great time doing drugs. Sorry. Never murdered anyone, never robbed anyone, never raped anyone, never beat anyone, never lost a job, a car, a house, a wife or kids, laughed my ass off, and went about my day."

Love, light and peace,


I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.