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Tuesday 3rd August 1999: Written across two days ...
2.49pm. I was just thinking I arrived back from Vancouver only ten hours ago still having difficulty walking. Y'see, I had quite an early morning session before I left. Anyway, I'm skipping over myself, so I'll start from the start.
Last week was again incredibly boring and made me feel it was virtually pointless to be alive if this was all life consisted of (yeah yeah, you've heard it all before here!) so it was with a great amount of relish that I woke up at 5am and got the bus to Toronto to fly to Vancouver. However, I do remember sitting on the bus worrying that if I got my hopes up they'd only be smashed, so I deliberately made an image of Vancouver out in my head that was full of straight-laced smackhead lunactics that would preach bible morality to you on one hand whilst stabbing you with a blood-filled syringe with another. I thought of more flat boring pre-fabricated concrete buildings with their huge air-conditioning units and sterile atmosphere. I thought of more huge gas-guzzling cars trampling along the streets able to turn on red lights legally and running over small children who were crossing when the green man was showing (I saw that from my window a few weeks ago - it disturbed me - the guy just went straight through the kid with no effort to stop before hitting him). I thought of good sound people who got a bad deal in life just because they were the wrong colour, or liked the wrong sex, or spoke the wrong language. My god, I really do hate this place with a passion. It's not the people - the people are generally good - but what the people and the government and the culture and society all combine into is something I dislike to the very heart of my soul. I really do wonder how much worse it can be in America :(
It's a five hour flight to Vancouver from Toronto, and I couldn't sleep for one second of it. Too much fear I had just blown a large wad of money on nothing and all I would get from this weekend was a stabbing and HIV. It didn't help that the flight was four hours late either, left more time for worrying. By the time I reached Vancouver airport I was not in a good state having barely slept for the prior few days (ostensibly to prepare my body for the abuse I was going to give it) and I spent a good two hours eating some food and getting to grips with what I had just found - nothing other than the local Vancouver newspaper.
Y'see, in common with the US, each reasonably big town in Canada has its own newspaper. Usually this newspaper is an excellent guide to how the local people think as it's almost completely composed of writings from these local people. Now the London Ontario newspaper gives forth the impression that the locals feel they are centre of liberalism, art, culture and free thinking. And in a relative way, they are when compared to the surrounding area - I mean, they "allow" gay people to have a march every year (when I say "allow", I mean not use tear gas against them - believe me, it's not exactly like homosexuals are welcome here - but at least they're tolerated rather than just beaten with sticks). They also "allow" more radical stuff like growshops where you can buy equipment to grow weed. Again, "allow" means they're tolerated, but still very much disapproved of. They also get a fair bit of concerts and plays here, but it's pretty conservative stuff - nothing like reggae or anything. And of course, here in London Ontario, the vast majority of the population are white anglo-saxon protestants with the next biggest group probably being the Latinos. And very few ethnic minorities mix - they stay among their own where they're welcomed.
Now when I saw the cover page feature on the local Vancouver newspaper, I nearly fell over. The feature was about whether gay couples should get married. And I don't mean whether it is morally right or wrong for gays to get married, I mean the article was discussing why is was that gays and lesbians were getting married when so many straight people elected to forsake the ancient institution in modern times. Okay, in Europe such an article would be more common, but coming from London Ontario where gays are still the spawn of Satan it made one hell of a culture shock. I hadn't expected Vancouver to be that different from the rest of Canada.
Oh but how different it soon became clear. The city itself is incredibly beautiful. Lots of shiny high rise buildings nestle together - but these are buildings designed by high-paid architects being paid millions to design something beautiful - not the standard off-the-shelf designs like London Ontario has. The city is also very hilly - which makes for some spectacular views of the Pacific and the Rocky mountains behind Vancouver. Its denseness makes it feel like a European city - and the public transport is lots of electric buses running off tram wires running along streets shouldered by leafy green trees and various fountains ranging from small to huge. Did I mention the population is extraordinarily concerned about the environment when compared to the average north American? I noticed a fair few articles about pollution and greenhouse warming in the local newspaper by some regular columnists. And oh by the way, a fair few of those columnists were also gay.
People have said to me that Vancouver is the Amsterdam of the American continent, and now I can verify that. Except it's more beautiful again. Stanley Park is fantastic - I wandered around it with a large bag of BC bud (BC = British Columbian BTW) and had a fantastic time looking out at the sea from the Lion's gate bridge with a rather large joint in my hand. No one cares there - you can skin up at will. In fact, you can jack up heroin at will - it kinda throws you to see heroin addicts jacking up completely in public without a care but you get used to it. The addicts cooperate by returning the dirty syringes for new ones from a van that runs up and down red light Vancouver every few hours. Hence they don't get AIDS and no children get spiked by a syringe. Good idea.
Of course there's also the coffeeshops. Like Amsterdam, Vancouver has coffeeshops where you can smoke the herb freely. The stuff is as banned in Vancouver as it is anywhere in Canada but in Vancouver it seems the police just don't care. Or are too overstretched to bother with users, I don't know for sure. Anyway, they've been raiding these coffeeshops and such but the courts refuse to do much other than fine the proprieters for allowing people to smoke in there and hence, they pay the fine and everyone carries on smoking. Put it this way, letting people smoke in your cafe makes more money than it costs in fines :) Also, they take away your trade licence when your licence comes up for review every few years - but that still means some new name can be found to take on the licence for another few years. It carries on, much like it did in Amsterdam before decriminalisation.
And that's what it feels like. I've talked to people who were in Amsterdam before 1975 and they lament how commercialised it is now with it more being about screwing money from the drug tourists than it is about the herb itself. Vancouver currently has a far better coffeeshop atmosphere than in Amsterdam simply because the people there appreciate that at any moment police could come in and everyone goes to prison for the day. And that means if you don't appreciate socialising with the weed, you wouldn't be there as it's safer to be at home. Hence you get lots of long-time smokers there, people who were roadies with the Grateful Dead and other bands. Almost all have been in prison for dope smoking or trafficking at some stage. All come to the coffeeshops to socialise whilst getting stoned, and you know it as soon as you sit down.
Also, in my opinion, the bud in Vancouver is better than the Dutch stuff. It's hard to say why, but the stuff's cleaner. Dutch stuff tends to hammer your brain but the BC stuff tends to hammer your body and leave your brain fairly intact. Your arms and legs might be shaking all over, but you'll still be able to hold a conversation :)
Right, getting back to the point: the plane out on Saturday got delayed so it wasn't until Saturday night that I got in. After getting food at the airport and reading aforementioned newspaper, I checked into the hotel and got a joint on the go. I was exhausted, and only keeping going on the ephedrine I had taken, so I popped out to look at the Benson and Hedges Symphony of Fire (which is classical music synchronised to a fireworks display BTW) whose first day of competition was happening that night. Pretty cool, but I wasn't stoned enough and was too tired to appreciate it. I wish I had some acid or pills to watch that with :(
On Sunday I took a wee walk into the red light district in Vancouver which around the West Hastings area. You'll know you're there when you find lots of empty syringe packets in the street filth as it were. Anyway, it didn't take long to find a cafe and it didn't take long in there to get talking to some locals in there (the power of the weed eh!) while I ate an extremely tasty carrot muffin. It transpired pretty quickly that the thing to do was visit a chappie up the road and one of the blokes there kindly offered to show me their dealer and show me around Vancouver too. This he did, and we chatted, and he ended up leaving me in Stanley Park which is a huge park in Vancouver full of trees and surrounded by sea. And it has the Lion's gate bridge which is a large green suspension bridge. As I mentioned above, I smoked a joint on it whilst looking out over the sea. Kinda reminded me at the time of doing the same on the Humber Bridge except it's a lot colder there! :)
Sunday night saw me in a different coffeeshop eating a particularly nice ham and cheese toastie which had loads of dorritos with it. And of course, getting totally wankered. I smoked just under an eighth that night and was barely able to walk going home. I was offered a smoke on a crack pipe by these two lads I was talking to but I most graciously declined. In fact, it seemed that there was a lot less differentiation between the drugs in Vancouver than at home. Everyone seemed to be or have done everything across the board. However, as one of the older people I mentioned this to said, you don't notice any older people who smoke pot mixing with anyone who smokes crack for example. As he said, older people were wise enough by now to know not all drugs are as safe as each other (I think he meant it both physically and mentally) and applauded my sense not to have gone off smoking crack. He seemed to feel very few of my age drew limits on what they took. Obviously a very different scene in Vancouver - and it has to be said there is a hell of a lot of young people taking drugs. Probably though my perception is altered by the way the addicts do it in public without a care - without that at home you'd think Vancouver is riddled with drugs and home is not. Statistically, the UK has lots and lots of heroin addicts - as a percentile more than almost all other Western countries - so I think there's probably more at home but we just don't ever see it. Also, maybe, there's more sense among the younger generations not to go off smoking crack without having a hard long think about it. At least, there is in my circle anyway.
Anyway, then came Monday morning. I went for breakfast at one of the coffeeshops but they didn't have any carrot muffins this time. Shame! I sat down, got fairly toasted after food when a chap I was smoking with thought it was about time I tried his "A" batch resin. He buttered a rizla with some of this black soggy stuff out of a little jar and after adding some pure bud to keep it lit (his words, not mine!) he sparked it up and passed it to me.
I now can say why cannabis oil is a Class A substance in the UK. Fuck me this stuff is strong. After we had finished it between three of us, I couldn't stop my legs jumping and hitting the table. The other two fellows were kinda smiling and one was rocking backwards and forwards. The other babbled some language I didn't really quite understand about being a roadie with the Grateful Dead. I knew I had gone far far beyond getting to the airport, so I sat there trying to stop my body jerking so much. I remember seeing people staring at all three of us and the waitress was clearly uneasy.
But the thing was, I could think fairly straight. As the chap who supplied it said, it was an incredibly clean hit. Your brain isn't anything like stuck in tar like some weed does (I find this especially with the stronger skunks from Holland). Instead your mind kinda soars, much like good hashish does too. Even if your body ain't quite so functional :) And so, with my mind being relatively clear, it was pretty obvious I was going to have to sit there for a bit until at least the muscle spasms cooled down a bit so I'd be able to walk.
It unfortunately took about an hour, and I was unable to finish another joint during then so I left it in the saucer (ashtrays aren't allowed as supposedly no one's smoking in these coffeeshops - there are signs on the wall saying "No Smoking under any circumstances whatsoever" but they all seemed to have had the words "of tobacco" inserted after the the no smoking bit :) ). Neither did the other two mind you, so I don't think I let the UK team down - and additionally, I had been smoking pretty heavily for two hours before they came.
I got to the airport somehow a few hours before the flight departed (I do remember walking for ages, then going fuck it and flagging down a taxi, then burbling to the taxi who took ages to understand me :) ). I also had the most amazing case of the munchies aggravated severely by the worst cotton-mouth I had had for ages so the first port of call was a Pizza Hut which I remember attempting to enter the waiting queue from the wrong end, causing a number of people to come on real bald with me, to which I kinda smiled dopily and walked through them. I then spent a good hour trying to find my god damn gate which the bastards deliberately put in the most out of the way place possible and didn't put up any signposts leading poor old me to get very seriously confused and wander aimlessly for quite a while until I accidentally bumped into the right place. Which had a no smoking policy, which sucked cos I really wanted a cigarette right then. It is a five hour flight after all.
Anyway, I got home around 4am Tuesday morning and of course just fell into bed. Which leads kinda to today, Wednesday, cos life here in London is the same as before Vancouver - incredibly boring and nothing has happened at all since that Monday. Except I ate a McDonalds toffee ice cream sundae last night, and it was nice :)
Okay, I think that's that once more. I'm no longer going to Pakistan it seems as I have to be back in Hull for the 29th August which is in exactly twenty-three days. Just over three weeks to go. Cool, can't bloody wait! Unfortunately, I do have a number of resits - I failed two exams because I didn't hand in any coursework so they'll be a cinch to pass this time round. The third is a first attempt - it's also a hard one whose name I can't remember right now :) - it's on the 3rd September so there'll be some time to learn the module :). And then I believe my final year as undergraduate will have begun, and oh boy what a shocker it looks from here!!!
Righto, that's all for this week. Expect another pointless update next week. It'll have no substance whatsoever. If I were you I'd bugger off until September when almost certainly a large cache of heinous chemicals will rape me severely leaving me a mere shadow of my former self. And I won't enjoy it one bit!
Tuesday 10th August 1999: 8.30pm. I've been thinking a lot recently about Canada, the US etc and how my experiences in Vancouver have changed a fair few of my perceptions of both. Y'see, while in Vancouver I met quite a lot of Americans from everywhere from New York to Seattle to Los Angelos and I think not only my view of Canada has changed - my view of America has changed too.
As long-time readers of this diary will know, I don't much like America. It is the epitomy of everything bad about the drug war which of course is a war against people like little ol' me, and it being natural to harbour at least some dislike of one's enemies makes for a natural dislike of America. Of course as well the US is behind countless human rights abuses and interfering in other peaceful country's affairs just so a profit margin for some big American corporate automaton can increase, but that part aside - the general feeling here is that America is bad.
Now the big mistake which is oh so easy to make and is also very common is to automatically extend that to the Americans themselves. One thinks in one's head how can a god awful country like that exist unless its population allows it? One also sees the countless fat obnoxious American tourists and one tends to sigh. And of course, the biggest influence of all is American TV which paints the American's themselves as being perfect candidates for a nuclear strike and really, no one else in the world would care.
But it's not like that in reality. Having met lots of Canadians and indeed Americans in the coffeeshops I was more than pleasantly surprised. Knocked over would be a more appropriate term. They are a very nice and friendly group and not anything quite as generally ignorant as I had previously thought. The problem was, how do you square this with the generally crappy nature of their society, government and culture? Obviously I needed some serious smoking time to evaluate the repercussions of this revelation so I left out my thoughts from the prior entry and kept them for now. And these are the main conclusions:
Right, here's where the real meat begins so I'm dropping out of point form: The US government was built on sound principles of its time which has since turned out not to be compatible with human nature (much like communism) which has resulted in institutionalised injustice (also much like communism). Examples here include the first amendment which allows the KKK to legally rally so they can proclaim how much they hate blacks (hence blacks feel somewhat annoyed and so do whites who don't think blacks should persecuted like this). The first amendment, whilst created in good faith, allows hate groups to prosper legally. A better solution is to not guarantee free speech but to encourage it at every opportunity. This means that "good" free speech is encouraged while "bad" free speech isn't. Of course, what defines "good" and "bad" is a real tough question but I think the UK does okay in this respect - 99% of people are allowed speak their minds but those causing offence aren't.
Another good example of injustice is the plea-bargaining system where a rapist with a
few cracks in the case against him can get off virtually scot-free when a pot smoker ends
up in jail for ten years because minimum sentencing laws preclude plea-bargaining (unless
you snitch of course, in which case grassing up another earns you a shorter time).
Plea-bargaining of course allows mass-murderers to get much-reduced sentences if they dob
in someone the government decides is more important. And that simply isn't fair - if
you've earnt the time you should do the time.
I think the reason America is so scared shitless of itself is because effectively of
mass popular hysteria. It's also why they all keep dropping dead from heart attacks
(stress y'see) and supporting daft ideas and laws. The hysteria of course is fanned by
politicians to get votes, but that isn't really possible if there wasn't the basis
for the hysteria to begin with.
Again the support for the gun laws (you need a gun if you're alone) and the car (you also need a car if you're alone) derives from this. The fucked up state of marriage here (I don't want to be able to be hurt by you) also counts although society wide pressures aren't helping. But coming back to the cause of the mass popular hysteria, if you feel alone all the time then hysteria can easily set in from quite simply the mental stress caused by being alone. Studies have shown that pot smokers (so long as they avoid other substances) tend to have much lower stress levels than non-smokers (I think this even gives for tobacco smokers). This in all likelihood results from the more social nature of pot smokers because quite simply, being alone creates stress and being in company reduces it.
Hmm, I'm having difficulty in nailing the bastard down. I'm trying to prove that being alone causes greater quantities of hysteria which results from increased stress. If I prove this relationship, then I prove the cause of everything bad in America as if you break it down, everything bad in America results from the general feeling of individuals that they are alone.
Now the big question is, how do I prove that loneliness causes stress which causes hysteria? Well, I'm taking me as an example. Prior to going to Vancouver, I was writing some pretty strong stuff here about how crap this place was and inferred in that was that the cause was its population (because every place is a reflection of its population). Now that I realise the cause of why this place is so crap (ie; the contents of this entry), it doesn't quite seem anything like as bad. Through the understanding of knowledge we cut away the hysteria the knowledge created to begin with as it were. In other words, I was getting a bit hysterical in previous entries because of being alone. If I had not been alone, I would have talked it all out long ago. Which, of course, I effectively did whilst in Vancouver leaving my mind clear enough to finally realise all of the above.
Anyway, I must go now - it's 10.06pm now - yes, it took over an hour and a half to write all that above. I hope this entry is of use to all you my many readers out there as I know a fair few of you don't much like America either. Maybe this entry will explain that yes, the American people are a good and kind people, but the society which they combine to form really sucks and poses a danger to us all. When the US falls apart from its own madness, we'll all suffer. But don't forget the poor Americans themselves - it'll be them who really suffer far more than anyone else.
Right, good night everyone. There's two and a half weeks to go now so definately expect another entry before then. Exactly what I'll write about it a good question, but hell, come back anyway and we'll see. Till then, be happy!
Monday 16th August 1999: 7.01pm. This week has gone a lot slower than I thought it would. Well, no, more like this weekend has gone very slowly indeed. Probably because I was very busy, oddly enough.
Saturday I got very stoned with the legalisers here in London Ontario on some hawaiian bud. Nice stuff, very floaty. Weed here is pretty damn good actually. I then watched two movies one after the other that night, and both weren't much good (I can't even remember the first one's name, but the second is Dick whose funniest bit was when Nixon and the Russian Premier got stoned together off some magic brownies and then signed that arms reduction treaty :) ).
Sunday was interesting though. I, as promised to firstname.lastname@example.org (this is the UK Ecstasy mailing list BTW), began writing up my promised UK Ecstasy FAQ. Hell, I've done enough of the stuff now to know enough about it to write such a document. And it goes so far so good at http://come.to/HullLCS/FAQs/MDMA/. Check it out if you like. It'll probably take weeks yet to get anywhere near finished.
More importantly though, I got an email from Ruth, my dearly beloved. I hadn't heard from her since I had sent an email saying I felt she was slowly dying inside and she needed to get back in touch with life once more (yeah yeah, I know I have a tendency to do things which wreck my happiness. If it's any excuse, I had just stopped my 15-20 pill a week habit suddenly and I was feeling somewhat ... odd). I had been getting a bit worried that if she had taken my advice she now might have a raging smack habit or if she hadn't, she now hated me. I had been thinking this in the many hours I have here to think (nowt better to do), and had been gearing up to do something, but hadn't quite got there yet.
Anyway getting back to the point, do you know something? This girl is simply fantastic. She really is far too good for the likes of me. There I go and be nasty, manipulative and presumptive to her and what does she do? Well, Ruth being as utterly fantastic as she is, decides I might have a point and so goes and does exactly what I said - she went and got out more. And then she emails me to tell me all about it.
Is she not the most fantastic person ever?
Okay, I'm probably gushing. I've been kicking myself hard to stop it, but I can't help it. The girl, I think, couldn't really do much wrong in my eyes. She could have some ethnic minority completely cleansed and I'd still sit there and look all gooey eyed at her. This isn't good.
Now I wrote back a pretty long email and given my brain was really going for it (this is what happens when I don't get my chemical supply) I probably confused the poor girl terribly with my English. In fact, the email took over an hour and I spent it typing like mad. Pouring out all this stuff which had accumulated from all the smoking sessions I've had with nothing else better to think about. And it went something like this:
Essentially, the girl scares me. She's like a big black hole sucking me in and even when we're thousands of miles apart, it keeps on happening. Even if I never see her again I'm still going to be in love with her. And that, my dear diary readers, is most extraordinarily not good.
As long time readers will know, women are the bane of my life. Everything else I've got covered, but not women. Until I reacquainted myself with Ruth, and suddenly this great peace fell upon me and I became obscenely happy. At the time, I put it down to my double digit Ecstasy pill habit, but it wasn't just that. It really did happen.
At the start of this summer, I realised this and its implications. I really do not feel any doubt about my future happiness now. That's scary. I've never experienced that before. In some ways, the lack of pain and yearning means that surely now I will lose my edge and grow useless and senile early. It has always been the pain which has driven me forwards - I used my breakup with Kathryn to fuel my never-ending work to establish the Legalise Cannabis Society. In fact, much of what has got me where I am has been my own inner pain.
Now that's gone. I feel complete and happy. How the hell am I going to ever get anything done being complete and happy? That's a good question. And I don't know the answer yet.
As for Ruth, she of course represents this huge danger. I know that it wouldn't take much more time physically together before it would become impossible to get her out of my life afterwards. It'd be a one-way street. And she'd have total control over me - if she asked me to do something (eg; stop smoking weed) and she meant it, then I would because I love her. And that's really really scary. Everything I've spent so many years building (ie; all these walls) become completely useless as I let her right in to stomp all over me if she so desires. I'd be completely vunerable.
So, despite this summer being totally lame and crap, it has given me lots and lots of time to think about this rather important stage in my life. I'm twenty-one years old, obscenely happy and only have further happiness to come. That's the good interpretation. The bad interpretation is that I have about ten years left before a drug overdose kills me and between now and then what starts out as what I think now is happiness is only in fact a prelude to a slow and painful declining spiral as my mental and physical faculties decline slowly into a pit of painful slow death. And of course, either way it'll be my own fault because right here, right now I made the wrong choice.
Hell, as I said to Ruth, there's no rush. Let time take care of things. Besides, I know she'll want me to stop taking obscene amounts of heinous chemicals, so if I can put off a union between me and her for a while longer then that gives me more drug-taking time. I think another year should do it. In fact, if I'm wise, I'd better stop in a year. All that constant presence of MDMA can't be doing my neurophysiology much good ... so in fact, Ruth is a stop sign with sweet smelling flowers on it which I can see at the end of the road. Best of all, I still got the road to travel yet :)
Right, I think that's all I was going to say. Time to wander back off to that internet cafe and get back onto the Ecstasy FAQ. Spend more money on the benefit of my sweet drug consuming compatriots. Hell, why not. It's what money's there for!
Okay, see you again next week (THE LAST WEEK!!! YIPPEE!!!). Be happy, have the best of luck, see you again soon!
Wednesday 25th August 1999: 9.46pm. Can't stop for long, just wanted to say that this Friday I depart London Ontario for home although I won't actually get home to Hull until sometime Sunday afternoon. I don't quite know where I'll be living there etc. yet but I'd imagine I'll find somewhere. I also have exams starting pretty much as soon as I get back and it's likely things will get real busy real quick, so don't expect an update too soon.
Right, I think that's all. Best of luck everyone taking resits, expect life to return to normal soon and until the next entry, be happy!