Gargling Other People’s Shit

Friday night, I went to Mosh. The music was good, most of the people were fine. But there was a scattering of people there who I absolutely can’t fucking stand. Fair dos, Derby isn’t massive and the alt scene is basically one hundred people at any one time, you’re gonna bump into them cos this town is tiny. Grin and bear it. Oh, he’s pushed me again… leave it cos the wanker is only 21 and weighs as much as one of my legs. Oh, she’s joining in now… just leave it. Grin and bear it. At least I get prior warning because of the approaching stink of poppers and entitlement.

Then a bouncer came up to me and asked me if I’d been threatening people with a knife. Apparently, a “big black bloke dressed all in black” had threatened some lad and his missus.

Well, the only person fitting that description at all (even though I’m Indian) in the 95% white Mosh was me. The bouncer was actually very good about it; he knows I’m a regular, knows I’m friendly and thus that I’m unlikely to be walking around perforating randoms. I had no problem with him, he’s a good bloke. But, you know, I couldn’t shake it off, it was the shit cherry on top of the turd cake. So, I went home.

Last night, I went to City. It was packed cos Meshuggah had just played upstairs so I knew it’d be great music in the Basement. And it was! Lovely big slab of Gojira, Refused, Beartooth, The Ghost Inside, Parkway, Attila, heavy shits and giggles.

Then this bloke turned up. I don’t know him, don’t even know his name. I only know him from City because he knows mates of mine. He’s one of those types that goes somewhere and makes fun of everyone else that’s there, their clothes, their taste in music. Everything he likes is MORE METAL, everything he’s into is AUTHENTIC. Everything you or anyone else likes is fake and shit. You know the type: narcissistic poseur with delusions of grandeur. Whenever he does this to me, as if I’m in on the joke, I ask him why he’s there if it’s such a shite place. And he does what the considers to be this sophisticated grin like… well… he’s gracing us with his presence.

He’s a fucking wanker but I humour him because of said common friends.

Well, big mistake. 

He’s also a massive druggie. He’s proud of it, drones on and on about it to me even though he knows I’m edge. Finds straight edge funny and quaint and a bit embarrassing because, you know, edge people actually believe in something non-ironically. Last night, fuck knows what loser cocktail of psychoactives he’d ingested but he basically harassed me non-stop. Any time I’d try to dance, he’d hilariously push up against me or push me away from my friends. It got so bad that two or three of them actually started telling him to fuck off and push him away. But, y’know, he’s a big white bloke with all that privilege AND drugs AND his psychopathic empathy-bypass.

Because I X up, because I sometimes wear my straight edge hoody and obviously because I’m often the only non-white in the place, because I stand out, I get this shit a lot. Blokes (ALWAYS men… never women, funny that, eh?) will decide I’m their target for the night. They’ll push me and get in my face and provoke me and grab my female friends. Anything to get a rise.

This is because drinkers and druggies take any sign of edgeness as an implicit criticism: they think my hoody is criticising them personally. Instead of seeing it as a personal declaration, a statement of belief (and, yes, a beacon trying to find other like-minded people), they see it as a slam. So, they feel justified in attacking me at various levels. I’ve even had people try to pour beer into my mouth, for fuck’s sake. I mean, can you fucking believe anyone would be that defensive and aggressive about their own addiction?

So, I did what I always do. Grin and bear it. Don’t get mad, he’s just on drugs. Don’t get mad, he’s probably not always a fucking wanker. Maybe if he was sober you wouldn’t want to gouge his eyes out. Grin and bear it. Eat that shit. Gargle that shit. Yes sir, can I please have more!?

I’m afraid I failed at being Vulcan cos I got too mad and basically pushed him sharply so he careened into the barrier in front of the stage and fell over. Immediately, I regretted it. But this was after 90 minutes of him consistently hassling me and my friends, I’d had enough. We had all told him to fuck off numerous times. He didn’t listen.

And, of course, me pushing him means that he won. He successfully provoked me, which is what he’d wanted to do all night. What I should have done was to go and get a bouncer and get him chucked out.

Well, once I’d pushed him, he was on a roll, the weirdness doubled. So, I just left the club and came home early. I was seething when I did it but I was in control enough to know that it was either leave or actually get into a real fight with him which I would win physically but lose morally.

I have had this happen so many times now, it’s the one pain in the arse of being edge: putting up with dickheads. And the thing with druggies is they never remember they were being arseholes so the next time they see you, they think you’re being off because you refuse to be friendly! Like, half the blokes in Mosh I will not engage with because they have started shit with me when they’re high/drunk. And yet they look at me like I’m touchy or judgemental BECAUSE THEY DON’T REMEMBER DOING IT. Yes, mate, I’m not gonna shake your hand because last time your were out you called me a ‘fat fucking Paki’ and tried to push me over.


I am sick of this, of having my nights out ruined by other people’s addictions. I have had so many years of this that it just fucking grinds me down. Sometimes I wish there were straight edge clubs the same as there are gay clubs but I can’t think of anywhere in Britain the scene would be large enough for that to be financially viable.

It sucks.


On Straight Edge And Real Love

One of the many shitty sayings I hear sxe kids saying is this:

“If you’re not now, you never were.”

Depending on how you count it, I’ve been straight edge for thirty-two (last time I was drunk) or eight years (last time I had caffeine). I actively avoid any psychoactive substances. I tried smoking once as a kid, never took it up. And it’s so long since I last had sex that, technically, I’m a virgin again. I think you’ll find my edge credentials are all in order, officer.

So, when I hear some motherfucker who’s been edge for a month or whatever whining about people who “broke edge” and saying the old “If you’re not edge now, you never were,” bullshit, it really fucks me off.

Firstly, it’s the irony of them being so vehement in their hatred of ex-edgers when it’s very likely that in another month, I’ll seem them off their tits again, slopping beer out of a cheap plastic cup. For most people, edge is a cool badge to pose with for a week or month or year. It’s a healthy phase of their life before they return to the unhealthy norms of society. You know, like when people join the gym as a New Year’s Resolution and then stop going by February. That’s edge for maybe 95% of the people who ever claim it.

Secondly, let’s extend this to other areas. Straight edge is simply a lifestyle choice, the same as being veggie or wearing odd socks to be wacky at Uni. It’s not morally any better or worse than either than of those options, it’s not some key to a path of spiritual enlightenment and holiness. It’s not a fucking religion.  (Personally, I would say being religious is a de-facto edge break, desiring to have that much filler crammed into your head.) Basically, you don’t want to get fucked up because you don’t need to / don’t enjoy it / are a recovering addict.

That’s it. 

So when I hear “If you’re not now, you never were,” I hear a ridiculous assertion. For example:

“I used to live in France.”

“Used to?”

“Yeah, I moved back to England after a couple of years.”

“Dude, if you’re not living in France now… YOU NEVER DID.”


“Of course, I didn’t always work here, I used to be a fireman.”

“Dude, if you’re not a fireman now… YOU NEVER WERE.”

Do you see my point? It’s an asinine thing to say.

People try being straight edge. The vast majority give it up because of peer pressure or because they miss getting wasted or because they can’t cope without the crutch of alcohol / drugs. They tried it, it wasn’t for them. Big deal. But don’t try to re-write reality and claim they were never really edge in the first place.

Now, here’s where the edge constituent of this article plummets and the emo quotient rises to 100. The one time, the only time, I’ll use the phrase “If you’re not now, you never were,” is about love.

Real love involves a permanent, irrevocable re-writing of yourself. It cannot be erased, elided, replaced or otherwise forgotten. 

One of the reasons I left Facebook is because of the degradation and misuse of the word ‘love’ I saw on my newsfeed. You’ve probably experienced it yourself: couple goes from just shagging each other to ‘Facebook Official’ and instantly their respective feeds turn to shit. Instead of messaging each other private loving moments, which would be sweet, they feel the need to broadcast them to all their Facebook friends, which is as pleasant to experience as licking dog turds.

Helplessly, you see their overblown dedications, passionate paeans, in-jokes about vociferous sexual intercourse, all the while gagging and scrolling as fast as you can.

Then, in a week or a month or a year, they’re done and onto the next one.

True story: I used to have a Facebook acquaintance who did this. All of her updates were about ‘breakfast with the boy,’ ‘park with the boy,’ ‘me and the boy snuggling,’ blah blah blah urgh. Then her feed went quiet for a bit. Then, it was back to ‘dancing with the boy,’ ‘shopping with the boy,’ ‘off to Paris with the boy.’ Business as usual, I thought.

Then, I bumped into her on a night out and asked how (insert name) was? She gave me the craziest look and said, “What?? I finished with him aaages ago! I’m with (insert new boy name) now!” I hadn’t even noticed the change in partners. She went from LOVE OF MY LIFE A to LOVE OF MY LIFE B in the blink of a fucking eye. Seamless.

For most people, a boyfriend or girlfriend is a passing phase. They like fucking, they’re attracted to someone and their bodies pump them full of happy hormones for a while so they think they’re in love. But when the sex inevitably loses it shiny newness, they move on.

That love they were were ranting about, that person they said was The One, they just replace them. After all, boys and girls are all the same, they’re just identical dolls to be played with and then swap when you grow bored.

The truth is, they were never in love. They were infatuated, they were horny, they were blinded by the temporary wash of bonding hormones. But that’s not real love. 

So what is real love? Here’s a simple test. Think of someone you claimed to be in love with:

If you’re not now, you never were. 

Love isn’t convenient, it doesn’t get put away, it doesn’t fade and it never, ever falters. If you fall in love with someone, it’s with you forever, like that scar on your knee from when you were a kid.

Love is something that, when that person leaves you, you try to erase, you try to replace, you try to move on.

And you fail.

Love, real love, is immutable, intractable, unreasonable. It can be years, decades since you lost them and you still think of that person every day. You still see things you wish you could share with them or imagine what they’d say. You carry a detailed model of that person in your brain. They’re always there. You dream about them, sing songs about them, write poetry, paint pictures. But no exorcism works: their ghost is still there.

That’s real love.

Love isn’t a pretty little arrow shot into your wittle heart by a fat baby cupid. Love is a an iron rod being driven through your fucking brain. It is eternal or it wasn’t love.

It is not a lifestyle choice like being straight edge, living in France, or ballroom dancing, it is the removal of volition.

If you’re not in love now, you never were. 

You Straight Edgers, You’re All Control Freaks!


Why? Because I’m not a fucking dick. They’ve chosen to live their lives differently to me and I respect their decision even if I don’t agree with it.

Similarly, even though I’m straight edge, when I see people drinking or drugging, I don’t start shouting, “HEY, WEAK-MINDED FOOLS!! WHAT’S IT LIKE TO BE ADDICTED TO THE TEAT OF EVIL CORPORATE BREWERIES AND INTERNATIONAL DRUGS CARTELS??”

Why? Because I’m not a fucking dick. They’ve chosen to live their lives differently to me and I respect their decision even if I don’t agree with it. Now, if someone who isn’t edge asks me about it, I’ll be only too happy to explain what it means to me. But as my straight edge comes directly from being an atheist and materialist (and in fact drew me into dialectical materialism), my edge may not be the same edge as anyone else’s.

So, I get pissed-off when, even though I’m not hardline, even though I don’t go around preaching to people, I constantly get shit from drinkers and druggies. And one of their favourite clichés is:


Here’s the thing, fuckwits. I’m 47. I’ve been gigging in bands and going to nightclubs since I was 16. I have had so many awesome nights out full of adventure and madness and Molotov cocktails and shoplifting and getting knocked over by police horses and the most intense, meaningful 5.30am romance.

And I remember every single second of it.

I gave up drinking when I was 16 so my mind is sharp when I’m out, my memory and reason unimpaired. This means I go out more than drinkers, meet more people than drinkers, have more fun than drinkers, dance more than drinkers and stay up way, way waaaay later than drinkers.

While you’re passed out with puke down your front, I’m still partying. Or I’m having the most awesome conversation ever with a stranger who’s about to become a best friend.

So, your argument about adventure and life and all that: I win!

Now, let’s turn to the stupidest part: control freakery.

When I go out clubbing, like I’m about to in two hours, I have no idea what the night will bring. Maybe it’ll be magical and all the right songs will be played and I’ll end up meeting new mates and dancing with random beautiful women all night.

Or maybe it’ll be non-stop chart indie music and the place will be full of football lads and other assorted bell-ends, doing comedy moshing and being alternately sleazy and aggressive.

Who knows what will happen? I don’t. I like chaos, unpredictability, I’ll take the universe as she comes, thank you because I’m straight edge.

Whereas, drinkers and druggies are so fucking anxious about having a good night out that they have to medicate themselves with psychoactives in order to guarantee they have a good time or indeed even have the confidence to dance or talk to other human beings.

Now, you tell me, who’s the control freak here, hmmm? Me, who takes life as it is or drinkers/druggies who cannot function without a warm cocoon of their choice psychoactive to take the edge off.

Seems to me like you need to let go a little, live a little, have some adventures that don’t involve buying a product in order to feel alive.

Now, please get the fuck out of my face with your tedious bullshit.

Can You Abstain From Something You’ve Never Tried?

I drank like a fish from 13 to 16. I skived school to go drinking and smoke the cigars I’d nicked out of my Dad’s desk. I was with my mates, we were kids, it was fun. We’d get pissed and set fire to stuff. I used to love drinks that would turn my piss or vomit interesting colours.

Then I got to 16, left school and stopped drinking. It was time to put away childish things like psychoactive substances. At 17, I joined my first revolutionary Trotskyist party. I was passionate and sober.

My abstinence is based on experience, not ignorance. I do worry slightly about people who say they’ve been edge all their lives. It’s like a virgin claiming celibacy.

But I don’t worry much because it’s their lives, their choices. Do what you want, fuck everyone else.

Straight Edge Bullshit Quizzing

Beyond abstinence, edge is anything you want it to be.

Fuck a set of rules, it’s not a religion. Because I’m old, the wrong colour and not cool, snotty kids, edge and not, often ask me questions, testing whether I pass their GRAND TESTS OF EDGE. Y’know, like dickhead blokes do to women/girls to test whether they’re “really” into comics/games. I felt excluded from calling myself edge for years because of this general wankery, because I was foolish and didn’t fit in. I know better now.

I find it particularly humorous when newbie edge kids lecture me about it because they’ve got a hoody and a couple of tatts. Invariably, I see them drunk / pilling it at a gig a few months later. And I remain as sober as I was in 1982, 1992, 2002, 2012 and last night.

My Xes wash off the back of my hands but they’re a deeper commitment than their tattoos.

Straight edge is the avoidance of exogenous psychoactives based upon a conscious, positive, self-affirming philosophical mindset. It is seeing the unclouded beauty of every sharp, precious moment. Our sensoria see in natural technicolor. We have higher highs and lower lows, we have no psychoactive safety nets. We stay up till dawn talking shit and we remember every glorious, ridiculous word.

But that’s just what I think. I could, of course, be entirely wrong.

Cigarettes May Lead To Alcoholism

Smoking is a well-known risk factor for subsequent alcohol abuse, but the mechanisms underlying this link are unknown. Now researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Neuron on July 18 show in a study conducted in rats that even a single exposure to nicotine temporarily changes how the brain’s reward system responds to alcohol and increases the reinforcing properties of alcohol via stress hormones.

Dr. Dani and his team found that rats exposed to nicotine subsequently sought to drink alcohol more often than other rats. Also, signaling in the brain’s reward system was dampened when the nicotine-exposed animals consumed alcohol. This decreased reward response to alcohol arose via two mechanisms: an initial activation of stress hormone receptors and a subsequent increase in inhibitory signaling in the brain. These processes were responsible for causing the rats to self-administer more alcohol after nicotine exposure.
(Source: ScienceNewsline)

This makes for a pretty devastating tag-team beating on the average person *if* there is a similar process taking place in human physiology.

Cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana are the most commonly used reality-avoiding / de-stressing soma used in contemporary society. The likelihood of there being some kind of biologically-based synergy in their usage is chilling.

Drinking Reduces Neurogenesis By Up To 40%

Drinking a couple of glasses of wine each day has generally been considered a good way to promote cardiovascular and brain health. But a new Rutgers University study indicates that there is a fine line between moderate and binge drinking — a risky behavior that can decrease the making of adult brain cells by as much as 40 percent.

Moderate drinking decreases number of new brain cells.

So, forget all the bullshit about red wine, have grape juice and chocolate instead.

Or else, wonder why you just can’t seem to learn/remember anything a few years from now.

Oh, and I should add…


*smug lols*

Happy Pills Make You Sad

A five year study conducted with thousands of local teenagers by University of Montreal researchers reveals that those who used speed (meth/ampthetamine) or ecstasy (MDMA) at fifteen or sixteen years of age were significantly more likely to suffer elevated depressive symptoms the following year.
(Source: Science Daily)

It’s a very simple rule of thumb: for a drug to have an effect on you, there are probably going to be side effects. When the major effect is mood-altering… well, there are most probably going to be side-effects to do with mood as well.

Even if we had Larry Niven’s wirehead tech, a pure stimulation directly to the pleasure centres of the brain, no drugs involved, I’m guessing his extrapolation of how people would be addicted to that is also true. But psychoactive drugs don’t even approach that purity and simplicity of action.

They aren’t magic bullets, they’re sledgehammers to our sensoria.

Alcohol Concern: UK Gov Puts Private Profits Before Public Health

Don Shenker, chief executive of Alcohol Concern, said: “It’s all carrot and no stick for the drinks industry and supermarkets.

“By allowing the drinks industry to propose such half-hearted pledges on alcohol with no teeth, this government has clearly shown that, when it comes to public health, its first priority is to side with big business and protect private profit.”
(Source: BBC News)

So, that quote, which sounds like it could come from Lenin or Trotsky, actually comes from Alcohol Concern. They’re not known for being rabid Commies.

Today, AC and five other health groups (the British Association for the Study of the Liver, the British Liver Trust, the British Medical Association, the Institute of Alcohol Studies and the Royal College of Physicians) refused to rubber stamp the government’s feeble pretense of combatting alcohol abuse.

Being a straight edge Commie, this news item is welcome but unsurprising. The role of capitalist governments is first and foremost to protect the capitalist system and this of course includes big players like the alcohol and nicotine pushers. At the same time as government issues slogans about how evil and bad drugs are for “the kids,” it protects its friends who happen to be peddling the two most damaging killer drugs.

If you want facts and figures on that, have a look:

(Source: TPDF)

So Ecstasy, the favourite horror drug for the Daily Fail and moronic Tories in general killed 48 people. Whereas alcohol killed 6,627 people in the same period. That’s 138 times as many people. And yet, from tabloid headlines and the frothing of our politicians, you would think Ecstasy is the demon drug, not alcohol. Tobacco killed 86,500 people, 1,802 times as many people as Ecstasy.

But our government wastes money on criminalising and policing these peripheral, unimportant illegal drugs while the real killers, the ones tearing our society apart are ring-fenced and protected. Every now and then, they’ll wheel out some bullshit “initiative” like the one in this news report that the health organisations are boycotting but that’s as far as it goes.

After all, can’t hurt our friends in big business, can we?

What do you call a really successful pusher?

A campaign donor.

Capitalism Fails Yet Again

Northern Rock

Northern Rock is to be nationalised, the BBC’s business editor Robert Peston has learned.
A consortium led by the Virgin group was leading bids to run the beleaguered bank, while a management buyout had also been considered.

But ministers have decided that nationalisation – the first such move since the 1970s – was the only option.

(Source: BBC News)

Why do we even bother with capitalism?

It stifles innovation (where’s the profit in an ever-lasting lightbulb?), destroys the planet (built-in obsolescence in every scrapheap), kills consumers (tobacco is very profitable, thank you) and, when it’s completely fucked-up everything then…

… Well, no worries! Public money will bail out the adventure capitalists!

Was there any point to Northern Rock ever being in private hands? Since the much-vaunted “free market” obviously doesn’t work, it would have cheaper all around not to have messed with it. Perhaps all banks should all be nationalised?

Remember Northern Rock the next time some right-wing libertarian fuckwit moans to you about taxation or the “efficiencies” of the free market.