Magazine article The Spectator

Up, Up and Away

Magazine article The Spectator

Up, Up and Away

Article excerpt

Townies go to the country for the weekend, but country folk go to town. Usually we visit Leicester, but this weekend we wanted to see the capital from the London Eye. The views, the gossip, I'm going to tell you all. But, first, back to Leicester.

One of our favourite shops in Leicester is what we call the Head Shop. It sells cargo pants, tie-dye T-shirts and earrings with hooks like rusty pins - just what you need for the hippy chick look. It also sells a lot of dope smokers' kit, including How to Grow Marijuana manuals and 'stash boxes' with pictures of cannabis plants on them. I thought the latter would send up those ubiquitous Halcyon Days enamel boxes and I briefly considered buying some for one of our sofa tables.

However, I have decided that public endorsement of illegal drug use falls into the 'neither clever nor funny' category. This is largely because I have a 13-year-old son and have become acutely aware of all the drug dealers' propaganda his generation are subjected to. For example, the other day I found him playing a computer game called 'Drug Wars'. It gave a price for every conceivable kind of illegal drug, with its street name. You were then invited to sell the drugs for profit. My son thought himself very clever for having downloaded it from the Internet.

Since I am usually pretty liberal he was quite shocked by my reaction ('Great. Why don't they call it the "How many people can I give Aids to game", or the "Let's spread misery, degradation and despair fun pack"T). But I eventually calmed down. What he chose to do with the game had to be his decision since I have no effective control over what he chooses to store on his computer. Happily, he decided to erase it and I just hope that it's my disgust, rather than the tidy sum he could make out of drug-dealing, that he will remember.

Anyway, off to London to enjoy the remnants of my sons' childhood. …

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