Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I Snort with Derision at Coke-Users; CITY LIVES

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I Snort with Derision at Coke-Users; CITY LIVES

Article excerpt


LAST weekend, I partied with two groups of people.

Some twentysomethings finding their feet in the city; and another lot in their thirties and forties. On both occasions, they were animated by an intake of cocaine.

As a kid, I watched Miami Vice and thought cocaine was a magical ingredient that drove the lives of the rich and glamorous. But the first time I tried it was a letdown: it only had the agitating effect of a triple espresso.

Subsequent sniffs only provided the same lame experience.

I don't do drugs now, but it's interesting to watch people get wired while staying straight yourself. You realise the only reason they give themselves a bounce is to maintain a facade of having confidence and a good time. When I start feeling tired on a night out I know it's because I'm bored and ought to be in bed. A lot of people can't bear to admit their lives aren't as exciting as they'd like, so take a hit to keep up the pretence of having fun.

Cocaine is a brutal truth serum, revealing the anxieties of whoever takes it as they jabber away totally without self-awareness. Among the young people I hung out with, I saw their lamb-like shakiness as they enthused about their friends as if they were geniuses, and about their jobs as though they were the most fantastic adventures. But their friends were wholly ordinary, and their jobs amounted to the usual flunking around for a corporation that most people have to do. No one could talk without the fear of being judged a loser.

What's sadder is watching older people getting loaded. Once people hit 30, cocaine unveils their insecurities about growing old. Women use it as a diet aid that makes them gossip over dinner rather than eat; men take it to shake off their terror at their waning libidos. The biggest use of coke is as a performance enhancing sex-drug for middle-aged queens. It's not a pretty sight. When I was about to go home, one fortysomething, haggard by overpartying, asked why I was leaving early. "Because I don't want to get to your age looking like you," I replied, knowing he was too buzzed to understand me.

People who don't like drugs are seen as reactionaries. …

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