Cracking Open a Big Can of Worms with the Lads

Via @noironyintended on Twitter


With the 2017 General Election but weeks away, the prospective leaders of our country are hard at work answering the big questions or making so many u-turns that they are akin to a malfunctioning bumper car. But whilst many questions must be asked about economic proposals and whether “strong and stable” is just a meaningless soundbite used by idiots to feel smart, nobody is asking the big question: Do you crack open a cold one with the boys, or do you have a fuckin’ big bag of cans with the lads.

This question, I think you’ll all agree is possibly the biggest dilemma that has ever faced our nation, and it’s one that needs answering, pronto! So for this blog, and this blog only, call me David Dimblebutler, because it’s Question Time, y’all!

First we must consider the key concepts of both statements; cracking open a cold one with the boys always sounds delightful, the feel of cold aluminium as you pull the ring back and krk-shhh as your cold one is cracked open, and the chilled, soothing amber liquid slowly runs down your throat. It’s undoubtable as well that a cold one with the boys is always a welcome sentiment. “Boys” is a general term and means anybody of any gender, inclusive drinking for everyone. 

However, a few faults are to be found within this very sentiment. Yes, you are with the boys, which is equivalent to a modern day Valhalla, but you are having a cold one. One. Singular. Do you mean to say that after an incredibly long day with your nose at the grindstone that you’re merely going to have a cold one with your boys? Have a few cold ones, get a crate in, get them in the fridge and tell some stories. Don’t have a singular cold one, awkwardly look at your watch and make your excuses as you hastily exit the premises, sit down and take a load off your feet. They are your boys, after all. It also implies that you have brought your own personal beer and will not be sharing the wealth of your amber delights with your comrades. Any good sesh fiend, gremlin and attendee knows the value of bringing communal beer. Nothing says “friendship” more than “beer in the fridge mate, help yourself”. Whilst we live in scant, austere times, finding a reasonable offer on an 18 pack should always be at the forefront of our minds. Some may not have access to cold ones, which is where you step in to provide. 

Whilst the sheer pleasure of cracking open a cold one crosses generations, genders and gene pools, even those who make the confusing choice not to drink beer can even enjoy cracking open a cold, non-alcoholic, one on a hot summers day and enjoy it with their boys, the statement that you are simply having one is problematic. The way around this? Try to say that you are cracking open a few cold ones with your boys. That implies that you’re in this for the long run! Crack open a pack of playing cards, get a Spotify queue on the go and slip into your drinkin’ trousers, you’re with the boys!

Now we move on to a big fuckin’ bag of cans for/with the lads. This is not only the original concept of sharing beer with the boys, but it implies that the big bag of cans is for all the lads. The big bag of cans is mobile as well. Cracking open a cold one requires some form of refrigeration, and can be considered incredibly static, where as a big bag of cans doesn’t require refrigeration, just the lads to enjoy them. The enjoyment of said cans can vary when in an unrefrigerated environment, which makes can choice paramount, whereas chilled cans of any variety remain enjoyable. However, it is not the temperature of the cans that is important, but the pleasure of the company of the lads. 

A big huge fuckin’ bag of cans can be enjoyed anywhere, from your local park to a wide scale music festival, a big bag of cans will always be a welcome experience, meaning that all the lads can share in its alcoholic bounty. Referring back to an earlier point, some lads may not be able to afford cans, which is where you, a responsible and caring lad can make sure this lad does not go without adequate refreshment. Your lad may be anyone from your pal Smithy to your local priest to Mrs Goggins who lives down the road and hasn’t been the same since her husband passed on: it is your duty to provide cans for the lads. 

However, as pointed out by notable internet shitposter, Clara Lilley, founder of Sex and the Cityposting on Facebook, the boys focuses on the social element of the sesh, where as a big bag of cans focuses on the property, the goods, the capital. But, with that in consideration and taking the two statements at face value, a big bag of cans with/for the lads implies that the property is being equally distributed and the refreshing wealth is being shared, where as a cold one with, not for the boys implies that that is your personal property and you shan’t be sharing any of your cans with your lads, denying them an equal refreshment opportunity. You are not duty bound to share your cans, but there’s something not quite right about denying someone a can. 

That being said, as mentioned earlier, if you are cracking open a few cold ones with your boys, there is a likelihood that you have either a) combined your shared wealth to buy an ample supply of cans or b) bought enough cans for the boys, either is acceptable. 

Some are quick to denounce cracking open a cold one with the boys as blasphemy compared to a big huge fuckin’ bag of cans with the lads, but both carry the same message of coming together with the lads, or boys to enjoy a few cans in any location, which carries the messsage of a united society that bonds over the good times that can be he when sharing a few cans. In an age where hate and evil seeks to divide us, reach through the firewall of hate to offer your fellow lad a can.

VERDICT

Whilst both statements imply comradeship, a big fuckin’ huge bag of cans with the lads is the original concept, and can be enjoyed by anyone in any location. Round up your lads, round up your cans and get sharing. If you do decide that cracking open a cold one with the boys is your preferred method of beverage consumption, I shan’t stand in your way. You have chosen a different path and while I struggle to understand, I respect you, and shall raise a huge fuckin’ big bag of cans to you. 

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Owning Your Unokayness

Piers Morgan, being the chuntering waste of cum that he is, decreed last week that when faced with a mental health issue, the men of Britain should just get a stiff upper lip and “man up”. Which, I think you’ll agree, is probably one of the fucking stupidest and most toxic things possible to ever pass the brain filter and fall into the festering bucket of screaming twats that is Twitter (apologies to all my Twitter followers).

So I’m here to tell you that being told to “man up” is the worst possible advice to give someone struggling with a mental health issue, whether they’re a man, woman, non-binary, trans or whatever, “manning up” just simply isn’t an issue, Your body and your mind is a finite space, and when there’s no more room left to store your problems, there’s every chance you’ll start to malfunction.

Probably for a good chunk of the last few years, I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety, to the point that roughly two years ago exactly, it got to the point where I was about to call it a day and find out if heaven was more than a DJ Sammy song. I’d gotten to the point that the only option I had was to end my own life, because the way things were, being honest and upfront about the fact I was teetering on the edge just wasn’t an option.

The main peak of my mental shitehousery stems from being in a somewhat abusive relationship for around a year and a half. I don’t know what your definition of “abusive” may be, but I’d certainly argue that having your nose bent out of shape by your pissed up girlfriend, with smatterings of being told that you’re hated, plus being screamed at, might be a bit abusive. At the end of that, the reality of the last 18 or so months began to sink in, the fact that I’d essentially started to waste away mentally, whilst looking like a bloated corpse phyiscally. My weight had ballooned and I was a pale, pasty shell of the Butler that had largely been enjoying life up until that point.

To this day, I’m pretty sure nobody believes me that this actually happened, because it’s just simply impossible that a 6″3 man moutain could get beaten up and pushed about by his girlfriend, but that’s what happens. But this also serves as an important part of a different conversation that domestic abuse doesn’t have a gender, a sexuality, a race. It can happen to anyone, and if I can offer you one piece of advice if you are in one; get yourself to the safest fucking place imaginable before it’s too late.

Sometimes, I think about the night I was ready to take my final bows and wander off the stage, and think about how close I was to not being here. If it wasn’t for my two best friends leaping into action, allowing me to hysterically cry down the phone, letting out a year of pent up sadness, you can bet that I wouldn’t be here today. Whilst I don’t really like dragging them into the bubbling tar pit that is my mind, I can’t thank my bois Danny & Reece for guiding me through probably the darkest period of my life. Thanks to them, I’m still here, still living it up to the best of my ability. Things are still shit in my brain, but I’m still here to try and fix it.

The months after that were a total struggle, but being able to frequently talk about how I felt, being checked up on & guided helped a lot. Which is why Piss Moron’s comments about “manning up” are so toxic. Because that’s what’s killed so many men before, that’s what’s going to kill so many men this year, and that’s what’s going to kill so many more men unless we can do more to break the stigma surrounding male mental health. I haven’t written this blog as a “woe is me” piece, I’ve written it so that the walls surrounding mental health can be torn down, to let people know that it’s okay not to be okay, because it can happen to anyone, and being able to have someone there to help you through it and talk it out is paramount.

I’d also like to offer this up to anyone who doesn’t feel they’ve got anybody they can talk to. You can follow me on Twitter as @notoliverbutler and DM me, and I’ll gladly chat to you.

To this day, I still suffer from depression, anxiety and slight paranoia. Whilst people sometimes see me as a confident young man, I am frightened to death about meeting new people, and can convince myself that an entire room of people fucking hate me. I’m convinced my friends hate me, I’m convinced their friends hate me, and I’m convinced that you, yes you, reading this, hate me as well. The only time I handle myself well through social situations is when I’m drinking, and even then it usually goes the opposite way.

Last year I went through a particularly shitey breakup which pushed me down to the bottom again, to the point where I harmed myself. Don’t ask me why I did it, but at that moment in time, the feeling of driving something sharp into my skin seemed to relieve me of a lot of the mental anguish I was feeling, probably because I’d driven a fucking sharp piece of metal into my skin. Again, I’ve spoke about this and nobody believed me, because who’d expect me to do that? But the thing is, anybody can feel like that is a viable option, instead of talking about it and working your way through it, it’s best to bottle it up and deal with it in more harmful ways, because that’s how society has conditioned us to think.

The thing about mental illness is that it’s unpredictable. It’s an illness, much like the common cold, which you can’t help suffering from. So why should depression be any different? Any life event could trigger your brain to start running at a different tempo, and it doesn’t discriminate. Prince William and Harry have spoke about struggling with mental health issues following on from the death of their mother, so if it can happen to the heirs of the British throne, it can happen to you.

Instead of listening to a man who has an entire fucking television show dedicated to getting celebrities to FUCKING OPEN UP TO HIM, it’s time for all of us to talk. It’s time for all of us to be honest with ourselves and ask: how are we today? Stigmas and stereotypes around mental illnesses need to end to allow us to get better. The NHS is crumbling and mental health provisions are getting few and far between under this current government, so it’s time for us to care for each other, it’s time for us to talk about how we’re feeling and begin to tear down the mental borders that stop us from getting better, because without it, more and more people are going to die each year, when they shouldn’t be.

It’s incredibly hard to open up, especially when you feel like your problems and issues aren’t valid, but know that you can’t help feeling the way you do. If you feel so low to the point you have to admit you’re not okay, then your illness is valid, and together, we can help each other get better.

Operation Worst Kept Secret

Recently, there’s been quite a bit of hubbub around what will happen when that kindly old lady in the big house in London decides to shuffle off and be Queen of the afterlife. However, that being said, there will be many queens in the afterlife, so many queens that not even RuPaul could wrangle them, and competition for her to be supreme Queen of the afterlife will be tough.

Plans for the Queen Elizabeth’s funeral sound awfully bombastic and expensive, but hey, that’s the royal family for you. But that being said, when I die, I just hope I’ll be trim enough to be thrown in the bin, who cares, I’ll be dead, can’t smell things when you’re dead.

But the one thing that really stuck past the words ‘bank holiday’ is the secret phrase officials will be using to secretly signal that the Queen is secretly dead. In order to keep the news of Madge’s majestic mortality on the hush hush until an official announcement is made via a series of emojis and an on-trend meme, Palace officials will say that “London Bridge has fallen”.

Now, this code phrase is secret for a reason, so that royal switchboard operators and filthy serfs are unaware that the Queen has died, and we’re not supposed to know about this secret phrase, because obviously, being the smart buggers we are, we’ll know that the Queen is dead. That, or London Bridge has fallen, and the open top bus tour around London just got a hell of a lot shorter.

Can you image if the Queen died and London Bridge fell down on the same day? It’d be chaos and before we know it, pallbearers are carrying a giant bridge past crowds of mourners down the fucking Mall and we’ve got the builders in to assess the damage to the Queen, working hard to erect her.

However, if “London Bridge has fallen” is the secret code phrase, then it’s not a secret any more, is it? A secret, to most people, is well, a secret. It’s something that the general public or certain people aren’t meant to know? Your PIN code? Secret. Your Twitter password? Secret. Your browsing history? Oh boy, that’s a big ol’ secret. For all we know, this could be a dummy phrase and the real secret phrase to announce the Queen’s passing is something so ridiculous that not even Donald Trump could conceptualise it, and he believe that his microwave is spying on him and the toaster’s been laughing at him. Sad!

But if we now all know the secret phrase, then I’m sorry, but you’ve royally fucked up there. The whole point of a secret is that you’re meant to keep it. The worst kept secret in London isn’t some weird artisanal pub with beers that people pretend to like, it’s now the phrase to keep the passing of our head of pissing state on the down low. Not that we really have a state any more, Norn Iron wants to get back with its ex, Scotland wants to understandably deny our existence and Wales is just really here because it’s got nowhere to go, but anyway, head of state.

Make the plans for the Queen’s funeral public by all means, because it was genuinely interesting to read the sheer amount of work that’s going to go on behind the scenes to make sure that Mrs Queen gets a proper send off after successfully being the Queen for so many years. A lot of it sounds quite pompous, old fashioned and downright confusing, a bit like Boris Johnson, and much like Boris Johnson, you really have to question if we really need it all.

Maybe we need all this to slowly come to terms with the fact that the Queen, a solidly reliable monarch has made way for Charles, a man who strikes you that if you asked Rowan Atkinson to play the King in a film, he’d come up with Charles.That man will soon be the King of however many countries still want to be friends with us. Chances are it won’t be a lot, but hey, you’re the King, dude! Have a wander round the palace, get some heads chopped off, sort the garden out, maybe stop for a beer along the way, it’s your country, buddy.

Back to the topic at hand, whoever was in charge of the code phrase has really screwed the pooch on this one. Literally, you had one job, and that was to make sure that us common idiots would have no idea the Queen had died because you were speaking in riddles. We’d have all dashed out of our hovels to check on London Bridge to make sure that it hadn’t fallen into the river, but now we’re smart, cunning peasents, who will know that the bridge is fine, the Queen is dead, and it was all a simple lampoon. You were lampooning us.

It’s like that website, secretescapes dot com. They’re not secret escapes because we all know about them, they’re regular escapes. Less Colditz, more whenever Coldplay come on the radio. Though, in mitigation, they did run with the slogan “The Worst Kept Secret in Luxury Travel”. They acknowledged their secret escapes weren’t so secret, and they secretively ran with the secret ball. Good on them, but still, shit idea, because the escapes weren’t secret. We should have received coded phonecalls about how the rooster had nested in St Moritz, all inclusively, instead of a widespread marketing campaign.

Maybe the codeword for the Queen should be some gubbins about “secretescapes.com”. Unwitting Palace switchboard operators will think that either the footman is looking for an all-inclusive in Malaga, or that he’s trying to get a city break sorted for ‘er maj for a few days. Just her and Phil, in Barcelona for a bit, few pints of Estrella, maybe a tour of the Nou Camp. Lovely.

But, in a world where the secret sauce that goes into Big Macs is still secret, and we still don’t know whether Barack Obama can hack into microwaves, one of the biggest secrets has been allowed to become common knowledge. It’s not exactly going to compromise the security of the nation, but for fuck’s sake, it’s the secret password. I bet everyone got into your clubhouse when you were younger because they all knew the password, you absolute dunderhead, even the Queen thinks you’re a twat.

Furthermore, who chose this codeword? Does the Queen get to choose it, and why would she decide to say “London Bridge has fallen”? Moreover, what is the codeword for Prince Philip, will the “wheels on the bus go round and round”? If the Queen got to choose her secret phrase, why didn’t she have a bit of fun with it. If were the Queen King, my code phrase would be “The King is fine and not dead at all” to really screw with people. They’d hear that I was fine and not dead, when in actual reality, I am very dead. Ha! Peasents.

That being said, in whichever guise, code phrase or discount holiday website it may take, Operation London Bridge sounds awfully cool. Instead of slowly, quietly and peacefully passing on into the next life, it sounds as if the Queen will rappel down the side of Buckingham Palace before speeding off in an Aston Martin with a gaggle of SAS soldiers in tow. Quite how a woman that’s 90 years old will be able to rappel down the side of a building and perform a j-turn in a high performance vehicle is another matter all together, but the principle of it remains the same, Operation London Bridge sounds slick as hell.

So, if at any point you hear on the down low that London Bridge has fallen down, fallen down, fallen down, do not rush to see an entire bridge floating down the Thames, because you will have been mislead by fake news.

 

One More Fucking Time

lemmy_service

Apologies in advance if you’re looking for a rip-roaring Motörhead history piece with plenty of juicy facts, but unfortunately, this is kind of a letter to a good friend I never met or spoke to, and what that person meant to me on what would have been his 71st birthday.

It was close to midnight and weirdly enough, I was watching the movie Airheads when I got a text off of my friend.


“Hey man, heard about Lemmy. Hope you’re okay.” it read. What was he on about? Was Lemmy okay? Was I okay? I checked Twitter, as you do these days. Lemmy was reported to have died, which I dismissed as bullshit, of course it was bullshit. Lemmy can’t die, he’s just turned seventy for fuck’s sake, he’s got at least another million years in the tank, I’m seeing him, Saxon AND Girlschool in a month, he can’t be dead. It’s just one of those rumours. Before his sad passing, Philthy was rumoured to have died of AIDs at least 90 times, and Morgan Freeman is either shooting a moive or being dead. Bollocks was Lemmy dead.

Then Scott Ian from Anthrax confirmed it. Ozzy confirmed it. Several news outlets confirmed it. Motörhead’s own page confirmed it. In that moment, the world paused, I genuinely felt sick, and I felt the world start to spin. Blow for blow, I can strangely remember the evening despite having a memory like a sieve. Cliched as it may be, the first thing I did was (obviously) throw some Motörhead on and feverishly scour a festive kitchen for a bottle of Jack. Sadly we’d smoked all the Marlboro Reds with our Buck’s Fizz on Christmas morning, did all of the speed off the cheeseboard in the evening, and I’ve got little to no game so promiscuous sex, as always, was out of the question, so it had to be Jack & Coke, by the pint, of course.

I started crying. Should I be crying over the death someone I’ve never met in my early twenties? Debatable, but when that person got you through some hard times, caused you to pick up a bass guitar, taught you to never give a fuck about what other people think and to always be true to yourself, then you should damn well give them every last tear in your body. 

To an end, I saw Lemmy as a role model. Of course this may raise a few eyebrows, but scratch beneath the surface of Motörhead’s iconic frontman and it’s not hard to see why. For forty years, Lemmy never once threw in the towel, fell out with numerous record companies over his blunt refusal to change their appearance of musical style, and was never documented to have given a fuck what the world thought of him, his band, his style or his music. Furthermore, from what I’ve heard, read, and seen, he was the nicest bloke you could ever meet, despite looking like a grizzled cowboy that could tear your head off, he was just an out-and-out gentleman. Though, that being said, if I’d ever met him, I’d have been more upset if he didn’t tell me to fuck off. “Born to lose, live to win” is a mantra I live by, and will someday die by.

Maybe I’ve read in between the lines here, but the way I saw Lemmy as a role model was to always be true to yourself, always be the best you possible, and never change for anyone. Years went by, winters came and passed, but one man stayed firmly rooted to ground, refusing to move with the winds. Towards the end, he wasn’t as strong as he used to be, but he summoned every ounce of strength to go out and play for his fans. Listening to the Clean Your Clock live album recorded in Munich is in equal parts upsetting, but awe-inspiring. His voice sounded weak, the tempo not what it used to be, but that fucking barrel-chested, iron-fisted, baddest motherfucker still went out there and played a Motörhead set, despite the fact he’d pass on but a month later. He could still play the harmonic on Whorehouse Blues and the bass solo on Stay Clean.

In an episode of ‘Guitar Moves’ by Noisey, released some months after Lemmy’s death, he describe how his diabetes was making it harder and harder to play because of what it was doing to his fingers. But did that stop him? Did it bollocks. In the end, you had to kill Lemmy to stop him from touring. He lived on the road, he lived for his fans, he lived for the name of rock ‘n’ roll. He never, ever gave up, and he gave everything he had, every night he walked on stage to deliver 110%. And to me, that’s a fucking role model, that’s a hero, that’s the man I aspire to be.

Not only a role model, he was a friend of mine, and everyone who ever threw a Motörhead record on. Whilst I may be using the word ‘friend’ in the loosest sense, as we never met, and he was never aware of my existence (but if he was, I’m upset he never phoned), his gravelly voice and thundery bass never failed to pull me out of a funk. Motörhead have soundtracked breakups, and gotten me through some hard times, and I’m very confident in saying that many others will back this claim up. Despite never meeting, Lemmy was the one you could always count on to pick you up. It was, and is, just uplifting music. It put a smile on your face and a spring in your step. So for that reason alone, he was a good pal of mine and I’m sure one of yours, too. Although we didn’t speak much, didn’t go for a drink, never hung out. Shame, but, still, great mate.

Despite the fact it’s been a year, I wouldn’t call myself “over it”. I still sort of wait with baited breath for the next Motörhead album to come around like clockwork, but life goes on. The best thing to do now is to keep the fire burning, to always raise a Jack & Coke when you have time, and above all else, to be stone deaf forever.

I’m going to leave you with the story of how Lemmy rescued a rapidly deteriorating Glastonbury weekend, and how at that point, I’d achieved a lifelong goal. You can leave if you want to now, but make sure you raise a glass of something potent over the next four days to one of rock and roll’s biggest stars.

On reflection, Glastonbury is the most fun you can have, with or without taking your clothes off. It’s five days of pure enjoyment, mystery and wonder. And through a small series of miracles including being dumped and left with enough money to afford a ticket, I was finally going to see Motörhead. I’d missed several tours due to being young and afraid of going alone to see Motörhead, a few tours due to Lemmy-based illness, and one due to holiday. All in all, this would turn out to be the last show Motörhead ever played in the United Kingdom, and I’m not one for fate, but the way this one played out was written in the stars.

I won’t bore you with the backstory up to this point, but by Friday afternoon, I was sunburnt, slightly ill and sitting in a rapidly flooding tent that was slowly slipping down the hill, all soundtracked by Mary J Blige, which was the only high point. But come rain, shine, sunburn or sickness, Motörhead was up next, and this was the moment I’d been waiting for my whole life.

When we got down to the pyramid stage, it was cold, wet, pissing it down, hardly making for the idyllic Motörhead concert, but that didn’t matter because whatever the weather, Lemmy would bring the thunder.

The screens went black and turned back on to see the camera pointing at a man in black having a Rickenbacker bass guitar fitted to him. I’m not sure if I did or not, but I was very close to squealing. At that moment, I swear to you now, or at least in the minute or so after he appeared on screen, the rain stopped, the clouds started to disappear and the sun started shining. Lemmy had changed the fucking weather, and burst into a classic Motörhead set. Of course it wasn’t like the Motörhead of old, but it was Motörhead. It was loud, it was filthy, it was rock and fucking roll. With the familiar Overkill ending, I was misty eyed, it had been a long journey, but I’d finally got to see my hero live in concert, and after that point, the weekend was perfect, all thanks to one hour on a Friday afternoon.

Looking back on it now, I’m very lucky to have seen him before he passed on. Again I don’t believe in fate, but the stars aligned to give me the opportunity to see the man in action, and I’ll forever hold that in my heart.

Don’t forget him.

He was Lemmy.

And he played rock and fucking roll.

Jumping on the Banned Wagon

This weekend just gone, revelers, ravers and rapscallions attending the Secret Garden Party festival in Cambridgeshire were given the option to have their drugs tested for free.

Whilst all samples of drugs tested were destroyed afterwards, it gave festival goers and drug users a chance to see whether or not what they were taking was safe, or whether or not it was actually drugs. From the data supplied by The Loop, a community interest group, festival goers could see exactly what they’d bought, and make their mind up as to whether or not they wanted to take it.

Every year, around festival season, we see numerous stories about festival goers being found dead in tents, and it doesn’t take a genius to work out just how they died. Whilst overindulgence is always a problem when it comes to drugs, we hear every year about how someone died because they were sold dodgy drugs at a festival/house party/nightclub.

Whilst those of a Mail disposition will cluck their tongues and say they shouldn’t have been taking illegal drugs, it’s always going to happen. Legal or no, people will take drugs, and for the most part, that should be a safe experience. You can still die from drug use, alcohol included, but dropping down dead because you had a couple of dodgy pills shouldn’t be a factor.

Yes, long term drug use can cause you serious health problems, same as booze, coffee, and McDonalds, but I can double fist a Big Mac and a large Americano whilst thinking of a bottle of whiskey without repercussion.

But the real question is – do you know what you’re taking?

The black market & drug trade is hardly open to regulation, aside from a couple of burly coppers in Clarkson-esque jeans knocking down front doors at 6am, and the Cocaine Ombudsan sounds like one of Jez and Super Hans’ bands in Peep Show. So without anybody controlling what is and isn’t safe to go into your drugs, that little baggie you just bought could have anything in it.

Your cocaine could have rat poison in it and your pills could be pesticide, but how the bloody hell would you know unless you had them tested? You might well know who you bought it from, but I’ll bet you anything you’ve got no idea where it came from. Dealer’s aren’t exactly gunning for five stars on Feefo and to enhance the customer experience, they want fat wallets, by any means necessary.

I’m not trying to put a downer on your uppers here, by all means, take as many drugs as you want. I mean, just look at Keith Richards, for fuck’s sake! Plenty of people over the world have a whale of a time with a sack of whizz, but they’re one dodgy drug away from death.

The bad thing is when someone of the age of 16 drops down dead because some nasty bugger sold them a bag of dodgy pills. It’s a front page tragedy with subtle hints of villainisation for the deceased, police are quick to warn everybody that taking this certain pill can kill you, but it’s far too late. People die, people wind up in hospital but we’re back in the same position in a few months. Nobody knows what they’re taking and nobody with an iota of power seems bothered.

Critics are already quick to claim that testing drugs legitimises the use of them, but to those, so what?

Whilst drug use might not be the most legal thing in the world, people are doing drugs. Poor people are doing drugs, rich people are doing drugs, politicians are doing drugs, rockstars are doing drugs, and that makes it a Legitimate Thing indeed. Drugs are a thing, doing them a thing, and doing them safely is an Even Bigger Thing.

Testing lets you know what your drugs have been cut with, and also lets you know how potent it is. If you know that your bag of unnamed substance is strong enough to turn you into a human rocket, you might think it’s a good idea to do less. If you know that you’ve actually got a bag full of flour and rat poison, you’ll know that you’ve been royally mugged off – but you won’t get sick & die, and that’s a very good thing.

Despite the fact that buying, selling, doing and making drugs are illegal, it’s happening right now, and despite what the Home Office try to jam down your throat, it ain’t gonna stop any time soon. The chap next door’s sparked up a joint whilst watching Jeremy Kyle, and your mate is furiously trying to sort out something for the weekend. It’s happened for always going to happen, but nobody talks about it.

 

Drug use needs to become transparent. Whilst it’s doubtful that all drugs will be legalised, the use of them can be made safe. And although researching what you’re taking and testing to see it’s safe isn’t exactly the epitome of rock ‘n’ roll, it might be the difference between the time of your life or a Very Bad Time indeed.

I know you can’t quite imagine Keith Richards reading a pamphlet on heroin and sticking a sample in a test tube before shooting up, and Ozzy Osbourne tossing a silver platter of cocaine in the bin because it’s no good, but sod it, it’s safe.

Whilst you can’t expect former Home Secretary, Theresa “I Only Have a Small Sherry at Christmas” May, to give her blessing on widespread drug testing at festivals and clubs (and if you do, what’s in your fucking drugs?!), but volunteer . Speeding’s illegal and deadly, and we plow a few quid into campaigns to make sure people drive safely.

In an ideal world, you’d rock up, hand over a little bit of drugs to be tested, and make your own assumptions from what you’re told. No questions are asked as to who you are and where you got the drugs from, no further actions are required. If you’re found out by the sniffer dogs, stewards, bouncers and police officers beforehand or during, that’s some bad luck, or if it’s been cut with cyanide and talcum powder, it’s some good luck.

Informing drug users of the potential risks that come with taking drugs shouldn’t be a topic that’s swept under the mat. Forewarned is forearmed; if you know what you’re taking, what’s in what you’re taking, and what you’re taking will do to you, you’re in a much better position than the person next to you sticking baking soda up their nose. Maybe snorting baking soda isn’t dangerous, but you can buy it for less than £20 a gram.

Drug testing is already commonplace in Dutch and German nightclubs, and such practices should become the norm in Britain’s clubs, festivals and maybe even our homes. There’s a negative stigma around drug use, and in order for that stigma to go away, we need to make it transparent, we need to make it safe to do drugs. Criminalise it all you like, you won’t stop people from buying, selling, doing and making drugs, but you can make sure that nobody’s needlessly dying because of them.

But, until then, please enjoy responsibly.

Hello, it’s me

Ha ha ha, I’ve called my new blog Hand Shandy. That’s a euphemism for wank, which is what this glorious, syrupy user-generated content is going to be. Total pish.

“But Butler, why are you blogging again? You’re about as enticing and interesting as a prostate exam!” I hear you cry. And you’re very right to make that assertion, but if I hit that sweet spot, you’ll go off like an errant garden hose.

However, for whatever reason, only known to whatever benevolent force controls my arms and legs, I’ve decided to get back into the ropey old game of half-arsed op-eds and professional swearing. Whilst this blog may be about as sane and subtle as Theresa May’s nuclear strategy, it probably will result in fewer innocent casualties.

In this we’ll discuss a lot of topics, sticking to an infrequent and disjointed timetable, with six blogs in a week, then nothing for four months. It’s how it goes. It’s how it’s always gone, and as far as I’m aware, how it always will go.

But for now, I’ll be back soon, or not at all, to subject you to my opinions, which you don’t want, but you’re here anyway. What am I going to talk about? If I knew, I’d tell you. I can drive now, couldn’t do that before. I could review cars. It worked out quite well for Jeremy Clarkson, er, Chris Evans, er, Autocar magazine.

Lovingly yours,

Butler