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By Yail Bloor
Reading in the paper about these new fangled ‘shooting galleries’ where bag-heads can pop into clinics for a free supervised injection of H, it got me thinking about the white stuff. As Richard Pryor who said to Miles Davis, ‘…I’ve been doing coke for 18 years, how come I’m not addicted?’
The first time I tried cocaine was 1987 and it was a little used (in my neighbourhood anyway) and very chic drug, only really taken by gangsters and nouveau riche, which for some weird reason, Liverpool had plenty of. Coming to think of it, they were probably gangsters too, they just didn’t pull armed blags and have strange Turkish businessmen hanging around with them.
Obviously in a desperate attempt to impress somebody/anybody with his new found status as a semi connected driver with the local hoodlums, this lad started shooting the breeze, boasting about his new found wealth. He was still awkward with the laydeez though and the older fraternity were blanking him. As me a few mates had the eye of the local teenage nipple queens, he sauntered over and started talking. He looked like he was whizzing, his jaw was going ten to the dozen and he quaffing bottles of Holsten Pils. I asked him if he had any ‘Billy’ and he just laughed. ‘This is coke, have you ever had it?’ I thought about telling a Tom Pepper to be the big man but I thought it would appeal more to this Texan if I let him ‘introduce me to Charles’.
We slipped into the bog and he got out a wrap and poured it onto the tiled shelf in the cubicle. I went to dab it, and he nearly had a heart attack ‘No yeh divvy, you snort this, it’s not rough like Billy’. He laid out two small lines and handed me a rolled up flim note. I done the honours, thanked him and promised to talk him up to the little bimbo he was eying up. Minutes later I was hit by the first wave of the jazz dust, it was kinda like whiz but the euphoria was much greater. He handed me £10 to get the drinks in and walking to the bar in this shitty ale house I felt like the Beatles walking out to Shea Stadium. I was so confident, winking at the gangsters molls and letting on to all their fellas. Stood at the busy bar waiting to get served when a second wave hit, this was more of a paranoid feeling. The barmaids seemed to be ignoring me, and they appeared to be whispering about me ‘yeah, don’t server him, he’s on drugs’ woahhhhhh, the fear! Just like my old friend LSD but without the hallucinogenics! I eventually got served, stammering out the order while sweating buckets of cold sweat, the molls mocking me as I rattled back ‘not so confident now you little tit’ they probably thought, not really, they didn’t even acknowledge me! I settled down and 15 minutes later I felt okay. Tony asked if I wanted another line and peer pressure made me do it!
In the months that followed, there were a few more free rides on the cocaine express. We’d wait for the gangsters to finish their little procession to the bog then nip in and clear up the mess. I’d never be that wasteful with any drug, let alone one as expensive as cocaine. Looking back it was probably just as much of a status symbol to them to leave dregs for shitehawk drug bums like us to mooch on. Let them eat cake! Then along came ecstacy and turned the scene on its head. Another drug that started as an underground phenomonom then exploded into the living rooms of Mr and Mrs Square community, the increase in ecstacy meant an increase in cocaine. You couldn’t really just carry on gobbling pills all night, coke was a good after show drug that you could take in the comfort of a party when no one could be arsed dancing anymore.
The price went down and within two years its stock rose above E’s as you could behave almost normal on coke, few lines here and there with a pint, anytime of day – it was the perfect accompaniment. My weekend was based heavily around the drug. The goal was to get some Thursday, bash it for a weekend of sales and basically pay for your own supply. This, as any dumb fuck who has tried the drug with tell you, never works. You become your best customer and before you know it, it’s Monday, you haven’t a penny to show for the ½ oz on tick of snazz you’ve frittered away. I was just about holding down a full time job, the way out of the madness was to become a dealer full time, oh a stop taking the stuff! Luckily for me, or unluckily, deepening on your view point, I didn’t succumb to the darkside but plenty of my mates did. Now, I never considered myself a free loader but my mates were doing so well, it was rude to say no! Just like the two lines I’d first tried years before, this was the best coke I’d ever had, the coke that’s free!
Of course it’s not really free, if you’re of a certain disposition, it can really get its claws into you. I remember going to a house in Granby once and it was the first time I’d seen anyone doing rocks. They happily let me and my mates have a taste, one the lads boasting ‘the firsts for free, you’ll be handing over all your money after that without me asking, in fact you’ll be begging! We all laughed but he was right. I had about 7 rocks before I ran out of the flat, floating past the Ebo centre like Ralphy Glick. I’d probably still been there now if I didn’t flip out.
The E consumption got less and less as the coke consumption got more and more. I’d dabbled with selling E’s in the summer of love hazy dayz and never had any trouble. Coke was a different beast. Confidence and paranoia is a lethal combo. I’m convinced that’s why the shootings nationwide have rocketed, all these gangsters, wannabe or not are on a power trip, fuelled by the powder. Every fuckers on it and the worrying thing is, it’s socially acceptable. Go to any christening, wedding, birthday, funeral, bar mitzvah and there’s people snorting in the bogs. Imagine having a toot or cranking up in the bogs at a family event! You’d be hung drawn and quartered.
So what’s the answer? In America, the drug peaked then dropped off because it became unfashionable. Too many casualties form the 70’s seen its popularity drop. I’ve got plenty of mates who are casualties, mainly from coke, but it’s not stopped anyone, myself included, from doing it. Cartels and drug lords don’t understand or care about the concept of supply and demand, In Liverpool, it’s cheaper than anywhere else in the nation. My worry is we will see a day when coke becomes like ecstacy, with dealer practically giving it away. Imagine coke being £10 a gram? A scary thought…
Will we see controlled rooms like the shooting galleries up and down the country were you can have a sly line on the NHS? If the price keeps dropping, we will…
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