Quite simply too many people in government, education, health service - everywhere - are compromised - because they do - or have done - drugs themselves. And even those who didn't inhale have a soft spot for their youthful heroes.
I thought this a while back, when Lou Reed was given a Special International Ivor Novello Award, and the Radio Four Today programme had a piece about him, majoring on the legendary grumpiness of Mr Reed. They interviewed the Cure's Robert Smith ( doesn't look
like a man who takes drugs), who told endearing tales of this Victor Meldrew de nos jours. Who wrote this
(the "Lou Reed Live" version is the best - great long guitar intro).Heroin, it's my wife and it's my life
Because a mainer to my vein
Leads to a center in my head
And then I'm better off and dead
Because when the smack begins to flow
I really don't care anymore
If the great and the good really cared about stopping heroin abuse, Lou Reed would be an un-person, forced to sell his music over the Web, never seen on TV or heard on radio. (He'd have all the commercial clout of Jonathan King
or Gary Glitter
, whose fates show the difference between a crime society finds tolerable and one they find intolerable).
But they don't, despite the damage
. It's 100% mouth, 0% trousers. We have a Director of Public Prosecutions with a conviction for sending drugs through the post. Liam and Noel ('chained to a mirror and a razor blade') Gallagher get invited to Downing Street parties.
But I haven't experienced such cognitive dissonance as yesterday's since I last thought of Will Self getting smacked up
on John Major's jet during the 1992 election.
I listened in amazement to Test Match Special
, as guest Hugh Cornwell
of popular beat combo The Stranglers came into the commentary box, accompanied by theme music "Golden Brown
", a song about the pleasant effects of poorly refined Far Eastern smoking heroin.
Mr Cornwell then got out an accoustic and played the song live, to polite applause from Blowers, Bill Frindall and the TMS team.
In a society which really wanted to stop drug abuse that song would at worst disqualify Hugh Cornwell from ever appearing on radio or television. At best, given repentance and rehabilitation, it would be something not to mention, like a twenty-five year old conviction for indecent exposure or child pornography. Instead we get a live version. It's as if Gary Glitter was the guest, they asked him about his favourite photographs, and he passed a few round to appreciative murmurs from the TMS team.
I don't know who the TMS producer is (ah - this chap
). But someone needs to take him round the back of the changing rooms and have a quiet word with him.