What you reading

I found this book in the street the other day, I remembered the guy doing the rounds of interviews when it came out, especially as he talked about the big spate of drug deaths we had in Brighton a few years ago (drug death capital of Europe for a bit).
Anyway, it’s ghostwritten but a good account of why the drugs trade is so shitty and why policing just makes it worse. And lots of sweaty anecdotes about having a knife held to his balls etc

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Here in the Pacific Northwest it’s all fentanyl now. As you said, largely manufactured and exported by Mexican cartels with precursors from the PRC. It was pretty crazy to see it play out in real time. Used to see used syringes everywhere, now it’s spent strips of foil they use to smoke the pills off. They look like pressed oxycodone pills but it’s all fent with a binder. I’ve heard a few folks talk of the “good ol’ days” of black tar. The pills are dirt cheap ($2USD) but half-life is short and it takes dozens to stave off the sickness when you’re deep into a habit. There have been quite a few incidences of fent contaminating what people think is coke. Horrible, horrible drug.


Cross contamination would be the only reason you might get fent in Coke, meth ect coming from Mexico, I don’t think the health and safety would be on the minds of whoever is mixing in the labs,a quick hose down after mixing chemicals for fent and then on to the next drug.


My daughter broke a finger last night & had to go to hospital
When resetting they gave her 2x paracetomol & 2x ibuprofen for pain & then a nasal pain killer ( like a giant cotton bud) which when I asked was Fentanyl!


It’s a great pain relief in patches and lollipops as slow release for patients, I remember here years ago someone brought it back from Goa where its known as China white heroin and he had 2 friend hospitalised after OD by snorting a line… Both survived as the guy who brought it back seen similar incidents happen in India…


Like Craig says, it’s very commonly used in anesthesia applications as well as treatment for chronic pain in terminal conditions via slow release method. Have a doctor friend who told us back in the day it was not infrequently purloined by medical staff with an opi habit. Side note: when I went under for a procedure in May the anesthesiologist announced he was giving me Propofol. “Wait…that’s what did Michael Jackson in, isn’t it?” He heaved a big sigh: “Yeah yeah, it’s really a shame because it’s a terrific drug, you’ll be out instantly and won’t even be groggy when you come to.” He was right!


Patients often get fentanyl as part of their overall anaesthetic during surgery and never realise. We then also use it for post operative pain in theatre recovery. Also diamorphine (heroin) is used for certain anaesthetic procedures in major surgical cases. But it’s not like we tell patients that or some would probably freak out.
I often describe propofol as what Michael Jackson took with students and patients, only some get the reference.


We Don’t Know Ourselves by Fintan O’Toole. Amazing read.

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Recently finished these two pieces of Japanese fiction after devouring every last Haruki Murakami book.




Wasp Factory is excellent. The Bridge was hard going for me. As above The Crow Road and Complicity are great.

(The late ish 90’s TV adaption of The Crow Road was pretty decent from memory, maybe BBC1, can’t remember?)


Good piece on Brand and the grifters here:

Too many have got lost in the world of Russell Brand

‘I think I’m worse than normal people,” said Russell Brand. It was October 23, 2014. The comedian was selling himself as a revolutionary. He still used the word “dickhead” all the time, but he was also the British Che Guevara. Within six months he would rank fourth in Prospect magazine’s annual list of the world’s 50 most influential thinkers, ahead of Jurgen Habermas, John Gray and Arundhati Roy. By May 2015 Ed Miliband was seeking Brand’s endorsement in that year’s general election.

Jones and Brand did not discuss these ideas, perhaps because they did not make much sense. Mostly, Brand discussed himself: “I want attention. I want women. I want drugs. I want food. I want, I want, I want. I exemplify the problems of our culture . . . I’m a viciously authoritative, controlling man.”

An audience of sweet left-wingers in knitwear giggled and applauded. They were not really supporting Brand’s ideas. Beyond a do-as-you-please libertarianism, an abstract love for humanity and despising “the establishment”, Brand did not have any ideas to support. Instead, the crowd were saluting the idea that an individual armed with charisma alone could be the antidote to Britain’s supposedly broken politics. His avowed narcissism made them feel less guilty about their own selfishness.

On Saturday evening Brand performed at Wembley Park Theatre. Other than the location, all that had changed was the audience, and the fact that Brand had been accused of rape, sexual assaults and emotional abuse — all of which he has denied — in a joint investigation by The Sunday Times, The Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches. But Brand was exactly the same. “Never trust authority in any circumstances,” he told the crowd, attacking “top-down elitist control”. He said traffic lights were a form of authoritarianism. The implicit message had not altered since 2014: nobody tells Russell Brand what to do.

Brand used to spread that message on comedy panel shows and in newspaper interviews. In recent years new platforms emerged. Brand constructed a social media empire. He streamed a daily show on Rumble, a video platform designed to be immune to cancel culture. He masterminded an alcohol-free community festival in Hay-on-Wye. He podcasted about “revolutionary politics and spiritual awakening”. Brand was much closer to his fans than in 2014. This communication was more intimate. There were no middlemen nor gatekeepers. Brand posted every day. His audience believed they actually knew him. He told them, always, to “question everything”.

• How The Times and The Sunday Times investigated Russell Brand

Except Russell Brand. He said the allegations against him made him ask: “Is there another agenda at play?” It is the same question Brand has been asking since 2014. You either question everything or you are on the side of the bankers, the big pharmaceutical companies, the warmongers. You either do whatever you want or you are an authoritarian. You are either with Russell Brand or you are against him. Online over the weekend thousands of people joined the audience at Wembley Park Theatre in being with Russell Brand.

From certain angles, scepticism really is about questioning everything. But it also means questioning yourself. “Que sais-je?” (What do I know?) was Michel de Montaigne’s beloved motto. The philosopher understood that our own faulty perceptions were the first thing we needed to be wary of. In Brand’s alternate universe there is nothing wrong with him, or any of his followers. Scepticism becomes a means of generating blind allegiance. No form of authority, other than Brand’s, is acceptable. “What do I know?” becomes “What are they hiding from me?”

• Russell Brand’s statement in full

Brand is only right about one thing. He really does exemplify the problems of our culture. On the same day the allegations against him were published, polling found that a third of British adults “regard the system as broken and are highly suspicious of those they hold responsible”. A similar poll in January found that 38 per cent of the British population agrees with the statement: “The world is controlled by a secretive elite.” This is Russell Brand’s Britain.

Endless excuses are made for that nation. If only they were not manipulated by social media companies. If only their manufacturing jobs hadn’t been obliterated. If only the elites had managed the fallout from the financial crisis better. These excuses treat this demos like a succession of media managers seem to have treated Brand — as a difficult and helpless child who needs to be abetted and soothed. Everything is somebody else’s fault. A blind eye is always turned.

Russell Brand is the same man he was nine years ago. Then his cheerleaders were Owen Jones and Vivienne Westwood. Today they are Jordan Peterson, Elon Musk and Laurence Fox. The market for nonsense solutions to non-existent problems has always existed. Credulity is a fact of human life. The difference from 2014 is how large that market has become, and just how many people are prepared to lose themselves in it.

Will Lloyd is a commissioning editor and writer at the New Statesman


Good piece here too (From ‘I See You’)

I see you, Russell Brand.

Tell you what. Before we even start, here’s a conspiracy theory for you. The comedy industry, with its long history of struggling to hold its sleazier elements accountable, starts its first tentative steps towards a vaguely unionised approach just a few short years back. As a network of self-employed freelancers lacking any kind of centralised HR department we’ve never had a proper reporting framework for sexual misconduct. There was the whisper network and the rumour mill - through which you have been absolutely churning for the sixteen years I’ve been performing - and that was literally it.

MeToo saw more people speaking out against the promoters, comics and powerful industry figures making them uncomfortable. Get Off! Live Comedy was set up to report and challenge sexual harassment, the charge led by women who were justifiably sick of it. At the same time, you were a man far too intelligent and narcissistic to be utterly unaware of the many, many things being said about you. Suddenly you start moving away from the relentlessly bawdry sexual material and begin steering hard into the anti-establishment rhetoric you’d previously only superficially dabbled with.

Mainstream media was to be distrusted, the elites are lying to you, I’m the only one telling the truth. On paper, a fairly predictable career turn and reinvention for the self-styled libertine with a god complex. One that soon proved to be incredibly lucrative. Then, when the hammer now comes down on you, you suddenly have a readily-cultivated audience of new followers willing to disregard any evidence presented to them by the ‘mainstream media.’ In fact, they’ll probably happily take on The Man by chipping into your legal fund. Particularly if you get ahead of the allegations and pretty much insist that the establishment are now co-ordinating their efforts to take you down.

Weirdly convenient, isn’t it?

Am I insisting the two are definitely connected? No, because I’ll leave the drawing of conclusions based on incomplete data and potential coincidence to the professional grifters on Rumble. I just think it’s a slightly more believable possibility than the idea that Anthony Fauci is suddenly working with Rupert Murdoch and Channel 4 in order to somehow discredit you. I know you’ve always had a pretty high opinion of yourself but I somehow doubt Big Pharma are all-knowing enough to have preempted your switch to alternative media guru.

Did they set up the rape crisis centre that poor woman has now proven she attended after encountering you, even though it happened long before you ever started calling them out? Did they put fake cabbies on the streets seventeen years ago to warn the teenagers being driven to your house, not for the sake of their own personal safety but in defence of their future profit margins?

What’s the timeline here, Russell? Just how deep does the rabbit hole go, that the deep state were even whispering in my ear in the Loft Bar in the Gilded Balloon in the late Noughties? Who were the shadowy figures, still posing to this day as my colleagues, who warned me to keep an eye on my female friends around you should we ever cross paths?

Now I’m not suggesting that rumour and innuendo are the same as definitive criminal guilt - of course they aren’t. I’m just pointing out that it’s utterly spurious to claim these accusations, the like of which anyone who works in comedy knows have hung over you for years, are suddenly being manufactured by dark forces. They massively pre-date your reinvention as an anti-corporate, anti-establishment, anti-New World Order soothsayer.

You lost countless jobs because you couldn’t behave appropriately. Your fundamental disrespect for boundaries and authority has always extended right out into other people’s voicemail inboxes and personal space. It’s frankly baffling that you can now pretend that the suggestion anyone could possibly have objected to it at the time somehow appals you. That you claim allyship to so many vulnerable groups rings unbelievably hollow when you now rush to prime your fans to defend you against a conspiracy of women who insist that your ‘consensual’ sexual encounters with them were anything but.

And good Lord, do we need to stop pretending that “innocent until proven guilty!” is an unassailable pedestal of a moral position. It seems absolutely fundamental on paper but in reality it’s a statement that’s in no way above and beyond contamination by the dreadful nuances that victims of sexual assault have to navigate each and every day. Of course we don’t convict people by social media witch-hunt but there’s a world of difference between baseless Twitter speculation and properly researched and effective journalism. Not that it stops the excuses or the blind deference some are now displaying to their anti-establishment hero. All of that now feeds into the already mountainous culture of silence that for many has become an unassailable obstacle to reporting what happened to them.

There are myriad reasons why victims may prefer to go to the press over the police; from the more sympathetic ear and approach, to the less intimidating and official process, to the fact the media actually have the resources to investigate allegation and rumour thoroughly without overstepping their legal bounds. There are myriad reasons why victims are unable to even process, let alone vocalise, the things that have happened to them for years - or even decades - after their abuse physically took place. There are myriad reasons more why proper and effective journalism has traditionally both supported and enabled proper criminal investigations and convictions.

There’s a good chance you’re about to find that out, Russell Brand. I’m not calling you guilty and you’re entitled to your day in court, should it ever come to that. But I will not pretend, with everything I’ve heard, that I’m in any way surprised by this. Narcissists with the all-consuming assumption that every woman worships them mistake compliance for consent all the time, with the worst of them overstepping boundaries in the most appalling and egregious of ways.

Nor will I entertain the ludicrous suggestion that this ‘conspiracy’ extends anywhere beyond the women who have an absolute right to now tell their stories about you in any way they see fit. If you genuinely believe this is a corporate set-up perpetrated by the establishment, you have more than enough resources to challenge all this by suing everyone involved. With all the potential disclosure that goes along with that process. If the sixteen year old you reportedly dated as a 31 year old man is nothing but a grotesque fabrication, surely you’ve got nothing to fear coming out under litigation?

Surely even you believe that free speech has some limits, if this is nothing but a baseless corporate smear campaign against you?

I guess we’ll find out.

I see you, Russell Brand. I fucking see you.


I did a full Peep Show rewatch last year and I couldn’t agree more - timeless and still hilarious. I’ve got to confess Ive never seen a single episode of Little Britain. I can’t believe it’s 20 years since it was on :grimacing:


Makes me feel a bit sad and also a bit proud of my vocation.


Interesting piece on how visual culture driven by social media /selfies/zoom calls is changing us.

Lucky you @jolyon keep it that way.

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Some good one’s here


A few days on the lake. New Deborah Levy is strange & beguiling as ever, “Plunder” is an infuriating exposé of private equity capitalism in the US.


Giant steps is slowly being taken over by the wrong type of crowd I hate to tell you…