Inspiringly self-assured, Kurt Vonnegut, author of one of my favourite books (The Slaughterhouse Five, if you must know), has taught many writers how to write; or rather, instructed them as to how plot can unfold. As mundane and repetitive that storytelling may seem from this video, there is clearly more to it, and they are other ways of closing the trap door. As you know.
Vonnegut also said the most wonderful thing that I hold close to my heart when I am too tired to do anything but watch youtube clips of my favourite Men of Letters:
I was wondering today what the effects are of detachment from one’s homeland. I am, perhaps, a useless subject on the matter because I have been adrift upon the European continent since I was but a twinkle in my father’s eye, who himself lived the life of a wandering agricultural salesman, of the plough and the planter alike. A life of a cock, and of a bull. While I feel the constant pressure of losing out on friendships that, frankly, have not been so easy to acquire, I also fear the loss of myself that will render me unrecognisable. I can honestly say that minds work differently in different parts of Europe. And this is not only evident in language. The social rules are different, and the unwritten rules are different too.
David Nutt (former chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, and lonely voice of reason in drug policy) has just published a book called Drugs Without the Hot Air. You may remember him from the avante-garde Channel 4 ecstasy experiment in which celebrities such as Keith Allen and Lionel Shriver got high for shits and, most importantly, for ratings (and who knows, perhaps even for science too). So I thought I’d publish this article I wrote several months ago now on the topic of drugs policy, folklore, history and potential benefits to society.
Reading through scientific journals is how I address most of life’s problems, and I would recommend that to anyone as a sound way to both personal and professional success (I don’t, and I wouldn’t, in case it needed telling). Like any regular, self-loathing schmo, I am an empiricist. While this doesn’t mean that I believe we can fully understand or even emulate complex social or physical phenomena through experimentation, I do think it can give us an insight into things in such as way as to dispel myths and instigate significant and positive cultural shifts.