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Black magic

  Sat 20th June 2020

I cycle to a tree-shaded public square. White people in their twenties are doing yoga. It looks ridiculous and striving, but it's peaceable, and I don't feel frowned upon for drinking beer at 11am. My reading gives me an insulating warrant of harmlessness.

Hayley and Tammy are going to Primark on its reopening. We meet afterwards in Castle Park. Azimuth sun. Hayley likes the speed, and says she'll chip in towards the next lot. "No, no. You'll never pay for yours." They complain about boyfriends and the tactics needed to keep them, and the provider of sexual enjoyment, separate and keen. I'm the honorary girl again, but I like it, being included, and not as a favour. It's a feeling as warm as the sun is upon us.

Harry turns up. Me and Tammy have been advising her to keep him on, despite his sexual failings. The air between them is a lot easier than at the weekend, probably connected with the fact that Hayley has taken the untoward step of going to sleep in the interim.

Tammy, who is affected by the long tail of a stroke, but whose greater impediment at this moment is her narrow dress, levers herself up on her stick to go home. The first attempt doesn't work. "Come on Tammy," I say, "you're looking like an old spaz." It's been an unselfconscious, friendly afternoon. The girls are gorgeous, Hayley especially, who looks a bit like a London raver c.1998: unzipped black jacket pushed open by her tits, bare legs, and trainers.

I walk Hayley home. The men's scanning looks at her, a mirror of my own. At my house, thrust into respectability, I suddenly feel much more drunk than I did in the park, and betray it during a ham-fisted explanation, involving C18th architecture, of where I've been. I feel like a naughty boy.

Next day, I am up bright and early, put on my costume for work. Not an inkling of any ripples from the day before.

I cycle to the wrong pick-up point. The works van picks me up from my erroneous location. As soon as I climb in, I start feeling sick. I force sociable sentences out. We lurch twelve miles to a village hall, where I can't fake it any more, and someone asks me if I'm OK. They lay me down on the floor with my feet up. I vomit. They call an ambulance. They do tests and stay with me a long time, before I convince them that I'm OK. The nurse in charge has to cancel the session, sending all the donors away.

They put me and my bike in the van to run me home, but a minute in the van and I am vomiting again. The ambulance picks me up and I'm taken to hospital. "How are you feeling now?" says the ambulance man, and I convulse another stream of vomit up. I am put into a draughty back-revealing gown.

The receiving nurse arrives and pulls the curtains round. Instantly, she does magic on me. She checks my details against my wristband, but even before she says anything I know I can tell her. She's stylish and attractive in her concave-waisted black tunic, unbound straight black hair just short of shoulder length, dark eyes, black-rimmed glasses. I wonder if such an ensemble is deliberate.

"Probably about six, seven pints of cider, and several lines of speed. And sitting in the sun for several hours," I add, hoping to encourage the diagnosis of sunstroke which had been floated earlier. "Any water? Or food?" "No." "So, what's the earliest time you would have a drink?" And "do you take other drugs, Mr looby? Recreational drugs?" She knows already.

An older woman arrives to put a cannula in. I'm impressed at her efficiency in seeming to go under my vein and then into it. I'm put on drips of saline solution, vitamins and minerals, and an anti-emetic. "Drugs and alcohol," I hear my black-clad seer say to the venepuncturer.

A few hours later the consultant comes round. "So, have you any idea what that was?" he asks. "Well, possibly sunstroke, in my uneducated guess." We have an amiable chat about his experience of la peste and I am sent home with a referral to the alcohol and drug services and an exhortation to drink more water, every day. At home, my housemates' friendly curiosity makes me feel interviewed. I tell them that the session overran a bit and try to look bright.

I tell Hayley all about it first. She sends me solicitous texts, suffixed with kisses. "Come back to mine. Stay here. I want to know you're better." "I'd love to but that'd cause problems here. I can't my love." "Well, [pet name], let me know if I can help. Even in a thunderstorm I'd come and help you xxxxx".



Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

Oh Looby!!!
I have also had that referral to the alcohol services. I was only 23 with liver damage - what I saw at that unit pulled me up sharp - please go and accept the help on offer.

Sat 20th June 2020 @ 12:46 Reply to this comment
Comment from: [Member]

23! Crikey, that’s some well-spent youth!

I’ll be interested to hear what the alcohol and drugs people say, although I can’t at the moment sign up to abstinence. It wouldn’t work.

Sun 21st June 2020 @ 00:30 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

They don’t order you to abstain. I cut down considerably out of shock over the liver damage, so I think I did stop completely for a while - obviously I was in a mess. My Doctor advised me to take about 5 multi-vitamin tablets a day. I was a binge drinker, so when I went out I just took it a wee bit too far.

Sun 21st June 2020 @ 00:51 You are currently replying to this comment
Comment from: [Member]

I’m a chronic drinker – I drink every day, so my liver and other organs don’t really ever get a rest. Following the episode described above, I didn’t drink for three days, and I felt a lot better for it. If I could just give myself breaks like that, that would be good.

I hope to be able to follow in your self-reforming footsteps Ms Scarlet!

Sun 21st June 2020 @ 01:19 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

Being able to go without a drink is a good thing.
If I drink these days I don’t have more than two, and I can go months and months without having one. Social occasions and pandemics might increase my intake. I’m lucky I was caught when I was younger.

Sun 21st June 2020 @ 01:30 Reply to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

Well Sir, as you know i’m not one to lecture. I’m sure my liver suffered some damage in my wasted youth and i’m hoping all the CBD and THC helps repair it like they say it does. That said if you want to cut down i’d advise cannabis and mushrooms, the i find that if i toke before boozing i end up not boozing. Of course i rarely drink anymore but on the rare occasions it crops up if i get a bit stoned i end up not drinking. The shrooms could help re-program the brain, as they say, to help in the pursuit of not drinking as much, with the added bonus that they’re a good time. I’d say you could look into it if you’re so inclined.

One of my best friends is a functional alcoholic. I worry about him, he has the gout almost constantly and it’s to the point now where he makes excuses to why he has it and it’s never boozing. I used to get the gout all the time when i was younger cuz i boozed so hard (first case at 27?) and back then my friend told me he’d quit drinking with me and we’d just be stoners. I wish i’d have taken him up on it, more for him than for me.

Sun 21st June 2020 @ 06:01 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

I like mushrooms a great deal, although they demand a day and a half. But I suppose you’re talking about microdosing on them. I tried that with blotters last year. It was enjoyable, but didn’t stop me drinking. Perhaps I was dosing too high. Maybe at the right level mushrooms could turn this switch off in my brain that makes me reach for the bottle all the time.

I’d have to find a level with weed of not getting stoned, because I can’t do much whilst stoned, least of all work for a living. It’s worth a try though. Nothing else has worked.

Sun 21st June 2020 @ 08:00 Reply to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

I wasn’t talking about microdosing, lol!! i was talking about 5 dried grams and someone who knows how to reprogram that drinking bit, hell i’m not sure if it’ll work but it ought to be fun to try. If i was on your side of the pond i’d offer my services as i’ve become quite the expert (according to the pharmacist at the dispensary) in the weed and shrooms areas. I ate a bit of boomers the other night and stared at the ceiling drifting in and out of consciousness, lovely lovely lovely.

Sun 21st June 2020 @ 17:54 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Oh I see! :) A proper trip! I do indeed wish you were here to advise me on that one kono. Like you say – what is there to lose. I’ll go down the garden centre at the weekend :) Thank you my friend. I’ll report back of course!

Mon 22nd June 2020 @ 01:11 Reply to this comment

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looby, n.; pl. loobies. A lout; an awkward, stupid, clownish person

M / 60 / Bristol, "the most beautiful, interesting and distinguished city in England" -- John Betjeman [1961, source eludes me].

"Looby is a left-wing intellectual who is obsessed with a) women's clothes and b) tits." -- Joy of Bex.

WLTM literate woman, 40-65. Must have nice tits, a PhD, and an mdma factory in the shed, although the first on its own will do in the short term.

There are plenty of bastards who drink moderately. Of course, I don't consider them to be people. They are not our comrades.
Sergei Korovin, quoted in Pavel Krusanov, The Blue Book of the Alcoholic

I am here to change my life. I am here to force myself to change my life.
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The more democratised art becomes, the more we recognise in it our own mediocrity.
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