The Poverty of Hope

During the weekend I got involved in an email exchange with one of the ghost readers that frequent this Blog. That exchange almost turned into a question and answer session  and became so relevant to the Blog that it has earned it's place as a post in its own right. It concerns my ideas of Memoires, why I write the posts I do, and what thinking if any goes into the tales I relate. I thank you all for the wonderful comments you left to the last post (we nearly reached 100!!!) and of course I thank Madam X who contributed her time and questions in order to make this post possible.

If  the post misses a bit of tragedy and despair, well I apologize for that and promise that I will make ûp for it in the next entry... even if it means jumping off a building with no rope...

I hope you All enjoy.

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Email from: MadameX

Hiya Shane,

I’ve been reading your blog silently for months now and it seems (at least to me) that there is something much more going on than just tales of addiction or drug use. It seems that the posts are a part of a puzzle...that together they say more than the initial story. Can you tell me more about that?

Also it seems a reoccurring theme, friendships and what became of these people after your ways parted and each went down a different road to ruin?!

Love and thanks


PS: The idea for a new post you mentioned to Y seems it would suit your blog.

Email from:
Email to: MadameX

Hiya Madame X,

Thanks for you mail.

Everything in my life would suit the blog... I suppose that's why it makes some sense... why it is even believable.
It's not just the ‘Road to Ruin’, that is only the destination. It is the reason for that journey, the tragedy (if it is a tragedy) of it. It seems to me that in this life there are many broken and lost souls, and just as we find companionship life seems to conspire to part us for good.

So, you are right, the blog is not just about addiction.. that is just a common linking theme. I have lived around heroin or drugs and alcohol for so long now that many things which have passed bare some relation to that. So as a theme it works well for me. But the Blog, that is not really about addiction... or it is, but it is equally concerned with many other things. It's also about poverty, but not just poverty of money, more the poverty of hope*... having nothing but yourself to enjoy or destroy, because where I am from, self-destruction is a form of expression. Not in an artistic way (though it can be) but in a rebellious way. Very few have the education or the contacts to express themselves in an accepted fashion and so it is done through vandalism, violence, drugs or self-destruction. People are rebelling but they do not know what that are rebelling against... they are expressing a social problem but are ignorant of what that problem is. So they express themselves, their inner frustrations and angers. They leave their blood on the wall.. spray insults in huge letters at unknown enemies. They self-destruct because they cannot bloom... there is no space to do it.

That is really what the posts try to show. These people are not monsters or mentally ill, they are the manifestation of the problems of where they are from. That is how we must see it. If I was born in Chelsea to a middle or upper income family, the chances are I would never have come into contact with the likes of Simon, or Alan or Lloyd or Wardog. My friends wouldn't have taken the Road to Ruin... they wouldn't have needed to. So it is a statement of certain conditions... and hopefully I am the person from there who kept enough sense and was aware and observant enough to express it in other ways. I can, because for years I expressed it in the same way as them... I used myself to show what society was invisibly doing to me. In a sense I still do. But through art (writing and painting and music), I have found another valid way to express that.

Thanks once again for your mail...

My Thoughts & Wishes, Shane. x

*A title for a  future post: The Poverty of Hope. ;)

Email from: Madame X
Email to:


Yes... I think that "outlawdom" or self-destruction do also have a psychological background or a personal, biographical one. On a more general level it probably only takes different forms depending on the environment you grow up in. Speaking in stereotypes, if you grow up in a Californian mansion with an alcoholic father who regularly beats on you or your mother, your form of escape and self-destruction might be partyhopping, sedatives and anorexia. I think it all might depend on what we see, what we know and what we learn from others.But of course, also from what or what not our money can buy. There might be different forms of expressing a hurt or a hopelessness, and according to that different causes that led to a trauma or a perspectivelessness... I just believe that the feeling of loss and having no vision (be that career, love or whatever) is universal and not restricted to a certain class.
 Again, what is different between "the classes" is the way you express that, and also who you express that to. The Californian girl might tell her stories to her psychiatrist, the London kids write in on the walls . But there are similarities?!

I still like the image of the "road", a road on the fastlane, roadkills, a ruined road that starts as one and then splits... into different roads to ruin?

Email from:
Email to: MadameX

But the Road to Ruin is an old rock n' roll cliché, and I don't necessarily believe it is the road to ruin. I don't believe that becoming a drug addict and dying early is a road to ruin. Maybe it’s just a road... maybe they're all 'roads to ruin' because they all lead to the same place. What does it matter if one dies at 35, 50 or 90???

 No, loss and having no vision are not universal. Of course that exists in all classes and races, but it is not epidemic. These things come from a lack of opportunity, options, possibility. It has a lot to do with economic situations. There is a reason why kids with nothing enjoy destroying property. There is a reason why so many drunks will lay out in public, dirty and humiliated, advertising themselves to the world. They just don't realise why.

 And I'm not talking about a hurt or a trauma... we all have them. I am talking about when LIFE is the trauma... when it is so big you cannot even see it; you can only express it.

 When I talk of lack of opportunity, I often use my schooling as an example:

 My school was St.Marks. In my class were 30 children. Of those 30 no-one amounted to anything. The best someone became was a school teacher. Only 20% even went into further education.

 Down the road was London Oratory. But most kids left there and went on to university and became Lawyers, doctors, or politicians. 80% went into further education.

 We were born with the same brains, the same scope of memory... so what happened? Why did one set degenerate into violence, drugs and vandalism, whilst the others ended up treating, defending or arresting them! Why did one set start voting at 18 and the others became apolitical (though without even knowing what the word means).

 There is a poverty and a frustration behind what I write about. Yes, it does exist elsewhere, but it is not epidemic. I've met addicts from all backgrounds, from all social classes and of all creeds and colours. But the majority, the same as the majority of kids that wear balaclavas and head out at night to vandalise property, they come from a place of hopelessness and nothing. They are hitting back at the world... they just don't know why.

 Also, if you grow up in that Californian mansion you mentioned, you're escape might be the attic... the piano room... the library... the credit card! Something else that makes the situation less hopeless. If you grow up in a small flat on a rundown council estate, where is the escape? where is
another hope? There's not a library to lose yourself in... there's not a credit card that can compensate for absent or fighting parents. All there is is nothing. How can you escape a room when it is the only room.? Well, you escape it psychologically. And how do you express all this frustration? When you've never read a book in your life... never learnt how to write... have no access or money to painting materials... and didn't even leave school with the vocabulary needed to express it. Well, then it's expressed in different ways... anti-social ways, self-destructive ways. It's a huge scream for attention, but nobody is listening.

 That's a little of what I think... when I'm writing a post for Memoires of a Heroinhead these thoughts go through my head. I do not explain that on the blog (though often in the comment section I do) as that gets very dull to read. I prefer to show the people and explain where they are from and what they do and how they live or die. People can then dwell on that, or just enjoy the post as a story and forget about it. But I believe that if you word things correctly, and give memorable sentences of expression, then that is the biggest protection against your words being forgotten or dismissed. But yes, there is something more than just tales in what I write... there has to be something more because stories are so very boring.

I think that ends it... don’t you? ;)

Shane. X
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So there you have it... a few of the thoughts and considerations that go through my mind when trawling through my past and present searching for a post. The only other criteria that is important is that I be as honest as memory and pride allows me to be. If not all the timelines of events are strictly accurate, emotions and feelings always are, and that's what is important.
I hope you're All well... My thanks as ever for reading & prepare yourself for the next post which involves a young death, a crack pipe and a homemade Freddy Krueger glove...
Take care and Best Wishes, Shane. X


Kat Skratch said...

Thanks Shane! Still read every post. Hope you're well! :) Sure miss you and your emails. I hope the apartment situation worked out.

<3 love and brilliance


Wildernesschic said...

Hi Shane I hope all is well .. Dont go jumping off any fucking buildings please.. think of the mess!
You are so right .. there are a lot of factors that effect the growth of a personality and where you end up in life. I am originally from Liverpool, hated the school, catholicism drummed in daily.. I never went ... have been extremely lucky throughout my life .. left school young 15, but found something I was good at and enabled me to travel ( Hair) .. When I moved to Wales I was shocked by the innocence of the people I met, and the wholesomeness .. I had to watch what I mentioned, as they would sit open mouthed. My husband, the opposite he had every opportunity went to the most expensive school in the UK.. luckily it didn't ruin him.. he is slightly wild still drinks far too much, but happy. We made a decision that even if it meant sacrifice, we have privately educated our children. There is a serious lack of good schools in English medium here in Wales all good schools are Welsh speaking. I can only say that my boys have thrived .. my unbelievably shy, eldest son is a great public speaker at 14, and his brain amazes me. He would have been lost in the system.. the youngest would have done well anywhere .. but like his mum would probably have been intoxicated by the wild kids :)
I appreciate that we can do this for them and we are lucky .. but I wish that this was the norm that all kids had a chance to have a good start in life, a good education .. the knowledge to express themselves and to be encouraged to succeed .. as a country we are sadly failing our youth.
Anyhow wishing you a Merry Christmas wherever you spend it .. hate the bloody think myself but the boys love it :) looking forward to future posts
Love Ruth x

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Just saying yo, my brother. Glad you found a place. Hope it's safe and warm.

Love, SB.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hiya Ruth,

Thanks as ever for your time and comment.

Oh, I don't blame you for privately educating your children I'd do the same if I was ever unlucky enough to have any! ;) Because in pulic schools (most not all) it's not just the kids and their famlilies with problems... the teachers are even worse. They come from the same place and are so poorly rewarded for their efforts that all there is for them is despair also. It's hard to teach in those conditions and even harder to take any satisfaction from it when the majority of kids drop out or leave to very bleak futures. Most of my teachers had some terrible personal hangup or other... one committed suicide in the sports gym. (I think it was my fault, lol)

Of course, no matter where we are from or what has passed we can still help or try to better ourselves. But that is also a skill and something we pick up in our formative years.

And when I talk about failure, I do not just refer to drop-outs. For me it's also a failure to end up working a factory job all your life, or shovelling bricks for a living. It doesn't have to be like that... there must be more. That's aa much a waste of life as the one of drug or alcohol addiction.

You say you travelled the world and had success doing (hair). That's wonderful and it's that which people lack. Many would be satisfied to work the same salon, making the same cuts, year in year out for a pittance of pay. It's not a success... it's a waste. When that's your life until death, how can anyone blame someone for turning to an escape?

But it's not all depressing... there's some hope (I think!!!) I'm just not quite sure where. To talk of political changes is such a huge thing and not for here.

Really the post was just explaining another purpose I try to serve with the tales on Memoires... my thoughts as I decide what it is I will post.

Ok, I'll leave it there... and if i jump off a building I'll remember to put a rope in my pocket (satisfied?).

I hope you and the family are all well... it sounds like it.

All My Love, Shane. x

JoeM said...

Now the last post has 100 comments...

How strange that you apologise for the lack of tragedy and despair!
I'm sure that's not why people come on here. It's just the quality of the writing.

I keep forgetting I came originally for Tales of a Serial Killer's Victim's Son...

Yes re:the emails. It doesn't do to think too much about the unfairness of it all. You'd just become, well, a serial killer.If only they'd use their expertise to kill the right ones - like bankers!

I don't understand why there wasn't some sort of revolution after all the banking crap/politicians expenses crap etc.

You wonder what it will take for people to wake up and see how they're being conned. The greed blinds them.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hiya Kat,

Yea, sorry forthe lack of mails, it's been a hectic time. I'm hardly even posting at the moment

But I'll send you a mail letting you know all that's happenng...

All My Love, Shane. x

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...


Oh it as just a little joke about the T & D.

I forget my own history too whilst I'm here. I keep meaning to write further on the Nilsen subject but never manage to do it. Maybe there's just not much to say on that?

I don't dwell on the unfairness of life... yes it exists and it's a thought, but not in a bitter sense.

Yes, Death for Bankers; Knighthoods for Wankers. It could be the basis of a whole new political theory. lol

Take care Joe & I hope you're well..


Brit Kingsbury said...

I really enjoyed reading this post and the 'interview' questions that Madam X asked. Hope all is well!

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...


Thanks for reading and commenting. Yes, I'm well, but unfortunatly MadameX isn't doing to well. She was hit by a bus last week whilst doing her christmas shopping... I think she is due to leave hospital in the new year.

All my wishes, Shane. x

Lori said...

That was a very interesting post. Many "important" people are trying to figure out why some of us are the way we are. There are no real answers I am starting to believe. I don't feel normal without opiates. Thru age, I have just chosen legal medication. I listen to my body. It knows what and how much it needs. I work, pay my rent and raise my almost grown son. I agree with Madame X. Whatever path we choose, in the end, does it matter? Very thought provoking.

Shivi said...

I've just read your "about me" ....are you serious that you were born with heroin??..phew ..sure is interesting..

Melinda said...

Shane--as usual, your writing is just amazing. Here's to wishing you a wonderful Holiday.

Take care,


Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hiya Shivi,

Thanks for reading and following and commenting.

Well, I was conceived with heroin in my veins... so my start in this world was from that. But my mother wasn't an addict (at that moment) so I was delivered drug-free.

Best Wishes, Shane.

Shivi said...

Gr8 blog Shane... Read quite some posts...there s a lot to learn from your blog..keep writing and stay well. Can't wait for your next post :) . Take gud care....Shivi.

Ed said...

Been offline for a while and just catching up with your writing again so started here.Really enjoyed this post.In fact i re read some of your stuff and find something new each time."few have the education or the contacts to express themselves in an accepted fashion"..very well put.I'm off to read the other posts. Hope you're well Shane.

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