The Post-Junk Dawn

It was my first morning to methadone clinic and a vile, hollow, depression hung in me then. The light hadn't yet reached the morning and outside the streets sat cold and black and frosted over. Blustery winds rattled the windows then swept off, angry, across the brick face. The only light in the room came from the television which had been on continuously for over seven months. It had served as some kind of comfort, but now it disturbed me, the breakfast show jingles and easy-listening media voices reminding me of a distant normality, something terribly sad, from a time before I knew what sickness was. My body ached from light junk withdrawals: runny nose; cavernous yawning; a coldness deep in the marrow of my bones. My head was plagued by a weird melancholic nostalgia which played havoc with my raw emotions. Memories of the people I had loved, echoes of the beautiful things we had said, the goodbyes, grieved me. I felt I could cry for just existing. I sat at the table by the window dreading the thought of having to confront this new winter day half sick. I stared at my reflection in the glass, superimposed over the darkness outside. I was pale and deathly. I felt withdrawn, yet at the same time, raw to the world. I pulled the little electric fan heater in close and hunched over it with a cigarette. Every few moments I'd turn a look up at the sky, praying that the light of day would never come. But the light was coming. Already the sky was a tone lighter than when I'd woken, and was thinning through even more. I finished my cigarette, and another besides, and when I next looked out a ghostly city was visible, rising up like ruins into the distance. In the sky the dark shapes of birds passed over, and then the stark, early light arrived proper. It was then, from the TV, that the news report first broke, of that awful crime – only I didn't hear it then.

With the coming of the morning light all peace in the world was broken. There was an emptiness, a harshness, something intangible which had crept its way into everything and made me feel forlorn and vacant. I looked over at the bed. It was barren and cold. I shuddered thinking of the uncomfortable night I'd spent in it, wrapped up in all my clothes, draughts still somehow finding their way in and across my skin. My stomach pained and was turbulent. I tried drinking a coffee but couldn't manage it. The warm river of liquid through my middle threw my body out of kilter even more. My fingers were brown and there was dirt and dried blood on my hands. I needed to wash but there was something deeply troubling about the sink and that whole area. I couldn't rid myself of the thought of the brown, slimy limescale around the bottoms of the taps, the rusty scissors and dirty razors on the side, the sludge that the soap bedded on. Over at the sink I turned the tap. The water came out like shards of steel. The few specks which hit me almost made me fit. To wash, even just my face and hands was too much. Instead, I flashed the corner of a flannel under the water, and with the damp edge, wiped down my fingers and gave my face the once over. It made me look even more wan and left red blotches around my nose and forehead. My stomach dropped loose once more and pained like I had diarrhea. The smell and taste of illness was up my nose and down my throat, something like being suffocated with crushed ice. Just to stand was an arduous enough task, the thought of having to brave the day and trek across town a hellish prospect.

I don't know why that morning, but before leaving, I had an urge to turn the TV off. It seemed it would close something that was open; somehow help balance my existence. As I reached across for the button there was that story again. Now a reporter was standing wrapped up and reporting live from the scene. The street behind him was cordoned off and policemen were stood around in the background breathing out mist. I killed the TV. The reporter remained for a moment, then closed shut from both ends, and was gone. Far from harmonising the room the place now seemed bare, uninhabited, like my friend's room that time after they had taken his body away. I buttoned my Duffell coat up to the last, wrapped a scarf around up to my nose, and then left – half sick and getting worse, down to my initiation meeting at the methadone clinic, to be dosed for the very first time.

It was a day with no body. The streets were wet but it had not been raining. The wind clipped at my ears and nose and made going on twice as hard as usual. The winter sneaked right in under my coat. The sky was at once too dull and too bright, and everything from dew in the grass, to wet on railings, ice capped puddles and mildew on walls disgusted and unnerved. My nose was constantly running and dripping into my scarf, and my skin felt so dry it was sore, whipped raw by the winds. On an almost deserted length of dual-carriageway I stood shivering at an unsheltered bus-stop. A thick mist had accumulated in the distance, the frozen central divide disappearing into it. My feet felt like slabs of ice, and inside my gloves I could feel the greasy dirt on my hands. The world seemed bereft of hope, the corrupt morning converging on me and attacking me from all sides, on all senses, whipping in, stinging, stabbing, piercing – my muscles stiff like meat out the deep freeze, the taste of smashed ice in my face, up my nose, inflating my sinuses. And under all that, a vile, cold-sweat, which trickled down and froze, creating valleys of draught all over my body. When the bus finally arrived I staggered on half-dead, cringing at the driver, my hands too cold to produce my pass. The driver waved me past and for a brief moment I thought I had found salvation.

Though it was but a light negligee of junk illness I wore, it was enough to make the world feel barren and bleak and to open me up fully to the rigours of existence. Without junk filtering life I was too sensitive to it. The wet bus floor with traces of mud and trodden leaves and newspaper, the umbrella in the luggage pen, the old woman with purple hands and weak watery eyes shaking in the front seat... it all disturbed me and brought forth an involuntary spasm of repulsion. I mooched along the bus and ached down into a seat alongside the radiator vent. I put a hand down to feel for the heat but there was none. I huddled up tight in the corner, pulling my coat and scarf in, the misery leaking out my dripping, frozen nose. An invisible sheet of cold came forth from the expanse of window. I cleared a small patch in the mist and stared out absently at the abject life. An immense sadness came over me, and yet I wasn't thinking, just looking. There was something bleak and dispirited out there, a hollowness that permeated the most mundane things. I sat there shivering and snivelling, staring out my little frost framed aperture, my ear suddenly wooed by the stern tones of the news report, that same story, now floating out the drivers cabin, the slaying of two teenage boys in Harlsedon, North London, shot dead in their car as they waited at a set of lights in the early hours of the morning. This time the report did register. It seeped in and filled me with terror and dread.

Nothing seemed quite real after that, not even the news report. It somehow seemed manufactured, maybe even a hoax, like it was deliberately broadcast just for me, for this doleful winter morning. There was at once something hallucinatory and yet hyper-real about it. And the report didn't run and disappear into the archives. It descended upon me, festered, got right into the weave of me, and left me with a creeping sense of unease and paranoia. It was as if I was in some way wrapped up in the crime, like it was fated to have consequences on my own day. It was the same nightmarish bent on reality that finds its way in on the back of a night terror, where dream and reality morph together for a moment and a sinister gateway to a violent and bloody dream-scape is left open. There existed the feeling that just about anything could happen... would happen... had already happened. I felt edgy, like this wasn't freewill but pre-determined, a prolonged sensation of déjà-vu. It felt like someone was watching me. I looked around the bus at the few other passengers. It was all quite unremarkable: too unremarkable; like it was staged, like the absolute sober normality that precedes a bomb blast. Now, on top of my increasing illness, alongside the melancholic drips of memory of a time just before the world turned sour, I had this very real and terrifying idea that a lone gunman would board the bus, or someone would randomly open fire in the streets, like that which had happened in Hungerford. I rose and moved myself to the other side of the bus, into the seat alongside the emergency window. It was up and across from the middle doors, and when I wasn't watching them I was surveying any movement outside, praying that the bus would get me to where I needed to be.

By the time I stepped off the bus into the thin brittle morning I was really starting to come down with the sweats and muscle aches. I still wasn't proper dope sick but I was bad enough to not have to feign it and hopefully be dosed properly for a first timer. The streets seemed more deserted than usual. A hostile crystal covering sat over everything. Blind corners threw my heart into panic. I tried to quicken my pace but found I couldn't. I was at that stage of junk need that time had a set scale, 1 to 5 or something, and could not be sped up nor lost. I could get nowhere faster than illness allowed. Down the road a postman in his summer work shorts passed me by but didn't seem real. I looked back, checking to make sure he was really there. He was, but then seemed too far down the road to have passed me when I thought he had. I looked at my feet as I walked, counting the steps, somehow, for a moment, not being able to comprehend their connection to my brain, that they were even my legs at all. As I chugged on I left a trail of mist behind me. My right eye watered constantly. I'd never felt more out of odds, or cut out and placed in the world. Everything that would usually inspire or is unique to winter horrified me and left me with desperate need to escape it.

On the first day of methadone clinic you are washed up on the inner bend of smack addiction. This is where the river deposits the big rocks. For the first time addiction is taken off the streets and placed in a closed environment where the shit and puke has no place else to go. It's often the place where the junkie turns up to make his final cameo in life. It's a harrowing place. You see not mostly addicts well while scoring, but the long term addicts, those who've lost their limbs, those whose stomachs are at bursting point with liver disease, those eaten away from HIV. Them same people, in the same place, with the same scars and abscesses as you. In their faces and deaths you can see yourself, and it's maybe the first time you've seen yourself in a while. This is the after-sales service of heroin. It's a side of addiction which you've caught glimpses off but up until then had had the freedom and good sense to steer well clear off.

Outside the death halls of the clinic were gathered three loyal methadone clients. They were dressed in a mish mash of grubby sportswear and wool and stood together smoking and holding little plastic cups of dispensed coffee. They were too chatty and alive to be ill or even suffering.

You 'ere fer juice? One asked, sounding like a raspy toothless woman.

Doctor, I groaned. It's my first morning.
Good luck, offered another, a tall thing in a filthy trappers hat with ear flaps. It seemed that because I'd walked in, and not crawled, it wasn't going to be enough.

The clinic was dull and empty, an ill lit corridor with no reception. This part of the service had been kept out of sight when I'd had my interview two months ago. Up on the walls were corny drug abuse posters, showing the young face of the addict that no-one here resembled. Down the corridor, on the left, was a doorless turning, and further down, on the right, two closed doors. The heating seemed to be on maximum. I could feel the cold smoking off my coat, an uncomfortable filthy, itchy sweat beneath it. I waited for a moment wondering if someone would come and greet me. The far end of the corridor descended into total darkness. A middle-aged woman with a harsh, serious face, and wearing a staff pass crossed the hall with files and bits of paper. She didn't acknowledge anything but the linoleum floor beneath her. Maybe you had to be down there, rattling on it, to get noticed? A human reception bell.

Excuse me... I said. But before I had even finished she had ignored me and was gone, leaving me to feel the place out myself.

The open entrance on the left was the waiting room. Along to the left, built into the main front wall, was a closed shutter with a message not to bang on it. Above the shutter was a sign reading 'DISPENSARY'. Only the sorriest addicts were here at this hour. They included new entrants who lay around sick; those here on court orders; those dying; and those who were still using smack – the early morning visits being the first step in bullying them off the scheme, making maintenance too much a hassle to continue. In the room now were four addicts and myself. Two, a couple, sat at the back. Another man was lain across five of the front chairs, sobbing and groaning. And the last, right over on the left, a man with his legs up on the tops of the chairs in front of him, reclining back with a small transistor radio held to his ear, his eyes scanning around for attention as if he was up on all the latest electrical gadgetry. On seeing me watching him he dropped his legs down and turned himself away to the wall, pressing the radio tighter to his ear as if the information was his. The radio was some flimsy piece of outmoded shit, probably what was all the rage at the cusp of his addiction where time and fashion had stood still. I watched him, the disgusting, hollow day making me feel deathly and not really there. The latest news of the morning's shooting crackled and rose from his hunched up form.

Police in Harlsedon, North London, say that the shootings represent a worrying escalation of gun crime in the area. They declined to speculate as to any apparent motive for the slayings, though did say that a gangland style execution could not be ruled out. The lone gunman, a Caucasian male, between 25 and... ...

… …and a medley of poorly picked up radio stations cut into the report, the addict tuning through the band waves and settling on a country music station before tuning through again. I took a seat at the back, away from the entrance. My face prickled as the cold in my flesh undid itself. Surrounded by depressing government health warnings I loosened my scarf and sat staring, repulsed, at the bowls of fresh fruit laid out on the tables upfront.

I hadn't been waiting long when the woman who had ignored me in the hall entered. She read my name from a small notebook and looked up and around to see which one of us would present themselves as me. Surprisingly it was the addict who'd been laying groaning across the five front seats. He staggered forward, reaching out, crying.

Please, I need something... PLEASE! I can't wait any longer. I'was 'ere first. I'm dying... really, I'M DYING!

He looked like he was gonna throw himself around her and clutch on as he collapsed. This was dope sickness and you can't fake such a loss of self-respect. I cringed just seeing his illness, remembering days I'd had those same pleading, outstretched arms and tears.

The nurse moved aside holding her arm out. Are you Mr Levene, she enquired, panicked, looking over at me.

I nodded. But he can go first, I offered. It was a huge mistake. Having a heart in this world often is.

The nurse gave me a peculiar, furrowed look. It was somewhere between hate and disgust. Follow me, she said. I moved as decrepitly as I could, but it was too late: I'd already blown my cover. As I passed the addict he was back sitting, his legs swung flimsily over the other, like a woman, jigging like he needed the loo and making painful, murmuring sounds. I wanted to touch his back, but I didn't want to touch him at all.

My doctor was a small, prudish, fifty year old Italian woman. Her sleek dark hair was pulled back and up and held each side with an elegant hair brooch. She greeted me in her three-quarter-length white overcoat, classy beige tights and flat, catholic, bumper-car shoes finishing her off. Well groomed, well-aged, well-scented. She was conservative to the marrow but may not have known it.

I hung my coat and scarf up and sat down. Rather than evaluate me from behind her desk she pulled her chair around and sat opposite – close enough so as I could see the tiny soft furry blond hairs on her face, but far away enough so as our knees could never touch. I got a weird hard-on, but nothing dangerous. As she looked over my file my eyes wandered off over her shoulder, fixing on the sink in the corner and the cylindrical metal boiler unit above it. I felt absolutely amputated from the moment, in a body which wasn't quite mine. The sterility and quiet of this place was of dope sick days, and never was I more an addict than then, in that moment, being kept half sick in front of officialdom as they slowly perused the meager information they had on me, deciding if I deserved a kind or wrathful God. I suddenly flushed hot, overcome with a prickling heat. My cock deflated. I considered breaking down too – weeping, apologizing for my tears, just to try and get this over with. It wouldn't have really been so fraudulent. I was that raw anyway. Still looking over my file she asked me questions to answers she already had.

After making sure I knew who I was, where I lived, how much I used and how I used it, the doctor handed me a sheet of paper with a list of common withdrawal symptoms on it. She told me to read through and tick the relevant boxes. Although I could only honestly say I was suffering from two of the options I nevertheless ticked them all, some not even bothering to read. It was maybe the best decision I had taken. What she took for nonchalance seemed to infuriate her. She turned wholeheartedly against me.

You've had hallucinations? She asked, incredulously. And fitted?

Not really fitted, more like severe muscle spasms and jerking, I replied. Audio hallucinations, not visual. A song, snippets of unmemorable conversations. Not unhappy memories, but terribly sad in the mood of today.

I wanted to tell her of the crime, how I couldn't rid the thought of it from my head, how it somehow felt entwined with my own, immediate existence and could gatecrash it at any moment. But I didn't. Stuff like that would likely only serve to get you a lifetime of 7am appointments with the psychologist. Instead I rolled my sleeve up ready to have my blood pressure taken, the doctor recoiling in horror on finding recent needle marks and streaks of dried, crusty blood trailing down my bicep and off, around my elbow. She gave me an alcohol wipe and stood there squinting at me out the side of her eyes as I wiped the blood clean. The chill of the alcohol on my skin unnerved me. As soon as I was done the doctor lashed the blood pressure band around my arm and began inflating it, squeezing the hand-pump like she was hyper stressed. My lower arm went hard, the skin blotchy like corned-beef. My head felt like it would explode. The doctor released the pressure and scribbled down the reading.

You're not withdrawing, she said immediately, ripping the velcro flap open and whipping the band away. You're not 24hrs clean!

I agreed I wasn't. I told her the truth that I was 14hrs down and feeling rough enough. I said I had to work and couldn't let myself get sick if it wasn't necessary. She seemed to take offense at logic. She gave the standard spiel that 40ml of methadone could be fatal in the wrong circumstances and she wasn't going to risk having a death on her hands. I asked her a few simple questions which she couldn't answer without indirectly admitting to talking crap. Her answer was a huff of silence as she rage wrote a prescription with such ferocity that her pen broke through the paper. She handed me the prescription. Scribbled in huge letters and then circled was '10ml', not even a tenth of what I'd need to be well. I scoffed at the prescription. I almost balled it up and dashed it in her face.

Come back tomorrow after not having used for 24 hours and you'll be treated properly, she said, smirking at my disgust. If not, if you can't, then this stabilization period will be a very slow, drawn out process.

You know 10ml won't do anything, I said. When I leave here I will go and score... I've no choice. I have to be in work this afternoon and will not get sick just to please you.

Well, if you do that you'll only get the same tomorrow. It's your decision. I can't properly asses you while you've heroin fresh in your system. There's guidelines and rules to follow, and you, like everyone else, will have to adhere to them.

I didn't reply. There was no point. The doctor was from a symmetrical, classic cut of cloth – a square from a square. She could never understand being out of sorts with your world – pinstripes against a paisley background. I put on my jacket and scarf, and prescription in hand hurried back into the waiting room and thumped as hard as I could on the shutter which you were not supposed to bang on. For my troubles I was kept waiting for over twenty five minutes, the proper sick junkie finally being dosed before me. It was a victory of sorts. Kind of. I swallowed my 10ml, showed an empty mouth, and left.

Back out in the harsh open the cold air burnt like menthol on my throat. I was really feeling like dog shit: snivelling, eyes running and burning as I cut through the highrise flats around the back. The day had come on a little. The wintry sky was now pale blue with a weak sun, the colour of sparkling wine, showing through. Underfoot was a sludge of earth and mashed leaves. Little huffed sparrows peppered the bare trees, waiting to scarper at the crack of the sniper's gun. As I hurried on a little white Scottish Terrier dog backed out of some undergrowth it's paws and legs all muddy and wet. It scampered off leaving the smell of slobber and tongue thick in the air. It was just after that that I came upon the most hideous sight imaginable. On this frozen, misty day, winds whipping the temperature below freezing, sickness steaming up off everything, an unshaven, half-dosser came my way, his jacket open and wearing only a light shirt underneath, the top three buttons undone, leaving his neck and lower chest exposed to the bare elements. In his hand he had a pear and he was munching on this thing as he walked, bits of fruit in his stubble, the freezing sticky juice streaming over and dripping off his hand. As I reached him a vile, glacial headwind whipped me to the bones and almost brought me to my knees. As I stooped into the wind I caught sight of him biting once again into the pear, a wintry tear leaking out his eye as he absorbed and celebrated life. My body spasmed involuntarily and my stomach felt frozen and missing. My scarf was wet against my nose and the warm air from my mouth burned my lips. The aura of half-sick visits to the clinic was with me, and little did I know, they would always feel like this.

The bus ride back was a warmer affair than going and with each revolution of the wheel Iat least had the comfort that my dealer was a meter closer. I sat at the very back, watching out for gunmen, now away from the window as my mind had fixed itself on the thought of a drive-by shooting. Horrified I imagined the thought of a car, sat lit up at the traffic lights, nothing extraordinary, except... two teenagers are slumped around with half their heads blown off and the CD still looping away, the green light meaning nothing to them any more. But it wasn't that. It wasn't the crime. It wasn't even the violence. It was the coldness of the night, the illness that was in me, the bad dreams, the tears, the shivering, the draughts, the stale cigarettes, the lonely bed, the Redemption Song, Bob Marley, in a bar, the last bar, on a night just like that, the jukebox, the fruit machine, waiting for love, for the door to open, bang bang, boom boom, through a cloud of smoke, red lips, black eyes, southern comfort, chewing gum, the misty heath of the pre-junk dawn. It was somewhere there, somewhere deep down in the melee of my mind which terrified me now and had terrified me always. It was the same feeling I'd had when they pulled the body out the river that day, when I'd sunk in the mud, when I'd lain there dying with pneumonia, when I'd cried because of how cruel I was. I was too raw to exist in the skin and the world I was born into. I thought all these things and for a moment I thought I was crying, but I wasn't, it was just the mist on the window was streaming down and the life was blurred and fuzzy through it.

I didn't go home. I was never intending to. Instead I got off near my mother's, scored, and then called on her so as I could get a shot. As I sat with the fix in the needle, flexing and tensing my arms to raise a vein, mum asked me how the clinic had been and who I had seen. I couldn't remember the doctor's name so described her.

God, everyone fucking has problems with her, mum said. D'ya know who your keyworker is yet?

I shook my head.

Did anyone ask about me? she asked. I told them you'd be down today and was my son! She said that with an air of pride then cursed me for dripping blood on the carpet. The next thing I knew was that the fire blazed like love, that I was looking at the cat as it slept curled up besides it, and how its fur looked like  I felt. The cat opened an eye, looked at me, felt safe, then went under again. Mum put a cup of coffee down  for me, took my needle and laid it out of harm's way on the table. She sat down over in the armchair, smoking and watching TV.

Did ya hear about that shooting? she asked.

I thought for a moment, then said I had... two teenagers weren't it?
Mum said Yeah like she was bored and blew out a cloud of smoke. It's been on every fucking channel non-stop, she said. I nodded, but I was already asleep, sinking warm into mum's couch. Outside the winter blew and raged about and menacing winds cut through the bare trees which lined the street. But now it wasn't hollow or cruel or hostile, it seemed kind of perfect, like the world was meant to be this way, like it could never be better than it was just then. 

_ _ _

Thanks for sticking out the wait... Love and Respect as Always, Shane. X


Gravediggin' Under the Mancy Way said...

Hey Shane,
I'm all out of words: you said them all already. Well worth the wait, thank you :)
Love&Inspiration&Long Life,
Vee X

darren said...

fucking HELL!!! theres nothing i can say to poetry like that. it honestly gave me goosebumps. i'm sure i am reading one of the greatest writers of my time.

But it wasn't that. It wasn't the crime. It wasn't even the violence. It was the coldness of the night, the illness that was in me, the bad dreams, the tears, the shivering, the draughts, the stale cigarettes, the lonely bed, the Redemption Song, Bob Marley, in a bar, the last bar, on a night just like that, the jukebox, the fruit machine, waiting for love, for the door to open, bang bang, boom boom, through a cloud of smoke, red lips, black eyes, southern comfort, chewing gum, the misty heath of the pre-junk dawn.

this just built to an exhilarating crescendo. one question, why is the title 'post-junk dawn' while the text is 'pre-junk dawn' ? Daz

Chef Green said...

The sentiments of unreality juxtaposed with all too real circumstances made for a powerful story. My favorite part, though, is at the end of the piece when you are with your mum, and everything seemed "kind of perfect." Its just that I understand that sort of flawed perfection.

Glad you're around and writing old boy.


_Black_Acrylic said...

Hi Shane, this post was well worth the wait. Like others here I'm struggling to express in words just how powerful this text is. It's left me shaken, but it's a life-affirming tale.

Boston Joe said...

Shane, that was a tremendous post. You capture the feelings of being dope sick, not just the physical, but the emotional and psychological sickness, sooo well! That part of the sickness, the way it fucks with your head is what someone who has never gone through it can never understand, just how much your thinking, feelings and grasp on reality is altered. Great post, you are a great writer!

Carrion Doll said...

Another masterpiece, the sickness and the health described so well. I will shut up now as I haven't the words to do this justice.
Thank you Shane,

JoeM said...

Well, some people have already said things I'd say.

Post-Junk Dawn. Hmm. Is this like when you decided to come off H Full-Time - or were maybe even thinking of trying to quit all together (even though you say now that's not an option).

I can't believe how complicated the whole H scene is - and that's just you! If I ever get back to writing you are so going to be a character - and this will be the thread:

'Well I thought I had Shlevine all worked out but then ...

(Shlevine - I'll make you female/foreign and imagine a hetero junky relationship - so far from my experience it should throw up some oysters!)


The light hadn't yet reached the morning.

In their faces and deaths you can see yourself, and it's maybe the first time you've seen yourself in a while.

Stuff like that would likely only serve to get you a lifetime of 7am appointments with the psychologist.

She could never understand being out of sorts with your world.

It seemed kind of perfect, like the world was meant to be this way, like it could never be better than it was just then. 

That whole bureaucracy thing rings true.From all sorts of levels.

My (Aspergers) brother was harrassed by teens but was told by the cops they could do nothing. As soon as he said, off-hand, he just wanted to murder them he was warned he could be up on trial for criminal threat or some-such.



JoeM said...

Aargh! I hate this 'comment approval' thing - I always like to immediately check mine.

But I understand why it's necessary...

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hey Joe... You get to jump the queue and you always will. Comment moderation is now disabled for the first 10 days following a new.

I'll be honest, the title of the post is a very bad one (well, not a bad title, it sounds good, but gives the wrong idea what the post will be about) . I'd been NOT writing this post over about two months and usually the title of the piece will show itself in the text (or I'll get a title as I'm writing). On this one however I got to the end, all done, but still only had my working title 'Methadone Mornings'. I know from experience that if i've not a title after all that time that i could sit pondering over it for hours. I didn't want to delay the post another day andso took a line of text i liked from the post, changed it a little and used that. Post-Junk Dawn refers to the first dawn, post-heroin, where you're purposely given early appointments at the methadone clinic and told you must turn up withdrawing. That journey, those days, have their very own distinct feel and the post was trying to documenting that.

A character in a future Joe M book!!! WOW... that'd be an honour, even if I was just a cockroach or something. For my part, I'd not risk our friendship characterizing you, and so you'll have to make do with being the person each book is dedicated too.

God, that anecdote about your brother is very similar to what's happening with my mum at the moment. For the last seven years she's been feuding with her downstairs neighbour, actually being harassed by him, even threatened. He's made her days hell. For her part she's reported everything to the Housing trust and keeps a diary of the daily things he does.The worst she'll do in retaliation is bang on the ceiling when the noise gets too much. In the last two years she's had the polive called to her 5 times and has been arrested and carted off twice: the first for supposedly trying to kill the neighbour with a kitchen knife, and then apparently for 'racist threats'. The second arrest had her in the nick for a whole day, charged, and only last month it finally got to court. Within 5 minutes the judge had thrown the case out, seiing that each time the claims were never substantiated and the only ever witness to the false accusations is the neighbours partner. Still, that the innocent party has ended up arrested, carted away in front of the entire street, passing the day in the police cells twice, is incredible. She's trying to get a move now as she's worried he'll call the police on her every few months . X

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Out of words already... Jeez. You'll find some more. Hope you're well Vee... X

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hey Darren... it was just in the context. If I'd have called the post Pre-Junk Dawn people it'd give the impression it was a piece of writing just before getting into smack. Within the post, when I mention Pre-junk dawn, that is the case. See my answer to Joe as it explains a little more about the title there. X

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hey Chef! X

Oh I'll be a round for a little more life still. There's a few projects I must finish before I die and i'd kinda like to at least out live my mother... though I dread the though of doing so. Dread her death not my existence, that is... X

Absolut Ruiness said...

Thanks Shane

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Thanks Absolut!X

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hey Ben.. great to see you as ever. Initially this text went on for another 3 pages and ended as cold as it began, but somehow it felt repetitive and went nowhere and so it got the snip and a new ending.

I think in many ways that just writing about misery and illness and death and despair is life-affirming... even if there's no real positive or hopeful conclusion to it. In fact, for me, much of what I'd feel is life affirming art is deeply dark and void of much hope. It's life affirming in the sense that the artist has realised what his time is but still struggles on regardless and finds something worthwhile even in that poverty. I think first and foremost an artist must be obsessed with life, even if that manifests itself as fascination with death. On the same token, and it'll at first seem a contradiction, but suicide can often be a life-affirming act. Anyway, I'm glad you see my words as life affirming as underneath everything I have a real passion for life and living and see a desperate beauty in the world. A lot of people miss that. They see only the tragedy and despair in what I write. They miss that in each text there also exists a genuine expression of awe and beauty towards my world.

OK, I'm Done for... It's 2 am,. It's closing time at the Dresden. Marty and Layton play one last sleepy 'Strangers in the Night'" and the last of the martinis dribble down our chins ... X

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hey Boston Joe... Nice to see you around.. it's been a while. It wasn't even proper sickness I spoke off... just the very first manifestations of it. I think i'll do a post on proper in depth sickness as i've never really put a post, exclusively, on that. I've a nice idea for one actually. I think that'll be the next. X

Gravediggin' Under the Mancy Way said...

Haha, hey, you know your comments are often as worthwhile as the texts themselves? And as the Martini dribbles down the chin, I've just left off chatting to a friend saying I must sleep, it's after 2am, and I a minute.
Yeah, I'm not so bad thanks medear, sitting here with the cheapest elecrtic heater the Argos catalogue had to offer blowing straight at me plugged into the 4 plug extension lead. The landlord might switch the heating on for 2 hours a day, but he'll be happy I used his electricity 24/7 when the pipes don't burst in here, cos they will in the rest of the place if he keeps his tightness up..
It's a living drama in itself, this place. The alchoholic upstairs has decided to tell me I've got a great arse every time he's drunk.
If he could see my arse properly through the vodka he wouldn't bother. He hides nearly empty bottles in the drawers on the first floor landing, as though he saved the centimeter at the bottom for a gaggle of siblings he was supposed to share with and doesn't want to be accused of finishing it all himself.
The woman from the psychiatric unit mutters incomprehensibly to noone, sometimes waving papers, sometimes shouting. She told me in a rare moment of clarity that my aftershave stank of shit and she hoped I enjoyed my shave. Then put her face right up to mine, shrieking
"Am I in your face, am I? Am I in your FUCKIN FACE? Thought so."

It's the other end of beauty.

Your story speaks for itself, which, apart from this shitforsaken b&notB is why I lost my words. Maybe some bastard stole them when they came into my room to rob my tablets.

It's late or early, so enough of my insomniacal blrtherings...

Hope you're well too XXX

heroineyes said...

Fuck Shane, your writing is orgasmic. I just discovered your blog tonight, and have devoured your beautifully raw and insanely relatable posts with my eyes for the past 3 hours. Feels like you've been inside my head... a reckless, self-destructive, heroin-abusing, recovering alcoholic, twentysomething female, with a mind as awesome and fucked up as yours. Mind blown.

ps. do you have facebook? would love to talk...

JoeM said...

It's typical of the Methadone people to make you arrive so early and withdrawing. I'm sure there would be no possibility of Od-ing if they gave you a reduced dose. But you have to be made to pay.

Well if I did a character 'based on' you it would probably change so much to be unrecognisable. That's usually how it happens. I was a character in a book once – needless to say I didn't recognize myself!

It's horrendous what council house tenants have to put up with. It's a scandal that the victim has to furnish all the proof. Your mother should get the council to install cameras and sound recorders.(I've seen this done on documentaries). Or else re-house her.

Gravediggin' Under the Mancy Way said...

Yep, Joe, they should have rehoused her a long time ago, but the housing department here is useless to say the least...I've been homeless since early August with two kids and am stuck in a poxy b& noB. So Shane's mum is going to have a real fight with the council on her hands to be rehoused: the system stinks. Old Thatcher sold off so much of the social housing and this new conilition is picking up where she left off; with total and utter contempt for anyone they consider "beneath contempt" ie) the non-wealthy.
It must be so, so hard for you to be in another country unable to go into the housing department and give them an earful, Shane, or at least a bloody good letter. Not that they take fuck all notice.
I hope she gets a new place soon, in fact, I hope she already has.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hey Joe... they did want to put cameras in but needed the agreement of both tenants (it's a maisonette - mum upstairs, bloke and girlfriend down). Mum agreed but neighbour refused saying it was an infringement on his personal freedom. It was the same story when the Housing Trust (Notting Hill Housing Trust) wanted them to go for mediation: mum was fine with it but the neighbour refused.

He also palys on mental health problems he says he has (paranoia or something) and it seems because of it they allow him to get away with murder. He's violent as well, and the housing trust will no longer visit him without at least two people (yet don't mind leaving my mother there alone). Bizarrely it's him who has put in a complaint saying he's scared for his life! Seriously. He says he lives in daily fear of my mother. She's 63... overweight... and huffs getting to the top of 10 stairs.

When all the trouble came with the police, and multiple calls were being made daily to the trust (sometimes 20 calls a day for some months) they agreed to push my mum through on a quick exchange. She didn't want to agree but finally she backed down and did. Of course it calmed the situation for two weeks and when she phoned to ask about the move the housing officer told her that his manager refused his advice to class my mother as a category B (6 months for an exchange) but had agreed she was certainly category D worthy. When my mum reseaerched what category D meant she discovered it'd be very unlikely she'll be moved before she dies (unless she is violently assaulted). So it remains like that just now. I told her to bombard the housing with petty complaint after complaint, he'll retaliate and they'll finally get so sick of it, with so much time lost, that they'll rehouse her very quickly.


Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hey ya Vee... see the comment up above for Joe as it was partly in response to somethings in your comment too.

God, if I was there I wouldn't go to the housing trust: I'd put the neighbours car windows through and set the thing on fire. He was actually living there when I was there. It's what caused the first ever problems, young boys keep coming around to the door delivering things (though he only started screaming about it once I had left). Mum said he'd stand his his garden, shouting so as she could hear, saying we were junkies and drug dealers were coming to the door. Then he'd start saying how we were canabis addicts!!! hahah He thought it was cannabis being delivered... if only he'd have known it was heroin and crack. One of the dealers did hit him one day. This crazy guy called ace, one of the dealers really on the gangster side of things. This neighbour came out his house and of all things called him a 'nigger boy'. Ace hit him twice and threatened to kill him and that was the first time the police were ever called. The neighbour isn't a small man either. He's a broad chested six foot Egyption - which is then even more pathetic that he says he lives in fear of his life at the hands of my mother. X

heroineyes said...

Shane... my god. Sorry to comment again, but I've been absolutely addicted to your blog since I discovered it a few days ago and literally CANNOT stop reading your startlingly impressive raw talent. I haven't slept in 3 days solid (and have been high on smack the entire time)... You're a stoned insomniac's lifesaver! Your writing is beyond outstanding, and your ability to transport your reader's out of mundane reality and into your world and experiences with each and every word, sentence and scenario you describe is just insane. Your beautiful (and sometimes not so beautiful) depictions of every situation - from the jaw dropping, to the otherwise simple - are pure, poetic genius, and your astounding use of imagery within every sentence you write is almost other-worldy. I just wanted to let you know that I have become and will remain a HUGE fan of yours; being a a jaded, disillusioned heroin addict with terrible ADHD and a passion for writing myself, not much is able to REALLY captivate my fucked up head and hold my interest for more than an hour or so. You, Mr. Levene, have done just that!

Keep being awesome,
B (heroineyes) :)

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hey ya Heroineyes... Fuck, sorry... your comment got lost up there in amongst the others. When I saw your other it suddenly clicked you'd sent one some days ago. I can't answer just now but will leave you a reply this evening...

Untill then... All My Thoughts, Shane.

heroineyes said...

No worries at all Shane... I look forward to more of your brilliant writing. :)


JoeM said...

I didn't know that both tenants had to agree to cameras/sound recording. I don't get it – we're talking about cameras pointing outside on a public space. Or recording volume levels inside your mother's house. That's no infringement. It's like saying we can't set up cameras outside a bank we think will be robbed unless we get the permission of the robbers first. Would any politician/judge/lawyer etc put up with ANY sort of anti-social behaviour?

This is why I think laws should be made much more locally - by the people who will be AFFECTED by them. Not some rich wanker who lives in luxury and security hundreds of miles away.

I've worked for councils and sometimes simply a letter from an MP can make authorities sit up and take notice - they then HAVE to justify their actions. (My own mother was famous for writing letters to MPs etc for aggrieved neighbours). If not a local MP then a Tony Benn or Dennis Skinner. Or get in touch with TV news – exploit the partner of Nilsen victim angle! 'Hasn't this poor woman suffered enough!' Believe me as soon as those sorts of petty authorities get any sort of publicity they suddenly find many brand new ways to help (themselves out of a hole).

Anonymous said...

Another brilliant piece of writing. I've abandoned writing about addiction because apart from a few amusing anecdotes, it's really quite boring and tedious. It's something I don't even think about much. It feels like the least interesting thing in my life. But you've captured it perfectly without being boring.

As regards being kind enough to let someone else go in front of you... it seems people are quite contemptful of kindness. I know that look she gave you very well. People seem to think you're an idiot if you're at all nice (especially in certain 'worlds'). Sadly, being kind and decent has also meant people taking advantage. I just don't understand what's the problem with being nice because I can't understand what someone would get out of being the opposite. I'd hate that and hate myself for being that way. It's sad that we live in a world where people take advantage of someone's good nature.

I'm sorry your mother is having bother with neighbours. I've got problems with mine using my garden as their own landfill and having their telly full blast after midnight. I just don't get people being like that. If I want to listen to my music loud, I'll put on headphones so I can get the full effect.
That's why I'm resigned to having just cats for company. Far less complicated, as it should be.

all the best
CalamityK xoxoxo

parfum said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
parfum said...

Nice blog
Parfum pas cher

Fee said...

Fucking amazing, once again Shane! You have really captured what it's like to get dope sick. Totally sucks, and your reality doesn't seem real anymore. I'm busy cutting back, down to a £20 pd plus 45ml meth..... Better than 4x20 & 120ml..... Don't think I'll ever stop. I'm am too sensitive for this world. Always have been..... Big hugs. Fee xx

Anonymous said...

"you are so good with words"

your writing is the twist to my otherwise plain fucking vanilla life.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hi again Heroineyes... Yes I have a Facebook but very rarely use it and never do online chatting. You're welcome to put a friend request through though, but the easiest way to contact me is here, or my email.

I'm not reckless or self-destructive and don't think many addicts are. That's all part of the pretence, the image we may like to put forward, but if we were really that reckless and self-destructive we wouldn't be uising heroin, as heroin helps accept life not make it wild and crazy. Some craziness comes with the lifestyle surrounding it but that's a kind of unknown secondary effect and not at all why we use. So I think the talk of reckless, self-destruction is more Rock n' Roll bullshit and never really the case. From what I've seen people take heroin to live... not to die. People who want to die so bad can easily do it... not string it out over 20 years on a heroin habit that may only take a leg or something silly. Not sure if you'll get what i mean in this comment, but after 12 years in the life that's the truth i've seen. heroin is someone desperately trying to cling to life... not desperately trying to cut it away.

Love and Thoughts, Shane. X

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hey Joe, the talk was of cameras in the hallway downstairs as that was where many disputes and accusations took place. There was even accusations from the other of stealing each others mail (which was probably true in both cases). So the Housing Trust wanted to put cameras in the hall but the downstairs neighbour refused (and apparently they need both tenants consent to instal them). Yes you're right about the MP route. I remember watching that Tower Block of Commons program a while back and just on that you could see how much an MP can (almost) get done if he's pushed a little. I'll tell her about that, though I do remember she was once waffling on about the MP and was then working with the Liberals who were trying to help her... so she may have already tried that route. I'll let you know. X

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hey Fee... oh, well a 20 bag and 45ml is nothing... the drug clinics really need an overhaul and rethink of what success is in their business. Their very quick to fiddle the figures sp as non-successes (deaths, imprisonments) boosts their figures but they could actually have higher public success just telling the truth and marking out different boundaries of success. For example many junkies don't go to rehab to get clean but to get their habit down to a manageable, affordable level. If they concentrated on these more stabilizing forms of drug treatment, finding a comfortable middle ground until the addict was ready to quit there'd be a thousandfold more the social benefit than holding out for the impossibility of complete abstinence... for a lifetime! God, in a way it shows how little even drug agencies and support groups understand about the people and lifestyles they're trying to support. X

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...


I'm sure many an addict would die for that plain vanilla life you talk about... in a way they use heroin to try and have such calm waters. I used to sit in a car with a work colleague and almost fall asleep to his tales of plain life and living... the evenings in and the kids coming around and the dinner on and bed at 10. On the weekends they'd go shopping and watch a film and on sundays buy a heap of papers and sit in the bar going over the sport and news as the evening slowly came in and the place darkened and lightened up. Vanilla's not bad... there's deadly undercurrents to a dirty life. X

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hey Ya Kelly.. yeah I get ya about junk being boring... I try never to write explicitly about it, not in the exploitative way most do. The interesting thing about addiction is the life thatit weaves through, all those things on either bank... the underworld it descends into. The life is interesting and junk is just a door into the underbelly of a certain life.

The nurse wasn't in contempt of kindness... it's what that kindness signified: it gave up the game that I wasn't ill. There's not "go before me" when you're dying. So the nurse understood then that I wasn't my 24hrs clean and they despise you for that, for finding a way around their unnecessary demands. X

heroin eyes said...

Shane - Thank you for the thought provoking reply! I totally understand where your coming from in regards to the Rock & Roll bullshit image, the glamorization of recklessness and self destruction in that sense. I guess for me, I'm more referring to what I've seen throughout my various stages of addiction within myself - I HAVE been extremely reckless with various aspects of my life (not in the "wild & crazy" sense), but more so without ever meaning to be - with the relationships in my life, and toward those who have loved me - as my relationship with substance (whether it be alcohol, speed, heroin) has always overshadowed the relationships with people in my life. I'm terrible at foreseeing the consequences of my actions, and how I have, without ever meaning to, continually harmed those who I love, and who love me. So I guess I mean reckless not in nature, but in pursuit of what keeps me feeling "normal"... if that makes any sense at all? Don't get me wrong - alcohol and heroin have saved my life in many ways, and have nursed the otherwise unwavering day to day depression and anxiety that I've dealt with into a manageable, at times even non-existent concurrent disorder. I too use to LIVE, to accept life and at least feel as though I can walk through both the darkness and the light unscathed. I guess I use the word "self destructive" in a broader sense, in the sense that I've always found some sort of beautiful internal fulfillment through acts like self-harm or mutilation, substance abuse, impulsive/"risky" sex, starving myself - acts that truly do fulfill me and make me me feel both alive and numb; but acts that could at some point, with persistence and time, be the very destruction of me... or so I'm told ;). Perhaps my addiction has manifested itself in other ways, ways that I've labeled "self destructive" up until now, but upon further introspection, are perhaps just outlets that I've used to numb the sensitivity that I experience toward the world; outlets that have allowed me to experience life, in my own way, to the fullest - so perhaps not really self destructive at all. Very good point, my friend. Heroin allows me to feel alive without having to feel the internal emptiness and hopelessness that I do with sobriety, or even that I felt throughout my alcoholism for that matter - I would never use to try and kill myself; as you said, there are far easier and faster ways. I use to experience life pain-free, to ACTUALLY live, as living sober for me (in the few months here and there that I've managed) has been far more painful and dark than the years that I've spent living in active addiction.
I'm off the bottle after a decade of being a "non-functional" alcoholic, as I was recently hospitalized with acute liver and kidney failure and was told I would most likely die if I continued drinking. Of course, I'm still somewhat young, so another few decades of living sober scared the fuck outtah me - I thus turned my weekend heroin habit into a full time relationship, and it's a much more peaceful, surreal sort of existence - so perhaps my talk of self destruction and recklessness comes from a decade of being a horrible alchy... I'm still somewhat of a newbie to junk, and so have nothing close to the experience that you do Shane. All I really know is that, so far, heroin has been a lifesaver for me, and allows me to live peacefully. :)

Love & well wishes from Toronto,


heroin eyes said...

Ps. Sorry that my post raped your comment wall - didn't realize it was quite so long writing in this little box lol! :O

Fee said...

Hi Shane

I agree - bloody ridiculous, especially as some of them are ex users themselves. They really should know better. Saying success is complete abstinence is settting everybody up to fail, which in turn deploys more guilt, which then gives one an excuse to use again... What pisses me off is the complete patronising manner in which they talk to us. My dr said to me the other week that most people dont grab the heroin whenever they feel sad or lonely. I pointed out to him that I have more degrees than he does with regards to mental health and that I am well aware that non addicted people dont reach for the heroin. They probably kick the dog, beat their wife, gamble, lean on the bible or some other such crutch. The only difference is that my crutch is illegal and that is what they cannot stand. It is a known fact that huge amounts of the medical community abuse morphine based drugs, but that is ok, cause its not dirty street heroin! Such hypocrites... Lots of love ur way. Looking forward to your next post hun xxx

Stacy said...

hi shane and thank you! another beautiful post that was well worth the wait...i hope you are doing well.


Who Am Us Anyway? said...

The reporter remained for a moment, then closed shut from both ends, and was gone. Nice! I've actually never seen anyone capture that precise odd moment of modern life before. When I'd gotten to the end of this post, I had to go back and find that line to re-read it.

Maureen said...

Shane, awesome writng as usual! Keep on writing & we will keep on reading!

lancslad said...

Yea,my name is chris(topher),a know the little jests about us in the contexts of previous posts.After years of following your writing and the absolute honesty you purvey,with yourself, and not tolerate in others.You speak my mind and I love how your writing is just getting better & better,moving and emotional&describing the exact things ive been through,turning all the degradadation of life and its experiences(not just addiction)which of course is incidental but often consumes half your bloody life anyway,for me anyway,especially since my so called stablisation with my nurse RatchedI,an ps ive not had a drug worker who,s ever used,Al not blether on,I bore myself with such topics,a will leave it to your genious to empathise,ps,your really good stuff which is mostly all,i see as short films in my head but with deeper narrative that really moves me,keep up the progress and your new dog writings.You ever publish that long awaited novella(s)i,m first on your list mate,best wishes,for christmas an all that nonscence(not best time for the user)Chris.x

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hey Chris... God you had me wondering what jests???? After 6 hrs I suddenly clocked on, your referring to the post on my ex-work mate Chris, the guy with the sexless sheets.

Yeah, when I first started writing it was very rough and raw and I'd open up the document and write like that and post within an hour. And people enjoyed it, it was grace to them early posts that the writing took off, but there was one comment from a man called Joe Mills over on another blog which made me start to look at the entire piece of writing and not just skip through to the great lines I'd thought I'd written. Until then I was kinda lind to all the crap inbetween, and from then began writing and looking at my writing in a whole new way - much more detached and much more critically. From that moment I think I was born as a real writer. I began writing properly from that moment on. I didn't want to be 'very poetical in places', I wanted to be very poetical entirely. I don't mean writing great lines every sentence because that's not what writing's about either, but I mean streamlining the prose and not writing so many weak sentences inbetween what was good. And it wasn't easy. It turns writing into a procedure where you question every word are constantly rephrasing, are never quite satisfied... but from that process the writing improved ten-fold, and then began attracting not just readers but writers and artists and people who wanted more out of such stuff. So, that's the history of that and how it first started. I think as well, when you first begin writing online you have yno readers and so its much easier to let weak writing pass when you don't think it'll be read. Once you start building up readership then you again look at what you're doing in a different light and paying more attention to things.

OK, Chris... thanks for touching base and hope i'll see you here more often in the future... Shane. X

Anonymous said...

Hi Shane,

As ever your writing is powerful, I was with you every step of the way. It makes me feel normal when someone describes exactly how I've felt when I've had W.D's.

My Boyfriend read your blog for the first time to-night and he was blown away by how good your writing is. I'd been telling him about your blog for ages and now he wants to sit down and read your whole blog.

Have you ever tried to publish your work? I have read countless books on heroin use, but NONE are even half as good as yours!!!

Have you ever thought about publishing an e-book? There are LOADS of self published authors on Amazon and Smashwords. There are quite a few e-books on Amazon about heroin addiction, but honestly none are as good as yours.

You have such amazingly well written stories in this blog, you've already done the writing part, I'm sure it wouldn't be much hassle to self publish your work on an e-book. I'd be your first customer!!!

Keep up the good writing Shane, you have such a wonderful talent.

Take care,

~Gill. :)

PS. Shane, do you still live in France? Did the heroin drought that started in Nov 2010 effect France? Its over two years since that drought hit and things are still not back to normal in the UK & Ireland. Prices are high and quality is low. The quality of the gear has improved in the last few months, but its still not as good as it was before the drought. I'm sticking to my methadone most of the time now, but I really miss the proper gear..... :(

Anonymous said...

Hey Shane,

I tried to send you an email about a week ago but it bounced back as undeliverable. Then I tried 2 other emails I had for you and the same happened. I don't mind if you'd rather not be emailed but I didn't want to clutter your comments page with stuff that's not entirely to do with your writing.

So, on condition that you don't object to being emailed, please could you email me your email?

hope christmas isn't treating you too badly. I'm not a fan of this time of year, you're supposed to take stock and be grateful of what you do have but the whole event is set up to do just the opposite. The poor feel poorer, the lonely feel lonelier etc.

Hope all is well with you anyway.

Lots of love
Calamity K

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hey Kelly, I got your mail... sorry, I've starred about 15 mails awaiting replies and yours is one and I've just not had time to get thru them. I'll do it over this weekend. My best mail addy is this one:

There's no spal filter for anything and so your mail can never get accidentally filtered on that addy.


Anonymous said...

Hi Shane,

No worries. That is the curse of your being talented and likable. It's a wonder you have time to write with all the comments you have to try and respond to!

I hope you have a nice Christmas anyway.

I was gonna have the best one in a long time but that got shat on. I won a 3 month contract to design a big national campaign for a charity for Easter. I knew my mac wouldn't handle the job (it freezes and when I type the words appear 2 mins after, letter by letter!).
My plan was to hire a macbook pro but I was waiting to be paid for a job I did back in November. I was penniless without that and they had my invoice for over a month. So, in short, the new client knew this and expressed concern over my circumstances affecting their job, chickened out and went to an agency instead (who won't be hampered by finances).
I cried non-stop for 3 days after than despite my attempts to get on with other things. I pulled down all my (modest) xmas decos, threw them in a carrier bag and dumped them outside a church. I'm banning xmas this year.

My pal Alex met up with me on Friday and the chat with him helped restore my faith a little. We've worked together over 10 years so he knows me very well.

So this Christmas, instead of feeling like I was finally gonna get somewhere, now I'm facing the New Year shit scared and with less faith than ever. It does seem that our worth and place in life is measured by what's in our wallet sometimes. I hate that.

Anyway, I hope your Christmas is much much better and your talents are bearing fruition.

Take care

Eyelick said...

That's nuts, just the difference between gun violence there vs the US. Here, it would make news if it's in your city or specific area. Unless it's a mass shooting. But if it's just one shooting, it has to be whatever main town your news comes out of. Don't think it has Anything to do with gun control, it's mentality. There are more guns per capita in Canada than here. It's our culture. Also, don't think there are massive school or work shootings outside of the US (though could be wrong, the US thinks it's more important than anywhere, so we don't get real world news).. pretty sure a big part of that has to do with the "fame" thing/media culture we have.

Anonymous said...

I dreamt about you last night... and I fell out of bed twice... Morrissey

Didn't fall out of bed but had a weird dream that I was upstairs in a flat looking out of the window (above the doorway) and a guy with a cap on was coming in and realised it was you so called down and waved and it was instant recognition then Tippi (my kitten) woke me up when she licked my eyelids.

Happy New Year Shane


Sailor_On_Ice said...

London is freezing at the moment. There's never any sunlight, just a 4 hour split where the air is grey instead of black for a change. I'm glad I waited to read this, it's so perfect. The cold, fleshy detachment and abject horror of early rattling muffled by the musty brown blanket of "everything is as it should be" after a dig. My days work like clockwork unless I can't get a vein and then the tears, blood, snot and total desperation just under the surface explode out of me. Somehow these feel like the only possible windows of opportunity to get clean. But the hit you get after a bloody, frantic search is always the best. C'est la vie.

Hope you're good Shane, drop me an email when you feel like it. Be good to hear from you.


Anonymous said...

Hey Shane,

Please let us know you're still alive! Even if you just post one line saying 'Still here'.

Just wee bit worried since no sign of you since around xmas (had visions of you getting really good gear (for a change) New Years eve and overdoing it. Anyway, hope you're ok and life isn't being the usual unrelenting bitch.

take care
CalamityK x

Tonyoneill said...

Hiya Shane

Just wanted to drop a little line to say I read the post a while back and should have commented then because it's one of my favorites, a truly beautiful and controlled bit of writing. My hat is off to you, sir. Anyway I hope you are well and that 2013 isn't treating you badly. Drop me a line when you get chance. You're in my thoughts as always, T

Anonymous said...

Woah.. Ive so been There man. But Describing it is the hard part. you Nail down the exact feelings that are impossible for me to explain. thats why i like reading this stuff it validates and exposes what my narrow mind cant.

addiction said...

I haven't read someone with so much tallent in a long time. Thank you, you're a real artist.

Dr Nuke said...

Give me the gun and blow me away. Shane, you fucking diamond.

Unknown said...

You write great. But like my other post I would love to see you go I to more detail. Make this writing personal like a journal. Be completely unique, be yourself. What kind of syringes do you use and what color hair did the girl at the rite aid store have? What brand tin foil is best? And do you flip it to the shiny or dI'll side to smoke the tar? Me and other readers would love to know how you support yourself financially. And what a day in the life of a addict is like.

Shane Levene said...

Hey Michael, a journal is exactly what this writiung isn't and was never meant to be and will never be. For me all the stuff you say woukld make the writing interesting, for me would make it ultra boring and bring it down to nothing but the logistics of smack and mundane daily details... that's heroin porn,a dn though i've nothing against it O'd prefer never to write that and let everyone else do that. You can find that stuff everywhere and it gets really fucking boring after one or texts and it's always the same. Just look at the response i have here to my writing... i don't know any other writing around the smack and with such long posts which ges such a response... so I think I'd much rather have writing which transgresses the subject rather than very straightforward tales of junk life (most of whicha re all lies and myths anyway). But after having said all that, the new season of writing will be much more into the life of the addict and all teh tricks and scams and games, so the addict readers will probably enjoy those much more. Whedn I started the writing here heroin was just a theme that would run through each text, but there are also other themes, themes of consequence, history, nostalgia, social depravation, existence, poverty... and those themes are just as important and must be in my writiung too or I'd not feel it to have much depth or worth and then wopukldn't post it anyway. Heroin is basically boring. It's an addiction... a cycle... and cycles by their very nature are boring. I could write everything about heroin that's worth saying in one 7 page piece of writing.... tehn what? Repeat play? loop? cycle? same crap day in day out at the same time? That's really xhat ehroin addiction is and what writing pyurely of it would be too. X

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