As regular readers might be aware, I have recently sold my memoirs (in proposal form) to Bloomsbury Books. The projected volume will lovingly detail all my sexual and emotional fuck-ups over the years, and will be called Millions of Women are Waiting to Meet You.
If this book is a success, and even if it isn't, I'm aiming to write another volume after that, all about my drug taking exploits. I haven't got a title yet. Suggestions welcome!
Actually, this idea - an autobiography, based on my druggie disasters - has been kicking around my head for at least half a decade. But for some reason I haven't quite found the right way to bring it off. The whole thing either comes out wanky, or delirious, or plodding. Weird. So today I thought I'd try a little experiment, and post a sample chapter I wrote some time ago. To test the water, as it were.
To truly grasp the piece you should remember that the following scenes of immature foolishness happened in the early 90s; i.e. when Mariella and I were in our late 20s.
Anyway. Here goes. Tell me what you think. I shan't be miffed if you think it's crap. Better to be crap in a blog than crap in a book.
Sample Chapter from my 'Drug Autobiography'.
Trevor and I were officially invited by my sweet, clever, ambitious TV-celebrity girlfriend Mariella to spend the weekend at her Cotswold cottage. The only problem with this was that Mariella specifically stipulated we weren't allowed to take any heroin with us. I thought this rather unfair: she knew we were heroin addicts, as I knew she was a foodie fashion victim. Her asking me not to take any smack along was like my demanding she go a whole week without Waitrose cold-pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
My protests did not avail. Mariella shook her pretty Scando-Irish head, wrinkled her Icelandic-elf nose, said No. No Smack. One of the main reasons we weren't allowed to take heroin - she informed - was that a close friend of hers was going to be accompanying us. Clarissa Stafford. The last thing she wanted was her uppercrust Notting Hillbilly friend Clarissa knowing that she was dating a junkie, a dope-fiend, a loser, a smack-head, me.
The Friday afternoon before departure Trevor and I went to meet Clarissa in some Westbourne Grove drinking hole near Mariella's flat. Only Mariella was there. As usual. That was the thing with Mariella. Mariella was always on time; everybody else in London was late. Eyeing my tiny pupils Mariella said, flat:
'You're stoned, aren't you?'
'Hand it over'
'Hand it over.'
'Mariella. Look. Please.'
'I warned you. Give it here.'
'But.' I was stammering. 'But... it takes the edge off life.. some of us need that, some of us need... you know..'
'Hand it over or you're not coming. What if Clarissa finds out?'
'She won't. You can't. I nee. Have a h'
Like an obedient spaniel forced to drop the stick, I handed across the wrap of heroin. Mariella gave me a final sharp glance, and took. Cursing my incorrigibility, she put my precious slip of smack in her leather and gold handbag, snapping it firmly shut. Then she half relented:
'You can have it back at the end of the weekend. OK?' Her sweet blue Connemara loch eyes suddenly went softer, almost loving. 'Please... I work hard all week - I just want to relax and have a nice time without you... doing drugs and being boring and Clarissa discovering... you know...... Please?'
Seemed reasonable. I explained the situation to Trevor as we pulled up two bar stools beneath. He groaned and ordered a Mexican beer. We were still waiting for Clarissa.
'You gave her the whole whack?'
'Didn't have much choice -'
'That's all the gear for the weekend!'
'Had to. Otherwise she'd have said we couldn't come. Weekend cancelled.'
My old friend necked his lager in his special, silent, contemptuous, Christ-you're-an-idiot way. Then, wristing the tache of white beer froth from his lips, he said:
'So who's this bird?'
'Clarissa.. Friend of Mariella's. Some pukka bint from’
'Boys, this is Clarissa.'
The Hon. Clarissa Stafford turned out to be sharp, funny, blonde, and quite attractive. She also turned out to be a bit of a pistol. As Trevor and Clarissa and I traipsed down Ledbury Road, following Mariella to the car, Clarissa turned and hissed quietly to me:
'Guys. You got any smack?
Gazing meaningfully at my tiny pupils, she whispered:
'You're pinned. S’obvious. Got any more for a starving girl?'
Trevor, overhearing, put in:
'Idiot handed it all over to Mariella. It's in her handbag.'
Clarissa swore, somehow aristocratically.
'Oh fuck. Could really use a bit of H...'
A pause. We fell silent. As one we sat in the car and brooded. Mariella had driven us a hundred yards when she suddenly parked up again. Clarissa:
‘Maz? What the?’
Mariella, getting out:
Camilla giggled. From the car we watched Mariella disappearing into Tom Conran's deli to buy Tarragon vinegar. ‘Well..' Trevor eventually said, watching me watching Mariella buy Tarragon vinegar. 'Well..' In the shop, Mariella was reaching in her handbag.
'Gotta get hold of the handbag.’
It was the classic late 20th century yuppie weekend in the English countryside. Swimming in the river. Aussie Chardonnay on the lawn. Two hour long trips to the nearest Sainsbury’s to stock up on rocket. Drunken games of darts in the local watched by taciturn natives seething with resentment about property prices. And plenty of staring mournfully at Mariella's Gucci handbag as she bustled about the place.
Languid, Clarissa glanced from the chaise longue to her workaholic friend:
'Mariella, calm down, we're only here for a weekend...'
'Just making some tiramisu.'
We three skagheads oriented inwards on each other as Mariella did her foodie thing. What were we to do? The handbag was never out of Mariella's sight. The smack was in the handbag. Then Clarissa turned to me and said:
'Fuck her brains out.’
Besides Clarissa, Trevor was rubbing his hands together with glee. He joined in:
'Yeah, totally, go on, then when you're giving her one we can swap the gear.. for brickdust or something. She'll never know. Go on.... Now. Before she starts making another fucking Tuscan bean salad.'
Suitably commanded, I sidled into the kitchen. Debonair, suave, fairly drunk, I suggested to Mariella we retire. She agreed; we were agreed. I took her hand and we ducked under a blackened roofbeam and stepped into Mariella's nooked, alcoved, flounced, stippled, brass bedsteaded English Country Bedroom. And when I came out thirty minutes later, feeling flushed and ready, Clarissa was semi-comatose and Trevor was lying on the floor, sort of dribbling.
Together we all sat down and watched a video and ate Mariella's home-made tiramisu with shared spoons. And so and thereafter Clarissa and Trevor and I spent the next thirty-six hours taking it in turns to clandestinely nip downstairs to the tiny bathroom to do our thing.
At the end of the weekend as we stood in the piny kitchen of her country cottage Mariella turned and said to me:
'I'm really really proud of you.'
'For not pestering me. For the drugs.'
'Yes. I thought you'd be... hassling me all weekend for this...' Mariella looked down at her handbag. Ceremoniously she unclasped the gilded clasp, and took out the wrap of heroin that now contained a gram of South Gloucestershire brickdust.
'Here.' Mariella said, handing over the wrap of dust-which-she-thought-was-drugs. 'Take it. You've done really well. Resisting all weekend. Take it, I know how much it means to you.'
The window of opportunity had opened wide. Wider. What could I do? I just..
'No,' I said, firmly. 'No. I don't want it.. Throw it away.'
Looking up at me:
'I'm sure.' I was jutting a manly jaw. 'Throw that... crap in the sink. I'm never going to touch it again.'
'You.. really mean this?'
'I really mean this. Go on.'
With a happy, and frankly admiring expression, Mariella took out the wrap of brickdust and emptied it into the big ceramic sink. Turning on the tap she watched the swirl of useless powder disappear and then she turned to me and gave me a soppy kiss on the cheek and said.
'Well done. My hero!'