The latest edition of BBC Radio 4’s Thinking Allowed is a special on ‘intoxication’ looking at the uses, abuses and social function of drugs through the ages.
It’s a fascinating programme in itself but it is peppered with vivid excerpts from how drugs, altered states and drug users have been described historically and are discussed currently.
One example is this wonderfully, painfully descriptive piece from writer Kingsley Amis who brilliantly captured the hangover:
Dixon was alive again. Consciousness was upon him before he could get out of the way; not for him the slow, gracious wandering from the halls of sleep, but a summary, forcible ejection. He lay sprawled, too wicked to move, spewed up like a broken spider-crab on the tarry shingle of the morning. The light did him harm, but not as much as looking at things did; he resolved, having done it once, never to move his eye-balls again. A dusty thudding in his head made the scene before him beat like a pulse. His mouth had been used as a latrine by some small creature of the night, and then as its mausoleum. During the night, too, he’d somehow been on a cross-country run and then been expertly beaten up by secret police. He felt bad.
Oh, and Happy 2013.