Never Too Late!

Never Too Late!
any resemblance to anyone real or imaginary is mere bad luck
we are all lying in the gutter, but some of us are trying to get up


More about morphine

"I don't like the word 'addict' because it has terrible connotations," Root says one day, as they are sunning themselves on the afterdeck. "Instead of slapping a label on you, the Germans would describe you as Morphiumsuchtig. The verb suchen means to seek. So that might be translated, loosely, as 'morphine seeky' or even more loosely as 'morphine-seeking'. I prefer 'seeky' because it means you have an inclination to seek morphine."

"What the fuck are you talking about?" Shaftoe says.

"Well, suppose you have a roof with a hole in it. That means it is a leaky roof. It's leaky all the time - even if it's not raining at the moment. But it's only leaking when it happens to be raining. In the same way, morphine-seeky means that you always have this tendency to look for morphine, even if you are not looking for it at the moment. But I prefer both of them to 'addict', because they are adjectives modifying Bobby Shaftoe instead of a noun that obliterates Bobby Shaftoe."

-conversation between Enoch Root and Bobby Shaftoe in the novel Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson 1999)



Why is Mike H writing about all of this? Logically, I suppose there can only be a limited number of reasons:

-some sort of exhibitionism

-Mike H believes his writing is really good and will entertain people, or

-he is in pathetic desperation waiting for the chance email that will save his life to drop into his inbox.

Realgem photography: many good pictures but realgem regrets that at the moment the resources are not available to publish them.


Dreams and the street outside

I am lost in India... I am lost in this dream... incomprehensibly vast, vastly incomprehensible... A mad network of Goan train stations with Portuguese names... Potholed highways cutting through jungle forest... I am searching for something in an incomprehensibly huge place...

Emerge blinking into the sunshine in the street... Scummy, half-way elegant but wearing 5-day-old clothes... Drug-dealing here is an incomprehensible business, a game of glances and strange little gestures down the street... I don't understand anything... Walk up and down the street looking for the man... Weird Maroccies hiss at me from shadows, call me il Portoghese for some reason... Why can't this be easy like in London?


What is that previous cryptic post supposed to mean? That I flee south for Milan, seeking a place where I know no dealers, where the food is good, the women beautiful, the weather clement... Somewhere to get healthy again... I walk onto the plane with a ginger beer bottle full of methadone and a mineral water bottle of liquid ketamine for my old friend C__.

Know him from early London years when he was, by his own description, a complete bum. So was I, come to think of it. Now conscientious worker and early riser, owner (!) of an apartment in what the Italians call a palazzo (block built around internal courtyard) on the outskirts of Milan. He's house-sitting for his adoptive Italian family and I'm left, mostly, to my own devices, until Mr Carah of bostumana (look sidebar, motherfucker) join me...

I sweat... shiver... pace... sweat... shiver... Drink cheap red with lorazepam to oblivion... By day 5 I am still sick... Hot flushes, cold burns... By day 5 I crumble... I live next to a bombed-out derelict block which seems to be full of Maroccy smack-dealers speaking the same half-ass Spanish as me... There are shifty Maroccy types smoking heroin off foil in every damn dumped car with a smashed-in windshield...

I cry to myself and then feel pleased to still have emotions and then feel self-loathing for my sentimental snivelling self-pity... I'm queing junk-sick in the supermarket and there is that Manu Chao song on the radio Que voy a hacer, je ne sais plus... and I choke back tears again... miserable fucking self-pitying excuse for a human...

I give up trying to give up and start shooting this grey-brown excuse for heroin here up my arm again... Retitle realgem, this proud ummm whatever it was meant to be... experiment in narrative or independent journalism, retitle it Weblog of a Dope Fiend... Where will this all end?

Faced with a power so eminently greater than myself, with news of the new Pope (the cowardly Obersturmbannpontiff Ratzinger... this man is supposed to be the closest person to God on this earth? Read some discussion here...) on every front page and TV channel, thoughts turn to religion... Wish I could pray... Perhaps I should go on pilgrimage to Rome... Perhaps that's what I'll do, this summer... Take the "Strange Road" to Santiago de Compostela...

When I return to London (it doesn't matter where I am any more) I will publish the 2nd of my series of things I can't find anywhere on the internet... A special translation of the Inqaar-e-Iblees of Allama Iqbaal, in which Satan the rebellious angel addresses God... Something to look forward to for you, my bizarrely increasing readership...


Mikey Camel flees South; agents of the Invisible U'lema follow

Profound respect to any nation that takes coffee and ice-cream this seriously.


This is finally really, really it

April 5 - abandon the book project, with a sigh of relief if truth be told. In no state for this: nodding off over my computer keyboard, addressing potential sources in a funereal narcotic slur. Clarence House controls too tightly anyone connected in any way to the royal wedding ceremony. The major newspapers are paying thousands of pounds for interviews. We can't do anything. We tried - it's like detective work, trying to unearth sources. Fun while it lasted. Made a little money.

April 9 - Lazy enters his 26th year a peeled ball of exposed nerves. Pain returns; laughter returns; feeling returns; lust returns - a whirlpool violently churned as they pour back in. I laugh while my skin crawls and the cold burns and that awful twitchy electric sensation spread. This is easy. It's almost comical, how easy it is. I freeze inside and shiver, and then I pour with sweat; me and the gypsy princess are gonna go and visit S___, so I get my coat ready and giggle hysterically and wait for a hot wave to hit before emerging into the cold outside. How can a mere drug do all of this?


In a city far away, a city with minarets and hazy yellow sunsets and dust hanging in the air, a city that smells of sewage, opium and jasmine... (This is a highly romanticized way to describe Peshawar, for that is where we are...)

Zeb owns the cigarette shop by the cemetary, sells me charas from Kabul, and is a dirty old bastard. ‘Hey Michael, can your friends in England send us some blue videos? Here the copies are always shit.’ - ‘Hey Michael, do you fuck that girl, whats-her-name? Can I have a turn one time?’ - ‘Hey Michael, we’re going to get a girl - only 50 rupees each. What do you mean, no? Don’t like fucking? Everything is possible...’ - ‘Hey Michael, look at my dick, it’s covered in sores. I caught something from a dirty whore. Your father’s a doctor, you know about these things, you look at it and tell me what’s wrong.’

Today, it's ‘Hey Michael, are you a Muslim?’ I shake my head. ‘Repeat after me,’ Zeb says. "La-illaha-illalah..." He recites the creed with Mike H repeating, stumbling over the Arabic lams and ‘ains. Zeb nods his head, satisfied. ‘That’s it?’ Mike H asks. - ‘That’s it.’

Zeb fixes a carefully packed cigarette laced with Afghani black into a magnificent wooden cigarette holder and lights it. He sits there like a fat, greasy Buddha and clouds of blue smoke rise around him. His features relax into an expression of profound peace and tranquility.

‘Sometimes, Michael, give also thanks to God,’ he says, smokes with great relish, passes the joint.

[end of interlude]

April 11 - Sometimes, give also thanks to God. I thank God for the soft and warm figure of la gitana to hold me through the first difficult nights. I thank God I still have friends. I thank God for my job (no regular hours; I remain absolute master of my own time and cannot imagine the regimented hell of a real 9-to-5 life) and that it is one thing I haven't lunched out. I thank God I still have money and am credit-worthy and for the £1000 cheque that arrived in the mail today; I thank God for the bottles of vodka I can easily afford, the eighths of skunk, the diazepam, temazepam, tramadol and methadone that I need to knock myself out. I thank God, for all that I have been a junkie and border-line insane, that I have been self-contained and self-sustaining and that I don't lay my trip on others.

I'm going away soon... I feel... I feel... stretched...


Giving something back to the internet

There are some things I just haven't been able to find on the internet. I am in possession of at least three such things. Here is the first of them: the Golden Verses of Pythagoras, in a version which is ostensibly a translation by Aleister Crowley of the verses as recorded by Lysias who was a follower of Pythagoras. It is right:::here:::


Notes from the underground

What is happening to realgem?

Astonishment of astonishments. Lazy has been commissioned to research and write a book (a short one, albeit). By Thursday lunchtime. This probably implies some 18-hour working days ahead.

So the boss phoned me up and asked me to write a book by the end of next week. He says to find myself a female assistant, as interviewees (yeah, we have to do all that as well as write it) are often less threatened when approached by a woman. So I arrange to fly the lovely female assistant here from Milan at extremely short notice. This is nice. Feel like an international player, here. "Hi Z__, got a job for you, I'm buying you a ticket to London, how long do you need to get ready?"

This was the first clean day after another relapse. Truth is: Lazy never did stop taking opiate chemicals, whatever he told you. Well, for a few days maybe. So, the story is: write a book in one week, while withdrawing from heroin. Does this remind me of William Burroughs and a famous book he wrote? Illustrious precedents...

But shit, this one is to do with the Charles and Camilla royal wedding thing... We will have Charles having sex with giant millipedes and Camilla selling her body for Dr Benway to use it as a laboratory.

The going is definitely getting weird, here. Time for the weird to get pro. Concentrate.

postscript to the note - Why take heroin?
I am profoundly sick, sick, sick of stunningly beautiful women (spoiled self-satisfied bitches) who have become accustomed to instant obedience by a life-time of adulation by men who eagerly ask "Off what?" when commanded to jump. Heroin grants me freedom from beautiful women. Sometimes, help me God, I need that freedom... just for a bit of breathing space... You can call me a junkie and some people do. But why does no one make disapproving remarks about my dependency on beautiful women? I wish I were homosexual, really I do. I tried it once but I didn't like it. But I suppose these people have their own problems, too...

But you cannot separate the sexual drive from the creative drive, the force of anti-entropy that drives to write, to create, to push things forward... Kill the sex drive and you kill the primary motive force... Energy is energy and you cannot so easily split it into categories... It is maybe a misnomer to call it the sex drive; all these energies are manifestations of the same primal life-energy...

An allegorical photo-essay

The decision is made once again ("Even if you have broken your vows a thousand times - come, come, yet again come/For ours is not a caravan of despair")... the monkey shall be cast into the depths of Hades once more... the ritual deleting of dealer numbers over breakfast in a cafe some of you will find familiar...

Escape is not so easy... Circumstance conspires... Come evening, and somehow we find ourselves in possession once again... It is almost as if there were a conscious agency at work, engineering ghastly mocking coincidences...

Ext: night. Detail

Ext: night. Detail.

On a Lovecraft tip... unholy brain chemistries... reveal non-Euclidian angles which should not be... which reveal the supra-dimensional path to an unholy church...

Trapped! Herr Otter commandeers a vehicle

But there is no escape from the ghastly pagan puppet-god