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


I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.

(Bhagavad Gita - famously quoted by Oppenheimer on witnessing the first atomic test explosion)
He who is free from the notion of Ego, whose intellect is unattached, though he annihilating all the worlds, he slayeth not, nor is he bound by the results of his actions.

(Bhagavad Gita)


The City of Light.

They may be funeral pyres burning day and night, but it's still the city of lights.

Burning means learning
Cremation is education

Jai Kali Maa

Until 1837, every Friday a boy was sacrificed at the big Kali temple in Calcutta. The Kali-worshiping Thuggee strangled and buried as sacrifices their victims with lead-weighted yellow kerchiefs.

In the Kali temple beside Manikarnika Ghat in Benares where the funeral pyres burn fierce day and night one can openly buy brown sugar and opium and white heroin.

All this we know.

But is Kali a dark goddess?


Still in the picture here!

I snipped the stitches from my head wound with nail-clippers and drenched everything in Dettol.

Most indicators better at the moment.

Is it better to just surrender to fate or is it possible to fight it?


"You had learnt something. That always feels at first as if you had lost something."

(George Bernard Shaw)

There is a strange convoluted story that this thought encapsulates. I will tell it later.

I lost all sorts of things, including my mind. Hope that no one ever maliciously spikes your drink with datura (deliriant hallucinogen of nightmares). You will naturally wake up several days later on some temple steps overlooking the Ganges, totally cleaned out. Maybe with luck you will still have your clothes. With luck you will not have taken a vicious blow from a steel bar across your head laying it open to the skull, and have a vague memory of cotton thread stitches at Marwari, the people's hospital, the sensation of the needle going through your flesh and feeling no pain at all. Strange flashes of huddling in the night, naked in a Kali temple, talking to faces of entities floating inside the walls. No memory at all of being treated like a street lunatic or of being taken in by a compassionate rickshaw driver and given brown sugar as a tranquiliser.

These things you will discover later, after you wake up in a filthy room that you don't recognise, overlooking the sunrise over the river. Seemingly once again smoking filthy brown powder because there is a darkness that won't lift. Once again playing main suspect and chief investigator at the same time as you try to uncover where the missing days went.

If you are going to be an idiot like that, at least hope for chloral hydrate or Rohypnol, which are pretty good to knock someone out without the psychotic effects. But why spend the money when you can just grab a handful of datura from the garden?

Oh shit, and it's one of the oldest tricks in the book, I've heard it so many times before.

Everything happens for a reason.

Not necessarily a very good one though.


A month and it still rains. Everything is damp, clammy to the touch, and there is no way to dry it. The air is heavy with water even when the rain stops. Matches won't light. Clothes won't dry. Everything smells of mildew or rot. My lungs rot in my chest from breathing water.


enshrouded in monsoon cloud and never-ending drizzle. cocooned in mist.

take the high road.

now the cloud is below, and the mountain stretches upward, impossibly, forever. the road zig-zags up the mountainside in an impossible 20km traffic jam of churning mud, broken-down trucks, pouring waterfalls and choking smoke. from nowhere, pani puri men with trays on long spindly legs appear along the length of the snarling snake of traffic, like mushrooms from spores that lie dormant until just the right circumstances appear.

what if we are dead and this is the afterlife and we just don't know it yet?


the stench of psychosis in the early dawn
he stirs and wakes and moves a pawn


Flew via Kuwait which was a first. It hadn't occurred to me it was the main hub for Iraq. Next to the gate for the Delhi flight was a direct Washington flight that wasn't on the boards and monitors and didn't seem to be announced. It was full of State Department people and mercenaries or spooks whose cigarettes I smoked cause I had run out. Overhearing their conversations gave me a sort of chill to think crazy rednecks like this are trying to run another country.


It is the most shattering experience of a young man's life when he awakens and quite reasonably says to himself: "I will never play The Dane." When that moment comes, one's ambition ceases...
That would be Uncle Monty in Withnail & I.

I act out that Hamlet to-be-or-not-to-be drama every goddamn day...

What, you don't?


another allegorical sunset photo or something
"so many anyways"


Catching bullets with my teeth

Green hills and enemies
These things they make us sentimental inside
Your words are gelignite
Or just another sentimental aside...


Don't know what to do next?

Keep breathing.

Breathing is very important.


"The soul is dyed the colour of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny — it is the light that guides your way."



"Detox or Die"

This is the original BBC documentary about David Graham Scott taking ibogaine to cure his long-term heroin and methadone addiction, mentioned in these pages before. The fact is, I had never actually seen it, or bothered or maybe not wanted to watch it. It's only now that I see what Ed Conn, who talked me through the ibogaine space on the phone, looks like. On camera, at least. I actually only watched it after David posted it on Ed Conn's Facebook (cf. earlier post on Facebook friends I've never met - Edward is another one I would never turn away from my door.)

I recognise many things about the experience, as he describes it and films himself. I can tell where he is. It is odd I should never have watched it before. I knew about it, we published an interview with David Graham Scott, I researched everything about ibogaine back then when I was put in touch with someone who could get me some, but I never watched this before. It is really very good.

Four Lions

One thing I will say about that movie is that it would never have been made in the US. They couldn't make a comedy about al-Qaeda terrorism.

But it has moments of high comic genius, like the bit with the snipers firing at the charity marathon with runners in costume. -This is control. The target is a bear. -I see a bear. Clear to fire? -Yes, engage the bear. (The bear falls.) -No, that's a wookie! -Is a wookie a bear? -Negative, a wookie is not a bear. -I took out the bear. -That wasn't a bear, it was a wookie! Wait, there's the Honey Monster. Control, is the Honey Monster a bear?

Or when armed cops burst into the kebab shop where Faisal is holding a single Muslim kebab shop guy hostage, and they shoot the hostage. -Are you alright mate? one of the cops asks Faisal. -Yeah, he says, and detonates the bomb. The spokesman of the Met Anti-Terror unit makes a TV statement: "Our position is, that the police shot the right man, and the wrong man blew up." Which sounds like some of the things they said during the de Menezes debacle.

But of course, they were all old jokes in that movie between me and the malung, anyway. And they could have thrown in "cause it's our deen, innit" somewhere as well. Barry was obviously based on Dave's mate Attila, otherwise known as Abu Abdullah. All in all, I would have expected more from Chris Morris, who brought us the infamous Brass Eye pedophilia edition (watch it if you haven't seen it before).


(the ceilings have eyes and so do the floors
and so do the faces nailed to the walls....)

Bright spring dawn sunlight streams in and still I can't sleep...


Phase IV and the 101st monkey

Phase IV, originally from 1973, is available to view streamed on - it's one of the free ones, you don't even have to register for the site. I had never heard of the film until yesterday but then someone talked about when we were sitting around. I was electrified, galvanised when I heard what it was about, ranted excitedly at everyone, went to watch it right away.

In the Arizona desert, scientists discover ants behaving in ways that ants just don't. Different species co-operating and communicating, building strange structures in the desert, setting out to drive first species that are ant predators and then humans out of their area, declaring war on humankind. Not "It Came from the Desert" giant ants, just normal little ants that have a new agenda.

It was uncanny - you may remember even from this blog - this has been a theme I have been playing with for years. I am obsessed with the thought that, while I believe we will reach the stars from this planet one day, it may not be us, but the evolutionary descendants of the ants who cross the interstellar void... Once when I began to write it as a script, I began with "Scientists discover an ant colony in the Arizona desert somewhere that seems to have begun developing technology...", down to that detail about Arizona.

You know the 100th monkey phenomenon, of course? After the 100 monkeys have reached their critical mass and suddenly monkey minds everywhere flash with new knowledge, and you're one of the monkeys left thinking: "Ahhhh - that seems so obvious now! Why didn't I catch on in the beginning like those other monkeys?"

I feel like the 101st monkey... So. Somebody already had the idea. And somebody else just changed the name of their band to 101st Monkey, try looking it up on Myspace or something.

It is a very interesting film. It used the then-new technique of ultra-close up photography of ants, and real ants star collectively (unwillingly or unwittingly) as a major character of the film. It is not a B movie; more thoughtful than that. It has beautiful cinematography and some clever lines. And some stupid ones. It is different from my vision, where ants evolve high technology spontaneously (in the film, it ends up being some sort of alien radiation that speeds up evolution - which gets the humans too... hence Phase IV of evolution on this planet).

There's a nod to Un Chien Andalou, with ants crawling out from a hole in the palm of one of their dead human victims.

I am in touch with Hollywood people about doing the script for the remake.

Un Chien Andalou

got me a movie
i want you to know
slicing up eyeballs
i want you to know
girlie so groovy
i want you to know
don't know about you
but i am un chien andalusia
wanna grow
up to be
be a debaser


Being switched on hip media heads, you doubtless already know all the paranoid stuff about Facebook, how In-Q-Tel (CIA-controlled venture capital fund) invested loads of money in it (for use as a data-mining laboratory I guess), cops and employers and benefits and tax investigators and spooks trawling all over, all that stuff.

Yes, good to be aware of things, but whatever. It has allowed me to re-connect with people I would never have known what happened to them. I grew up in three countries and everyone I knew dispersed to thirty or forty more, and it has been nice to see someone you never expected to to become an Orthodox priest or raise a kid in a lesbian marriage or become a pilot or a professional poker player or join the French Foreign Legion.

Then there is this phenomenon of people who just promiscuously collect Facebook friends, just anyone, add 'em all, like it's a popularity contest. Get all these requests from "and who the fuck are you" people? "Uh, well, it said we might know each other cause we wrote an email to the same person once or something."

I do have some Facebook friends I have never met, though, and some of them do sort of feel like actual friends. Alex - (S)wine Alex - is a good one - I don't know who he is, but if he showed up at my door I would give him a place to live, feed him and get him extravagantly drunk without any questions. I'm also friends with Luke Reinhart, the guy who wrote The Dice Man, who is actually George Cockcroft, cause he seems to have liked my little review of his book. Oh, and with Andrew Bonner-Walker, who did Luke's website/Myspace for him, and who is producing a Dice Man film. And, yes, with Ed Conn, who guided me through the ibogaine space over the telephone (and David Graham Scott on camera).

When I last went to Afghanistan a couple years ago, it was about the time of the great Facebook explosion. At the time, the privacy defaults left most pages wide open to people who didn't realise. I joined the Afghanistan network, with its fake profiles (in Arabic and Pashto) for OBL, Mullah Omar, etc etc. I found servicemen's pages with wall posts like "Hey it'll be great when you guys from the 7-2 take over from us at FOB whatever on May 5 - we'll have a party when we're out of here. You guys are gonna have it so easy with the new Apaches covering your asses, but they've been saying we'll get em next week for a month now" or whatever. (And talking about paranoia - there were loads of weird goings-on on that Afghanistan network...)

I shot off loads of messages to loads of different people on different pretexts and with different stories and met up with some in Kabul. This is how I got to know Alex - Kandahar Alex - whose Facebook updates normally get me the big stories from Kandahar/Kabul days (or months) before the BBC or the press - and a few other people on the Kabul international scene. This is also how I met Wali Ahmad, who showed me his town.

Oh and then there are the Brazilian girls, of course, but they were socially promiscuous to begin with, before Facebook.

"Everyone I know is on Facebook, but everyone I want to know is on MySpace..." (-Zoe)


Моя цыганская - Владимир Высотский

(in the morning everything will be fine.... just a little more time, a little more time.... but morning comes, and everything is wrong... you smoke on an empty stomach, or you drink away a hangover....... everything is wrong - in the bar, in the church, everything is wrong....)
Lazy now seems determined to take back everything that drugs have taken away from him in his life

Mind you, drugs have immeasurably improved his personality, too


monsters in the deep

fuck with the abyss
and the abyss fucks also with you


and then it's just chin high, head up, and walk it where it needs to be walked


the demon-possessed can spit out nails, jagged pieces of glass, father amorth tells

i walk around spitting match-sticks

i am desperate. i buy lottery tickets. i would suck cock for a break.

i don't believe the things i find myself doing, and this time around, they don't even feel entertaining or worth writing about

life isn't a competition in brinksmanship. the palette doesn't have to be these colours of endless rainswept brutalist urban decay. there's no need to be shivering in these poisonous states

i should have taken photos or you won't believe me

it's just more of the same thing over and over again, a little bit more robbed of its magic, a little less beautiful


it's cold

i miss you, baby


A short visit to Hindustan

After four days of living in train stations, airports, sleeping in luggage racks entwined with sudra labourers from deepest Bihar, living on guavas with salt and chilli pepper, popping hypnotics at an alarming rate which I don't realise until I see the empty cards in the side pocket of my bag - because I feel a nagging sense of unwellness, an unhealthy sweat, and I have left behind someone I love - and because of course Benares has its silks, and its temples, and its ancient pilgrims waiting to die by the sacred river, and of course it still has its prostitutes - and its powder unlimited too, and I am weak and sweating out opiate metabolites. Maybe to you in a holy city you must be holy, but here everything you do is holy by definition.

After a tour of the alien south, I am finally back in Hindi country, and it feels good to know that even after ten years, I am no longer completely an uncomprehending stranger in a strange land - fellow travellers either undeservedly congratulate or rib me for my lurching heavily urdu-leaning hindi. By the second day in the train I feel the air getting hot heavy and wet with the air of the Arabian sea and know Bombay is near. Arrive, instantly engulfed and swallowed by the lunatic city, a giant pulsating pululating creature, a local train ride is like a particularly harsh full-body massage, and here there is the new generation too, sultry Indian college girls and neon lights of bars and clubs winking seductively.

Half-sleep, wake intermittently from disquieting dreams, in an airport that is too freezingly air-conditioned. And then it is into the tunnel of steel, first past the sandbagged emplacements outside the departure terminals and then surrender to the processing and rendering and petty humiliation we are subjected to these days for the privilege to fly. The plane is full of dark Dravidians speaking south Indian languages going to their servile jobs in the Gulf, the occasional Pakistani, an English convert to Islam.

In Muscat, Oman, the banking system does not seem to realise that all of my accounts are overdrawn to the maximum and put me well in credit, and I wonder whether I should take advantage and empty the duty-free shop. I settle for the traditional cigarettes and tobacco - I am trying to give up, but it is all at ten per cent of the UK price. Drug dealers and capitalists.

Mystified, I need to find an internet to contact my banks and see what this is all about. There is only one public one, in the business centre of the luxury Plaza VIP waiting room, so I charge 10 Omani Ryals to my abused Visa card for three hours of luxury - hot shower, wash my shirt collar, shave, breakfast like a king, Red Label unlimited. Very good value.

Earlier, I sat in the waiting room cafe sipping tepid tea and wondering at the number of people in military-type jackets with corporals' or sergeants' stripes on their sleeves. Why not full shoulder-boards with generals' or staff officers' tabs, I wondered? And instead of buying that awfully interesting looking Robert Fish (Fisk?) book, something about the great war for civilisation and the conquest of the Middle East, about decades of atrocity and injustice across the Middle East and Central Asia, decide to finish James Joyce's Ulysses on the last leg of the journey back to freezing London.

Stories from recent months hopefully follow soon.


"Ah well, everything happens for a reason."

Yes, but not a very good one.