Saturday, 17 March 2012

Why am I never approached by drug-dealers or prostitutes?

While I was writing my previous post – about why drugs shouldn’t be legalised – I realised that I’m one of those people who never gets offered illegal substances. Obviously I’m too old now, but you’d have thought that someone might had sidled up to me in my twenties or thirties to try to lay some good shit on me. (Or is it bad shit? One gets so confused.)

The closest I ever came – I think – was back in 1971. I was sitting in the back of a car in Regent Street at midnight while the two addicts I was working with on a holiday job (selling revolting, faux-African velvet paintings door-to-door in the suburbs) went to pick up their government-supplied heroin prescriptions at the all-night chemist in Piccadilly Circus. (They weren't addicted to heroin, actually - they mostly sold it so they could buy the psychedelics of which they were genuinely enamoured.)

When they got back, there was a brief muttered conversation between them which I got the impression was about whether to corrupt their 18-year old colleague by offering to sell him his first "hit". I was just wondering whether to make my excuses and leave when they evidently decided against it, and we drove off. Either they’d taken a moral stance, or they simply wanted to sell it to someone with more money. Probably the former – they were both actually rather nice chaps, and I’d been hugely entertained by their account of what it’s like to drive a car on a motorway while bombed out of your gourd on acid. (Again, I may not have the argot off pat.) Or perhaps they didn’t fancy having to explain to my mother why her son was unconscious and covered in vomit (or dead). "Sorry Mrs Grønmark - we only sold him a little bit. Honest!" 

I’d like to pretend I was relaxed about all this – but "Mama Told Me Not To Come" kept going through my head during the three days I spent with them (I didn't turn up for work the next day, and never went back). Fortunately, I simply wasn’t temperamentally cut out for a walk on the wild side. Maybe stoners can sense that.

The BBC might strike you as a squeaky-clean sort of place, and on the whole, it is (news folk, in particular, are incredibly strait-laced), but I briefly worked in a department where a trio of executives (none of them long-term BBC types - they were all gone within a few mnonths) were strongly suspected of being “friends of Charlie”. Yet they never offered me a snort! And later, after I’d spent a year wondering why some of my colleagues in the TV department seemed unnaturally “sparkly” a lot of the time, a very senior executive there publicly admitted finding it tiresome dealing with co-workers when they were as high as a kite. I felt quite left out!

As for unwonted approaches of a sexual nature (apart from easily dodging a few pathetic  little kiddy-fiddlers when I was a chubby-cheeked lad) I’ve had exactly two – or, at least, two that I’ve been aware of: it’s hard to know exactly what foreign women are jabbering about. Besides, I’m often not that quick on the uptake. I remember being horrified when a prostitute approached me in Sussex Gardens as crowds streamed toward Hyde Park for a celebration of the Chas/Di marriage – “How dare you!” I bellowed at her.

And then there was the bizarre occasion when a little sailor – complete with bell-bottoms and with his cap set at a jauntily alluring angle on his tiny head - approached me as I was heading across Westminster Bridge late one night. “Fancy a drink, Mister?” he squeaked. I burst out laughing – just couldn’t help it. I’ve been taken for German and American and I’ve certainly been mistaken for a bodyguard on several occasions – but that’s the only time that someone has acted on the assumption I was a homosexual. Or perhaps he was just lonely and wanted a drink. Or he was on the game and dressed as a sailor to signal his orientation and availability.

I once spent two months travelling around the States via Greyhound. It was only when I got back home I realised that I had not once been offered drugs or been approached by a prostitute of either sex. I was looking pretty cool at the time, having taken off a lot of weight, so I wasn’t exactly physically repellent. My hair was pretty long and I was wearing a nifty tan leather jacket, so I didn’t look like a member of Spiro Agnew’s Silent Majority (which, of course, I was, really). And, while big, I don’t think I looked threateningly aggressive (although I was once arrested in Natchez, Mississippi on suspicion of being an escaped multiple child-killer).

So how did I manage to float through some of the sleaziest parts of America for weeks on end without ever being propositioned?

Unfortunately my apparent immunity doesn’t extend to tourists or con-artists. The first category, invariably clutching maps, probably assume that, being large, I won’t feel threatened by being apprioached by a stranger. As for East European women  or Irishmen with ludicrous stories about how they’ve lost all their money and could I sub them £10 for a rail ticket or a square meal, I presume they all think I look retarded.


  1. Je n'ai pas la meme probleme, cher Scotty. Mon calendre est rempli avec les noms de beaucoup de hotty totty, si vous connaissez ce que je veux dire. Peut etre vous voudriez visiter comme moi La Maison Bonki Bonki poue parler au sujet d'affaires d'Ugande.

  2. For what it is worth, D.S-K., your comment made me laugh out loud. Thanks.

  3. Merci M. le SDG. Quant a moi, j'etais toujours le plus grand fromage globale en ce qui concerne les matieres financielles. Avec mon ami Gordon, j'ai sauve le monde. Mais malheureusement, si un homme doit penser avec son petit tinky winky, au lieu de sa cerveille massive et formidable, un disastre doit arriver. Et un autre chose... oh, pardonnez moi, c'est Fifi sur le trombone et elle a offre, comme en dit en Anglais, un 'hot date'. Au revoir losers!

  4. Je me demande depuis longtemps M. SDG, just exactly what relation are you to the esteemed CDG whose cross Winston Churchill had to bear?

  5. We have a popular phrase in this country, Dominique, which I believe translates as "encoulez-vous" in the language of lurrrvvv. JFDI, DSK - you dirty little devil!

  6. D.S-K. I hear with alarm that you are being arraigned for pimping and organizing orgies for the rich and powerful in Lille [why Lille?], but that you are not denying attending the orgies. Life has passed me by. If you need to earn some money why don't you go into the Formula 1 business and hook up with our very own Max Mosly. He's an enthusiastic orgy man. There's a Bernie Ecclestone joke in here somewhere.

  7. And to think how well his career started. All was set fair for success. Where did it all go so sadly wrong?

  8. Je ne sais pas. Tant pis. Le monde d'affaires financielles ne m'interesse a ce moment parce que j'ai decouvert la musique superbe des Fulminators. Je voudrais conjoindre avec eux, comme bass guitar. Est ce qu'ils ont un groupie magnet?