Andrew McMillen

Book review: Talking Smack: Honest Conversations About Drugs

Talking Smack: Honest Conversations About DrugsTalking Smack: Honest Conversations About Drugs by Andrew McMillen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Drugs and musicians go together. At least, that’s the popular wisdom. A couple of the interviewees in this collection of face-to-face interviews question why this is, given the prevalence of drug use in the rest of society, but I guess the conventional view is that it’s expected.

What’s exceptional about this book is that it doesn’t seek the sort of salaciousness which marks other writings about drug habits, controlled or otherwise. There’s no exploration of the joy of getting maggoted, of being off chops. Sure, some of the interviewees speak fondly of their habits – but the book doesn’t exist to glorify the procedure or marginalise the user. It exists to spark discussion about use.

Musicians are lightning rods for drug coverage, and I believe that with this book, the author is attempting to encourage some kind of discussion beyond the basic narrative of useless junkies and redeemed-former-users into something with a bit of nuance. And let’s face it, reading about Steve Kilbey’s heroin use (and love of yoga) is more interesting than hearing it from a regular Joe. (more…)