I’m sure many of us have lost count of the number of times we’ve had a few drinks and suddenly fancied the white stuff. It first occurs at the start of a house party when riding that early gin fuelled wave of social excitement and expectation. But as we always inevitably discover, it will only descend into a state of bathroom locked seriousness with a friend and a female random where you talk over each other about life wasting partners and your general anxiety.
And then you awake the next day with light forehead sheen and some vague unscratchable itch that you just can’t reach. You ask yourself the same questions, why did I do coke again? Was it worth it? Then the devastating realisation dawns that it was just as disappointing and depressing as it was last time. These thoughts darken your morning as the mournful tolls of truth squash your drum beaten head further down into your pillow.
Oh sure you can get up out of bed, go for a walk and even out to brunch, it sure does kill the hangover. But what about the shaken torment facing your psyche? Well it’s not having such a great time. In fact, its preparing to don a white linen one-piece and cart itself off to a West-Country ‘wellness’ retreat.
And even if we refrain from doing it ever again, we relive those same sad experiences every time another friend or floppy haired love interest produces a small packet from their pocket. And then proceeds to bend over a bathroom sink to sniff its contents.
Maybe it’s the property slump, or the lack of a definitive fashion or music scene today. But whatever it is, millennial coke binging is a recreation that has become random, directionless, and unhinged from any cultural movement that made it so definitive throughout the 80s and 90s.
So on from Gordon Gecko, Jordan Belfort and the moneybags businessmen of the 1990s we have the breadline millennial coke habit in 2018. And it’s for absolutely no reason. It’s not new, it’s not exciting, and as we are all inevitably discovering, it’s certainly not that fun nor attainable for our basically paid generation.
Whilst there are no cultural factors to explain why our generation takes so much coke, we do have some pretty pathetic social reasons for it. Let’s start with employment related malaise. And this unfortunately is related to living in London/
The great migration started some point between us leaving university and returning from travelling. Desperate to get a job, any job so we could move in with our friends and pay our rent, we took the first one that came our way. Barking ‘yes’ ‘yes’ ‘yes’ down the phone, most of us accepted the offer without even considering it. And whoever you are, I bet your first job had the prefix ‘Account’,‘Executive’ or both in your new title.
Entrusted to communicate with clients via the intimidating platforms of email and telephone, it was nice to know that your first class Master’s degree in medieval literature, gained from the gilded halls of Bristol University was worth something. So you have your mentally unchallenging yet physically exhausting job and overpriced flat with the friends you love. But what will you do at weekends? The answer? Take cocaine and lots of it.
From Mayfair smoking areas to the wine stained sofas of flat-shares in Battersea, the weekend intention is to call “your guy” and order a crate of coke so you can chat, stay up carving lines into a kitchen table, and hope you don’t lose your bowels somewhere down the toilet of a stranger’s guest bathroom. Not only this, you do it to stick a middle finger up to the mundane job you trundle off to every Monday morning. And hey presto! You’ve become a weekend cokehead before you’ve even clocked it.
There is a reason why bankers take the stuff; it keeps you awake, alert, and serious. It’s perfect for a job where you have to deploy your critical thinking skills from eight-till-late. And that is exactly what makes cocaine a lame, boring and often depressing recreational drug for people outside of work hours.
Taking it straightens you up, piles on the social aggression to whoever is unfortunate enough to be sitting next to you, and most disturbing of all, it undoes all the lovely boozy work your overpriced espresso martinis were doing.
It’s funny that no matter your profession whether its freelance musical hippy or digital marketing executive, cocaine makes a depressed middle-aged banker of us all. It keeps us up all night, but not in a haze of euphoric silliness and cuddling. Instead it marches us into a straight-backed zone of judgment pushiness and a sense of inert sadness. And before long you’ll be getting a lap dance sobbing quiet tears over someone’s booty whilst you tell your colleague that your wife just “doesn’t understand you anymore”. It doesn’t matter if you’re single Sally from Clapham North; too much cocaine will make you that balding banker with marriage troubles.
The only reason cocaine is socially acceptable is because of its association with the banking community, and therefore with wealth and prosperity. If people made the decision to switch their drug of choice from cocaine to say, MDMA or Ketamine, they would be dubbed dirty wastrels by the rest of us. As those drugs are only taken at festivals or by Camden dwelling squatters, apparently.
But in reality people are much nicer warm and happier when they are on that stuff. At least they don’t get that bleak existential crisis on someone’s sofa at 4am wondering who they are and why they hate their job so much. But that doesn’t matter, because cocaine is the smart, rich and upwardly mobile person’s drug, and that’s all that matters in London.
It’s a sad thing when we start looking back at pure alcohol taking and having a few cigs as ‘nostalgic innocent fun’, but that’s where we’re at now. But there is something warm, fuzzy and generally fun about only poisoning yourself with booze and tobacco. Where after a night of revelry you fall into bed in the early hours, head softly buzzing and rocking you into a calm and cozy slumber.
And surely this is a better alternative to finding yourself wild-eyed, nervous and chomping the legs of somebody’s kitchen table at 7am? For if you take the latter option you know you will be lying in a darkened room mid Sunday afternoon restless and unsure of whether to ‘get on it’ again or fall to the floor and cry out the tension in your troubled and amphetamine addled soul?
And if we have really got to the stage where we are still talking about ‘having the fear’ on the Wednesday after our Saturday coke binge, maybe we should all turn to the quiet innermost part of ourselves and ask them at what point do they feel we have crossed the line?
So if you want to get out of the expensive and futile cycle of taking the white stuff at the weekend, then remove yourself from that 3am situation when people make that call and ‘get the coke in’. And. Just. Go. Home.