Reefer Madness – Hawkwind and One Direction

I am shocked that anyone should find a story about pop stars using drugs shocking.  It turns out that the handsome and wholesome One Direction have been caught on film smoking marijuana.  Compared to the behaviour of rock stars in the seventies only smoking marijuana would probably have been enough to count as wholesome, or even as conservative.  If a story had got out that Hawkwind for example had been caught knocking back vitamin tablets and eating a salad that would have been more newsworthy.

Of course the technology to film people was much less ubiquitous in the seventies and so we don’t have any documentary evidence of what life on the road was really like for Hawkwind.  But we do have their music, and that doesn’t leave a lot of doubt.  On their Amazing Sounds Astounding Music they give us a song called Reefer Madness.  So they weren’t keeping secret the fact that they were smoking dope.  One of the lines is “last night I was smoking dope”.  We sort of guessed that guys, but thanks for confirming it.

The song goes on to describe an hallucination whereby one of the narrator’s fingers falls from his hand, crawls across the floor and steals his stash.  It is a gruesome image and the timbre of the song is anything but joyful.  Far from glorifying dope smoking the song serves as a warning that reefers do in indeed lead to madness.  I heard the song before I was offered any marijuana.  Although it wasn’t a conscious logical choice, I have a feeling that it at least played a part in my decision to steer clear of the stuff.

I don’t regret never having done this particular drug.  It doesn’t seem to offer anything I want.  I have a feeling that the alcohol that I have freely imbibed over the years may have done me more harm than weed would have, but that is another story.  But it is ironic that the furore over a joint being smoked by One Direction has probably made the stuff more glamorous than a bunch of flagrant pot heads did.

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