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FREE VOLUME 9 NUMBER 2


PHOTOS: ATIBA JEFFERSON


K R 3W D E NI M C O. EL L IN G T O N / M U S K A / GR E C O K R 3W D E NI M .C O M


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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Detail from Fredrik Söderberg’s The Beginning of Magick I, 2008. Courtesy of Milliken Gallery.

VOLUME 9 NUMBER 2 Cover by Sean Vegezzi

ANIMALS VS. US Global Woes Are Forcing Creatures to Rise Up Against Humans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

BUD DIAMONDS Smuggling Black-Market Stones Out of Sierra Leone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

MAKING ME FEEL LIKE I’VE NEVER BEEN BORN I Got Rebirthed and It Was So Good . . . . . . . . . 19

THE LADY MULES OF MOROCCO Smuggling Black-Market Everything Out of Spain on Mum’s Hump. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

THE NUN RIVER MURDER MELEE Nigeria Is No Place for a Foreigner to Kill a Local . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

INTERVIEW WITH A KETAMINE CHEMIST Or to Be More Precise, an Arylcyclohexylamine Chemist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44

I(TALIANS) BELIEVE IN ANARCHY! Let’s See Europe Pogp—Goooooooo! . . . . . . . . 26

ALL TIED UP IN LOVE A Kern Valentine Special . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52

12 Masthead 14 Employees 48 DOs & DON’Ts Guest-written by Rob Delaney 60 Fashion: Bros Blowin’ Shotties 68 The Learnin’ Corner 70 Bob Odenkirk’s Page 72 The Cute Show Page! 74 Reviews 80 Johnny Ryan’s Page 10 VICE


We used to bleach our sheets

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Those were tough times. She couldn’t wear white. I couldn’t go anywhere without leaving a trail of orange in my wake. Then one day, she gave me a fresh VB and a simple ultimatum – my fluorescent man glow, or her. Call it tough love but she hasn’t had to rub my tan off her face since. To learn more visit vb.com.au/intervention


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EMPLOYEES OF THE MONTH

NEDA VANOVAC Neda Vanovac is the product of a Montenegrin-Serbian mother and a Bosnian-Serb father. According to her, Neda’s gene pool consists of donkey-stealing peasants, intellectuals who were sent to labour camps, poets, journalists and a whole slew of possible murder-suicides which she understandably chose not to elaborate on. She currently lives in Sydney and only sporadically misses the good food and spontaneous bombings that made her last two home countries, France and Columbia, so interesting. In this issue, Neda recounts a story of death and vengeance as told to her by an uncle, who sounds a lot like Joseph Conrad spliced with Burt Reynolds. She also sells amazing lomograph prints which you can see at www.etsy.com/shop/nedavanovacprints. See THE NUN RIVER MURDER MELEE, page 22

SLAVA MOGUTIN Slava is a Siberian-born artist, writer, and photographer who was granted political asylum in the US at age 21 after being exiled from Russia for things like “malicious hooliganism” and “extreme insolence.” Since then he’s authored multiple books, like Lost Boys and NYC Go-Go, exhibited internationally, and been featured in publications like the New York Times, i-D, and Modern Painters, just to name a few. For this issue of Vice he photographed dudes blowing shotties into each other’s mouths. This was a complete exercise in discipline as he had recently quit smoking. He made it through without one single cigarette. Way to go, Slava. See BROS BLOWIN’ SHOTTIES, page 60 Photo by Bruce LaBruce

JONATHAN SMITH Jonathan is a Mississippi-born North Carolinian whose afterschool job in high school was folding maternity panties at a Wilmington sweatshop and who spent his first year in New York selling catheters and diapers to old people over the internet. We figured with a pedigree like that, we’d have carte blanche to make him do whatever kind of creepy gross-out work we could cook up. Instead of seeing how much milk he can chug in five minutes, we’ve opted for a more psychological form of hazing and put him in charge of the Viceland blog, where he’s responsible for keeping some 100,000 of you maroons happy on a daily basis. This month he took a short break from deleting the endless stream of spam and death threats in the comments to write a column on spontaneous human combustion. See THE LEARNIN’ CORNER, page 68

T WORS E! E Y O L EMP

BENJAMIN THOMSON As you may know, Ben is our design-associate and resident do anything/know everything guy. Every day, he sits at his desk (in amazing outfits, mind) making painfully complicated stuff look like works of fucking art. Then, if you have a question about like, PDFs or something, he’ll have an answer or a plugin or worst case scenario, he’ll go online for about two seconds and find one— without ever getting pissy! Not even when we worked him so hard his eyes stopped being able to focus and he had to get glasses! Anyway, Ben’s been on holiday for a couple of weeks and it’s been really difficult to get anything done without him. Come back soon, asshole, or we’ll start dipping something from your desk in the toilet every day until you do. In this issue, Ben did fuck all. See ANY OTHER ISSUE

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ANIMALS VS. US Global Woes Are Forcing Creatures to Rise Up Against Humans BY VICE STAFF ILLUSTRATIONS BY ANDREW RAE

What is going to happen? Are animals trying to hasten the end of the world? It’s difficult to know what to expect from animals trying to cope with changing climates—we need to expect the unexpected! Well said! Thank you very much, Wendy. We will now present our readers with a list of some of the aberrant creature behavior that prompted us to contact you in the first place.

hat the hell is going on? Not content with destroying half the world via floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, Katy Perry, snowstorms, riots, and halfwits who won’t stop talking about 2012, God is making all the animals go totally crazy. The recent spate of animal freakishness prompted us to talk to some experts about the dilemma and relay a small selection of the most terrifying fauna nightmares we are currently facing and how they might worsen in the very near future.

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Vice: Hello. You are a programme officer for climate change at the International Union for Conservation of Nature, right? Wendy Foden: That is correct. We’ve been receiving reports that climate change is affecting the way animals behave. Signs of animals’ responses to changing climates are becoming increasingly common, including changes in distribution ranges, behaviors, and timing. Really... Recent studies tell us that species extinction rates are already 100 to 1,000 times greater than what we thought, and this is mostly due to the human-driven loss of their habitats, overuse, and being outcompeted by invasive species. Climate change is worsening these problems and is predicted to overtake them. While some of these changes in animals’ behavior have been anticipated, others are coming as surprises to us. Some animals are winners, others losers. 16 VICE

ARMIES OF KILLER JELLYFISH Jellyfish are pretty creepy under any circumstances. But when they swarm in the tens of thousands, the primordial blobs quickly veer from icky to downright mortifying. Due to a combination of overfishing and global warming, jellyfish are feeding increasingly closer to land, which means that species like the box jellyfish are stinging more and more people with their toxin-laden tentacles. A brush against one of their gross appendages can kill a human within 180 seconds of insane agony. Japan’s fishing industry is also currently facing a crisis by way of a beast called Nomura’s jellyfish. These foul-looking creatures can grow to six and a half feet wide and devastate fish stocks, burst nets, and capsize trawlers with their massive bulk. There have been halfhearted attempts to promote jellyfish as a scrumptious alternative to sushi and salmon, but their gelatinous consistency is too gross for even the Asian palate.


KILLER SHARKS ALMOST INVADING LAND Guess what happens when humans feed sharks? They expect to be fed regularly, and when they aren’t their tum-tums start growling and they get grumpy. So you can imagine what happens when fat, filthy, and inexperienced tourist divers at exotic resorts like Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheik wander off into the shallow reefs to pose for photos while feeding the sharks: They are treated to a round of instant gastric-bypass surgery courtesy of a prehistoric fish with two dicks. Between the feeding, the overfishing of their natural prey, and the warming of previously unwelcoming waters due to climate change, it’s hardly surprising that sharks have started taking chunks out of tourists more frequently. Last year saw an unprecedented number of shark attacks in the Red Sea, cuing some conspiracy theorists to claim that it was Israel’s fault. Sadly, that won’t stop governments like Egypt from allowing, and even encouraging, such activities. Beach vacationers, after all, account for 66 percent of the country’s total tourism income. Has nobody seen Jaws 5: Out of Aswan?

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KILLER MOSQUITOES Mosquitoes are the PMS of the animal kingdom. They are responsible for fluid retention (big, itchy red bumps), producing annoying noises inches away from everyone’s ears, and making boyfriends and husbands everywhere get out of bed to turn on the light for irritating reasons. But imagine the horror that would ensue if the sort of mosquito problems that affect poor places without indoor plumbing suddenly started to threaten Western Europe and North America. Ha, too late. Species like the Asian tiger mosquito have moved to Europe and America, and these hungry little airborne vessels are bringing all sorts of lovely viruses along with them. Fancy some Chikungunya fever? Just have a BBQ in southeast England or various parts of the US this summer and you might hit the infectious-disease jackpot.

KILLER BEES

KILLER SNAKES KILLING FAMILIES

Your bees aren’t making enough honey? Import a different species that will. South America did just that when it acquired loads of African bees to boost production. The only downside was that African bees are the Mike Tysons of the insect world: Once disturbed or pissed off they will remain in an “ultra-aggressive” state for 24 hours and chase intruders ten times farther than other varieties. The most amusing news is that over the past decade they have been migrating north into the US, all the way up to places like Utah and Louisiana, where they are happily terrifying nonchalant dog walkers and hikers. It’s likely that these unfriendly bees will cripple the US honey industry, which is currently worth $140 million, by taking a pollen-coated shit in the bee gene pool.

Recent housing developments in Hoedspruit, South Africa, have resulted in a surge in reports of black mamba attacks. As the snakes relocate, they are savaging new residents and poorly paid workers on the way out. A black-mamba bite contains 400 mg of two different toxins—enough to kill ten large men. There have been rumors of snakes creeping into tents and wiping out whole families, but none of this seems to bother the land developers who continue to build on the serpents’ natural habitat. Also, as Australians struggle with the recent catastrophic floods, they have keenly honed their snake-bashing skills as the rising waters force a natural selection between the two species. What the Aussies need is a Simpsons-like national snake-bashing day to memorialise the victims.


MAKING ME FEEL LIKE I’VE NEVER BEEN BORN I Got Rebirthed and It Was So Good BY HARRY CHEADLE PHOTOS BY MICHAEL DE LEON

ike most people, I have deep-seated psychological problems that make me depressed, misanthropic, noncommittal, and filled with self-loathing. My normal therapeutic regimen involves lots of alcohol and emotional suppression. Vice recently hired me as an editorial assistant and since then things have been worse than ever, so I decided I needed to take some form of action. Unfortunately, I don’t have the money or patience to sit through months—let alone years—of psychoanalysis, and Jesus thoroughly creeps me out. I was seeking a quicker way to purge my demons. Thankfully, I discovered rebirthing, a form of therapy based on the theory that personality disorders

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form immediately after we slide out of our mothers’ vaginas. Rebirthing gained some attention in 2000, when a couple of therapists in Durham, North Carolina, wrapped a ten-year-old girl in a blanket, covered her in pillows, and leaned on her as they instructed her to “fight to live.” The ordeal was supposed to simulate birthing contractions and correct behavioral problems her adopted mother found annoying. Instead the girl suffocated and died. This was exactly the kind of intensive yet abbreviated procedure I was seeking, preferably without the dying part. I called dozens of rebirthers, but nobody was willing to roll me up in a blanket and lie on top of me while I tried to squirm out. Every potential life-giver I spoke with recommended a less intense form of rebirthing known as breathwork, which uses (you guessed it) breathing techniques and lots of “energy” to arrive at many of the same goals. It’s also practiced by several holistic healers in New York City. Eventually, I found a guy named Tony Klatt who was willing to rebirth me for free if I wrote about the experience. Here’s what happened. VICE 19


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1 Tony has 18 guitars in his apartment, which is also littered with religious imagery. A couple of days before my rebirthing he sent me an email in which he said, “Rebirthing is my favorite thing to do.” After meeting him I had no doubt that this statement was true.

2 We sat on the floor (there were no chairs) and Tony bragged to me about how awesome rebirthing was and how good he was at doing it. He also told me rebirthing works “even if you don’t believe in it.” “Good,” I thought.

3 The gist of this sign is that rebirthing increases one’s happiness, which I found reassuring. When I was dragged to church as a kid, I don’t remember anyone saying, “We go to church to get happier.” Like all New Agers, Tony believes in the power of positive affirmation. He advised me to repeatedly tell myself that I’m a talented and worthwhile individual and to create a positive “videotape” of my future in my head. I tried to stay attentive, but I felt myself zoning out. I wondered if he walked around barefoot a lot. I didn’t see shoes anywhere.

4 Tony then talked me through the rest of the steps. First I closed my eyes and lay flat on the floor with my hands at my sides. My body was pointed northward, because that’s the most energised direction for some reason. I was instructed to breathe deeply and rhythmically, like 20 VICE

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I was jogging. Extraordinarily chilled-out music with chimes and soft chanting played in the background. I was shivering, so Tony put a blanket over me and tucked me in like an infant. He told me that he once had to be wrapped in four jackets during a rebirthing session, and even then he was cold. Moments later I experienced what I can only describe as a yawning attack. My mouth began involuntarily opening as wide as it could and sucking in so much air that my body started trembling. After about an hour of extremely intense breathing I finally threw the blanket off and sat up. It felt like I had awoken from the best nap of my life but also like I had accomplished something really impressive completely by accident.

5 Tony talked about the “five selves” and how they were interconnected, or something along those lines, but I was too busy being surprised about how good I felt to listen to him. This is how he looked when I left him. Apparently, this is what years of rebirthing does to your face.

6 Rebirthing is exactly the kind of thing I used to think only stupid people who wear crystals as jewelry were into, but I have to admit that I felt pretty good afterward. Not tired or hungover or stressed-out, just really content, like I had done the perfect amount of drugs. I still have reservations about the effectiveness of rebirthing, but I’m also pretty sure it’s not complete bullshit.


Photos courtesy of the author Vlad, circa 1982.

THE NUN RIVER MURDER MELEE Nigeria Is No Place for a Foreigner to Kill a Local BY VLADIMIR VANOVAC, AS TOLD TO NEDA VANOVAC

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My uncle Vlad is a rum-swilling, mustachewearing, adventure-seeking 50-year-old man who has spent the past 30 years engaged in geophysical exploration—also known as a rather vague excuse for gallivanting around remote parts of the earth doing whatever suits him at the time. He’s Bosnian-born, Australian-raised, and American-adopted. He speaks Spanish at home with his Ecuadorian wife. When I was 12 he sent me photos of a Bolivian on his work crew who’d fallen asleep under a tree and ended up dead in the belly of an anaconda, which found itself too full to

move and was cut open by the crew. The man was small, blue, and fully dressed—he was still wearing his rubber sandals. When I was four or five I would get letters from the Amazon signed with the paw print of a monkey, who, I was told, got drunk one New Year’s Eve and started manically jumping around the rafters till it fell straight down like a rock and vanished. They found it three days later with a raging hangover drinking from a puddle by the side of the road. My uncle has worked at the North Pole in winter in caravans on skis, been to war zones, and dodged mean rebels; one time, in Nigeria, his crew accidentally killed a woman. He is the only person I know who has been to Nigeria. One afternoon while we were sitting on a dock in Port Galveston, Texas, sipping on Salvadoran beers and enjoying the sun, I asked him to tell me that last story.


t was the 1980s, and Nigeria was real rough. We’d been working in the jungle and had only been there for about four days. The only way we could get to our camp was to take a two-hour boat ride from Port Harcourt down the Nun River and then drive for about an hour and a half. We were on the boat heading out, four of us and a local driver. The boat had no wheel, just two motors at the back that were steered by hand. I was sitting up at the front of the boat, and I saw a woman in a canoe, fishing. She’d thrown a net out and was sitting there, staring at us in shock. We were bearing down on her fast. I turned and yelled at the driver, “Whoa, stop, look out!” but he couldn’t hear me over the roar of the engines; he was looking out toward the bank. We ran straight into her. Snapped the canoe in half. The net just floated away. I heard a thump under the boat and everything started to happen at once. As we went over the canoe it hit one of the motors, and we juddered to a stop right there in the water. The motors were connected by a rope under the boat so if something like this happened we wouldn’t lose both motors, but the one was hanging under the boat, dragging us back. The driver was a local guy, and he freaked out. “Very bad, very bad,” he kept babbling, completely terrified. About 100 metres away on the riverbank a group of villagers had seen all this happen. They were jumping up and down, yelling and screaming, and when they saw us lurch to a stop they leaped into four canoes and started coming for us, waving spears and machetes. We saw them, and their blades told us they meant business. The driver went into hysterics. Charles, a Peruvian guy who was working with us, said to me, “We must go, we must go. They are going to kill us.” I took another look and saw they had already gained 30 or 40 metres. So Charles and I got down and started dragging the motor up out of the water. It must have weighed about 100, 150 pounds. But we got it up and into the boat, moved the other motor over into the middle, and took off, slower than before. We got a little ways away and then hit a submerged log, denting the remaining motor. The villagers saw this and started paddling with their hands, faster than ever, salivating to get hold of us. They were maybe 20 or so metres away and they started throwing their spears and machetes, which bounced off the boat. The driver was sobbing in the bottom of the boat, and we ducked down and somehow managed to get it going again, one damaged motor and all, and I took over the rudder and got us out of there. We eventually got to a village called Yenagoa, went to the police station, and made a report. The husband and son of the woman turned up very quickly, already with shaven heads, which is a Nigerian custom when a family member dies. The husband got right up in my face, babbling, eyes wide, crying. You could see the tick bites and bald patches on his head. We were there in Nigeria working for Shell so we had to call up headquarters in The Hague and report what had happened. The boat was impounded, the driver tossed into a cell, and that was that. A few days later we came back, paid 1,000 naira to have the boat released, and gave the boat the works: windshield wipers, a steering wheel… we fixed the motors. They were carrying the body up out of the water while we were there. It had been in the mangrove swamp until then. They had to wait for guys from another village to come and carry the body, nobody local would touch it—“Bad juju,” they said.

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Vlad in 2009.

A couple of weeks later we were ready to get going again, but the problem was no one wanted to ride in that boat. “Bad juju,” they kept saying. They didn’t want anything to do with it. So there we were, with the best boat we had, and we couldn’t get it going. We asked around to find out how to fix this juju problem, and they told us no worries, they would call in the witch doctor to do a spell. We arrived at the docks the next day and there were something like 5,000 villagers there. This was huge. It was the biggest thing to happen in the area all year. The chief was there, sitting like a king on some old sofa they’d decked out into a throne. The witch doctor was a shriveled old lady with long, knotted hair, a loincloth, and not much else. We’d paid a few hundred dollars for the ceremony and they gave half to the police right there in front of everybody—we were ready to roll. The recipe for getting rid of bad juju involves a bottle or two of caicai—a local spirit—three eggs, and a tree branch. The witch doctor said a few words, broke an egg on the steering wheel, and took a healthy slug of caicai. Then she danced a bit on the boat, broke another egg on one of the motors, and had another couple of pulls on the bottle, before breaking an egg on the final motor, singing a song, and downing the rest of the bottle. And that was it, juju gone, and everyone was willing to come back to work. Not long after all this, I was talking to this guy Richard, an old colonialist English man who had some kind of tax problem and couldn’t go home. He had been living in Nigeria for a long time and told me about the vigilante killings that go on there—if someone steals something or has a car accident, crowds in the streets set upon them and tear them apart. It wasn’t until then that I realised how lucky we had been. I was 27.


ARTIST: TOM JENNINGS

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Photo courtesy of Alberto Ramella / Black Archives Carlo Giuliani, a 23-year-old from Genova, gets laid out after being shot by the Carabinieri during a riot to protest the G-8 in 2001.

I (TALIANS) BELIEVE, IN ANARCHY! Let’s See Europe Pogo—Goooooooo! BY GRAHAM JOHNSON AND ANDY CAPPER

hile Americans like to protest government wrongdoing by assassination attempts on senators and by blowing up schoolchildren with pipe bombs, we Europeans have a much more refined and honorable approach to letting the capitalist pigdogs hear our stricken screams. Since our cops don’t have guns and are a tad less brutal than your own, we still preserve the fine tradition of public protest. Last year, Greece went up in flames. So did London. Like we told you in our article “Caaaaam on Then, You Faggot Cunts!” last month, Europe is bracing for another slew of riots by giving its police forces military-style training and equipping them with weaponry previously used to liberate places like Afghanistan and Iran from the pain of not being Western capitalists. We met some anarchists recently and this is what we found out…

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ITALIANS DO IT BETTER At the core of this new wave of public protests are anarchist organizations whose main base of operations 26 VICE

is Rome. While many people’s (our) primary impression of Italians is an endless line of obnoxious tourists in $700 sunglasses, Italy is home to some of the most passionate anarchists in the world. That’s why there were so many of them—thousands, in fact—at the Parliament Square riots in London last month. Many British, some Dutch, but far and away the most active (just like with football hooliganism) were the Italians. “They are light-years ahead of us in terms of aggression,” said a guy from Green and Black Cross, an anarchist outfit headquartered down the block from the Vice London office in Whitechapel. These people are so serious about turning the streets into a battlefield, a portion of their 200-odd members are trained as field medics. “While we’re throwing bricks at the police, they’re setting off bombs,” he added. The Italian anarchists first sashayed into the eyeline of the international freedom-fighting community in 1920 when they blew up the J.P. Morgan Bank on Wall Street, amassing an impressive 38 kills and 143 seriously injured bankers (and completely innocent bystanders). Since then, the Italians have been responsible for more bombings—150, approximately—than anarchists in any other country. During World War II, Italian anarchists with bomb-making expertise joined the resistance against the Nazis. After the war finished, many of these people used the skills they picked up in the conflict to blow their way into safes and rob people, funding their movement with their earnings


Photo courtesy of Benzi / Contrasto Anarchists run through the streets of Milan during a demonstration in front of the Università Cattolica in 1970.

and justifying their actions with the doctrine of “illegalism”—the belief that anarchists are allowed to be criminals because the state can’t tell anyone what to do. The most recent example of this was at Christmas last year, when the Italians attacked the Swiss and Chilean Embassies with videocassette boxes stuffed with gunpowder and metal shards, which were triggered by nine-volt batteries. Four days later, a third cassette bomb was found at the Greek Embassy.

THEY HAVE COOL SLOGANS The bombs were the work of Lambros Founas, a cell of the Informal Anarchists Federation (FAI) named for a Greek anarchist killed in a shootout with police in March. “We have decided to make our voice heard with words and deeds,” said a note picked up by the Italian news agency ANSA. “Let us destroy the system of domination! Long live the FAI!” You’d think the kind of people who blow up stuff they don’t like would have learned not to sweat the small stuff. Or that anyone who’s ever caught the scene from Life of Brian with the People’s Front of Judea and the Judean People’s Front wouldn’t let similar alphabetical obfuscation overtake their revolutionary aims. But boy, would you be wrong! The anarchists in Italy are extremely prone to internal bickering. The initials FAI are a big source of confusion, because they stand for not only the Italian Anarchist Federation (an “official” group) and the Informal Anarchist Federation (an “unofficial” group) but also the Iberian Anarchist Federation, an 80-year-old Spanish group. It was the unofficial Italian one that claimed the recent bombings—the “official” Italian FAI are thinkers rather

than doers and claim that bombings and violence only provoke police retribution against anarchists. To this, the “unofficial” FAI says: “Fuck off. You are complete wimps, and violence is the only answer.” Their position is one echoed by a maybe-defunct group called Black Dog, that says anarchists arguing over whether violence is necessary (by the way, they think it is) have allowed the state to “divide and conquer,” turning the “good” anarchists at the “official” FAI against the naughty, bomb-setting-off “bad” ones at the “unofficial” FAI. How a government could ever look upon any anarchist organization as “good” is a little past us, but we guess when people are trying to blow you up everything’s sort of relative.

THE CIA FUNDED A NEO-NAZI UPRISING AGAINST THEM The constant disagreements between the factions sometimes results in the “bad” anarchists attacking the “good” anarchists at demonstrations—which is a great source of amusement for coppers otherwise busy ducking large blocks of concrete and petrol bombs while people yell “War is the state! Freedom is adventure! Rebellion is joy!” at them in mellifluous Italian. These niggling ideological details may seem like niggling ideological details but Italian anarchists actually have good reason to be suspicious of one another. In the 1950s and 60s, NATO and the CIA decided to build a secret army of European resistance fighters who would “stay behind” and rise up against the Soviet Union if the Russkies ever felt like invading and taking over the continent. The only people NATO managed to recruit were crackpots VICE 27


Photo courtesy of Perrucci/Contrasto Two policemen apprehend a boy at the Università Cattolica riots in Milan in 1970.

and neo- and ex-Nazis, many of whom lived in Italy. Astonishingly, NATO gave the Italian fascists masses of guns and bombs, which they hid in churches across the country. They were also trained at CIA camps, where they were taught how to assassinate people and explode buildings. Of course the Soviet Union collapsed in a shitty heap and the invasion never materialised. In Italy the fascists dug up the NATO-US guns and started shooting their sworn enemies—the anarchists. They also engaged in “false-flag terrorism,” which is a nice way of saying “killing members of the public at random and then holding news conferences to say that the anarchists did it.” The most horrific example of false-flag terrorism occurred on August 2, 1980, when a bomb exploded in a Bologna train station in northern Italy, killing 85 and injuring 200. Initially, anarchists (and communists) were blamed, and well-placed sources immediately called for their arrest and the formation of a US-friendly authoritarian government. But the Italian police smelled a rat, noting that anarchists preferred surgical strikes when doing terrorism that specifically targeted agents of the state, such as policemen and politicians, as opposed to the indiscriminate killing of civilians. They were right. The atrocity turned out to be the work of plotters and schemers from the fascist Armed Revolutionary Nuclei (NAR), working in conjunction with corrupt officials and gangsters. Two neo-Nazis, Valerio Fioravanti and Francesca Mambro, were later sentenced to life. Senior freemason Licio Gelli, former spy Francesco Pazienza, and Italian intelligence officers Pietro Musumeci and Giuseppe Belmonte were also convicted of covering 28 VICE

up and diverting the investigation. In court, prosecutors revealed that they had done it to darken the doorstep of the innocent anarchists and spread panic so the public would run like sheep into the arms of a strong leader.

THEY ARE PLANNING TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD A decade ago it would have taken five years of planning and coercion to get 100 anarchists in the same room together. But now, thanks to a new subcultural group called “people who smoke pot all day and watch conspiracy-theory videos on New World Order forums,” you can do it in a day. And this is the same for groups all over Europe, especially in crappy cities like Whitechapel, Turin, and Dresden, countries like Latvia, and neighborhoods like Exarcheia in Athens. If you factor in that anarchy flourishes in shitholes and then think about the ongoing economic collapse in Europe and how that’s making the current shitholes even shittier, while also creating brand new shitholes all over the world, then what our guy at Green and Black Cross told us makes perfect sense. “The Italian anarchists have reignited their struggle to ‘cash in’ on the mass disillusionment that young people are feeling with the state,” he explained. “It was the Greek riots that inspired them to come back into action, and now they see all these other capers going on. They’re going to take the opportunity to come back as violent and as uncompromising as they possibly can. Their groups have been written off and laughed at most of the time, but now they can show the world what they’re made of. At the Parliament Square riots, one of them told us, ‘These are very special times.’”


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A popular method of voter suppression used by the Revolutionary United Front (the rebel army that waged war in Sierra Leone for more than a decade and controlled the country’s diamond mines and revenues) was to cut hands off at the wrists. At least casualties like this man can sleep soundly knowing it wasn’t all for naught: Nowadays kids from around the world can zoom in and score blood diamonds for pennies on the dollar!

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BUD DIAMONDS Smuggling Black-Market Stones Out of Sierra Leone BY JOHNNY WALKER PHOTOS BY RYEN McPHERSON

he first thing you notice about Sierra Leone is that everything swarms you: the heat, the beggars, the officials (who are basically beggars with titles), and the particulate filth that comes in a country where they dispose of their trash by burning it on the side of the road. We traveled to this country held together by rubber bands and prayers to smuggle diamonds, for which we would either be handsomely rewarded back home in the States or end up in a third-world clink.

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There were three of us: Colin Farrell (aka Ryen McPherson, whose photos grace the following pages), Greg Brady, and Johnny Walker. We used aliases to protect ourselves in case anyone ratted us out after the fact. There was a bundle of hundreds split between my two socks, another wad taped to Colin’s leg, and a third, even more impressive roll of $10,000 tucked into a homemade inner pocket of Greg’s boxers. We had no idea where to start looking but thought it would be best if we traveled to the interior of the country—the cities of Bo and Kenema, in particular, where the diamond mines are located and where we were likely to find the best prices. So off we stumbled through the bush in a rented car toward Mt. Bintumani, the highest mountain in the country and our purported sightseeing destination. After several hours in Freetown traffic (a confusing gridlock of dirt back alleys and a few open-air marketplaces that supposedly double as main thoroughfares), we stopped suddenly on the side of the road to drop off the man whom we had negotiated to be our driver at his house. Then a newer, younger, and much less confident-looking boy climbed in. He was to be our actual driver for the remainder of the trip. It was here that we learned our first lesson of the African bargaining game: Always be specific. There is no fine print, only chaos. Climbing Bintumani almost destroyed the car. Luckily we were able to navigate the dangerous

tangle of dirt roads minus air conditioning and power steering, but with all of our tires intact. On our way to Kenema we stopped in Kono, a sort of intermediary district for the diamond trade, and we saw a few interesting stones but thought the prices a bit high. Greg had done his homework, and the rule was to be patient and discreet—if you’re caught, buying diamonds in Sierra Leone without a license will land you five years in prison, which, according to the locals, is basically a death sentence for people who look like us. By the time we got into Kenema it was dark, so we decided to catch up on some rest and get an early start the next morning. Still without any solid contacts, we began to brazenly walk into the diamond offices (usually a stuffy room in the back of a general outfitting depot—think a huge garage open to public view) that lined the main boulevard. We struck pay dirt at the first spot, but after ten minutes of turning down subpar offers from the proprietor (mostly fancy stones and other items that were hard to properly evaluate) we were ready to give up. It was then that we were introduced to a Lebanese man from Kono who was in town visiting. He offered us a much better selection. What started as a conversation about Greg buying some earrings for his wife evolved into something else entirely when we pulled out our own scale, eye loupe, and tester. The bargaining suddenly took on a much more serious tone. We purchased some

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I caught the “We’re fucked” look in my friends’ eyes, and through the cracked car window I heard the man speak: “We know you already bought de diamonds.” “souvenirs” (lower-quality stones) and a few midsize workable (gem-quality) stones, but we were still waiting for the Big One—a three- or four-carat stone that should retail in Sierra Leone for about six or seven grand and bring back at least double that in returns stateside. The Lebanese seller didn’t have any stones that large on him but promised to stay in contact over the next few days. On the way out of the office, a tall, native man in a salmon-coloured shirt who had quietly watched the deal go down was suddenly demanding a commission. It was just a pittance, $20 or so, but after an hour of intense haggling we weren’t going to stand for it. “No, fuck that. The seller pays the commission,” Greg said. Colin laughed in the guy’s face. The Lebanese man smiled condescendingly and said, “That’s fine, but that’s not normally how things happen here.” Then he waved off the man in the salmon-coloured shirt. We left and went to lunch. Then we went to another shop on the same main drag. There they sent us to a second, ancillary building that was up one of the side streets, and I waited with the driver while the others went for round 2. They were sitting on the veranda talking to a man, and I can remember noticing the heat again—the stickiness of the air, the way my clothes gripped and tugged at my skin. Then a second man in a ratty Hawaiian Corona shirt appeared from the shadows and started speaking in a loud voice. I caught the “We’re fucked” look in my friends’ eyes, and through the cracked car window I heard him speak: “We know you already bought de diamonds.” The three of them disappeared into the foyer for about 20 minutes. By the time they came out I had already stashed my stones inside the plastic seatbelt cover, and I could tell that the tone of the conversation had changed. This time no one was threatening to turn our car inside out. Colin was showing the man— Alfred was his name—the part in our travel guide about window-shopping for diamonds. “We just want to take pictures,” Colin said. The bluffs flew

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back and forth like the salvos of machine-gun fire that had been so commonplace in this region only a decade earlier. Alfred explained that he had tailed us from the last office we visited, not the first one where we had actually bought stones. It was steaming in the car; the heat was like some kind of faceless terror, and I almost applauded when our new friend told us we should go to someplace quieter to further discuss the matter. The fact that he was our “friend” was a good sign. It meant we would be paying for his and his cronies’ dinners. It also meant that although we weren’t in the clear yet, the situation was improving. As we sat down and ordered, he chattered away into his cell phone in the brilliant birdsong that is Krio (half English and half cockamamie nonsense), and we all started to breathe a bit easier beneath our forced smiles and enervating conversation about nothing. Our man Alfred was trying his damndest to find someone who would let us photograph a diamond. We had insisted that we just wanted a picture, although he kept assuring us that it was OK if we wanted more, because he could arrange that too. But we knew better. He must have realised he’d sprung his trap too early and was desperately looking for a way to get us back in his pocket. All we wanted was to get the fuck out of Kenema. We knew we’d blown the spot. Finally we heard a motorcycle approaching, which was good because it meant we were one step closer to being done with the whole circus. Then footsteps. Then, directly in front of me, came a sight that sent my stomach plummeting toward my asshole like a runaway elevator: the man in the salmon-coloured shirt. This led into the tensest five minutes of my life, which says a lot considering the previous hour. For some reason the man in the salmon shirt didn’t rat us out. Maybe we had a guardian angel and he just happened to be Lebanese. Yes, we successfully transported the diamonds out of the country. The best part was that we didn’t have to stick them up our asses. Colin’s left Sierra Leone via the thumb of a latex glove, which he cut out and tucked beneath this tongue, ready to be swallowed at the first sign of trouble. Mine was taped to the inside of my Nikon, which destroyed the shutter forever. Greg almost missed the plane trying to get the Big One, and in the end he even held it in palm of his hand, which is closer than most people ever get to anything. And as for the shiny little rocks themselves, well, they’re proof. Proof that it’s still out there if you’re foolish enough to go looking for it.


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Question 9B on the blackboard: “How many types of resources do we have?” An ironic quandary considering how this country will never benefit from the few resources it has. Evidently, Obama tours Sierra Leone more often than Santa Claus. But what trip is complete without finding American political ephemera in a tiny village at the foot of a remote mountain (Bintumani) that sees more Obama shirts than Americans?

After Alfred was unsuccessful in his attempt to extort us for purchasing diamonds illegally, he was successful in hustling us under the guise of tourism. The following morning, he took us on an exclusive, under-the-table tour of some of Sierra Leone’s least developed diamond mines. Of course, now that we were “friends,” he could take liberties with the laws (as long as we took liberties with our wallets afterward).

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The scene of the crime.

The finished product. One and a half carats of uncut, unpolished African ice. Purchased from a Lebanese expatriate in Kenema, crafted by a Jewish jeweler in Las Vegas, and worn proudly by Ryen’s Mexican mother in San Diego. See more of Ryen’s work at stabtheprincess.com.

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THE LADY MULES OF MOROCCO Smuggling Black-Market Everything Out of Spain on Mum’s Hump BY BEATRIZ MESA PHOTOS BY JORDI PIZARRO

This is how a vodka-bottle belt is made. Alcohol is frowned on by Morocco’s Muslim majority, but it’s still easy to find in discreet black plastic bags sold in supermarkets.

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y six each morning, Malika and thousands of other lady smugglers known as porteadoras gather at the foot of an immense metal corral that connects Morocco and Spain. The Moroccan police, with varying degrees of tenderness, organise the crowd into lines before the women launch themselves over the border into Melilla, Spain, to collect their day’s salary muling contraband back into Morocco. The crossing is known as Barrio Chino, and waiting for them on the other side, in the centre of a Spanish esplanade, are dozens of white vans filled with secondhand clothes, shoes, blankets and fabric, tires, boxes of chips, toilet paper, and an enormous of collection of other domestic wares both necessary and recreational. As the gates are set to open, Malika, who is 44 and has been working this border for a decade, points to the sky with her finger like a pro athlete and mutters a prayer to Allah: “Ach adu an la ilaha ila lah wa ach adu anna mohammadan rasulo allah” (“I testify that there is no other god but Allah and that Muhammad is his messenger”). For Muslims it’s a traditional deathbed incantation—and it’s a totally reasonable thing to do given the coming test. It is possible she’ll be stomped to death by women frantic for contraband TP and cheap alcohol—like Safia Azizi, who in late November 2008 died of a punctured lung after being trampled in an ensuing stampede.

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Malika has been smuggling stuff across this border for ten years. She hauls as many of those enormous bags beside her as time permits.

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At 6:30 AM, the gates of what the Moroccans call “the Cage” are finally opened. It is estimated that 8,000 Moroccans, a great majority of them women, pass through here carrying all kinds of stuff on their backs each day. I stop to talk to a policeman, and as the women begin to flood across the border even he is aghast. “Look at that,” he says. “Do you think that belongs in this century? Thousands of women carrying bales I couldn’t even lift? You try and lift one.” Once they’ve made their way to the Melilla side of the Barrio Chino, groups of female mules quickly organise themselves and begin loading up. I see a wrinkled woman with a grimy scarf wrapped tightly around her neck to soak up the sweat. She bends herself at the waist and another 110-pound bale is plopped on her back. I can hear her spine cracking and her teeth chattering, and I seem to be the only one impressed by this. There are other things on people’s minds, obviously: bags of sunflower seeds, spare car parts, bottles of booze, boxes of shoes, all sorts of clothes. Another woman bends until her head is practically on the floor, and 175 pounds or so of merchandise are placed on top of her back. Another woman, Yamila Agao, is waiting impatiently for her boss to arrive from the warehouse with a cargo of shoes. “He’s late! That means I’m only going to have time to make one crossing,” she says. Yamila tells me that at 32

Spanish authorities, the Guardia Civil, organise the line in order to avoid tumults and body avalanches. They also arrange for Moroccan security forces to charge a one-euro commission to each woman each way.


she is a divorcée, the product of an arranged marriage with a cousin she never learned to love. Yamila invites me to go with her to her house, which she shares with a few other porteadoras in the suburban neighbourhood of Darb Annamus, close to the border they work. The area is surrounded on all sides by a landfill, and the stench makes breathing difficult. Theirs is a sickly shack without windows—between them they pay 50 euros for rent each month. They walk me through a litany of horrible biographies (mean men, dead men, and so on) and explain that contraband keeps them afloat. They also explain the logistics of the operation: Workers on the Spanish side prepare bales of goods, runners drive them to Barrio Chino at the border, distributors separate them, marcadores number them so they can be counted upon receipt, and finally the porteadoras haul the bales back to Morocco. The wholesalers and warehouse owners, like every Mob-based enterprise in every country, stuff bags with money to pay everyone so that in the end nothing stops the flow of cash from returning to them. A police source confirmed recently that the industry generates some 500 million euros every year. At the Cage the following morning, I ask a pair of policemen what they think about the situation. “Look,” one officer says, “the Spanish government doesn’t get rid of this Mafia because it’s not in their interest.”

She bends herself at the waist and another 110-pound bale is plopped on her back. I can hear her spine cracking and her teeth chattering, and I seem to be the only one impressed by this. “To avoid hurting the feelings of Morocco, and also because there’s a lot of money in this business,” another agent adds. “But this is outrageous! It’s like the Middle Ages. Sorry, I have to go… I’ll leave you to it.” He heads off to try and restore order in a queue where a careless elbow or a push has set the women fighting. “If we weren’t here, they’d kill themselves,” the first officer says. Another agent who wouldn’t give his name for fear of reprisal tells me how the local government in Melilla has legalised this so-called atypical trade in the Barrio Chino. Authorities have actually erected a signpost featuring a female silhouette (complete with a shapely commuter gal rather than a hunched porteadora!), carrying a bag that is about one-third the size of what the

Top: The Guardia Civil often gets handsy with the porteadoras. Bottom: This woman has just passed through the two checkpoints and, already on the Moroccan side, walks to the point of delivery.

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“Each porteadora pays five dirhams [60 cents] to every agent who asks to see their documents. If they refuse to pay, they’re denied entry or sent to the back of the queue.” women here carry. The message is clear: Right this way, poor and hapless smugglers. What the sign fails to mention are the bribes. Dozens of customs officials line the way back to Morocco, and women are permitted to pass only after offering up a contribution to each. “Each porteadora pays five dirhams [60 cents] to every agent who asks to see their documents,” explains Abdelmounaim Chaouki, president of the State Department of Civil Society in northern Morocco. “If they refuse to pay, they’re denied entry or sent to the back of the queue.” Nineteen-year-old Yousre Salló is the son of a customs official and has no delusions about the extent of corruption in an industry Moroccan civil servants are falling over themselves to get into. Here on the border their salary doubles. Yousre himself works as a runner but receives special treatment.

The border of Beni-Enzar, between Nador and Melilla, as seen from the Moroccan side.

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“I won’t touch a bag for less than ten euros,” he tells me. His less fortunate coworkers are understandably jealous. “He moves the same amount as us but earns twice what we do,” complains Zacarías Biniya, a 20-year-old from Meknés in northern Morocco. With dim prospects for the future, Zacarías and almost all of his friends see smuggling as the only option. Well, apart from crossing illegally. “I had a neighbour who took a raft to Spain, and we never heard from him again,” he tells me with his head bowed. After a moment of silence, Zacarías snaps out of it and lifts up his calloused hands. He tells me about his experiences since he started working here three years ago. “I’ve been humiliated and beaten by both the Spanish and Moroccan police,” he says. “They treat us like shit, most of all the Spanish policemen born in Morocco. When I speak to them in Berber, they insult me in Spanish. They really don’t want anything to do with us.” He thinks quietly for a second. “If the government closed down the contraband, they’d be forced to find other work for us.” It’s midday when the border closes and the smuggling stops. As often happens, some of the porteadoras, still panting and out of breath, are stuck on the Spanish side of the Barrio Chino looking across, their bales having arrived too late for them to make the final trip back into Morocco.


The chemical structures of the eight most commonly encountered arylcyclohexylamines.

INTERVIEW WITH A KETAMINE CHEMIST Or to Be More Precise, an Arylcyclohexylamine1 Chemist BY HAMILTON MORRIS

here are medicinal chemists who work on an unseen side of the pharmaceutical industry. Like their legally sanctioned counterparts, they work to synthesise drugs they hope will produce therapeutic effects in their users. But they do not work with billion-dollar budgets or advertising agencies; doctors are not bribed to distribute their products with ergonomic pens or fine terrycloth beach towels. Their advertising comes solely from word of mouth and semicautionary articles like the one you are about to read. The creation of these chemicals is an extraordinary feat of interdisciplinarity; often the pharmacologist, the chemist, the posologist, the toxicologist, and the experimental animal are all the same human being. This is the way drugs have been developed since the beginning of medical history—it is only in recent years that the practice of self-experimentation has become stigmatised, and accordingly these

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experimenters, like M., must remain shrouded in mystery. M. is one of the most respected chemists in his underground field. Singlehandedly, he has popularised and discovered numerous novel drugs for grey-market distribution. His most recent investigation of ketamine and its chemical variations produced a new dissociative anesthetic named methoxetamine, which has recently made its way into the nostrils and anuses of lay experimenters worldwide. Methoxetamine is an exemplary product of rational drug discovery; each of its atoms is the result of arduous study and consideration, all created independently on a minuscule budget. But the success of drugs like methoxetamine does not entail great profits for their inventors. Indeed, it is they who wring their hands most over the unknown fate of the chemicals they conceive. Herein we shall explore the great bioethical quandary faced by the underground medicinal chemist.

1 I know you may look at an octosyllabic word and immediately be turned off by this entire exchange, but please don’t let the vocabulary boundary stop you. These concepts, at least on the level I’m discussing them, are pretty simple. Arylcyclohexylamines are a chemical class that features an aryl group attached to a cyclohexane ring. They comprise a pharmacologically diverse class of stimulants, opioids, and, most commonly, dissociatives like PCP and ketamine. They generally have a chemical backbone that looks like this:

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Vice: How did your interest in the chemistry of dissociatives begin? M.: Well, when I was a young boy, only 13, I was badly hurt in an IRA bombing in London. My left hand had to be amputated after the explosion, and I knew I’d lived through a psychological stress that most people cannot even conceive. I would definitely say this triggered my interest in altered states. When you lose a limb, especially when the limb is exposed to serious trauma before the loss, there is a significant chance you’ll be left with an agonising phantom limb. Right, treatment for phantom limb has been one of the great riddles of neuroscience. Have you tried Ramachandran’s mirror-box therapy? Oh yes, I’ve read Phantoms in the Brain and tried an awful lot of things. It’s a complete bastard to treat. God knows how many drugs I’ve been prescribed. Antidepressants, antiepileptics, muscle relaxants—none of them really worked. For the worst excesses of phantom-limb pain, traditional painkillers like opiates don’t even touch it. You might as well not even bother with them. I was prescribed high doses of pethidine [also known as Demerol] but returned the bottle to my doctor because it wasn’t doing me any good whatsoever. When I came back, my doctor was agog. He said, “Nobody returns pethidine!” The pain involved can be so bad as to effectively detach your mind from consensus reality. Without suitable analgesia I end up looking like a psychiatric inmate, just rocking backward and forward, unable to do anything, sometimes for more than a day. All that considered, anything that does work is an absolute godsend. And what works? I discovered a long time ago that ketamine and cannabinoids helped my phantom hand. I’m quite convinced these classes work by distorting body image so severely that you phase out triggers for the pain. I have experienced profound proprioceptive distortions after intramuscular PCP injection, as if my whole body were a proportional model of the sensory homunculus. But in a sense, what I feel is not hallucination or a distortion, I actually find dissociatives corrective, that is, they make the phantom disappear. This is not just an idiosyncratic response on my part; there are at least three articles published on the effectiveness of ketamine in treating phantom-limb pain. It’s dished out by British pain-management clinics for just that purpose in the form of a nauseatingly artificial lemon-flavored linctus. Needless to say, the whole lot of it gets squirted up the arse to bypass my taste buds, but even this has its drawbacks… like sticky, sugary bum cheeks! Fascinating. I had never considered the possibility that ketamine’s therapeutic effect on phantom limb is psychogenic—like a proprioceptive antihallucination. Recently there was an experiment done with ketamine and the rubberhand illusion. Subjects given a ketamine infusion could feel the rhythmic strokes of a motorised paintbrush on a rubber hand in their visual field, as if the rubber hand were their real hand. So ketamine can both remove and embody an illusory appendage. Your background is in mainstream pharmacology, studying phenmetrazine2 analogues, correct? Yes, after receiving a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry I was working on my masters in neuropharmacology. I synthesised

an array of phenmetrazine analogues and quantified their potency as anorectics. But in order to do these experiments, you’ve got to kill rats. They train you to use noble words like sacrifice, but truthfully they just get a lab technician to smash the rat’s head open, or cut it in half with a pair of scissors. My conscience couldn’t hack it. So I became a teacher. You did what? I taught neurobiology as part of my postgraduate degree. But then I transitioned from academia into the sort of independent research I’m doing now. You were the first person to report on the effects of synthetic cannabinoids like JWH-018, long before Spice Gold, and the first to comment on desoxypipradrol, 1-ethynylcyclohexanol, 5-APB, and methoxetamine. You have your finger in many pies… so to speak. After receiving my degree I was just talking to people with similar interests, and I got to know a lot of people who had their expertise on the organic-chemistry side of things. Often these people were looking for somebody from a pharmacology background to suggest promising drugs, and it all went from there. As far as my own synthetic chemistry goes, I hung up my Leibig condenser a long time ago due to police visits and galloping paranoia, and, most important, I promised my ex-partner I would leave that life behind before we got hitched. She is a clinical toxicologist so she knows all too well what kind of damages these reckless behaviors can incur. There is definitely a demand for pharmacologists who can suggest novel structures. Some research chemical vendors keep a group of PhDs on hand to act as advisers in the selection and synthesis of new drugs. Well, I have been researching compounds and suggesting ones that would possibly be interesting to have synthesised for one company. I was participating in an investigation of the structure-activity relationships of a whole range of arylcyclohexylamines, along the same lines as Alexander Shulgin’s research group, and it was all going swimmingly. I was putting all my thinking into the aryl and amino substitutions of PCP and ketamine-like dissociatives, some of which are very, very promising. Which ones specifically? 3-MeO-PCP and 3-MeO-PCE are simply incredible drugs. They have a true capacity for healing, as the 3-methoxy group infers μ-opioid receptor affinity3 and removes the manic pressure of thought that can make PCP quite a disturbing and unpleasant drug. With the 3-methoxys there

2 Phenmetrazine is a bicyclic amphetamine analogue that has become legendary since its clinical discontinuation. It’s the campfire lore of the psychostimulant aficionado and was the favored stimulant of John Lennon. 3 The μ-opioid receptor is generally thought to initiate the euphoric, reinforcing effects of heroin and co. Recent work by J. V. Wallach on the pharmacology of 3-MeO-PCP has shown that it actually has insignificant affinity for the μ-opioid receptor, which suggests that methoxetamine is quite possibly an insignificant opioid as well. This is not to say methoxetamine is not addictive or pleasurable, simply that it probably produces said effects through a different pharmacological mechanism.

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Methoxetamine: not just your average recreationally dissociative phantom-limb drug.

is such incredible laughter and boundless sexual energy. 3-MeO-PCP produces an inner stillness as if all the leaky naggings of the subconscious are completely muted. At 15 mg I felt 3-MeO-PCP was possibly the most amazing drug I had ever consumed, and 3-MeO-PCE seemed to have the full capacity to be the next LSD. It’s a barrel of laughs, with none of the shambolic lurching of ketamine. I felt as if I was Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau in a world of desperately struggling Charlie Chaplins. I laughed until I had tears rolling down to my thighs! The arylcyclohexylamines have a tremendous therapeutic potential, but they have a great abuse potential as well. Yes, it would seem methoxetamine has already been welcomed with open arms. The methoxetamine molecule was something I had floating around in my head for about three years. I just knew it would really be something fantastic; it contains every necessary functional group to produce the perfect dissociative. I felt it would be like a stress-free version of ketamine. Eventually I found someone who was interested and made a small batch, and when I tested it… I was blown away. It doubtless has great potential as an antidepressant. A vendor took interest and synthesised a batch for public distribution, and it took off. Now there are all kinds of fake variations for sale, tiletamine4 analogues and whatnot. The popularity was not a surprise, but I was surprised by the willingness of Chinese laboratories to synthesise it. A few years ago Chinese labs would not produce arylcyclohexylamines under any circumstances. In China, those suspected of trafficking large quantities of ketamine are executed.

4 Tiletamine is the primary component in Telazol, a veterinary tranquiliser that is used to anesthetise polar bears, elk, and sea lions. Its effects are often described as “cold and clinical,” although that has not stopped a number of veterinarians from using it in great excess.

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In Singapore, ketamine dealers face 15 strokes of a brinesoaked rattan cane to the bare buttocks… probably in addition to execution. Risky business. When you were working with these things you had a psychotic episode of some sort—what exactly happened? I felt it was my responsibility to test these chemicals for toxicity in a large variety of doses. It is simply not ethical to give untested drugs to other people—it’s the equivalent of throwing an unknown substance into phase IV clinical trials. I was acutely aware these arylcyclohexylamines had the potential to become extremely popular drugs. For a period I was also using methoxetamine daily to treat my phantom-limb pain, and that had clouded my judgment. Lastly, I was in a difficult place because my beloved cat, Nesbitt, a pet I had all of my adult life, had just died. He was 22 years old and I knew it was coming but it really affected me badly. I was indulging in a lot of self-destructive behaviors without actually realising it, so I tested a 50-mg intramuscular dose of 3-MeO-PCP, and, well, I ended up in what I have been told was a catatonic state. The death of a beloved pet is always very difficult. My partner came home and found me, or at least my mind, somewhere past Alpha Centauri. The first thing I remember is riding in an ambulance, being asked all sorts of questions by paramedics about what it was and how much I’d taken. In their opinion I was a fruit loop. As I later found out, they also thought I’d tried to commit suicide after finding some printed pages full of vitriolic rants in a drawer next to my computer. It took bloody ages for them to believe that the rants were written years ago as a form of therapy where you put down your feelings in writing in order to exorcise said feelings. It was three weeks before I convinced them I was not a suicidal maniac, but rather that I was a pharmacologist investigating the structure-activity relationship of 3-methoxylated arylcyclohexylamines… That was one they’d never heard before. So why did they section you for three full weeks? At first I was a bit, well, not quite totally with it because of the side effects of the drugs. Also I think they looked at the medical reports and saw PCP and thought, “Oh my God!” But during medication time they started to notice I was not behaving like the rest of the patients and eventually came to the conclusion that maybe there wasn’t that much wrong with me. I did feel a bit like Randle McMurphy. Let me tell you that if you ever think you’re going insane, try a fortnight in a secure psychiatric ward! I encountered real crazies there, which in comparison with, I’m just a tad eccentric. And what happened when you were released? That was the final straw for my partner, and she said she would not sit idly by and watch me self-destruct. When I came home she was gone, Nesbitt was still dead, and all of the arylcyclohexylamines I had been researching had been confiscated and destroyed.


That’s really terrible. Alexander Shulgin always felt that the dissociatives had no use as psychotherapeutic drugs, and John Lilly found that even when you think the effects of ketamine have worn off there is a lingering undercurrent of dissociation that prevents you from reaching baseline. And despite the fact that I knew all of that, I still ignored what should have been indicators that I was slipping. The arylcyclohexylamines light up too many of the reward systems in the brain, with the dopamine-reuptake inhibition, the NMDA antagonism, and the μ-opioid affinity. They lend themselves to abuse and escape to fantasy. I used to find myself raving about chemicals I had only tried once or twice, saying they were Huxley’s soma or moksha, or Polidamma’s Nepenthe. I’ve come to realise that dissociatives have a really dark side to them that classic serotonergic psychedelics don’t. Right. One methoxetamine user reported a dissociativeidentity-disorder-esque psychotic episode. He impulsively fondled a stranger’s breasts, as if controlled by an external force. A nearly identical breast-fondling automatism was reported by John Lilly under the influence of ketamine. Perhaps the suppression of a breast-honking impulse is mediated by the NMDA receptor. There’s a scientific study for you! We still have much to learn about the human brain. How would you advise people who experiment with methoxetamine to proceed? If people had responsibility, that would be enough, but some people just don’t know the meaning of the word responsible and you see train wrecks happen all the time. There have already been methoxetamine hospitalizations from a few people who overdosed, and there was a suicidal girl who went to her mate’s flat, picked up a bag of unknown powder, and decided to kill herself with it, not knowing that it was methoxetamine. She wasn’t harmed, but it ended up in the papers. And you know, I’ve just recently seen in Sweden someone who intravenously injected methoxetamine and MDAI and died. Wait, what was this? Somebody in Sweden injected 100 mg of methoxetamine and 400 mg of MDAI. And this person died? Yeah, there were cardiac problems, and the person died. Just knowing that if it weren’t for my involvement, methoxetamine would have never reached the market. It leaves more than an awful taste in your mouth. You cannot help but feel like, “If I hadn’t opened my mouth in the first place, this never would have happened.” But people have contacted me to say thank you because methoxetamine helped them. I know some people have found relief from depression that nothing has ever touched before. Methoxetamine’s anti-depressant effect is immediate, and it lasts a bloody long time. It could banish an emotional blight on people’s lives, and it has a dose low enough that it should not harm the urinary bladder like ketamine. There is a big positive side to it, but when something negative like an overdose happens, you can’t help but feel like crap about the whole thing.

Pyschonaut John Lilly constructed this ketamine dose-toresponse curve and wrote of his experiences (speaking in the third person): “Later John was to find that there was a small residual effect that lasted several hours. The falling curve did not go completely to zero. The overvaluation trap would be found much later to be caused by this small residual effect unnoticed in the first set of experiments.” Copyright 1988, 1997 by John Lilly. From The Scientist: A Metaphysical Autobiography, John Lilly, MD, by permission of Ronin Publishing, Berkeley, CA. www.roninpub.com.

I asked the chemist David Nichols how he felt about the deaths and amputations related to 4-MTA and BromoDragonfly and he said he was “deeply disturbed.” You’ve got to be disturbed unless you have some psychotic trait in your personality. I just know I caused this: I am responsible for a human death. In a way, it’s the burden to bear for anyone who brings a drug to the market. I mean, think about thalidomide. It still gets used to treat leprosy, or Hansen’s disease I think it’s called now. I bet if the chemist Wilhelm Kunz is alive, he still has nightmares about all of the birth defects that occurred in the 60s no matter how much good it does for people with leprosy. Those are the things that feed nightmares. You never know. The chemist Louis Fieser felt no guilt for the invention of napalm. Yeah, but then again one percent of the population have psychotic personality disorders and they feel no empathy or guilt and they can do things like that. Just like I said with the postgrad research, killing the animals was too much for me to deal with. You shouldn’t blame yourself; all technological innovations have the capacity to hurt people. Well, it’s my good Catholic guilt. You can take the boy out of Catholicism but you can’t take the Catholicism out of the boy, and I just look for things to feel guilty about at times. You can take the boy out of 3-methoxylated-arylcyclohexylamines but you can’t take the 3-methoxylated-arylcyclohexylamines out of the boy, they say… Ay, let’s hope that’s not the case.

VICE 47


DOs BY ROB DELANEY

Ain’t a party without a little strawberry shortcake for dessert! The store was closed though, so we’re gonna take turns eating Peter’s splotchy ass instead. Ashley’s got dibs on the first bite!

A lot of people would like to put both arms up a leopard’s asshole after a long day of recycling Mooncups on the kibbutz, but only Jesse here has the courage.

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If your shit hangs low, you might as well rock pure ass because seeing people’s underpants is just as horrible.

Yukking it up looking at your little fashion photos? Well, have at it, whippersnapper, he’s been mowing pussy in this outfit since before your daddy dodged the draft.

The sun is hot, the ocean’s got all kinds of fish in it, and you, young lady, are a motherfucking delight. My mum and I want to get to know you.


DON’Ts BY ROB DELANEY

Jan, Nancy, and Terri are excited to share 3,000 words about tulips with you! (After they sync their slide shows to some provocative Sting jamz!)

Before entering the club, everyone had to sign a waiver, acknowledging that they were “at peace” with being fucked to death by Dr. Alexander Criscofist.

Now and then, Rick Rubin has to go deep undercover to sign a new act. Here he is trying to land “Futon Phil,” whose mixtape of him vomiting blood over Deltron 3030 is some NEXT-LEVEL SHIT.

Gina, you are not picking up what Brendan is putting down. And what he’s putting down is “I taste men’s penises after furniture class!”

Rather than ejaculating in you, Shawn the human sperm just wriggles up your little yum-yum and turns into the worst baby since your stepbrother Aaron.

VICE 49


DOs BY ROB DELANEY

Hey Jacques, wanna talk me out of this body sock and rock me with your pasty cock until 6 o’clock?

The coolest thing about this guy is that his awesome wife is exactly his age. He’s not rocking May–December style; his shit is straight winter round the clock, and that’s hot.

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Who likes red triangles? (Everyone in the whole world raises their hands.) This pretty little thing is paying it forward, with interest.

Nothing beats a look that says, “Physically I may be in Cincinnati, but my spirit will always be in 1985 Berlin!”

I hope our friendship lasts 75 years, Maurice, but if you die before me, I’m turning you into a body pillow! xoxo, Rob


DON’Ts BY ROB DELANEY

After a tough day of babysitting, we Yonkers gals like to shake it free at Houlihan’s!

Cee-Lo fucked Webster on a cruise last summer and now their baby, Sprinklewagon, is dating Chelsea Handler.

Fresh from the scene of a multiple pediatric butt-murder, Reggie the Clown wants to make you a balloon gazelle!

I’m art that you can fuck! But I’m a little nervous because this is the first time I’ve been in a building made of wood since 2004. Educate me with your gaijin dong!

What’s going on, Ricky Kravitz-Navarro? Hope you don’t get in a car accident tonight!

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ALL TIED UP IN LOVE A Kern Valentine Special

PHOTOS BY RICHARD KERN

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N Thursdays 2 tacos 1 beer $10

Bondi

Coogee

Cronulla

Ph: 9130 7123

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www.beachburritocompany.com

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BROS BLOWIN’ SHOTTIES PHOTOS BY SLAVA MOGUTIN CREATIVE DIRECTOR: ROBERT DOHERTY STYLIST: IAN BRADLEY

Analog jacket, Vans hoodie, The North Face hat; Volcom jacket, Adidas jacket, Vans sweatshirt, Supreme hat; Analog hat.

Fashion Coordinator: Annette Lamothe-Ramos Hair & Makeup: Christine Cherbonnier Models: Dorian and Luke at DNA, Devon, Matt, and Monty at Red, Wes at Colby Models

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Volcom tank top, Adidas pants, Coal hat, Pony shoes; Adidas hoodie, Nike shorts.


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Burton jacket, Volcom shirt, Analog jeans, Supreme hat, Vans shoes; vintage jacket, Adidas jacket, Analog jeans and hat, Brixton belt.


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Burton jacket, Adidas jacket; Moncler jacket, Analog shirt.


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Burton vest, Vans hoodie; Volcom jacket, Adidas hoodie, Burton hat.


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Burton vest, Vans hoodie; Analog shirt, Adidas hoodie.


THE LEARNIN’ CORNER: SPONTANEOUS HUMAN COMBUSTION

©1995, ABLAZE!; All Rights Reserved

BY LARRY ARNOLD AS TOLD TO JONATHAN SMITH, PHOTO BY ROBERT MESLIN

Larry Arnold is the author of Ablaze! The Mysterious Fires of Spontaneous Human Combustion and the world’s foremost expert on exploding people. Here he gives us a summary of why SHC is so difficult to explain through science, as well as his best estimations of what might cause it. Spontaneous human combustion has always been, if you’ll excuse the pun, a hotly debated subject. The usual outcome is that the victim’s body is almost entirely consumed to powder. SHC is frightful, horrific, and xenophobic—it challenges what experts understand about the effect fire has on the human body. Due to its bizarre nature, it is easier for academics to deny cases of SHC and invoke more comfortable scenarios, such as the Human Wick Theory (in which a person’s clothing plays wick to the fuel of human fat), or simply refuse to accept the evidence altogether. While I haven’t been able to come up with a single mechanism that is applicable across the hundreds of cases I’ve studied, I have developed a few theories concerning what I believe could cause a human being to spontaneously combust. One of my favorite explanations is the Subatomic Pyrotron Theory, which is based on quantum physics. The theory states that there is an extremely small but high-powered particle—like a neutrino—that zips through the spaces between the quarks that make up the atoms, which compose the molecules of the human body. On rare occasions a rogue particle scores a direct hit with a quark and sets off an internal chain reaction. I’ve dubbed this occurrence the Internal Hiroshima Effect, which may result in SHC. Another theory concerns kundalini—an energy that flows up and down the spinal column of every living human being. Although kundalini is well known to Eastern physicians and metaphysicians, it’s less so in the Western world. Kundalini is a very powerful bioenergy that, among other psychokinetic phenomena, can produce 68 VICE

intense internal-temperature spikes when out of balance. While I’m not entirely sure what causes kundalini to become unbalanced, in some cases factors such as one’s state of consciousness and emotional distress seem to affect it. Some people can increase their kundalini energy through meditation, while others have reported spontaneous movement of energies throughout the body without attempting to accelerate the flow. You can picture the out-of-balance energy as a quasi-plasma-like ball that seems to originate in the abdominal region. Strangely, whatever lies anatomically beyond the radius of that ball of energy usually escapes incineration. From what I have observed, the radius of the sphere is normally about a foot to a foot and a half, which means that the victim’s extremities are often left unburned but their torso is reduced to ash. The third theory I’m working on is called the Cartography of Combustion. I’ve plotted the many instances of abnormal fire phenomena relating to people and property in the United Kingdom. I’ve noticed that most can be connected by straight alignments. Some lines link five, six, or sometimes as many as a dozen anomalous fires. Our findings are somewhat similar to the idea of ley lines, which are based on the supposed geographic alignments of things like ancient monuments and other places of interest that are traditionally associated with earth energy mysteries. I believe these connections follow lines of energy that flow around the planet and that heretofore unknown and unidentified geophysical energy, under the correct circumstances, can cause spontaneous combustion in property, buildings, and people. Although I am constantly speculating about what could cause those patterns to manifest, at this point I have nothing I can take into a scientific laboratory and reproduce under controlled conditions. This is essentially why it’s so easy for the experts and the scientific orthodoxy to dismiss spontaneous human combustion. It is truly spontaneous.


SWEDISH COURT TRANSCRIPTS FEATURING JULIAN ASSANGE BY BOB ODENKIRK

u have , please. Yo outing at us G2: Stop sh a dying dog. re tonight. breath like e WIKILEAKS so rocking he is ub cl LEAKS! I’m th is KI WI otw G1: Th ed e nt th ve CBJA: I in s have some! Tuesdays and esn’t ncakes, let’ do ank God for Pa th h ol is s, ho ed Ye sc Sw : G2 GUY! . High are and we school week WikiLeakers at wh ow kn day Swedish you. Go t G1: We don’ NCAKES with ve days. ve SWEDISH PA resume for fi SWEDISH ha d to an n nt fu wa t adul don’t drinking and G1: Lots of away! ! , asshole. us yourself away hashPANCAKES for r he ot d an : Yes, fuck s G2 ke ca sh ! We present ha rget the INTERNET ses clinking as On gl ! te G2: Don’t fo of si d a CBJA: It’s s! [the soun infused food ATE SECRETS! ST ] er togeth guy is coming h as tr up secrets?! ro Eu ve think that G1: You make Don’t you lo G1: Uh-oh, I put them up! yo. st ju e, yl We … st ! us No d th toward CBJA: be hear ara but wi of CBJA can ke Che Guev LEAKS GUY! r, the voice voice). it?! I’m li le I’m the WIKI ma t! ed cu ch Moments late ir it ha -p gh WG if you my hi me t a ou ll in k ca Chec udly you!! Just ed to nt S ve (speaking lo AK in o LE wh KI ! AKS GUY! Mister WI m the guy rls! Hey! I’ ds for WIKILE ble] in CBJA: Hey! Gi nt—that stan [indeciphera wa n— sa As an CBJA speaks li m Ju the girls, so om WikiLeaks! I’ fr se on No resp not respond. voice. even louder The girls do AKS!! ng to an LE KI WI e] us t? I am tryi pa g on [l S! of my haircu AK k LE wie? in KI Bo th WI d u vi ed yo Da nt I inve What do you know on me! vid Bowie. Do it Da sp ke st li ju u ok Yo lo G1: Gross! KILEAKS! I thought of I created WI oaches and invented it! I S! S! AK AK LE bouncer appr LE KI ub KI cl WI a ! ng CBJA: WI t, hi in At this po up and everyt u . it and set it nce with yo da nfronts CBJA to alone. co nt wa e the ladies we don’t asshole, leav G2: Sorry, y, uncer: He u. Bo yo nt to talk to tonight. g. They don’t wa KILEAKS! I’m t into dancin no e ’r we I created WI , S! AK LE G1: Yeah KI WI Y! CBJA: But WIKILEAKS GU GUY! AKS! I’M THE e, e WIKILEAKS on CBJA: WIKILE th al u created us e av le n ca a shit if yo u Yo ve gi e. t ng n’ ra do or I’ll st Move along Bouncer: I G1: You are g internet. in ck fu e ol ? the wh We are please is with you. move you. want to do th I’m Mr. so horny e ar u yo s who I am! G2: We don’t or whatever bouncer know e ak just WL th Le or ki e, N Wi Se MA : to KI CBJA not in ! Call me WI me ’s ncakes! at Pa Th h WIKILEAKS! Don’t about. s have Swedis … WIKILEAKS! ome on, let’ nd —c ta nt rs wa de u s un yo t’ if n’t AKS?! Le t. CBJA: You do d of WIKILE t rning, dipshi haven’t hear ll you abou cer: Last wa te un n Bo ca LEA— tell me you I akes CREATED WIKI e quieter so Swedish Panc THE GUY WHO M go somewher ve I’ ha T BU n : ca CBJA d we t off by the WIKILEAKS an cording is cu re e th of gut. rd The last wo nched in the together! t getting pu cu ir ha a of u. k yo sound G1: No, than 70 VICE

©iStockphoto.com/jones22

Assange being ejected from the nightclub. Photographed by a patron using his cell phone.

Moments mbarrassing Assange - E

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THE CUTE SHOW PAGE! BY AMY KELLNER, PHOTOS BY PATRICK O’DELL

This month’s dose of adorability features Epicly Later’d creator Patrick O’Dell and his tongue-waggy old-man dog, Edgar. It also guest-stars Mimi, Patrick’s ex-girlfriend’s little minidog. Edgar and Mimi still like to hang out. Vice: Hi Patrick! What’s Edgar’s story? Where’s he from? Patrick O’Dell: I got him exactly one year ago today from Petfinder.com. He was evidence in a cruelty case. He wasn’t cute when I got him, but he is now! What are some of the cutest things he does? Makes cute faces. Sleeps in the closet. Jumps up and down when he hears me pick up his leash. Moans when he’s annoyed. Is he a snuggler? No, but he’s a leaner. How much do you love him? VERY. Watch The Cute Show on VBS.TV. It’s cute!

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Sydney, December 2010


REVIEWS BEST ALBUM OF THE MONTH: CHAIN AND THE GANG

JACKIE CHAIN Who da Mane Self-released

KANYE WEST My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy Universal

4

I still don’t understand why anyone wants to hear an emotionally arrested, megalomaniacal (but insecure!) 33-yearold man whine for 70 minutes. The production on Fantasy is undeniably on-point, but it feels purchased, not inspired. Tyler, the Creator, churns out better slap on the school-library computer. Remember when Kanye lifted that whole Daft Punk song a few years ago? He does the same thing here with Aphex Twin. People just love this shit for the soap-opera drama. If you want to hear an infantile yuppie wah-wah about how bad it sucks to be a famous, spoiled, amoral woman beater, here’s your record. JAN ADAMS

EMINEM, DR. DRE, JAY-Z, 50 CENT, STAT QUO, AND CASHIS Syllables AOL Radio

7

This track’s a deadstock banger from 2007 only recently released to promote some stupid online-radio thing AOL’s doing. Every MC drops a verse of gold over a beat that lays in the back, spooky and hypnotic. Eminem’s in top form—presweatpants and Vicodin binging—while Jay-Z does that “roll-call everyone else on the track endearingly” thing that makes me almost like Jay-Z. Shit, even 50 sounds smart here. If this is what Detox is going to sound like, then maybe it’s actually been worth waiting a decade. A CURSED MUMMY 74 VICE

8

Jackie Chain’s “Haze” was the best weed-smoking anthem of 2010, and “Rollin” is perhaps the only song about Ecstasy that doesn’t make me wish a drowning death to the Happy Mondays. Jackie is the rare rapper whose verses weave through sprawling, complex production. Yes, all ten tracks are Block Beattaz crafted. Yes, every bar slams. Who da Mane is a killer tape cementing the legendary status of three Huntsville vets. JET LI

lady: growling, putting on cuckoo voices, talking about giving/eating brains, etc. The thing is, Nicki’s a great rapper but she barely raps here, and without that skill running interference, you realise she doesn’t have the material to carry an album. Or maybe the execs took the reins and made Pink Friday by committee? Regardless, there’s no excusing supa-dupa spew like this: “Where all my dogs at… Randy/Get off my dick, bitch… Andy/… Go against me nowwww, I dare you… Bambi.” Gross. KIMBERLY DENISE JONES ACKIE MANE

BLOCK BEATTAZ

FUJIYA & MIYAGI

Block Beattaz Volume One

Ventriloquizzing

Southern Hospitality and DJ Giraffo

Other Tongues

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Everyone knows these guys now, right? They’re the Huntsville, Alabama, team of Cory Parham and Leighton Hicks, and they’re almost single-handedly responsible for energising that city’s rap scene by offering some of the South’s best production for a sliding-scale fee. This mix tape released by the Southern Hospitality blog pulls together three or four years of Block Beattaz hits, including the classic “Bama Gettin Money” and five—count ’em five—slammers by G-Side.

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Fujiwa and Miyagi set this record up with some yadda yadda about, like, “What if our band were ventriloquist dummies.” It’s also, um, kinda good? Weird, I know. Here’s your soundtrack for coming down on molly as you get helplessly lost taking the long way home. HONKY TONY

MARTIAL CANTEREL You Today Wierd

NICKI MINAJ Pink Friday Universal Motown

3

Man, what happened here? Just two months ago Nicki was dropping verses so good she had me listening to—blech— Trey Songz, on repeat. She was a crazy

8

Finally the goths reemerge after a few decades of threatened insurgency. This time though, it’s not just ugly nerds in XXXL black t-shirts jerking around back and forth to some crummy Warsaw bootleg. Today the tasteful synth-and-drummachine mavens of yore come forth bearing great gifts of beauty. The better half of


REVIEWS WORST ALBUM OF THE MONTH: DNTEL:

Xeno and Oaklander must’ve logged some serious lonesome time in the lab to craft this impossibly intricate, perfectly austere, narco-hypnotic record. Far more tailfeather shaking than the aforementioned duo’s output, this is most likely the best synth-pop record made since Vince Clarke started pretending he ain’t gay. MATTHIEU BADOWSKI

didn’t make a career out of just making people want to fuck them. Anyway they’re back now, after ten years, and we can enjoy them for what they still are: amazing synths with funny Princess Di type vocals over them, without having to think about the looks they’ve lost along the way. CHERRY BONG

DNTEL CUT COPY

After Parties 1 & 2

Zonoscope

Sub Pop

MONOTONIX Not Yet Popfrenzy

9

Sounds like something produced by Steve Albini. Oh wait, it is. Blown-out, punchy, incomprehensible radness with a soft spot for American rock history. That is all. SIMON CABBAGE

SLUG GUTS Howlin’ Gang

6

One day it might be funny to review CDs based on their press releases instead of actually listening to them, which would kind of make sense because press releases are usually so shitty and bombastic and full of sentences like “Minds ran wild with a free approach to experimentation during elastic sessions,” you generally end up hating the band midway through the first paragraph. I’m not blaming anyone, writing about music hard. Especially if the music you’re writing about initially makes you think it’s been ripped off from Fleetwood Mac but then makes you like it which in turn forces you to question whether you’re becoming an old fart who no longer knows a fun time when he hears it. CHUBBY CHUBBERSTEIN

HUMAN LEAGUE Credo

8

You know what helps when making a come back? Not originally being a sex symbol. While Phillip Oakley always looked great with his floppy art bangs and skinny ties, and his singers wore cool dresses and had insanely sexy accents, they 76 VICE

2

God, this shit is boring. Fucking dance music for people who would never, ever—not even in a million years—dance. There must be a computer programme to write this stuff by now, right? No sense in a dude wasting a whole afternoon trying to find the perfect Reason patch for some Metroid cowbell sound. SYLVESTER KELLY

SMITH WESTERNS Dye It Blonde Spunk

Stained Circles

7

These guys are Australian and sound like the Birthday Party. I guess I can handle another Australian Birthday Party. There’s a Berenstain Bears book that I often think about called Too Much Birthday. The Berenstains throw Sister Bear an elaborate birthday party with a carousel and a clown and even a pony. Sister Bear gets overwhelmed by the whole scene and has a little freakout. Will a second Birthday Party be too much birthday for you? No, of course not. You are not a little bear girl who wears people clothes; you are a human being, I hope. BEARS NEXT DOOR

MOGWAI

4

Holy shit, to hear these guys go on about themselves and their contracts and where they will and won’t “headline” you’d think John Lennon pried himself out of the grave and has been secretly practicing Oasis songs with the surviving Wilburys. The fact that the music sounds like my little brother and his drama-club friends playing outtakes from the Labyrinth soundtrack made me laugh at my stereo so hard I was scared of getting a hernia. TITUS GORM BURNY

Hardcore Will Never Die, but You Will Spunk

5

Look, the truth is that you could halt all further production of “post-rock” tomorrow and there would still be many lifetimes of this shit left to wade through. I don’t care if Mogwai is one of the better bands of this genre, it’s still just a bunch of midtempo tension-and-release Godspeed


REVIEWS BEST COVER OF THE MONTH: CUT COPY:

snooze jams. It gets loud, then quiets down again, then gets loud. Then guess what happens? It gets quiet again. The keys come in at the perfect moment between the first and second verse. The drummer really rips, in a minivan commercial kind of way. This is what kids play their parents to ease the blow when they announce they’ll be studying classical saxophone instead of doing premed. “Well, Dad, it won’t be a salary per se, but I might get featured on All Songs Considered.” CHARLES BUKKAKE

while. It’s the perfect soundtrack for bumping uglies, provided you’re married and wouldn’t ever dream of using a rubber, of course. CAREN KARPENTER

BRAIDS

Native Speaker Spunk

DUM DUM GIRLS He Gets Me High Sub Pop/Stomp

TYVEK

Nothing Fits In the Red

8

I hate when writers refer to bands as “taut” or “wirey,” because it sounds like my aunts describing a football player’s “buns” and that isn’t the mental image that should accompany the music of, say, early Fall or the Minutemen. That said, these Detroit spaz-outs have got the tautest-working buns in show business. BETTY TINKLE

REV. JOHNNY L. JONES

7

This is a short but sweet one to listen to when you have an innocent crush on someone who likes to smoke weed as much as you do. Invite them over, put this on, share a joint, get dreamy, and by the time you get to the Smiths cover at the end (which is actually really good), you’ll be giving each other meaningful looks and holding hands. It’s an EP that’s less than 15 minutes long, though, so this will all happen very fast. And if that special someone is a music nerd, you get extra points for talking about how lush the production is, especially the vocals. VICKY MIRAGE

The Hurricane That Hit Atlanta It’s almost impossible to make religion cool. But here we have Reverend “Hurricane” Jones, who dropped fervent sermons and soul-funk bombs on his old tape deck to beam them around the neighbourhood for the folks too broke to attend his traveling church. It’s pretty much a nonstop party when the Rev. starts cooking and his raw mix of Christ’s blood and sweat hits the floor. Seriously, this is the sexiest music I’ve heard in a

7

Braids—not to be mistaken for the Bohemian Rhapsodising Bay Area duo of the same name—are four kids from Montreal putting a repetitive electronic spin on the ubiquitous Animal Collective jam-out model. Singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston indulges in some of that contemptible Joanna Newsom-style elfin-retard singing, but Braids make up for it with some astonishing fourpart harmonies. Actually, the singing’s not always excusable: The yelped-finale on “Lammicken” ruins that song’s ambient-by-way-of-Chris-Clark vibe. Still, for a bunch of young’uns self-recording their debut, Native Speaker is assured and impressive. CAITLIN CORNWELL

YEO Bag ’O Items

THE RADIO DEPT. Passive Aggressive: The Singles 2002–2010

Dust-to-Digital

8

trying to do something gnarly after this bit. I stayed comfortable smelling soaps at Lush all the way through. LALA BUHH

Labrador

4

“When youth culture becomes monopolised by big business… I think we should destroy the bogus capitalist process that is destroying youth culture!!!” Classic polemic to start your 12th track, dudes! After 11 hazers surveying eight whopping years of limp, sit-down My Bloody Valentine worship, I’m glad you didn’t stand up and jar the band by

6

This is a young buck from Brisbane who’s really talented and makes music that kind of sounds like D’Angelo. Unfortunately that makes me think D’Asian night. Relax, I’m a chink too and I can remember back in the day wanting to be black. But in the 90s, that meant wearing your enormous jeans backwards, taking three minutes to shake a homey’s hand and basically doing everything you could to make the white kids hate you even VICE 77


REVIEWS WORST COVER OF THE MONTH: DARWIN DEEZ

more. These days it’s about getting them to dance, which I don’t get so much. VULVALDI

DARWIN DEEZ S/T Inertia

music, or any type of art for that matter—as addressed in a jazzy, “Fever”-style clap-along. I don’t know if the world is ready for this big a dose of The Truth, but if there’s a God (who isn’t a bigoted asshole), Ian and his Gang should go down in history as the all-time most laid band of all time. GIL MAFARPOULOS

3

Full disclosure: I never took this CD out of its cellophane wrapper. Before I’d even gotten a chance to hear Darwin Deez’s music he double-decked me with 1) his cross-out Alan Palomo mug and 2) a one-sheet containing the phrase “Strokesian ennui.” Seriously, how the fuck am I supposed to do my job in these unsafe conditions? I’d rather be a coal miner if it meant I never had to see another one of these Wesleyan fart huffers. SAMUEL WILBERFORCE

CHAIN AND THE GANG Music’s Not for Everyone

JANE BADLER WITH SIR Tears Again

7

This is the sexy alien from the TV series V singing over arrangements by the band leader from Steve Vizard and featuring My Disco’s drummer. And to no-one’s surprise, it’s pretty bonkers. Lush horns, jazz chords, torchy vocals about knots, young boys and being fucked up on prescription pills. It works though, and no disrespect to Jane Badler, but I’d like to have sex with to this record. Except for track four. That track makes me think of having sex with Kate Ceberano. THUNDER CAT

chance: Save yourself from disgrace and pick up this brilliant mess now. HARRISON PUNTA

DEERHOOF

Deerhoof vs. Evil Polyvinyl Records

7

I’ve always thought of Deerhoof as “that overhyped band that graphic designers keep on their iPods to maintain their ‘kooky cred.’” I loathed their inexhaustible peppiness, their boppy angular breakdowns, and especially their Shaggish refrains. I guess I just hated Deerhoof. On Deerhoof vs. Evil, though, the band sound like they’ve been flattened by a semi carrying 4,000 years of disappointment. For the first time, Deerhoof are tender and kinda sad. It’s like on The Ultimate Fighter when everyone’s celebrating Richie Whitson’s birthday and Cameron Dollar gets weepy, saying he wished he had a better relationship with his parents. Don’t let it get you down, Cameron! You’re a champ! COACH DIABATE

K Records

BILL ORCUTT

8

Music writers think that “brutal honesty” means carving “4realsies” into your arm for a press photo or the guy from Titus Andronicus singing “I took the one thing that made me beautiful and threw it away.” Rather than indulge in similarly dubious emo platitudes in an effort to get laid, Chain and the Gang have moved on to actual honesty. This round includes such jarring revelations as the fact that privilege is a bummer, drug dealers are really the hardest-working guys in show business, and that nine-tenths of the population have no business making 78 VICE

DELICATE STEVE Wondervisions

A New Way to Pay Old Debts

Luaka Bop

Editions Mego

8

This record, it’s barely fucking music! It sounds like Orcutt’s fingers are two alley cats scrapping over a piece of discarded provolone from a Subway footlong. It’s like an abortion-clinic bombing gone horribly right: Everyone inside’s fine but the smoldering, dismembered bodies of protesters enmeshed with their charred deadfetus signs smell up and down the block for miles. Old Debts came out last year as an LP. Consider this CD release a second

6

Delicate Steve just got through touring with Fang Island, and on hearing Wondervisions their pairing totally makes sense. On tracks like “Sugar Splash,” Delicate Steve combine the grooviness of thwump-a-thwump bass and tom-tom beats with a searing, trebly, triple-rectified solo. Delicate Steve are the “eat my shorts” raga to Fang Island’s “everyone high-fiving everyone” lead-guitar blaze. ROUGH NECK SUE


JOHNNY RYAN’S PAGE

80 VICE


Josh Kalis

Airing in February


ELI REED


CVO S First introduced by Converse in 1961. Reintroduced in 2010.


The Teetering on the Brink Issue  

The February 2011 Issue of VICE Australia Magazine

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