DOPE CLEVERLY RECKLESS
BEVERAGES ON THE BOG
”Obviously I was still in love with her” Page 44
ISSUE 01 £6.00
Raving your way into the day. Sober.
SHOULD MDMA BE LEGALISED?
THE LUXE DRUG
Can cocaine save your life?
UNUSUAL PLACES ■ MDMA DO’S & DONT’S ■ SURVIVAL GUIDE SPRING 2017 DOPE 1
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Editor Ine Schwebs
Sub Editor Lacey Jones
Art Directors Yasemin Kose Sunniva Kolostyรกk
Contributors Johannes Amble | Karoline Kenriksen | Sian-Louise Kappor | Jeff Yeung | Lucius Zhang 2 DOPE SPRING 2017
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E Letter from the Editor
It all started six months ago. My dad called me after his weekly therapy session. He is currently recovering after coming out as one of the many functioning alcoholics of modern society. Rarely are they talked about, these people we hear of abusing drugs, but never really know who they are. Still we know they exist. They are often categorised as the failed ones, the misfits, the spontaneous, the restless and troubled. But who are they? I have never seen my dad as any of those things. Truth is, most people know someone who has a problem with drugs. Be it alcohol, cannabis or cocaine. Still, in 2017, when arguing that openness and tolerance are indisputable beliefs, we rarely see the faces or hear the stories of people who, for some reason, slightly slipped. Maybe even more importantly - where did it go wrong in the first place? Abuse is not something that occurs out of nothing. My dad and I talked about all and nothing, like we always do, living so far apart from each other. “Well, drugs would make a good topic for a magazine,” my dad said while brainstorming. Then it hit me - you can’t stop people from taking drugs just by telling them it’s wrong. We are already aware that alcohol and tobacco are among the most dangerous substances you could possibly intoxicate your body with, but people still use them, don’t they? How can we possibly make this world a bit safer for people who have either chosen, slipped or fallen into the ‘wrong side’? By showing people who they are. By building a community where people are able to read about and talk about drug use and abuse. By providing a platform that aims to be honest about the grey zones and blurred lines. A non-judging, open and accessible magazine about the culture around drugs could maybe prevent a person who is thinking about tripping for the first time from making a stupid and uneducated choice. Yes, there is information out there about drugs, but that’s also it. Information needs to be turned into a proper debate, a conversation, and knowledge that people can actively relate to. Trust me, many eyebrows have been raised when we have tried to explain to people what we are making a magazine about. But to refuse to talk about drugs is pushing a problem in front of us that won’t disappear. Through the stories we have gathered for our first ever issue of Dope Magazine, we want to create an entertaining platform that hopefully will make people become more interested in the many reasons people choose to take drugs, but also the potential dangers of them. For my dad it took 20 years to start talking. Maybe it would be easier for people to talk about it if they knew they wouldn’t be judged once coming out. Stay safe!
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CONTENTS 1 Editor’s Letter 3 Highlights 6 Idiots under the Inﬂuence What the dumbest thing you’ve done? Art by Lucius Zhang. Words by Lacey Jones. 7 Summmer of Love Find out how to celebrate the anniversary of love. Photos by RexFeatures. Words by Sunniva Kolostyák. 8 6 out-of-the-ordinary eats in London Our round up of the top unusual places to eat in London. Art by Sian-Louise Kapoor. Words by Yasemin Kose. 9 Beverages on the Bog Ever thought about drinking in a former public loo? Photos by Ine Schwebs. Words by Yasemin Kose.
23 Should MDMA be legalised? The clash between scholars. Photos by RexFeatures. Words by Ine Schwebs.
13 3 alternative ways to be a tourist Insight into famous cities’ drug scenes. Photos by RexFeatures. Words by Lacey Jones.
26 The Lux Drug Can hard drugs save your life? Photos and Words by Sunniva Kolostyák.
14 “Just Say No” 32 Morning Gloryville Taking a look at Ronald Reagan’s famous anti-drug speech. Soberly raving your way into the day. Photos by Karoline Henriksen. Words by Sunniva Kolostyák. Photos and Words by Sunniva Kolostyák. 20 The History of MDMA Take a look back at MDMA’s past and present. Photos by RexFeatures. Words by Lacey Jones.
38 Transcending Boundaries teamLab’s latest exhibition at London’s Pace Gallery. Photos by teamLab. Words by Yasemin Kose. 40 The choice of escaping reality Interview with two rappers who use drugs for their music. Photos by Johannes Amble. Words by Ine Schwebs. 44 “Obviously I was still in love with her.” How does it feel to get back with an ex? Photos by Jeff Yeung. Words by Lacey Jones. 46 Do’s and Don’ts of MDMA. Advice on how to be cleverly reckless whilst using MDMA. Words by Yasemin Kose.
46 DOPE Survival Guide. A step-by-step guide to a night out. Photos by RexFeatures. Words by Lacey Jones. 47 Idiots under the Influence Illustrated Our readers stupidity in comic form. Art by Lucius Zhang.
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The Fake Out
once played Mario kart versus my friend’s boyfriend and I was in first place! My friend was cheering me on. Well, once I won the round I realised that I was in last place and had been watching the wrong side of the screen. I had been continuously falling off the track because I thought I was winning on the other split screen. I then had to do a few laps of shame to move onto the next one. - Shanice, Weed.
was walking back home with a friend and I really needed to pee. I remembered that babies can push on your bladder so I thought the baby was pushing on my bladder. I walked home holding my stomach as if I was pregnant. – Salem, Alcohol.
Mexican House Maid
was at a house party where I thought it would be a good idea to pretend to be a mexican house maid using Consuela’s voice off of Family Guy and insisted on cleaning someone else’s house with a vaccum cleaner even though they tried to stop me. - Luke, Alcohol.
Faux Van Gogh
e were in Amsterdam, we got high. My friend, Alistair, said he wanted to go to the Van Gogh museum and we said “we’re not going to see no museum” so he went alone. After about an hour we realised we had no way of contacting him so my friends and I, high, walked around randomly trying to find him. We finally found him, God knows how and he said “the museums a fraud! Those aren’t paintings! They were photos of the paintings!” He started hammering on the box office asking for a refund but we’re pretty sure they were actual paintings. He kept crying, “why aren’t these paintings? I want my money back!” – Alistair & Jeff, Weed.
o my friend asked me to vote online for their housemate to become the president of their society. This was during the American election. So my stoned ass thought for some reason that it made sense for me, a non-American, to vote via whatsapp to my friend and that that would count. He told me to look at our chat so I did but thinking “ok so I can only vote for the U.S. Elections through chat – totally makes sense.” So I went into our chat and wrote “Bernie Sanders” and still had no idea what was going on. He said no, vote for Rebecca. I was like um, I don’t know a Rebecca in the election is that a new candidate? I googled Rebecca U.S. Elections. Nope, I was just stupid. So now it’s become slang between my friends and I to say “I’m Bernie” instead of “I’m high.” - Lucius, Weed.
DOPE’s favourite idiots under the
INFLU ENCE What’s the dumbest thing you’ve done? 6 DOPE SPRING 2017
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How would you mark the anniversary of love and LSD? Find your way of celebrating the iconic beginning of the hippie movement.
WORDS BY SUNNIVA KOLOSTYAK
n 1967, about 75 000 people gathered in the streets of San Francisco for the original Summer of Love that promoted the principles of peace, love and compassion. This marked the beginning of the hippie movement that came to define the 70s and this year the 50th anniversary will be marked all over the world. These are DOPE’s favourite places commemorating the defining cultural movement. It is possible to incorporate the Summer of Love to your summer holiday. Flying to San Francisco for the Summer of Love 2017 Festival is the most obvious option. The event is still held in Golden Gate Park in the Haight-Ashbury district and offers live music and a vibe that will send you back to the hippie era. However, the Summer of Love 2017 is temporarily cancelled because of a denied permit to hold the festival in the original area. The denial is the first such setback for the event organisers in 40 years, but the SOL leaders seek to overturn the permit denial. But even if the festival will not go forward, about 70 different cultural, civic, social service and health advocacy organisations have joined forces to create events in the city throughout the year. As for festivals in Europe, Serbian EXIT Festival also plan on marking some of the most important events from the Peace Movement. The popular festival attracts 270,000 people every year to Petrovaradin Fortress, and have now set up a
festival package around Eastern Europe with four festivals in different countries. The first festival kicks off in a seaside resort in Umag, Croatia, before moving on to the Romanian forest the next weekend. Then comes EXIT festival itself before the grand finale is held in Montenegro, on Lonely Planet’s best beach in Europe 2015, where it is possible to party it out at the festival while still enjoying a relaxing holiday by the turquoise sea. Several cities in the UK will also be commemorating the anniversary. Liverpool were probably the biggest contributor to the musical side of the hippie counterculture in 1967 and it is only natural that they mark the anniversary fittingly. The city plans on hosting events honouring the release of the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and All You Need is Love, and performances inspired by other developments like the opening of the Metropolitan Cathedral and partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales. The decriminalisation will of course also lead to a huge celebration at Brighton and Hove Pride. The team behind has made plans to honour the hippie movement as well, with their Pride Summer of Love Festival in Preston Park and with a Carnival of Diversity. As they put it, it will be “an opportunity to reflect the fabulously diverse and unique communities whom we are lucky enough to share our city with.”
Check out the events: 50thsummeroﬂove.com for SAN FRANCISCO exitfest.org for EXIT FESTIVAL SERBIA artinliverpool.com for LIVERPOOL brighton-pride.org for BRIGHTON SPRING 2017 DOPE 7
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out of the ordinary
eats in London
Are you looking for a unique dining experience? Check out our list and pick the quirky experience that suits you!
More out of the ordinary eats on the next page →→
WORDS BY YASEMIN KOSE
The Ukulele Hootenanny
Underground Supper Club
This takes place every Monday at the Queen of Hoxtons. It is advertised for “regular Ukers, beginners or anyone who is just Uke curious.” It is free and if you don’t own a ukulele already, you can hire one of theirs for a £20 returnable deposit.
This charity operates prisoner training schemes to provide helpful skills and self-discipline to prepare them for life once released. You will need to book in advance with your details and wait for approval – you then have a chance to have a meal cooked by prisoners.
Experience dining in a tube carriage! You can enjoy a four course menu in one of London’s most unique venues. All guests receive a complimentary cocktail on arrival and there is a bar stocked with wines and beers to keep you going throughout the night.
Events in the Sky
You can mess around in a ball pit of 250,000 balls followed by two hours of bottomless spaghetti meatballs, prosecco and punch in their bar. Choose between Saturday and Sunday – grab some friends and go down to BallieBallerson to rave and mess around.
A ping-pong bar that hosts a night of competitive fun in a quirky industrial-chic venue. Bounce combine three elements of hospitality: bar, restaurant and pingpong. Drinks along with a selection of antipasti and pizzas provide guests with the full entertainment factor.
Be elevated 100 feet into the air for sky-high views of London for breakfasts, lunches, dinners and champagne receptions. This event sees some of London’s best restaurants transferring their menus and dining experiences to the unique sky table for you to enjoy the very best.
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The capital city’s 19th Century Victorian toilets are being reinvented into bars, cafés and restaurants. WORDS BY YASEMIN KOSE PHOTOS BY INE SCHWEBS
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adies and Gentlemen, a bar in a disused underground Victorian toilet, has become a London favourite. William Borrell, the owner of the bar and Vestal Vodka has created an architectural delight. The bar has a warm and cosy atmosphere â€“ it is more on the casual side compared to the ordinary London cocktail bar, but it is perfect for a pre-dinner cocktail or a post-work booze on a Friday night. Since its launch in 2015, Ladies and Gentlemen has become a neighbourhood bar: the barmen are extremely friendly and have great enthusiasm. The bar offers high quality cocktails made of homemade liquors, syrups, botanicals and herbs. Being a former underground loo, the bar does a great job of making the most of the unusual space. After making your way down the narrow stairs and pushing back the door, you can expect to see two tiny rooms with a small centrepiece bar. Ladies and Gentlemen offers fabulous table service but if you are more of the chatty type there are a few seats at the bar. Drinks are always served with a smile and great hospitality. Its cosy atmosphere creates a very comfortable experience and the retro-inspired dĂŠcor makes the whole experience even more exciting and enjoyable. Apart from the various toilet parts hung on the walls, you would never really grasp that it was a former public toilet. It is an unusual bar in an unusual setting and is most definitely a perfect place to hang out with some friends, both for the atmosphere and the drinks.
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Are you more in the coffee mood? As well as high quality cocktails, the quality of our coffee is equally as important. The Attendant, located in Fitzrovia, also uses the space of a former Victorian toilet and has been transformed into a café that has been decorated to a high standard - keeping some of the original toilet features have made the overall look very innovative and quirky. After two years of planning and restoration, the old Victorian toilets have been converted into a little kitchen and the original urinals have become a staple look and are lined along the main seating wall to help create single booths. The green seating matches the original Victorian tiles which have kept the old-fashioned and casual style. The underground coffee shop serves up delicious looking food made with quality products and sustainable coffee. The two developers, Bosh McKeown and Ryan De Oliveira, had a vision of creating innovative brunch cafes and designed them as a place for people to take a moment, gather their thoughts and refuel, which has definitely paid off. As it is a very small space, The Attendant is more of a quick stop for a sandwich and a coffee; it is not really a place to have a long meeting with fellow colleagues as it does get fairly busy and over-crowded. It is so refreshing to find an independent coffee shop around London that has the full hospitality package – quality food, coffee, great atmosphere and friendly staff. The baristas are extremely talkative and will manage to put a smile on your face – a nice difference from some other coffee shop baristas. ■
“The baristas are extremely talkative and will manage to put a smile on your face - a nice difference from some other coffee shop baristas.”
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to be a tourist
Need to get away? DOPE has you covered. We’ve compiled a list of city breaks and given you an insight into each location’s drug scene. WORDS BY LACEY JONES
What to do: You could smoke a joint while looking up at the cultural wonder that is the Eiffel tower and supping on snails. If you’re looking for something a little different, you can step right off the Eurostar and head into France’s Supervised Drug Injection Site (the SCMR).
What to do: Known for the red light district and for its vibrant culture, it’s the obvious choice on this list. When you’re between visiting the museums and admiring the canals you can pop into one of the city’s many coffee shops and sit back and smoke with friends.
What to do: Spend the day in awe of the city or take a tour of the FC Barcelona Football stadium. Visit the Moog nightclub to buy some MDMA and take your pick from the upstairs “mirror room” for pop-oriented sets or stay downstairs to dance to techno and house .
Where to stay: Hotel Metropol (98, Rue de Maubeuge, 10th arr., 75010 Paris, France)
Where to stay: Hostel Uptown (Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 147, 1017 PZ Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Where to stay: Gallery Hotel (Rosselló, 249, Eixample, 08008 Barcelona, Spain)
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”Just say no” Ronald Reagan’s war on drugs created shockwaves that are still felt 35 years later. In this guide through the infamous 1986 anti-drug speech, David shows just how much he believes in the cause.
WORDS BY SUNNIVA KOLOSTYAK PICTURES BY KAROLINE MAGDALEN HENRIKSEN
”Being friends to others is the best way of being friends to ourselves. It’s time, as Nancy said, for America to ’just say no’ to drugs.” 14 DOPE SPRING 2017
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”Drugs are menacing our society. They’re threatening our values and undercutting our institutions. They’re killing our children.” In 2015, for every million, 2.7 people under 20 died of drug poisoning, a drop of 64 % since 1998 with 7.5 the highest number ever recorded (ONS). SPRING 2017 DOPE 15
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”I recently read one teenager’s story. She’s now determined to stay clean but was once strung out on several drugs. What she remembered most clearly about her recovery was that during the time she was on drugs everything appeared to her in shades of black and gray and after her treatment she was able to see colours.” David claims that drugs are the only things making him relax and see things clearly.
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”Drugs steal away so much. They take and take, until finally every time a drug goes into a child, something else is forced out (...). Drugs take away the dream from every child’s heart and replace it with a nightmare.” 11 years after the speech, a survey showed that ”most drug users are happy, successful people with a taste for the good life.” SPRING 2017 DOPE 17
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So, open your eyes to life: to see it in the vivid colors that God gave us as a precious gift to His children, to enjoy life to the fullest, and to make it count. Say yes to your life. And when it comes to drugs and alcohol just say no.
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”Everyone’s safety is at stake when drugs and excessive alcohol are used by people on the highways or by those transporting our citizens or operating industrial equipment.” SPRING 2017 DOPE 19
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created in Germany
on for the first time
1957 First use in Psychotherapy
1925-2014 He designed psychedelic drugs in his garden shed
“The Godfather of Ecstacy” 20 DOPE SPRING 2017
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The History HISTORY
of MDMA 198
Acid House music
MDMA is used
From a chemist’s by-product to one of the world’s most popular rave drug we take a look at MDMA’s journey.
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his is the worst time to be using MDMA in a generation. The 2016 Global Drug Survey say that the MDMA users in the UK take almost half a gram more MDMA in a night than anyone else. Known also by the name ‘ecstasy’ MDMA has often been called the love drug but it didn’t begin that way. In 1912 two chemists, G. Mannish and W. Jacobsohn, of German pharmaceutical company Merck created MDMA. They wanted to find a substance that would stop bleeding by a process which narrows blood vessels by the contracting the vessel’s muscular wall (vasoconstriction). It began as a by-product, created by Mannish and Jacobsohn while they were attempting to synthesise hydrastinine, a white, crystalline, poisonous alkaloid that is used to stop bleeding. It wasn’t until 16 May 1914 that Merck patented MDMA as a chemical intermediate “for products of potential pharmaceutical value.” The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor conducted the first thorough study using MDMA in 1953. They used MDMA in five animal species (guinea pigs, rats, mice, monkeys and dogs). It was one of seven compounds tested as a possible toxin and stimulant. It wasn’t until the 1970s, when Californian-based Alexander Shulgin heard about MDMA from a friend, that there was any research of note. While he did not create MDMA, Shulgin is often called the “Godfather of Ecstacy” due to his work with it. He was possibly the first human to willingly try MDMA during the early 70s. He tried it while on a train with his wife and a friend. He asked them whether he could take the chemical instead of the alcohol he’d usually have with dinner. He recorded his experience and noted it took 53 minutes until there was a smooth shift into a light intoxication. Shulgin said: “I looked upon it as a possible low calorie martini or no calorie martini.”
In 1976 Alexander Shulgin created a new synthesis method for MDMA and realised the drug’s potential. He showed MDMA to his friend, Leo Zeff, in 1977. Shulgin and Zeff realised MDMA’s ability introduce kindness and empathy would be ideal to treat people with relationship problems. Zeff became known as the “Johnny appleseed of MDMA” after he began to use it in psychotherapy and spread the word to other psychotherapists. It should be noted that at this time MDMA as well as MDA and MDEA were banned in the UK. It was not banned in the Unites States until 1985. The 1980s brought ecstasy into the public eye through the New Age
“I looked upon it as a possible low calorie martini or no calorie martini.” Movement. It is a subculture in which people construct their own spiritual journey based on the combined material of multiple teachings and practices rather than follow the lead of organised religion. It can be described as alternative spirituality or religion. People of the New Age Movement took MDMA as for spiritual reasons. They were into things such as meditation, crystals, environmentalism and reincarnation. Most “New Agers” named ‘ecstasy’ as their drug of choice. In 1984, the street name “ecstasy” was coined in California. Ecstasy inspired a whole new music trend during the late 80s. The founders of Acid House music in the UK discovered it during a visit to the Balearic island of Ibiza in 1987. Ibiza was known as “XTC Island.” Paul Oakenfold, Johnny Walker, Nick Holloway and Danny Rampling took ecstasy for the first time while at
Amnesia, one of the island’s more popular clubs, where they found the properties of MDMA and the dance music that was playing a great combo. Acid House is described as a mix of Detroit techno, New York Disco, Chicago house and European electro-pop. In 1988 hundreds and thousands of tablets were consumed each weekend at the Summer of Love. By the 1990s, Ecstasy had become known as the rave drug. The use of drugs to add to the clubbing experience was already happening but ecstasy was a better fit for raves than cocaine was. This was because its effects made people much more open and enabled them to stay awake all night and enjoy themselves a little longer. In some bars the use of ecstasy affected the business. Monica Johansen was a bartender during the 1990s. “We didn’t sell any beer or Hooch at all anymore, everyone just wanted water,” Johansen said, “in the end we had to start charging people for a glass of water because our commission was based on the club’s profits.” By the 20th Century, 500,000 people in Great Britain were using ecstasy on a regular basis. In 2015, 29 males over the age of 25 years old died from a drug-related death involving ecstasy. This was the highest amount of deaths amongst males and females from 1993-2015. Previously, 2007 and 2005 had the highest number where 28 males over the age of 25 died (Office of National Statistics). The Global Drug survey states that there has been in increase in the use of MDMA in the last 3 years. Some people prefer taking it over drinking alcohol when they go out for the night. 30-year-old Dale Canham takes the drug before he goes partying. He said: “Drinking makes me sluggish and lazy. I’m likely to have a fun, long night out on MDMA. I also end up consuming less alcohol which leaves me with less of a hangover the next day.” ■
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Should MDMA be legalised? The scholars are split. While some want to use
MDMA in psycho-therapy, the other end is arguing that the drug can lead to life-long, negative effects. WORDS BY INE SCHWEBS
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rica sits opposite me in one of London’s many dark pubs. When she moved here four years ago, a new world of alluring drugs evolved around her and she soon discovered MDMA as her favourite party fix. After asking me whether we should order another round of beer, she briefly looks at the guys sitting on the table next to us. Her eyes flicker for a second and with excitement in her voice she says: “You never have fun until you take ecstasy. Everything is amazing. Everything is beautiful.” These words might sound familiar. MDMA, the active ingredient in what is more often referred to as ecstasy, is back on the black market and has once again gained researchers’ attention. Over the last couple of years organisations like Multidisciplinary Association For Psychedelic Studies, more commonly referred to as MAPS, have gained more publicity. Their voices have grown louder and they brand themselves as a “non-profit research and educational organisation
adopted nicknames such as ecstasy. When a person uses MDMA, it increases the activity of dopamine and serotonin in the brain, which are both closely linked to people’s mood and energy, and can potentially trigger hormones that affect sexual arousal. If people struggling with depression can get a boost by taking a medically regulated magic pill, what’s not to like? While MAPS and EmmaSofia are trying to make MDMA-assisted psychotherapy become reality, other researchers are less enthusiastic when it comes to the new generation’s increased use of psychedelic drugs. Andrew Parrott, professor in psychology at Swansea University, has carried out research concluding that long-time users of ecstasy and MDMA are more likely to end up with higher levels of depression, impulsive behaviour, sleep disturbance, memory problems and, in worst case scenarios, acute death. Parrott started his research in the beginning of the 90’s and was one of the first researchers to study
Parrott explains. He argues that what society needs is not only further research on the effects of drugs, but informed politicians to organise campaigns to stop people from taking them. On the question on whether he thinks the so-called ‘war on drugs’ has been a failed one he responds: “I am aware of only one war on drugs, the public health campaign to get people to stop smoking. It was well funded and very effective. We need similar education campaigns for MDMA and other illicit drugs – since they are all initially seductive – but damaging in the longer term.” Parrott also stresses the fact that he thinks less people would have experimented with drugs such as MDMA if information about the risks was easily available. If we agree with Parrott and like-minded scholars, politicians should already be in full swing organising campaigns stopping people from taking MDMA. But is prohibitionism and deterring campaigns really the answer? If we ask Erica, the answer is no.
“There is so much wonder around us, do we really need something to transform the way we already see reality to enjoy a normal day?” that develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana.” MAPS have set a goal to make MDMA into a Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medicine by 2021. A similar organisation, EmmaSofia, stated that “it’s not a matter of whether psychedelics will be legalised or not, it’s a matter of when.” “I think MDMA should be legalised. People who abuse something will do it anyway. The problem with MDMA is not overdosing, it’s lack of knowledge and the fact that you’re supporting an illegal industry. It’s about time someone takes control,” Erica says. One of the reasons MDMA is talked about with so much warmth by its users is because of its highly seductive effect which often results in a feeling of increased energy and euphoria. It therefore makes sense that MDMA-based substances have
the use of MDMA in relation to users’ health and wellbeing. According to him, the long-term effect of taking MDMA is that the serotonin activity that can cause intense flashes of happiness is reduced over time. Parrott also suggests that MDMA is not often associated with addiction simply because it will lose its effect when used regularly and people will automatically stop taking it when the fun is no longer to be found. His main concern is not the weakened effect of euphoria over time, but what is called ‘serotonergic neurotoxicity’. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter for the braincells to communicate and research has implied that these are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of MDMA. This could therefore, in the long run, lead to the worrying conditions mentioned above. “MDMA may generate some limited brief gains, but these are always followed by longer-term problems and losses,”
“I have taken ridiculous amounts of MDMA, more than you should, but after experimenting for a while I have learned how to be cautious. But you can only take these precautions if you’re educated. If you legalise drugs, you could control the amount and give information. People die because they don’t know what they are doing or are around people who don’t know anything about it,” she says. This resonates with the message from EmmaSofia who work towards a less stigmatised view of users of psychedelics and putting risk in perspective. In an interview with Huffington Post from 2015 Teri Krebs, former research fellow at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and one of the two founders of EmmaSofia, said: “We have vast human experience with these substances and we now know that these substances are not particularly dangerous. The risks are comparable to activities considered to
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have acceptable safety.” Krebs further explains that people taking psychedelics like LCD, MDMA or magic mushrooms report on spiritual experiences that have allowed them to gain new perspectives on themselves, the universe and think about their problems with a new approach to life. EmmaSofia has also compared the use of psychedelics to extreme sports - it could be dangerous, but substantially less so if you take precautions. More entertaining comparisons were made by the New Scientist in 2009 when they concluded that it would be safer to give a stranger a bowl of ecstasy than a bowl of peanuts because “a much larger percentage of people suffer a fatal acute reaction to peanuts than to MDMA.” By the looks of it, it’s not the short-term effects of MDMA we should worry about. But if we already know that we can’t stop people from being reckless when going to the black market to buy drugs, why is no one doing anything about it? It’s a sunny day when my train rolls into Denmark Hill station. Busy people fighting to keep up with their schedule are as always struggling to find the most efficient way to leave the platform and I wonder how many of them have tried drugs. I am on my way to the Institution of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience of King’s College to meet with the consultant psychiatrist, Dr. Marta Di Forti. “The question is,” Di Forti says while clapping her hands as to conclude an important point, “Would you trust a drug dealer to know what’s best for you?” “As a doctor I have learned how careful you need to be when you prescribe medication. How much you give, to calculate the age of the person who’s taking it, how the time of the day can change the effect, and how the duration can transform something that might be beneficial into something toxic. When you think about illegal recreational drugs, none of these come with instructions, except from advice from other users,” she says. Di Forti agrees it’s hugely problematic that a substantial part of the drug industry is under the control of organised criminals and traffickers. “I come from Sicily and I know that all the drugs you find in Sicily come from the mafia,” she says before adding: “At least drug
companies give jobs to people. And they pay them pension money, the mafia doesn’t.” While Di Forti is not completely against legalising drugs, it might not be as easy as it sounds. “Ethically speaking, when something is legalised, the state can take control, which is what we have seen with tobacco. And when a government gets taxes from companies that produce something you worry how objective they remain on the risk of a substance,” she explains. She also underlines that the outfall depends on the structure of each individual society. Another concern is how polarised the debate has become, Di Forti explains, partly because of the media’s attention to serve sensational stories. “My experience is that when we have published papers on cannabis, the media has taken a very strong view on the note that cannabis causes psychosis, which is not actually what we said. We said that it increases the risk,” she clarifies and continues explaining that the media has contributed in playing the two sides of the debate against each other by interviewing people with strong opinions on both sides of the fence. “The arguments end up being very emotionally charged,” Di Forti concludes and says that the truth is often to be found in between the two lobbies. With a polarised debate and lack of objective, public information, where do we stand? Di Forti agrees that public education is key, but also emphasises that we should be careful with demonising. “I do think that public education and the understanding of the effects of the substances is the key to give people a choice. I don’t really believe that prohibitionism is the answer. But equally I think we should be careful and believe that once you legalise something it doesn’t mean that it necessarily becomes all well-controlled. As we know, alcohol isn’t necessarily safe. Tobacco isn’t necessarily safe,” she says. “I don’t mind for anything to be legalised as long as we know what we’re dealing with.” I tell Di Forti about Erica’s view and how she often chooses MDMA over alcohol when she goes to parties. “If you ask most people that have used substances, they will tell you that they get some pleasure reward. All these things are actually true, otherwise people wouldn’t take them,” Di Forti says before adding:
“But I don’t think we need to inform people about the benefits because clearly they have already realised the rewarding component”. Di Forti is talking fast with a clear, Italian accent and in between the questions she smiles and comes up with small anecdotes from trips she has been to all over the world as part of her research. Her bracelets rattle and twinkle while she uses her hands to illustrate what she talks about. “I accept that some of the recreational drugs can open people’s minds to new experiences, but there is so much wonder around us, do we really need something to transform the way we already see reality to enjoy a normal day?” she wonders. By the looks of it, it doesn’t seem like MDMA, or any other recreational drug for that matter, will be legalised in the near future. But how long can we keep looking away from the fact that an illegal industry, often involved in much more serious crimes than selling drugs to eager party-goers, benefit from the sales? The question remains, but organisations such as MAPS and EmmaSofia contribute to bringing the debate up from the dark dance floors and into the light of the public. To inform us about the risks rather than the benefits is initially a good approach, but not when it ends up in misconstructed views that all drugs are evil. It is also problematic that normal people are criminalised for making a choice that in most cases only affect themselves. Of course it is society’s responsibility to drive public education, as both Di Forti and Parrott agree on, but how far should the government go when it comes to moralising over people’s lives? As EmmaSofia notes on their website: “You should be the one in charge of your own consciousness”. It is hard to overlook Parrott’s research on the long-term effects of MDMA, but it is also hard to believe that the drug can cause substantial harm after hearing people tell their life-changing perspectives after a one-time experience. As Di Forti said, the truth is often in between and while researchers carry out their studies, party people are experiencing euphoria and the media strikes conversation, I guess all we can do is keep talking until we come a bit closer to the truth. ■ SPRING 2017 DOPE 25
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Can a line of cocaine really save your life? WORDS AND PICTURES BY SUNNIVA KOLOSTYAK
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Illustrative photos featuring Kristofer Mattsson.
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“Your average poor person can’t afford it, nor would they spend their money on something that has a sobering feeling.”
et’s say it’s Saturday night and at a house party, a regular weekend scenario. At one point, of your mates is probably shirtless screaming “CASH ME OUSSIDE” while trying to wrestle some poor guy to the ground, before he disappears only to be found on the bathroom floor several hours later in a pool of his own vomit. Maybe this friend is you. The way around a sticky situation like this is for many quite simple: cocaine. For good or bad, the myth of coke and it’s sobering effect is known to many, or at least to those able to afford it when needed. Jessie is just about to finish his masters in finance and describes himself as a conservative drug user who sticks to pills and coke. “If you’re worried you can’t really take care of yourself anymore, one reason to take it is that you can regain your senses and take care of yourself again,” says Jessie while explaining why coke is his go-to substance because “it’s like coffee but a whole new level of coffee.” But it does not act as a substitute, he points out. “I’ve tried to study with it and I didn’t really do a lot of studying to be honest,” he laughs. Clean, pure cocaine is known as the drug for posh people because of the price and the amount of Wall Street tycoons who gear up regularly to function in a high-pressure environment. “Coke is a rich-people thing. No poor people do coke because it’s expensive, it’s as easy as that. If you’ve ever been to a party in some rich area, say, South Kensington, the host will probably offer you coke. It’s for the rich and the insecure,” says Sophie, who prefer to surround herself with fellow recreational drug users. Jessie agrees that it’s a drug for the ambitious city-lifers because he feels it’s heavily overpriced. “Your average poor person can’t afford it, nor would they spend their money on something that has a sobering feeling.” The first time Jessie tried coke was with his brother, but the first time he felt it saved his life was at an after-closing party at the pub where he was a bartender at the time. “We had free drinks in the bar, everybody went crazy, I was in the loo being sick. If I drink too much I can’t walk and I can barely speak. I had locked myself in the toilet, and then I kind of went missing. People went looking for me and I was wrapped around the toilet, passed out drunk there. And they were like ‘Jessie, open the fucking door!’ “They took me upstairs, gave me just a little bit of coke, gave it five to ten minutes or so, and I felt a lot better. It’s like you’ve slept six hours and your whole level of drunkenness has gone down. It kind of puts you back on your feet. You’re still drunk, but your physical senses don’t get lost. So you get the good effects of being drunk, being happy, but you’re standing up straight, you’re chatting to people normally, it is a life saver in that sense. If you’re in a really difficult position because you’ve done a little bit much of whatever you’ve done, if somebody then has some cocaine on them and you grab a little of it, you feel ok.”
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He thinks it can be handy for girls in a sticky situation. “I haven’t really mingled it with other drugs, but with drinking it is a life saver. Let’s say you’re out, you can regain your senses instead of someone carrying you home or worse.” Emily, who describes herself as a good girl that from time to time enjoys a playful ’Mandy’, fell in love with ’blow’ on her exchange program in South America. “That’s where they have the best cocaine in the world. So I thought that it wouldn’t be worth it to do South America without doing cocaine. I got it for free with my boyfriend at this house party with a huge table with lines upon lines. It felt like I ruled the world, had control over everything, saw every detail around me and that the world was at my feet. You feel invincible. It had a huge impact on me because I felt so powerful, interesting and beautiful and in control in a whole new way.” Sophie however, didn’t get that feeling at all. She believes cocaine is more effective on people with low self-esteem because they have more confidence to gain from the drug. “I don’t have low self-esteem. I talked a bit faster and I moved a bit faster, but it was just like me on strong caffeine except that it’s crazy expensive and lasts for such a short time. It all depends on the person, and I guess if you are self-conscious it makes you feel good and you feel like people think you’re interesting, fun and cool. A lot of celebrities take it to boost their ego, I guess it’s hard to be in the spotlight, it must be impossible to feel worthy.” The reason people feel interesting has been studied by the European Neuropsychopharmacology, who found that cocaine impaired recognition of negative emotions, which means that the reason you think you are fascinating to others is that you are unable to pick up the social clues from people who think you’re acting like a dick. Jessie was also a bit concerned when his brother asked him to try it for the first time. “When you’re growing up you think everything is bad, right. But then
”It kind of puts you back on your feet. You’re still drunk, but your physical senses don’t get lost.”
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coke is the next step up, the thing I felt was really naughty. So I saw it as something that would be really addictive that you shouldn’t try it because you’re going to get hooked. But then I knew my brother and I knew he didn’t have a drug problem, he was just taking drugs for fun. So he was saying that I should try it with him, because he knew that I would eventually try it and this way I would at least know what it was so that I could make safe choices.” Now, if he’s hosting a party, he always orders some to share with his friends and brothers. “But I wouldn’t buy it for going out. It’s more like a treat to yourself.” Cocaine’s ability to hook people and stimulate the body to keep taking it all night is a reason for why Sophie tried to stay away for a long time, but she says the main reason is because of her most vivid childhood memory. “My dad told me, ‘Sophie, you should never do cocaine. It is way too expensive and it is terrible value for the money.’ I was 11,” says Sophie. Emily wants to do it again, even though she knows it’s not smart. “Just because I was so overwhelmed by the emotional experiences I had. But I will probably do it again because I won’t be able to stay away.” Jessie does it a lot while he’s drinking, but still does not think it’s the best party drug. “I really like it with drinking. Don’t get me wrong, it’s overpriced for what it is, but it gives you that perfect level of being able to socialise and happy at the same time. I choose to do it as a social thing. And of course it has taken me out of a few sticky situations. A lot of older people like it because you can take it and go to work the next day and work properly, whereas with things like Mandy and heavy drinking you get serious hangovers. With coke, not so much. Let’s put it this way, if you are responsible, out of all drugs, coke is probably the best. If you want to be able to mix drugs into your schedule with work and other responsibilities, then do coke. But if you tend to do too much of things, no matter what drug you’re talking about, if you’re that kind of person who’s going to take it to a whole new level, then obviously you run the risk of being killed.” ■
”He knew that I would eventually try it and this way I would at least know what it was so that I could make safe choices.”
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The global phenomenon of raving your way into the day. Sober. WORDS AND PHOTOS BY SUNNIVA KOLOSTYAK
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ave you ever wondered whether there exists anything in the world that would make you actually enjoy getting up before dawn? As I walk down a dimly lit street in East-London, a hooded bloke barfs straight onto the pavement in front of me, and honestly, in that moment I can’t imagine anything making me hate mornings more. But when I finally reach the hidden warehouse loft, I understand that the projectile-vomiting is not the craziest thing I will witness this morning. Yes, this is a rave at 6.30am. It is a sober affair, but don’t think for a second that it is dry. After the bright lights and the loud music, what first hit me when entering Morning Gloryville was the love. I am greeted by three welcoming hippies, each hug longer than the last. A tall unicorn-dressed man walks around blowing bubbles, four unicorn-dressed dancers are on the stage and in the crowd hyping up the energy, and a big-ass bird mascot walks around the stage throwing the DJ off. Wherever I look there are costumes, feathers, lycra, wigs and masks. It’s hard to spot a face without glitter. “It’s a place where everyone’s equal,” co-founder Sam Moyo says. “It’s really about facilitating spaces where people can open their hearts and open their minds. It’s all about freedom of expression, it’s all about community, it’s all about unity.” When I talk to Moyo she has just returned from a trip to Berlin where she has been working with the salad-brand Florette. The founding mother as they call her, originally from Zimbabwe, started Morning Gloryville with her flatmate because of a “shared necessity” for a sober alternative to their unsustainable lifestyle. They had real vision to put conscious clubbing on the world stage. “I used to party a lot, drink and take lots of drugs. I’m not anti-drinks or drugs, but I wanted to find a space where I could come and really party without all those things. So me and my partner at the time conceived it without really thinking it would become such a global phenomenon that has now started the whole industry. Now sober clubbing is becoming a thing all over the world, there’s other people in the market and it feels like it’s here to stay. I feel really proud of that.” When they invited the press for their third event, Morning Gloryville went viral. People from around the world got in touch, saying they could feel the energy radiating from the pictures and videos. They launched in 12 cities around the world in May 2014 and are now operative in 15 countries and are throwing “micro-raves” for huge corporations. Up to 2000 people wake up early to attend their conscious raves in London and similar parties have popped up all over the world with organisations like New Yorkbased Daybreaker hosting in 39 cities worldwide. →→
“It’s all about freedom of expression, it’s all about community, it’s all about unity.”
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“What we’re really calling for is just a balancing out. Imagine how many people have a drink after work because all their colleagues are. When I was a kid, it was normal to go out and get pissed in the park. It’s just what you do. But imagine if what you did wasn’t that. People should know that you can socialise and party without feeling like you need alcohol to enjoy yourself,” Moyo says. But throwing a sober rave so early that nightclubs have only just closed leaves an opportunity for clubbers to treat the event as an after-party. The guards have had to ask people to come back after a nap and from time to time they see people inside with suspicious behaviour. “Sometimes you do see someone smiling a little bit over the top and wonder ‘is he…? Are they…?’ And then actually they are not. Once someone came to me and were like ‘oh my god, you’re smiling so hard, like, what’s going on?’ And it just so happened that we were in the club where I first took ecstasy about 15 years ago, so my body was remembering the situation. I don’t know how I looked but everyone said I looked really, like, high, but I wasn’t, obviously. But that’s when I thought ‘oh, actually, maybe sometimes the people are just experiencing extreme ecstasy,’” she says. Whoever I talk to, they all mention the sense of community and openness and I almost can’t believe I’m in cold, avoid-eyecontact-at-all-cost-London. They talk about the great EDM-DJs. This particular East-London rave features an all-female line-up and has a piano-playing grandma outside. They speak about consciousness, glitter, about spreading the love. This kind of talk seems to be completely normal here. But after attending the mindfulness session in the middle of the event where the meditation coach urges people to “enter a deeper space of awareness,” it doesn’t come as a big surprise. For the bubble-blowing unicorn Equador Zaha, Morning Gloryville is heaven. “I view it as both therapy and a church. It’s so important to connect with people with total love and glitter. A church congregation creates community and helps people with similar outlooks connect. Morning Gloryville is similar only it’s totally inclusive. All are welcome. Let the glitter flow forever.” It is clear that the event is more than people coming together for just a dance. A backpacker from Trinidad came to make new friends. A Muslim woman tells me that she had just stopped wearing her hijab and that Morning Gloryville is helping her let go of her insecurities around showing her hair. It has helped people with alcohol and drug addiction. Moyo also tells me that people outside their organisation are working for validating Morning Gloryville as a mental wellbeing solution for people struggling with depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. And for someone like me who thinks dancing is pure struggle, even drunk, it is surprisingly easy to let go because of the inclusive crowd. Some people’s dancing style is just stepping forward and backwards like the Beatles, while others are shaking every limb like there’s no tomorrow, and it’s easy to understand why people feel they are able be themselves here. The crowd is filled with city workers, people in creative businesses, freelancers, mothers and their babies, students and grandparents, all interacting with each other, enjoying the coffee, the superfood smoothies and the free massages and yoga sessions. “You really get every type of demographic. It’s a space where the whole family can come and party together,” Moyo says. At 10.30 the party finishes and most people have already left the glittery party in their suits and work attire. Those left are meditating peacefully with their backs to each other, breathing in sync. I leave Morning Gloryville quietly and enter the bright daylight feeling both tired and energised but mostly just ready for a hearty breakfast. ■
“But that’s when I thought ‘oh, actually, maybe sometimes the people are just experiencing extreme ecstasy.”
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Flowers bloom, a wild ocean rages and a waterfall cascades through the space in teamLabâ€™s digital art exhibition at Londonâ€™s Pace Gallery. WORDS BY YASEMIN KOSE
ranscending Boundaries, an exhibition by the collaborative group teamLab, features installations of great work and effort. Their work cleverly unites art, technology, the natural world and design to represent how art has developed over the centuries. Transcending Boundaries explores how digital technology exists between different types of artworks and they convey this here through the use of different art techniques. The exhibition featured three rooms of extremely captivating installations. As you walk through into the blacked out space, in the first room there is a virtual waterfall that extends off the gallery walls onto the floor and flows through the exhibition space and around your feet. This exhibition, Universe of Water Particles Transcending Boundaries (2017), definitely engages you and breaks any distinction between art, exhibition space and you. Dark Waves (2016) is presented in room two, depicting the movement of waves based on how water particles behave. The waves are illustrated through a
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three-dimensional virtual space which captivates you and it portrays a connection between living entity and nature. The last room, room three uses the complete dark space to create an installation that transforms with the presence of you. Flowers Bloom on People (2017) is a real interactive installation and is beautifully portrayed. As you enter the room you are given a white cape and your body acts as a canvas for the projection of flowers which are in the process of continuous change. They grow, decay and scatter all in automatic response to your movements. teamLab wanted to emphasise their commitment to the advancing era of digital art and its fascinating ability to still develop creativity and imagination through the use of technology. The purpose of this exhibition was to grip and involve the viewer; in result diffusing the traditional distinction between artwork, exhibition space and the viewer. After seeing the exhibition at Pace London you understand their intention and it completely works and is executed perfectly. SPRING 2017 DOPE 39
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The choice of escaping reality What’s the deal with musicians and drugs? Tapping into the trap trend, Poor Homie Pete and Taarekong smoke weed to stop giving a fuck.
WORDS BY INE SCHWEBS PHOTOS BY JOHANNES AMBLE
arjei and Petter met through a friend and bonded over their past passion for metal and present passion for hip-hop. Taking on their rapper alibis Poor Homie Pete and Taarekong, both with a nod to the sadboys-hysteria and vaporvawe trend, they make trap inspired music that reflects upon what Simon Sinek described as the unhappy, entitled generation of millennials in a video that went viral back in December. It’s a Sunday night in the middle of January. Rigged in front of the computer screen in a shared flat in the centre of Oslo, Petter has made a cup of tea. “At first I made chocolate tea,” he says. “It was terrible. I had to make a new one with ginger and lemon”. Tarjei is currently trying to land from yesterday’s trip on what he calls ‘Emma’, one of the many names for MDMA, and tells me he just woke up and took a shower. As he is opening the window and letting the cold, crisp winter air into the room, Petter lights a thick joint. Q: Why do you feel the need to use drugs? T: When I am sober I think too much for my own good. I am a bit socially awkward despite maintaining a reasonable solid facade. I favour the sober me whenever I have to finish a complicated task, so I never take any drugs if I know I have to complete something. P: I smoke weed every day. That’s a choice I’ve made and therefore I am very cautious when it comes to taking other drugs. With alcohol, I feel like the intoxication sort of takes over a bit and you start saying things you wouldn’t otherwise say. I feel like weed has a more natural effect. Everything feels okay. All the weird things that exist within me falls in place when I am under the influence of weed. Q: What is the process when you make music? T: Petter usually sends a message on the day asking whether we should get high and rap over some beats. I prefer being sober when I make beats, but for the things I am more uncomfortable with, like writing lyrics and screaming the words into a microphone, I’d rather be as stoned as possible. Q: Does smoking weed give you confidence? T: No, but you stop giving a fuck. Lyrics are so revealing. If I’m writing a text while I’m sober, I quickly start questioning how it sounds and then delete it.
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When I am high, I often think ”Yes! This is cool, this rhyme is the shit!” and then I find my myself standing up, rapping the words into the microphone without thinking that it might sound completely lame. Sometimes it just works. P: I find it intimidating to write lyrics in my own language because it’s the language I grew up with. I associate Norwegian with poetry and literature, and few Norwegian rappers manage to deliver as honest rap texts as the American rappers because Norwegian culture is very little connected with hip-hop in the first place. Q: So how are you different from the other rappers? T: The outcome is a result of looking at trap music from the outside and then trying to dissect all the elements and figure out what makes it sound like it does. And then we try to make our own thing out of that. Our music drains inspiration from our surroundings in Norway with roots in trap, but sounds way more gloomy than for example “Bad and Boujee” where everything takes place in sunny Atlanta. P: Yes, but the soundscape itself is rather ecstatic. Some of the lines are very dark, but at the same time carries irony. I feel like I can’t really reveal myself through personal lines without making a bit of a joke out of it too. Q: You’ve already talked about the trap trend inspiring your music, but which rappers have you listened to this past year? P: Since we’re rapping in Norwegian, we’ve been listening to other rappers finding success internationally despite rapping in their own language. GKR from Iceland, PNL who’s French and the Japanese KOHH are all good examples. I have been very fascinated by how much I can relate to these rappers’ music without understanding a single word of what they’re saying. T: I think it’s cool that a voice can be used as an instrument without a lyrical aspect. It also takes the pressure from writing an exceptional text because how you deliver the text is all that matters. I listen to a lot of trash American rap and it makes me contemplate how easy they get away with just reeling off some funny bars. Q: And your favourite lyrics from the past year? P: I think Kendrick Lamar is superior when it comes to writing text. On “The →→
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Poor Homie Pete (Left) and Taarekong (Right).
Blacker The Berry” he addresses several political topics and views them from different perspectives before giving it a real pay-off at the end by setting a full stop to all the verses above. T: “Real Friends” by Kanye. When he finishes off with the line saying he paid his cousin a quarter million to get back the sex tapes he stole from him, you suddenly feel this weird sympathy for Kanye. Kanye is like Metallica within hip-hop, an artist everyone loves to hate. The whole American hip-hop culture is very self-centred, but Kanye does it so profoundly. While of the rappers brag about the materialistic things they I can’t deal with always being ‘here’. most have achieved, Kanye just brags about himself. He doesn’t It’s hard to say whether I’ll go all out say “I am so rich”, but rather “I am such a genius”. Q: How would your lives be completely without drugs? until the day I die or at some point P: Ignorance is bliss, but I could never have chosen start to moderate my use of drugs. differently. I feel like I would have known less if I never took drugs. It’s just another way of expanding your perspectives. T: I have experienced a lot of stuff while being on drugs that I wouldn’t want to be without. The sort of experiences the sober me never would even think of doing. On the other hand I feel like I could live a happy life if I never tried any drugs. But it’s just a matter of making a choice. Some people are happy as long as they get up early, exercise every day and go to work before taking the dog for a walk. Maybe that could’ve made me happy too, but I’ve chosen another alternative. Q: So will you ever stop using drugs? T&P: No. P: Not unless my body at some point tells me to stop. T: I can’t deal with always being ‘here’. It’s hard to say whether I’ll go all out until the day I die or at some point start to moderate my use of drugs. I also feel like being with other people can be just as much an escape from reality as taking drugs. To go out and drink alcohol with other people is just another way to not focus on yourself and your own problems. P: The way I see it now, I don’t have any plans to ever stop taking drugs, but you should never say never. ■
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You hate me don’t you? I know you hate me just as much as you hate yourself. Jealous of my wisdom and cards I dealt. Watchin’ me as I pull up, fill up my tank, then peel out. Muscle cars like pull ups, show you what these big wheels ’bout, ah. Black and successful, this black man meant to be special. Katzkins on my radar, bitch, how can I help you? How can I tell you I’m making a killin’? You made me a killer, emancipation of a real nigga. - Kendrick Lamar, The Blacker The Berry, 2015. I had a cousin that stole my laptop that I was fuckin’ bitches on. Paid that nigga 250 thousand just to get it from him. Real friends. Huh? Real friends. I guess I get what I deserve, don’t I? Word on the streets is they ain’t heard from him. I guess I get what I deserve, don’t I? Talked down on my name, throwed dirt on him. - Kanye West, Real Friends, 2016. SPRING 2017 DOPE 43
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“Obviously I was still in love with her” A tale of getting back with your ex
Is getting back with your ex hard? JEFF YEUNG tells DOPE magazine how he and his girlfriend reconciled their relationship... WORDS BY LACEY JONES
PHOTOS BY JEFF YEUNG
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ometimes, a break up could be a good thing even if it’s not you who does the dumping. Not every relationship is meant to be and eventually the bad things will outweigh the good. You could find that you worked better as friends than as a couple or that you just simply don’t work at all. Relate Organisation runs centres all over the UK that provide relationship counselling. They published The Way We Are Now report that looks into the state of the UK’s relationships. They found that 4 in 5 people have a good relationship with their partner but what about the people who don’t? What happens when your dream of a relationship becomes a nightmare? When your partner tears away from you and it leaves you picking up the pieces? Can you ever hope to get that perfect relationship back? It can feel like the end of the world. Jeff met his girlfriend during his undergraduate degree in law. They fell
“I don’t know, I was kind of a dick.” into their relationship and after two years the romance disintegrated. Jeff felt himself getting too comfortable claiming that he wasn’t the best boyfriend. “I don’t know, I was kind of a dick.” He said that he stopped treating her and that eventually it just felt like his girlfriend was his best friend. Their relationship was toxic and their arguing ripped the two apart. Jeff described it as self-destructive, owing to their stubborn natures and the fact that they never agreed on anything. “We always want to be right and that obviously causes a lot of problems,” he said. Jeff was overwhelmed by an incredible loneliness when he and his girlfriend split. He had just moved back to London to start his Master’s degree in Photo Journalism. He had no one to talk to. “I was a mess, I was like suicidal, like depressed every day. It was a nightmare honestly,” he said. His girlfriend had blocked him off of everything in an effort to cut him out of her life. His family and his friends were back in Hong Kong. He had no new friends in London to keep him afloat. “I knocked down sleeping pills with whiskey. I’d be drunk every night,
smoke a pack of cigarettes a day, smoked weed every now and then and did cocaine a couple of times,” Jeff said. For the six months they were apart, the hope that he’d see her again was the only thing he had to look forward to. His ex was in Slovakia with her family but had told Jeff that when she came back to London she
would contact him. “That was the thing I hung onto, like I was depressed but in January she’d be back here.” During their split his girlfriend had got back with her ex-boyfriend who was also in Slovakia at the time. Knowing this crushed all of Jeff’s hope that she would ever talk to him again. So he was surprised when one night, while he was hanging out with some friends, he received a random phone call from an unknown number. When he answered, it was her. She asked whether he wanted to get coffee the
next day. “I was stoned, thank god, because I was pretty chill. I’d have been emotional otherwise.” When they met the next day, Jeff asked whether her boyfriend would mind their meeting up. She revealed that they had broken up the day before she had called Jeff. Jeff couldn’t believe it, it brought back that hope he’d long since forgotten. “She realised he was a rebound guy and she felt really bad for getting back with him,” Jeff said. That night she came
back to his apartment and they spoke heatedly about their relationship. Jeff felt like she could see that he had changed since they were last together and they made a decision. “Obviously I was still in love with her, y’know. In the end we got back together.” Jeff couldn’t be more ecstatic that they reconciled their relationship. They’re so close that he’s practically moved into her place, despite keeping his own apartment. He claims to be a very messy person which clashes with her “OCD-like” living arrangements. They’ve had conversations about not living together but neither want to live alone now. “We love having each other around,” he said. However, just because they got back together does not mean that their old problems haven’t resurfaced. Even after just two months they started to slip into their old habits. Their determination to make it work, however, led to them trying to work out a system to defuse their arguments. “It doesn’t work when we shout at each other, so we agreed that when we’re upset firstly we try to tell the other person.” He and his girlfriend agree that at this point in an argument
“I knocked down sleeping pills with whiskey...” they should try to be as nice to each other as possible despite their feelings to keep it from going further. If this doesn’t work out and things escalate, Jeff and his girlfriend take time apart and do their own thing. “I’ll go to the gym for a couple of hours and we come back after we’ve cooled down and talk in a calm manner.” They feel that their relationship has been working better since they implemented this system. It incorporates what all the respondent’s in Relate’s The Way We Are Now report feel were the most important factors to sustain a good relationship. They said that their top three ingredients for success were: honesty (54%), commitment (44%) and finally communication (40%). Jeff said: “She knows I’m the one, she does want to spend the rest of her life with me and I do want to get married.” ■ SPRING 2017 DOPE 45
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DON’TS of MDMA How to be cleverly reckless whilst taking MDMA.
WORDS BY YASEMIN KOSE
DO’S Stay Hydrated
MDMA causes your body to sweat a lot and your in return your body loses hydration. Force yourself and your friends to drink water! However, only stick to 1 glass of water per hour as you do not want to end up overhydrating your body either.
DON’TS It is stupidly dangerous and a huge waste of money! Alcohol will actually numb down your high and taking alternatuive drugs will either ruin your experience with MDMA, add nothing to it or increase the risk of adverse reactions.
Do this Every Weekend
Take more than the Average Dose
Drink Orange Juice in the Morning
Take it in Small, Conﬁned Spaces
Always know where you plan to go and whether you want to stay out or if you are going back home. You need to be certain you will be safe whilst taking MDMA.
Vitamin C and potassium will refuel your brain. It can help with your recovery and ensure you function properly for the day.
Make it home from clubbing in one piece with these tips. WORDS BY LACEY JONES
Start your night pre-drinking whatever booze was on offer at the supermarket. You’ll get at least four drinks for the price of one in the club. You’ll need cash, and lots of it. You can ensure that after you’ve had one too many you’ll be buying rounds for your mates and the occasional stranger. After you’ve left the club you’ll be wanting food to soak up the alcohol. Find the nearest and shittiest takeaway and gorge yourself on: fried chicken, kebab or whatever takes your fancy.
Take 2 Fish Oil Pills
The fats and vitamins will protect your brain and make it easier to recover in the morning. So remember to take a couple before you dose up.
DOPE Survival Guide
MDMA can damage your brain cells and you really do not want to lose those! Try to wait at least four to six weeks before taking it again.
By now you’ll be wanting to fall asleep on a park bench or in a bush. To ensure you don’t get mugged or murdered, we’d recommend calling a cab. Then to stop the cab driver from murdering you (and to avoid a hefty fine) grab a sick bag. You can get these for 5p in any supermarket or you can aim for a mate’s lap for free.
It’s not a good idea to take large doses of MDMA so it’s best to take no more than the recreational dose which is 1-1.5mg per kilo of body weight.
You may panic so you want to be in an open environment where you have room to move around but also space to sit down.
Finally, you’ll be home. If you’re lucky, you’ll still have your keys, your phone and some of your cash. If you’re even luckier, you might even have brought someone home with you.
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Published on Mar 7, 2018