Chemical Experience

This part of Alt-Generations will look at three generation’s seemingly quite different attitudes and outlooks to mood and mind altering substances.

Episodes and chapters will try to explore the shifting nature and type of chemical use over several generations. We’ll look at specific cases of addiction and cures, traditional as well as shamanic- and unconventional chemical properties and practices; the history of certain substances; the politics surrounding certain substances, as well as recreational use in music and dance culture and their part in creating new movements.

Although we grew up around a lot of artists and experimental drug use – and we tried everything, for sure, often at a very early age – my brother (Jake Weber, the actor) and I never really got too heavily into any serious class A or even B drug taking. While with the Stones in Nellcôte as kids, while they were recording ‘Exile on Main Street’, my brother and I were labelled ‘The Rollies’. From the sheer volume of practice we became expertly adept at rolling any shape, style or kind of joints on demand for the shifting cultural mores and tastes of the continually changing international crowd there.

Generationally speaking, as I just discovered revisiting the Alt-Generations interview with Kim Shuck, the Poet Laureate of SF, she and I seem to share a similar outlook in this regard. In that, having grown up in the heart of countercultural crowds, she in San Francisco and I London, we appear to share more of a ‘try anything once or for a season and then leave it’ approach. Without doubt we concluded that for us this was more than anything a result of having witnessed the loss and casualties of so many of our friends and family in childhood, during the years we grew up in, when there appeared to be absolutely no limits or boundaries in regard to either the quality or quantity of substances being consumed.

Having not been exposed to drugs now for a long time – apart from alcohol – my interest these days lies more in the realm of micro-dosing and new areas of research into the potentially curative effects of substances like MDMA, LSD and Ketamine on treating trauma, depression and other psychological issues. Particularly micro-dosing and creating a good mindset for work and creativity is of interest to me.

But there are many different views on this area and I won’t shirk from other generational attitudes and outlooks. Specifically, the interview with Joanna Harcourt-Smith and what she has to say about the mind, consciousness and her experience with LCD and Dr. Timothy Leary, are about as close to the centre of thought on this area, from the generation previous to my own experience, as one could hope to reach.

Hopefully the key benchmark will be authenticity. I doubt Joanna, I, Kim or Petra, or any of the other interviewees could overly edit their views in this area and still remain authentic to the point of Alt-Generations, which is to give overall insight into several and not just one generation’s experience of and perspective into life, family, work and creativity.

I hope to cover new substances being used in different sectors, such as prescription medicine, and also in music, creative and cultural circles.