Pontifications along a road less travelled. Where’s Bobby McGee now?


Funny how things crop up. The lines of the song ‘Me and Bobby McGee’ came to mind, especially the words, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” I suppose it’s my fault for staying awake during a sermon.

In case you’ve never heard of the lady who sang it, Janis Joplin, I’ll quote the wiki.


Janis Lyn Joplin (January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970), nicknamed “Pearl”, was an American rock, soul and blues singer and songwriter, and one of the most successful and widely-known female rock stars of her era.


But somehow I was also thinking of Canada legalising cannabis. A great leap forward, a truly magnificent victory for all right-thinking people. After all we’ve had the high drama in this country of children denied their cannabis oil and suffering from life endangering conditions.
Oh but back to Janis and a couple more bits of the wiki.


In 1967, Joplin rose to fame during an appearance at Monterey Pop Festival, where she was the lead singer of the then little-known San Francisco psychedelic rock band Big Brother and the Holding Company. Five singles by Joplin reached the Billboard Hot 100, including a cover of the Kris Kristofferson song “Me and Bobby McGee”, which reached number 1 in March 1971


Wonderful thing fame, when Andy Warhol suggested everybody would have fifteen minutes of it, he was perhaps being kinder than people thought. After all how much fame can a person stand?


 “Even though she appears happy in the photos, she was hiding a terrible secret. She was again addicted to heroin and was allegedly shooting $200 worth each day.”


Oh yes, and I was talking about drugs as well. Help at a Foodbank, a homeless centre, or some sort of drop-in, and you’ll soon come across drugs and their effects.

But on with the wiki


On Sunday afternoon, October 4, 1970, producer Paul Rothchild became concerned when Joplin failed to show up at Sunset Sound Recorders for a recording. In the evening, Full Tilt Boogie’s road manager, John Cooke, drove to the Landmark Motor Hotel in Hollywood where Joplin was staying. Upon entering Joplin’s room, he found her dead on the floor beside her bed. The official cause of death was a heroin overdose, possibly compounded by alcohol.


Yes, you meet all sorts of people in a ‘drop in’. In my home town we’ve had twelve people die in six months. It’s not a big town; we’ve barely got 70,000 inhabitants. Mind you, we’ve got county lines as well.


Daniel Olaloko, Peter Adebayo, Joshua Adams and a 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, transported Class A drugs from London and Manchester into Barrow.



But it’s great; aging hipsters in Canada can now relive the indiscretions of their youth without risking getting their collar felt. For the prosperous middle class, for nice people with family networks and a safety net it’s great, wonderful, whatever.

But what about the mentally ill, the weak, the disenchanted, and the left behind?
Ah but it’s no more dangerous than alcohol!
Which might be true. After all go down to a Foodbank or a homeless shelter and you’ll meet plenty of people who’ve done serious damage to themselves with alcohol.

In my home town, on one of the main shopping streets, there’s pub which has some tables out on the pavement. They’re quite popular and the pavement is wide so their presence is not an issue. I saw one chap shambling up the street until he came to one of the tables. People had been sitting there and had gone, leaving drink in their glasses. The chap I was watching just drank off the contents of all the glasses before shambling on again. Oh yes, I’m aware of the damage that alcohol can do.

But as I said, what do we do about the mentally ill, the weak, the disenchanted, and the left behind? Apparently Janis Joplin was shooting $200 a day of heroin and that’s 1970 prices. Thanks to the great democratisation of degradation, it’s so much cheaper now.

But what about these people? Never slag off older women in my presence. Because the vast majority of the volunteers who I’ve seen doing the work with these people are ‘older women’. They’re the ones who have the grace to cope with people who won’t engage with ‘social services’ or the NHS. They’re the ones who cope with people who wash occasionally, sometimes have clean clothes and on rare occasions combine the two to create a red letter day for anybody who has to deal with them.

After all, when my home town has had twelve people in six months die from overdoses (or exposure because they’ve collapsed outside,) it really hits home when somebody introduces you to the person everybody assumes is going to be the thirteenth.

Send him to the doctors!
Yes, they’ve tried that. Get him an appointment he’ll forget and not turn up.

Give him the money for a taxi and he’ll just spend it.

Put him in the taxi and he’ll wait until he’s out of sight then get out and ask the driver for his money back.
Take him to the doctor, sit with him in the waiting room, and when they give him his tablets, how do you stop him selling them?

He’s an addict! I’ve dealt with addicts. I’ve had to cope with alcoholics. They lie, they steal, they cheat, and at times they’ll say anything, do anything, to get the next drink. I know one alcoholic who told her sister that her sister’s husband had raped her. The plan the alcoholic had was to break up the marriage so that the sister would then be free to look after the alcoholic. Luckily it didn’t work.
Sorry, I got diverted, where was I? Of yes, cheap legal drugs for aging hipsters? Whatever. But when we’ve got these legal drugs what are we going to do for those who cannot cope?
About a year ago they found a guy whose body had lain under a pile of rubbish for a couple of days. To be frank the only real reason it made the headlines was that it was right next to the railway line and they had to shut the station before they could recover it. Caused absolute chaos. He was aged 32. No age is it?

But how about, for those who cannot cope, offering them a service. They can get a bath, a shave, clean sheets and pretty nurses (of the gender of your choice) so that way they can get their final overdose in surroundings which allow them to pretend to themselves that people actually give a toss whether they live or die?

Well it has to be better than lying dead for two days under a pile of rubbish by the railway line.


I suppose if people were happy to donate half of what they spend on drugs (including alcohol) to a fund we might be able to afford a mental health service that could support these people. But if I suggested that, they’d blood test me because everybody would want a shot of whatever I was on.


Oh, and if anybody tries to tell me it’s all the wicked Tories and austerity, I’ll just laugh in their face. I was hoping for a grown-up conversation with genuine adults. If you want playground games, run along and play outside.


But yes, our nice middleclass middle income people who can now get their safe legal high. It’s good that you can finally chill out and relax with your recreational narcotic of choice.

But honestly, if you need that crap to chill out and relax, is your life really as good as you’re trying to convince yourself?


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13 thoughts on “Pontifications along a road less travelled. Where’s Bobby McGee now?

  1. rugby843 October 21, 2018 at 2:42 pm Reply

    Excellent post

  2. Stevie Turner October 21, 2018 at 2:48 pm Reply

    My son was in a band with a chap whose parents let him waste his teenage years away in his bedroom playing guitar and smoking cannabis. When the chap eventually found a girlfriend, she was one of those ‘older’ women who took a great deal of time to help him break his addiction. Cannabis is highly addictive for sure.

    • jwebster2 October 21, 2018 at 2:53 pm Reply

      he is one of the lucky ones
      Some are not so lucky 😦

  3. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt October 21, 2018 at 3:09 pm Reply

    I’m looking forward to trying the CBD oil for some of the intractable pain. I’ve never used a recreational drug in my life, and I’ve always been happy that, whatever caused the ME/CFS I battle daily, it wasn’t me having messed up my own brain with drugs. A good friend has significant memory problems from pot in her teenage years.

    Addiction is a terrible thing.

    • jwebster2 October 21, 2018 at 3:16 pm Reply

      yes, funnily enough mind altering substances alter your mind.
      Mind you from the pain relief angle, given that all painkillers are pretty dicey I see no real problem swapping cannabis oil for Opioids

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt October 24, 2018 at 3:25 pm

        I haven’t been forced by pain to try opioids yet, but many have – and learn that something they need is not under their control. I don’t like the fuzzy brain effect, noticeable after hospitalizations, and always get off them as soon as possible, trading somewhat less pain control for the feeling of being myself again.

        Which reminds me that someone here mentioned that three drops of CBD, and she sleeps like a baby. It WOULD be nice to be completely pain-free at least for a while every day – I believe that resets your mind.

      • jwebster2 October 24, 2018 at 9:45 pm

        I hope you can get it soon 🙂

  4. M T McGuire October 22, 2018 at 8:53 pm Reply

    This is an interesting conundrum. I absolutely get you on addiction. I’m not 100% certain whether legalising cannabis will make any difference either way. I like the idea of making drugs available at boots and denying organised crime of its income but I suspect it’s more complicated than that. With friends and family who suffered addiction I’m open to this experiment but somewhat tense as well.

    • jwebster2 October 22, 2018 at 9:06 pm Reply

      apparently about 1% of deaths a year are alcohol related. At the moment illegal drug related deaths at 0.5%
      In theory even just legalising all drugs, guaranteeing standards and suchlike, if it brought the death rate up to alcohol would lead to 2500 people a year dying.
      But given the amount of money spent on the ‘war on drugs’ and income from taxing the sales of legal drugs, we could pump a fortune into social care and save far more than that number of lives?
      The whole thing is a total mess. Certainly there might well be an argument that by legalising and putting the money elsewhere we’d see a big net benefit. Not only that but we’d screw a lot of serious crime syndicates. Obviously they’d look for new revenue streams but the damage being done by them is horrendous

      • M T McGuire October 22, 2018 at 9:30 pm

        Scary starts but Yeh legalise and put the money into social care rather than crime syndicates pockets is an attractive option. Also a lot of drugs are cut with horrific stuff .. vim and the like. Regulation world stop that.

      • jwebster2 October 23, 2018 at 6:10 am

        the old joke is that if you want to make selling narcotics unprofitable, make it a nationalised industry 🙂

      • M T McGuire October 23, 2018 at 7:05 am

        Mwahhahaaargh! As successive governments have sold off everything else that could fill the public purse why not!

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