In the meantime, it can only be healthy that Noel and Brian have opened up the narcotics debate. People should be talking about drugs: in the media, in parliament, in schools, and in family kitchens. Talking about drugs anywhere else, on the other hand, should be a capital offence - and that goes double for comedy clubs and the music press. I don't know what long-term effect drugs have, but the short-term effect of a conversation about them is catastrophic.
Unless you've been subjected to a drugs conversation, you can barely imagine how boring it is, although anyone who's been to a Phil Collins concert may have some idea. Even if you've tried nothing stronger than Beecham's cough mixture, listening to someone prattle on about their experiences with inventively nicknamed chemicals for 10 minutes will leave you panting for a syringe of heroin just to relieve the tedium.
The drugs story is to the twentysomething what the sex story, the drinking story and the driving story are to the teenager: it demonstrates how daringly independent and grown-up you are. The twentysomething will miss no opportunity, therefore, to tell a side-splitting spliffing story. "The Joint That Was THIS Big" (anglers and would-be lotharios have analogous tales in their repertoires); "The Fit Of Paranoia That Was So Horrific It Chills Me To Remember It - But I'm Going To Describe It To You Anyway"; "The Time We Got Stoned and We Couldn't Stop Laughing, Everything Seemed So Hysterically Funny" (paradoxically, the least amusing reminiscence of all).
The literal meaning of the drug yarn is: "Dope, acid, speed and ecstasy have been the catalyst for some amusing incidents in my life." The subtext is: "I'm such a cool, sexy, daring outlaw. Feel free to admire me as much as I do." And the epilogues of these epics are always the same: "I wouldn't recommend it to anyone." Well. How cool, sexy and outlawful can you get? Is there no limit to these people's grown-upness? Not only do they take an absolute Hendrix of drugs, they're big enough to warn off those of us who might not be able to handle the pace.
I couldn't guarantee it, but I believe that if the Government cracked down on drug-boasting, the trade in controlled substances would plummet. So remember, drug-users: don't share needles. And you can keep your anecdotes to yourself while you're at it.