Charles Shaar Murray: 'Cocaine makes us spiritually sterile'

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The Independent Online

Cocaine affects people in three different ways. It affects the body, it affects the bank balance and it affects the spirit. The end result is emotional numbness and spiritual sterility. Maybe that is why traces have been found at political parties at the Labour and Tory conferences.

I have met George a few times and I like him a lot. He has obviously been unlucky. I would imagine that in any given night in any major city there are liable to be several hundred people who have five grams of cocaine on them. It is open season on celebrities. George is just the latest. Because I like him I hope they go easy on him. He is not hanging around outside school gates and he is not saying "everyone should do it, it's great".

What can kill one person someone else can just about handle. I remember Bob Marley telling me once that I shouldn't smoke as much weed as he did because I wasn't used to it. He was absolutely right.

I would never tell anyone never to snort coke; I would tell them never to buy it. If you do a line only when someone offers it to you, and don't worry when it's not there, you will not get in too much trouble. If you find yourself spending your own money on it, you are in serious trouble.

The psychedelic era was the single most intense outburst of creativity that popular music had ever seen. By contrast, eras fuelled by coke are among the dullest.

Wherever fragile egos congregate with large amounts of money you will find cocaine - in politics, music, fashion, film, even finance. It can turn the faultlines in any personality into yawning chasms. It is the perfect drug for the internal abyss.

It impacts culturally on people who do not physically use it themselves. It explains an awful lot about why our present-day culture is governed by emotional numbness, spiritual sterility and rampant megalomania, even among people who claim to be highly religious, like Tony Blair and George Bush.

The idea that every banknote in circulation is permeated with cocaine may be an urban myth but it is nevertheless a perfect metaphor.