Drugs influence taste, well, my taste for drugs


I don’t do drugs, I am drugs.” Salvador Dali

When I was a kid, I used to look up at the sky at twilight in wonderment. It seemed to hold so many possibilities and secrets. The azure blanket sent sparks all around my brain, setting off a demented creativity. I would write weird stories, come up with silly songs; think about a future where I wouldn’t be an accountant or engineer like everyone I knew. I wanted to explore the otherness of the world around me, the flashing lights in the sky, the wrong colours of the morning, the glow around people that wasn’t from the Ready Brek commercials. I didn’t want the boring cycle of cigarettes leading to alcohol all the way to heroin. Fuck that, I thought, looking up at that blue sky, the entrance to space as I saw it. This was my gateway drug.

Back in the late eighties, early nineties, certain freedoms seemed to enfold. There was a push away from conservatism, toward activism and self-expression. The city streets were filled with identity. Goths, metallers, punks, indie types, grunge, clubbers and a fair few paisley shirts could be seen on a sunny afternoon in any park anywhere, all trying to carve out their corner of the universe. The schoolbag was your canvas and your social media account: The Pixies and the Stone Roses; The Cure and the Smiths; Metallica and Slayer. Take one look at the schoolbag and you knew roughly who this guy or girl was. Those who had nothing on their schoolbags belonged to a world that seemed to abhor creativity. I mean, fuck them. Probably got them free from their local bank.

We were the Generation X-ers. A term which I hate as it fits into the niche of the marketing rather than the human experience. We weren’t all out wandering about like we were living in the Douglas Coupland novel. Maybe we were a little more disaffected about society than the baby boomers and maybe there was a more nihilistic quality to the art that flourished in that time. However, plenty seized on the money train and those who grew up to be politicians followed the same template as those who came before them. So who were these Generation X-ers? I was a slacker by heart but a worker by necessity. When I left school it became apparent that everybody financed their weekends with the drudgery of a working week. Who was I to go against that wretched tide? The art that was created had to be worked at and refined. It was a serious business and its legacy can be seen in that all the bands from the slacker era are still gigging and producing nearly 30 years later.

Naturally, staring at the sky led me to want to see it in different ways, with a constant soundtrack running through my head usually through a skinny silver Sony walkman, an artefact which I still miss because post-punk doesn’t sound right to me on digital devices. I wanted to see that sky through different eyes, with different emotions. Identifying myself as an other meant I did exactly the same things as everyone else like me, but I considered it individual. The first hit off that cigarette waiting for the bus at 7am would give you a headrush for at least twenty minutes before you had that second cigarette upstairs on the bus, full volume Ride album smashing your eardrums as with every other sleepy soul in that foggy vehicle. My greasy long hair didn’t really work as long hair in the conventional sense but it was mine. I looked pale and like shit most of the time. This was the look I was going for. I can’t imagine that sullen fucker’s face being a profile pic in today’s vanity driven social world. My vanity was completely at odds with reality, existing in my head, a place I longed to get out of.

Everything seemed a bit more real in the 90s. There was a conscious attempt to get away from the 1980s and all its shiny accoutrements. The jet set life of Duran Duran, cocaine, models and champagne didn’t fit in well with the grim realities of unemployment, terrorism and social upheavel. You had to search out your favourite bands, getting excited if an Iron Maiden or House of Love album appeared in your tiny record shop or repeatedly harassing the owner whether he had the latest Fall or Wedding Present album. It was a cycle: save up the money, hit the shop, buy the album. Listen on repeat for two weeks then start the process again. I still know the lyrics to albums I haven’t listened to in 25 years. I kept the cassettes beside my bed which as a 12 year old provided a tiny curtain to hide the empty cans of beer behind. Experimentation is the key to creativity right? So swig a bit of Harp, realise it was disgusting, hide the can under the bed. Swig some stout. Ugh I hate this. Swig another bottle of stout. How do people drink this stuff? More and more and more…until my mother cleaned my room, pulled back the bed and found thirty empty cans. She cried and cried despite my protestations that every 12-year-old experiments and I wasn’t a raging alcoholic.

My eldest sister got me into smoking which I remind her of to this day. 1987, I was at U2, my first gig, wide eyed with wonderment. Lou Reed was there too. Who was this guy? That guy’s amazing. People were drinking cans, everyone was smoking. I was a sports nut but these people seemed cool, so this is where it was at. Sis handed me a fag and asked if I wanted a drag. I didn’t hesitate and started a lung support structure which would only end a few months shy of my 40th birthday. I know it is ridiculous, but smoking WAS cool despite what the ads said. It was. Maybe not for the non-smokers, but smokers looked at each other with a “we’re dying together” sense of community. Like the schoolbags you could tell what kind of person you were by what you smoked. I smoked Marlboro Reds from a young age because I was into all things American. The USA was cool, unlike today. The lead crackled as you dragged the smoke into your immortal body. Tarantino, Jim Jarmusch, David Lynch. Their movies formed me. Everyone smoked.

“Hair and drug-use issues notwithstanding, I’ve never thought of you as any less than professional.” ― Thomas Pynchon

My other sister and her friend introduced me to hash. I was the cool younger brother on display. I’d do anything to be cool. Being cool wasn’t a vanity thing for me. It was what seemed to be the mode d’emploie. The first hit from the joint didn’t make me cough but acted as a giant weight which sat on my soul pushing me down on to the carpet and forcing me to look up at the sky. That blue sky from earlier now looked fucking amazing, displaying an array of possibilities. This was where this fourteen-year old wanted to be. From then on, this was as important to me as the rugby team I was playing for, the writing, the friends. There were a lot of drugs out there and I wanted them and I wanted to get fucked up. It was a plan, right?

I drifted toward people who looked like they would get me what I wanted. There was very little weed around when I was a teenager, so hash was the only option. Leb or Soapbar. Soap always was a happy fun time drug, making music immersive and the world a bit brighter. We were knee-deep in the grunge phase and drugs formed part of the miserabilism (except it was fun). These days at school discos, the girls are dressed like Kardashians, whereas in the 90s it was plaid shirts, big jumpers, big pants and wooly hats. Well, apart from the line dancers. Nothing prepares you for the shock of finding out that people you knew all your life donned cowboy shirts and formation danced, all fuelled by a combination of Budweiser and vodka. Being stoned in that scene did bad things for your karma. I drank as much as I could find too. There was no point where I found real life acceptable. Everything had to have an edge. An evening would be for getting wasted. The daytime could be more pleasurable with a small amount of acid.

I found hash led me to my more indie tastes. As Linklater’s “Slacker” came out, a movie about people in Austen, Texas just hanging around, I decided to work hard at doing nothing, but well. With the lazy ramshackle music of Pavement and Mudhoney and then the darker Nick Cave stuff, I formed an identity (mostly hidden) but recognised by my own type. It was almost masonic. You are like me, we are not like them. I slouched from here to there. Got some of my more conservative friends to start taking stuff. Like a dick, I pressurised them. They agreed but I had to be careful how far I pushed my druggy agenda, because not everyone is mentally capable of this world. Later, I would include myself in this category. Working hard at being a slacker was generally exhausting.

Soon, you began to notice the styles around you. We were drifting into acid, while others were heading straight to ecstasy. Being misanthropic, the Tolkienesque world of blue skies, nature and walking around for 12 hours in tie-dyed t-shirts appealed to me more than the dayglo t-shirts and fiver in the wallet mentality of clubbers. However, dance music  invaded my world, not so much through the house music crowd, but the grimy, weirdo intelligent dance music, Aphex Twin side of it. The clubs were dirtier, purposefully. The drugs were dirtier. People danced in t-shirts that should have been thrown out years ago. There was an nihilistic spirit to the whole enterprise. Whereas the loved up crowd would want to hug everyone, the underlying sinister vibes of the places I went added to the excitement. The trip was all that mattered. Something had to be constantly happening.

What I did notice the more I made drugs my existence was the commonplace situation of being in a dealer’s flat. The grim, shitty pretence of having to like this person to get them a) not to rip you off and b) shut up long enough that you could get your stuff and get the fuck out of there. Friends decided that the dealer was their friend and that hanging out there was the ultimate experience. People from well-off backgrounds were suddenly spouting urban patois. Also, individual identities changed. Colour drained out of my friends. Their clothes became, well, just like everybody else’s. There was no style. These drugs opened their minds but the culture closed them rapidly. I got sick of these dealers and found my own way of getting stuff.

Whether you sniff it smoke it eat it or shove it up your ass the result is the same: addiction.”  ― William Burroughs

Grunge ended after Cobain died. Music got darker and so did I. Drugs became a crutch. Industrial music invaded my world and I shaved most of my hair off, leaving a floppy mess on top, and started dressing in black. When I get dark, I actually get dark. I was smoking constantly, drinking constantly with the aid of my little wraps of dirty speed. My friends and I would take a load of speed, hit the pub, drink hysterical amounts of alcohol, run out of speed and all get blind drunk instantly before last orders. It was a fun game, except you had to be an accountant to factor in the cost of the speed with all the booze. The upside of all this was that you were hilarious, the down side was that you were hilarious and completely unattractive to most women. I was hardly a catch with a smudge of greasy hair, my over worn Pigface t-shirt and my speed-driven gum rolling. I once went on a date where both of us realised we were on speed by our last drink. Despite having a great evening, she looked at me and I at her and we both thought, “You lied to me!”

Around the time I started messing with cocaine, my drug use had become cliched, and I also started to suffer anxiety. I had a tendency to fly from rooms and friends got really annoyed because they thought I was just being an asshole. I would throw them out of my place because I could feel the adrenaline rushing and needed to be alone. I didn’t know what was happening to me, so naturally, of course, I assumed I was dying. One night after a particularly heavy session, I had a full on panic attack. Thinking it was my heart, I crawled down to my parents’ room and forced them to bring me to the hospital. My dad, pissed off, drove fast and at one point turned and asked, “Do you have a pain in your chest?” I said, “No.” And he went, “You’re not having a heart attack so.”

The Junior Doctor forced to deal with me turned out to be a beautiful girl who I kinda knew from across the road. My anxiety had gone and the horrible sensation of realising where I was at in my life kicked in. She tried to not feel contempt for me. I mean she really tried. A few weeks later I tried to cure a panic attack with a line of cocaine. Don’t recommend it. This was smack bang the end of my drug adventures. It was done, over, kaput. I had overdone it. I had become boring and the people who I used to have so much fun with were boring druggies too. I suffered with anxiety for a number of years before I started to turn around. I was caught in a hinterland where I had lost a fair few friends, my taste in clothes was functional and I had shaved my head because I had no more imagination. I had started a new career and needed to become that guy, a working stiff. Something which I have never quite recovered from.

Years later, I was sitting in a bar chatting to my best friend feeling sorry for myself about where I was at in my life and career and wishing maybe I had cooled it a bit back in my youth and concentrated more on becoming a doctor or whatever. I knew stupid people who had passed me by. I received invitations to school events, but didn’t want to see those people. I complained about my stupidity. He was getting pissed off at me and eventually cracked, grabbed me by the shoulders and loudly said,

“Shut the fuck up. I was there. I saw you. You had a fucking great time. Even at the end when things started getting shitty, you were still having a better fucking time than some of the rest of us. You did it to yourself. No-one else. You. And you had a ball.”

“Unlike some men, I had never drunk for boldness or charm or wit; I had used alcohol for precisely what it was, a depressant to check the mental exhilaration produced by extended sobriety.”  ― Frederick Exley

Stretchcast Volume 4: More Skittish than Hashish

But other than that, we had a lovely day

Latest mixage

1: Battles – Africastle (Gloss Drop)
2. M83 – Midnight City (Hurry up, we’re dreaming)
3.Warpaint – Undertow (The Fool)
4. Grinderman – When my baby comes (Grinderman2)
5. Amon Tobin – Rosies (Out from out where)
6. Laurent Garnier – Gnanmankoudji (Tales Of A Kleptomaniac)
7. Shit Robot – Take em up (From the Cradle to the rave)
8. Two lone Swordsmen – Rattlesnake Daddy (Wrong Meeting)
9. Pavement – Perfect Depth (Westing by Musket and sextant)
10. The Fall – Paranoia Man in a cheat shit room (The Infotainment Scan)
11. NeuNegativland (Neu)

Downloadable it be (Click arrow on side of Soundcloud thingy)

totally wiredah


for old fuckers like myself, a wonderful evening of feeling old with old punks being old and drinking pimms and spitting it at the

Happens to us all. Keep buying the tickets

stage. That’s right Stretch is attending the wonderful Wire in Dubalin…come along too

Sometimes things that are young and beautiful can make you feel old and blue, but that’s why littul ol monkeys like me return to the thingys that make us happy. That’s right old fucking bands.

It’s like when you haven’t seen your best mates for a while and you drift through what you forget is your life and develop weird tendencies, affectations, habits etc.. Then you meet the people who literally experienced most of the stuff you did as a kid. The drink, the drugs, football, death, girls, more drugs, ska, absinthe, smashed windows, smashed hedges, smashed mates, the awful Saturday nights in the pub wishing you were somewhere else, the awful Sunday afternoons in the pub watching football wishing you were somewhere else The endless days playing football, sitting on that fucking wall smoking endless cigarettes talking shite, telling each other the personal shit that is killing you as a teen. Getting slagged, slagging back, fighting. Watching girls, talking about girls, meeting girls, fucking it up. Wearing a RIDE t-shirt and getting fed up as the girls think you are the vainest person in the Willage, and you wondering if you’ll meet anyone who listens to shoegazing music, coz all the girls here listen to Garth Brooks and whatever the local NiteKlub tells them to.

A whole littul society of yourselves. You meet them now and the saw, “Alright dickhead?” “Alright ya puke?” “Fuck off Nazi!” until you end up having conversations about babies and mortgages and taxes and you look at each other for some kind of recognition and maybe it’s not there. It’s all very sedate and understanding, and you wonder have you gone completely nuts, because that’s the way you feel most of the time anyway. Then after a couple of drinks at a party and the people who are blow-ins start to stare and wonder what the hell your little society is talking about. You get more and more and more and more and more surreal. The drinks get thrown back, the hugging begins, the jumping on things, the memories flood in, the unresolved things from the past get dredged up. “Ja remember, ye prick?”

The people at the party slowly start to leave as you turn into whirling dervishes, being levelled by the actions of the others and things get knocked over and the drink turns hard and the music goes on, the fight over the music begins. Selecter…Anthrax….fucking Aslan….Luke Kelly…Pavement…Wire. Insisting on reduction of sound meets with smirks, the brains are fried now and there’s no stopping and now things get energetic and kinda violent and something gets broken, recrimination for a minute then falling around laughing and more drink and tired eyes and realisation that no matter who you meet in life, these fucking morons will always be available for embarrassment levels unknown before.


A rake of stuff from the new album Red Barked Tree and other stuff too as a treat. What a great band, totally underrated.

this from the last more noisey album, Send

here they are back in 1979

chasing the Pavement

not Smashing Pumpkins anymore

Here’s some links to Pavement’s Primavera gig in full…


also, Billy Corgan had a bit of a hissy about Pavement before Christmas…here’s what he did speak

“Just found out SP is playing with Pavement in Brazil. It’s gonna be 1 of those New Orleans type funerals… I say that because they represent the death of the alternative dream, and we follow with the affirmation of life part… funny how those who pointed the big finger of ‘sell out’ are the biggest offenders now…yawn. they have no love… by the way, we’ll be the band up there playing NEW songs because we have the love xx”

all not forgiven then Billy, wha?

irlanda go boom boom oops

Stretch here…stil having technical and possibly mental difficulties but all should be resolved soon…for those of you that give a flying shit.

Note to world: Not all of Irlanda's peoples were part of the Celtic Tiger. Most were just struggling to afford to buy a pint of Lager. Leave them alone. Irlanda people should form a new state called GROOVYSWORLD. Who wouldn't want to holiday there? Who? I asked you a question.

Apparently someone lent Irlanda a load of billions, but nobody seems to know where the money went. Curious. Where did the money go? Where is it? In a mattress in Ballisadare? Is it? The Irlanda banks have basically fucked the country until the end of time… Thankfully I’m a well-adjusted munki with no secrets and no lies. No weird fascinations and no hair. What do I care about economics? I’m small, you’re small, we both speak with funny accents… and I’m gonna miss you til the end of time when the country is finally back in the black…

Good things at the moment….The Trip. It’s just good…Robert Plant and the Band of Joy. It’s just cool… Peep show is back this friday. Very important cultural refernce for munkis like me. A world where everyone is not cool.

Bad things…Today I was outwankered by a BMW driver…the only consolation was that he will probably have his kidneys repossessed soon and I have enough pecan nuts to build a hut…. Rupert Murdoch and Steve Jobs together at last in an undersea realm of despicable behaviour..EVIL…Louis Walsh is a munki too. A lot of people do not know that…Simon Cowell is not the devil. I usedta think he was, but now he’s really just a quite dull man staring out from a closet of fear. Poor man. I pitied him then I crucified him. Gotta a lot of reaction to my crucifix test card. I would like to point out to all those people who threatened me that it is and wasn’t and never will be Jesus Christy. He was not the only dude to be stuck to a tree in the seventies. Toni Morrison, Bobby Sands and Darina Allen all went the way of the crossbar…besides it was my favourite holiday…

Til next time, when I will be typing my mlog on a coconut while fighting white-collar workers in bagel shops, smashing ipads against the glum looks on their faces. Mad Max is a comin…

“You know if they could they’d sell the air.”


The YoYo effect

Yo Yo! Stretch Strung Up.

Seem to be neither hither nor thither at the moment. Musically, this munki is one minute sitting tearfully listening to Cinematic Orchestra’s “To build a home,” then it’s jumping around to the Cramps “Bikini Girls with Machine Guns,” driving around screaming The Misfits “I want your Skull” and then “Twinkle, twinkle little star” on one of Squishy’s many many head destroying devices. Up, down, around and around. Can’t get no consistency no mo.

Recently I heard a “Music Scientist” from Glasgow University talking about the way music is used these days by people as a mood enhancer. Whereas in the past, music was a pastime, a side-stage in life, the act of pulling a record from its sleeve or winding up a gramophone was on the whole something you had to create time for. Nowadays, of course, we are plugged in to sources blasting out “the soundtrack to our lives.” This munki will be driving to work and put Motorhead on to gear up for a hectic day. The dual effect of making me pumped up and also completely deaf is a useful tool. Upskilling I believe it’s called. Upskilling is like guesstimate, Wanker-English. The type of words that make Douglas Coupland spit out his cornflakes in delirium.


Not exactly Cheers


Anyway, if this constant soundtrack is being used as a way to help you through your days, whether you are experiencing problems at work, relationship deterioration, family issues, birthdays, deaths or even potential relationships, is there a possibility that the flip side is that people are now being overcome by music. When I was a young Stretch, I used to have the occasional superstition, well two superstitions. The first was that magpie numeracy was a factor in how life turned out. When I was sixteen, this ended after one of the fuckers shat on me, as another looked on. The other kinda superstition related to spending every second night in my local pub, drinking with vigour to forget where I was and to aiding my lust toward a girl working behind the bar. Before, I went to the pub, I would put a Pavement album on. At the time, the choices were Slanted and Enchanted, Westing (By Musket and Sextant) and Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. For some reason, this little ritual would mean that I would have a great night, and shite nights would occur without this new device.

This continued into my early 20s, but ended due to my high usage of various chemical substances. Well, I forgot to listen to Pavement in that way anymore, although I did use the CD box to cut up speed. The girl had changed and so had I, and part of my littul munki head realised how arresting this was to my development. So, a folly of the young. Oh hawhawblahblah. BUT, these days I notice the way certain music makes me think. Especially with a shuffle device and having 80gbs of music with me at all times, certain songs might turn up in my earphones or on the car stereo, any my perspective changes completely. I noticed that The XX’s music tends to put me in a dreamlike state where I think about a particular thing which is bothering me, coz their music reminds me of that thing.

So, yeah, what the fuck, who cares? I know, but when you are in the Dubalin town and walking, scurrying about the environs, you watch people. Most of them have headphones on, and most of them have huge problems/issues in their lives. Who doesn’t? Well there are people who don’t, but no one likes them. So, say a guy is walking along to his bus and a song comes on that he


This is kinda like the one I drove through, but y'know completely different


heard this girl that he fancies say she liked. He’ll immediately think of her and maybe it can help some kind of proactive situation occur, unless it’s Slayer’s South of Heaven, which will be hard to dance to at their wedding. Or, as happened me the other day, a song came on in the car, and a phrase from the song BANG, put me right back in my mother’s hospital room the morning she died. My soul lurched, I drove straight on to a roundabout narrowly missing a stupid SUV. He blew his horn angrily. I felt ashamed until I remembered it was an SUV, where my guilt left me. Stupid SUVs

Maybe it’s just me…What’s my point? Well, be careful when listening to music and driving while tired. Never believe a magpie has any cosmic relevance; they don’t unless you are smaller than one and live in a nest. Never believe the girl working behind the bar who hasn’t been drinking all night will find you attractive and highly amusing after five hours in the premises. Never believe elves are that big Mr Peter Jackson. Don’t live your life with thousands of songs rolling around your head, telling you what way to act or feel or live, or you’ll end up like me.

and that can’t happen. Get away from me BURD.