Tag Archives: The Observer

Heroin: Has It Inspired Great Art, Even As it Took Users Down Down Down?

Photo of Christine F via The Observer.

In Sunday’s The Observer, Andrew Hussey offers a lengthy story about heroin’s role as artistic stimulant.

“I think the relationship between heroin and cities, or cityspace, is very interesting,” Will Self [a former heroin user] says. “It has more to do with spatiality, how the inner world of the user connects with the outside word of reality. And what we’re really talking about is the psychogeography of heroin. William Burroughs knew this when he wrote The Naked Lunch, the great heroin novel set in the Interzone of Tangier, and Lou Reed knew this. The first Velvet Underground album is essentially a day in the life of a heroin addict in New York City, and a map of where he goes and what he sees and what he feels. And the music sounds like heroin, with its drones and impatient feedback and stuttering words. It’s the perfect soundtrack to the junkie life. There is a heroin psychogeography – where to find it, where to buy it, where you can smell it.” He goes on: “The point is that heroin users occupy a certain negative space in the world, in society. Burroughs writes in The Naked Lunch how, strung out in Tangier, he could sit and look at his shoe for eight hours. Heroin users don’t need to do anything or go anywhere: they just are.”

For more of this fascinating article, head to The Observer.

The Velvet Underground, “Heroin”:

The Velvet Underground, “I´m Waiting For The Man”:

– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-

Velvet Underground’s Moe Tucker on Lou Reed

Moe Tucker of the Velvet Underground wrote a piece about Lou Reed, which ran yesterday in The Observer.

Tucker wrote:

I first met Lou when he came by one day to see my brother. They were friends from college and he came by to pick up my brother around Thanksgiving or maybe Christmas. That was in the early 60s. A long time ago. A different time. A different world. I think we said hello, and I knew from my brother that he was into music, but he didn’t make that big an impression.

Lou and Sterling [Morrison] met through my brother. They were all at Syracuse together, and that’s when the two of them started to play together. I got involved in their group almost by accident because the original drummer left just before a gig in New York in 1965 and they needed a new drummer real fast. Sterling said, “Oh, Tucker’s sister plays drums.” I lived way out on Long Island and they came out there from the city to see if I could keep a beat. That’s how it happened.

I was working as a data puncher for IBM and playing drums at night in a band that a brother of one of my girlfriends had formed. I was a pop fan, the Beatles and the Stones and all that 60s stuff, and suddenly I was playing this really avant-garde stuff in a group called the Velvet Underground. I had no grounding in the experimental stuff that John [Cale] loved, so it was quite a leap.

“There She Goes Again”:

The first gig I played was the first gig as the Velvet Underground. [Summit high school New Jersey, 11 December 1965] We played three songs [There She Goes Again, Venus in Furs and Heroin]. A lot of people were bewildered. A lot of people left. I think Lou kind of liked that. Then we played Cafe Bizarre in New York and the guy who owned it didn’t want the drums as they were too loud, so I played tambourine. I like the sound of the tambourine so that was fine. That’s where Barbara Rubin introduced us to Andy (Warhol).


It was a whole different world to the one I knew, especially at the Factory with the Warhol crowd, but it was really exciting and a lot of fun. I wasn’t scared or overwhelmed, I was just excited. Sterling was a kind of comforting presence. I’d known him since I was 11. John and Lou were just so full of ideas. I was super-impressed – the drones, the lyrics, the noise, the whole way they approached music was just new and exciting, and there was a pop imagination in there, too.

“Venus In Furs”:

To read the rest, head to The Observer.

-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-