Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Why I don't like Bill Hicks

When I worked in a supermarket, cleaning the in-store bakery, sometimes the bakers would come in a little earlier than usual and begin work. They would often put on a tape of the late Bill Hicks' stand up comedy routine.

I don't like Bill Hicks. He used do a thing in his act where he tried to make it seem as though creativity comes from drug taking.

Hearing Bill Hicks act makes me angry because, as an intensely creative person myself, I know that my energy, talent and ideas are my own and they don't come from some drug or chemical.

Some creative people like Charlie Parker or Jimi Hendrix have suffered from drug addiction as an occupational hazard but Hicks used to make it sound as if these musicians derived their talent and ideas from the drugs. In reality the drugs destroyed these people's talent, rather than having created it. Frank Zappa lived longer because he didn't use drugs.

Bill Hicks would stand there telling us that if we listen to a track by someone who took drugs we were all hypocrites. Daft idea! As if the drug were giving the musician the ability to make the music!

Sorry to rant about this but Hicks always sets off a bee in my bonnet and there's a history to why it does:

In the 1980s I lived in the town of Glastonbury in the South West of England. During those years the Glastonbury Festival was attracting more and more drug usage to the area and dope dealers tried to take over the house where I lived (at 7a The High Street, Glastonbury, upstairs from Gothic Image shop). They came in and sat on the communal stairs and smoked dope, filling the air with the smoke. I used to have to cover my mouth and nose with layers of scarves and hold my breath in order to get past them on the stairs. I needed to get to and from my rented room and I needed to cook food in the communal kitchen. Life became very difficult with the dope dealers sitting around there every day and laughing their heads off at me as I went past holding my breath and covering my nose. I threw windows open and let fresh air in.

Eventually I took a joint out of a dope dealer's hand and flushed the drug down the toilet. That wiped the smile off his face and stopped him laughing - though he hit me with a knuckle duster and cut my forehead.

Another time two dope dealers came into the house and attacked me, one held me down on the floor while the other one kicked me in the head.

Another time one of them pushed me down the stairs and I went nose first into the bannisters.

Let me emphasise that these attacks were made on me because I was a non-drug person, as opposed to an anti-drug person. I was never anti-drugs, only pro- freedom of choice to abstain. But the paranoia of these people was such that they saw no distinction between the two.

Throughout all of these events the dope dealers had the option of going into a private room to smoke their drugs. A room where they would offend no-one and there would be no problem. They stubbornly insisted on staying in the communal areas of the building because they thought that "Everybody must get stoned". In other words, they were fascists.

These dealers used to dress up like new-age hippies but if they didn't like you they showed their true face - which was low grade mafia-esque punk.

In 1987 a murder occurred in the building. A man in the flat next door to me murdered his girlfriend while they were both out of their heads on drugs. When he woke up and realised what he'd done he came and told me about it and asked me to take him to the police to surrender himself.

So I've seen how drugs destroy people's lives and communities. Nevertheless I continue to believe in the individual's right to choose. My choice is to abstain from drugs or alcohol. Other people must make their own choices. If they choose to take drugs that's fine, as long as they don't force those drugs onto anyone against that person's will. The trouble is, they do try force it.

Anyway that's why I get angry when I hear recordings of Bill Hicks crap about giving the credit to drugs for all the music and creativity. I've been a creative person my whole life. I can assure you it doesn't come from drugs or alcohol. It comes from free thinking.

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