Wednesday, 6 January 2016

The Sixties

I grew up in the sixties, which started in about 1964 and lasted almost until 1980. I very much recommend my friend Jenny Diski’s book on the sixties, called (duh) ‘The Sixties’.
It has been memorably said of the sixties that if you can remember them, you weren’t there. Not quite true; the point of the remark is that we were all so stoned out of our skulls that much of what we remember may not ‘really’ have happened, and much may really have happened that we (perhaps mercifully) can’t remember.
One of the many good effects of the sixties for those who survived them is a familiarity with drugs, especially the psychotropic ones, both ‘legitimate’ and ‘illegitimate’. An intelligent and responsible veteran of the sixties (and there are lots of us) could safely be given a copy of the Merck Index and a prescription pad and allowed to medicate himself and selected friends. We know what we’re doing: if we didn’t we’d all have been dead long ago.

So I can tell you that it’s a myth that you ‘shouldn’t’ drink alcohol while taking powerful prescription drugs; that they don’t mix. Bullshit. They mix as well as tonic (or angostura bitters) with gin. That even goes — with a few exceptions, such as those prescribed against Helicobacter pylori, the cause of stomach ulcers — for antibiotics. What actually happens is that the alcohol makes the drugs work better, or at least more quickly, and vice-versa. It is only a pusillanimous and moralistic medical fraternity, afraid we might overdo it or worse still enjoy ourselves, that tries to tell us otherwise.

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