Alright then, you can have my drug confession if you must

PUBLISHED: 17:06 12 June 2019 | UPDATED: 17:06 12 June 2019

David Clayton says the majority of people growing up in the 1960s and 1970s were exposed to some form or drug taking

David Clayton says the majority of people growing up in the 1960s and 1970s were exposed to some form or drug taking


David Clayton says drugs confessions are all the rage at the moment so, here, he admits to his...

You know that well-worn phrase "If you remember the 1960s you weren't really there?" Well I can, and I was. I'm sure the essence of the adage is that being so consumed with drugs, alcohol, peace and love, any memory of the period is seriously addled. 
My formative years were through the late sixties and early seventies, so the worst, or is it the best of the decade's hedonism might have missed me by a whisker because I wasn't quite old enough to fully indulge. OK, so I sneaked into the Admiral Seymour pub on Salisbury Road in Great Yarmouth for two halves of Watney's fabled Red Barrell at the tender age of 16 and I puffed on a few packets of, "Cool as a Mountain Stream" Consulate menthol cigarettes. I was trying to look grown up and sophisticated but probably failed miserably.

Oh, and another thing, at the age of 15 I sneaked into Gorleston's Coliseum cinema to see Antonioni's controversial X-rated Film Blow Up. In 1967 the nudity was the controversial thing but in trying to look inconspicuous by hunkering-down in the Coliseum's well-worn cinema seats, I missed whatever bits of Jane Birkin I wasn't supposed to see!

However, I'd better pitch-up with a timely confession about drugs, as it seems to be all the rage at the moment. So, here goes, I once saw some. At least I think I did. A friend of mine at the time (I'll leave his name out of this as I've lost track of what he's doing now and he may aspire to be a politician) produced a small tin-foil 
package from his pocket in which there was a brown coloured substance. This was mid-way through 1969 and if I'm honest I think this was more about teenage bragging rights than any burgeoning addiction. I'd no idea where he'd got it from, how much it cost, nor what he was going to do with it. Talk about being naïve back then, I wasn't sure whether it was to smoke, swallow or insert somewhere and to be honest, if he did use it, I wasn't with him so I've no idea what effect it had, if any.

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And that's it, everyone. That's my confession about drugs. You're either disappointed or metaphorically patting me on the back. It's fine either way as far as I'm concerned but it seems our aspiring leaders are nervously heading that question off at the pass before it unravels in some other way.

I think it's a "given" that anyone who sailed through the sixties and seventies, often enjoying a student lifestyle was, shall we say, "exposed" to, or "experimented" with drugs. At least that's how they seem to bat back the question in interviews, so I'm not surprised nor shocked that some of our political masters have indulged.

I bet many of them smoked too much as well and staggered out of a bar after being loud and embarrassing. Haven't we all? I really want to say it's an inevitable "rite of passage," something most of us go through and leave behind as we grow up, but I'm aware that a vocal lobby will denounce that loudly, and rightly so, because of where it can lead.

All I know is I have a valued friend who is a former addict. He's a survivor of the sixties. It doesn't matter for the sake of this argument what he was an addict of. All I know is that having been there, consumed by his addiction and now fully recovered, he has a wisdom and humility of which I'm envious. He's a wise counsel to anyone in a similar situation and I'm happy to spend any amount of time in his company.

It may not be so awful that those who want to take charge of us have been there in moderation and for want of a better expression, "got the tie-dye tee-shirt."

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