[Edition 89] A visit to the Wollongong methadone clinic in Denison St has left second year Arts student and amateur music critic Andy McNamara bitterly disappointed.
The lifelong fan of Nick Cave and William S. Burroughs went to the clinic expecting a hotbed of artistic experimentation and cultural revolt. “I sparked up a conversation with one wizened old junkie, the kind of guy who looks like a living testament to urban alienation. But rather than recite an odd-meter poem about living with a beast on your back, he just asked if he could buy a cigarette off me. Not exactly Naked Lunch.”
“Not one of them wanted to discuss the role of Catholic imagery in the work of the Bad Seeds”, McNamara reported. “The only flicker of interest I got was when I mentioned my Stone Temple Pilots DVD to a guy called Bear. He was very interested to know what other DVDs I had, and I ending up giving him my address, so we can form a discussion/agitation group together.”
McNamara was also shocked to learn that none of the clinic’s patrons had read Junkie, and that only a handful had seen Trainspotting. “These junkies seemed to be completely ignorant of the rich vein of counter-cultural heritage in which they are located. I jokingly called one of the young prostitutes there ‘Aileen’, in reference to Charlize Theron’s character in Monster. She just stared at me with dead eyes, and asked if I wanted to party. No sense of irony whatsoever.”
Admitting his expectations in visiting the clinic may have been too high, McNamara is still hopeful that heroin will play a creative role in the future. “I guess I should have realized that if you’re seeking treatment for a heroin addiction, you have priorities other than art. What a waste.”
Andy next plans to visit Redfern train station to discuss cultural alienation and the work of Koori author Mudrooroo with the kids who hang out there.