Who needs reasons when you’ve got heroin?

“Reality is just a crutch for people who can’t handle drugs.” 

Robin Williams

Drugs, or drug culture, are often associated with tie-died t-shirts, the south Americas, the 70’s, rock and punk music, and ultimately, Snoop Dogg. Yet, in between those stereotypical manifestations of the junkie lifestyle, there are deeper, subtler, more complex – that is not to say better! – forms of culture, critique and commentary hidden. Drug usage is often seen as a form of escapism, associated with a strengthened tendency to ´go with the flow´, as an uncontrollable entering of a world other than the capitalist reality the rest of sober society lives in. And although the life, or world, of the average addict or regular user might be utterly different from the routine of those working 9 to 5, it is the similarities or the grey area between the two that makes drug culture so significant.

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Diary Fragments II

             —For Julz Booth-Jones

Truman Capote, author of Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood, described his diary as a ‘hieroglyphic shambles’. He said that when looking back over his old journals he was frequently baffled by entries of which he had no recollection. ‘God knows what “Thunder on Cobra Street” refers to,’ he pondered. I, too, came across many jottings in my diaries that left me wondering what on earth I was on about.

In addition to these cryptic scribbles, I noticed that I am also quite an avid list maker, though not nearly as obsessive as Susan Sontag, renowned for her exhaustive lists of, well, everything. For example: “Things I like: fires, Venice, tequila, sunsets, babies, silent films, heights, coarse salt, top hats, large long-haired dogs, ship models, cinnamon, goose down quilts, pocket watches, the smell of newly-mown grass, linen, Bach, Louis XIII furniture, sushi, microscopes, large rooms, ups, boots, drinking water, maple sugar candy.”1

Following my last Writer’s Block piece, here are some more of my journal entries and accompanying photos, covering the period of my last few weeks in France and my relocation to Vietnam. Once again, I must mention that I took the liberty to change names and details where necessary. And by necessary I mean wherever the hell I felt like it.

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I dream in 35mm

Back when I was a teenager, I created an Instagram account and I loved it. I spent endless amount of time posting weird artsy photos with matching weird artsy captions – usually song lyrics. Instagram has consistently remained one of my favourite social media platforms since I first made my account, and I have the 1.7k photos to prove it. There was, however, a period where I didn’t take pictures anymore. I felt bored, perhaps even a bit lazy. There came no satisfaction from picking out one photo out from the 15 that I had taken of a subject matter. And that bummed me out. My beautiful, precious Instagram would lie silent for weeks, but I just had nothing to post. And it wasn’t that I couldn’t take pictures; my phone’s camera is pretty decent and I do have a DSLR lying around – I just didn’t want to. I was uninspired and perhaps even apathetic at the thought of it. It felt far too easy to just snap dozens of pictures, only to have to then wade through a sea of similar photos to find The One.

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A JOLLY JOINT INTERVIEW WITH THE WRITER’S BLOCK BOARD

As the end of the 18/19 Writer’s Block board year draws to close, we present – for the sake of posterity – a joint masterpiece that critics across the world will surely describe as ‘crass’, ‘tasteless’ and ‘mildly funny if you’re really tired at the time’ – which we have put together with much love, dedication and nuance. Always wanted to get to know the board a little better? This is the perfect opportunity! All current board members answered a bunch of budding questions about themselves, with exciting, in-depth answers into the mysteries of selfhood, plastic bags and psychoanalysis (just kidding: only one of those three is true, and you know it’s neither of the good ones). Curious to find out about our favorite submissions, childhood antics and weirdest hobbies? This is the article that will answer all of the above, and perhaps leave you with more questions than before. Let’s get started!

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CHAD IN AMSTERDAM #1-2 REVIEW

Chad in Amsterdam is a comic book series created, produced, and written by Chad Bilyeu. The illustrations, all in black-and-white, are done by several different artists; their styles ranging from minimalist to detailed and often falling somewhere in between realistic and cartoony. In them, Bilyeu documents his various (mis)adventures as an American immigrant in Amsterdam. The result is a witty, hilarious, and honest series of comic strips that depict situations which Amsterdammers may recognize and others may find intriguing. Given that all of these stories are told from Bilyeu’s perspective, even Dutch readers are likely to look at typically Dutch situations from another angle. In this review I’ll cover both issue #1 and #2, so sit back, relax, and let’s have ourselves a look, shall we?

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Megan’s Bookstore Tour

One of my favourite pastimes is to walk around a city and browse through all the different bookstores. Firstly, because it is an interesting way to get to know a place and secondly, because it is a more special experience to buy a hard copy book as opposed to buying online from sites such as Amazon, Bookdepository and Bol.com. It can also be much more rewarding to find a book that reaches out to you when you’re scouring the shelves – and a big, international city like Amsterdam holds a wide array of bookstores, each with a different character and supply. There are huge bookstores with an endless amount of books and smaller bookstores that are more minimalist. I will take you around and recommend a few of my favourites.

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Short Story Competition 2019 – 1st Place; Land’s End, by Luc de Vries

It is genetic, and therefore likely, that I’ll lose my mind sooner or later. My old man was crazy and the son of a bitch before him was too. I’m not sure what my mother’s side was like, but if she hadn’t been cuckoo from the start my father sure nudged her in the right direction by showing her how.

By comparison me and my sisters are turning out well. I don’t think any of us have ended up crooks or bandits yet but I don’t speak to them often enough to say for sure. But we’ll go looney at one point or another. It happens to most people, and it will certainly happen to me.

I sit at my mother’s table. I leave the messages from the family WhatsApp group unread and watch the clock in the top corner of my phone screen. Mom walks about the old place and talks to me from the other room.

“Arjen. It’s happened again,” she says.

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