LIFE AND OTHER FOUR LETTER WORDS: V I C E
People will tell you they want to have good jobs and get on the property ladder and get an education and have some kids and have opinions on films and give a Jolly-Green-Giant-fuck about their future - but it seems they don’t. Not really.
They want to snort some shit, smoke some shit, whack some shit up their arms, listen to some loud music while they sweat out the poison of sandwiches eaten at desks and stare at the strobe lights to kill the images of spreadsheets that have raped their brains for a days. They want to wear a pig mask and tie a shoelace around their balls and fuck as freakily as they can convince someone else to. And after all that – they want jump off something into the sea. That’s what people want to do.
1. Get high.
2. Get laid.
3. Get free.
But two out of three will have to do.
Some numbers just released tell us that stiff upper-lipped folks in the United Kingdom spend nearly £10billion a year on vice. In U.S Dollars that’s around $16.8 billion on prostitution and drugs.
A breakdown of that huge number shows sex work generated £5.3bn for the economy, with another £4.4bn lift from a combination of cannabis, heroin, powder cocaine, crack cocaine, ecstasy and amphetamines. Roughly the same boost to the economy as farming. Equal to 0.7% of the GDP. Prostitution is ‘legal’, but there are some goofy laws around it. It’s illegal to keep a brothel or to solicit sex on the street so unless you happen to just ask a stranger if they’ll have sex with you for money and they say, ‘yes’you’re probably breaking the law.Drugs are still very much illegal in the UK with no signs of weed even getting the green light.
So that £10billion is an ill-gotten fortune – but the government is counting it.
It’s going in the books. It’s classic favorite Uncle behavior. The dude gets behind on his car payments and turns to some drug money to get him out of the shit. Your mother rolls her eyes and hides her jewelry and Uncle Terry tries not to get his knees busted.
But is it the behavior of a 1st world government? Taking illegal money and adding it to their bottom line so China don’t break their kneecaps?
Imagine some guys get together and build a rollercoaster in their back yard. They make it out of wood, some car parts, stolen STOP signs, and other scrap found in their neighborhood. It’s a rickety mess towering 500 feet in the air and it’s called The Decapitator (that’s the name the neighborhood people give it – the owners call it Rainbow Ride). Then the owners start charging people to come and ride the beast. It’s hard to miss and everyone in the neighborhood can see it poking out up near the clouds. And they can hear the squeals of joy and see the smiles, and they know it’s a fun looking ride… Okay, sometimes someone falls out of the rollercoaster on one the sharper corners or the occasional baby gets dropped on the big loop-de-loop section and there are some maimings and the occasional death. Look, everyone knows ‘The Decapitator’ is a dangerous, unsupervised, unmaintained, expensive death trap of a ride and you probably shouldn’t ride the thing… and the queue is round the block because it’s The Decapitator is fun. Really fun.
And then the government turns up and starts selling ice cream at the entrance.
Ignoring the death trap of a rollercoaster, the falling babies, and the risk of decapitation. They just set up a stall with Green Sleeves playing through tinny speakers and the Union Jack flapping in the breeze.
The UK government is willing to place a value on drugs and prostitution in the risky state that it’s in but they’re not willing to build a better rollercoaster.
Drugs are an enterprise run by gangs and the CIA and responsible for untold misery – I think we have all seen enough movies to know the inner workings of drug cartels… and what happens when they MESS WITH STEVEN SEGAL! Prostitution, for 50% of the people in the room during a sex-for-money interaction, isn’t the best time one can have. Often the route to prostitution is one of sexual abuse, coercion, violence, trafficking, poverty, and addiction.
Both of these industries aren’t ‘family values’ activities. They would usually attract hard-line speeches about eradication and some Play Doh-soft remarks about social responsibility – not any more.
The fact that the government is putting a value on vice and considering it ‘productive’ speaks to the hypocrisy amongst the halls of government and (YET AGAIN!!!!) the shitty way women are treated in this bully-boys playground.
Mostly though, it speaks to just how desperate the government is to put some numbers on the boards.
And 10,000,000,000 is a big number.
Vice aint going away. Ever.
Drugs and paid-for sex are here to stay. And it looks like more people are paying for sex than are admitting it. Nearly £6bn a year at an average of £65.00 an encounter is either a few dirty old men in raincoats going to pros an unfathomable amount or, more likely, men from every walk of life all over Britain going to pros a shit-load.
So what’s going on there? Why are everyday men going to pros? Men aren’t getting laid enough? Men aren’t getting laid in the right way? Men aren’t being honest about the way they like to fuck? Men are embarrassed about their sexual needs? Too much porn is giving men a desire to order off a menu that isn’t available at home? Men prefer to pay than make an effort in bars? Men can’t find a girlfriend? Men are jerks? Frequenting prostitutes is more accepted now?
The answer is Yes. All of the above. And more. A plethora of other reasons.
Man A wants to hump someone that looks like his Auntie. Man B wants to hump someone who is pretending to be dead. Man C – holy shit, Man C wants to cry the whole time… Get to Man Z we won’t have even scratched the surface. The point is not why – the point is where the sex is being sold and who the sex is being sold by and that’s an employment issue, a health and safety issue, a welfare issue, and a human rights issue that needs some government input.
There are more prostitutes year on year, and they are more and more commoditized. Online, on apps, on call, on TV, in the movies letting us know they’re okay. The happy hooker with the golden heart smiling out of the screen with perfect make up and a cheerily philosophical view on sucking men off for coins (it’s making the novel she’s writing better).
But the reality is that 85% of women working in illegal brothels are running from European hellholes and see prostitution as a last resort (UKIP they’re taking our blow-jobs!)
That’s your £6bn.
Drugs are fun. Put that on the tee shirt. Drugs are fun until they become your life and then they are a stone cold bummer.
But for the vast majority of the drug-taking public, they are a reliable way of enhancing life or pushing it into the middle distance for a little while so they can laugh at the absurdity of the whole thing without pulling it down brick by brick.
Smoking a spliff and playing a video game like your life depends on it and then watching a movie you won’t be able to remember while you eat a block of cheese is what teenagers do and have always done. Sitting round a CD case with a couple of grams of coke dumped on it solving the Palestine problem until 8am. Barking at each like a dog in a well is like going to Disney Land for 30-something professionals and about as dangerous to society on the whole.
But safe or not, everyone is doing it.
People match their drugs to the evening like pants and shoes. You can walk into a venue and know what the drug of choice will be for that crowd; pills for clubs, coke for bars, weed for festivals, and crystal meth for 5-day long unprotected sex orgies.
How much fun do these things sound? Gay chem-sex parties or Slamming Parties. Our homosexual brethren leading the way when it comes to sex-tech once again. Snorting, smoking, sniffing and shooting synthetic boner inducing get-highs mostly mephedrone derivatives and crystal meth and then engaging in ‘risky sexual practices’ - I’m now jealous. Orgies sometimes lasting for a week like penis-wielding gladiatorial anus boxing / marathons in rooms with constant porn, Grindr alerts and ankle deep in dickskin shed onto the carpet like a rattlesnake nursery. I can only imagine the depraved acts and crimes against house music that are happening in these blacked-out rooms and basements with the handles bolted to the walls. Even if you use hand sanitizer as lube and marigold washing up glove fingers as condoms, you’re still coming away with some leather chap-wearing germs that have feces under their germy little fingernails.
The majority of the drugs are being done by the rich (good drugs) and the poor (shit drugs), with London being the cocaine capital of Europe. It’s not just a cliché, it’s the truth. Media types, bankers, politicians, advertising creeps, model slash musicians, hospitality folks, deejays, and Prince Harry are all using their noses to dine and then talking a whirlwind of the most annoying self-referential shite the free world has ever known every night of the week - “I’m all about content and curation. Yeah? We could definitely do something together. Like, ummm, something with OUR point of view, yeah? What was your name again?”
And then there’s the poor. Typical scene: The same £10.00 pound note being robbed off one dude given to another for drugs then handed to a woman for a hand job then back to another dealer for crack or heroin. This is when drugs make your life is one long chore and turn your soul into the scrubbing brush. These are the people filling our jails and who we point at when we want to re-up on the war against drugs, and these are the people who need the most help – their lives are shitty and they’re going to get high one way or another and wouldn’t you?
Prohibition doesn’t work. Never has.
I can’t believe we are still having the same conversation. It’s like we’re addicted to it. And it seems the government agrees – they’re just too chicken shit to change the laws and would rather we paid for sex and drugs illegally. I guess buying drugs illegally is easier. I don’t know many pharmacists that will come out to some flat at 4am on a snowy Sunday morning.
Drugs are fun. Sex is fun. The stronger the drug the more fun it is. The dirtier the sex the more fun it is. People like to get high and people like to fuck. Mixing the two together is a pretty unbeatable combination. That needs to be recognized and legitimized so people can do it safely. Let their guilt and hangovers be the limiting factor not the law and then the government can get on with doing what it does best – looking deep into our eyes and screwing us… out of our money.