To discuss the science of sex, drugs and rock n’ roll – all explored in my new book – I will be speaking throughout the UK this autumn and winter…

September 25th – The Bus Driver’s Prayer, Kahaila Café, 135 Brick Lane, London. 7.30pm. Tickets Here

September 28th – Wigtown Book Festival, The Booth, Wigtown, Scotland. 2:30pm Info Here

October 10th – Lichfield Literature Festival, George IV Pub, Lichfield, 7:30pm. Tickets Here

November 19th – Last Tuesday Society, Hackney, London, 6pm. Tickets Here

 

 

My grandfather turns 90 today.

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Check it: With all his progeny.

What’s his secret?

He barely drank and never smoked his whole life, which must have helped. He read voraciously, knew the entire works of Shakespeare by heart, and has the most extensive and accurate encyclopaedic memory I’ve ever encountered. But probably more than anything: he lived it up, every single day of his life.

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Back in the day.

This man took life by the balls and showed it who’s boss.

As my mother puts it: “Most fun things in life are bad for you – but nothing will kill you faster than having no fun at all.”

Carpe diem, carpe nocte kids. It’s Friday and you’re alive. Go out there and live it up.

I have some slightly odd but (in my opinion) redeeming ticks: I adore paper products, the handwritten word, and meticulous archiving.

So.

During the superbly noisy 5am thunderstorm two days ago, I thought: “Well, I’m not going to be able to sleep through this. So I might as well use the time productively.” I re-read and indexed every memento ever sent to me.

To everyone who has ever sent me a postcard, made me a painting, crafted me a mixtape, or wrote me a letter: Know that I kept them, treasure them, transported them across oceans, and still preserve them safely within wooden boxes and leather pouches. Your words, art and music were appreciated and archived.

Revisiting the poems, paintings and musical menageries… Dude. I have talented friends. Damn.

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All I can say is: Thank god my dad lives in Canada and can’t see this

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I would like the jury to note that I didn’t write the headline.

I’ll never forget the time that, pouring with sweat, unbearably dizzy and trembling the morning after my 29th birthday, suffering the worst hangover of my entire life, Kier Wiater Carnihan introduced me to the power of the incomparable brown brew. I had incurred liver damage from seven months taking a foul drug called Lamotrigine for my temporal lobe epilepsy, and just four glasses of red wine on my birthday left me completely paralysed and in utter agony the next day. 

“Kier… I can’t move.”

“You’ve had paracetamol, a shot of vodka, cayenne pepper and ibuprofen? That’s it: we’re going to the bar.”

Practically having to carry me, he led my quaking semi-corpse to the nearest pub.

“If nothing will fix it, Guinness will fix it.”

A pint and a half later my vision was clear, the shakes vanished and I was human again. Truly, I don’t know anyone who has done more to celebrate and demonstrate the power of this drink than he. So it’s only fitting that they showcase his grubby ass with his band Parlour in an advert.

Now that’s the kind of selling out I can get behind. As he put it, “Sold out to Guinness, albeit probably for less money than I’ve given them over the years…” Aces high kids. 

 

Monocle Magazine interviewed me for the Sunday radio show about my new book, Sex Drugs and Rock n’ Roll: The Science of Hedonism and the Hedonism of Science. You can check out (and download) the show here.

I’m on air about 20 minutes in, yapping about live sex acts in labs, LSD as a treatment for alcoholism, a man who wears a birdcage on his head, how Timothy Leary was a twat, where the clitoris is located according to Vesalius, how music is our species’ greatest achievement, and why goats have oral sex. (My answer: “Why not?”)

I would like the record to show that I got to sneak in a quote from the unparalleled Peter Farrell about the influence of drugs on music (drum & bass + ketamine = dub step).

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Every day I wake up thinking “I hope my conjunctivitis has receded enough for me to be able to read.” And every morning… nope. Another day, another newspaper added to the stack I’m saving for when I can discern anything larger than font size 16. Sigh. I knew I liked words, but I never realised that I cant live without them until now. As soon as my sight returns, I’m going to volunteer to read to sightless patients in nursing homes. There’s a reason the earliest biologists considered the eye an irreducibly complex work of art.

I have been featured in New Scientist as having the “dream job”: a “science impresario” who celebrates science at summer music festivals. Check out the full article  – featuring a video of me stripping naked for science – here. (Yes, it’s suitable for work.)

I voted. But only because I was on my way home from an errand at the post office, and I happened to have my passport and mail in my bag. The first, last and only time I voted in this country I voted Lib Dem – and it’s left a bitter, foul taste in my mouth ever since. I voted Green. All I could do. If they don’t get in, next time I’m voting Monster Raving Loony Party.

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Why, hello Yorkshire. Ain’t you perty. I’m here to give a lecture about hedonism at Salon North, but it feels somehow out of place. You look so darned wholesome.

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