It was an absolute delight to appear on the Semantrix Sessions podcast – hosted by the delightfully clever Rosalind Stone and Reanne Crane – discussing a topic that is dear to my heart: The history of ketamine abuse and the risk of a new epidemic in America.

That drug is the heroin for my generation, and the trendy clinics in America doling it out willy nilly for any mental health issue are playing a very dangerous game. I gave this lecture at Breaking Convention in April, and was delighted to give this lecture again. I’ll shout this from the rooftops for as long as it takes – I’ve been playing Cassandra for my whole life, why stop now?

The Semantrix podcast – which explores “How Language Shapes Culture” – doesn’t just boast an awesome name (LOVE me a good pun), it’s hosted by two fantastically omnivorous women who can handle any shift in topic. I’ve been on a LOT of podcasts over the past 10 years, and the key to being a great host is making your guests feel held, making them feel like you actually read their work, and then somehow making them feel relaxed as WELL as energised. Ain’t easy. And in a world with 1000 podcasts released a day, it’s hard to get out there and made your mark.

The girls done good, have a listen.

And don’t underestimate the power of words: as they say, language shapes culture. Part of me was even tempted to study etymology at university… true story.

It gives me indescribable pride and joy to list my next event:

On Saturday May 13th I will be speaking about “archaeoacoustics” at the Stone Nest in Soho as part of “Mesh Live“, hosted by 4D Sound and the one and only Max Cooper. If you haven’t heard of it, Mesh is Max’s music label – all science nerds with PhDs in particle physics, mathematics and biology who make exquisite techno.

As a friend put it: “Zoe, this is your tribe.”

I will be one of a dozen people – including Cooper, the brilliant women from Kinda Studios, ecological electro wonderkid Llyr, and many more – who will be chatting about “spatial sound”: how to design musical experiences for a 360 speaker setup (rather than the traditional 2D stereo format), and why it can make such a difference.

I’ll be speaking about how humans chose, designed and constructed ancient sites based on their acoustic properties – a fascinating new scientific field I wrote about last year for Off Magazine. Before we had electrically amplified sound – which, remember, is only a century old – humans had to rely on the natural features of a space to crank up the volume to broadcast their messages to the masses. Churches have vaulted ceilings for a reason.

We like to think that technological advancements make us more sophisticated – but more often than not, they actually make us uninspired and lazy, presuming we can rely on our phones to do our thinking for us. Remember when you could handle simple equations, spell correctly, or navigate around your city without constantly checking Google? Don’t listen to what your audiophile friends say when they rant about their £10k speakers: the ancients, with only, stone, rock and their imaginations, were the true sonic masters. We were sound engineers from the very beginning.

The event is sold out, but given that we still live in the era of COVID, you might be able to get a ticket at the last minute.

To be asked by Max – a musical genius with a PhD in genetics – to speak alongside him is so flattering it doesn’t even seem real. I adored his music before meeting him for the first time in 2021 – it was only when quickly skimming his bio prior to a pint that I realised he holds a PhD in computational genetics from UCL.

*Of course*, I thought. That explains why his music is so intricate.

The only thing that inspires me more than music is the complexity of living things, so it’s nothing but an honour to work with people who appreciate both.

I will be on the Semantrix Sessions – a podcast series discussing how language shapes your world – live this evening at 7:30pm GMT discussing the history of ketamine addiction and the lunacy of the new clinics.

I’ll be joining the lovely Reanne Crane and Rosalind Stone, founders of the Semantrix podcast, a wide-ranging series of conversations about how language shapes our world.

This is not a popular opinion… but I don’t really like pesto. There, I said it. I’m a quarter Italian, and I know all my family in Venezia would be ashamed of me.

I dunno, maybe I’ve just had too much of it. Maybe I had a bad experience with revolting jarred “pesto” they sell here in the UK (honestly that shit is the devil’s work). I’m just not into pesto anymore.

… except when it’s made with wild garlic instead of basil. Christ on a stick this is the food of the gods. And effortless to make.

Wild garlic is only around once a year so get in there while you can kids.


I’ve posted a few self-indulgent selfies in neurofeedback headgear, including the most quotidian activities:

1. My daily athleisure-wear.

2. The fabulous whore-coat which belonged to my step-grandfather’s mistress, which technically belongs to my step grandfather’s illegitimate child with his children… It’s a lot to explain. My family is weird. Don’t ask.

3. And one another the buff. Because… why not?.

Said it before, and I’ll say it again: “What Whore Montage would be complete without some nudity?”

This time, I wasn’t sure what I could to do to take it up a notch. 

Then I realised… Of COURSE.

The immaculate, irreplaceable, badass jacket my mother crafted in 1979 for her label Rags To Bitches.

I adore this jacket so much it literally hurts.

The sensation of wearing something that is older than *I* am, made by hand by the woman who made every cell of my being, is truly indescribable.

Here’s my best attempts:

Sidenote: I was a pretty ace baseball pitcher, and my best shot was a fast ball.

But when it comes to my mother, it’s more than a bit tricky to really describe how irreplaceable she was.

My mother modelling the very clothing she made. How cool can you GET.

This is the jacket – and it’s still in perfect condition, not one stitch out of place.

I have zero love or respect for all forms of religion – literally all of them. I even wrote an essay for The Idler titled Why I Hate Buddhism (because it IS a religion – if it wasn’t they wouldn’t wear fancy costumes and act like they’re more enlightened than other people).

But I LOVE cathedrals and churches. Utterly adore them. The SIZE… the ACOUSTICS… the VIBE. These were the original rock amphitheatres, and if you can step foot in one without going weak in the knees, you have no soul. And I don’t mean soul in the Christian sense of the word. I mean you have no heart.

Pics from a visit to the Canterbury Cathedral. I’ve been to the Vatican many times… and this is pretty much just as good.


God this PR company really is obsessed with sending me crap about what turns people on. Now – a press release about people who are attracted to people who are intelligent. SHOCKER.

HowEVER. It’s an undeniable truth that a LOT of men – and I mean, a shocking majority I’d say – prefer to be with women who are less intelligent than they are (or are just quiet about what they have to say, and are probably way more intelligent than their boyfriend but can’t be fucked to argue with the annoying blowhard). So is there a word for men who love dumb women? Because I’ve dated a few (much to my lament) and they were horrible, conservative, uninspired bastards.

On that note, I would like to share an anecdote about my step-grandfather, and a brilliant line he had on this subject:

On Feb 26 2014, I celebrated my grandmother’s 87th birthday. I am lucky to inherit such longevitous genes. My step-grandfather remarked:

“We thought about it and realised we’ve been together for more than 52 years. That makes us rare among couples.”

“That’s true,” I said. “But what is even more rare is that you love her for her intellect and intelligence. You always boast that she is smarter than you are. Most men don’t enjoy the company of clever women.”

“Eh,” he said, waving his hand. “Sine qua non. If she wasn’t smarter than me, I’d have become bored a long time ago. I pity men who love dumb women.”

Musician, inventor, innovator and boundary-pusher Tim Yates hosted a beautiful event at the kickass London venue Iklectik on March 6th, inviting small groups of people to experience and explore his new range of experimental touch-sensitive instruments designed to allow the audience to create the music they hear in synchrony with musicians playing guitars, harps and drums on stage. All with an “ambisonic” system creating sounds in real time in a 360 degree configuration.

I think I’ve done the event justice with my description? It’s hard to put into words, as you can see from the videos on my Instagram account:

Tim told us that after studying at the Royal College of Music, where he was composing scores for guitars that cost £500,000, he became disillusioned and bored with the elitism that is endemic in the classical music world. He decided to democratise music instead by making instruments that cost less than £5. Because it shouldn’t just be the privileged, the wealthy or the educated who have the ability to play music – everyone should be able to enjoy this unique, important and beautiful behaviour. It’s central to what makes us human (a topic I explored extensively in my first book

I first met Tim years ago when he was working with Drake Music, who create musical instruments for people with disabilities, pursuing this very idea: democratising music with innovations and empathy, which I covered in this feature for The Guardian (still one of my favourite clippings in my twenty years of writing professionally).

This event at Iklectik was just Tim’s first public demo with his tech, and I deeply hope I did it justice with my description – as you can see from the videos, it’s hard to describe.

I can’t wait to see what he’ll do next.


Last week I took two incomparable and irreplaceable friends to the Barbican – my FAVOURITE venue in London, a beautiful post-modern maze of wood, marble and amphitheatres – to hear an orchestra perform the drum n’ bass hits from Ram Records.

In their own words:

“Drum & bass imprint RAM Records presents a special, celebratory orchestral rendition of their catalogue, performed by over 40 musicians and professional alumni from Guildhall School of Music & Drama.The evening of celebration will take audiences on an epic orchestral journey into the genre, with the Guildhall Session Orchestra joined by a DJ, percussion and singers, performing many of RAM’s biggest hits. Classic RAM releases from the likes of Chase & Status, Wilkinson, Sub Focus, Origin Unknown, DJ Fresh, and RAM Trilogy will be performed among interpretations of more recent releases from Mandidextrous, Culture Shock, Mob Tactics, Andy C and Raiser by the orchestra, elevated by undaunted stage production to match the energy on stage.”

I had seen RAM Records showcase the best of the best of their 30 year history at Printworks in October 2022, and it was UTTERLY AMAZING. (If you don’t like DnB, I just feel sorry for you.)

Now, lots of us love drum n’ bass – especially me. There is something so magical about the energy in those crowds. There is so much love for the music – and so little posturing, so little aggression (most of the time anyways), so much camaraderie. You don’t get the “hipper than thou” chin-strokey bullshit you do at super trendy or super obscure techno acts from Dusseldorf, where you know every music industry dickhead in the audience is thinking: “Yes but is this really original? Is this cool enough?”

NEVER at a DnB gig. People just love the music – and we don’t give a fuck what other people think, if it’s trendy or cool. We just adore it.

Now, lots of us love drum n’ bass – especially me. But not all of us have been to – ready for it? – orchestra camp. I played the clarinet for seven years as a kid, and went to a summertime orchestra camp when I was thirteen. (It wasn’t BAND CAMP, because there were string instruments too. The cultural reference however won’t be lost on you I hope.)

The ENDORPHIN rush I felt playing music in an orchestra of 100 other kids, the flood of oxytocin and warmth and JOY… Being 13, and unacquainted with drugs or sex, I never felt anything like that RUSH of dopamine and neurotransmitters and PURE ANIMAL JOY. I had ambitions for a long time of going into the orchestral world professionally for a long time, just for this reason.

Point being… I have a deep passionate love for classical orchestras. And to see one retrofitted to perform my favourite form of dance music… in a venue that I’ve always loved… with two amazing humans…Unbeatable. And as you can see from the videos – strings and horns are perfectly suited to DnB.

Whenever people say (Valley Girl voice please): “ISN’T LONDON REALLY EXPENSIVE?” I reply, a) Toronto, where I’m from, is hideously expensive now so sod off, and b) EVERY day of the WEEK – every DAY! – I can find something like this to warm my heart and make my soul sing that I’d never find anywhere else. When one is tired of life, one is tired of London, and so on.

But more importantly:

A wonderful time was had by all at JuJu’s in Brick Lane last night to see the incomparable Professor David Luke deliver a fantastic talk about psychedelics and creativity.

When a colleague of mine in the psychedelic world asked me if I knew who David Luke was, I just howled with laughter: “Of course I know who he is – he’s one of my favourite people in this entire scene, which is why I asked him to be on a panel with me at Noisily.”

“All David has to do is walk in the room and it makes me happy,” I said.

Why? Because he’s damned funny, and too many people in this scene take themselves WAY too seriously, and have no sense of humour. As Carey Turnbull of Freedom to Operate put it, “Is there a dose of ayahuasca that will make people less sanctimonious and self-important?”

Now, the influence of psychedelics on creativity is a subject which I am certainly very familiar with, having covered it in my own book.

There was a lot here I already knew – Like David, I LOVED the book The Hippies Who Saved Physics, a spectacularly funny and quirky celebration of the wreckheads and weirdos who brought the moribund ideas of quantum physics back to life thanks to buckets of high potency LSD.

But there was shit tons in David’s talk I didn’t already know. The graphs showing which drugs had the greatest influence on dreams was particularly enlightening. Wild that datura – a drug that used to grow everywhere on my mother’s allotment, but which I’ve always been too scared to try – had the biggest influence, followed closely by LSD.

There were ideas however that I’m familiar with but don’t really believe, as much as I love psychedelics – such as the “Stoned Ape Hypothesis”. It’s a nice idea but there’s very little evidence proving it or disproving it, and there probably never will be.

David also spoke at length about the idea that psychedelics can increase ecological empathy – which is not an idea I agree with, along with the idea that psychedelics automatically turn people into peace-loving hippies. They don’t. Look at Charles Manson. Or convicted rapist Mike Tyson, who – despite all his evangelising about how much magic mushrooms did to help with his mental health problems – was caught on camera beating the shit out of an annoying passenger on an airplane just last year.

All you have to do is read the book Acid Dreams, which covers the era of mass experimentation with LSD by the military and the CIA, to remain convinced that psychedelics don’t turn you into a lovely person, they just amplify what’s already there. Hence why they are known by most of us in the scene as “non specific amplifiers”. I did however love the chart showing the degree to which various psychedelics induced increased their sense of a connection to nature, and a concern for ecological issues.

Why did I love this chart so much? Because people who took ketamine – which remember is a DISSOCIATIVE, not a psychedelic, and it has no business being placed in the pantheon of real psychedelics – experienced a DECREASE in their sense of both being connected to nature and concerned about the preservation of nature. Which rings true with what ketamine addiction can do to people: I always call ketamine the “heroin for my generation”, because no drug has destroyed my friends more than that vile horse tranquilizer: withered bladders, lost teeth, mangled vaginas, and toxic prostates.

Ketamine’s destruction wasn’t just physically toxic – it was mentally toxic, making too many of my brilliant friends comfortable with doing dick shit with their lives, as well as politically inactive and very inward looking. It can be a vile substance, and I didn’t see my friends who developed drinking problems or issues with cocaine or other drugs become so lazy, so blind to what they were doing to themselves, or so distanced from their ambitions, their dreams, and their potential.

They say addiction can make people very selfish – and I’ve never seen any drug make people more selfish or less interested in the big wide world around them than ketamine.

In any case, hats off to the singular David Luke, who I described to a colleague as “half elder statesman, half naughty kid at the back of the class”. Like all my favourite people, he’s both bonkers AND brilliant.