It is true that the characters in Squeeze Box Man don’t live the healthiest of lifestyles. They all smoke, more or less all the time. When I think about musicians I knew and the bars we used to drink at to hear them, there was always a haze of smoke in the air. Today, it’s hard to even imagine it. The characters also drink a lot and smoke weed just about as much. They all see drinking smoking tobacco and smoking weed as normal activities.
Maggie on the other hand, was a heroin user, and the band all considered that a problem to be overcome. In the story Late, we see Maggie injecting drugs. I don’t know very much about hard drugs like heroin, but I know there was a heroin scene in Toronto at that time. I don’t think I was even aware of it until the day Handsome Ned died. Later I had a painting studio in the old casket factory on Niagara St. I was aware of users in the building and next door to my studio were some guys who were once part of Toronto punk band who were selling drugs. Constantly, day and night I could hear knocks on their door, and sometimes if there was no response, they would knock on my door. “Sorry I can’t help you.” “Um, why not?” “Because I don’t sell drugs, sorry.” That was an eye-opening experience. I expected rough and tumble characters in that scene but was surprised when I saw the guys in slick suits and and women in evening gowns knocking, looking for a little something.
In The Fall, in Volume 5, Jacob depicted Maggie feeling sick through much of the story. This was a nice touch Jacob drew in. Nobody talks about why she was sick, but the reader knows Maggie is struggling with her addiction and it isn’t a big jump to conclude she is going through withdrawal on the northern tour.
In Volume 5, Lazy tells the story of a psychedelic experience.
It’s a strong memory for Lazy but he is non-judgemental about it.
There is one other drug reference in the novel which nobody comments on but which helps us form an opinion of the producer, Ricky Diamond.
In the foreground we see Staashu getting drunk as he knows the whole recording session was a really bad scene for him. In the background, we see Ricky Diamond and his un-named companion snorting cocaine in the booth.
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