Geoff Brown Talks to Alex Laybourne About Overcoming Adversity, Personal Triumphs… and Editing | Official Site of Alex Laybourne – Author

Geoff Brown (aka G.N. Braun) was raised in Melbourne’s gritty Western Suburbs. He is a trained nurse, and holds a Cert. IV in Professional Writing and Editing and a Dip. Arts (Professional Writing and Editing).
He has had many short stories published in anthologies around the world, as well as numerous articles published in newspapers. He was the president of the Australian Horror Writers Association, as well as the past director of the Australian Shadows Awards. His memoir, Hammered, was released in early 2012 by Legumeman Books. He is the owner of Cohesion Editing and Proofreading.

I like to begin my interviews with something gentle, so please tell us a little about yourself?

via Geoff Brown Talks to Alex Laybourne About Overcoming Adversity, Personal Triumphs… and Editing | Official Site of Alex Laybourne – Author.

The Greening of Society

If you think that the police are protecting your children by taking cannabis out of society, you’re wrong.
By removing cannabis, you ensure that a majority of smokers will look elsewhere to get their high. This may be alcohol, speed or prescription medicines, but for many cannabis smokers, it will be something.
I should know. I spoke to young drug-users. I also used illicit drugs for most of my life. I smoked dope, I used speed and heroin, and, on occasion, I used pills when I couldn’t get hold of anything else. For most of the time, I preferred cannabis to all the other drugs. If there was no grass available, I turned to other options.
Based on responses to the 2004 National Drug Strategy Household Survey, over a third of the Australian population aged 14 years and over had used an illicit drug at least once in their lifetime and nearly 20% had used an illicit drug at least once in the previous 12 months.
Marijuana/cannabis was the most common illicit drug used, with one in three persons having used it at least once in their lifetime and 11% of the population having used it in the previous 12 months.
There are no real statistics to show what happens when police reduce the amount of cannabis in any area, but by interviewing some local marijuana users, I found there is a trend to move towards other substances to get ‘high’.
Neil X, a 16-year old cannabis user says, “…when I can’t score some dope, I turn to alcohol or speed to get off.” A poll conducted by High Times magazine in the US seems to confirm this is the case. Australian substance-abusers likely follow the same trend, although no formal studies have been done so far.
In the UK, “[A]lcohol consumption causes far greater harms to the individual user and to society than does the use of cannabis,” according to a review published online in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, the journal of the British Association of Psychopharmacology. The trend (when cannabis is unobtainable) to move towards drinking is alarming.
Researchers determined: “A direct comparison of alcohol and cannabis showed that alcohol was considered to be more than twice as harmful as cannabis to [individual] users, and five times more harmful as cannabis to others (society).”
Neil X says that he just wants to get high, and if he couldn’t, then the next best alternative is alcohol.
“I’ve done some really stupid things when I’m drunk,” Neil says. “I’ve damaged property, I’ve gotten into fights, and I’ve stolen things just for a laugh.
“My friends are the same,” he says. “We all prefer a smoke, but sometimes we can’t get it.
“Then we go out and buy some piss and get drunk.”
Neil is one of many young smokers who turn to other substances when cannabis in unavailable. He makes no apologies for his behaviour.
“It’s normal,” he says. “All me[sic] mates do it.
“If we can’t get stoned, we get pissed. It’s not as much fun, but it’s better than nothing,” Neil says.
He goes on to tell me that other substances, such as speed or prescription drugs, are another alternative for him.
“I’ll raid me[sic] Mum’s pills, or steal from her purse to score some goey [amphetamines],” he says.
“It’s all the same to me and me[sic] mates. As long as we get off our heads, we don’t give a f***,” he laughs.
When I asked him what he preferred to use, he replied: “Out of all the shit, I’d rather sit around and have a bong [marijuana pipe], but if it ain’t there, I’ll do whatever it takes to get off.
“When we smoke, we just sit around and talk and laugh,” Neil says, “but when we use goey or pills or get pissed, we always end up in trouble.”
The opportunistic rationale of most drug-dealers means that if there is no cannabis available to sell, they will source other drugs to ensure their weekly profits are as unaffected as possible.
In this case, other drugs may include speed [amphetamines], ecstasy or prescription pills. When the drug-users arrive to score cannabis, the seller informs them that he/she has none. He then goes on to suggest trying something new.
I’m aware that this article could be misread as supporting the sale and use of marijuana. This is not the case. It is simply an attempt to look at the practice – and ramifications – of taking out of circulation the most visible and prolific drug in Central Victoria.


Empty coke bottle, syringe wrappers blowing in the wind.

I sit and watch as junkies stagger past, either stoned or hanging out; morphine stare or desperate for it.

I live in a daze as people die around me; fast or slow, I’m not sure which is worse. Nadia vomits raspberry soft-drink in a bilious puddle, pale and drawn out of her mind. Shane struts; he’s off the gear right now, but only for a while. Money talks and bullshit walks.

I hear the furious call of an ambulance, racing to help someone who doesn’t want to help themself. I remember watching a body tumble from the sky, twirling in the wind like a screaming kite, hitting the ground like a dying swan, limp and rigid at the same time. Burst open for the entire world to see.

I wonder if any of it is worth living, worth dying for.

I sit and feel the same as I always do. I want to score, I need to score, and I want to score again. Life as a junkie is life in a circle; stoned, not, stoned, not; locked up, not, locked up, not.

Aren’t we always locked up, locked in?

Locked in the cycle, locked in the desire, locked in the need.

I feel locked in, locked up, locked out…

Teaser from my current WIP…

It seemed appropriate for where my life was at the moment. The floor was wet with God-knows-what, and the place stank like a cesspool. Scrawled graffiti reminiscent of hieroglyphics from some long-forgotten empire lined the dirty, peeling walls, while webs spun by spiders long-dead hung thick in the corners. Cigarette butts, fit wrappers, plastic spoons and syringes littered the rough concrete floor, punctuated now and then by a used condom or a crushed cigarette packet. A pair of legs stuck out from one of the cubicles, feet splayed apart as though in death and one jeans leg soaking up some unidentified puddle from the floor, the denim already wet halfway to the knee. Their owner wasn’t deceased, though, just asleep: the deep, dark sleep that heroin gives you. I had checked when I came in; we didn’t want to be involved in anything official if someone else happened to enter the public toilet and found us shooting up next to a corpse.
I looked over at Carolyn, stoned out of her mind, and wondered just where we were going. Life was shit, and not getting any better. We were both addicts and both unemployed: even though I was a trained nurse, I hadn’t worked in years, too busy looking for easy money and the next score. Here we were, off our trees again on heroin, sitting near the vomit of the dealer we had scored off. He had swallowed his gear, which was sealed in water balloons for just that situation, when an undercover cop grabbed him off the Richmond street. After being released from the police station without charge due to lack of evidence, he had gone straight to the public toilets around the corner from the cop-shop – which is where I saw him – and drank a heap of water laced with salt from his backpack. The name he used with customers was Johnny. I recognised him from other times I had scored here, and knew that he usually had good stuff and that his sizes were better than normal for street gear. Just as I walked into the toilet block, he threw up everywhere, the bright colours of the balloons blatant in amongst the pale red soft-drink that made up the bulk of the vomit. I had bought two bile covered balloons from him for our last seventy dollars and, as he left to do more risky business, called Carolyn in for our hit of smack. At the time, I thought I was doing the right thing, but now I see the strange logic of giving poison to the one I loved. Smack was our way of life at that time. We lived to score, and scored to live. As I packed up our hit-kit, capping the syringes after rinsing them out, I wondered why other junkies felt the need to leave their used works lying around uncapped for someone to stick themselves with. It only took a second to pick everything up, and junkies lived with enough guilt as it was without adding more to the load.
I felt all warm and fuzzy, relaxed for the first time that day. I had maybe an hour to enjoy it before I had to start thinking about getting some cash for the next score. Heroin normally lasts about eight to twelve hours before the effects wear off, but if you are running a habit, you need a fresh taste every six hours or so to fend off the withdrawals. You can never judge just how long it will take to get the cash for the next hit, so it pays to start thinking about it as soon as possible. I had a pretty good system going. I would steal books from the bigger department stores and sell them to second-hand bookshops – mostly the same ones – in the Eastern suburbs, where the owners asked no questions and were always willing to take as many as I could get. In two hours I could steal enough to get a couple of hundred dollars, enough for a half gram of gear, the bare minimum needed to get us off once again, although a couple of caps would settle the withdrawals for a while. For now, I would relax and enjoy the stone. We were in the women’s toilet block as there were more stalls to hit up in. We’d tried to go to the disabled toilet, with its own tap and more privacy, but some other junkie must have beaten us there. They were everywhere these days. Heroin use in Melbourne had spiralled to previously unknown numbers throughout the nineties.

The shit I wrote got accepted . FREE FICTION…

This is a story of addiction.
Download for free HERE!

‘A great start from this promising author. A gritty tale that will give readers a sample of what Braun is capable of. Keep your eyes peeled, it’s only going to get better.’

4 of 5 stars Scott Tyson
~ Author of Dear Santa (Festive Fear 2)
‘Short, nasty and scarily realistic!’
4 of 5 stars Trost
~ Author of Hoffman’s Creeper and The Legend of Redback Jack

‘Braun gives us 2 minutes trapped in the mind of a junkie trying to get a fix…a short, sharp shock. Nothing scarier than real life.’
4 of 5 stars Daniel I. Russell
~ Author of Samhane, Fluffs and Shutterbug

‘Who is this fuckhead, and what’s this shit he calls writing?’
didn't like itit was okliked itreally liked itit was amazing Colonel Glipshitz
~ Author of We, the Moral Minority and Beatnix Under the Bed

‘This book might not be for everyone, but those who are giving the book good reviews you’re being by saying the book is for anyone. Now let people enjoy the book, if you don’t you can go f–k yourselves. This project is a labor of love…’
5 of 5 stars5 of 5 stars Nicolaus ‘Teh Goth’ Pacione
~ Author of ???