Ah, it is that time of year again, my favourite time of year: European wastewater-based drug epidemiology study time! This is important because someone from science has to go through all of Europe's piss, shit and wastewater – in 50 cities, across 18 countries – trying to find drugs, and that idea amuses me.
Just imagine it, though. Say, for instance, you just did a really great rail of coke. Like: a just superbly chunky line, my dude. And then you go and dance and tap your two front numb teeth and go wide-eyed and tell everyone that, like, yeah, I totally actually had something like that happen to me no way fuck that's so cool, and then you go and do a big gakky piss, and then that piss gurgles down the toilet and swirls through water pipes and ends up clunking around, the piss and piss particles, in the sewers, and wefts and wends its way downstream towards a water treatment plant, where some nerd in a lab coat scoops up a test tube of it and dab-tests it for cocaine. What a world! What a way to live your life! That you – little old you – that you and your gak piss can end up in a study, a European study! Truly, science is magic.
So, anyway, although you can read the whole thing here you won't, and so the main takeaways here are:
— Oh No: London is no longer the cocaine capital of Europe, losing out just about to Antwerp, in Belgium, which has bigger weekends than us that tip up the weekly average usage (1,042mg per 1,000 people per day in Antwerp, versus 999.3mg per day in London);
— Hooray, though: London is now the European leader for midweek coke binges, with 790.5mg of cocaine per 1,000 people per day found in wastewater between Tuesday and Thursday.
The science does not define whether we1 are such big midweek cocaine users because we just, on the whole, love toot, or whether there is something else there, and I would like to pitch to science a deep study of a concept called "Big Thursdays" – a concept I am overly familiar with.
A Big Thursday, for those who don't know, is a Thursday that is exceptionally Big. You go into Big Thursday knowing it is going to be Big: you know that this is not a Friday, or a Saturday; you know it is a Thursday; you know you have work tomorrow, that getting in at 4AM is ill-advised. But you plough on ahead with it anyway because you are enraptured by the sesh. Friday You – the tomorrow morning version of you – Friday You is going to hate you: nursing a Lucozade at your desk, taking an eye-stinging nap in a quiet room somewhere, knocking off an hour early and getting in an hour late, pizza for lunch, entire thing of Dinky Deckers.
But for now you are alive: in a club, with other people pushing their cares away deep down inside them, away from them, away from where they can see; in the toilets, bathed in halcyon light; dancing; sweating; Uber home and a kebab for after. Big Thursday is a WhatsApp group, is plans in advance. Big Thursday is so Big you're not going to feel better until Monday. Big Thursday is an ethos, a state of mind. Sometimes we just need it – a massive, massive Thursday. And for one lowly midweek night, there you are, the King or Queen of it: railed up to the eyeballs, gak piss seeping out of your body, young, twinkling, perfect, alive. Here's to Big Thursdays, and here's to being the midweek coke capital of Europe. Here's to science trawling our piss and shit for drugs.
1. I am using the 'London we', here, the little-used capital-ist plural form: readers in the north are advised to avert their gaze lest they get offended by it. Here is a soothing photo they can look at instead. ↩
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