London Calling

Every book has a back story. In the following series of posts, I share some thoughts about the inception, development, and completion of my new book, Strange Trips: Science, Culture, and the Regulation of Drugs.

From London to Saskatoon

The first phase of writing my second book, Strange Trips, began in 2010.

It was a brisk London evening on February 28th and I was up far too late. My PhD viva was the next day and here I was watching the Olympic Men’s Hockey Final – the United States versus Canada.

The Canadian team, thanks to Sidney Crosby’s overtime goal, ended up winning a tight game and I went to bed enervated. The next day’s examination was a success and I passed with minor corrections.

(Who’s to say how the viva would have turned out if that gold medal game had gone differently?)

After the day’s trials, I caught the Tube home and had a nice evening. My celebrations that night were relaxed and forward-looking. A good friend Morgan – who worked for Groupon at the time – asked about what happened next. Now that this phase of my life was complete, what were my prospects? Did I have a good crack at an academic gig? Did I want to stay in a university-setting?

I told him that I wanted to stay in the academic game, but that it was rough. Seriously rough. The market was constricted in the wake of the recession. I had published a few pieces, but nothing off-the-charts amazing, at least relative to other excellent peer scholars. I told him – honestly – that it would be a real f—— slog and that I was up for it!

We headed off to some pubs in Muswell Hill and continued chatting. Morgan discussed his passion for photography and video and music, while I blathered on about potential writing projects. Morgan told me about street photography and I told him about starting up a book about drugs that were (or could be) both evil and angelic.

That was how Strange Trips started. In North London. In Muswell Hill.  The night of my PhD viva.

It would take another nine years for the book to come to fruition!

Ultimately, The following day I got on a flight to frigid Saskatoon, Saskatchewan where I was working and living. While a book idea had formed, I still had some student loans to pay off and it was time to get back to work.

***

So “London Calling” also serves as a section of my book.

In writing about heroin in hospice care and end-of-life care, I discuss how medical knowledge was transmitted between London-based physicians and Canadian doctors.

Thanks for reading!

***

Advertisements

Body-Shaming and Business

Advertising the perfect beach body. Showcasing a slim and trim look. Veneration of youth and attractiveness. This isn’t new. Companies have always relied on conceptions of “beauty” to sell products. This has been the case since the dawn of advertising. Now, however, the city of London is taking steps…

‘Body shaming’ ads banned from London’s Tube

BY DANICA KIRKA

Advertising that promotes an unhealthy body image will be banned on London’s subway network, in a move that signals a backlash against suggestive marketing in public places.

Starting next month, Transport for London will not allow ads that cause pressure to conform to “unrealistic or unhealthy body shape,” London Mayor Sadiq Khan said in a statement.

“As the father of two teenage girls, I am extremely concerned about this kind of advertising which can demean people, particularly women, and make them ashamed of their bodies,” Khan said. “It is high time it came to an end.”

image
One of the banned advertisements

Concerns were raised last year when an advertisement featuring a model in a bikini asked “Are you beach body ready?” The ad promoted a weight loss supplement and prompted 378 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority last year — one of the most complained about ads in 2015.

The authority has the ability to ban ads that are likely to cause widespread serious offence or harm once they come into public space.

What Khan and Transport for London are moving to do, however, is to prevent them from coming into public spaces in the first place. The recently elected Khan fulfilled a campaign pledge by asking TFL to establish a steering group that includes its advertising partners and a range of stakeholders that reflect London’s diversity “to monitor TFL’s approach to advertising and to keep its policy under regular review.”

THE FULL ARTICLE CAN BE READ HERE.