Category Archives: “Personal Use”

Thank you!


Just wanted to post a little update on my book, ‘Personal Use’, now that I’ve had some sales reports. You guys have bought loads of them, more than I ever expected. Thank you! You’ve surprised this old hippy, in a very good way.

And thanks for all the nice tweets, comments and reviews too!

When you write a book, or rather when I wrote a book, I genuinely had no idea how it would be received or perceived. It’s one thing when your friends tell you they like something you’ve written, you know they are biased in your favour. Or polite. Or both. But it is another thing entirely when complete strangers pay actual cash money to read it and then tell you they enjoyed it. It’s kind of blown my mind.

All this is new to me. My career in the media has always been way behind the scenes. I help make other people look good. how I’m perceived has never been an issue, until now.

I’m trying to draw confidence from the positive reception I’ve received. And I’m trying to believe in the book and myself more, which isn’t easy when I’ve spent most of my life undermining my own progress and success. Hey ho.

It’s amazing I’ve had any attention, considering my bumbling and cack-handed approach to promoting it. But if I really believe in what I am doing, I know that it will require a bit more commitment.

I’m ready to make that commitment, I’m ready to do more as the northlondonhippy, but I think I’ve gone about as far as I can go on my own. If I want to take things up to the next level, I am going to need some help. I need to find someone who is good at PR and promotion to work with me. The problem is, I don’t know anyone creative, hungry and up for the challenge of trying to get exposure for an anonymous author who is not comfortable with this sort of thing. Mission impossible, eh?

There’s a lot I am willing to do. I’ll participate in podcasts, do print interviews, radio interviews and I would consider public speaking too. How about a university speaking tour? That would be cool. I’m still in no rush to do anything on television, but that may change in the future. I know part of this is trying to infuse my message with some showbiz razzmatazz. Let’s see how that works out. I’m sure I could get some laughs, probably before I even uttered a single word.

Someone quite nicely described ‘Personal Use’ as a ‘future underground cult classic’, which is a very kind, flattering, over the top thing to say. But let’s pretend, just for a moment, that might be true. What should I be doing to make the most of this once in a lifetime opportunity? What would you do? If you have an answer, any answer, please get in touch. I really do need all the help I can get.

The northlondonhippy is an anonymous author, online cannabis activist and recreational drug user, who has been writing about drugs and drug use for over a decade.  The hippy recently published his first book, ‘Personal Use’ which details the hippy’s 35 years of recreational drug use while calling for urgent drug law reform. 10% of all profits from this book will be donated to drug charities, annually. You can also find the northlondonhippy on Twitter: @nthlondonhippy

The personal risk of “Personal Use”

I might have mentioned that I was interviewed on LBC the other day, by none other than James O’Brien. It was a unique experience for me. I’ve never been the northlondonhippy outside of my home before. I’ve never been interviewed for anything other than a job.  So lots of firsts.

It hit home when I arrived in reception at LBC and I had to give my name. The only name LBC had for me is ‘the northlondonhippy’. Guess what I had to say out loud?


I prefaced it by telling the guy at reception that “…what I am about to say is going to sound ridiculous, but my name is the northlondonhippy. They’re expecting me.”

When he phoned upstairs, they said someone would come to collect me shortly. Thankfully, they didn’t tell the receptionist to phone security immediately.

My time slot was pushed back slightly, so I got to relax just outside the studio and listen to the programme while I waited.

Mr. O’Brien trailed my interview in a very complimentary way. It was suddenly, very, very real. I was about to be on national radio, talking about my book, Personal Use.

We discussed filming the interview for possible online use, and even talked about me wearing a disguise. They also gave me the option of turning the cameras off, which is what I opted for in the end. So there are no photos or video of my appearance.

Even though my schtick is to call for urgent drug law reform, I’ve framed a lot of it through my own recreational drug use. As that shit is all still foolishly and pointlessly illegal, it’s prudent, for the time being, that I conceal my identity. There may come a point in the future, where that changes and everyone says, “so what”? But for now, there is a personal risk because I wrote “Personal Use”.

Did you see what I did there? I even put it in the title of this post.

So they brought me into the studio a few minutes before I was live on-air and I got to meet Mr. O’Brien. He is as nice and as charming as he seems on the radio and TV. I’ve worked in the media myself for a long time, and his sort of charisma and likeabiity is genuine. And it is also very rare.

All the LBC staff that I met were really nice, friendly and helpful. It meant I was relaxed and comfortable when it was show time.

I put on the headphones and before I knew it, James was asking me questions. And he expected me to answer them coherently and in complete sentences. I did the best I could.

I planned on disguising my voice, but I don’t think I did a great job. I probably sounded more like me that I had hoped. The headphones threw me off a bit, as did being so far out of my comfort zone. I don’t think I could have walked and chewed gum at the same time at that point.

I prepped up on a couple of cannabis and drug law reform topics, thinking I would be able to use them during my conversation with James. I even posted some information to back up my claims, RIGHT HERE.

I didn’t get to touch on either subject. It all went really fast, my 10 minutes in the studio flew by so quickly, that it was all over before I knew it.

I didn’t expect James to spend so much time talking about my book. I know that talking about my book is a good thing, and that’s how author interviews are supposed to go. I guess I don’t really see myself as an author. A writer, sure, but being an author is different. I’ve used the word “author” in promotional material, but I don’t think I’d ever really referred to myself that way in the first person or in my head. Does that make sense?

Maybe I really am an author now.

I was prepared to talk about the wider issues around cannabis and drug law reform. I was ready to explain the difference between Sativas and Indicas and I was going to touch slightly on strains too. And I wanted to try to put the word “skunk” to bed, as it is used incorrectly by the newspapers. I hate inaccuracy. I had material prepared, that I didn’t get to use.

I could easily do a 30 minute interview about cannabis and drug law reform. I didn’t expect to do 10 minutes about my book. Ooooops, my bad.

I’m not complaining. It’s one thing to have people you know tell you what you’ve written is good. But it’s entirely different when you’re being praised so highly, by a very well respected stranger. I really didn’t expect that either. Can you tell I have extremely low expectations? It’s an excellent way to avoid bitter disappointment.

I’ve had a chance to listen back to the interview, once. I can hear every mistake I make, every long pause. I know there are no second chances, but if I could do it again, I could do it so much better.

I don’t think I bombed, I didn’t die on my ass, but I didn’t nail it either. When I do something, I like to do it well. And if I can’t do something well, I don’t bother doing it. I think I could do radio well one day, and if I ever get the chance to be interviewed again, I know I will do better.

Towards the end of the interview, Andrew Castle came into the studio, to prepare for his programme, which followed Mr. O’Brien’s. James makes a joke, and you can just about hear me say that “I recognise Mr. Castle”. I don’t think he even glanced in my direction, but if he did, he didn’t recognise me. Many, many years ago, I did some freelance shifts in the same place he was presenting. I was quite lowly there, and just passing through, so I am not surprised I didn’t make an impression. But for the briefest moment, I thought there might be an awkward flash of recognition. I’m happy to say, that it didn’t happen. Phew!

This might have been my 15 minutes and it really only ended up being ten. You can judge for yourselves how it went, as I’ve posted the full interview below. Happy listening!

Oh and you should check out my book, “Personal Use”. James O’Brien digs it, you will too.


Personal Use – Now available!

Available now!
Available now!

The northlondonhippy is very pleased to announce that his new book, “Personal Use”,  is now available to download.

“Personal Use” chronicles the northlondonhippy’s 35-year love affair with mind altering substances. From tobacco and alcohol, to cannabis, cocaine and LSD, the northlondonhippy doesn’t hold back on his colourful drug history.

From the late 70s, through the 80s, 90s, 00s, and right up to to present day; and from America to eastern and western Europe, all the way to Africa and of course north London, the northlondonhippy takes you around the world with him. And the hippy got high everywhere he went.

The northlondonhippy is an anonymous blogger, online cannabis activist and recreational drug user, who has been writing about drugs and drug use, specifically his own, for over a decade. He has also worked in the media, for some of the world’s largest organisations, mainly as a journalist, for 30 years.

The hippy thinks drug law reform is long overdue. And he hopes the punitive drug laws that have ripped families and society apart for decades, will soon be coming to an end.

10% of all profits from this book will be donated to drug charities, annually.

Click here to buy a digital copy right now


Setting out my stall


If you follow me on Twitter, you might have caught that I’ve been writing a book.

It’s true, although I am no longer writing it. It’s finished now and I will be self-publishing it next month as an eBook.

My book is entitled “Personal Use” and it chronicles in vivid detail, my 35 year history of recreational drug use.

It’s a drug mémoire, if you will.

I’ve been using drugs regularly and responsibly for nearly my entire adult life. I started with tobacco and alcohol as a child, moving on to cannabis and other substances as a young adult.

I am still a daily cannabis smoker and I continue to have an affinity for magic mushrooms. And along the way, I’ve dabbled with mescaline, LSD, cocaine, benzos, prescription opiates, MDMA, and ketamine, to name but a few.

Basically, I’ve taken a lot of drugs over many years and they have enriched my life in countless ways. My experiences with drugs have been overwhelmingly positive. That’s a view you don’t hear often, and one that deserves a much louder voice.

I would like to be that voice.

I’ve worked in the media for 30 years, mainly as a journalist for some of the world’s largest news organisations. I’ve never kept my drug use a secret and just about anyone who knows me in real life, knows I like drugs.

It’s cool, the media is awash with substances, so it has never been an issue.

One of society’s problems with drug use is that the media only ever cover the bad side of drugs and that’s not fair or accurate. Actually, it is more than a bit hypocritical, since many of the people I know, who cover the news, are as prolific as I am when it comes to getting high. I know, because I get high with them sometimes myself.

The majority of people who use drugs are like me, and they also use them responsibly, with no adverse effects on their lives. That’s the most common drug experience of all, and it is given precious little attention. That needs to change.

My hope and aim with this book is to let people know that there should be no stigma attached to drug use. And more importantly, that there should not be any criminal sanctions either.

Our outdated, silly and cruel drug laws are not fit for purpose. Criminalising people for altering their brain chemistry is wrong. Our drug laws cause more harm to society, families and individuals than the actual drugs every could.

My book starts in the late 1970s in America, and goes right up until present day, London, where I am now. I cross the globe more than once and take you with me to such diverse locations as Somalia and Bosnia, along with many others. And yes, I got high everywhere I went.

But it’s not just about taking drugs, it’s also about finding drugs too. An awful lot of time is spent looking for drugs, or waiting for someone to turn up with them. From my very first ever weed dealer, through indoor cannabis gardens in the 90s, right up to the darknet markets of today, I try to explain what it’s like to be a regular consumer of all the good substances that have been foolishly prohibited by law.

I’ve let a few people I know read the rough draft and they have found my book entertaining and informative, but then I would say that, wouldn’t I?

I’d like more people to read it, before it is published next month, so I will be making digital copies available, free of charge, to anyone who wants one. If you would like a copy, just ask. The answer will be ‘yes’.

And when it goes on sale, I will keep the price very low. In the interest of transparency, I’m aiming to make a pound (GB) a copy myself, but I don’t have the final retail price worked out yet. It will be cheap, and the only way I will make any real money is through volume.

I don’t expect to make any real money, my sales expectations are very low. My joke is that I am aiming to sell one million copies. I know I won’t, but that’s the goal.

It’s good to have goals.

I’ll be plastering info on Twitter and Reddit over the coming month, as I will need your help too. I need all the help I can get.  I’m useless on Facebook and don’t even have an account, but if you would like to share stuff there, you would be doing me a huge favour. Just let me know if anyone liked it!

As an anonymous and unknown writer, I know it will be an uphill battle to get people interested in my book. But I have faith in the strength of my product. I know that if you read the book’s “Forward”, you will be hooked and you will want to keep on reading. I’m kinda counting on that!

I am hoping to have the final, retail version, in the ePub format, before the end of this month. So if you get a free copy, you can be sure you will be getting the exact same version that will go up for sale.

So that’s it. I’ve set out my stall. And in about a month, there will be one product available on my virtual shelf.

I look forward to bringing you “Personal Use” and I hope everyone who reads it, enjoys it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.

Years ago, I had a tag line that I used on my website, that I hope will apply to my book as well:

“The northlondonhippy – he will make you laugh, he will make you think, and he will make you wish you were a hippy too!”

Let’s see if I can live up to my own hype.


the northlondonhippy

3rd August 2016