“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

Opium References in Popular Culture, the 2017 List

Posted: December 19th, 2017 | No Comments »

I’ve been spotting opium references in popular culture with interest for a few years now (2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 & 2012) – just how opium keeps fascinating us…dope refs were still around in 2017, though I spotted a few less (maybe reflecting my reading/watching habits?), but still…

Chris Cleave in Everyone Brave is Forgiven has wartime morphine addiction and withdrawal while Abir Mukherjee in his great A Rising Man, set in Calcutta in 1919, had his hero, colonial police inspector SamWyndham, hitting the pipe in the city’s Chinatown after getting a taste for morphine in the trenches of France. Wyndham makes it to a second case in A Necessary Evil where his opium addiction gets, if anything, worse…

And of course we knew opium, or at least laudanum, would crop up finally in the excellent Taboo with Mr Hardy (James Delaney) taking a nice big swig….and, to be fair, he needed it after having his head split open by an assassin, slapped and scratched by his sister, beat up a few times and tortured by a variety of horrible practitioners (including the sinister Dr Ling!)…series 2 is apparently on the way. Meanwhile Gerard Depardieu was snorting the white powder in Netflix’s Marseille, as the city’s mayor no less – an addiction he picked up after getting on the morphine as a young man. Of course those ever sniffing Peaky Blinders were back on the “snow” in series 4.

Sadly so far there’s been no opium strictly speaking in The Crown – while Princess Margaret and Tony Snowdon might like a joint and we’ve seen Jackie Kennedy whacked out on Dr Feelgood’s injections, we’ve had little worse from Her Maj than that old Buck House favourite – Dubonnet.

Any other contemporary references in film, TV, books do let me know…

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