Dope Girls: The Birth of the British Drug Underground (Paperback)Marek Kohn
Paperback Published: 22/03/2001
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This is a discussion of the transformation of drug use (especially morphine and cocaine, which was once commonly available in any chemist's shop) into a national menace. It revolves around the death of Bille Carleton, a West End musical actress, in 1918. Its cast of characters includes Brilliant Chang, a Chinese restaurant proprietor and Edgar Manning, a jazz drummer from Jamaica. They were identified as the villains of the affair and invested with a highly charged sexual menace. Around them in the streets off Shaftesbury Avenue and in Chinatown there swirled a raffish group of seedy and rebellious hedonists. Britain was horrified and fascinated. The drug problem was born, amid a gush of exotic tabloid detail.
Publisher: Granta Books