I suspect that when the Victorians built their lunatic asylums, they did so in the hope that those outside of them would look inward with fear and loathing. And that those inside of them would also look inward with fear and loathing.
I woke up in one once. I say woke up. It was more of a re-animation than a wake up. My tongue was lolling about like a worm on cocaine; I was drooling like a broken tap and my face had a twitch that could have been measured on the Richter Scale. You see, I’d been stabbed in the arse with Liquid Cosh – Twice – the bastards, and I was in a right fucking state.
When you crawl through the sludge of chlorpromazine-hydrochloride in an effort to come back to the land of the living and escape that of the chemically undead, you are not abandoned. You battle through the twitches, and the slurring and the convulsions not alone, but with an ally. You see, they give you a cup of tea and a piece of cake.
The cake went in my eyes, up my nose and blocked the canal of my left ear. The cup of tea made the stain of my piss soaked jeans slightly bigger and a whole lot warmer. I asked for a cigarette but the words must have become confused and came out as ‘Please leave me covered in cake, tea and piss for the rest of the night’.
The next day I was introduced to the confined area where suicide, assault and murder were all attempted at various stages throughout the day. It was called the smoking room. Being confined as secure mental patients we were not allowed matches or lighters. To ignite our cigarettes a small hole was provided in the smoking room wall with a green button below it.
You simply pushed your cigarette into the hole in the wall pressed the green button repeatedly, and eventually your cigarette would be lit. You were then a secure mental patient who was not allowed matches, lighters, pencils, knifes or sharp implements who was armed with a paper stick whose tip burns at a temperature of approximately 400 degrees Centigrade. Tea and cake were not allowed into the smoking room.