In my dream I was sitting in traffic gridlock at Creekside when Willy Whistler ambled up and tapped a filthy fingernail on my driver's side window. In the 1980s Willy was the town mascot: a cheery, foam-headed whistling marmot in snappy "W" logowear. These days he wasn't looking so good.
"What's yer problem?" he rasped, as I lowered the window only enough for the sound and smells to pass through. Willy's eyes were all huge pupils and craziness, the fur on his face crusty and matted together with dried snot and what looked like cocaine. He reeked of booze and his vest was thick with dried poutine sauce (or it could have been bloody puke).
Willy looked like he'd been on a two-decade bender and the brakelights of the car in front of us gave him a dangerous red glow.
"What's yer problem?" he asked again.
"Traffic," I said. "This place is a shitshow every Friday and Sunday."
"Friday and Sunday..." he rasped. "That is a problem," he paused, picked a clump of white snot off his face and ate it. "What are we doing to get that kind of action the other five days of the week?"
By the standards of pretty much any addiction treatment centre in the country, Whistler is a town full of fiends. We party hard, act fast, go deep and for decades now this little snowglobe music box has continuously drawn Type-A personalities — people who will sacrifice everything to make their dreams happen, if only for a season or two.
This makes for a lot of fun, but taken on the larger scale — taken as an entity unto itself — Whistler the town also exhibits textbook junkie behavior: more, more, bigger, bigger, gimme-gimme, more.
The reasons are probably not as complex as we think: greed plays a role (I'm looking at you, landlords), but also ego and aspiration. When you're on the top, the urge is to just keep going higher. On that note, Narcos season 2 is now available on Netflix. Drug dealers have always made for intriguing movies and TV (Scarface, The Wire, Blow) and shows like this one, chronicling the rise and fall of Pablo Escobar, exemplify how money and power can be the most dangerous drugs of all.
And as individuals our strengths are also our weaknesses. It has been proven that the brain chemistry of Type-A types is among the most susceptible to being caught in the unforgiving net of addiction. As I AM: The Life & Times of DJ AM is as much a look at the dark world of addiction as it is a chronicle of the career of Adam Goldstein, a recovered crack addict who rose to DJ superstardom, and who had over a decade of sobriety before dying tragically from an overdose of crack and pharmaceuticals in 2009. Available on iTunes, As I AM brings a raw, firsthand approach to Goldstein's life story and shows just how thin the line between success and tragedy really is. Once a fiend....
On screen at the Village 8 theatres, New Zealand comedy Hunt for The Wilderpeople is directed by Taika Waititi (What We Do In Shadows, Eagle vs Shark, Boy). It's a coming-of-age road movie (on foot) about a punky city kid on the run in the bush with his cantankerous foster uncle. This one is all charm and laughs and good clean fun.
Clint Eastwood's Sully also opens this week. Tom Hanks stars as the heroic airline pilot who landed a jetliner full of people on New York's Hudson River. Eastwood is older than a mummy's foreskin and he's been acting crazy lately, but even frothing at the mouth he would be able to direct a decent film about heroism in America. This looks a bit old-fashioned but there's no way it's total crap.
For the kids, The Wild Life is an animal-centric take on the Robinson Crusoe story. Really young kids who watch anything, over and over (like fiends), will gobble this up, but more discerning audiences should opt for Pete's Dragon, which is way better.
The download of the week, inspired by my mangled marmot dream, is It's All Gone Pete Tong, the fictional tale of an Ibiza DJ-professional partier who loses his hearing, keeps his music and finds love, despite a Willy Whistler-esque "coke badger" who acts as an anthropomorphized version of addiction.
It's a hard world out there, my dear readers, so have fun but remember to be careful — Winter is coming up here in fiend land, and it's a good time to be alive.