Low life

Modafinil, ladies and gentlemen. Recommended.

And Modafinil with Taki sitting in front: even better

19 September 2015

8:00 AM

19 September 2015

8:00 AM

The staples of my daily alcohol consumption on the cruise were champagne, gin, red wine and Polish vodka. One morning I woke up in my cabin more hungover than usual, also depressed. Turning my head to the side and looking through the gap in the curtains I saw that we were no longer at sea but docked in yet another Mediterranean island port with barren sun-bleached hills above and beyond. Reaching for my daily news-sheet, delivered to the cabin the night before, I read that what I was looking at this morning was Heraklion in Crete. Further reading informed me that if I returned to the ship from the shore excursion early I could go to the ‘Walk-in wrinkle solution’ on deck 9 at 2 p.m. Turning next to the Spectator cruise itinerary pamphlet, I read that, at 3 p.m. in Hemispheres nightclub on deck 11, Taki would be speaking for an hour on his 30 years as the Spectator High life columnist. I threw on some daywear and tottered upstairs to the breakfast buffet in the Lido restaurant on deck 10.

In the scrum for the coffee machine I encountered one of the 31 Spectator readers. Without any preamble she said to me: ‘There are days when you wake up feeling lifeless and depressed, right? You get up and realise that you aren’t quite in your right mind?’ The Spectator readers on the ship hailed from all walks of life. Every possible kind of human activity seemed to have its representative among them. Now I’m talking to a psychic, apparently. I looked at her in astonishment. ‘As a matter of fact, I’m having one of those days today,’ I admitted. She handed me a white A4 envelope folded in half. ‘Jeremy, I have one word for you,’ she said. ‘Modafinil. It’s one of the new smart drugs. If you take one of these you won’t feel high, but you will feel your best, most alert self. The French and US military use it, astronauts in the European Space Station use it, university students use it for exams. Mod-af-in-il. It’s the greatest drug ever. I’ve been taking it for three years. Ever heard of it?’ I hadn’t. I popped one into my mouth greedily and sluiced it down with a mug of black coffee. About half an hour later, cleaning my teeth before going ashore, I noticed that I was indeed feeling pretty bloody marvellous.


One of the few passengers on the shuttle bus to the cruise terminal was Taki. The morning was improving in leaps and bounds. At the cruise-terminal taxi rank, Taki went over to negotiate our fare to Knossos in fluent Greek with a gang of sullen-looking drivers; hilariously, apparently, for they were all shouting with disbelieving laughter after five seconds. We climbed aboard the taxi indicated: Taki in front next to the driver, I in the back. The car radio was on and loud. It was a phone-in show. The caller had completely lost his rag and was ranting and raving interminably. Even with no understanding of what the guy was talking about, the raging current of his emotion held my interest. After a minute or so, I leaned forward and asked Taki what it was that the caller was so incensed about. Austerity, perhaps? No, said Taki, he was complaining about dogs on the runway at Heraklion airport.

As we left the port behind and emerged into countryside thickly planted with olive groves, the driver switched off the radio and tried with his broken English to inform us about his beloved island. ‘You see these trees? These are olive trees. In Crete we have four and one half million olive trees. Many many olive trees,’ he said, pressing home his point.

Taki said to him, ‘We have heard enough now about olive trees. No more olive trees. Do you think we are Americans? Do you think we are like Paris Hilton who stood on top of the Acropolis and said to her mother, “Gee, Mom, I can see the Hilton from here”?’

The driver accepted the admonishment with cheerfulness and that was the last we heard about Crete’s many olive trees. Joyful now to be alive, and on Crete, and riding to Knossos in a taxi with the great Taki and the windows wound down, I settled back to enjoy the ride. Modafinil, ladies and gentlemen. Recommended. Modafinil with Taki sitting in front — even better.

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  • JSC

    A lot of people seem to be waxing lyrical about this stuff lately, and I have to say that I can’t really recommend the stuff, it makes me feel “icky”. I find modafinil makes me agitated and argumentative (even more so than usual) and it gives me a bad case of insomnia, even some 16-24 hours after I took it. I found that if you take it for more than a couple of days it can give you some seriously worrying, unexpected and intense suicidal thoughts and seems to give me spots and psoriasis too. It’s OK to do a long distance drive with, or pull an all day essay if you’re already feeling tired, but beyond that I’d leave the stuff alone.

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  • ViolinSonaten b minor.

    Well when older, not that I know your age Jeremy, so excuse me. You have the
    mind that can intelligently deal with the consequences of over indulging the fruit
    of the vine and hops but the body is less forgiving. But I don’t recommend taking
    a little tablet to try and deceive your body. What other harm might it be doing.
    As an outdoor type that likes walking etc, I cannot think of anything worse then
    being stuck in the middle of the ocean, it would turn to towards a good few cocktails.

  • Purple Commoner

    Great ad.

  • PeteTongue

    Jeremy, I don’t work for big pharma, my wife does. She says have some milk thistle before and vitamin C after the event. And Jeremy, stop spending on pills will you, ditch the Zubrowka and try the Menorcan Gin instead. Let us know what you think.

  • Good lord: I just clicked off the last steaming piece of Taki refuse — the initial whiff was too obnoxious even to be distastefully interesting — and there the standfirst goes mentioning him, again. Can’t the Spectator clear out its Augean stables, fercrissake?

    • blandings

      Hey, calm babe, calm.

      • ViolinSonaten b minor.

        Oh dear o dear. Maybe chat less and let people think you a great thinker.There
        was more of a hint of Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott and there fling there
        too. Glad I wasn’t around in the dodgy 70s. good grief and the hair too.

        • blandings

          Nobody has ever mistaken me for a great thinker ( Or are you thinking of Dr Johnson’s little quip about staying silent?).
          I can’t remember whether it was my brother or me, but my mother read an early school report and exclaimed: “Good at country dancing and religious instruction. My boy’s gonna be a dancing vicar”.
          Jeremy and Diane? I won’t boast of my own accomplishments, but I only bedded clever women with good legs. (OK. The clever bit was optional -still is)

          • ViolinSonaten b minor.

            Your mother must have meant your brother when saying ” my boys gonna be a dancing vicar” you’d have turned the wine into martini and
            got yourself defrocked ;-D.
            Jeremy took Diane on a romantic trip to east Berlin before the fall of the
            Iron certain and to a field in the Cotswolds- both those thoughts gave
            me nightmares for days when I first read about them- mind bleach was
            needed.

    • Mc

      Taki is a niche, politically incorrect taste. He is also self-deprecating – unusual in a columnist. Much better than the pseudo-intellectual Rifkind or the limp-minded Parris, for example.

  • Muttley

    You need modafinil to get through a Spectator cruise? Well, I suppose it’s marginally better than the cyanide capsule you’d have to hide in a filling for the Guardian cruise.

    • ViolinSonaten b minor.

      There is a Guardian cruise- in the Red Sea I presume. Yes that was quite bad,
      my humour isn’t renowned 😉

      • davidshort10

        They could spit at the sight of israel. Bliss for the anti-Semites of the Guardian.

  • hedgemagnet

    Yet another journalist discovers this nootropic that the student and normal working population has been using for a over a decade – and writes an article about it! All Modafinil/Provigil/Modalert does is stop you feeling tired, but without the wired feeling you get after too much coffee, pro-plus, Red Bull or whatever. It’s not an amphetamine substitute, anti-depressant, or a hangover cure. The first time I tried it (100mg – half a tab) I just felt slightly more alert (but in no way high or ‘speedy’) way after my usual bedtime, but the next day even after a good kip, I felt monumentally tired. (The solution? Pop another Mo!) There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and its metabolites make your wee smell funny too.

    That said, I still take a little if I need to keep on top of things over a long day on a film set, but the effects aren’t as noticeable.

  • The answer to feeling less than great is to live a decent life and take some exercise. If you eat properly, avoid being drunk, sleep eight hours a night and go out and walk for two hours you will feel great every day you live like that.

  • Giuseppe Cappa

    Against depression and bad concentration I take large amounts of coffee and iodine (not necessarily mixed together); they are cheap (cheaper than any drug I believe) and they do not need a prescription. Good piece, anyway — especially Taki’s remark on olive trees and Paris Hilton.

  • The The

    yes, Modafinil is a wonder drug. 50mg, 1/4, will kill any hangover for me.

  • Matthew Fonsak

    Perhaps its also important to note Modafinil is a controlled substance that requires a doctor’s prescription. Some people like myself just can’t be bothered to get an RX, so an online pharmacy like https://duckdose.com works for me, since they will ship without questions asked.

  • Mia Lucas

    I’ve been taking modafinil for a while now to help with my narcolepsy. So far, I’ve been able to stay awake for most of the day with very few issues. Recently, I placed a refill order with https://modafinilmart.com and couldn’t be happier. product arrived in nine days from when i ordered, and was exactly as described.

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