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Kevin Barry talks drugs, scams and marriage rings
The City Of Bohane author speaks frankly to Hot Press...
The Hot Press Newsdesk, 03 May 2012
Fresh from scooping the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award for Beer Trip to Llandudno (pocketing a cool £30,000 in the process), Limerick author Kevin Barry sat down for a grilling with Hot Press' Stuart Clark.
On the agenda? Drugs, Chinese immigrant marriage scams and flogging dodgy merch on a market stall. The usual, then. Speaking about his own experiences with LSD, Barry refuses to dance around the issue.
"You can never underestimate the effect that hallucinogens have on your consciousness as a teenager or in your early 20s,” he says. “Without sounding hippy-dippy, it does change your person.”
Asked if he regards drugs as a creative tool, he responds, “If you’re moderate, which I wasn’t for a long time with hallucinogens. I was never so much an ecstasy person, it was always LSD. It was great fun smoking dope and doing trips in the early ‘90s.”
The award-winning City Of Bohane author also discusses his time spent in London where he apparently resembled something more akin to an Eastenders character than a cultured writer.
"I was involved in a ring that was recruiting Irish nurses to marry Chinese immigrants,” he says. “What was the going rate? About fifteen hundred quid.”
Unapologetic about the various schemes and scams in which he engaged to support his writing habit, Barry reveals that he sold dodgy music tapes in London.
“It was great in the mid-‘90s ducking and diving and selling tapes in Camden Market, which were just The Essential Mix which we recorded off BBC Radio 1. We’d edit all the BBC bits out and go, ‘Oh, these are just in from New York, four quid a pop!’”
To read the full interview, pick up the latest copy of Hot Press (featuring The Riptide Movement on the cover), in stores now.