Nice Things 80 – Bottom First

This week – Valerie Singleton, Downton Abbey, arguing on Twitter, David Crosby, Gentle Giant, the fictional 1976 TV drama ‘Climbers’, crap films, the Joan Littlewood – sitcom continuum, Dennis Waterman’s Freddie Jaeger impression and Paul tries his hand at DIY.

1 thought on “Nice Things 80 – Bottom First”

  1. Sirs,

    In your Twelfth Night Internet Broadcast you solicited instruction upon the manufacture of a certain substance. This substance is known by a number of names, but, for correctness and international recognition one ought to use the name (5α,6α)-7,8-didehydro-4,5-epoxy-17-methylmorphinan-3,6-diol diacetate. Mister Carmichael, in using the Trademark, of Bayer, “Heroin” is merely pandering to those chemists at Bayer whose pre-War monopolisation of the market in this “non-addictive pain relief” was broken by the Treaty of Versailles. Mister Carmichael has certainly “dodged a bullet” in that respect, since misuse of Trade Marks can lead to censure, sanction, or even disgrace. Indeed, any BBC Broadcast would have used the correct name – (5α,6α)-7,8-didehydro-4,5-epoxy-17-methylmorphinan-3,6-diol diacetate – to avoid advertising the Bayer Product, had the Empire not had the good sense to win the Great War. In discussing “Heroin” you entirely missed any significant exposition of Epiphany, thus having wasted 1:33:53 of my time. I am appalled and outraged at the cavalier approach you have taken with this. I expect that your 2024 Twelfth Night broadcast will make reparations for this.

    The basic problem of the manufacture of (5α,6α)-7,8-didehydro-4,5-epoxy-17-methylmorphinan-3,6-diol diacetate is that you must take twenty one carbon, twenty three hydrogen, One Nitrogen, and five oxygen atoms and persuade them to form into the exact conformation of (5α,6α)-7,8-didehydro-4,5-epoxy-17-methylmorphinan-3,6-diol diacetate and not some undesirable isomer such as allocryptopine – a substance more usually found in the Zanthoxylum beecheyanum. Zanthoxylum beecheyanum is an annoyinng shrub that is incorrectly spelled. The correct spelling is, of course, Xanthoxylum beecheyanum. Linnean plant classification does not permit the correction of spelling. Which speaks volumes about the personal qualities of Botanists world wide.

    Persuading the fifty atoms to line up as required was first achieved in 1874 by C. R. Alder Wright at St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London. Alder had been experimenting with (4R,4aR,7S,7aR,12bS)-3-Methyl-2,3,4,4a,7,7a-hexahydro-1H-4,12-methano[1]benzofuro[3,2-e]isoquinoline-7,9-diol and various acids. He boiled anhydrous (4R,4aR,7S,7aR,12bS)-3-Methyl-2,3,4,4a,7,7a-hexahydro-1H-4,12-methano[1]benzofuro[3,2-e]isoquinoline-7,9-diol alkaloid with acetic anhydride for several hours and produced the more potent (5α,6α)-7,8-didehydro-4,5-epoxy-17-methylmorphinan-3,6-diol diacetate. Not only had he manufactured the substance you require instructions for, he reduced the number of letters in its name. Exhausted by his typographical adventures, Alder sent the compound to F. M. Pierce of Owens College in Manchester for analysis. Pierce immediately injected dogs and rabbits with the substance and observed a rectal temperature drop of four degrees Centigrade. No further developments took place until August 21, 1897. Felix Hoffmann, working at Bayer, synthesised (5α,6α)-7,8-didehydro-4,5-epoxy-17-methylmorphinan-3,6-diol diacetate and it was named Heroin, by the Head of the Research Department; drawing upon a German etymology for “Heroic”. Eleven days earier Hoffmann had synthesized aspirin and was, clearly, a serial offender.

    From 1898 to 1910, diamorphine was marketed under the trademark name Heroin as a non-addictive (4R,4aR,7S,7aR,12bS)-3-Methyl-2,3,4,4a,7,7a-hexahydro-1H-4,12-methano[1]benzofuro[3,2-e]isoquinoline-7,9-diol substitute and cough suppressant. The Health Committee of the League of Nations banned (5α,6α)-7,8-didehydro-4,5-epoxy-17-methylmorphinan-3,6-diol diacetate in 1925 and all similar substances, largely derived from (5α,6α)-7,8-didehydro-4,5-epoxy-17-methylmorphinan-3,6-diol diacetate, in 1930. Thus, to safely synthesise (5α,6α)-7,8-didehydro-4,5-epoxy-17-methylmorphinan-3,6-diol diacetate you are first going to need a small time machine with the dial set to some date after 28 June 1919 but before 1925. This will ensure that you can persuade your atoms without trademark infringement or imprisonnment for manufacturing drugs.

    I refer you to the missing material relating to Epiphany and suggest that you apply your talents to that matter rather than the production of a fifty atom substance by acetylisation of (4R,4aR,7S,7aR,12bS)-3-Methyl-2,3,4,4a,7,7a-hexahydro-1H-4,12-methano[1]benzofuro[3,2-e]isoquinoline-7,9-diol with acetic anhydride in order to produce (5α,6α)-7,8-didehydro-4,5-epoxy-17-methylmorphinan-3,6-diol diacetate which, it seems reasonable to suppose, is rather easier than acquiring a time machine to facilitate doing so without trademark litigation or being shot dead by the League of Nations inspired by the United States Legislation: The Harrison Narcotics Tax Act. Harrison and the drafters of the Act played on fears of “drug-crazed, sex-mad negroes” and made references to Negroes under the influence of drugs murdering whites, degenerate Mexicans smoking marijuana, and “Chinamen” seducing white women with drugs. It was, to some degree, reasonable public health driven by good old fashioned bigotry and self serving economic interest. At the time of the Harrison Act, Imperial Germany was the primary source of global (5α,6α)-7,8-didehydro-4,5-epoxy-17-methylmorphinan-3,6-diol diacetate production and sales. Thus there was little profit to be made in the United States.

    Chinese immigrants were blamed for importing the opium-smoking habit into the United States The 1903 Committee on the Acquirement of the Drug Habit, concluded, “If the Chinaman cannot get along without his dope we can get along without him.” Which subsequently led to the claim that black men were being led to rape white women and improving their pistol marksmanship. Amid such a ferment of moral panic Harrison stated that “The purpose of this Bill can hardly be said to raise revenue, because it prohibits the importation of something upon which we have hitherto collected revenue,” and that, “we are not attempting to collect revenue, but regulate commerce.” The fact was that the United States was setting new taxation rates within the Act seems to suggest Harrison was not exactly telling the unvarnished truth. Particularly since imports could be labelled “Warning: May be habit forming” and this would make the substance so labelled subject to the published tax rates. This means that, when you rearrange your atoms you really must label them correctly and make a tax return. The constant paperwork, the time machine, and the need to navigate moral panics might well be your thing. I cannot possibly say. But it suggests that the whole notion of manufacturing illegal drugs is a good deal less glamorous than one might suppose.

    Should you get the whole thing wrong and produce Allocryptopine then it has a peppery taste. Which is used in some South East Asian cuisines – for example Szechuan Pepper – althoug that is, strictly, Xanthoxylum simulans, which has other substances similar to Allocryptopine as well as the actual Allocryptopine. The best recipe for this is below:

    Sichuan pepper beef stir-fry

    For the marinade

    1 Tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
    2 Tsp ground Sichuan pepper
    1 Tsp dark soy sauce
    ½ Tsp Chinese five-spice powder
    2 Garlic cloves, crushed, finely chopped

    2 Sirloin steaks, cut to strips

    For the stir fry

    2 Tbsp groundnut oil
    1 medium red chilli, de-seeded and chopped
    ½ onion, chopped
    1 small handful broccoli, cut into small pieces
    1 small handful mangetout, chopped
    1 small handful carrots, sliced into half-rounds
    1 small handful baby sweetcorn, halved
    300ml hot fresh beef or vegetable stock
    1 Tbsp light soy sauce
    1 Tbsp cornflour mixed with 2 tbsp cold water
    1 spring onion, finely sliced
    salt and ground white pepper

    To serve

    steamed jasmine rice

    Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl.
    Add the strips of beef.
    Mix well and leave to marinate overnight.

    Heat a wok over high heat.
    Add the oil.
    Add the marinated beef.
    Stir-fry for two minutes.

    Add red chilli and onion.
    Stir-fry for less than a minute.
    Add the rest of the vegetables.
    Stir-fry for another minute.

    Add hot stock.
    Stir well.
    Add the light soy sauce to season.

    Bring to boil.
    Add cornflour and water paste.
    Stir to mix thoroughly.

    Add spring onion.
    Season to taste.

    Serve with steamed jasmine rice.

    This, is clearly the most appropriate response to your need for manufacturing things that might well get you into trouble.

    Yrs & c.

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