When it comes to Paul-Guido-Staines-Fawkes and booze, a former intimate puts it succinctly: “Guido is a drunk”.
Far be it from me to take one person’s word for it (especially when given off the record) so we must reserve judgement on Paul’s relationship with alcohol – and once again let the facts take centre stage.
In early morning hours of 17 April 2008, Staines was driving his wife’s Volkswagen, swerving across lanes in south London in a manner suggestive of inebriation. He was breathalysed and found to be almost twice the legal limit. A true libertarian at all times, he was also driving without insurance. This is the account he gave the media at the time:
“I had been speaking at the Adam Smith Institute. They have made a lot of money so the booze is usually pretty good. I moved on with a few people to the Westminster Arms, where I bought drinks, and then to the Kennington Tandoori to show everyone the picture of Prezza on the wall. Then I was giving a few people a lift to Victoria station when the fuckers pulled me over.”
Perhaps noting the depth of Guido’s contrition, Judge Timothy Stone of the Tower Bridge Magistrates Court sentenced him to a three month curfew order – an extraordinary restriction to put on a 41-year-old man. Stone told Staines that the curfew would operate between the hours of 9pm and 6am, and he would have to wear an electronic tag. Asked by the judge whether he had an alcohol problem, Guido Fawkes replied “Possibly”.
That’s not what other facts might suggest. This was Staines’ fourth appearance on an alcohol-related offence, and his second drink-driving ban in five years. Nor does the nature of his last Guardian interview suggest that Paul has, as yet, decided to sober up. The piece (based on a café-breakfast interview) recorded that:
‘After an hour in the cafe, he suggests a visit to the pub across the road. Three pints in, his BlackBerry pings…’
Paul Staines discovered a taste for mind-alteration fairly early on in life. As he freely admits, “I was kicked out of College for smoking dope”. Humberside College of Higher Education, to be precise: but he soon moved on to higher things.
“Taking LSD and pure MDMA was the most staggeringly enjoyable, mind-warping experience I have ever had” he wrote in a piece extolling the virtues of Rave parties some two decades ago. In possession of an agenda as well as lots of drugs, Paul penned the tract in favour of such things because he was the PR officer of The Sunrise Collective – an organisation specialising in raves and acid house parties in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Sunrise avoided police action by calling its large-scale dance parties ‘private member clubs’, and thus putting them beyond police control.
But the time had come to put way childish things, and do something usefully anti-Establishment. So it was that Staines eyed up the City…and became a Hedge Fund Manager.
Some allege that this is when the delusions of grandeur began. But others deny this: they suggest that signs of engorged deceit had become obvious much earlier.