A boy’s enchanted childhood in a coastal town on the Isle of Man – one of rabbit hunts, darkened church naves and lessons in ancient Viking heritage – is about to disappear forever. Boyhood dreams of football fame are ditched for drinking pints with the lads at the local pool hall; just the beginning of a descent into wretched self-destruction, smoking crack with homeless friends under London’s bridges, a volatile cocktail of drugs, bodybuilding and steroid use colliding with disastrous consequences. Anything and everything will eventually be employed to quell an insatiable appetite for self-loathing and denial.
Michael Cannan’s coming-of-age memoir, Hunting Concrete Lions, stands apart for its wry innocence, hilarity and unrelenting honesty. It is a portrait of childhood lost – fresh, vibrant and heartbreaking.
After leaving his beloved Isle of Man, Michael is squandering his life in a grim apartment on the outskirts of Auckland, New Zealand. A chance encounter with a former model will sweep him away to the sheer luxury of California; a stroke of good fortune that Michael promptly sets out to destroy with one sordid escapade after another across the Mexican border. Finally, facing the truth of his addictions and committed to enduring recovery, Michael finds himself running with a who’s who of Hollywood, only to be repulsed by the decadence and empty promises of fame and fortune.
Tragedy and comedy combine in this irresistible memoir, the destruction caused by drugs and alcohol outdone only by one man’s irrepressible will to live.
At customs, I stopped for one last check. Heroin concealed in a condom in my mouth; beta blockers; steroids; Ventolin, my asthmatic medication; Klonopin, my blood pressure pills; Prozac and Seroxat, my anti-depressants; diazepam, oxazepam and lorazepam as tranquillizers; nitrazepam and zopiclone for sleeping aid; dihydrocodeine and Subutex, my opiate substitute, a three pack of Rogaine and a copy of Paul McKenna’s Change Your Life in 7 Days.
—from Hunting Concrete Lions