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Let’s Take A Trip

by Phil Thornton


It was the day of the work’s Christmas party which was being held in the glamorous location of Storeys nitespot in downtown Widnes. Previously the Chrimmy parties had been held on site and, as the building was a hive of offices, all sorts of filth went on as the night wore on. This was the civil service, a workplace dominated by women, most of whom were hard on the eye but easy on the pocket. A heaving, sweating cauldron of oestrogen. A few days earlier me and my brother in law had scored a few tabs of Mind Body & Soul, which were de rigeur in those happy second summer of love days. He’d necked his at the local fight-club and in the grips of an Altered State type trance still managed to level one of the town’s top up n’ coming young pups in a wild west brawl on the car park. I saved mine for a more relaxed social engagement and brought it along to our work’s xmas bash. In the bar before we embarked over the Mersey to Widnes - a town where the locals still ride penny farthings - I split the tab with my mate Bucker and word went round that we were ’on jugs.’ I remember I was wearing a very baggy sky blue Speedway jogging suit and lime green New Balance hiking boots , which might sound wacky but hey, it was the acid house era and everyone was ’on one’ as they say. Except no-one else was on one but us.

We waited til we were in the scummy, carpeted squalor of Widdy’s number three nite club (Storys didn’t even have the rugby league glam of Top Of The Town or the scrap metal merchant gangster vibe of The Landmark) before necking our tab. This was the first time either of us had taken acid and I must admit that I was nervous as basically I was a stimulants kind of guy who avoided hippie ‘head’ drugs such as puff and acid like the plague. I didn’t even do mushies and remembered the state my mates had got in after chomping down a bag full one evening. Being chased around by local thugs sat on giant Pac-Men didn’t appeal to me in the slightest and , as I didn‘t smoke, the joys of ganja were also alien to me. When a few mates got into puff big time after becoming obsessed with Gong, Santana and Zappa and all that caper, I jibbed out. Nah, it was strictly whiz for me and the thought of losing control scared me.

The initial on-set of the drug therefore caught me and Bucker totally by surprise. The uncontrollable urge to laugh at anything and everything including our square bosses in their casual Xmas party suits as they made speeches marked us out as dangerous subversives. This euphoric rush soon wore off though and then the full horror of dropping a trip at your work’s Xmas party in downtown Widnes suddenly kicked in. The graveyard at scene in Easy Rider was fuck all to what I was going through, even on a meagre half a tab. The room suddenly took on a liquid form, as the gaudy carpets and wallpapers became live and lucid, wrapping themselves around the collected gargoyles in the room (this was no trippy mirage though, they really were gargoyles). An attractive girl got me up to dance but I felt like Buzz Aldrin trying to tap dance in zero gravity, my every step became gluey and ponderous as if I weighed a thousand tons and my pupils gave away the inner turmoil of my mindset. Needless to say, the girl soon got bored and embarrassed with my deep sea diver doing the Charleston type moves and word went around the throng that I was the number one drug fiend in the whole of Christendom, which made me even more paranoid. Bucker was faring a little better. Infact he was wrapped around a very tasty young AA (admin assistant - bottom of the civil service pile sista!) who only a few weeks earlier had been gang raped by a car full of lads, some of whom were former friends of mine. Nice lads! They were all acquitted however claiming it was consensual and the rest of the females in the building, ever keen to show their feminist solidarity, shunned her completely from that point on. Bucker wasn’t shunning the poor girl though, he was showing his solidarity to the cause by sticking his tongue deep into her innards. He seemed to be enjoying himself and kept giving me secret drug buddy signals - a thumbs up accompanied with a manic grin. As a few of the younger lads tried to freak us out pulling mad shapes and gurning, I suddenly went off on one and got into a bit of a state. The room became full of snarling faces, I was the centre of the universe and all eyes were on me. Sensing that I was in a bad way, a mate who happened to be then trendy DJ, Ste Williams’s brother, took me outside and wandered around with me trying to calm me down. Now Widnes is a scary enough place when you’re straight but in the grips of strong hallucinogens the grubby, polluted little shithole takes on a far more sinister hue. The sky felt as if it was falling down on me and the grotty buildings became oppressive and squeezed in on me. Put simply, I felt altogether more comfortable back inside the Star Wars bar with the suit n’ jacket stiffs upstairs. It didn’t last long however and I soon returned to my state of trippy paranoia, so someone arranged for a mate to come and pick me up. He dropped me off at my new house but the new wife wasn’t home, so I walked round the corner to my sister’s house. She was busy bathing her new young baby son and I sat in her front room staring wildly at the infant. After a time I informed her that his bum was ’just like a humans’ and she gave me a funny look. It was a ’I’ll get me coat’ moment so I crossed over the road to me mams (we all lived near each other in true woolbilly style). My two younger brothers immediately twigged and began freaking me out by hiding on me and jumping out. I went and sat in the front room where my ma was ironing. She asked me if I was drunk and rather admitting that I was tripping my tits off, I just nodded and stared at the telly as our kids made ghost noises. Our front room was quite small with low ceilings but in my altered state of mind, it now took on Palace of Versailles dimesions and my aul girl was a tiny figure, quietly ironing away in the corner.

It was now a good five or six hours since I’d dropped the tab and the fucker wasn’t wearing off, infact it seemed to be getting more intense. There was no option for it but to walk it off and so I tramped the streets for a good few hours before returning to my own home. Luckily the missus was now in and as I explained my state of consciousness to her, she decided to leave me to my own devices sat in the front room. Our suite was one of those William Morris patterned affairs, all curling foliage and art nouveau excess and rather than bang on Italo Anthems 5, I just laid back and let the creepy creepers crawl all over me. This lasted for another few hours until the effects gradually wore off.

The thing with acid, as everyone knows, is that it’s a mood drug that should be taken in the an environment that will enhance your appreciation of altered consciousness. Dropping a tab in San Francisco or even Shoom may open your eyes to a different world, a world not only of the visible but the invisible, the abstract, the wonderful, the beauty of a sixth dimension where time and space melt into a dayglo future of perceptive possibilities. A work’s Xmas party in Storys, Widnes is not the place to experience mindfuck. I didn’t enjoy dropping the Ohm and the loss of control over my senses. I found E a much better drug for mood enhancement and never dropped a tab again. LSD has had many champions and many enemies. The top and bottom of it is that it’s only a trick. You don’t achieve enlightenment and see God or reach any deep understanding of the universe, you only experience a brief re-structuring of the brain cells. That’s why they call it a fucking trip. And it is a trip!






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