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Good Trip, Bad Trip

by Dave Richards

 

Mind, Body And Soul. MBS. Known to some as "Purple Ohms". LSD. I rediscovered a taste for that particular brand of acid during the 2nd (or was it the 3rd ?) Summer of Love, 1989, mainly because it was dang cheap compared with paying twenty quid for a tab of E all the time. One of the lads had brought a bunch of it down to our gaff in London and we made a financially sound strategic decision to do them all in - we could boldly go in search of space for a pound a trip. Our gang were not disciples of Timothy Leary's Millbrook school of Psychedelic Experience, with their emphasis on creating the right "mood" and picking the right "set and setting" as the all important preparations to ward off the dreaded "bad trip" and guarantee mystical religious lysergic revelations. Instead we were followers of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters whose credo was to drop the trip and see what happens, to hell with the consequences - ride out the "bummers" if and when they happen, it's all part of the journey to Edge City maaaan.

We didn't know this at the time like, we just used to scran them and go out on the ale.

The first time we had one of this batch we ended up, as usual, in the Astoria on Charing Cross (round that time we used to go to Heaven on Mondays, Camden Palace Thursdays, Astoria or Busbys Saturdays, Haven Stables in Ealing on Sundays). We split one between two of us and it was OK, nothing too mental, apart from a weird scene in the upstairs bar where they used to play the Hip Hop. We were in there frugging to Digital Underground's "Doowutchalike" (with the radio friendly fade-out bit messing with our heads) when a snarl kicked off. Someone fired CS Gas in the room and everybody in there started coughing and spluttering apart from me and my mate - we agreed the acid had made us impervious to the gas. Is Porton Down still going ? They need telling, it could be a breakthrough.

The following weekend it was a scorcher so the mob decided to drop a full one and sit off in nearby Gunnersbury Park for the night to have a bit of a chong, a bit of a kick around and to watch the planes performing their subsonic descent into Heathrow. When we got to Gunnersbury the tabs had kicked in. We were all at that "giggling at everything" stage and our attempts getting a game of "60 Seconds" started failed dismally as the goalie just stood watching the Tango fly past him while shouting "TRACES !". One Pure Lorimer effort ended up in the bushes and young Treehead yomped off to get the ball. 5 minutes later he walked back to us holding a giant pole with a placard attatched that read "PIG IS DEAD". "It's fucking weird over there, come and have a look", he said. When we got there, it was a trip-heads dream. It turned out that Gunnersbury was having some sort of Living Art exhibition in the area round by the Mansion House, and they had let loose loads of budding Traceys and Damiens on the park's trees and bushes. "PIG IS DEAD" was the sign off a sculpture of a pig made out of used tin-cans - any idea what they were getting at there ? We never had a fucking clue at this point as we were competely tripping our beans off. "Get on that" came the cry, as we wheeled round to see a tree with all its main branches covered in carpet. I remember scaling it and lying on one of the branches, buzzing off the psychedelic patterns of the axminister - "Too much this la". Other exhibits included a twenty yard wide flying saucer (or was it a meat pie ?) made of turf and a giant open mass-grave thing around a old ruined building where the cadavers were made out of refuse bags. Think "My Lai meets Onyx". Deep. We topped the night off back at the flat listenening to The Who's "Quadrophenia" on full blam, "Love Reign Over Me" melting everyone's head. The following day we went back to the park to make sure it wasn't some sort of group hallucination. It wasn't, but the exhibits just didn't have the same zang that they'd had the night before for some reason. That night was without doubt the highlight of my acid eating experiences.

The next weekend we decided to lay off the trips because Liverpool were playing Arsenal in the Charity Shield (1-0, Beardsley. Shite game). It was another scorcher, and after blagging a lift to Wembley off two Bristolian Kopites stuck at the traffic lights by Hangar Lane, for some reason we bladdered the Tennents Super and ended up battling with fellow Reds after getting accidentally stuck with a little Gooner mob who thought we were with them. By 10.00 o'clock that night we were smashed in Ealing outside Crispins Wine Bar and one of the lads out the flat turned up with some more MBS - "Why not, we'll go back that park after here", we said as we scranned them. An hour later, as the blotters started to kick in, a lad who I vaguely knew pulled up outside the boozer in a transit van - "Anyone want a lift to Sunrise ?". Three of us jumped in the back, to find another six people in there who none of us knew. "How much tank have you got" I whispered to Jimbob - "A fiver", Treehead - "Fuck all". I had about three quid. For the next hour and a half we rolled round the back of the tranny in the streetlight strobed darkness. Treehead had gone into full-on acid maniac mode, banshee howls followed by big mad Road End shouts, while I was sitting on the wheelarch, melting. Our fellow travellers, one of whom was a heavily pregnant Kiwi, were completely blanking us, which suited me as the streetlights were doing weird things to their faces. Finally we arrived in total pitch darkness at a field and everyone poured out the van. "Where are we la ?" I asked Drive - "By Aylesbury - Sunrise is over there somewhere". You could see cars and vans pulling in by the minute, their headlight beams illuminating the hundreds of other cars already parked up and the army of baggy clad ravers all marching across the fields in the same direction. We got to the crest of a hill and looked down on what I remember to be the exact same scene as the camp in "Apocalypse Now" where the Playboy bunnies performed, but with loads of fairground rides as well. This was Sunrise. The DJ's were positioned on a platform on top of the cabins of two articulated lorries which were facing each other, while the massive soundsystem was built up on scaffolding piled on the back of the two lorry's trailers. My mind was still trying to process this scene when, out of nowhere, a fully dicky-bowed-up 6 foot 5 bouncer with a Rottweiler and a bad kite shined a torch in my face and hissed, "CAM ON, CAM ON, FACKIN TWENTY PAAARND TO GET IN". That was it. My brain informed me "Right knobhead. Carpeted trees last week is one thing, but I'm not fucking having this". I just turned and bolted off into the darkness of a farmers field to ride out The Horror.

As well as the tortuous introspection, loneliness, blind terror and musings on what colour van we were in, I can remember a spectacular firework display going on at some point. I also remember crawling up and down some tractor tyre tracks for about an hour thinking "Wideness.You can fit your whole head in the tread". About six in the morning I started wandering around the cars and bumped into the pregnant Kiwi who seemed concerned. A few minutes later Drive came out with a load of passes and I went back in with them. Jimbob and Treehead had got in via a frontal assault over a huge barbed wire fence round the back of the field, with the Rottweilers hot on their tails. The stomachs on both of them were completely shredded by the wire, although they seemed to feel no pain. Treehead in particular had regressed into some sort of Cro-Magnon Hillbilly, complete with cowboy hat and straw hanging out of his mouth. I was just happy to feel the sun's rays on my back, and let off to "Let It Roll", "Afrodisiac", "French Kiss", "Sueno Latino" and Roberta Flack's utterly ace "Uh Uh Ooh Ooh Look Out" as the trip finally started to wear off. The thing wound down about 2.00pm and by the time we got back to West London my brain was completely frazzled, and when I caught my reflection in the mirror I knew that my psychedelic eating days were over* for good - Cozmik Debris, they call it .

* Apart from one night in June 1994 when The Editor brought some dried magic mushies to ours which we did in coffee to give the Ireland v Italy World Cup game (1-0, Houghton miss hit) a bit of extra zip , followed by live coverage of the US Open golf, where a post-round interview with the heavily sweating Ernie Els caused The Ed to jump up pointing at the telly whilst shouting, "SWINE ! SWINE ! GET ON ELS, HE'S PURE SWINE". And from that little acorn..........


 

 

 

 

 

 

 
   
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