HANG BELL HAWK TELL IF ANYTHING IS GONNA SELL...
Tucked away at the back of the arena, as if ashamed, hidden in the dark and barely visible through the pulsating, sweaty mass I make out a squat barrel of an older middle-aged lady stuffed into a worn out earth-tone cardigan. She drops onto a chair and sits exuding furtiveness like some wizened fearful goblin; a self-conscious obese Golem seemingly desperate to further fade into the prevalent gloom. Her look of fear is only exacerbated by the pack of hounds baying and snapping at her feet. The pack strain forward and paw at her, desperate to lock their jaw around one of her brightly coloured baubles. In front of these goddamn animals she has no choice, not if she wants to get out of here alive, but to hand out her happy balls of air.
I blink and the moment shifts. She is still sat there, now smiling a grin of determined bemusement and handing out balloons to whoever gets too close. It works; each grasping paw, as it receives a ball of laughter, loses interest in the lady and turns away, fixated with a new toy, to disappear into the ether. I struggle to make sense of this tableau, it strikes me as perverse in the extreme that this safe normal societal-pillar type is handing swollen prophylactics to every reveller that passes.
Somewhere out under the stars there is a twisted Ents-mogul cackling to his self at the surreal masterstroke of double booking the W.I. and the Freaks Ball. His mind’s eye trained on the hilarious weirdness of a conservative pusher doling out chemicals as if they were confectionary. A knowing smile spread across his face at the thought of all the ravers chipping in to the ‘Institute Weekend in Bournemouth Fund’. Bless the good ladies of the WI; spreading happiness, colour and laughter wherever they go.
NEARLY GOT BUSTED WOULDN’T IT BE MY LUCK TO BE CAUGHT WITHOUT A TICKET...
I will never be able to understand that special brand of small-mindedness that has people in thrall to rules and convinces them of their own superiority just because they lack the imagination to think for themselves. It is such a shame that a body is wasted in slavish devotion to another’s diktats; sad that the world is populated with the type of clueless lackey that takes rules as an absolute expression of all possibility.
Tonight’s prize-winning jobsworth is the officious underling before me. A behemoth of a man, some sub species of Homo sapiens with an unfortunate genetic malfunction that leaves him with mental capacities in inverse proportion to size. The sort of person I’d like to settle a dispute with over a game of chess, though I suspect he would rather just beat me, then sit on me, until I stop breathing or the pigs arrive for a piece of the action.
As I approach the oversized muscle on the door, the stillness of the night and the clutch of sombrely attired pallbearers lend to the feeling of walking into somebody’s funeral; a sense of foreboding that only deepens when I notice the black suited bouncer has a noose trailing from his neck. My drunken gait and appeasing smile freeze when he suddenly turns and shouts "I’ll fucking shoot you if you give me any shit" Looks like my funeral then. Seems appeasement is going to get me as far as it did Chamberlain. I know this game, all these lunks think the same I doubt they have the wit to be individual. He is only here for the money and a bit of assault, if he can get away with it. He demands to see my phone; Shit! He wants to mug me. Still it beats getting shot.
I swallow the fear and give him the phone. If need be a spot of breaking and entering can always be conducted. I’ve never seen the place I would be that can keep me the out side of the door. A quick shove from behind and the Charlie sweeps me in. Oh sweet, sweet Beatrice (I even have my mobile back in hand) you shall indeed lead me to salvation, to the promised land – or at least a willing spiral into self destruction (the same thing?). The meathead didn’t even search me. Ha! The fool. I have all my extremities, no new injuries and everything I had packed for the trip – it all seems too good to be true.
AWW...MAMA...IS THIS REALLY THE END TO BE STUCK OUTSIDE THE VENUE WITH THE PARANOIA STRINGS AGAIN
In the cool, quiet air outside, like someone else breathing for you, a mood of saity and simplicity descends. Spins a silky cocoon around your soul, at once invigorating and calming, and teases the frenetic beats in the chest back from the precipice.
From behind, the heave of pheromone and a hot wall of sticky second-hand air rolls and flows down the steps before me and over the gauntlet of collapsed ravers – a curious blend of solitary pale-eyes locked deep into some personal experience with bog or God or whatever and small twisted knots of hairy-calves, soaking Scouse builders and professional cleaners with white gloves - all too far gone and tangled up in chemical conversation to escape. Sex and Satan on the air slide me closer and push me toward this obstacle course of higher consciousness.
Paranoia jars through me - the same sensation as when you nearly die and then don’t in the same instant – I fear falling into the sea of wasted people convinced I will sink to the bottom and never be free again, torn to pieces by teeth and claws in the swamp of gluttony and destruction. As I teeter on the edge and doom is certain, I throw myself headlong like a graceless albatross, eyes closed and lips muttering incantations to save myself from spiralling down into the sea of hollow bodies. I land with a crack that rings around me bouncing off walls and reverberating in my ears, deafening, dizzying. Relief and pain twist and waltz, stinging red pain and glowing warm pleasure; I must be fine I can feel how much it hurts. I want to celebrate my continuing existence, dance, chatter shit and be generally exuberant – walk the line and chase dragons.
I look around and find myself in a dark forest, the right road wholly lost and gone. All alone save for the omniscience of Gsüs, who could do nothing for me. There was a time, when I was younger, that we were briefly introduced. I was preoccupied with a serious collecting habit and knew He would not care for a sinner as me. Though I know of him I don’t have any belief in Him – no-one can possibly be that sober. Nothing and no-one could save me at these depths. I’m frightened and alone in the echoing vastness of the dark, cloaked in fog, unable to see anything clearly.
With the paranoia gripping and self pity taking hold I see myself being peeled and stripped, layer after layer tossed into a hot pan, fried into shrivelled greasy caramel. The oily stench slips through the air, the dirty smell of rancid fat and overwhelming sweetness makes the bile rise. Both delicious and disturbing the smell lures me forward and I heave and spatter red vomit, lurid raspberry coulis, at my feet.
LOOK OUT KID DON’T MATTER WHAT YOU DID, WALK ON YOUR TIPTOES, DON’T TRY NO DOSE...
Three of us huddle together into a hidden corner of the courtyard, sheltered from the storm and the peeping toms of the press; who I am dimly aware of strobe-ing round spotlighting innocents – frozen startled rabbits – in the headlights of their picture box. They desperately hawk around for an angle, a lead, a pound of flesh for their tawdry home movies, choreographed for wannabes and homeboys to get outraged and jack off at the sights of lithe nubile hedonists romping and orgiastic, doped up and made to perform for the hidden eye – Hardcore films!
We three lost in the desert of higher wisdom hide from the voyeurs glare and gaze longingly at our bubbles of air. Drooling in our frenzy we devour the balloons, champing and hyperventilating – breathing hard to recover from the flurry of expended energy. Leaning back on the cold stone and giggling, at some unspoken yet shared joke, the world beyond us three drops away into oblivion.
Faces and features melt and twist, fire rises from nowhere crackles and licks, a mane of malevolence around tortured demonic visages. The burning faces close in cackling or screaming, I cannot tell, wild eyes flecked with red, black cavernous maws gaping towards me, to chew me up like the balloons. I’m sinking into oblivion away from the rest of the world.
DOCTOR SAYS IT KILLS YOU, BUT HE DON’T SAY WHEN
It is disorientatingly bright, I can hardly walk – just crawl. It feels like indoors, but too cold. I can’t make out any walls or ceiling but my knees clicking and red raw are testament to the solidity of the terra firma. My nostrils are haunted by an unnatural smell, a sterile almost odourless aura of low temperature.
As visions swim and blur, all primary colours and fluorescent psychedelic stylings, I fix my gaze upon a central enduring square of sapphire. A grand voice possessed of divinity booms out "Can I help?" slowly, a helpless, frail, cracked whisper "I want smoke" and two red triangles float across into view. I grab for the precious jewels – the only objects with any definition, the sole remaining solidity in all about me. With scarlet and sapphire in hand I turn to look about for others. It occurs to me that maybe I have to piece the world back together colour at a time. As I turn I bounce off of something...someone?...another person!...wha...so I’m not in heaven – hell is other people.
The person swims into focus and I realise he is looking at me like the last Freak at the ball, I toast him with the bottle now in my hand. Swallow and the bitter junipers sear through my frazzled mind, unblocking connections that had calcified and furred over like kettle filament. Synapses fire and senses stimulated to life. I notice I am shivering stood in wet clothes, straggling rat-tails of hair dangling across my face, staggering and shattered in a supermarket. I catch my reflection in a refrigerator full of Coke, a dead man looks back...what day is it?...when did I last sleep...wash...or even eat for that matter?
I notice little packets stuck all over my tee-shirt, so I sidle closer to the cola to get a better look and see that pinned to my clothes is the most pig-baitingly, head-fuckingly heinous collection of narcotics. What possessed me to do that!! A spliff here and there, LSD tabs sewn on and a plethora of packets of powders and pills stapled through the corner, dangle from the shirt emblazoned with the words ‘Mind meltingly good fun’. I probably wanted to remember that for some reason, I wonder what I did last night. Now, what did I do with my phone, if the shirt is all that is left then I have a serious collection to finish.