Featured Book – Goofin’ Pt. 8

I decided to have a cake party. I’m not quite sure where I got the idea from but it seemed a good one. We decided to dedicate the evening to psychedelia and Roy Harper. What could go wrong? I had this recipe for chocolate brownies. You just crumbled the dope into the cake mix; it dissolved in fat, and then you cooked it and then you ate it. Easy.

            I don’t know why I was so confident. I’d never cooked a cake in my entire life. Then there was the fact that there did not seem to be a mention of how much dope to put in. The recipe for that was sadly lacking on the box. Still I was supremely confident and Jack was there to lend a helping hand. That in itself should have been enough of a warning.

            The invites went out, sort of word of mouth. The music was selected – we went for something spacey and psychedelic by Pink Floyd, Mothers and Grateful Dead with a bit of Third Ear Band and the Incredibles thrown in for good measure. The ingredients were purchased. Jack himself was given the task of getting the most important ingredient. He came back with a plastic bag with a lot of what appeared to be a light brown powder. It didn’t look like dope. It didn’t smell like dope. It didn’t even taste like dope.

            “You sure this is dope, man?” I enquired suspiciously. I somehow couldn’t believe Jack would get ripped off but it happened. Anything was possible.

            “Dude said he’d burnt it down, man,” Jack replied in an injured tone. @Told me it was really good stuff.’

            “It don’t look like dope,” I added dubiously, examining the light brownish powder Jack had produced in a plastic bag. It didn’t look like any dope I’d ever seen.

            “He’s reliable,” Jack insisted. “He wouldn’t let me down.”

I shrugged. We had nothing to lose.

            I mixed the mixture up in a bowl and started pouring the powdered dope in.

            “How much do we add?” I asked as I poured a good quantity of the powder into the bowl. “Did the dude say?”

            “No, he was a bit vague on that one, man.” Jack admitted. “He just told me it was incredibly good and would blow your head off, man.”

            “Did you tell him it was for thirty people?” I asked still feeling extremely dubious about this powder. It didn’t look right and it didn’t smell right.

            “Yeah.” Jack replied contritely.

            I poured half in as Jack stood at my shoulder watching. He dipped his finger in the mix and tasted it, smacking his lips and looking quizzical.

            “A touch more, there man,” was his assessment.

            By the time we had finished I’d put it all in. What the hell! I was still very sceptical as to whether this was going to work at all. We baked it anyway. Even if the stuff didn’t work we’d have some great chocolate cake. I loved gooey chocolate cake.

            By eight o clock, the allotted hour, there were six of us gathered. Me and Jack, Bede, Lanky, Snitch and Snatch. Of all the other twenty four that had expressed interest there was not a sign.

            Undeterred we ceremoniously sliced the cake into thirty equal pieces and took a slice each. Thirty was the stated number and Jack’s source had allocated the dosage accordingly seemingly with the instructions to only use half of it. We’d put it all in but hell – it had only been a rough guide, right?

            I put on some Mother’s of Invention and we prepared to get zapped out to Zappa. After half an hour nothing had happened so I changed the music over to Ken Nordine’s Word Jazz which was good music to get stoned to. Already the set list had gone out the window. We were decidedly peckish and by unanimous agreement decided to risk a second piece of cake, especially as it appeared now that nobody else was likely to turn up and we were decidedly sceptical about the authenticity of the dope. If nothing else we could sit around and rap. It’d be OK.

We ate that and settled back to listen to Ken. Music was something to be venerated, listened to intently and digested. Music was the life juice of our generation. It contained the message, the philosophy. It wasn’t something to be put on as background Muzac. Musicians were all knowing Gods. They had to be listened to with respect. The lyrics were poetry to be understood and decoded. It was sacred. The music was our bible.

            After an hour we decided anther slice was in order. I changed the music over to Roy Harper’s ‘Flat Baroque and Berserk’. Still nothing was happening.

            At nine thirty Geof and Malc arrived. We welcomed them in, changed the music to Traffic and got them a couple of slices of cake each. We then decided to finish the cake off as it was becoming exceedingly unlikely that anything was going to happen now. The stuff was obviously dud but the cake tasted decidedly alright.

            I changed the music over to Floyd’s ‘Piper at the Gates of Dawn’ and sat back down on the floor. I began to feel a buzz rising in my head and turned round to Jack.

            “I think ……….. something’s ………… beginning ……… to happen.”

            By the time I’d got my head round it had come over me in a rush. Jack was grinning back at me like a searchlight.

            I could not move. The music swept through every atom of me. It flowed and swirled and pounded through my body and swelled in my ears. I became the music. I lay my head back and allowed my whole being to pulse in time to the music.

            I had to lie down on the floor. I watched Lanky. His chest rose and fell as he breathed and it seemed to pulse to the music to. He didn’t breathe very often. I began to count the breaths. He must have gone ten minutes between some breaths.

            After a few hours I noticed that the Floyd were still playing. Someone must have put it on again but I hadn’t noticed.

            “The music’s still playing,” I mumbled to Jack.

            “Still first track, man,” he replied from the midst of some beatific dream.

            After an hour Geof and Malc got bored. They thought we were all taking the piss out of them by pretending to be completely out of our gourds. They genuinely believed that we’d set it up between us before they arrived and went off in a bit of a huff. They almost got home before it came on.

            “This is real trippy,” Snatch said after a few hours.

            We’d all come down a little by then and regained the power of speech even if movement, such as doing essentials, like changing the music, was still a supreme effort.

            We’d been through Beefheart, The Bonzo’s, a bit of electric Dylan and back to Harper. I was now toying with Soft Machine and Love but was wondering about a bit of Fugs. Decisions were not proving to easy to make. I settled for Ken Nordine’s ‘Colours’ followed by Country Joe’s ‘Electric Music for body and mind’.

            “This is more than a bit trippy,” I finally managed after what seemed like an hour.

            Lanky was breathing more regularly now. Jack and I had both noticed the phenomenon of Lanky’s breathing and were discussing whether it was actually his breathing or a distortion of time, or just that he was doing occasional deep breaths. We decided, as with the Floyd track, that it was obviously a distortion of time.

            Everyone was grinning madly at each other now and I went to get a few packets of chocolate biscuits that I’d sussed might be handy later in the evening.

            “I have decided that my mind is not a chemical phenomenon,” I announced to Jack.

            “And what, given the experiences of the last four hours, do you base that on?” Jack asked in a bemused manner.

            “Oh, I’ve been thinking about it a lot,” I replied thoughtfully. “I’ve been examining my mind and watching my thoughts scoot by, man. You know, I was watching the way it all worked.”

Jack nodded. ‘You’re stoned, man, stoned immaculate.’

“It is true that there were certain distinct changes to the way my brain was functioning,” I replied earnestly. “Everything sounded different, time and all that, man. I felt very different. But the essence of me as a person did not change. That is what I base this deduction on.”

            “Fascinating,” Jack replied. “I was thinking exactly the opposite.”

            “So you think mind has substance?”

            “I don’t know about that, man. I just felt it was chemical. I mean, we’d taken chemicals and they were altering everything inside and out. That’s what I mean, man.”

            “But didn’t you get the feeling that the essential you was kinda at the back of that, man.” I argued.

            “I think I did,” Lanky interjected. “I’m just not fucking sure where I am at all anymore, man.”

            We took to lying on our backs examining our thoughts and watching the colours swirling in time to the music. Whatever that stuff was it was no ordinary dope. This was more like acid than pot.

The next day I was with Jack on the Underground and as the doors came together with a hiss my whole mind echoed with it, expanding and contracting. It took three days to come down.

Everyone agreed that we probably should only have used a quarter of the stuff. Jack felt he had been vindicated though.

Featured Book – Goofin’ Pt. 7


            Hat taught me to drive in my multicoloured Ford Pop. It came natural to me. I’d been riding my Honda for a year and just seemed able to transfer the skills over. There was nothing much too it. I got in, twice round the block and we were off.

One advantage of it was that old Ford was that it was a lot warmer in winter than the old bike. Another advantage was that you could fit eight people in – with a bit of a squeeze. Then lastly it was always good for a bit of pastoral shagging – variety being the spice of life.

Hat sat there like a maniacal driving instructor dishing out instructions.

            “Left here! Straight on! It’s always straight on!”

            We took the bend at the library at fifty. Easy to do on a bike where you could lean into it but quite different in a sit-up-and-beg Ford Pop which promptly rolled on to two wheels, leaned over threatening to go into a roll and squealed like mad.

            Hat sank down into his seat.

            Somehow it stayed up and we made it round.

            “Whooooooooooeeeeeeeeey – Haaaaaaaaaa!” I yelled.

            “Pretty hairy,” Hat observed. “Perhaps a little less floorboard if you don’t want to fuck up the paint-work.” He nodded to himself. “Or soil the upholstery in the passenger seat.”

            We headed out for the open road and picked up two hitchhikers. That was mandatory. You always stopped for hitchers. It was the rule. If you had something you shared whether that was a joint or a ride.

            I was really getting into it. The car roamed around the lanes a little because the steering was basically shot but it had a bit of poke and cruised nicely at 60 – 65 M.P.H… We were going out of our way to drop off our guests. It made for a good run.

            Hat amused himself by rolling jays and passing them round as we hurtled down these narrow country roads. Everyone seemed quite mellow.

            “Not doing bad, is he?” Hat enquired, leaning over the seat to converse with the hirsute couple in the back.

            The hitchers looked a bit bemused. They hadn’t cottoned on to what he was talking about.

            “Considering it’s his first time out in a car,” Hat casually slipped in.

            I swung it round another corner and noted that the atmosphere had got a tad more tense.

            Everyone loved my multicoloured car. I nicknamed it Herbert. It was a name that seemed to suit. One particular speed-cop seemed to especially take to it. At every opportunity he pulled me over to have a closer look.

“Mornin’” I’d say breezily.

He scowled at me.

“Lovely day for it.”

He would get his book out and write me up without a word and hand me the ticket. Then he’d get back on his bike, kick-start it and glide off into the traffic.

I’d have to go in with all my details – insurance, log book and shit. A right fucking nuisance though I was determined not to let them see it was buggin’ me.

I’m sure the guy used to lie in wait for me. Sometimes he’d do me twice in a day and he averaged three times a week.

            “Mornin’,” I’d say breezily as I arrived at the cop-shop.

            The desk-cop would fix me with a scowl.

            I’d shake my hair out, stroke my beard and pull at the white scarf I wore under my flying jacket.

            “Hey, you guys go to scowl school?” I’d enquire. I’d hand him my documents. “Same again.”

            He’d start copying the details in without a word.

            “Hey man,” I’d say conspiratorially. He’d stop writing and look up at me. “Just put ditto. Save you a lot of trouble.” I nodded and winked. “There, look, see, I’m on every page. Details haven’t changed.”

            He went back to writing with a stony expression. I think I was getting to him.

            Allie knitted me a big thick jumper to go with the car. It was multicoloured. I loved it and wore it every time I went into the cop-shop. For some reason I don’t think they were anywhere near as keen on that jumper as me. They seemed to take it as a personal affront.

            Jack used to particularly love my Herbert-mobile. He often took over from Hat as co-pilot. Some nights he’d rap on the window and drag me off into the night.

            “Hey, man, let’s get off to Brighton! You up for it?” We’d drive there and run up and down the shingle beach then get back in and drive back.

            I’d drive and all the while he’d be yattering in my ear.