This is one of my books that nobody buys or reads. The title was a silly construction. One day I will put it out with a different title. What the hell…………………
This is the ultimate sixties book – an ‘On the Road’ for the British Underground with all its sex, drugs, dreams and music; those times of crazy people high on life and mad for experience – when anything was possible.
It captures that idealistic naïve impossibility permeated with vitality and careering love and dreams, the wild rush for adventure without a thought for the future because it was going to last forever.
– Seemingly forever changes!
It spans continents as it trips its way through time, space and mind in a mad rush to discover life and experience or die trying.
Now was all there was and it had to burn, burn, burn or it was dead.
In the days of dope and poetry, where the world was ripe for changing, there was a mystical buzz of unity. In the shadow of an establishment that stood for war, prejudice, work, isolation and the rat-race with all its status-seeking power games, racism and slow death signified by getting the lines straight on your lawn, Jack’s cackling laughter and bright eyes, death-defying madness and care-free attitude showed there was an alternative.
Maybe dope was never enough and when we grow up it is time to put aside childish things where they are confined to our dreams and memories. But somewhere out there Jack still lives where it is real.
We did change the world!
I remember the first time I met Jack. Although he was a small guy he filled the room with the exuberance of his soul. He possessed that thin, haunted face with that aura of electricity running through his bones, long blond hair to his waist, blue eyes and the mad laugh of a hyena on amphetamine sulphate; his whole being throbbed with life. As he talked his body and hands were animated with a super abundance of energy – jig-jig-jig, bob, dart and cackle. He was never still. Jack was high on living. Every second counted. You could see those glinty blue eyes were constantly peering into the depths of the universe and sucking meaning out of the mundane. To Jack everything had meaning; everything was alive, and Jack sucked that sense right out of everything and filled himself with it. I watched him from the side of the room with amazement. I had never witnessed anyone so vital. There was madness to it. I was drawn to that madness. He devoured the world and sucked it in until it seemed he would burst with it. He was so full of ideas and visions that he had trouble containing it. It welled up in him and threatened to choke him with its intensity and he just had to let it out or it’d kill him. It burst out in a crazy torrent. He didn’t so much talk to you as spout forth out loud in some ecstasy as his mind raged.
Man, he thrilled to it.
Yet people reeled from it. It was too big for them to handle. They had no answer to it. There was no room for them to get a word in. It cascaded over them like a tsunami of passion and they found themselves floundering in horror. It was too much they desperately tried to escape before they were buried.
All around him people retreated.
Yet Jack was oblivious. For him they did not exist. They were empty vessels, echo chambers, into which he allowed his thoughts to gush just so’s he could see them coming back at him.
They had to be thrilled by it too. They had to see it. It was so wild. It was so real.
You could see it in Jack’s wild evangelical eyes. He wrestled with the entire universe and would grapple it into submission with sheer energy. He was so full of it. He wanted to find out what it was all about and wrest every last moment out of it. He had to know. He had to experience it. He wanted to get to the bottom of everything. He needed to tell you all about it and find out what he knew, what you knew, and how to solve the riddles of all time. Nothing was holy. Everything was holy. Nothing mattered. Everything mattered. Life was a paradox. It was all straightforward. He clutched a battered copy of Bertrand Russell’s ‘History of Western Philosophy’ in his hand and waved it under your nose to emphasise a point. With anybody else it would have been pretentious bullshit but somehow with Jack it was real. The book was thumbed ragged. He quoted from it. He was stimulated by it as if it was a drug. He wrestled with paragraphs and wondered at others. Every page was an epiphany. He was amazed by it.
Surely everyone was as consumed by the wonder of this mad journey? Surely they had to know?