Friday, April 28, 2006

Croydon Acid Madness!

I watched the Russian supernatural thriller ‘Nightwatch’ last night. What a bonkers film. The lead character drinks blood, which gives him hallucinogenic visions, to track vampires. His only weapon is a torch. It’s like an infinitely superior ‘Underworld’ on acid.

Possibly due to Moscow’s architectural resemblance to Croydon, the film set me to reminiscing about my acid trips in that noble town. There were a few that I remember fondly. Shooting up my friend Adam’s parents’ house with a BB gun before really believing I was Travis Bickle and nearly shooting him is still a vivid memory.

Another incident is more sobering in retrospect (certainly not at the time). Adam and I had both popped a Strawberry and went to a pub that I forget the name of (although I do remember that it was located in the shadow of a large flyover). Our game that night was ‘don’t tell anyone we’re on acid! Let’s see if they guess! What a giggle!’

During the course of the evening, we ended up chatting to a friend of a friend, a really nice girl whose name I also forget (although I do remember she was dark-haired and pretty until the acid started making her look like a bit of a lizard/human hybrid). Of course, during conversation Adam and I were enjoying our secret and giving each other conspiratorial glances. Nobody’s caught on to the fact we’re out of our boxes! Hilarious!

At the end of the night this girl invited us back to her room in a fairly rundown shared flat. We trudged up there and sat down in her little bedroom, drinking coffee, still sharing our joke and acting normal with our hostess. She was getting increasingly flirtatious and it became obvious, even to us, that she thought the reason for our conspiratorial and jovial manner was because we were deciding which us would spend the night with her. She may have even though we planned to share her. Or was that a delusion? Who knows? Certainly not us! Adam and I were like aliens with brains the size of watermelons, visiting a strange human world, and we had no idea how to respond. All empathy has deserted us.

In the end, for some reason I can’t fathom, the conversation turned very serious. She confided in us, sharing the story of how her family was shattered by the death of her Nan, her parents divorcing, the whole situation ending in acrimony and heartbreak.

So how did Adam and I, the aliens from Planet LSD, respond? We looked at each and, for no reason whatsoever, laughed our heads off. The shame still pricks me. We left soon after, having taken a hammer to that woman’s fragile emotional state. And we still didn’t tell her we were tripping!

As we walked long miles to Wallington, amid trying to process the revelatory experience of eating Minstrels bought from a 24 hour garage, we talked about what had happened. Why hadn’t we told her? Would it have made her feel better or worse? To this day, I still don’t know.


Adam said...

Ah, happy acidic memories of the 1990s! Adam here armed with glimpses of the blackout gaps to your hallucanatory tales.

Firstly, on the lovely summers day we dropped the Strawberry and you went all Taxi Driver on me folks house, I do recall one of those great walks through a hot day, up to the local farms. Somehow we broke into the grounds of Wallington Girls School, via my old cub scouts. Then I think we found an open window at the school and played the piano in a small music hall - or that might of been another time.

We definitely spent several eons on the schools playing fields doing the staring at the sky thing; making webs of psychedelic patterns on the fluffy clouds, mapping theories of the universe out of blue sky space and burnt brain reasoning. Then I think we had to spend about an hour trying to cross a semi-busy road, because it was like a giant ravine river of death and we had to giggle some more!

Other Acid excursions often seemed to revolve, or at least start, at the small council home of Mr Blair Cowl in Forestdale, Selsdon.

Tris and Blair once convinced me to share a trip with them just as I was coming down with the flu. The logic being that I would be able to side-step the effects of a complete flu'd up physical shut down through the transitory magic that is psychotronic elixir. They were right of course, and I very much enjoyed my descent into flu hell during the comedown some 12 hours later. Ah, bless the power of peer pressure, eh!

This might of been the funniest time we were on the stuff though - If I recall correctly it was about an hour into the trip when I remembered I'd made a date to meet our mutual friend Rachel in a pub in Croydon that evening. So, throwing caution to the wind, our eyes like black holes, our hands and tongues tingling with that static fuzziness, and our voices no louder than deranged stage whispers, Tristan, Blair and myself, boarded the scariest bus ever on a trip into the black heart of Croydon, to meet our friend that could easily of been cancelled with but a phone call. But we had to go! It was one of those very urgent drugged up missions that have no logic beyond the one we invented at the time then immediately forgot. We've all been there, let's face it.

Wonderfully, the pub we were to meet Rachel in was a short-lived German theme pub called Kaiser Bills. They only served Dunkell and Hell lager, and the inards of the pub were made entirely of huge copper piping twisting and turning round old brick walls into giantic glowing metal vats of beer. It was like being behind enemy lines during WW2 - trying to fit in in some Dunkirk drinking hole designed by Goya and HR Gieger. It was all too much.

Our friend Graeme, a paranoid soul at the best of time, was waiting there with Rachel, and I believe Tristan spent most of the night capsizing Graemes brain with wierd talk. Yet again we had all decided, without actually voicing it, that we couldn't confess to anyone that we were tripping, so the three of us supped our wet illuminous 100 gallon glasses of Hell and giggled and prayed..

I think Blair and I walked the 3 miles to my folks house later that night and Tris went home (Norwood?) At the time my family had a huge 80s TV that lived in a sideboard. Blair and I spent several hours pressing the button that made the telly slowing rise up like a chinese zombie, then lower like a coffin into a grave. It was spellbindingly wrong. Then we watched hours of MTV, convinced Mick Hucknell of Simply Red was going to climb out of the TV and try and make friends with us.

Heady days, Tris my friend, heady days.

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