Monthly Archives: September 2018

Strange Tales from the Cookie Kitchen

COME TRIP WITH ME

“Gather your wits and hold on fast, your mind must learn to roam, just as the gypsy queen must do, you’re gonna hit the road.”  – The Acid Queen by The Who 1968/69

Lysergic acid diethylamide, more commonly known as LSD, was first synthesized November 16, 1938 by Albert Hoffman, the Swiss chemist.  However it was not until five years later that the psychedelic properties were found.

Just in time to celebrate its eightieth birthday, we find ourselves bang in the middle of a complete resurgence of interest in psychedelics.

LSD was distributed by the Swiss company Sandoz in the 1950s, given free to researchers.  The neurologists at the time were totally excited, testing the drug out for treating depression, anxiety and alcoholism.

And then the counter culture got hold of it and along with it came the bad trips, psychotic episodes, suicides and other scary stuff, killing all the excitement.  The scientific establishment proceeded to turn against psychedelics, pushing them underground.  But lately there has been a renaissance.  A new generation of scientists are returning to them, once again looking into what they can teach us, their effects on consciousness, addiction, depression and so much more.

CHANGING YOUR MIND

Psychedelics do change your consciousness and we all dabble in one way or another.

Every culture uses some kind of fungus or plant to change consciousness: coffee, tea, chocolate, tobacco, marijuana.  In fact we can read in Michael Pollan’s ‘How to Change Your Mind’, that the only culture that does not traditionally use anything are the Inuits and that is because nothing psychoactive grows where they live.

TRIPPING

We have dreams, and we forget them.

However hard we try to nag onto them, they fade. Psychedelics are different.  They open a door in your mind and it stays open, even if just ajar; it never shuts totally.  It is not possible to write about a psychedelic trip unless you have had one.  It is an internal experience and not one that can be participated in from the outside.  I can only try and recall a few seconds …

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THE GIRL WITH KALEIDOSCOPE EYES

A first-time user really needs to have adequate supervision from someone experienced with the hallucinogenic/psychedelic of choice.  Leaving what you know as reality behind, for a number of hours, is best done with someone who knows the way.

I was accompanied by three amazing people on my first trip, one of them being the guy who would be my partner for the next ten crazy years, of some amazing highs and terrible lows.  We dropped the acid in the apartment and as it started to work, they took me outside into the city, over the bridges and into the parks.

Every colour magnified a thousand times, colours with no names, every movement, followed by its own shadow trail of the same movement; an eternal stroboscopic effect, forever being replaced by the next.  You could follow the flight of a bumblebee in slow motion forever. I did not know where to look.

The most fascinating thing to me was finding that time as I knew it, no longer applied. There is no time.  Five minutes may take five seconds, or five hours.  As we returned to the apartment several hours later, there is a particular hallucination that remains with me.

We sat down at the table to have tea and as I peered, because you do peer at the seemingly never-ending kaleidoscope of movement and colours, everything melted across the table, and slowly dripped down onto the floor.  The cups, the teapot, the sugar bowl…exactly like a Salvador Dali painting.  You know it is not real, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there.  wild stuff.

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Val trying to focus on a never-ending kaleidoscope

“Go ask Alice, I think she’ll know. When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead. And the white knight is talking backwards and the Red Queen’s off with her head. Remember what the dormouse said. Feed your head. – White Rabbit by The Jefferson Airplane  1965/66

NATURE TRIP

One of the most exquisite trips I took was in The New Forest. A camping weekend.
glasses

 

Psychedelics taken out in nature are really quite beautiful.  It bears mentioning that you are of course, quite exhausted after about twelve hours of your brain being in overdrive, allowing you to see and take part in these intense experiences.  Like with any mind-altering substance, what goes up must come down.  It is not just hallucinations, the thoughts you have are affected too.  Things are most vivid at the highest point of the trip.

As four of us lay in our tent, we began talking to each other.  But we were all so high, we could not hear each others’ voices. The words instead were coming out of our mouths in sheets of vibrating colours.  We understood everything, including the secret of the universe – which we promptly forgot.  You come so close to grasping the meaning of everything and just when you have it, it goes.

“The golden void speaks to me, denying my reality, I lose my body, lose my mind, I blow like wind, I flow like wine, down that corridor of flame, will I fly so high again?”  – The Golden Void Pt 2 by Hawkwind

Tripping at the Stonehenge Free Festival,  sitting on the stones as the solstice sun came up, Hawkwind playing on the far-off stage, the music drifting across the fields.  The days before there no were wires around the stones and you could touch them.  Everyone so high, Druids standing amongst the stones.  It felt as though everyone was having the same thoughts and the same time, and maybe we were. Looking up into the blue sky, the white clouds, the rays of sunshine, a spinning psychedelic prism.  An uninterrupted stream of shapes and colours.

 

stone henge

 

“Some call it heavenly in its brilliance …….. Out here on the perimeter there are no stars, out here we is stoned – immaculate.  – The W.A.S.P Radio Texas by The Doors 1971

BEACH TRIP

We were tripping on a hidden beach in the Dominican Republic.  People say you need to be careful with psychedelics because you can lose control. Although that can be true, it was never my experience. When necessary you can bring yourself down in an instant.

We were in the woods, made up mostly of coconut palms, intently studying the beautiful, almost chiselled, trunks.  You can feel the life and the breath in the vegetation, when in this state of mind.  It was very early in the morning.

Suddenly there was what seemed like a tremendous crashing sound as someone came running through the grove.  A Dominican farmer appeared before our very eyes, waving a machete around.  Trust me, we straightened up in a nano-second.  I don’t know who was more shocked, us, or him finding a bunch of white tourists hugging his trees.  He introduced himself, in Spanish, as Jesus, and promptly shot up a tree and cut down some coconuts for us.  We were saved.

LSD MICRODOSING 2018

Meanwhile here we are today.  Microdosing LSD is the current thing to do; taking a “sub perceptual” amount, as a mental pick-me-up. Imperceptible, but making you more creative and clearer in your work. Very fashionable amongst the tech communities, including of course, Silicon Valley.

Eighty years.  What a long, strange trip it’s been.

“It gave me an inner joy, an open kindness, a gratefulness, open eyes and an internal sensitivity for the miracles of creation ….. I think that in human evolution it has never been as necessary to have this substance LSD.  It is just a tool to turn us into what we are supposed to be.  – Albert Hoffman.  Part of his 100th birthday speech.

 

albert

 

Of course this could all be a figment of my crazy imagination.  Who knows?

–  By Val the Acid Queen of APJ

 

 

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Vintage Mini Reviews – Bal a Versailles, Paris and Magie Noire

My Aussie friends gave me so many wonderful gifts when I visited in July. These included sweets, skincare, earrings, boots (2 pairs!) and of course, perfume.

The lovely Scott is a pal of Portia’s and a fragrance fiend like the rest of us. At my last evening attending Turbo Trivia he very sweetly presented me with a selection of decants from his collection which all feature rose to some extent. This was incredibly thoughtful, given my obvious love of the note. They were all perfumes that I didn’t know well – if at all – and I was excited to try them.

 

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Portia, Jin, me and Scott

 

There were five decants in all  but I’ve decided to focus on the three that impressed me the most. (The other two being Voleur de Roses by L’Artisan Parfumeur and Parfum de Peau by Montana).

 

Bal a Versailles Vintage EDC, Jean Desprez

Rosemary, orange blossom, mandarin orange, cassia, jasmine, rose, neroli, bergamot, Bulgarian rose, lemon, sandalwood, patchouli, lilac, orris root, vetiver, ylang-ylang, lily-of-the-valley, leather, Tolu balsam, amber, musk, benzoin, civet, vanilla, cedar, resins

Bal a Versailles is a busty oriental from the days when you could find animalic perfumes on the high street. I thought it would be a real ball-buster: loud and skanky. On me however, it radiates a warm and furry hum that is suggestive rather than obscene. I’m not at ease in pornographic perfume but on me, this is lightly draped curves and candle-lit seduction. I actually find it rather comforting in small amounts, though I have little doubt spraying liberally from the bottle gives you a decidedly different effect.

The musks are silky, fuzzy, moreish and of course, sensual. The powder is pitched just right. It’s the kind of perfume that I imagine being dabbed on the décolleté and mingling with the wearer’s skin chemistry. It positively blooms with body heat. The musky base is embellished with flowers and gilded with aromatics, woods and sweet resins. Bal a Versailles is enticingly intimate and gloriously lavish.

 

bal a versailles

 

Paris Vintage EDT, YSL

Bergamot, orange blossom, rose, mimosa, cassia, hawthorn, nasturtium, violet, hyacinth, geranium, violet leaves, jasmine, orris, ylang ylang, lily of the valley, lily, linden, sandalwood, amber, musk, moss, heliotrope, cedar and ambergris

I flip over good powdery rose/violet perfumes. They tend to be feminine, glamourous  and often reminiscent of vintage cosmetics. In short, they give me my pin-up girl moment.

I imagined vintage Paris would overwhelm me with chilly and jagged aldehydes, but it is surprisingly warm and velvety.  That’s not to say it is a quiet perfume – quite the opposite. A full spray from the bottle must envelop you in a dazzling pink cloud. Its personality is charmingly optimistic, carefree and elegant. The only thing that puts me off seeking out more juice, is the tell-tale Playdoh effect caused by heliotrope. For some reason the dominant presence of that almond-tinged note gives me a headache.

Although I may not be able to wear it, Paris is still a standout fragrance.

paris-yves-saint-laurent-perfume-review

 

Magie Noire Vintage EDT, Lancome

Bulgarian rose, blackcurrant buds, jasmine, ylang-ylang, sandalwood, amber and patchouli

I remember sniffing this at the very, very beginning of my slip into perfumania. I didn’t get it. It seemed too sour and austere.

Now I’m ready for it.

This sophisticated virago brings to mind black and white movie femme fatales like Bette Davis. Maybe not conventionally beautiful but absolutely magnetic. The individual elements shouldn’t work but the overall effect is compelling. As time wears on, I find myself constantly bringing my wrist to my nose. This potion is bewitchingly good.

There are hissing blackcurrant buds and dark, bitter greens tempered by white flower petals. It’s like escaping to an enchanted hideaway, concealed by a curtain of moss. Originally released in 1971, I can’t envisage Lancôme launching something like this today (more’s the pity). Vintage Magie Noire is magnificent.

 

 

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Huge thanks to Scott for sharing these fabulous decants with me. I know these perfumes are dear to his heart and in short supply, which makes it all the more special. It’s been a real education and filled a lacuna in my knowledge. An added bonus is that I’ve found more fragrances to covet.

Do you know and love any of these treasures?

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