“I traced my steps back through the night, Back through the day all the way to the light, Boats full of cargo ready to unload, Arms of the cranes all ready to hold —– And struck a match and watched it burn against the night —–” The Weather Prophets. I Almost Prayed.
Before raves became commercially viable, and controlled, and the psychedelic entertainment laid on, they were underground, uncontrolled, and word-of-mouth.
One such rave was organized by a bunch of revelers, deep in the woods some eighteen kilometers outside of Amsterdam, 1987. Our whole scene was going, and we knew most of them would be tripping. Obviously. Chris and I told everyone that we would not be going. We hatched ourselves a cunning plan. We were gonna dress up and disguise ourselves and mingle in with the dancing crowd. And at an the right moment whip off our masks.
Chris had a Frankenstein mask, a rubber one which you pulled onto your head. And I had a huge white afro-wig with built in earrings. And sunglasses.
Around eight on the night of the party we put everything int a small rucksack, got onto our bikes and headed out. No acid for us of course, we needed to keep our heads clear. This had taken some serious planning. So we took an ecstasy instead. It did take a couple of hours to find the spot, but we eventually did, and if memory serves me correctly, and I have correlated, we did have to carry our bikes through a field full of sheep (not to be confused with the Welsh sheep of a previous Strange Tale) which bordered the woodland. We hid our bikes in amongst the trees, masked ourselves up, took another ecstasy, and slipped into the in full-swing rave.
iI you are high on LSD or mushrooms, everything is distorted, and there are a wide variety of effects. Mostly visual, but with other senses altered as well. It is lengthy process, somewhere between eight and twelve hours. And because you know that things continually move round and change shape you kind of just accept things for what they appear to be in your head, albeit that you know it is not real. (Unless you have no idea what you are doing and think it IS all real and have no carer with you, then you might have a bit of a wobbler, and have no business taking it.) So seeing us in our masks would not have phased anyone, we would just have been incorporated into their trip. Yes, even Frankenstein. Because even if you wonder for a second who the Frankenstein person was, that thought is gone before you have finished thinking it.
We joined the colourful bunch of hippies and punks turned ravers, and started to dance around, and with, several of our good friends. Tripping makes your pupils huge, and you could see how high everyone was. Except us, because we had only taken ecstasy and obviously had everything under total control. So we took another one. Music blasting out.
Ecstasy is different to acid, and you are hyper-aware of what you are doing. With just a look at one another we took our masks off in unison. A moment of stunned silence enveloped us all, the music seemingly disappearing. Everything in slow motion —- “Chris/Val , is that you? Is that you? Really? Is that you, is that you, is that you?.” There were no irises, only pupils turned silver from the reflected light, as their eyes came out on stalks. The dancing Frankenstein and woman with the white hair and sunglasses faded into the trip remnants and now we were just there, as though we always had been. Which was true anyway. It became a legend.
As the dawn appeared, and the chill-out began, we took our bikes, and put on our masks again so that no one would see our faces as we rode back into Amsterdam. We were totally trashed and the drug had worn off and the only way back was to take one more. We could see now, and avoided the sheep field. Trusting the speedy effect would be enough for us to pedal the eighteen kilometers. Frankenstein and a woman in a white wig pedaling like mad through the Dutch countryside.
We stopped at the corner shop at the end of our road to grab some bread and milk. It was early morning. Chris walked into the shop, bought and paid for everything in his Frankenstein mask, and no one batted an eyelid. That is Amsterdam.
We learned something interesting that morning once we got home and sat down, from having taken rather a lot of MDMA. It does cause hallucinations too, but unlike acid they don’t move. There was a netting that completely covered our hands and arms, and it was made up of thousands of tiny hexagons, each firing tiny darts of light. The hexagonal effect must be something to do with the chemical formula. Not only do the hallucinations not move, you can pick them up and hand them to another person, who sees exactly the same thing as you. “Hey, wanna hold this hallucination?” Wild. Not recommended for anyone under the age of 99.
This Strange Tale might be a total figment of my imagination.
CQ of APJ.