The Dangerous Kitchen – How A Trip Too Far Taught Me To Respect The Power Of Drugs
The first acid trip I ever did was one of the most amazing and entertaining experiences of my life. Not that there weren’t a few hairy moments during it, because there were. It was a group trip and at one point one of my fellow space cadets got it into his head that the American Football he was holding was a pair of breasts stuck together.
He started fondling that football in what can only be described as an exceedingly lecherous manner. That wasn’t so bad, but then luminous blue spaghetti started coming out of his eyeballs and he turned into The Noodle Doodle Man.
Well not really, obviously. But that’s what I was seeing at the time. This is The Noodle Doodle Man by the way. In case you don’t remember him:
And this is a photo of us at the end of the trip.
That piece of paper I’m holding up has the word “After” written on it. We did take a “Before” photo too, but I’ve never been able to find that one. As you can see, despite the slightly bumpy ride, we seem pretty happy about the whole situation. All in all, it was a pretty positive experience.
The second acid trip I took didn’t work out quite so well. Even scoring the LSD itself didn’t go entirely to plan. I was sharing a flat with my old mucker Shane. We’d never tripped together and decided that we really should. We only had one acid stamp and really wanted one each. As it happened, we scored that extra one entirely by accident.
We were in a pub in Byker called The Tap And Spile. A man came up to us selling the traditional pub snacks of that era, which happened to be seafood. Cockles, mussels, pickled herrings and that sort of thing. We were both vegetarians so we politely declined. Then the fella said:
“Fair enough. Mind you, you two look like the type that would prefer a couple of tabs of acid anyway.”
To which Shane replied: “You’re dead right there mate. Why, have you got any?”
“Not on me”, said the seafood seller, “but it’ll take me about five minutes to get hold of some for you.”
So off he went to another nearby pub, and sure enough he came back five minutes later. Shane went with him to the toilet, but came back again almost immediately. Shane had never actually done acid before. He didn’t want to get ripped off but he also didn’t really know what blotter acid was supposed to look like.
The seafood man had followed him out into the corridor next to the toilets and Shane waved me over. Our impromptu dealer was a bit confused by this and Shane said:
“I want a second opinion, so I’m just going to show this to my colleague before I buy it.”
Now me and Shane referred to each other using silly words like “colleague” and “compatriot” all the time. This fella didn’t know this though, and hearing the word “colleague” made him instantly jump to the conclusion that we were Old Bill.
There are many comfortable and pleasant places to be in the world. Outside the toilets of a backstreet pub in Byker with a drug dealer who thinks you are an undercover policeman is not one of them. Especially when he has mates in an even more disreputable drinking establishment less than a hundred yards away. And those mates are the ones who furnished him with the drugs in the first place.
I can’t remember how we talked our way out of this, but we did. So, slightly shaken but unharmed, we walked out of The Tap And Spile with that extra dose Dr Hoffman’s finest. The trip was on.
When you embark on an acid trip, it’s traditional wisdom that you arrange for what is called a Babysitter. Someone who isn’t going to take any acid themselves but is there to make sure you don’t do anything too fucking stupid. We had arranged for another friend called Andy to be our Babysitter. This turned out to be a big mistake. You really need an experienced psychonaut to do the babysitting for you. Andy had never touched a psychedelic substance in his life.
Andy arrived at the flat and me and Shane swallowed our little scraps of blotting paper. Then we watched a bit of telly, because acid takes a little while to kick in. We decided to put a Frank Zappa video on. We really shouldn’t have done that.
Acid sometimes kicks in with a blaze of Technicolor and sometimes it creeps up on you like a ninja in carpet slippers. This was the ninja variety. We thought the trip hadn’t started yet, but it bloody well had. We found this out when Mr Zappa started performing “The Dangerous Kitchen” on our telly screen
Ordinarily, this song would usually have me chuckling to myself. It’s a funny song. But here’s a sample lyric.
“You must walk very careful/You must not lean against it/It can follow you in/As you walk to the bedroom/And take all your clothes off/While you’re sleeping it crawls off/It gets in your bed/It could get on your face then/It could eat your complexion/You could die from the danger/Of the dangerous kitchen.
You really don’t want thoughts like that put in your head while you’re tripping.
Shane got up off the sofa, switched the telly off and shouted “That’s not fucking funny Frank!” at the blank screen. Andy managed to calm him down and we decided to go to Shane’s bedroom and listen to some mellow music because he had the best stereo system.
The mood relaxed considerably and we started having a good time. We decided to grab a piece of paper and pen to keep a log of the trip. The entries began with me writing things like: “Is matter just energy just condensed to a slow vibration” (that was just me being a pretentious dick. I wasn’t tripping anywhere near hard enough to come up with that kind of stuff and I’m fairly sure I nicked the idea off Bill Hicks anyway.)
Further into the trip, I was writing things like “Popcorn and shoes and rocks and shit make the world go around” (I was tripping fairly heavily by then and as a result was being a bit more honest with myself as regards my intellectual aspiration and general level of deepness.)
The final entries in the psychedelic diary were just me and Shane doodling flowers and things at the bottom of the piece of paper.
By the time we reached the flower drawing stage, we were having a whale of a time. I think it was all getting a bit boring for Andy though. He’d been on babysitting duty for several hours and me and Shane had been having that whale of a time for quite a while. Not having ever done acid himself, Andy came to the rash but understandable conclusion that it would stay that way. He asked if we really needed him there now. “No, you go home mate. We’ll be fine” we said.
We weren’t fine.
Acid can switch gears on you really quickly. Andy hadn’t been gone very long when something really weird happened. Me and Shane started fancying each other.
I can’t speak for Shane as to why that happened for him. For me though, it happened because I suddenly became under the impression that was a pretty young girl. Long legs. Pert tits. The whole kit and caboodle. Not quite sure where that came from. Maybe it had something to do with the time I got taken to the cinema to watch the 1976 version of King Kong when I was a kid. For a few weeks after that I used to pretend I was Jessica Lange’s character, Dwan. Though I think that was more to do with wanting to own a fifty foot high gorilla than any fluidity in my sexual identity.
Well wherever it came from, the “fancying each other” part of the trip didn’t last long. The acid switched gears on us again. LSD has a rare side effect where it makes you puke and shit uncontrollably. Did I suffer with this rare side effect? No. Shane did though.
So, we ended up with Shane on the toilet with his trousers around his ankles and me holding a saucepan in front of his face to throw up into. Unfortunately, this saucepan had some leftover rice in it. This rice was translated by my friend’s drug addled brain into him throwing up live maggots. And blood. What a lovely time we were having.
It was at this point that our flatmate Mark came home from a night out at The Mayfair, a rock nightclub in the town centre. He saw the delightful tableau of me and Shane in the bathroom. Me holding a saucepan full of vomit and Shane on the toilet shaking like whippet that’s been locked out of the house on a winter night.
“I assume you took that acid then?” he said.
We nodded our meek and silent affirmation.
“Do you want to go to the park?” Mark asked this question in a particular way. The way you would ask a toddler who’s got himself all upset about something but who has calmed down now and is a bit confused because he’s forgotten what he was upset about in the first place.
So we got cleaned up and Mark took us to the massive park about half a mile away. Bearing in mind this was well after two in the morning. He walked us round and talked us down from whatever hallucinations and paranoias were afflicting us. And trust me, there were a lot of hallucinations and paranoias. By the time the sun came up, we were over the worst of it and were able to back to the flat and sleep it off.
We owe Mark a very great debt of gratitude for that, me and Shane. I honestly think if he hadn’t turned up like a knight in shining armour that we would both have been basket cases for the rest of our lives. Though there are some of our mutual friends who would insist that we did end up as basket cases for the rest of our lives. The cheeky fuckers.
So, what is the moral of this story? If indeed there is one? Well, there is no moral really but there are a few of useful lessons.
If you have done one acid trip and it was great and you’re thinking of doing it again, maybe you’d best leave it at one. You’re not going to have any experiences you haven’t had already. Though you might end up with your trolleys around your ankles puking into a saucepan.
If you’ve never done acid before, remember that dropping acid is – to paraphrase Forrest Gump- like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get. My advice would be, don’t bother.
But if you ignore this advice and you absolutely have to do LSD, remember this. Get a Babysitter who has had plenty of trips and preferably one who has babysat before on lots of occasions. And above all, never – and I do mean never– listen to any Frank Zappa while you’re tripping.
© Copyright Michael Grimes 2015