This may be a good time to post this again. Apologies if you saw it already. You may have to wade through the archives to make any sense of it....
Simon and Arthur got back from India OK. Arthur is living in the suburbs. Simon is in London. He's in the process of becoming a writer, publishing the odd article in the so-called alternative press. Arthur goes up to see him one weekend. They decide to go to a groovy new club Simon knows about.
‘You feel anything yet?’ Simon asked when they were waiting for the train.
‘Er…no,’ said Arthur, ‘not really.’ They’d taken the LSD in Simon’s Ladbroke Grove bed-sitting room not knowing what to expect. But something was happening. They’d got to Notting Hill Gate Station without incident and bought tickets from a machine that pulsated with chemical light. More so than usual Arthur thought. Colours were getting brighter, the rush of the train when it came, the swoosh of the doors which opened and sucked them in, the tube itself where everything became electric…even the multi-coloured passengers. Sitting across from Arthur was a Chelsea pensioner with the consistency of a Dali watch. There were vibrating walls, melting floors, unidentifiable lizard-headed creatures and all the other psychedelic special effects that were to render ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ virtually unwatchable so many years later.
The train was moving through a time tunnel. That was obvious. ‘Real time has collapsed in on itself,’ said Simon, ‘seriously perhaps, who knows?’ ‘It could be a spiritual experience.’ Said Arthur. Simon seemed to agree. ‘Perhaps we’ll see God,’ he said. Then for no real reason they both started giggling and didn’t stop till they got to Tottenham Court Road.
‘UFO,’ said a hand painted poster. ‘This must be the place,’ said a disembodied voice where Simon had just been. They oozed down a flight of carpeted stairs into a dark cavernous room full of people dancing, wandering around or just standing staring at a stage. On the stage were some musicians pulsing music and behind them a backdrop of amoeba like shapes projected against the wall. They appeared to be emanating from a dark shape raised on some scaffolding.
Arthur stood taking it all in. The music seemed to be everywhere. So did the acid. People were getting hard to distinguish from each other…it was all one…patterns were starting to swirl around him. ‘It’s alright,’ someone said and it was until he became aware of a frizzy-haired head-banded black, make that chocolate-brown, girl dancing in front of him. Dancing? Swirling, writhing…like a gypsy on a beach. One hand waving free.
Jiving, stomping, twisting…didn’t matter what they called the latest gyration Arthur was hopeless at it. Most attempts at dancing were like folding a deck-chair in the wind. The best he could usually manage was a sort of embarrassed shuffle. But during a lull he felt relaxed enough to mutter something about not being much of a dancer and the girl, an American, said ‘Hey don’t worry about it man. We’re all freaks.’ An answer Arthur found less than re-assuring. There was madness in the air and only he could see it. His anxiety was blocking the road to total abandon. And he knew it. His values, his parent’s values, were a burden. ‘I’m Marsha,’ said the girl.
Simon joined them and immediately got into the groove. Simon, always comfortable in any situation. Fluid and graceful, Simon knew how to approach girls and hardly ever got rebuffed. He gave himself effortlessly over to the beat. The three of them danced together separately for a while. For a few beautiful moments Arthur was dancing. Really dancing. Like magic. Dancing outside himself. Above the ground…free. Then he remembered something.
‘I’m off then.’ Said Arthur.
‘I’ve got to sort newspapers in the morning remember?’
Suddenly out of nowhere a surge of warmth welled up inside Simon. He was almost in tears as he said, ‘You really are amazing Arthur, you know that?’
‘In what way?’
‘Oh never mind. Be careful how you go.’
Arthur bought a ticket at Goodge Street Station from a Francis Bacon octopus in a cage. Once on the tube, nerve ends still flashing and sizzling, he narrowly avoided fusion with a group of grotesque celebrants. Somehow he arrived at Victoria in time for the last train back to the sanity of suburbia. Had he seen God? Hard to say. He’d certainly seen something. As he let himself quietly into his parent’s house he wondered what cultural undercurrent decreed that everybody should walk through Portobello Market on Saturdays wearing old military uniforms. On the kitchen table, gently throbbing, was a ham sandwich.
Simon and Marsha, meanwhile, had left UFO and taken a cab to the place where Marsha was staying. It turned out to be a Regency house on Cheyne Walk. There was a spacious bedroom on the second floor. Soft lighting, Indian bed-sheets, Moroccan cushions, joss sticks, standard hippy décor, but there were some classier, expensive-looking touches too, deep sofas, Persian rugs, a Hockney swimming pool or two. Simon asked about the owner. Not here, said Marsha rolling a joint, don’t worry about him. So he didn’t. The hash was the very best Red Leb. The acid waves kept rolling in. They surrendered to whatever it was and immersed themselves in the mysteries of human flesh.