Archive for September 2003

MFU gets into bearpit: The Swiss Story Part 4   Leave a comment

Oh, I forgot an episode from the previous night where me and Phil were playing table football and it was like 9-all and then this great big muscular Eurorocker with a swoosh cut comes up and indicates that we is challenged, as indeed we are, but mainly by a dearth of da skillz and a surfeit of da drink. Phil comes round my side of the table and we take on the SUPREMELY CONFIDENT NEW WAVE VIKING, who kicks our laughing asses round the table of course. After every goal he does a little dancing motion that is mainly a thrust at the hips, but he is soundless throughout. When we are finished being good and thrashed he steps back from the table and throws out his arms majestically, and then walks away, leaving us giggling goofily and asking ourselves whether that really did just happen.
So then I wake up in the morning and feel like THE SHIT OF DEATH, and then I feel like I might live and after some confused discussions and an apple each we decide to head out into town to see a bit of Bern before we have to leave. The weather is absolutely gorgeous but the heat starts to waken my nausea and before long I am struggling to deal with crossing roads and avoiding trams and the very gentle culture shock of Switzerland in general. By now the whole heroin thing has become a bit of a running joke and as we pass by a big Konzert Haus I am kidding Phil that the next time he comes he’s going to be playing there with a 60-piece orchestra to loads of old Swiss rich people in too much gold and fur, but that they’ll all be nodding out. A huge valley divides Bern and we keep having to look down hundreds of feet to the beautiful river below, but this is just a big mixture of hangover and vertigo for me, and I keep thinking about the flight home.
We lastly visit Bern’s bear pit, which features real live bears that sit about sadly waiting for people to chuck morsels of sweet modern crud at them. Phil sort of gets into it because he’s got German bear blood in him or something.
Finally we hurry back to the Reitschule and after awkward goodbyes (which mine always are) we hop back into the hire car, which hasn’t been tagged like expected, and embark on a really fucking nasty motorway journey to Bern. I’m the worst passenger in the world and my nerves are shot to fuck. You would have thought I’d been to Vietnam or something. I basically hate all forms of transport right down to bicycles.
Then we hang around Geneva Airport for 4½ hours and I spend money on tiny little cans of Kronenbourg rather than food and continue to feel rough. The terrace café is a real jet set place though and it’s kind of cool to watch the planes landing and taking off in the sun, with a backdrop of impressively mountainous terrain.
Last of all we eat a packet of crisps, get on Flight 911, and I cane vodka but survive.
Now it’s two days later and I feel really flat and without motivation, but not unhappy. My urge to get fucked all the time has been lost in transit too, so I’m having some kind of unconscious detox. This is without historical precedent. Doubtlessly the urge will soon return.

Posted September 24, 2003 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

Support Your Local Spaceman: The Swiss Story Part 3   Leave a comment

So, uh, yeah. Then I come offstage and although I’m a bit pissed off I’m philosophical about it because that’s what I did in college and it sure doesn’t prepare you for any other job. Keyboard-dude from Morbius buys my CD (first copy of The Old Album sold to anyone in the world) and this cheers me up quite a bit, and then the slightly camp older barman buys another one and, as I always do, I take this as a good sign. I have to, you see. He even wants me to sign it and I feel a bit silly putting my jobseeker’s allowance name down so I do a goofy drawing too just to show I’m an artist. He asks me how much I want for it and I don’t understand the currency because it’s numerical and so I ask how much Morbius are charging for theirs and then ask for two thirds of that sum and then he gives me the full whack anyway in a manner that suggests that he doesn’t want to argue about it. Then Morbius play and I find myself getting into the thing they do between songs where Bones starts talking random crap at the audience, sometimes amusingly and sometimes totally randomly, and then the rest of the band crash into the next song whether he sounds like he’s finished or not, which can be very funny. All the time I’m feeling sorry for Phil because he’s got sleep deprivation, fading drug psychosis and a room full of nobody at all to take into SPACE. Sometimes that sort of shit can do you a favour though, and it must have because he comes on and does the best set I’ve ever seen him do, and I’ve now seen him do a lot of really good ones. It’s only now that I realise that all the fucking about with the lights earlier on in the day is because they have a really good set of lights and MFU looks like a ASTRAL HEFNER MOTHERFUCKER and not some dude who has to TAKE SHIT FROM MORONS IN DIFFERENT-COLOURED HATS IN A FUCKING JAM FACTORY just to feed his kids and bring us DER SPACE MUSIK. And I’ve got it all on video, or most of it anyway. He does this brilliant new tune called Dead Astronaut or something where he puts on a simple paper mask that makes his face look blank and then pretends to float lifelessly as his machines bleep and bloop along, seemingly without purpose. It’s a nothing idea but it’s so effective, like Japanese theatre or something. He does a lot of upbeat, catchy stuff that any consumer could relate to too, a lot more polished like he’s really got his chops together. His theremin sounds decreasingly like a WOW MACHINE and more like a judiciously used favourite colour in his sonic palette. I start thinking about how maybe MFU isn’t such an acquired taste anymore and how he could really rock something like All Tomorrow’s Parties or whatever, and I mean that in a good way. People would love it. SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SPACEMAN, I say.
Finally DJ Dolomite, who looks a bit like Simon (fuck it, he is Simon OK?) gets up and starts wading through a charmingly all-over-the-place set that defies my trainspotting by and large. Me and Morbius and Sandro all play table football and I drink about a zillion corn beers because the fridge never empties because these sophisticated Europeans understand that THE ARTIST’S PAIN manifests itself as THIRST. I feel kind of stupid and cheap though, because they have Orval (plus various Chimays) behind the bar and this is about my favourite beer in the whole world, and yet I don’t drink a single one.
Then some young geezer with long hair who is very tall starts talking to me and I can’t remember if he didn’t speak English or whether I had lost the ability myself but we couldn’t seem to communicate whatsoever, and yet he still wanted to stand very close to me indeed. Phil wandered up guilelessly and I pointed at him, and then at the bloke by way of introductions. Matey ignored Phil and continued to set up camp in my personal space. I was too drunk for diplomacy so I wandered off somewhere else. Matey appeared at my shoulder. I wandered off somewhere else quite fast. Instantaneous materialisation of Homo Europus in that zone too. I sprinted for the balcony to escape, only realizing as I got there that if I leant on the railing and looked out into the night sky I might as well be wearing a powder-blue off-the-shoulder cocktail dress, even if the available vista mainly featured staggering punks and junkies jacking up rather than elegant examples of topiary. Too late! He was behind me! I pegged it away with wild eyes, and a chase ensued until I made it to the safety of the backstage area. Thereupon Phil and I rolled the only joint I smoked over the weekend, and afterwards I was too fucked to tell Simon (who was being held to DJ ransom by a small group of dancing people on ecstasy) that I was going to call it a day, let alone go back out and have to deal with HAIR-BOY’S PURSUIT OF WHATEVER. I go upstairs, climb into my bunk and crash out in about ¾ of a second.

Posted September 24, 2003 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

Dancing Dad Syndrome: The Swiss Story Part 2   Leave a comment

So where was I? Ah yes, there I was, on tour in Europe, reading a book.
After a while Sandro lays out some food in the dressing room area, and I haven’t eaten all day because I’ve been saving myself for this because Simon has told me that the food is really good. However, this isn’t the main meal, this is just the “get-in” food – a quick snack in case you’ve been in a transit van for 9 hours with no Swiss currency. Now I am properly starving, and this food looks far more than edible to me, almost like a table full of sex or something, because it’s just the sort of thing I like. There’s 3 different types of bread, and 3 different types of cheese, and four different types of cold meats, and pickles, fruit, pretzels, chocolate, sweet and savoury biscuits, orange juice etc etc. There’s even nuts. Then he brings in the beer, and its like two cases of special corn beer. But because I’m a nim-num, I get stuck into the beer (obviously) but I decide to save myself for the evening meal because we’re due to get that in about an hour or so at 7:30PM. As it happens we get caught in that Moebius (or should that be Morbius?) strip of the time continuum known in the rock and roll world as the soundcheck and Simon ends up driving round town to look for bass guitars and we don’t get to eat until about 11PM (doors open at 10PM and there ain’t no curfew). Dinner is a kind of amazing experience for me because we are all very politely asked to come downstairs to the restaurant bit of the venue and there is wine and you have to choose from a menu and not for the first time or last time in the weekend I get the distinct feeling that I have woke up in the wrong life or something. Despite all this luxury, and perhaps a little bit because of it, I am getting pretty edgy because I’ve been hanging around for hours and the 60 or so people who are hanging around outside the venue caning it look as though they might just have spent any money they had on beers and stuff rather than saving some to pay to see Brain of Morbius, Pete UM and The Man from Uranus. Oh yeah, that’s right, I’m billed as Pete Um and described as being “like a rough or snotty version of Billy Bragg”, while Phil is compared to Stockhausen. So, I’m a bit freaked out because I’ve had no food, I’m on first and there’s no one there. Then this belligerent and skanky old drunk with one eye comes in and pulls up a chair next to me and starts barking in German, or possibly dog. His voice has an amazing tone – incredibly loud and piercing and I keep trying to switch my DV camera on to capture it. Eventually he fucks off leaving his empty beer bottle on the table. I ask if this is the local mentalbrau and the soundman tells me that it’s actually quite a good beer. Everyone eats and leaves before I get the sense and the courage to ask where mine is, with the result that I end up eating alone at the end of a massive table, wolfing down my food because I think I’m due onstage about an hour ago. When I get back upstairs I see that there is indeed only about four paying customers in this massive room and I start to feel like a bit of an international let-down and the sort of Gareth Gates-style urge/shameless need to entertain just drains out of me, leaving a sort of resigned twat in his thirties who’s eaten a bit too quickly. Nevertheless Simon is DJ-ing that UNKLE remix of Can’s Vitamin C and that kind of jumpstarts me a bit and we have an amusing conversation about how Phil got asked to play theremin with Then Jericho at Glastonbury and Simon, who’s usually got some rock tour story for every occasion, relates how he heard that they would get off the bus unless the coke was there etc, and indeed Phil says that he ended up doing some coke in their van with them, and then they went on (without Phil) and got booed off after two songs. The idea of Phil doing coke in a van at Glastonbury with Then Jericho is just too perfect for me.
So anyway, I change into my suit and mooch about for a bit, mainly staring at the kids getting bombed outside and finding only seedy lumps in the sieve of my perception. There’s a balcony that you can stand on and look down onto the area in front of the building. This balcony has a kind of magnetic draw to it and I notice that Sandro keeps going over to stand there and look a bit depressed for a while. The PA is booming out at these disaffected Swiss youth but no one even glances in the direction of the building. The idea that this brilliant venue is being abused starts to swell out of all proportion in my mind, even though I’d probably be out there on the steps if I was a Swiss teen, and possibly even as an adult British male, and I get all saddened and deflated. For a little while we discuss the idea that I could sing from the balcony, which would have been fucking perfect in my little universe, but it proves too technically tricksome. Eventually I go on and perform to the other bands, the venue staff, a crazy punk who tries to get me to smoke some weed before I’ve even begun, and a few others. I sort of start OK and finish OK but there’s a fairly long section in the middle where I lose all heart and soul. I also leave out five or six songs so as not to prolong the agony. As usual these days, my dancing skills desert me apart from during Holy Fire. Simon and I share a theory that this is due to DANCING DAD SYNDROME, whereby the fact that we have done our silly business as humans by procreating has sapped us of our cosmick male mystery which makes us cool and responsive to rhythm and is needed to attract wimmin and their wombs etc. In the past I fancied myself as a mover, but somewhere along the line the moves just moved off somewhere else. Simon reckons that if he had gone out the night that Daniel was born he would have discovered that he had ceased to feel the groove within himself, and danced instead like someone’s Dad. After all, why are so many professional dancers homosexual? You can’t hide from science.
OK, more in a bit. I was only away for a day and a half so I’ll run out of this nonsense soon.

Posted September 23, 2003 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

Fright Attendant Pete Um   Leave a comment

Goodness gracious me I feel terrible, but at least I’m alive, contrary to expectations. Flight 911 (no I’m not joking) landed with a hell of a bump but there were no mid-air collisions or engine failures and hijacks were kept to an absolute minimum. What a waste of dread, as Peter Tosh’s Mum used to say. Today I should feel relieved but I’m afraid I drank too much vodka yesterday and I feel like killing myself. My advice to impressionable young kids reading this is that if you do drink heavily, try to eat sensibly as well. Don’t have a breakfast of an apple and a dinner of a packet of crisps and snack on lager all day, and then go and bosh as much Stolichnaya down your gregory (my thanks to Bones of Brain Of Morbius for this addition to the Dictionary of Rhyming Slang) as you can whilst the stewardess isn’t looking.
I don’t think I can do the Switzerland story justice, not that anything happened in particular, but you know what I’m like. In the past few weeks I’ve done a lot of rehearsing, burned a whole load of Special Edition Swiss versions of The Old Album, and did a vast amount of needless fretwork about going on a fearoplane. I planned to rid my body of toxins and get plenty of rest before the trip, but on the eve of the UM & MAN FROM URANUS SWISS TOUR 2003 I drank lager and red wine to steady my nerves and then got woken up at 6AM by a fly. Yes that’s right, a fly. The thing kept flying around and landing on my head until I was thoroughly awake and annoyed and frustrated and although I usually do not kill insects I lashed out at the bugger blindly and manage to stun the fucker with ninja jam. I sat up and saw him lying on the pillow next to me like a tiny black lover, and so I killed him with my hand. Immediately I was filled with fear of Greek-style tragedy in case this was some sort of awful fuck-up in the eyes of many harsh and vengeful gods. “See how easy it is to smite things out of the air, Pete Um”, they might be saying. Couldn’t get back to sleep after that, apart from a brief ten minutes in which I dreamt that I had to kiss Syd and say goodbye to him, and then I woke up and had to do it again realstyles.
And so we drove to Luton Airport, which is one of the most romantic places on earth, and humped a lot of gear (MFU brought about 6 of his SPACE ORGANS and god knows what) about through departure lounges (for those dear ones who are about to depart) and curious gay men looked at us funny but gave us no gyp about electronic equipment. Simon’s mate Andy sent us a text saying he was running late and that he might not make it and then he didn’t make it and Simon reckons he did it on purpose because he gets fear as well, which didn’t make me feel any better. However, two pints of lager in the Shakespeare Bar did (Shakespeare was from Luton, you see, and lived near the airport in fact) and then we got on what Simon kept amusingly calling the EasyJet Death Sausage. We took off but did not die and so I ordered a double G&T. Then we landed but did not die and I felt cheerful but confused and we drove from Geneva to Bern in a fancy hire car on the wrong side of the road (our time) and I sat in the back and tried to concentrate on my Iggy Pop book.
Sam told me that Switzerland would be very clean and that the beer would be expensive, but I discovered that in fact the beer is free (for Rock Jesuses like myself anyway) and that Bern is the graffiti capital of the world. Dachstock Reitschule is a former riding school (hence the name) that was squatted about twenty years ago but seems to function as a venue and café on a legitimate basis nowadays. The building, and every inch of every surface around it, including the huge concrete railway bridge in front of it, is covered in graffiti and tags. It’s quite a spectacle. Adding to the spectacle are large numbers of young people living alternative lifestyles on the steps of the Reitschule itself. Dreadlocks, bongs, and a lot of punk warpaint. I tried to look like someone who might be good to see live in concert, but I felt like someone’s dad, as indeed I am. Inside, we discover that Dachstock is a fucking RIGHTEOUS place to play, as the main room is a huge wooden A-frame and the desk is vast, brand-spanking new, and the PA is the bollocks and lighting-people are getting busy with it and everything just looks cool as fuck from a travelling minstrel perspective. The soundman is pleasant, intelligent, smokes with a holder and looks like an Aryan Marty Feldman. The we go outside to get the machines that we use to make the music and under the bridge I spy a trio of people who appear to be injecting something like, I don’t know, heroin for instance. It turns out that Bern had it’s own version of Zurich’s notorious Needle Park and when that got too ugly they unofficially moved Junkieland to right outside the Reitschule so they could blame it on the freaks there. This is what I understand from a couple of drunken conversations, so I could be wrong of course.
Then we meet Sandro (Hi Sandro!) who is promoting this gig out of the goodness of his heart as far as I can tell (thanks, man!) and he makes us a coffee and tells us how the new desk is has been a bit of a financial burden on the place and I start to get about four little hairs stand up on the back of my neck and I realize that these hairs represent the number of people who are going to come and see us tonight. The coffee is wonderful and a spliff goes round. I refuse because I am here to work and do the job that I love rather than spend the next two hours gibbering underneath the bed, as I have heard that Swiss weed is decent stuff and I, as we all know, get the fear off three pulls on a crummy soap spliff. The Man From Uranus, despite suffering form a similar chink in his psychological armour (a similarity which we have bonded over many times, often whilst getting wasted) sees fit to accept. Within two minutes he proclaims himself unable to use sellotape and I realise that he has gone mental. The poor fucker has been up for 24 hours anyway because he usually works nights, and Simon, who has a bit of a Mr. Fixit side to his character in the same way that I have a Mr. Oh-No-What-If-It-All-Goes-Wrong? side to mine, asks him if he needs to get an hours kip before the soundcheck, and he gratefully agrees. For the next two hours As far as we are concerned he is upstairs asleep but when he reappears he tells us he has been gibbering underneath the bed. Actually he was on top of the bed but he can’t decide which way he should be facing in order to prevent a heart attack. Needless to say I feel for the poor bastard, and I feel relieved that I have grown used to our Earth ways and hip to cause and effect and so on. At this point Simon comes in with an enormous amount of weed in an envelope that we have been given for free. I turn back to my book, feeling ashamed to be reading, and even more so to be reading a biography of Iggy Pop.
OK I’m tonying on and this story is getting too long. I’m going to serialise it. See you in a bit.

Posted September 23, 2003 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

canis est in via   Leave a comment


Reading my own website, and in doing so discovering distractingly shameful amounts of records that I’ve forgotten I’d bought.

Posted September 14, 2003 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

Beyond comprehension   Leave a comment

It’s a crazy old world out there. First the Taliban start bombing 2000 year old Buddhist statues, then the U.S.A starts bombing everywhere else (not that they haven’t been at this since WW2) and then I read in Now – “Britain’s bestselling celebrity magazine”) that Jessie Wallace has had breast reduction surgery. Fucked up times, man.

I think I missed the mark with my description of the nerdy guys on Mill Road the other day. It comes across as me sneering at the dweebish, but it was actually meant to be at my expense, honest.

Posted September 10, 2003 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

In which the enthusiast steals from the needy, but gets Red Exposure   Leave a comment

Unusual vinyl windfall today. Striding beerwards towards the Co-op at about 5:45PM, I am surprised to see a pile of thirty or forty records dumped outside that charity shop that’s next to The Cat Flap. Without noticeable hesitation, I head over to the pile. It’s pretty good. I take about half the stuff.

Nah-Poo – The Art Of Bluff – WAH!
Troy Tate – Ticket To The Dark
Dome – Will You Speak This Word
Dome – Dome 1
Wire – Ibtaba (no signed print or postcards).
Wire – A Bell Is A Cup
Wire – The Ideal Copy
Wire Train – …In A Chamber (I thought this was Wire ‘cos I was being a little quick because I felt a bit scabby rooting around in bags outside charity shops).
999 -Separates
Steve Hillage – L (amusingly, I have two copies of this already)
Various – Methods Of Dance (if this was the cassette it’s worth something).
Ultravox – Ha! Ha! Ha!
Ultravox – Ultravox!
Jeremy Gluck with Nikki Sudden & Rowland S. Howard & Jeffrey Lee Pierce- I Knew Buffalo Bill
The Passions – Michael & Miranda
Dalek I – Compass
Bauhaus – The Sky’s Gone Out (w/ Press Eject & Give Me The Tape)
Chrome – Red Exposure (oh yes, I was truly meant to stumble across this pile of records)
John Renbourn – Faro Annie

Eighty-two quid in the book. Would have been another £48 on top of that but for lack of free 7″s, postcards, inner sleeves etc. Obviously it’s not cool to steal charitable donations but something tells me that that pile wouldn’t have been there in the morning. Somebody would have nicked them.

Posted September 5, 2003 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

Pain Is Circular   Leave a comment

Not sure if I can do this justice but:

The other day I’m walking along Mill Road and behind me I can hear two young men in conversation. Their dull office talk and humourless jokes quickly set me off on a misanthropic jag that has me narrowing my eyes and sneering away invisibly in front of them. I picture them mentally as being everything I have failed to become, a pair of generic British Everyblokes with high street styled facial hair and a first mortgage, key players in the office five-a-side team, men who can drive cars and enjoy doing so. I feel myself start to swoon with hate. Then I am held up and they pass me, and they reveal themselves to be the nerdiest pair of saps you’ve ever seen in your life – two raw individuals that God evidently couldn’t be bothered to design as anything other than deeply uncool. Taking the Creator’s hint, they have also dressed themselves accordingly in uninteresting shades of man-made fibres. Essentially, these are two birds of a feather about whom no-one is ever going to bother to even take the time to make their mind up about. Like beasts of the field, they would provoke hostility only in the insane. “Aw, bless.” I find myself thinking, “Sorry guys – I didn’t mean to hate you!”

If only I could get people to love me, I think I might be able to cut down on hating everybody else. I’ve done a new song that touches (very lightly) on this. It’s called “Pain Is Circular”.

Posted September 3, 2003 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

Just like Sister Sledge said…   Leave a comment

On a day and in a week when I have been confounded again and again by the forces of mediocrity, the gods that watch over the utterly spiritually bereft have seen fit at least to allow to complete my collection of Prince records (excluding the shite stuff) on vinyl, and at only moderate expense. Today I got the first one (“Prince” – nice cover, wish I’d thought of that), “Controversy” (which I’d been after for some time, although thinking about it, I do have it on CD already, and finally “1999”, although I do have the version without “DMSR” (what the fuck is the point of that?) already, and a copy on cassette for that matter. I also have DMSR on 12″ and CD single. Don’t laugh at me though, because I left behind “For You” (you can have that one) and “Parade”. I also got The Time’s “Ice Cream Castles”. All for 6 quid.

Other recent buys:

The New Possibility: John Fahey’s Guitar Soli Christmas Album – John Fahey
Wango – Baaba Maal
Soubindoor – Jali Musa Jawara
The House Sound Of Chicago Vol. 3 Acid Tracks – Various
Who Knocked The Brains Out Of The Sky – Eric Von Schmidt
The Road to Ruin – John & Beverley Martin
When Boys Talk 12″ – Indeep
Cue For Saxophone – Billy Strayhorn & His Orchestra
Back To Back/Side By Side – Duke Ellington & Johnny Hodges
Life Of Brian Soundtrack – Monty Python
A Memory Of Johnny Hodges – Johnny Hodges
The Lady Sings Vol. 3 – Billie Holiday
Como El Agua – Camaron con Paco Del Lucia
Paco – Paco De Lucia
Soy Grande Por Ser Gitano – El Camaron De La Isla
The Golden Years Vol. 2 – Billie Holiday
Two Turntables & A Crate Of Skint 12″ – Bassbin Twins
Wa Do Dem 12″ – Sativa
Cos I Can 12″ – The Hardknox

How I wish I had some kind of radio show that would justify all this nonsensical expenditure. Either that or an assistant trained in the simple art of sampling. Or possibly somebody who could help me set up an Ebay account. My room is filling up too fast. You can’t move about within it. I’m like Sister Sledge in here.

Posted September 1, 2003 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

In which I give myself The Fear on my day off.   Leave a comment

I’m sure there are as many types of hangover as there are stars in the sky. The other day in Cornwall, where I was wedged between my common-law wife, my curious antecedents and my lippy offspring in some theoretical holiday situation, I awoke with a hangover of the soul. I smelt of boozy sweat and bad faith, like a nasty man. In fact I was a bad and nasty man, because Sam was taking Syd to Torquay that day and so I had the time off to do it all again, plus I would have done anyway innit. I had to time my departure from the house in order to just miss the arrival of some “old friends” (Jesus – what kind of grim freaks could they possibly be?) of Mum and Dave’s from Fernhurst, and also to give me enough time to sniff out a hostelry known as the Crow’s Nest, apparently a mile away across the moorlands.
By the time Barkly and I reached the stony yellow scree of the old tin mine’s slagheaps, it was brain-fuckingly hot and we were both panting without dignity. Young Cornish people were doing alarming things on quad bikes and the heat and the noise was making me feel irritated and slightly panicky. I had to keep shouting at the deaf dog when the teens roared past like their short lives meant nothing, and my bag was heavy with notebooks and cameras and rock biogs and ganja and penny whistles, and I felt like some sort of countryside-loving old buffer who just wanted a bit of peace and quiet to do a bit of staring in. I found the pub fairly easily. I could tell where it was because my liver was straining in the opposite direction like a spooked horse, plus I had an old mining map (reprinted in an expensive book that I had to buy David for Christmas).
I lumbered into the pub and the barman looked at me like I was carrying a comedy style bomb with FUCK THE WORLD written on it in white paint. “Hi,” I said.
“…blurugh..” he muttered, under his breath.
I ordered a pint of HSD.
In the garden two old ears were having a conversation that neither of them could be particularly bothered with.
“Will you have a sweet dear?”
“No, I think I’ve had…er…sufficient. Will you have a sweet?”
Then the barman comes out to take their plates and one of them starts fawning over him rather bizarrely, going on and on about the superlative quality of the food.
“Well, I’m glad you ate it all,” he says, gruffly.
I buy my second pint and this time matey comes over all matey, as they sometimes do, and when I’ve finished that I release Barkly from where he has been tethered and shaking with small-dog nerves and we set off again.
So now I reckon, all full of HSD, that I’m OK to have just a really small pipe. In the end I find myself having the sort of lungful that makes your lungs burn so much that they fling out half the smoke in violent, helpless coughing, and so I’m there in an old tin mine building choking like some sort of crack addict, and this is where it all starts to go hideously WRONG KONG.
I climb back up the hill towards where the quad-people were, and indeed still are, and by the time I’ve done that the exertion and the heat and the double-time heartbeat associated with THE FEAR have sent me on an UGLY DEATH TRIP IN MY MIND. I stop for a while because I’m too paranoid to make human contact with the teen-bikers because I know I might as well have a big sign above my head saying COSMIC JOKER and I need desperately to calm down somehow. Unfortunately the humming stillness of the summer heat creates a sort of pumping tension that threatens to derail me once and for all and my heart is beating like a gabba kick drum and I hear some more people approaching on the path behind me and realize that I am trapped and I suddenly blurt out “I’m in a hellworld!”
And then I sort of look around at the countryside and the sunshine and get a sudden sense that I have to get a grip on myself. I imagine what Richard Rippin would be thinking if he could see me know, and I realize he’d probably be laughing his tiny head off, and so I go off and hide in some undergrowth and make a short film about being paranoid on drugs for Richard Rippin.
I think the worst aspect of The Fear is that no matter where you are YOU ARE FUCKED and you can’t access some safe zone where everything will be OK because THERE IS NOWHERE TO RUN AND NOWHERE TO HIDE. I swear I could be on a boat in the middle of the ocean and I’d be hallucinating cops or killer whales or something. I’m quite proud of the fact that a bad dose of The Fear made me hallucinate an entire dog once. Me and Cosmic Keith had a spliff up on the downs and as we staggered back down I heard a sudden noise behind me and I manage to conjure up this vicious hound snapping at my heels. The funny thing was that it wasn’t a mystical black dog or a frothing Rottweiler but a small white dog, like a poodle or something!
Anyway, my problem in this instance out on the moors was that I couldn’t go home to mother because mother was there, and so were the friends from Ferhurst. I figured I’d better give them at least two hours to do a visit, but that that should be easily enough because there were heading back Oop North to West Sussex. So I went and hid in the undergrowth again and made another long film about paranoia, and a small one about a caterpillar. As I finally got up to try my hand at reality again, I saw a couple in their thirties walking across the heath towards me. There was something about everything about them that enabled me to intuit that they were planning to make love, and I sat back down again hurriedly. Then I realized I was hiding in a bush next to a clearing, clutching a video camera, and looking a little distracted perhaps. There were now about thirty feet away, and appeared to have stopped. Either they were going to do the summer loving there, or they had spotted me and were afraid, and either way I was the one that was fucked because I could hardly try and slope off whilst they were in the middle of it. You see what I mean about nowhere to hide? I drew myself to my full height from my hidden position in the two foot undergrowth, and, pretending I hadn’t seen them, walked purposefully off in the other direction, trying to look as much like John Craven as possible.
I figured that by now it would be safe to go home, but neared my Mum’s house I saw an unfamiliar vehicle parked outside. I hesitated in the road for a few seconds, trying to decide whether to turn and run back on to the heath, but then realized that I might have already been spotted by someone in the house, and that running away might look a tad weird. I don’t think anyone was watching me at that point but if they were they would then have been treated to the spectacle of me opening a cattle-gate a little way to squeeze through, and then get my rucksack snarled up, so that I was caught for a few long seconds before wriggling through like a demented sheep.
Thank fuck everyone was in the back garden, and I raced upstairs to hide, grabbing a can of Stella on the way. They would know I was home by the dog’s appearance, but I would have ten or fifteen minutes grace before they might start to think I was some sort of asocial monster and I’d have to go and introduce myself, and then they’d realize that indeed I was, and with darting red eyes. I also had a hunch that the guests would be fatigued by the social rituals of the visit, and might take the opportunity to say goodbye to Mum and David before having to say hello to some strange adult son who disappears upstairs after dog walks. This was in fact the case, and after about five minutes, I heard them leave. This felt like such a victory of the intellect that the last few large chunks of paranoia were washed down with the Stella’s chemically bubbles, and I descended the stairs with the air of one who has leapt from the frying pan onto the countertop, and so it was because I spent the rest of the afternoon preparing dinner, which had seemed like a hideous millstone of responsibility a bit earlier, but now was a welcome and productive chore to focus on, and smilin
g inanely at whoever came past.
It’s funny, because I’d thought I’d made a video document of a mind in turmoil experiencing a nasty drug freakout, but the footage is actually fairly amusing.

Posted September 1, 2003 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized