I’m shaking rattling at the door at the bottom of stairs, crashing through suddenly into Dr. Gordon Tripp’s cluttered consulting room – The Laboratorium – a large-lavatory sized single solitary cell. A bed, A window, a medicine cabinet and three tight walls closely covered by bookshelves. “Sit down” He soothes in his familiar deep hypnotic voice “Make yourself at home, this may take some time, there’re food and books, help yourself, feed your head” He trails off into a mutter. He was measuring out nano-micro-milli-grams onto perforated blotting paper, so I began to browse the bookshelves, nibbling at his drug-soaked canapés. Louis Lewin Phantastica Ginsberg and Burroughs The Yage Letters Sidney Cohen Drugs of Hallucination Timothy Leary LSD is Air A handbook of Psychoactive medicines Alexander Trocchi Alan Watts Jerry Garcia Albert Hoffman A Complete Guide to English Literature on Acid, The Confessions of an English Opium Eater. From the corner of my eye the glittering light perforation of reality’s flat blank screen, like dancing light on the surface of a stream. And through the Doc’s window I saw haughty Sylv St. Satan, her long limp blonde hair flapping dog-eared like around her long horsy masculine face, parting au naturel around her long shiney pointed nose. She spots the Marquessa lounging across the cigarette machine in The Sleaziest Bar In The World. Snooty Sylv flares her nostrils in an ingratiating sneer “Well, Hello Darling” She pronounces, with a giggle in her silly voice. Too late! The Marquessa rears up like a cobra, and devours the whole of Sylv’s head in one enormous bloody fanged mouthful. She belches effortlessly, tufts of dead blonde hair flutter from her lips, the crowd applaud, “She devoured her alive before she had the chance to deliver her Judas kiss” one of them cries out, twittering.
The Doc handed me one of the tatters of blotter
“Tell me what you think of it ” He said. We waited quite awhile and then I began to feel that something was happening. “Pass me a pen and paper Doc, I do feel strange” I burbled. As I started to vomit the Doc handed me a sheaf of signed prescription sheets and a purple crayon.
Notes on Walking A disturbing dull hunger drove me out from the hotel room, out into the rain filthy streets, in search of adventures. First through the gleaming metallic caverns of the shopping mall, rain streaking lead down plate glass windows. Across the paved sweep of pedestrian walkway. Into a tight packed square sweeping up a hill to the old town. St. Francis Street, where a dying old man leaned from his warm covered-balcony, coughed then vomited onto the awning of the shop below. Turning right into Painter Street, where this geezer, wet-look gel quiff, all buckskin and rockabilly, asked me for a light. With that I spun around in the town concentric spirals of ancient narrow streets. Painter Street, Cobbler Street, through Spoon Road and Knife Street and deep through Axe Alley, sliding down the hill again to French Avenue and the reassuring grey office blocks around my hotel.
Another time, skirting the sunken pelote court and up the slippery hill where many had fallen, flailing in the sooty snow of the gutter. And wheeling left into the broad spread at the crest of the hill, crowned by St. Vincent’s spire in semi-profile, gleaming big clock face hovering the hour in the misty air “observe the time”.
Or swarming out of the Bordello and through narrow Cobbler’s Street, howling off into the night. Veering and trotting towards, St. Mary’s encrusted archway, her spire squat and scheming, stained the horizon. We were the Mad Medieval gentlemen “preparame mi caballo” “Prepare my horse, my man” echoing through the mid-week peace, bouncing off the bruise blackened sky.
Scuttling, pockets loaded with successful shoplift mission, through the plate glass pedestrianised shopping mall paranoia and here slip right through into the old town narrow cobbled streets to hide in. Steering by the spire of St. Peter’s, we turn confusing circles and spirals, double backs and alleys and concealed back entrances, an inscribed spinning mandala of deceit and escape.
Alone in psychogeographical disorientation, scanning fearful the wide unfamiliar streets. Eyes searching for the guiding spire of St. Michael The Invisible that I never can find. I am exposed and vulnerable cut out from winding old town close walled safety. Manic buzzing mopeds and screeching police cars buffet and tear at my ripped raw nerve endings. A flicker of recognition and slip right here, shuffle unsurely out onto Sleeping Pill Square. Cut across the square boldly now knowing the streets around. A big ‘Hi!’ to all the dealers skulking on the benches. Then uphill clattering steep stepped gap between the crumbling buildings, finally, caught up and concealed in St. Mary’s buttressed heavy brown skirts.
And so I learned to look up, scanning the cityscape for familiar spires, instead of watching the ground for discarded coins and unexpected falls.”
I woke some hours later in a lavatory cubicle, the stench of Jack Daniels in my hair, kneeling in a pool of vomit, the rain drumming on the corrugated plastic roof, it was the light early hours of sunday morning. Far off in another room I could hear Gordon Tripp reading aloud to nobody in particular.
A duller spectacle this earth of ours has not to show than a raining sunday in London, and so, using a technique of transient passage through varied ambiences, literally drifting, I fell into the grappling embraces of the first junkie that asked me to buy him a drink. The image of the eternal quest for the gold buried beneath the filth and horror, an initiation into nothingness. Destiny, my evil destiny, lay in wait for me once more.
Wet-look quiff, cowboy boots, psychobilly mentality and a borstal tattoo reading ‘PuNk’, he threatened to besiege the citadel of life itself. Locked in cold sweaty fuck tumbling through the fissures of the urban network. I’ve often regretted that it didn’t kill me.
The man who opened to me my own paradise, the tattoo was only the start, the dread agent of unimaginable pleasure and pain. Frankie Fucked-Up the druggist, unconscious minister of celestial pleasures. In this way the spatial field of the derive (drifting) is determined by whether the activity is aimed at studying terrain or at emotional disorientation. The beatific vision of an immortal druggist, sent down to earth on a special mission to myself, my personal medicine man.
I have found that the most fruitful numerical arrangement consists of several small groups of two or three people. Fornicators, butchers, dealers in hides and animal hair, wool and handlers of bonemeal, shacked up with an intravenous drug-waiter, who have all reached the same awakening of consciousness. Entombed together alone with the mysteries of the human mind. He called himself a waiter and a chef, but I swear the only utensils he knew were the bent spoon and the rusty needle.
The celestial drug infected by inhaling, ingesting or injecting spores. One can see the virtually limitless resources of this pastime.
With his strange connections I now saw that happiness can be bought and carried in the waistcoat pocket, portable heavens may be corked in a bottle. Although he spoke no English, and I spoke no Spanish, we communicated chemically. The average duration of the derive (drifting) is one day – considered as the time between two periods of sleep. Laid out on my bed chasing the dragon through a bic biro, we let ourselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the pleasures we found there. Through the infiltration of tissue a lucrative line in fencing and areas of necrosis. I demanded another injection, the pain was so intense that I thought it was pleasure.
A purple stitched up slash from chest to groin, oh heavens! What a revulsion, what an uplifting from the inner depths of my deepest spirits. Sneaking back to his mum’s place for the cooking foil, pockets full of shoplifted glue.
An apocalypse of the world within me, here was the panacea for all human woes. The secret of happiness itself. I watched the gunshot wounds weep in his buttocks, the formation of a carbuncle, and I felt the diviner part of my nature in a state of cloudless serenity, I watched him lay out lines with his ID card. Portable heavens. Since the methodology of psychogeographical observation is still in its infancy, we’re pursing the theory of the derive.
I demanded another injection, he made me wait as long as possible. Each time I pronounced the hated ‘I’ word I had to slash my arms with razor blades so I could not forget that there can be no supreme progress while I had the slightest trace of self remaining. I soon learned how to empty cigarettes and load them with other substances, my apprenticeship to the omnipotent druggist had begun in earnest. I pleaded for another injection, literally drifting, one can see the virtually limitless possibilities of this resourceful pastime. Like slipping into buildings undergoing demolition, hitch hiking non-stop without destination, wandering in catacombs forbidden to the public.
Destiny, my evil destiny, lay in wait for me once again, social activities being distributed in distinct concentric circles, the first surveys into psychogeographical articulations of the modern city brought me full circle on a downward spiral, shacked up with an intravenous drug-waiter, with strange connections, a lucrative sideline in stolen goods, a purple stitched up slash, gunshot wounds in his arse, the social whirl of the shooting gallery. A sequence of derives pursued without noticeable interruption for around two years. I pleaded for another injection.
I demanded another injection, the celestial drug, the abyss of divine enjoyment finally revealed. Te quiero, te quiero, te amo, mas, mas asi, ahora, asi ahora, ya, ya, suelta la cintura, mas asi, bueno. Darme la insulina, toca mia, asi.
The pain was so intense that I screamed, I felt amazingly adrift, I begged for another injection, I was lost.
A stained smear of fluid hovering over Spain.”
Morning after alcohol sick and shame, I woke into one sunday after another, wobbling on a piss stained lavatory seat, head in my hands, with such ease I am vomiting gloriously, up up and out through my right nasal passage, raising my cup to the lord god fuck yourself and the future rushes onward into a dark circular centre on the psychic horizon. Throbbing black sun symbol tattooed on my wrist, then a pupil and iris, an eye, eye of Horus. The eye spins clockwise, hovering and filling my vision. Rotating spiral eye sucks me in, spinning in all directions and still-centred bare-arsed on the porcelain at one and the same time. I drop forward, into the third eye bullet wound in the middle of his forehead, spinning in all directions, spinning and falling with such velocity that the image seems to shudder to a halt. A calm dead eye centre in the cosmic storm. The unblinking eye of Horus poised waiting purity purify purification, 23 easily regurgitated foods. I open my eyes to retina image burn and walk blind to the kitchen. Dolly greets me with a kiss, an affectionate tug at a couple of my chakras and showers me with multi-coloured sprinkles and confetti. The bullet wound in her forehead spins blue shards of slicing light.
“Nice one, Dolly” I say, and she hands me a book “Tales Of The Three Wise Women”.