I’m shaking rattling at the cubicle door, flop down to rest and realize that the cubicle door is shaking rattling banging on it’s own. I step back away from the anthropomorphic door, step back into and through and pass right through the cubicle wall. A gold feather boa drifts down and settles on the floor. I turn and look out into a dark courtyard at midnight, entirely enclosed by derelict warehouses, now lit up and gleaming with fairy lights, pink satin and works of art. A neon sign blinks on and off “The Cavern Of The Dead Machines”, and up on the roof, brilliant against the night sky a tonsured monk leers down on the growing crowds, he’s swinging a cauldron of flames on a scaffolding pole tripod. He calls to me “Bella! Bella!” waving.
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.
Then again, 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…”