Farty's Fortunes

Monday, 1 August 2011

Thoughts of Mary Jane

This was going to be a post about Amy Winehouse and her struggle with drug addiction, but I'd rather write about me. Soz, Amy.

I was first introduced to Mary Jane way back in the summer of, let me think, a while ago. I was still trying to come to terms with my on/off relationship with the girl who broke my heart and if anyone could help me in that respect, Mary Jane was the ideal candidate.

A friend of mine, let's call him Alex since this is still incriminating, had recently quit his job before they could fire him for throwing a fire extinguisher at the boss. To be fair, the boss was quite a wind-up merchant but some things you just don't do even in Embra.

I decided to pay Alex a visit and see how he was getting on. He asked me in, showed me around his poky little flat and asked if I'd like a cup of hash tea. As you do.

I lifted the lid of the teapot and gazed inside. An oily substance swirled invitingly on the surface, coyly tempting me to taste its herbal goodness.

"Yeah, why not?"

Why not indeed? Drug education in those days was only slightly more vague and misinformed than, "Drugs are bad, m'kay?" I'm pretty sure we'd only been told that much because one of my classmates at school had been expelled for admitting to a newspaper reporter that he smoked the occasional reefer.

So we sat and drank some of his funny tea and chatted and drank some more and to be honest? I don't remember whether it had any effect whatsoever. It certainly didn't taste like any tea I'd had before but since that had basically been either Typhoo at home or some abysmal infusion I'd been served while being held virtual prisoner on a school cruise ship, I never had much to compare it with.

Anyway, that was the beginning of my long descent into a drug-addled nightmare of actually quite a lot of fun most of the time.

Shortly after that, Alex moved into his girlfriend's flat across town and I was invited to his moving-in party. There was his half-brother Frank, who I soon discovered had an amazing party trick of throwing up neatly into a pint jug every time he smoked a joint. An empty jug was always kept on hand for these events, which were to become a regular feature of Alex's parties.

Frank was gay, as it turned out, although nobody really gave a toss as long as he didn't try to pick up someone else's boyfriend. Like Andy, for instance. Andy was gay too, but he had a fiancée. Yes, female: it's complicated. I was later to become firm friends with Andy, as regular readers may recall. (Screen turns swirly, fades to The World's End pub etc.)

And then there was Dwarf. I always picture Dwarf striding along in some sort of Ranger outfit from the Lord of the Rings, with an axe slung over his shoulder and an evil smile playing on his lips. Dwarf was six foot four and not to be messed with.

There were others, but these were the main players. One girl I only met at that first party; I forget her name but let's call her Coliary. Once everyone had been introduced and given something to drink, our host called for contributions and those who had any to give, opened up secret pockets and purses and produced what I learned were called Red Leb, Rocky and Afghani Black but could be collectively referred to as Mary Jane. At this point Coliary, who had only a few moments earlier been amiably discussing the latest fashion trends with her companion, leapt up, declared, "I'm not spending one more minute in this Opium Den!" and stormed out.

Sheepishly snuck back in, picked up her coat, drained her glass and flounced out again. Classy.

I, on the other hand, stayed and learned how to roll a joint, how to inhale oh, so slowly, how to hold my breath and then let it out in a miasmic cloud of wonder. Or to put it another way, I choked and coughed particles of burning hash all over the floor. But I got the hang of it eventually.

Over the coming days, weeks and months, I got to grips with the pin: attached by Blu-Tack to a Pink Floyd album cover and covered with an empty tumbler until the morsel of resin within had been consumed in a slow-burning ember, then slide the tumbler to the edge and inhale; the creek-glass chillum; the neat-pipe, hash cookies and of course, the bong.

Ah, the bong. Even though there was and, as far as I know, still is a Head Quarters just behind the National Museum of Scotland, stocked with all sorts of weird paraphernalia, it was much more fun to grow, or in this case, build your own. We made one out of three empty Coke bottles, with a chillum inserted in the neck of the first one and connected with plastic tubing leading the smoke through the second and then bubbling through spring water in the third to arrive, cool and refreshing, on our hungry lips.

And then, suitably smashed out of our skulls, we'd trundle barefoot into central Embra for a climb up the Scott Monument, or nip into Mr Boni's (does that place still exist?) for a Belly-Banger: 30 scoops of ice cream, every one a different flavour. I couldn't taste a thing for three days after that. Or, you know, hunt out the best place to serve Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters. (The World's End - you have been taking notes, right?)

And then there was the time I spent the night alone with Gay Andy. Sorry to disappoint, but all we did was smoke joints, play some Prog Rock - Yes, Genesis, Jon Anderson, um, I don't know, I was stoned - drink some rather nice red wine and talk about these new-fangled things called micro-chips. In the morning, we climbed up into the Pentland Hills behind Andy's house for a spontaneous photo-shoot, with him in the rôle of Highlander years before Mel Gibson. Yeah, Mel probably copied his style from our pictures. Wonder where they are now?

Yep, drugs are very, very bad. Just say no.

Fuck. I could do with a drag right now.


WrathofDawn said...

School cruise ship? Not the Nevasa or the Uganda, by any chance?

Mr Farty said...

Dawn - Might be. OK, it was the Nevasa. Good times, apart from the vile tea. And the seasickness.