Mara was the ultimate hippy chick. Red hair, Gothic clothing and tattooed tits. I met her at a club when we were all ‘off our trolleys’ as we liked to say. Spun out on pills and big fat smiles, hugging each other and talking shit. Out of all the people I met during those years Mara was to become one of my few firm friends. A soul mate along life’s path. My taste and style was sharp and expensive suits from Covent Garden and hanging out with the lads at the weekend. She was more Left-field to my Duran Duran. A girl who was happy to roll around in the mud at Glastonbury while I flounced around on the dance floors of glamorous nightclubs in London. Mara had become my bridge to the other world of spirituality as we forged ever further ahead into unknown territory. Yoga workshops, Reiki classes, past life regression and anything else that would open my third eye to the etheric realms.
I was crashed out on the sofa after another Friday night out when Mara suggested an alternative to the hangover cure. ‘Oi Chris. Fancy a yoga workshop to clear that hangover,’ said Mara. ‘I don’t think I can lift my legs off the sofa never mind into some yogic pose.’ I finished my pint of orange juice and went back to my hangover film. ‘How about some Reiki. You don’t have to do anything. It’s just energy. Maybe that’ll clear your hangover.’ Mara flipped her legs up against the wall in some kind of yogic taunt but it just made my stomach puke. She never drank alcohol. ‘Will it give me more energy and get rid of this hangover?’ I asked. ‘It could do and re-balance your chakras.’ I wasn’t too sure where my chakras were but I knew that something needed re-balanced.
I headed off down the high street to try and clear this hangover. I walked down the high street until I came across what had to be the only kind of spiritual healing shop around. The words ‘Reiki Healing’ were emblazoned across the shop window in an array of bright colors that jarred my senses. I opened the door nearly knocking the Indian dream catcher of its hook, hoping I hadn’t upset the great ancestors. A lady appeared through a doorway that was draped with hanging beads. She was all purple flowing robes from head to toe. She had large silver dolphin earrings and a very friendly smile. ‘Is this a past life healing or just this life?’ she said in all seriousness. ‘Shall we stick with this life. I have enough trouble remembering last night never mind my last life,’ I said. ‘Out on the town again were you?’ she asked. ‘One to many as always.’
‘I can feel the energy from your kidneys. It’s not good.’ She went to feel my side and then started waving her hands around as if she were drawing in the air. I lay on the therapy couch and gladly closed my eyes as Christine started moving her hands across my body. No touching was involved. I would just feel the air brush against me while she made certain signs and symbols in the air. I felt a warmness flowing into my body and slowly I fell into a deep sleep. Christine managed to do what no paracetamol or English breakfast could ever have done and fully restored my mind to a pre-hangover condition.
After forty-five minutes I stood up feeling like a new man. ‘Just stand up so I can clear your aura.’ I stood up feeling as bright as a button and allowed her to do her funny stuff. ‘Did you enjoy the Reiki?’ she asked.‘Sure, it was incredible. It completely cured the hangover.’ She continued to blow smoke from some kind of incense stick while flicking a feather around me. ‘I don’t want to frighten you but can I tell you something.’ Oh God, I thought, she’s going to ask me out. How embarrassing.
‘You have a ghost at the base of your spine.’
I looked at her not wanting to put her into the category of complete nutcase and just smiled. ‘Really.’ I started to put my jacket on to leave. ‘He’s there as part of your karma and he’ll follow you around until you have learned a few things. I’m not a psychic but I sense a tough life in you and that’s what will help you in your purpose later on in life.’
Ghost. Purpose. I said my thanks to her and took what she said with a pinch of salt. As I walked back down the road feeling as right as rain I felt my lower back. Ghost indeed.
The plan had been set in motion. It wasn’t a very concrete plan but that didn’t matter. What mattered was that we could break free from this place and feel free. Away from the crudely alarmed doors that would ring a bell in the supervisor’s room each time the door opened after eleven at night. The relentless patrols from supervisors who were walking up and down the corridor, and of course, the bald-headed eagle, our Head Master, Mr White, who was always sat in his office with his cane by his side. Patiently waiting for a punishment to occur so he could swiftly apply his stick of justice. The plan so far was to sneak out the backdoor at about seven o clock, just after dinner-time, and then run to the edges of the field. From there we would escape into the trees and jump over the fence onto the public pathway. After that we were unsure what to do. But going to the shops to buy sweets seemed the best option.
At precisely seven o clock while Mr Woodhouse was at the other end of the corridor we opened the door and ran for our lives. This was the most freedom we had experienced since last weekend when we were at home with our parents. Quickly we jumped over the fence and then casually walked to the shops. Come to think of it. It didn’t seem that daring at all, and within five minutes we were in the shop choosing between Sherbet Dip Dabs and Liquorice Wheels. This was hardly ‘Scum’ or ‘Borstal’. ‘Let’s buy some cider,’ said Alan. We all flipped our heads towards Alan. He was usually the quiet one. The one we bullied when we were bored. Alcohol was a major departure from sweets even if we did all try Vermouth after the Vicar left us alone that one Sunday. ‘We’ll get expelled,’ said I. Not because I was any wiser but more as a precautionary measure that needed to be said. ‘Or worse still. The cane,’ said James. That made us all shudder but at the same time I was behind the other three in receiving the most strokes. I had only been caned once for swearing at a supervisor, while the others had received three for stealing stationery items from the shops. I grabbed the bottle of cider and went to the till.
I was like Arthur holding Excalibur aloft as I approached the man behind the till. The two- liter bottle of cider lay across my chest as heavy as a World War Two armament shell. I was a hero to the other two behind me, and we all knew that the shopkeeper was on best terms with the supervisors but still he sold the goods. It was a twisted relationship between us ‘the scaly brats’, the supervisors, and the shopkeeper. We all knew we were doomed, and the cane loomed in our minds, but that was our mark of honor. Whoever had the most stripes across their ass was the chief. The man. We ran back up the street, victorious. It had become dark very quickly. The bottle was heavy and I tried to pass it to the other two to carry but they were too wise. After a quick jump back over the fence we were back at the back entrance door peaking through the glass to see if the road was clear. It wasn’t. Three supervisors were talking in a circle in the middle of the corridor which meant we would have to sit outside waiting. ‘Why don’t I go up stairs myself and we can bring the bottle in through the window,’ said James. That sounded more like an excuse for James to escape than a well-thought out plan. ‘That’s great,’ said Alan. ‘I could lower some rope and a bag and we could hoist the bottle up and then you can casually walk back in. They both looked at me and I smiled and then they darted inside while I stood outside. The heavy cider bottle no longer a sword.
Of course I want to be happy. Well that’s not exactly correct. I wish to cultivate the right causes and conditions that, when, if they come together, are able to induce the more positive mind states.
However if at any specific time, those causes and conditions that come together momentarily, suddenly fall apart, or wobble a bit. Then I would accept that the positive mind states might be replaced momentarily by the negative mind states.
I also do solemnly swear that on being confronted by a negative mind state, owing to the unstable nature of all causes and conditions.
I will not hold on to these negative mind states but will fully accept them as they arise, and if lucky, when they leave, be replaced by the more appealing positive mind states again.
If you want to talk about fashion then you should have talked to me during the nineties. It’s not that I was fashionable but after taking so many drugs it didn’t matter what I wore. I was convinced of my own greatness. Every time another clubber looked at me with that, ‘Where the fuck are you from look?’ I took it as a confirmation of my undeniable greatness. I wore a tall orange hat. A white T-shirt with the obligatory round yellow face replete with smile, and a pair of tartan trousers. My fashion taste buds had been completely numbed by amphetamines.
‘You looked wicked mate,’ said the girl as she clung onto my shoulders in a kind of semi-hug trying to stop herself from collapsing. I grabbed her shoulders to hold her up and somehow we both managed to keep each other from falling over. Despite the great music pounding through our bodies we had become overwhelmed with the emotional side of the experience. When I first discovered ecstasy it was like being the me I wished to be. My first pill was a revelation and I was able to experience the kind of mystical states that spiritual books talked about. Unfortunately for me the drugs propped up a weak personality that suffered from social anxiety. While others were able to moderate I could not stop. Always wanting to get back up to the peak as soon as it dropped.
‘What have you had?’ she asked.
‘I’ve had two Mitsubishis. A Dove, and half a Strawberry.’ We both jogged lightly on the spot like two people who had just came to the end of a marathon. This was the nineties. This was ecstasy. It wasn’t about freedom and liberation. It was about numbing the mind and annihilation. It totally blocked out everyday reality so that for a few minutes we could believe that heaven on earth truly existed. My sister grabbed me around the shoulder and offered me a big loving hug. All three of us nodded together while laser lights and the deep bass vibrated throughout the room. We joined arms with the rest of the ravers around us. We were three thousand people all completely off our heads on drugs jumping up and down like complete lunatics. We were not of this world but living in a world of our own.
It was hard to see how I could go from these positive vibes to the dark and dingy experiences of my last days. I had gone from happy house to hard-core trance. From a Friday night out with my friends to a Sunday day-time clubbing with strangers I didn’t really know. I was in a squalid flat somewhere in London and already on a quart of an LSD tab after already having a heavy night out. A person who I did not know was trying to calm me down from a panic attack. ‘It’s all in the mind. Just relax and let go.’ But my mind was already wasted and paranoia and fear were starting to take over.
The walls of the flat were starting to merge and fold and the strange man’s face was warping in and out. I could handle most drugs but LSD always lifted a lid on my worst fears and my entire past and all its troubles would rush at me in one massive panic attack. The stranger wasn’t too sure what to do with me so made his excuses and left. I tried to stand up while the rooms and reality would bend and curve with dark emotions of paranoia and fear appearing as faces or malevolent beings. I stood up and attempted to go outside forgetting that we were in a high-rise tenement in South London. A fear of dying rose in me and I walked back inside and grabbed the phone. I called for help unsure of who I was calling and then made my way down the stairs. I could barely find the railing as I walked down and tightly clung to the wall. As I got to the bottom and the ambulance arrived I was promptly strapped in and took to hospital.
It was one of those nights where for some inexplicable reason I just could not sleep. It may have been the heat but it surely wasn’t over eating or late caffeine in-take. Maybe it was the Munich shootings. Poor Germany. If any country does not deserve to be attacked then it’s Germany. It has done more than its fair share to build a pacifist stance towards war since the Second World-War and so far that has been working. Occasionally you might hear of a German aircraft striker, or ship, heading out to the Middle-East but it’s very low-pro. In the light of the refugee crisis when thousands were making their way across Europe to flee the wars in Syria, Angel Merkel made a well-meaning statement about refugees ‘being welcome here.’ This to me felt like a teenager posting a private party at their parents house on Facebook, and then thousands turning up and trashing the place. What I mean by that is that by making her country welcome to ‘all refugees’ in the day of social media, is not such a wise thing to do. Refugees without doubt need assistance, and are the victim of colonial turf wars being played out at this time. But still. Making outlandish claims on global social media without being unsure of the outcome seems naive and out of touch.
The problem is not refugees. It’s refugees fleeing war, traumatized, fearful, and poor. Any commitments made would have to be backed up for a good ten years. There are already many refugees or migrants sleeping on the streets of England despite ‘refugees are welcome here’ signs stuck to living room windows across the lands. There is a difference between idealism and rationalism. The other major problem as you know is we are at war with various factions in the Middle-East and without doubt a small percentage would have manged to sneak in to this wave of migrants, and now we are starting to see the ramifications of that in France and Germany. There is a clear disturbing cycle of exporting war and then dealing with the consequences that land on our doorstep with no end in sight. Politicians seem quite certain that we’ll be in these wars for decades!
Somehow an answer needs to come from the Middle-East out of this debacle of chaos and terror. Dare I say a Lawrence of Arabia type character. No not white. And no don’t laugh. But some inspiring moderate Arab or Islamic voices that can be visibly seen to offer an alternative to this endless madness. Unifying figures that can bring the moderates together and quell the extremism. Maybe a global effort to build up Middle-East forces on the scale of The Manhattan Project instead of spending billions on more wars. I know it’s a dream what with the Russians and the US squabbling over Syria, but it comes to a point when you think how many more people must be massacred for the sake of boundaries and global posturing. We are now in a more multi-polar world and it might be good for all nations to taken an even stance in policing the planet. Otherwise it will be just more continued aggression with no end in site. Let’s hope for a more peaceful solutions through dialogue and that the old dogs tire of their twentieth century wars.
Hold on while I attempt to say something that might appear un-popular but at the same time could have a grain of truth in it. I don’t believe that Hitler or Adolf Hitler, the man and the politician, had those monstrous intentions in his mind when he delivered his first speech. I wonder what his thoughts were on receiving such a rapturous applause the first time he spoke, and then returning the following week, and seeing more people eager to jump and stamp their feet. I wonder if he was surprised at how easy it was to whip up a crowd into a frenzy. Angry people just as angry as him. It has parallels with Trump’s rallies. The winding up of the violent rhetoric. The aggressive mannerisms that seem themselves played out in violent altercations that frequently follow his appearances. While I may lack the prerequisite education for stating these points, I want to look at how societies create these monsters that end up doing the bidding for the majority. A shadow personified you might say. These current times seem to be very turbulent and with the wars in the Middle-East creating a distorted sense of security back home. We are now seeing new waves of terror appearing on our shores that western society has not experienced before.
Perversely inspired and deranged individuals are rising up and creating mayhem on the streets of Germany, France and America. It’s not just these small pockets of events that are disturbing. It’s the waves of fear that spread quickly across the planet that could easily be channeled into a subversive slip to the right. As people seek a knee-jerk response to the terror they see on the streets. A way for people to vent their dislike for the madness they see unfolding across the world. I say world, but really it’s a small proportion of violence taking place on the planet, but still the effect is exponential through social media. Already we have seen Theresa May of the UK inserted as Prime Minister without a vote, and in the states, a potential nemesis in the way of Trump. Some would say he is a potential Hitler in the making, but I say that they all could be, depending on the causes and conditions that surround them at that time.
Back to Hitler. The madman who focused his vent and frustration on the Jewish people, but was it just him that was anti-Semetic? Or did he just feed into a German racism that was lying beneath the surface brought up sooner due to Germany’s poverty and misfortune. Hitler gave Germany hope and gave them power, albeit in a perverse manner. He channeled the German dark psyche into the attempted genocide of the Jewish people and we ask ourselves could it happen again? Maybe not in the exact same way. And maybe not just the Jews. The conditions at the moment seem ripe. We are now experiencing, minimally, what some have been experiencing in the Middle-East on a daily basis for years. Right-wing politicians are popping up everywhere as fear and insecurity spread fast. And while the hatred is only simmering it only takes another major attack before we may find ourselves in a very dark place. Hopefully people will have the nuance to maintain calmness and respond correctly to what is still minimal violence. Hopefully we can elect the right people to see us through these dark waters and not implement unnecessary security measures that feed into further paranoia and distrust. And channel that dark energy into helping the poor and destitute who so desperately need it.