Saturday 4 October 2008

He Was Twenty Three

He logged off from his PC.
He put on his jacket.
That was it. Done. The week. The piper had been paid, now he got to choose the tunes.

By the time he got to the wine bar everybody else was already there. He wouldn't be there long. Long enough to have a couple of pints, long enough for anybody needing pills for the evening to ask him, long enough for him to pass them under the table and receive the notes in return. Long enough to flirt shamelessly with the pretty Asian girls, long enough to flirt in another way with the management.

By the time he got back to his flat he'd already had two pints of bitter and one Mitsubishi.
He sat in the living room and put Heaven 17's 'Penthouse and Pavement' on the stereo. He rolled a joint and smoked it. It was eight o'clock. Plenty of time.

He got himself a quick microwave meal and then popped another Mitsubishi before jumping in the shower. He then returned to the living room in his dressing gown and smoked another joint, whilst his hair dried sufficiently for it to be the exact degree of wetness he wanted it before he styled it.

He dried himself and went to his bedroom, where he applied Lynx Atlantis heavily. He then put on a black T-shirt and tight black trousers which literally clasped his legs and his behind. He returned to the bathroom and started on his face.

He shaved, once for function, twice for perfection, then moisturised. He then flattened the back and sides of his hair and applied a slight layer of gel. He ruffed up the hair on top of the head and added curl boosting gel. He then spent ten minutes sculpting the curls. Once he was satisfied with the result, he sprayed it with L'oreal long lasting grip hairspray. Next he applied a hint of black eye shadow under his eyes.
He then returned to the living room, rolled another joint and cut a line of Cocaine. He left these to wait for him as he applied blue nail varnish to his nails.

He put Reactivate 15 on the stereo and returned to the coffee table where he inhaled the line of Cocaine and smoked the joint. Whilst he gathered up his keys and checked the messages on his phone the last track he listened to before he left was 'Duran Duran- This is Planet Earth'.

As he bounced out in to the street, he felt good. The night was going to be beautiful. It was Friday night. Friday night was what life was all about.

He got onto the number fifteen bus. As always, his heart was racing. It was partly the pills, but his heart always raced, he always had that nervous feeling of excitement. Friday night. This was what he lived for. He sat there on the bus, playing with his curls, feeling pretty, feeling content. Every day might be mundane and pointless, but not the immediate future. Not the time he was about to enter.

He did not have to queue. He had a ticket, as he always did. No queueing and more importantly no being searched.

As he passed through the doors he recognised people he knew. He clasped the hands of bouncers he recognised, ran his hands along the backs of girls he knew and strutted towards the bar, his shoulders swinging. He landed his elbows on the bar, a twenty pound note already in his hand 'Double vodka and red bull', he positively purred.

He went to sit down in one of the alcoves and checked his phone to see who else was coming out. He popped another Mitsubishi and added a little base to give him stamina for the night ahead.

Once he had finished his drink he approached the dance floor...

That was where he would be now for the next six hours. He would always be there, right in front of the DJ booth, like a worshipper, a devotee to the cult of Trance Music, taking periodical breaks every hour or so to rehydrate, pop another pill and- anything else that showed up.

This was paradise. If he could have lived every moment of his life in this world, he would have done.
Here he was free, here he was alive.

Dancing in front of the booth is an art. If you are to hold your spot, you have to be good. If you're not other males will try take your position. If you are, of course, no other male will dance near you unless you tacitly give permission, but you'll have the women surrounding you on every side.

Dancing in a dance club is about remembering the basic rules. Your feet must hardly move. They must essentially stay within a box a foot square. The better the dancer, the less their feet need to move. A good dancer can rotate totally on the ball of one foot at will. Dance music is all about use of the arms. But it's about more than 'Big fish, little fish, put it in a box'. It's about impassioned submersion into the rhythm, disappearing into the track and becoming part of the bassline, using your arms to express the sounds that weave round that bassline.

A really good dancer can leave the floor and know that when he returns, people will move to let him return to where he was dancing before.
He had acquired that right.

It was about half one when he noticed her. She was black, nice body, off her face. And that was all that mattered. He reached out to grab her hand and they danced in hand for ten minutes or so before he asked her if she wanted to join him for a bottle of water.
Ten minutes after that they were in the cubicles doing a line of Coke together. Two minutes after that they were fucking. Ten minutes later again they were back on the dancefloor. They parted.

He had asked her name, he'd forgotten it.

At various times he bumped into friends and shook their hands. It was understood on both sides that he was essentially incommunicado till the club shut. Friends time would be later.

Because now was that heavenly feeling of Euphoria, the rush of six or seven Ecstasy tablets, half a gramme of base and several lines of Cocaine, the heavenly sound that only Trance music can provide, the resonance it created in his very being, the psychedelic flashing of the strobe lighting, this, this was the true out of body experience he lived for.

Nothing else mattered.

He would shut his eyes and feel the wave rush through him, powered by the rhythm and the chemicals.

He was twenty three. He was at his prime. He was never as pretty as he was then, never so complete as he was in these moments, for all the synthetic designer hedonism, at once tainted and corrupt, yet also shining in innocent naivety, he was pretty, he was boyish, he had the figure of an elf child and the hair to match. And though his eyes had a sad tint in them, they yet sparkled with a desire to live, to love, to seek happiness and pleasure in defiance of the consequences. And he had not yet lost that game.

There was a tinge of sadness at six AM when he shuffled through the doors in to the morning sunlight, his leather jacket slung over his shoulder, a bottle of water in his hand, his face running with a mixture of sweat and hairgel.

He got into the car with his mates and they drove back to his flat, the music pounding. Once there they settled in the living room with cups of tea and joints as they listened once more to the exact sounds they had heard playing all night. And they talked and laughed and did the sort of spaced out things that people do after a hard days work and a hard nights drug taking and dancing. And at times he wondered if he shouldn't have brought a girl back.

After they'd gone he sat in the living room alone. He made a fresh cup of tea and put 'Violator' on. He always did this to end the evening, though it was now ten AM. He chain smoked joints till he felt the cannabis counteracting the chemicals.

Now he felt alone, truly alone. And he wondered if this really was all there was.
Because it was great it really was. But he was still sitting there at ten AM, alone. Truly alone. Was this it? Was this his sole purpose in life? Sitting at ten AM on a Saturday morning with a migraine coming on staring at an ashtray full to the brim with the ends of joints?

The phone began to ring. 'Riders on the Storm'. That meant his Mum. He ignored it. Once it stopped ringing, he switched it off and reached for the remote. Switching the stereo off he reflected that it may well be all there was, but it was still good.

He took the remainder of his joint and the ashtray with him into the bedroom. He threw off his clothes, just letting them fall to the floor. He was too physically exhausted and his limbs were starting to stiffen as the magical lubrication of the pills wore off. He clambered into the bed and lay there, his hand holding the joint over the ashtray on the bedside table.

In his head De Donatis played 'The Sound' whilst the gates of Mordor opened and the dark armies charged against the host of Gondor.
And he felt the limbs of the black girl from the club entwining round him and her breath against his face as her nails tore into the back of his neck.

He curled up in the foetal position. It was cold and he felt lonely. He wanted someone there and there wasn't.

He slowly passed into oblivion.

He was twenty three and this was his typical Friday night.

He was me.


Anonymous said...

oh i do like it when you post a nice long story that i can inhale in one lovely long breath.

Anonymous said...

What a revealing post, but well written. I like this post Crushed for many reasons, one is as above writer says and two, it is insight into the life of someone who has lived life differently to what I have myself. Accepting differences in the world plays a big part in my world.

Anonymous said...

i guess youth is really wasted on the young.

Agree with nunyaa here, well written and so real, so tangible, yet so out of reach.

Anonymous said...

This is a very well written post. You didn't repeat yourself and it's length was just long enough to capture and hold the reader.

Nicely written! I prefer these posts over the political, ethical posts, personally.

Anonymous said...

oh, what a good post! i like the way it was written.... just like a good story :-)
i had to google some of it, but still couldn't find out what 'base' is... :-)

Anonymous said...

Projectivist- I don't really know whether it's a story, so much as a glimpse. It doesn't describe a particularly memorable night, or one that stands out. More a kind of generalised Friday when I was that age.
But I guess it sums up how I saw life at that age.

Nunyaa- I wanted as many sentences as possible to begin with the word he, to kind of give a kind of detached feel. I suppose I was kind of aiming for the rather distant style Brett Easton Ellis uses- though I hasten to add this does NOT mean I keep heads in my fridge.

The reason I wanted to do it in this style was to present this sort of lifestlye as it is when you're living it- it doesn't seem odd, or outlandish and you can't see why it would seem wrong to anyone else. There comes a time even when you have forget that actually, your whole Friday night consists of use of things that are illegal. To you, it's all day to day stuff.

Crashie- Well, it was real, it was tangible and it is out of reach now :)

I don't regret my youth, though.

You're only young once.

Ms Smack- It was quite easy to write, after all, it was mainly just creating a composite of all the Friday nights I had at that age.
Of course, I noticed reading it, that the very fact it is a composite makes it slightly inaccurate.

I think it's hard to convey just how long these evenings were and just how MUCH happened in them. I used to feel in those days I got value for money out of my weekends.

I think sometimes it's good for people to know how some of my opions were formed.

Eve- I guess I wanted people to see that we weren't/aren't a rotten generation, and that the rave scene isn't some dark sordid thing necessarily.

I found it to be a very caring, emotive scene with a lot of love going round. Ok, so maybe a lot of it was chemical induced.
But we were all very nice to eachother.

And a scene where people are that NICE to eachother DOES have something to give.

Base is the term given for the puttylike purer form of Amphetamine.

Amphetamine is a pretty crap drug on the whole, but it DOES keep you awake and it does give you strength.

I did use it in tiny doses to kep me going through the week.
But I also used to use it at weekends as what I called 'The background canvass around which you weave everything else'.

Because the highs and lows of E&C are very short lived. If you're out six- eight hours, you'll prob take a pill/line/both every hour-hour and a half. And you'll be riding the waves on them. But the Base gives you one long wave lasting about ten hours about which the rest forms the tapestry.

And then of course you purge the chemicals out later by smoking enough pot to get yourself to sleep. And you wake up- I won't say feeling great, that's a blatant lie.

Anonymous said...

Crashie has the right angle here ;-)

Anonymous said...

Crashy said it perfectly... youth is wasted on the young. Funny how you can feel full of life and then empty within a quick series of moments.

Anonymous said...

CherryPie- She usually does :)
She's got a wise head on her shoulders. A valued part of this blog, our Crashie.

Princess P- It is like that yes. I think there are two pitfalls people can fall into when looking at a scene like the rave scene.
The first is to see it as pure decandence, ersatz pleasure, not real, just an illusion, ultimately unsatisfying and somehow wrong because it lacks real depth.

The other is to see it as being totally real and the ultimate aim in life.

But the reality is rather, it's pleasure for the sake of pleasure. No more, no less. No, it can't give lasting happiness anjd satidfaction. But that doesn't make it valueless, because the PLEASURE, the sensation of pleasure, joy, love, it is felt, and it is real, even if transient.

And I don't see that that's wrong.

I think it IS wrong when judeo-christian morality is applied to it.

But I think judeo-christian morality is flawed in this respect.

Sometimes you really do just have to live for the day.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the explanation, crushed :-)

> But the reality is rather, it's pleasure for the sake of pleasure
Ah. put that way, alright; but not too much of it ;-)