Tales from the Past: My Ecstasy Honeymoon, Billy Whizz and Simon from the Cult

You can read more of my story in:

I remember coming home to my parents high as a kite on e. They had no clue and thought I was drunk at worst. They never sussed it. The dilated pupils are the dead give away, but they didn't know that. Nobody ever had mandy back in the day. It was all e, but they were good. One you were high, half for the smaller girls. Two and you were fucked. Three and you might die. It was the summer of 1992 and Ebeneezer Goode by The Shamen had just been released and I knew all the words. A great philosopher once wrote Naughty, naughty, very naughty Ha ha ha ha ha There's a guy in the place who's got a bittersweet face And he goes by the name of Ebeneezer Goode His friends call him 'Ezeer and he is the main geezer And he'll vibe up the place like no other man could He's refined, sublime, he makes you feel fine Though very much maligned and misunderstood But if you know 'Ezeer he's a real crowd pleaser He's ever so good, he's Ebeneezer Goode And then the chorus which would roar in the clubs: 'Eezer Goode 'Eezer Goode He's Ebeneezer Goode And strawberry acid always arrived in Cambridge in time for Strawberry Fair. I had mates, who would later rip me off most terribly by way of telling me they weren't really my friends, one of whose parents ran a car hire firm. So of a Friday night if nothing else was going on Scott would have a car or a van and we'd bomb around the streets of St Albans and Luton and all the countryside in between. All fucked on ecstasy which lasted hours. Doves were the best I remember, round white pills stamped with an embossed dove of peace. They were second only to Rhubarb and Custards. Red and yellow chunky capsules that could hold more than your typical pill. The China Whites were no good though, supposedly cut with heroin but giving a jittery high with strobe lighting thrown in for free which only lasted three hours or so. Rhubarb and Custard was a much loved childhood cartoon and the rave track made from the theme tune was a hit. The first time I tried ecstasy it did nothing for me. The second time I understood its name. Agony and ecstasy are found through the pain at the centre of the heart. Anyway, we were on our way somewhere in a car. We stopped at my parents' gaff and I ran upstairs to get something. It had been about half an hour since we'd dropped in Rothamsted park. I rushed back down the stairs and when I stopped, all of a sudden back at the car it hit. I couldn't move for a minute clinging to the top of the car. Pure ecstasy. Waves and rushes of physical ecstasy through all the mind and all the body. My ecstasy honeymoon, that first summer, lasted months. It's never been the same since, but I dream. One time we stopped at a petrol station and all got out. Time to stretch and get munchies. Attached to the bumper at the front of the car was part of a tree. None of us had any idea how it had got there.

Billy Whizz, from the Beano

There was no mandy and no ketamine, not that I ever saw. What there was was cheap speed from Luton, wonderfully strong. Whizz or Billy. Sold in wraps for a tenner a gram, or half an ounce for sixty quid if you knew the right Caribbeans. It was mostly harmless though, great for losing weight, but would drive you mad and eat your body if you got yourself addicted. It was a purely physical buzz, not emotional like mandy. I would feel it first in my legs, right in the pit of my muscles. A buzz of pleasure. A gram would last me an evening. Sat up in Richard's flat in one the few council flats in Harpenden, a rich middle class commuter town North of London. He lived with his mum, who never seemed to be there. He was interested in spirituality, so we would take drugs and talk spirituality and watch movies. I have an abiding love for Arnie films from this time and especially Total Recall. I'd bomb about a third of a gram wrapped in rizla paper. After about twenty minutes it would start to hit and the tingling would spread through my body and grow in intensity until my mind buzzed too. In the buzz you could abide. I sat on the sofa with a mirror in my lap and a stanley knife blade and chop, incessantly crushing the crystals to a fine powder. Snorting the smallest of lines would bump my high, nudge it up. As the high from the last line faded I'd do another and within seconds of insufflation I would feel the slight hit and the nudge back up. Straight to the head. The rest of the gram would last me into the hours of the morning when we'd turn to hashish for the come down and decide whether to start drinking or go to bed. The day after whizzing, the come down, was usually a grey and vague feeling. I quite liked it, it was a familiar feeling. Melancholy like the morning.

I know a guy from the cult, I worked with him for a few years at the cult builders' merchant where I sold bricks and timber for just shy of a decade. On the heavy side, direct to site, that was my department. The business was run by the church and we who worked there all received the same pay. Many of us lived in community together, sharing all things in common except wives and underwear. Simon's teeth were mostly missing and blackened from addiction, heroin and alcohol, even then fifteen years ago. I see him homeless around town sometimes and stop for a chat with him. He's not a good man, stole from a friend of mine reckless to the harm the theft would cause. He settled down for a bit. Got married and had a kid. Nice lass. Rumour is he hit her, but he swears it didn't happen and she called the social on him out of vindictiveness. Last we talked he told me of his time in the army. Shooting a rifle was the one thing he was really good at. He served in Northern Ireland. Shot people.

In the cherry goblet in this photo from four years ago are two crystals wands, both bought at the same time from the same purveyor of arcane items. I took both on an Ayahuasca retreat and one, the one I preferred least, broke into two pieces.

I had her repaired by the woman who made her. I took them on retreat again a year later and the same one broke and this time a piece was lost although I still have the crystal from it. Starseed lemurian quartz.

I figured the wand that remained had meant it the first time and christened her Sister Killer and left it at that.

A friend shared the Terry Pratchett quote above and it reminded me of my Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman stories.

I met Terry once at a book signing in Cambridge, back in 1995 whilst I was homeless and insane. I'd been trying to email him my ramblings and ravings typed at an internet cafe on mill lane, where they let me use the computers for free when they were unoccupied. Mill lane was the hippy quarter and I'd lived there for a little while previously in a flat above the Bosphorous kebab shop which did the best spicy potatoes in Cambridge.

Terry was signing outside in the open, behind a table on the cobbled lane outside Waterstones' to whom I still owed a debt from student credit for law books. I strode to the front of the queue, and before his henchmen could react I handed him a shiny steel spring which I'd found and was precious to me. I then walked off without a word.

I'd ask him if he remembers it. But he's dead.

My friendship with Gaiman is equally strange. I had a mini fansite for him wiithin my long defunct voidspace website. It included the full text of American Gods I believe, which he was selling as an e-book. I got a very nice email from him personally asking me to take it down. Which I did. Although a subsequent update of my website restored it unfortunately, and the next email was from his lawyer. Although still friendly.

I asked him about it at a talk he gave and he confirmed sending the email. That day before dashing off to the Open Rights Group meeting at which he was talking I saw the headline of a blogpost he'd made about an author friend Mike Ford. In the queue to have him sign my copy of Good Omens, signed by Pratchett too the week previously, I proudly told him that my name was also Mike Ford. Kind of (don't call me Mike). "My dear friend just died" he replied. I was mortified. But hey. He knows my name.

"And love comes rising up from the deeps with a cry of vengeance. The wells have opened and the fountain springs. Blood for blood is the cry, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Justice triumphs over mercy. We come for the unforgiven."

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