Monday, 26 January 2009

A perfectly normal time...

The most off-putting thing about a bar or pub is seeing a bunch of girls waving a huge inflatable willy above their heads in the line going in. We were lost in Bristol and decided this was not the pub we wished to return to. So far at the pub, where we had been sat a few hours before, I had fallen over twice in the same trip, stumbling over nothing more than my own limbs; there had been a disagreement about tattoos; a drunken friend trying to impress her new paramour by trying a new ‘cool’ personality and mentioning everything to be ‘cool’; finding a stopwatch and having timed competitions involving weeing, rolling cigarettes, and getting crossword clues. We had left and decided to return. Unfortunately, the sight of said inflatable willy was enough to turn us away into the rain. We headed to a rocker pub, oozing with sticky surfaces, lightly-freckled beers and the old-man feel that tricks you into an Arcadian vision of the 60s and 70s, with Jimmy and Jimi and Jim all sprawled in the corner drinking bitters and discussing their doors of perception, man. Upstairs, we heard some noise-jam happenings and dismissed it as noodle-bore rock. It was only when one of our fair heroes ventured upstairs to grab an old friend that he discovered the noise: a bilge of crashing cymbals, droned repeated notes and scuzzy fuzzy were all coming from one man. We met Theo, local Bristol insaniac journeyman. Yes, with the use of a loop pedal building up his guitar loops, harmonics and fuzzed-out bliss-chords, he would then push his guitar behind his back, balance his plectrum between his teeth and bash out thunderous riotous rhythms. Once we realised it was one band and not an over-indulgent band, we were all suitably impressed and watched him for a bit. Ahh, the fickle flip-flop of the easily impressed. We headed to a rave with lasers and bass speakers the size of Jabba the Hut, with quivering teenagers sucking their thumbs in the corner unable to cope with the low-end rumble of a subwoofer. The floor was wet and slippery with the tears of those too young to rave first time around realising they’re now part of the nostalgerati; the sweat of the pilled-up; trampled in rain; and beer. Why people can’t confine beer to their mouths and own clothes I shall never know. It was strange being one of the three only undrugged-up people in the room. We danced and whenever we stopped out of tiredness or the repetitive rhythms getting too much, we were pounced on as slaves to the dopamine-overload begged us for more, confusing us with dealers. Moments felt like the sequence in Peep Show where Mark wants everyone to think he’s taken an E and is asking Jez for advice on how to act pilled-up. ‘I’ll be having a perfectly normal time while you’re all off your faces on drugs.’ People approached and grabbed our necks, screaming about loving it; feeling it; being at one with it. Meanwhile, we were having a perfectly normal time while they were all off their faces on drugs. It was nice to be at an unironic unpretentious rave though. Where the drum’n’bass bits were honest revisitations to my childhood folklore of jungle and not part of the nostalgerati’s time-machine tracks attitude. People actually seemed to enjoy themselves, not just pretend to because nu-rave is the new thing. Later, we were sat round while drug counsellors snorted up MDMA while we continued to have our perfectly normal time. They raved about their jobs and the desperate youths, bloodthirsty babes they dealt with everyday. Obviously, they knew enough about their jobs to be able to partition recreation and addition but it seemed like a strange paradox. I fell asleep, having had a perfectly normal time with beer and meatballs, waking up the next day to a good ol’fashioned hangover and a craving for banana milkshake.

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