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Around The Sun: Acid Trips

Steve Harrison tells of mad days when he and two friends became regular drug takers.

The Good

Picture yourself in a boat on a river, with tangerine trees and marmalade skies. Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly, a girl with kaleidoscope eyes. Cellophane flowers of yellow and green, Towering over your head. Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes, and she’s gone. Follow her down to a bridge by a fountain. Where rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies, everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers, that grow so incredibly high. Newspaper taxis appear on the shore, Waiting to take you away. Climb in the back with your head in the clouds, and you’re gone. Picture yourself on a train in a station. With plasticine porters with looking glass ties, suddenly someone is there at the turnstile, The girl with the kaleidoscope eye’s. - Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds by The Beatles

I usually liked Acid. I was a bit of an adrenaline junkie, and acid would do it to you every time. The three of us David, Michael and myself, used to indulge almost every weekend. We’d start out at the farm where David lived - then take it from there.

Acid effects everyone differently, depending upon your imagination and personality. I was an artist and loved cartoons, so usually the trips I took landed me in comicbook land. We would be walking across the fields when it started to rain, but the rain came down as apples and organges. Objects formed themselves into candy-coloured letters, a sort of alphabet soup. Everything I saw became part of one big cartoon.

A car pulled over to the kerb. Its driver asked for directions. I saw a Noddy car, with white puffs of smoke coming from the back of it. And the driver was Noddy, but he spoke in a squeaky Micky Mouse voice. That voice forced me to emit hysterical laughter. Michael also saw Disney characters, and he also became hysterical. The guy drove away, obviously thinking we were insane, and I rolled on the ground clutching my stomach, unable to control my delight.

We went to a flea-pit cinema in Cleckheaton to see the film Virgin Soldiers. The film seemed to run so slowly that it was almost like watching a series of individual photographs. I thought the world would come to an end before the movie did. The story was set during the Second World War. Every bomb that went off seemed to rock the cinema. When the final credits came up we left the cinema, only to find that while we had been inside Cleckheaton had become a war-torn battlefield. Buildings had been wrecked. Cars were burning in the street. There was thick black smoke...

We ran from there as fast as we could, determinded to reach the countryside. As we ran we were giggling with delight. This drug was the ultimate reality bender.

The Bad And The Ugly

Life is a spiritual kindergarden with millions of bewildered kids all trying to spell God with the wrong building blocks.

Our acid taking became a very regular thing, although we never took it for granted. Every time there was a sense of anticipation. Will it work this time? How long will it take to kick in?

On this particular day we were having a great old time. I say we, but there is no telling what is going on in someone else's head. We were out walking, laughing hysterically in a very boisterous mood.

I was sucking Polo mints, chomping them up with my teeth. Suddenly I noticed tyre tracks on the pavement. Broad tracks. A bus or truck had mounted the kerb, travelling some distance along the pavement before returning to the roadway.

One of my friends called out to me. "Hey did you get the number of the bus that ran over your face?''

You are very receptive to suggestion when under the influence of Acid. I thought a bus had run over me. The bits of mint in my mouth were teeth, knocked out in the accident. My saliva tasted like blood. When I spat I saw bright red blood.

"How do I look?'' I asked. "Terrible,'' was the reply. "But we'll take care of you.''

My body was aching. I felt pain everywhere.

I thought I heard Michael say that we should wait where we were until an ambulance arrived, but he had said we should catch a bus into Bradford. A bus arrived, and we got on it. When the conductor came to collect our fares I offered him my wrist so that he could check my pulse. My friends were hugely amused.

I don’t know how that day ended. Come to think of it I don’t know how any of those days ended.

Acid trips tended to come in great waves. One minute reality then 20 minutes of fantasy, followed by 30 seconds of reality, then two or even three hours of halucinating. It became difficult to distinguish reality and fantasy.

When reality fully returned there was coldness, darkness, a feeling of being depressed. Coming down from the experience was a dull and depressing thing.

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