Moving forward towards the gathering, on our way up the hill, softly it started. First the lights warmed spreading from a red meaning STOP to a little green man that fogged out into the night.
"Where shall we put our bikes?"
"Here on the railings by the clinic."
"Won't they see it there?"
"No, we've got the shadows on our side."
Safely secured the bikes we left, our pockets checked (their contents itemised magnetically) and so on into the club, forward towards the gathering. The club wherein beverages were spilled --slicks of blood spreading 'cross the dancefloor, scene of some heinous hinted crime: were we the perpetrators?
"Turn up your collar and fold your arms, stay cool by the bar; they'll never suspect a pair of suave fucks."
Thus stationed, night-white and cucumber-cool, we surveyed the carnage in crystalline slow motion. Preening & prancing, drunkards danced, raising in us a chuckle or two.
"They be only putting on the style!"
Informed the other. But against the failing charmers danced such girls as we remembered from school days: those mildly athletic, conventionally attractive, colourless and, I am assured, "well up for it" girls... --but somehow their implicit courtship rituals left me cold in the club, staring at the lights.
A voice that might have been mine advised --"Mate those girls you can tell when they smile they're missing something..."
And I agreed with a soft nod of the head. Sho' nuff from above the DJ is playing 'Beautiful and Dangerous' which segues into the manly 'Guns of Navarone', skanking slowly through our beaten memories, and on into an epic reverb-drenched Caribbean concentration of 'Shaft', its monosyllabic refrain punctuating the hazy air like something dark, and crisp, and sweet.
"Where's the bleedin' beer?"
Cries the other as if from the distant corner of the aptly-named 'Dungeon'.
"On the bar...dad - look - over there..."
And I point to the shimmering oasis of bottles and taps where 'pon stand our muted pints, somewhere over there in the distant reaches of the room.
"Right! Let's go..."
And our journey consists of swivelling on rooted pinion feet through so many degrees and firmly finding the glasses cold in our hands, the bar mere inches from our eyes.
"Drink deeply of the barley, wheat and hops"
Some solemn incantation if ever I heard one. Ale which, being from Wiltshire, was the cosmic finest, sank in sweetly and took the edge off --took it off just at the point when the colours really set in and the model negro jazz band hanging o'er the door loomed into life, relics more than statuesque, reminders of an ancient European cruelty.
In my ear from somewhere: "Mate you do know the whole time we've been stood here watching Pete O'Driscoll packing up his drums and it's only been twenty minutes?"
"Yeah man, P-O-D, he's the best drummer in Swindon!"
"And those girls from school have been taking the piss out of your folded arms the whole fucking time!"
"Yeah man, girls from school --best drummers in Swindon!"
those school girls were swivelling their hips like baby gorillas on the cusp of mating season and my absent uterus was contracting, indicating the way to genitals located somewhere in space, a point not far from my face but hard to locate. With difficulty in front of a urinal I go, surrounded by shiny and fake page 3 girls dripping and rotting before my sexless eyes --eyes I had to close to maintain a grip there.
A stream of limpid green slime later, back on the dancefloor the goth crab women had arrived, terrorising unsexy but otherwise faultless boys. We had to leave this mess and find some cure for our excessive brains and foamy mouths.
"I'm scary!" says Goth Crab Woman No.1
"Yeah you are! I don't know what to say." Says us.
"Best not say anything, eh?"
--And moments like that are what they call signs on the way to a fucking bad one. So off! out! away! The relative safety of the place called HOME glowed from the horizon on the shores of our mind, and that is where we went, oh my brothers...
What a relief it is to find you haven't sent any embarrassing texts or spent all your money! Eh? Are you with me? Can you pick up what I'm laying down? ; )
The old hill stretched into a distance populated by the glimmering constellations of West Swindon (Westlea, Toothill, Freshbrook, Grange Park, Shaw, Lydiard...) And in the midst of discussing our respective futures (hopeless yet still exhilirating) we found the lines in the middle of the road and fuck it was only luck we didn't get run over.
"At least we're not ON these bikes!"
"Or driving a car --tin cans of disaster that they be."
The cotton wool crept in to cushion our descent as we decided to mount those bikes to traverse the safe wooded cycle paths of the West. A dozen taxis flashed by in tails of indicator lights, probably picking up those disgusting crab women and their school girl prey (we didn't know and didn't want to neither).
Cruising on our bikes through the dark night sky we noticed a strengthening in the air
"Someone's having a barbie! I'm having brown sauce on my burger with onions..."
"But we had steak yesterday..."
And the once clear night had blackened to cloak us in a charcoal heaviness as we pushed through the night to HOME, where the radio told us (spitting in the sink) that there had been a volcanic eruption, making night travel perilous. We turned on the lights then to see we'd been coated in ash and, suddenly finding it difficult to breathe, we sat with dusty cups and horlicks thinking, and for what seemed like hours I fought all the thoughts I could funk and the grand conclusion, "the Holy Word that walked amongst the ancient trees", * came to be with us, filtering through the frazzling ether of our brains, and the word was
This was at SHOCKS OF MIGHTY. Music!
*W.B., Intro to Experience