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Between Rachmaninov and Strongbad
by Anonymous
Citation:   Anonymous. "Between Rachmaninov and Strongbad: An Experience with Cannabis (exp51644)". Erowid.org. Apr 14, 2006. erowid.org/exp/51644

1 cig. smoked Cannabis (plant material)
    smoked Tobacco  


I feel somewhat pretentious writing this report, as my drug experience is quite limited. Before this, I've had a fair amount of alcohol and seen its effects, and a few other one-offs which I won't mention here. That's all.

So the story goes, a very good friend in Brisbane had introduced me to marijuana. I'd never smoked anything before, so I wasn't really sure how to smoke (it's not as easy as it looks), and ultimately, it was basically wasted on me. Practically nothing happened. Short-term memory was affected, and my good friend noticed I was looking vaguely to my right every now and again. If you've never smoked before, don't expect too much on your first time.

So, later, I decided I wanted to try it again, and see if I could make it work. I asked around my friends, and eventually, after some hiccups (like me not having any money... it kind of sucks that money should be the centre of my life. I hate money), a friend offered the opportunity for me to buy the small amount of weed that I was looking for.

I went over, and he'd rolled three joints for me.
'Is there anything in them?' I asked.
'Yeah, weed.'
'Apart from?'
'Tobacco. The high hits you faster.' (I later found out that there was less than a cigarette's worth of tobacco spread among the three of them).

I looked down at the joints, then handed over $5.

I took one of them up a nearby hill, a sort of get out to nature thing. I smoked it just like I had smoked in Brisbane. I tried to breathe in too much at any one time, swallowing a lot of smoke instead of inhaling it, coughing a lot of it up. The result was a nice nicotine rush (I want to try just pure weed in the future. Tobacco is nasty) but almost nothing else. Short-term memory was affected - I've found smoking weed that, pretty consistently, short-term memory is the first thing to go - but really nothing else.

So, about an hour later I smoked the second one, took it slower, taking smaller breaths so that I didn't swallow or cough any of the smoke. I got nicely stoned, and I was happy about it. I listened to some jazz and pretty much just sat outside chilling out.

So, a few days later, my parents were away and my sister was out, and I decided I would smoke the third one. I smoked it in my bathroom with the fan on, and changed my shirt immediately afterward - I didn't want that telltale smoke smell hanging around. I took smallish volumes of smoke in with each breath. Basically, halfway through the drag, I'd take the joint out of my mouth and continue breathing air. Then, I'd have a deep breath of about 1 part weed smoke to 2 parts air, which I held for about 10 seconds, then breathed out. Then, I'd take another deep breath of air. Repeat until joint is finished. That seems like a good way to smoke a joint.

The high hit me straight away, and hit me hard. Of course, with every breath would be a serious rush from (I assume) the nicotine. The result was feeling very heavy but very light at the same time - it's hard to describe, but it's fairly similar to a few times I've been nicely drunk (i.e. not hugely drunk but drunk enough that I feel like collapsing on a couch or a bed or something). The whole time I was sitting against a wall - standing up while smoking was practically impossible. I don't know if cigarette smokers feel this way every time they smoke...

So, I finally had to stand up, flush my ash and the roach stub down the toilet, and go and see what my high would bring. My motor functions were severely affected. I was also becoming quite jittery. It was not easy to control my body at all, and on top of all this there was a strange sense that everything I was seeing with my eyes was far away, as though I was watching the world through a virtual reality headset or something. It was about this time that I heard my sister talking nearby - she was in the house, and I couldn't let her see me like this. I decided she would probably be cool with it, but it's hard to tell - I didn't want her to feel betrayed or anything. It's also wise not to take chances when committing a crime in the same house as someone who could potentially tell anyone (I'm not sure if smoking weed is illegal, but posession is... or maybe it's not for small amounts? I don't know), so I went upstairs to a small loft in my room, in which is contained a mattress, a keyboard, a sound system and a computer. It's in this loft that I spent most of my time during this experience.

I decided that I wanted to use this time to experiment with being stoned a bit. Previous to this experience, a friend had, in response to me telling him about smoking the first two joints, said, 'Alone? Weed is a social drug!'

I told him I was experimenting with it, and he told me I would have much more fun with a bunch of other people who were also stoned. I'm sure I'll try that again some time in the future. Maybe with my good friend in Brisbane. Anyway, I decided that I was going to listen to Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto as recorded by Sviatoslav Richter. This recording is one that's very dear to me. The first time I heard it I was on the verge of tears. It's a fantastic piece of music. It is, however, extremely romantic - not in the sappy love story sense, but in the sense that it is extremely emotionally evocative. I'm sure there's some form to it, but for all intents and purposes, it's through-composed, and it's like watching a movie or listening to a story. It just keeps going and going, moving from place to place, all the time remaining extremely emotional. It sounds programmatic, though I don't think there's an intended story behind it.

Anyway, I had just begun to listen to it when my sister walked in. I couldn't talk to her. The high had just messed me up completely. I tried to act normal - in vain. She noticed straight away, but didn't mention anything. I was jittery as hell, my eyes had huge black rings underneath them, my skin was all pale, my hair was messed up. 'Why do you look like crap?' she asked me finally. I shrugged. 'I've got to ask, are you on drugs?' I told her I was stoned, and she started laughing, gave me a high five, and walked out.

Anyway, I got back on the mattress and started listening to the first movement of the concerto. During the time I was listening to it - simultaneously through headphones and speakers, the volume pretty high - I had a really hot feeling in my chest and abdomen, as if I was burning up from the inside, and my heart was beating very fast. Also, I had cottonmouth like nothing else. I went and got water, and came back. I always keep hydrated when taking drugs of any kind - especially if my body is telling me that I need water with signs like a dry mouth.

OK, the scene is finally set, here comes the important part: Listening to the Rach 2 stoned off my face.

I was lying on the mattress with my eyes closed and the music playing loudly. I began to feel that I was rolling in waves. I saw pirate ships in my mind, flying towards me, water all around. Not hallucinating, of course, just feeling it. Weed doesn't really make you hallucinate. I'm sure that, had I been on acid or nutmeg at the same time, I would have been seeing all these things in a much more real way, but I wasn't, and so all I had to do was open my eyes and I'd be lying in my loft. The Second Piano Concerto has many rising motifs, and over and over again the music will crescendo, building up to a climax. The result was I slowly changed from rolling through waves to flying through the sky (on a mattress) with crazy lines and shapes associated with the notes I was hearing flying around me. I would see patterns and shapes and things in my mind vividly. Listening to this music stoned is not like listening to it sober in the sense that, with full short-term memory capability, it's like listening to a story, and the entirety of the piece is relevant - where you've come from, where you're going - but stoned all that mattered was the moment, the present, the now.

I was rising on my mattress toward a light, feeling extremely overwhelmed, my body jerking and jittering like I was a madman. Combined with the hot feeling in my chest, I began to feel at this point that I would die. I wasn't afraid, but I began to consider it. Then, I realised that I had smoked a single joint and that death wasn't really a possibility. Logic prevailed and I moved on in my journey. I was flying near mountains, with eagles and - strangely - more pirate ships flying around me. Then everything was dark and I saw the pianist's hands striking the piano. Then the pianist's hands were yellow lines of light in blackness, jumping on the notes being played. Then I was rolling around again, surrounded by ice, surrounded by waves, surrounded by sound.

I was being jostled and rolled, I was rumbling and flying at high speeds. I was doing everything but staying still.

The fact is, it was too much for me. I wouldn't say it was difficult, and at any point I could just open my eyes or turn down the volume and it would take the edge off the experience. It was just that it was intense. Really intense. I listened through to the ending of the first movement. I got up and decided I was going to listen to the second movement and then move onto Prokofiev's Second Piano Concerto. I can remember that I did, in fact, listen to the Rachmaninov's second movement and Prokofiev's first and second mo (also a great piece of music)vements, but I don't actually remember what they were like. Similar to the first, probably, but I think I had the volume turned down a bit, and they weren't so intense. I do remember during the second movement of the Rachmaninov (which, as you may know, is more gently and slow than the first movement) feeling that I was deep underwater, surrounded by dark blue. In fact, come to think of it, the reason I don't remember this part so much is probably because the peaceful darkness of being underwater didn't match the spinning, hot, burning feeling inside my body, a feeling which remained, unfortunately, prevalent during the entirety of my experience.

Anyway, I tried to chill out a bit. I put on some music from Brisbane - a funk band called Gorgonzola - and turned on my laptop to see if I could find fun things to do. Following is a list of things I can remember doing:

Strongbad Email. I love it. And I was so happy to find that there was a new Strongbad Email waiting for me. This was truly the highlight of my computer-while-stoned time. It just so happened that the new sbemail was 'Disconnected' - the one in which Strongbad's body and head are disconnected. It was a trip! I felt so fortunate that I was stoned for one of the more crazy of Strongbad's e-mails. I had to watch the sbemail twice after things like the deformed Headbad laughing accidentally saying 'I ate your shoes' (or whatever he says) - I was sure I had imagined that.

Boohbah Zone. I discovered this one a while ago. It's good stoned - not as great as I expected it would be, but good nonetheless. The sounds seemed a little bit harsh.

- 'Flashback' by Danny Gomez - I felt connected to it in a way that I never have before. I could feel the cold South American rainforest air on my skin, feel the organic, earthy feeling of running through the grass. If anything, marijuana created an empathy in me for this one. I've watched it many times before, but this time it was very different.

- The Microsoft 'Starfield' Screensaver - this was great. Man, I remember I stared at that thing for god knows how long. Usually it's just a bunch of white dots moving on the screen, right? Stoned, I saw it in 3D! I saw spheres of stars moving around for a while, then felt like I was falling through the stars for another moment, then back to the spheres. Just try it. Doesn't need to be the microsoft one, obviously. It's almost disappointing that I didn't load up Linux and go through the xscreensaver package.

I can't remember what else I did, all I remember is finding myself about half an hour later lying on my side on the mattress reading bash.org. It had been about two or so hours, and I was sobering up. It was about this point that I got the munchies. Also I realised I hadn't heard my sister for a while, so I assumed she'd finally left to go to a party she'd told me about earlier. I went down and grabbed dinner. I was thankful that my mum had cooked a big pot of chicken casserole the night before. The pot was on the stove with enough in it for two heaped bowlfuls of it. I also had some tinned fruit, and I tried to make icing (but failed...). I watched Hero (with Jet Li) and didn't really notice anything special. Yeah. That was pretty much it. A good time was had by all.

There is one more thing I remember that I should mention. At some point while I was upstairs in the loft, somewhere between Prokofiev and Gomez, I had a play on my keyboard. It's a midi keyboard with patches for guitar sounds and keyboard sounds and sine waves and so on and so forth, and I had a play on it for a while. Usually when I play it, I turn reverb (which is, by default, on) off, but this time I liked it - it seemed more real than usual. I played around for a while doing some shite, and I don't remember much cool stuff except for one part which is worth a mention. I'm a pianist, so I don't really play the guitar (though some fun has been had :D). As such, I don't often use the guitar sounds on my keyboard. I accidentally, however, found myself on a patch for Jazz Guitar, which I played for a while. With the reverb on, my headphones plugged into the keyboard, I found the Jazz Guitar sound was really great, and I got into it, connecting with the music I was making in a really enjoyable way.

I've found that music isn't just enhanced on weed, it's actually changed. I remember I also listened to the Amelie soundtrack at some point, and it was really different to listening to it sober. Music on weed is (for me, anyway) changed in some fundamental and often surprising ways.

I bought some weed to experiment with it, and with myself. Now, I can talk about it with a little more confidence. That's all I intended to do. Definitely, the most important thing that happened to me was listening to Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto. That was extremely intense, and not what I had expected from marijuana.

Exp Year: 2006ExpID: 51644
Gender: Male 
Age at time of experience: Not Given 
Published: Apr 14, 2006Views: 18,167
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Cannabis (1) : Glowing Experiences (4), Alone (16)

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