Citation: StaC. "It's Grim Up North: An Experience with MDMA, LSD & Hash (exp95435)". Erowid.org. Jun 24, 2016. erowid.org/exp/95435
Back in the late 80's and early 90's I was into the Raving scene which gripped the UK. Me and my girlfriends were training as nurses, while living it up at the weekend as hard as we could. We smoked hash, took pills (usually being sold as MDMA) but we didn't know otherwise. When we couldn't find pills, we would score a gram of speed and drop a trip or two. I enjoyed dancing and socialising on amphetamines, but they always struck me a plain or one dimensional compared to my favorites MDMA and acid.
The rave scene was less cliquey then. You could go along and meet all kinds of folk and the music was less genre specific. I remember one new years eve at Kaos in Leeds where DJ Sasha would be mixing an acapella of Whitney Houston over Leftfield's Not Forgotton. There was a kind of hippyish element those days, and a spark of youthful rebellion. The scene connected disparate groups from society, from football casuals to tree huggers and anarchists.
As the scene entered into the media coverage of the day, the powers that be decided to enact laws (The Criminal Justice Act) outlawing unorganised gatherings of people where music 'Wholly or partly characterised by repetitive beats' was played. This added a certain frisson to the events I attended on occasion at disused warehouses or airfields etc. We loved it. The legal situation seemed to help build a broad coalition of alternative type people. Before mobile phones were common, these events were organised fairly haphazardly. The first you would know was perhaps someone handing you a flyer as you left a club. Then we'd jump in the car and seek out these obscure locations.
One Saturday night/Sunday in 1991 me and my friends had left either Kaos or Soak in Leeds and were looking for our next options. We had all swallowed 2 pills and a trip over the course of the evening. Driving down to Coventry that night though for a rumoured warehouse party which might or might not take place was not tempting. Some sleazy guys were trying to get us to come to their party, but it was all blokes, and they just looked wretched having spent their evening gurning next to a bass bin.
Driving while intoxicated, tripping, or extremely sleep deprived is dangerous and irresponsible because it endangers other people. Don't do it!]
C. suggested we go to the Motorway services for coffees. We all had a couple more pills and an extra trip each in our pockets. We wanted to go somewhere, be part of something else before going back to our digs.
We pulled into the 24 hour services and I persuade E to get the coffees. She was always very adept at appearing calm and rational despite whatever drugs she had consumed. She was a petite blonde and still pretty well presented considering we had been jumping about for the previous seven hours. Anyway, sitting by a window overlooking the motorway, we hatched a plan. We watched the traffic pass through the night below us, while discussing the night's best moments. C had looked like she'd pulled with a beautiful early 20s latino looking guy. He was a cool dancer and kept warping into these body popping moves around her. I said to myself at one point,'He's Plastikman.' and I ended up connecting the Armand Van Helden track 'Witchdoctor' with him. It seemed he had his eyes on C, but he was considerate and danced with all of us. I remember thinking - 'I bet he's gay or something'. I was right, because another nice looking guy a little older came over and his face lit in that way that tells you when someone is really pleased. I looked at C but she didn't seem that bothered. We all danced as a group and had a great time. Both the guys and their friends could really dance. They looked as though they were enjoying some kind of chemical inebriations for sure.
In those days, you could actually smoke inside the designated area of the services. We decided to retire for cigarettes there with our coffees. Imagine our surprise at seeing the two gay guys in there already, halfway through their cigarettes, It was nice to see them, after the fun we'd had earlier. They said they had some more pills at home and were going to go back, listen to music and get stoned, and invited us along. E and me wanted to go somewhere where we might meet a nice straight guy (All three of us were single then), but C was keen to join them, despite knowing they were an item. Seeing that it was her car and she was driving, we crumbled. We followed them out and got in C's car. I noticed that they had both jumped into a Range Rover, which we were to follow.
The drive through the early morning dark was fun. We all decided to wash down another pill and a trip with some cheap flat cola that had been sitting in C's car for a long time. She told me that she had bought it as a cheap substitute for toilet cleaner one time, but just kept forgetting to take it out of the car to her bathroom. We had been liste ning to Rave music all night, but now C had put a cassette of Can 'Tago Mago' on. I love that album. Groovey but yet weird at the same time. One track has the German vocals going backwards over it's relentless but chilling groove.
We followed the tail lights of the big 4X4 for what seemed like an eternity to our frazzled minds. I noticed us heading north, towards Skipton. Just after Skipton they abruptly turned off after rounding a corner, and we went past the turn. C stopped when we realised their tail lights were no longer in front. We turned an came across the track they'd taken. It was a little rough, so I could see how their Range Rover was just the job. We still couldn't see their lights though, and began thinking that we should have carried on straight ahead instead. C and E were beginning to think we'd lost them, and perhaps ourselves. I was sure this was the way they'd come. We bickered a little about it and our decision-making apparatus was not in the finest condition, owing to the drugs which were beginning to make themselves felt again. My trippy mind was obsessing about plastic and its manifold virtues, examining the finish of the interior of C's sweet little Austin Mini (which she called 'Boo').
Anyway we trundled further along until I noticed headlamps behind us this time, and gaining fast. C got a bit paranoid and started accelerating herself. The little mini was shaking and juderring in ways which I am sure it was never meant to. The other car was gaining on us though, as C sped rally style through the night. The track was surrounded by woodland but the night sky was clear above us, and lit by the kind of starlight you only get away from the big city. We were also worried that this might be a cop behind us so we swallowed our 4th and final pills for the evening, just in case. It wasn't going to make much difference though, seeing that I had a half oz of squidgy redseal in my knapsack in C's boot (trunk if you are US). I was thinking 'maybe we should stop' just as C declared the same. 'I don't care, we've done nothing wrong. We've got no drugs on us now have we? Lets just stop and let them past.' I chickened out of mentioning my hash (which C and E had been enjoying over the evening though they appeared to have forgotten about it.)
After another couple of bends we saw a farmhouse up to the left of the track so we decided to pull in there, get our bearings and see whether we were going to get any bother from our 'pursuers'. As the vehicle drew up, we realised with an odd kind of relief that it was the two gay guys. They stopped and got out, walking over to us in the Mini, so I wound down the window. 'This is our place, well should I say D's place, but we share it. You gonna come in with us?'
It was nice to step out into the cool fresh night air. My senses were finely tuned to the particular conditions of the place and atmosphere. I heard the rustle of nocturnal animals and the gentle wind against the big old deciduous trees around the house. The area was enclosed by dark pine forrest and I could smell that lovely woody smell. It seemed odd to have a farmhouse in the middle of a wood. 'Where do you keep your live-stock then D' I asked. We just have a pussycat called Gigi for catching the mice and a black Labrador named Bruce for companionship here. The woods are Forestry Comission, no ones farmed here for forty years.' I noticed a barn type shack adjoining the house. 'Come in, come in said the younger latino guy J. Inside the hall and with the lights turned on, I realised how fucked up I was. The wood grain in the floor was tangibly rippling and suggesting all sorts of fantastic images that one would not usually associate with floorboards. They led us through to their lounge area where bean bags appeared to be the main form of furniture. 'Would you like drinks?' asked J and we all opted for coffees again. D came through and said, you all look like you could do with freshening up. Our bathrooms upstairs if you want. Help yourself.' I kicked of my trainers as did C and E, C said that my feet were smelling bad.
'Could I maybe have a quick shower?' I asked. 'By all means'.
The bathroom was an elaborate affair with mirror tiles on one wall, and a kind of seat/ledge under the shower. I stripped and jumped under the powerful hot shower. C came into the bathroom along with E and I said 'don't be shy girls - this shower is quite possibly the most benevolent thing in the cosmos right now.' I have a tendency to overegg things when tripping out. They stripped and joined me. We are not lesbians, but the three of us are close friends and we occasionally had been known to fool around together for fun. Sometimes we'd pretend to be lesbians to put off unwanted male attention or just for shock value. But we were all, in the long run, looking for our Mr Rights.
We huddled together under powerful hot jet as it washed the aches and stains of a night's Raving from our tired bodies. Personally, I was starting to feel even higher and higher. We had all consumed 2 pills and a trip between 9pm and 3am, but now at 5am, we were being hit all at once with another two pills and a trip.
We had all consumed 2 pills and a trip between 9pm and 3am, but now at 5am, we were being hit all at once with another two pills and a trip.
We cuddled a bit together seeking some stability amidst the psychedelic onslaught. After our group hug, we soaped each other down and massaged each others shoulders neck and back. The wonderful heightened sensuality of MDMA intoxication enhanced the pure joy of our communion. I stepped out first and dried myself while the other two lingered a little under the shower. There was some giggling and smooching going on there though. I put my head back around the curtain to find E sat on the shower ledge with C knelt between her thighs. One of E's legs rested delicately on E's shoulder. E looked round at me and giggled. 'Come join us St, you know you want to?' And truth be told, I did. The other thing about MDMA is it's potent aphrodisiacal properties. To be honest though, I could not see how I could fit into their current situation. There wasn't really that much room. So I contented myself with rubbing, kissing and nibbling on C's foot as it was the nearest and most available piece of anatomy. I don't know how long we fooled around for because I was on Acid Time, but I did start to remember that we were guests, and had hosts who were kindly entertaining us.
After the bathroom and freshened up, we went back downstairs. In the lounge, J and D were cuddling on a long low sofa. A warm gas fire lit the hearth and room, along with dimmed lights. I recognized the Orb playing on the CD. We pulled together some beanbags and draped ourselves out decadently upon them. The bright fireplace was magically absorbing to watch. We all made small talk with our hosts. Which Raves we liked, silly escapades, favorite DJ's etc. Then of course - relationships. J said he was in a committed relationship with D, but they were kind of open, since he confessed he was bisexual rather than gay. I saw C's eyes glint when he said this. At that moment, D pulled out a bag of weed and placed it on the low table. 'Anyone care to do the honours?'. 'Now we're talking. That's just what I'm ready for 'thought I.
I offered to build while the chat continued. Politics, music, drugs, art, these guys were really into everything. But not in a showy way, like they were just looking to turn us on to good stuff we might have missed along the way. At some point, and I can't remember exactly how, but the subject of pornography came up. I said I was not against it if it was not driven by coercion or exploitation. E said she couldn't see a way of differentiating. Then she asked me how much money I would take to star in a film. Cheeky. The guys asked if we had ever watched gay porn. I certainly hadn't, but E said she had and she had found it quite arousing, in a voyeuristic way. She took a long drag from the joint I had just passed to her. It was nice to smoke weed. Back then it was all hash usually. The effect was rich, warm and disinhibiting. E looked down over me with a knowing smile and lightly caressed my skin with long smooth strokes. I inhaled deeply and with conviction and the smoke soothed and calmed my still psychedelic thoughts toward the realm of dreams.
The guys suggested we retire for the night and lead us to their grand kingsize bed. It was room enough for us all to share, with a capacious duvet into which we snuggled, passing a final joint between us to ease us into slumber. I followed the odd trajectories of my thoughts until they drew me into the strange world of sleepy psychedelia. At some point I fell asleep, but it was an indefinite transition over a gradual period.
Next morning I felt someone get up, but soon dozed off again. I felt comfy, safe and satisfied as I pondered our adventures of the previous night, and the delicious events that took place. Some time later I was stirred by the smell of fresh coffee and food. J had brought warm buttered croissants which we happily consumed together. I looked at E and C and broad smiles were exchanged. At some point we would have to accept the duties of normal life again, but there was no need to hurry. It was still before mid day and bright sun shone in through the big sash windows of the old farmhouse, bathing us in benevolent warmth.
D said what a pleasure it had been to meet us all, and would we like to join them again clubbing in a couple of weeks. We exchanged phone numbers and enthusiastically discussed the possibilities. They had talked of a night in Bradford that they fancied, and offered again to accommodate us afterwards. The plan sounded exciting and I imagined expectantly as to what I'd wear, how many pills to gather, and the other logistics. It was like we had found a perfect setup through which to take in the then blossoming rave culture of our region. And we all agreed that this was our private world, that we needn't share with anyone else. We were good close friends between whom trust was a given proviso.
That year, we hooked up again with J and D several times more. They took us to a few more kinky venues than we might otherwise have looked at. We usually retired with them to their beautiful old farmhouse in the wood, where more erotic delights followed amidst the euphoric backdrop and smokey haze. The end of '91 saw C, E and I qualifying as nurses, at which time E moved to Newcastle to take up a job. C decided to take a year out and found bar work in Ibiza for several months. The scene there was getting quite notorious, though not as crazy as it had got by the mid 90's. I went to stay for a week, helping at the bar a bit, and dancing most of the nights away.
I took a job in Derby where I worked on a geriatric ward to begin with. It was not my ideal position and I actively sought alternatives until E rang me to tell me of another job in Newcastle. I was succesful and joined her up there in time to enjoy Christmas and New Year Geordie style. It was while there that I eventually met the man who would ask me to marry him two years later. Ch. was a tall gentle musician and labourer. His steady love and kind heart have accompanied me for the past years since. We have two lovely children, K and B, at school now. We have shared our past histories frankly and honestly so that there are no problems of trust. I am a loyal person and he fulfills my every need. We occasionally smoke pot together, and maybe once a year, try something more exotic, but with having children, you become more responsible out of love for them. I do not regret any of those past moments, and would regret more if I had not explored them. We gradually lost touch with J and D. That was OK though. We all had our own lives to lead.
I still have the mental map to their farmhouse, but they might not still live there, or even be together anymore. I hoped they were both as happy as I am now. C has a fiancee, while E has settled in to cohab with an older male nurse from her work. Both girls are in good places, and we will all hook up a couple of times per year, usually in Newcastle. We are none of us 'hardcore' anymore though. Our reunions tend to consist of a nice restaurant followed by some coffee and smoke on the patio at the back of our house. When I listen back to the music of those early years, time has not been very kind to it. But the intense memories triggered by some of the tunes still play havoc with my emotions, in a good way.
All in all, I wanted to get the point across that youthful hedonism does not necessarily lead to life failure and disappointment. The trick is maybe to find the right supportive friendships, and knowing when to say enough is enough with regard to the drugs.
I have more stories to tell, perhaps another time. I [share] this now after discovering my piecemeal diary jottings from that time, when having a clean out in the loft. I also found a big bag of various event flyers which I'd collected around then, always meaning to collage them and frame them somehow for posterity.
COPYRIGHTS: All reports are copyright Erowid and you agree not to download or analyze the report data without contacting Erowid Center and receiving permission first.
Experience Reports are the writings and opinions of the individual authors who submit them.
Some of the activities described are dangerous and/or illegal and none are recommended by Erowid Center.