We are out raving in Hulme, In what remains of the partially demolished shopping centre which at this precise moment in time is inhabited by a few hundred, utterly smashed to pieces, northern, pill-munching lunatics, a number of whom are sitting next to me on top of the roof of a derelict shop, perhaps once the destination for kids sent out to get their parents 20 Embassy or a pint of milk. Neither item, nor anything remotely resembling a newspaper is currently on sale, should you venture up onto the aforementioned roof and discover The Cat in The Hat, holding court to his fellow rooftop ravers, informing them that he is the ‘official chemist’ to the band currently touted as the biggest thing to come out of their hometown since The ‘Roses and as such, can be assured that his chemical wares are of a appropriate strength. It is also no secret his current ‘employers’ enjoy more than a passing acquaintance with the celebrity sherbet and happy pills. Tonight’s ad hoc festivities are really just a precursor for tomorrows trip up to Glasgow and the inaugural T in the Park festival, where, no doubt, thousands of Scotland’s indie kids will soon fall in love with the glorious rock and roll wall of sound produced by, well I’m not going to name any names am I, but obviously it wasn’t going to be me upon stage was it?
“Where am I anyway?”
Says I to the blonde pill head gently grooving along to whatever it is the DJ is conducting affairs with 30 feet below us.
“On a roof you daft southern twat”
“Yeah, I know I’m on a roof babe, that’s why we’re all sitting down isn’t it? It’s too dangerous to get up and dance?”
As she gets up and shakes her dungaree clad ass to the music, seemingly oblivious to the possibility of being crippled for life or killed should she fall from her current perch.
“What babes? 'gis another of them pills Mr. Cat in the hat on a hot tin roof, or whatever the fuck your called…….come on…fuckin mad 'fer it me.”
We were all, of course, utterly fucking mad for it, whatever ‘it’ was, which currently, in my case anyway, was the possibility of getting the occupier of those dungarees, out of them at some point before meeting my ‘employers’ tomorrow for the drive to Glasgow.
She gets her pill, two in fact, as does her equally cute mate, speckled doves, possibly the best concentration of MDMA ever pressed into tablet form. I do not care about not getting any money in return, I have plenty more and am going to make a small fucking fortune over the next few days as I endeavour to fuel the supersonic train of my favourite band, it’s entourage and whoever else requires my services as ‘we’ go on the rampage in Scotland.
He is the ‘official chemist’ to the band currently touted as the biggest thing to come out of their hometown since The ‘Roses
“You’re in Hulme.”
“No I’m not, I live in London that’s home.”
“Ha ha ha you silly southern cunt, I said Hulme, not home, fookin love this tune me, bye.”
And off she goes, wobbling along the roof and back down into the party pit below.
Never mind, I didn’t like her that that much anyway and besides I’ve got to try and locate ‘the singer’ whose flat I’m staying at tonight, inside which, I have stashed the rest of my ‘work’ for the upcoming trip, which makes it kinda important that I don’t get left up here on the roof in Hulme or wherever the fuck I am.
I know where I’m going tomorrow though and the van that’s taking us there is leaving in a few hours time, clearly there’s no fucking chance in hell, or Hulme, to be more precise, that I’m going to get any sleep so leaving my vantage point, I crawl along the spine of the roof and go in search of my ‘boss’.
“He’s got off Si, told me to look after 'yer and make sure you don’t get fookin robbed of all them pills, ‘gis one eh?”
The singer has indeed, ’got off’ but his mate Sid seems happy enough to ‘look after me’ for the next few hours before we finally end up back at chez Rock’n’Roll star, where I avail myself to more than a little bit of something to keep my eyes open, It’s going to be a long drive and an even longer weekend.
Mad for it?
Are you kidding? I was made for being mad for it, just as long as I’ve got my own ‘private’ stash of instant nothingness about my person of course and as I close the door to my room and begin bagging up my coke for the impending days work, I pull some tinfoil out of my pocket, roll up a tube, sprinkle some smack onto the foil and slide away until the rest of the band arrive in the van a few hours later.
Our supersonic train, or white transit van to be more precise, has come to a non-scheduled stop due to the soon to be, ‘ex-driver’ of aforementioned vehicle, having neglected to notice that the van he was not going to be responsible for driving much longer…
“You’re fooking sacked as soon as the fookin’ AA get here you stupid cunt”
…required diesel, not petrol if its passengers were due to be delivered to Glasgow on time that day. We are on the hard shoulder of the motorway a mile past the petrol station that was the scene of his unintentional resignation from driving duties.
The passengers have decided that they require something from the The Cat in the Hats bag while they continue their game of Frisbee and wait for the AA to arrive.
The owner of the bag is trying to figure out how long he might be spending in jail should its contents be discovered by anyone other than the greatest Rock’n’Roll band in the world, it’s crew, older brother and record producer, most of whom are now throwing a small orange disc back and forth across the busy lanes of the carriageway we are no longer travelling along.
“You might as well do the white line, ‘cos when it comes on top, you’ve gotta make it happen”
“Come on Si, fookin sort us out a line eh, do us a pill too, while ‘yer at it too eh?.”
And so on.
I do what essentially I’m there to do, I had hoped however, to be in the more rarefied air of a backstage compound, when doing so, rather than the fume heavy environs of a motorway hard shoulder near fucking Carlisle, but you know,
“When it comes on top..”
And all that!
I conclude, that if in fact it does ‘come on top’, the voracious appetite for chemicals of the Manchester (City) Frisbee team, currently going through some impromptu practice, would probably be sufficient and certainly willing to try and consume everything contained in my weekend ‘kitbag’ at the first sign of any of her Majesty’s finest stopping to say hello. There are 10 of us present, ok, nine, the fucking drivers sacked he’s not getting fuck all. ‘We’ are travelling, aside from the singer who’d earlier decided to get there in his current girlfriends car, with the greatest Rock’n’Roll band currently on the planet, ‘we’ are of course mad for it, it won’t be a problem.
Thankfully for me and the bank balance of the people I’d ‘borrowed’ my weekend’s refreshments from, the AA man arrives before any members of the British transport police pull over and start sniffing about, we are already sniffing rather too much and looking more than a little lively, for that fact to go unnoticed and I am convinced it is only a matter of time before ‘Dibble’ turn up. Yes I’m paranoid! So would you be if you’d not slept for 36 hours already and had your fingerprints all over the contents of that fucking bag.
“What stupid dickhead put petrol in a diesel? This van is going nowhere I’m going to have to organize a tow truck, how many of you are there?”
“Right, well I can take 4 with me now, when’s the gig? The tow truck can take the rest, but it’ll be a few hours. We’re very busy today”
I immediately start recalculating if there will be enough of us left after the band leave with the AA man, to consume my goodies should the Old Bill turn up while we wait for the tow truck.
The man who writes the songs that refresh the parts other songs could not reach made an executive decision.
“Right, obviously I’m going with the AA man now, ‘cos I’m in fookin charge and have got press interviews in 3 hours time, Simon, you’re coming with me for obvious reasons.”
I didn’t hear his explanation as to why he chose the other two passengers, my instantly deflated sense of paranoia was too busy congratulating my ego which had just exploded, within seconds I’m sitting inside the AA truck, opening the bag and racking out lines as long as the motorway we were soon travelling along again, leaving the very bemused and somewhat pissed off Frisbee players to continue their game until the other tow truck arrived.
Within seconds I’m sitting inside the AA truck, opening the bag and racking out lines as long as the motorway we were soon travelling along again
Fuck it! They needed the practice!
Thankfully they were much better at playing songs than they were Frisbee.
“You are my personal chemist this weekend and as such you need to remain within 20 feet of me for the duration ok?”
“Of course, it’ll be my pleasure.”
“It’s your fookin job Simon!”
Oh yeah, so it is, nice work if you can get it too eh?
We are safely ensconced in a room in a Glasgow hotel making final preparations before getting a taxi to take us to the festival, where my ‘boss’ is about to make his entrance and begin the, by now, regular occurrence of being told what he already knew.
“Your band are fucking top mate you’re gonna be massive, want a drink?”
“You ready yet Mr. Chemist?”
“Born ready boss lets’ go.”
The weekends festivities are already in full swing as we navigate the ‘normal’ people queuing to get their passes issued and gain entrance to the backstage area, ‘we’ obviously don’t have to stand in line or give our names, well my boss doesn’t and a cursory,
“He’s with me”
…is sufficient to avail me the AAA laminate that is now being pressed into the face of the security guard standing between us and the excesses of the VIP area that contains my employer’s ‘people’ and therefore my ‘people’ too.
There is roughly 100 yards of grass between us and the bar, inside which are the vast majority of label bosses, A/R men, promoters, press, music journalists, assorted ‘cool’ people and other nefarious individuals who make up the Rock’n’Roll fraternity, it’s absolutely heaving in there.
As we swagger toward the assembled masses, I remain, as requested a few feet behind the chief, whom I fully expect to shortly be mobbed by the professional well- wishers, arse lickers and maybe even some people that genuinely like him before he even gets to the entrance of the marquee.
There is suddenly a minor stampede of such people who have clearly spotted him as he approaches; I fall back a few more feet, not wanting to cramp his style, so to speak. There then follows a moment which on some levels sums up the whole sorry business very nicely.
I am instantly surrounded by a drug-hungry scrum, all of whom are clearly more interested in speaking to me, than going into full on,
“You’re a fucking genius..”
mode with my employer.
My boss is briefly bypassed and left to get his own drink, while I deal with the mob that surround me, but not the writer of one of the greatest debut albums of all time.
“Hey, Simon, really good to see you mate, you got any…..”
“Hey Simon, thank fuck you’re here, no-one’s got any….
“Hey Simon, can you do us some ‘tick until I get to a cash point?
“Hey Simon, do you accept cards?”
Me, my ego and my bag of tricks have arrived, tonight, I’m a Rock’n’Roll star.
Except of course I’m not.
Or am I?
Who fucking cares anyway?
24 sleepless hours later and 10,000 of Scotland’s indie boys and girls are demanding that the Manchester (City) Frisbee team, now up to its full complement of 5 due to the arrival of the singer, take to the stage and prepare to deliver in person, what the music papers have been frothing about since the Melody Maker put them on its front cover just a few months and a lot of hysteria ago.
The inside of the huge marquee feels like a sauna, a massively over-populated sauna, heavily pregnant with expectant fans, swimming in alcohol and quite possibly some of the contents of the kitbag belonging to the Cat in the Hat.
The Cat in the Hat, meanwhile, is standing centre stage, out of his mind riding a wave of MDMA and soaking up the inebriated Scottish fervour of those gathered in front of him. Footballs and supercharged Scottish people are tossed about in the seething maelstrom which, for some strange reason, the manager of the Manchester (City) Frisbee team had decreed, needed a bit of geeing up before his charges take the stage.
That’s a bit like saying Mount Vesuvius could have done with a bit more lava pre-eruption, but of course when offered the chance to get onstage and preach to the converted for a few seconds before the gig, I wasn’t exactly about to say no was I?
“Ok Scotland, are you ready?”
The reply is affirmative.
“Ok then lets fucking have it, for the greatest Rock’n’Roll band in the fucking world, The Manchester City Frisbee team”
Or words to that effect.
I am sent reeling by an invisible wall of energy, sweat, drugs booze, smoke, sex, desire, hope, hormones and a few footballs, as behind me 5 people, walk onstage, tune up, turn on, feed into and return with interest that same wall of energy.
The Cat in the Hat cannot move even if he wanted to, so this is what it feels like, THIS IS WHAT IT FEELS LIKE!!
This is what I need.
This could be enough.
I am almost crying as the singer, taps me on the shoulder, my moment of pretend Rock’n’Roll superstardom over
I am almost crying as the singer, taps me on the shoulder, my moment of pretend Rock’n’Roll superstardom over. The chief is already into the first few bars of the opening song, he’s earnt the right to shake along with his people, I might well have contributed in some tiny way to the hysteria of the masses, certainly those who have VIP passes and are now gathered at the side of the stage but it is not my church nor my sermon they are demanding to inhabit and hear.
What I could just about hear, in that moment of ‘borrowed’ adulation, battling to make itself heard over the noise of the people and the music they are screaming to be swept away by, is a voice inside me that says.
“You are a clueless, fraudulent, desperate cunt and if they all knew what you were really like, they’d fucking hate you.”
It takes a huge line of cocaine and another pill, sniffed and swallowed before they finish the first song, to drown out that voice and I can then also celebrate with the greatest Rock’n’Roll band in the world as they obliterate every last soul assembled and we all sing along ‘cos we’re gonna live forever.
Do I have enough drugs to last that long?
The heroin in my pocket tells me I do and that’s why I now have it with me at all times.
The Confessions of a Coke Dealer series will be published as an as yet untitled book by Mainstream in Spring 2013
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