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Rave diaries

Written by Tim Knight

RHYADER

Sitting around on one of the many collapsing couches at 227 beneath the huge wall hangings of characters from the Magic Roundabout, me, Jamie and Russ spent ages ringing round trying to find a party within a reasonable distance. Everyone else had gone out so we were left to our own devices. As it got later and later -or earlier and earlier- and our hash supply began to dwindle to dangerous levels, we decided the only option was to go to a Spiral do in the depths of the Brecan Beacons in Mid Wales. We had a long way to go so lots of speed was greedily consumed before we left.

The roads were completely clear in the growing light and we found our way relatively easily - when we got to Rhyader there was a smiley acid face taped to a monument in the town centre with an arrow pointing which way to go. From this point on we left civilisation behind as we followed a long road winding its way along a river valley through the most beautiful scenery. Rounded mountains rose up on either side and were mirrored in glassy rivers and lakes. This was all most unexpected and gave our speedy mouths and brains something else to babble about.

After a good few miles the road sort of came upon the party, which was on a disused quarry built into the edge of a stony hill, no more than a hundred or so yards from the road. The extreme isolated location ensured this wasn't a problem. We immediately bumped into Mitch, Sarah, her brother and her mates. This was quite easy as only about 200 people had made it there.

There were several people that I had become quite friendly with due to seeing them at these free raves every weekend. One of them was a very laid back friendly bloke from London, who had long hair tied back loosely in a ponytail. Although he only ever took acid himself, he always had a bag of E's on him and they were always good. I cannot for the life of me remember his name, so shall refer to him as, imaginatively, long-haired-e-dealer. Anyway, sure enough he was there again and after a brief chat he sorted me, Russ and Jamie out with some red and blacks, though as usual I had bought a stash of my own.

Due to all the amphetamine I had already ingested the E's got to work pretty quickly. Had a most excellent time wondering up and down the rocky hill slope, meeting and greeting similarly cained party people. Jamie discovered a stream he made us drink out of. We lay on the summit in the strengthening morning sun, looking down to the river in the valley floor where some ravers had made their way. As my gaze settled on the hill slope opposite, the perspective of the whole scene suddenly flattened out. I became unable to comprehend distance. The once familiar shapes of rocks, people, clouds and trees became abstract components of an intricate, fluid psychedelic pattern, slowly moving and changing as I watched. It was as if I was looking at a huge screen, which I could reach out and touch any part of.

Gradually I let my mind begin to make proper sense of the scene in front of me, while I wilfully let my whole self become enveloped by the chemical charm snaking through my body.

In these states it was impossible to rationalise space and time. An unhealthy dose of early 90's party drugs often induced feelings that so overwhelmed the senses that to be concerned with anything but the very immediate present was all but impossible. You became immersed in a warm, fizzing bubble that floated around, bumping into things then drifting off with no discernable impact.

Russ, also completely wankered, asked me to help him score some hash. We found a dealer near the road where the cars were parked. Russ passed me the gear to examine to see if it was a good deal, although I was really much too gone to make any realistic judgement. I looked at the hash carefully before it was pointed out to me I was yards away from a couple of cars driven slowly by bemused welshmen, maybe I should be a little more discreet. At some point a few policemen turned up, with no idea how to deal with such a situation. So they did the sensible thing and left us to it.

The floor of the old quarry provided an excellent dance floor- a large concrete square flanked on three sides by equally bleak walls. There was no roof, and the whole thing appeared to have been sunk into the side of the hill, the open side looking towards the valley and the hill opposite. The DJ was on the top of the back wall, facing towards the dance floor and the valley below.

There were not many people dancing by the time we arrived. Most people were beginning to come down and chill out around the edge of the building, or wander up and down the mountain. However I was coming up in leaps and bounds and spent some time dancing with the still-mashed posse. I believe this was the first time I heard Gat Decor's Passion, it's deep bubbling bass and euphoric but slightly eerie sounds providing a perfect soundtrack, bouncing off the mountains and filling the valley and the new world around us.

Sarah's brother, who was new to raving, was amused by my manic rushing around and eternal grin. As he was leaving he gave me his Vicks stick, telling me I could keep it as I seemed to be enjoying it so much. Believing another life long friendship had been kindled, I thanked him profusely. Vicks sticks had become an essential rave accessory. These three inch long white tubes filled with a piercing minty aroma were originally intended as a decongestant. We had discovered that if inhaled while on E the intensely cool vapour caused spine tingling body rushes, like an electrical charge shivering luxuriously through your muscles. So it was not uncommon to see a party head with what looked like a tampon shoved up his nose.

The day got older and people left, leaving the hardcore spiral followers, the seriously out of it and the Spirals themselves. Eventually I drove back, the journey taking around 4 hours. Russ and Jamie crashed out almost as soon as we began, and didn't even wake up when I had to do an emergency stop, fling my door open and puke onto the road. It was well past nightfall by the time I reached home.

Read on...

TUBNEY WOODS | CHOBHAM COMMON | RHYADER | CASTLEMORTON COMMON
CLEEVE HILL | PLUMPTON | BATH - NEW YEARS EVE 1992
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