For some unknown reason I no longer watch neighbours. I can’t put my finger on the exact moment I stopped watching it. You would assume it’s a life changing/defining moment that you would remember for ever. Like the first day at school, your first cigarette or the last time you were subjected to a Tom Hanks film (Road To Perdition 2002).
It used to be a life or death situation. Or at least it used to be for my Mother, who soon learnt that tea was served at 6:55pm and not 5:30pm.
It has been years since I last even casually tuned in. I can no longer say that I only watch it for the scenery. A phrase I first heard uttered by my childhood friend Paul’s dad. At the time I thought this was odd. Fancy watching Neighbours just to catch a glimpse of the Aussie out back? It took me a few years until my hormones had developed and I realised that scenery was a polite or male code word for tottie. At the time he was obviously referring to Kylie, by the time my hormones had gained fuitition, it must have been the era of Beth (Natalie Imbrulia). Now this is something I distinctly remember. A sort of ‘oh that’s what it means’ sort of thing. Like the time I remember calling my mum a twat, innocently thinking it meant idiot. The cringing feeling was certainly in the post two years down the line…
Being freelance, the average work a day slave thinks that for most of my time I take advantage by putting my feet up and watching the goggle box. Well, that’s not true. It’s actually quite tough. Bongs won’t smoke themselves!
That last part unfortunately isn’t 100% true. I do find it hard to resist the telly sometimes. The welcome numbing, that only Cash In The Attic can bring, is probably on a par with as a nice bag of the golden brown.
Now, Neighbours. I tried watching a bit today. All it did was bring back memories of a man I met on a boat. No, not that sort of boat. Besides, fairgrounds don’t have the Tunnel Of Love anymore. And besides, I’m not gay.
When I was a young scamp, ooh all over nine years ago. I was thirsty for adventure. Desperate to see the world. To feel the foreign wind in my hair and experience life in all it’s full glorious technoclour. So I traveled the hundred miles and went to Amsterdam.
It may not seem like far in these heady days of globalisattion. But believe me. When you’re nineteen and away from home on your own. Well, not your own, your mates are there as well. But at the end of the day if the shit hits the fan, you’re the one expected to carry the can (Not true if you’re my mate Nathan, but that’s another story) especially when you’ve got a couple of pink grannies in your back pocket, itching to be spent on the first mid altering substance to be found.
So, anyway that was Amsterdam. The same as a thousand other stories of debauchery. In a city where having sex with a three legged dog dressed as Christopher Biggins whilst off your chops isn’t really that shocking. Not even on a Sunday.
So this story really begins (this time) on the way back, at Rotterdam Ferry Port. Tired and strung out after a week of teenage madness. Home seems like a godsend. Home seems very far away. Home seems very very far away. I still haven’t forgiven my cheapskate mates for insisting on traveling by North Sea Ferries. After a week of fun, 23 hours on a North Sea Ferry with no cabin, in winter, seemed like and was (believe me) a hell ride. The only plus point was that when we were out on the rolling high seas there was no uk duty. Yep, cheap drinks and cheap fags at the 24 hour bar. Sweet.
As we were just finishing off the rest of our supplies, some heavy duty silly ‘English boy skunk’ so called because locals didn’t need to get ridiculously stoned in order to impress their mates. We added our stubbed out joints to the already overflowing ‘cigarette bin’ and entered the terminal.
The night before departure was spent regaling each other with bravado about who was bringing what contraband back with them. I personally was bringing back some well researched and very expensive Charis, along with a couple of doses of magic mushrooms.
My friends were also bringing back similar and varied amounts of varying ‘soft’ substances.
Upon entering the terminal, our bravado disappeared. It was certainly brown trouser time.
Antonio, who’s sole purpose for the whole trip, if not life, was to secure some of the hardest most depraved pornography known to man (animal lover 4 and Dog Jiszm Nights, if memory serves correctly) was the whitest and quietest of our party.
Faced with a wall of Dutch police a quick discreet huddle was called for. We couldn’t go through customs with all this loot on us. In reality, getting busted was not that much of an issue. Well it was for Antonio. We all felt for him, but it was his dirty depraved choice to not only buy the filth but to have it in his possession on the return journey.
Being Holland, there was a toilet clearly marked before entering the customs area. Being Holland, it was packed. Full of wet behind the ears teenagers having flash backs to Midnight Express. Wait, that was us looking in the mirror on the way in.
So, my turn. Trap number three. Trap number two was full of the sounds of some one flushing something unflushable down the toilet. Trap number one was full of the sounds of some one flushing some thing up his (or her, it was Holland) nose.
Right. We’d agreed. Get rid of the mushrooms. No way was the precious Charis going down a bog. Would you put Audrey Hepburn on a bus? I think not!
No time now for lovingly and meticulously brewing up a vat of mushroom tea whilst listening to Pink Floyd. Not with some Scottish Shiteing cunt (I believe that’s the phrase) banging on the door wanting to get rid of his own booty.
It’s surprising easy how a handful of odd and vulgar looking mushrooms can slip down the gullet. Even with out a sip of Doctor Pepper to ease their passing.
So after an age of queuing up and after the non existent security checks we were allowed to passport control.
At this point, precisely before I needed to converse with the mustached cheese eating ‘I hold power to enter and leave my kingdom’ passport official. The feeling starts.
The feeling, as I call it, is a surge of energy that passes through the back of the neck. Just before the nape. It passes like an electric current through two muscles, which are barely recognisable (and thankfully) in day to day life, on the back of your neck. Tip your head back now and tense your neck. You will feel two artery’s (?) about 2 inches apart. No? Well next time you foolishly try some psychedelic substances, have a look.
For me, the feeling is the first sign that things are starting to change. The start of the trip. It can also be the sign of ‘thank fuck I’ve not been ripped off on these blotters’. When faced with leaving a country with a bag full of top draw. It is hell.
“ok sthankshyou shurs, hope you enshoyed Holland”
And that was it. No security checks, no searches. Not a latex glove in sight.
It was one of those moments that you remember for ever (not like stopping watching Neighbors. I’m coming to that…).
Walking quickly, not hurrying, not talking, up the gang plank. The excitement was building. Like a run away train. Once on board, in the semi private corridor of the ship, Huggs alround. We’d done it. We’d got one over on the system! More importantly, we were one step closer to home and we still had our dope!
Anyway, I could ramble on for ever as there are a thousand stories concerning that ferry ride home. What makes me laugh is once we had troughed from the peak of the fungus, we were sat around in the bar bored and dulling the pain with the import duty free alcohol. Actually that’s not funny, it’s quite harsh.
Ben had bought some very risqué playing cards. As a group, we were analysisng each card in terms of it’s filth factor. Remember, this was Amsterdam and after a week we had become desentisised to a triple anal penetration. So the cards were organized into the best being on top (not sure most people would use the word ‘best’ when looking at this type of card)
This process must have taken over an hour. Any passers by would have thought we were discussing neo Marxism. This was how seriously every minor detail was being taken.
Finally, the fifty two (and two jokers I might add…) were ranked in order of filth. Worst, or best depending on your disposition, was at the top.
We sat back to admire our achievement. Like the signing of independence, we all silently understood, some thing of importance had been achieved today. If I had a cigar, I would have lit it. Bear In mind I was a student, so I settled for a Lambert And Butler….
Now, who should come along? Only the old Aussie and his Sheila (his word, not ours) who we met at the peak of our depraved fungus enlightenment boarding the good ship P&O North Sun.
Mr Bush Tucker and his Sheila were everything the start of this statement suggests. Mr & Mrs classic old Aussie. I shit you not. He was wearing little shorts, white knee length socks, boots, a Steve Irwin shirt and an Aussie bush hat. Thankfully it didn’t feature corks, other wise my already melting mind would not have coped.
He was the classic chauvinistic old Aussie. As soon as he recognised us from earlier he knew we were men’s men. The Aussies man. The men who would drink beer before brushing their teeth.
“Aooogh ya playing cards? Rooight?? ”
“ Er yes, cards. Yes, we’re playing cards”
“Hey Shelia” (At this point I hadn’t worked out if that was the name of his poor suffering wife, or if he was just referring to her as a woman)
“You take your self off. I’m staying with the boys to play poker!”
He gave a look to us as if to say, stupid woman. I’m staying here to get pissed with my new pommie mates and play cards and talk about shelias.
Ben, handed the poisoned chalace to ‘Skippy’
“Oiy oiy! Hey Shelia, Bit of Blue. The old dirty playing card eh? You get your self off shopping. Don’t worry about me love. Ha ha”
He shuffled her off as we waited in silence. Each of us knew how long it had taken in our drug abused minds to rank each card in the order of ‘most rancid’ The first 10 cards were indescribable in depravity. I sincerely hope that as soon as we passed into British waters they self destructed.
The silence grew as Mr. Bush Tucker silently absorbed the unimaginable, the unexpected, the gut wrenchingly graphic ‘playing cards’.
It’s as if his legs recognised the dirt before his brain. They started to walk backwards, leaving his upper body in suspended disbelief. Mr. Bush Tucker fell against the wall as if faced with Nosfaratu himself. His hands scrabbling for the garlic and cross.
My head was about to explode.
The only thing which gave my throbbing heed chance to depressurise was the high pitched screeching laugh emitted from the culprit of the filth/card dealing, Ben, breaking down in a never before scene of ‘laugh in your face’.
This may or may not have had some unconscious affect on my brain, making me not watch Neighbors anymore but every time I see one of those old Lou Carpenter types it make me think of some poor girl with shite dripping off of her tongue.
Nasty. I don’t like to talk about drugs and I wont make a habit of it. As Pete Doherty said to the court.