There is a sweet spot between throwing the boom box into the bathtub as White Rabbit peaks, thrashing around in the filth of a locked loaded and tripped out subconscious while Hunter S Thompson tries the most risky psych-out rescue in drug culture history, and that frustrating, irritating unsatisfying edge of uber-reality that leaves the day tripper wailing “I know something is happening here, but I don’t know what it is, do YOU, Mr. Jones?” debating with a door-(of-perception)-mouse as to whether the shit was bunk or it just hasn’t come on yet.
Just like there is sickly sweet spot that exists between having bought an entire bundle of stepped on New Jersey dope that leaves the junkie kicking down the door of The Man in horrified withdrawals, attempting to cop a bag that works, and Lou Reed’s Street Hassle jive of “that cunt’s not breathing, I think she’s had too much.”
There is a audio sweet sound spot between the seminal 13th Floor Elevators that spawned an entire psychedelia musical movement, but is essentially unlistenable for pleasure, and the sold out, populistic, hokey psycho-pompous-psychedelia of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band. Being For The Benefit for Mr Kite? High as a kite. Ohhh…edgy! Even at that point their circus schtick sounded hackneyed and tired. Henry the Horse dancing the waltz? How twee! That sweet spot wasn’t just missed, it was overshot and tipped over into saccharine. As much as I do not rate Guns and Roses, dancing With Mister Brownstone at least had some bite! The Beatles even managed to make their heroin references reticently obscure and dull. The Beatles might have turned on, but somehow managed to not bring any kudos to their daytripping ways. The Brits do nursery food and nursery rhymes as if they were born to be mild. Occasionally that sweet spot is reached, by Pink Floyd or Led Zep, The Who, or the other powerhouses of the British Invasion, but Sgt Pepper’s is the most overrated album in history.
Missing that sweet spot was Syd Barrett’s specialty, from the simply kitsch Baby Lemonade to the banal and repetitive Dolly Rocker, Syd had gone too far pharmaceutically to be able to connect the microdots and paint a dreamy acid soaked blotter art picture like he did with Pink Floyd, before his drug induced breakdown. What is there, however are the building blocks for greater art, the full throttle of inspiration, the creative spurt that alongside the immobile gamete of discipline and motivation, puts that artistic baby in the Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas bathwater, ready to be tipped out of the window and set upon the world. Some music only sounds good to those that answer ‘yes’ to Hendrix’s demand to know “Are you experienced?”, and even then it only sounds good in the middle of the great American west coast fever dream, scented with Californian wild sage, the deep growl of the sideshow motorcycles as they rage down the main artery through this part of town.
Mutants only need apply. I adore 13th Floor Elevators and Captain Beefheart in states of altered consciousness. I can’t make it through five minutes of Trout Mask Replica while straight. If I can’t see the pulsing face of a moray eel smoking a cigarette as they leer over a masked reptilian female as Frownland inserts itself into unreality, manifesting into physicality, and I declare genius and listenability, you know I am bullshitting for kudos. No saucer pupils, no appreciation. Sgt Pepper’s never sounds interesting to me. Sometimes there is no going back. The brain is permanently changed. Innocence is lost. Paradise always just out of reach.
I am seeking that Dr. Gonzo sweet spot: not only to be appreciated by those who have exited the realm of good taste and sobriety, but within earshot of Hunter S Thompson’s ‘two women fucking a polar bear’. Society is inured to the suffering, the interesting, the real, honest and unflinching. Perhaps it is too much to expect of myself to be able to wake people up, or at least make the door-(of-perception)-mouse raise its sleepy head from the disney tea pot ride and pay attention.
17 Pink Sugar Elephants, spawned from the gypsy wandering brain of Vashti Bunyan dance around my bed, in a ritualistic tail to trunk circle game, their grainy candy stomping feet, painted with rainbow domed toenails, dissolving in the puddle of tea that I spilt on the floor in the middle of a nightmare. Hunter blamed Rolling Stone magazine.
LSD got the blame for the sweet mop tops turning into Marharishi worshipping freakzoids and making an mutated album that even the normies and their grandmas consistently vote as being the best of all time, thinking they are being cool. Does nobody even think any more? I am so bored with Objectivity, it is the death sentence of the critic to be at the constant beg and call of that harsh master. Sometimes it just isn’t possible. Sometimes an opinion isn’t the worth thing to have picked up along the highway, as dangerous and cruel a hitchhiker that Opinion might be. My brain is ‘squirming like a toad’, just as Jim Morrison, the shamanic sophomoric poet of west coast prophesized before he drowned in his own drug addled bathtub in Paris. The Hotel Americana Room 1600, the Hotel Morrison, the Joshua Tree Inn, the Hotel Chelsea, 17 Rue Beautreillis, the Hotel California, they are all fine places to hide Subjectivity in the ice bucket, or behind the crusty ironing board as the stinking air conditioning fills the air with spores. I am out of my own hotel residency, and have lost the remote control.
I don’t even have anything or anyone to blame. Not my own lack of self control, not the abusers, not the drugs, not the useless past or the looming shadows of the future. I never did enough LSD to entirely blame it for my current hunt for the Gonzo Sweet Spot. No, it is something more than that. I am curiouser and curiouser, I slipped down the rabbit hole and there is no getting back. An overgrown Alice amongst the palm trees, with nothing other than a copy of Generation of Swine, and a total inability to know what is good for me, or when to stop if my life depends on it.
No, that Gonzo Sweet Spot, demands sacrifice, dedication and not a small amount of willingness to be accused of harboring subjectivity. I don’t care. I will stand on Jerry Garcia’s coffee table in my Nancy Sinatra gogo boots and fly my freak flag high. Sgt Pepper’s is still not groovy, baby, let alone cool. One day, as a society we will accept this, and when we do, we will all breathe a lot easier for it.
I need to go get some coffee…. I have some bats to catch.