Tuesday, 19 October 2010

In Berlin (part 3)

When we wake up the next day, our little campsite overnight has become surrounded by a sea of metal fences. We are penned into the stadium. A Canadian boy emerges from his tent and whistles. "They pulled down the Wall, and put up a Fence." I go for a wee and to buy a bottle of water. People are selling bits of the Wall off on street stalls. At least, they are selling little bits of coloured rock. I remember suddenly that today is my birthday. I'm 18.

Later that day someone passes Cat a joint, Cat passes the joint to me, it's in my hand when a crazy eyed American wearing a tie-dye bandana appears before us. (At this point,, appropriately enough, the Band are onstage singing The Weight. This is the last musical interlude I remember of the entire evening. I don't really know them or why they are there, but it's alright. Everything is alright so far, except it's far too crowded.) Can you sell me some weed? Can you? No, sorry - but have some of this... Thanks, man... I appreciate it... Here, have a tab. He literally takes my jaw in his hand "open wide..." and puts a tab on my tongue. Cat's, too. IN DIRECT CONTRAVENTION OF EVERYTHING OUR PARENTS AND SOCIETY EVER TAUGHT US, we swallow the tabs down obediently. "It's Grateful Dead acid. You'll see the gods."

And he disappears, after a mere toke on a joint, leaving us to 8 hours of furious tripping in the middle of thousands and thousands of people and a crazy circus. Cat... I say, after about half an hour. Cat, let's get out of here. I imagine I can feel LSD surging through my veins like liquid wildfire. Good plan, she says, but it's not so easy. It is rammed, rammed with thousands of Europeans of every type and every nation, all hell-bent on being in prime position to watch the Wall and nobody wanting to move an inch.

At one point during our exodus a man, sick of being trampled over, crosses his arms and refuses to let me through. Cat has gone. I am off my face and fear some kind of thermo-nuclear reaction if my poor acid-soaked nervous system is not permitted to move. He can't speak English but I lean down desperately and whisper savagely into his ear "If you don't let me move I am going to pass out on you DO YOU REALLY WANT THAT?" He moves.

I'm over by the outside fence, Cat is there. There's a line of police standing the other side but they won't let us out of the fences, not even to pee, as people climb up in a bid for freedom, they throw them back down again. Watching this is somehow ringing alarming historical bells but my brain is too fried to make the right connections. A man next to us is peeing into plastic beer glasses held by his girlfriend. She lines them up quickly quickly for him, one after the other. They both seem strangely sanguine about the situation.

Next to us is a group of remarkably ugly men (it seems to me) from Manchester. I stare at them, fascinated, remembering the line from Animal Farm about no longer being able to tell the men from pigs and the pigs from men. It's all too much "Cat, we're never getting out. We're never getting out." I'm crying and don't even care that the men can see me crying. "We will darling, we will." All those people. Just too many people. We're stuck here forever, watching people piss into beer glasses, forever and ever. "We could just throw her over the fence" suggest the Mancunians kindly. "Tell the police
she's having a freakout."

"Right" says Cat suddenly. All through this she's been smiling, shrugging, moving to some inner music. You want to get out of here? Come with me. She stands up, takes my hand, and somehow, magically, she's led me all the way out of the thousands and thousands of people, into some space. And magically, we're back in the camp, next our little tent.

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