Sunday, May 01, 2005

The Great Escape

‘By the time we got to Knebworth
We were half a million strong
Oom gneeaow da chunga thrum
Ooom gneeaow da chunga chungthrum…’

(Connoisseurs will immediately recognise the superior Crosby Stills Nash and Young version, slightly reworked)

Actually it was more like ten or a dozen. In the truck, at least. But we’d been driving for an hour which (in a confined space) is more than enough time to get extremely stoned. So it probably felt like a little bit of Woodstock back there. Without the tailback on the New York State Thruway, obviously.

There may have been a tailback where we turned off the A1 into Knebworth Park. Certainly we slowed down. Obviously we turned down the stereo. Undoubtedly we opened the windows wide and flapped at the air with our hands to make the smoke go away.

None of these measures would have been enough to mitigate the paranoia. Not once we’d spotted the one thing you always find on the approach road to any self-respecting outdoor event especially the type that involves loud music and hedonistic behaviour.

Lots of police.

What’s the worst way to enter a rock festival with your pockets full of hash?

The absolutely worst way you can imagine?

You got it. Show up in an earthtruck with two foot high sun mandalas on the side and smoke billowing from the windows.

I could say we kept our cool. I could say we’d hidden our stash so expertly that it would have taken a whole pack of expert canines to track it down. I could say Yaya rolled down the window and charmed the policeman so expertly with his best public-school subtly authoritarian greeting that the poor chaps just shrugged their shoulder and waved us on.

Or I could say we panicked. Probably closer to the truth.

Fortunately we had a trump card. Bertha had an escape hatch. Right there in the middle of the floor, about six inches by twelve. Can’t imagine why it was there, but I suspect the Navy ambulance people probably needed somewhere to dump the yucky stuff whilst patching up horribly mutilated marines.

The hatch opened right onto the road. And that’s where the last of the dope went.

Now you may call this the result of awfully bad planning. I prefer to think the opposite: that in point of fact we knew something like this was going to happen and consequently made a heroic effort to smoke the lot before we got there, knowing full well we’d be offered some more forty times between parking and claiming our patch of grass in the arena.

We’d just miscalculated, that’s all. I like to think some footsore hippy with a heavy rucksack who'd spent the whole morning hitch-hiking from Kirby Muxloe and was now trudging up the approach road in our wake was about to get very lucky.

As it happened, the police just shrugged their shoulders and waved us on anyway. That’s paranoia for you…


Blogger Ms Mac said...

If only we knew who picked it up! Would they have as good a story as you?

7:15 pm  
Anonymous Lucky Chick said...

Man, I remember the 20th of July as if it were yesterday.

Hitched down to Knebworth with some other cats, got caught in freaky rain storm and the bottom of my purple crushed velvet loons were wet up to my knees.
The place was swarming with pigs when we arrived and y’know paranoia runs deep man, it was heavy. We waiting behind some trees and had the last of our grass and watched some far-out vehicles going in.

Once the pigs were gone we set off again. Saw something on the ground right in front of me and it was like wow man. Some red leb. Like right there.

Far out.

4:32 am  
Blogger Mark Gamon said...

I think that answers your question, Ms Mac. As you can see, Lucky Chick speaks in the authentic 'hip' patois of the time, so it must have been her. I'm delighted we cleared that up.

9:31 am  
Blogger Mark Gamon said...

Or rather she did.

11:41 am  

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