VISIT THE HIPPY'S NEW SITE: Spend some time chilling out with the hippy...He used to be "the most shroomtastic stoner on the internet!" until the UK banned fresh magic mushrooms. He's still "the biggest internet celebrity you've never heard of!" He'll make you laugh, he'll make you think...he'll make you wish you were a hippy too!

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

If you recall, I was spending today at the offices of one of my prospective employers, training on their computer systems. It went very well.

The gentleman who trained me was very nice, he is a veteran of the job I will be doing. He said I was easy to teach. He was right, in as much as I have used the same system in the past and it was all pretty familiar to me.

In general, it was a very undemanding day. I arrived for 11am, my usual 10 minutes early. I listened to a mini-disc while I was travelling; today's selection on the outbound portion of my journey was "Absolution" by Muse. It rocks, and is a powerful choice of hard-edged, emotive music.

There's something very satisfying about listening to music while travelling on public transport; it's like starring in your own personal music video. Everything seems to “quantize” itself to the beat of whatever song is on your headphones, it makes for a very surreal experience. That's good, I can cope with surreal.

Everything about this possible new employer is organized; it's a very big and well-known company. I am sure you could work out who it is, if you really wanted.

The gentleman doing the training collected me from reception and brought me into their offices, which are massive. He briefed me about what we would cover and he was pleased to see I knew about the software. I think of myself as being fairly computer literate and I picked up on the new bits quite quickly.

He was very optimistic and encouraging about my future with this firm. He said there would be tons of work, more than I was promised. He also said that the guy who brought me in his known for his "talent" spotting; being recruited by him is a very good thing. I may have a future with this company, though I don't want to jump the gun and get too excited.

We broke for lunch and I got a building-pass photo taken. It was a digital camera, so the guy making the pass offered to let me approve the snap. I said what I always say after the first one, "that's as good as it gets."

It's true, I am not the best looking guy on the face of the planet. I'm average, very average indeed. If you passed me on the street, I doubt I would even register, except maybe that I am a little fat. That wasn't true a month ago when my hair was verging on a proper hippy-length, but today it's quite short. Dressed smartly, well as smartly as I can do with my substandard wardrobe, I blend in with the other slugs commuting to work.

After getting my photo taken, I had the chance to wander the building a bit. I found several of the many canteens and cafeterias, the shops, the dry-cleaner and most importantly, the smoking areas outside. As an enthusiastic consumer of tobacco, I was pleased to find out that there's a place to go for a quick puff. It might even be cool to have a sneaky spliff out there at night as well, but I won’t push my luck till I am sure. Someone mentioned a smoking room inside as well, but that will need to be discovered another day.

I finally decided on which canteen to have my lunch, it offered a pretty basic selection of institutional British food, but it was passable. A full turkey dinner with all the trimmings was bland, but only cost £4.50, so I'm not complaining. I wolfed it down and returned to finish my training.

We only continued for another hour, we covered the ins and outs of Microsoft Outlook, which is a piece of piss, since I have used it before. I thanked the gentleman kindly for his time and encouragement and jumped back on the tube for the return trip back to north london.

Musical selection for the return: No-one Ever Really Dies, which you might also know as N.E.R.D. I know I have mentioned them already, but I am still in awe of their latest album, "Fly or Die". I can hear Prince, Hendrix and loads of other influences in the music, it's fantastic. I am still down with N.E.R.D.

I walked through my front door at 3:30pm, so it was quite a short day for me, but I'm not complaining. All of this is helping to ease me back into the routine of working. It’s a bit like gently putting your toes in the water, to get used to the temperature, before diving in head first.

Tomorrow I'm up and out early again, this time to sign-on. As far as I know, unpaid training should not effect my dole, though if things keep moving in this direction, I'll be signing back off in no time.

I think I should try to find an accountant next week, as I've never formally been freelance before and it seems like a bit of a tax nightmare to me. Schedule D - yikes! The theory is that doing this will mean I pay less tax, which can't be bad. I'll also be able to deduct my expenses from my earnings, pre-tax, so that should save me some dosh as well.

If I do this right, I'll be working less and earning more, the hippy in me likes the sound of that very much! Anyone think it will really be that good?

That is pretty much my day covered, it was a lot like the first day in a new school. At least the bad kids didn’t beat me up and steal my lunch money.

And until next time, I remain your faithful northlondonhippy. Dig it!

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

It's 6:23pm here in north london, which means its hippy time!

I haven't stopped moving since I crawled from my lair this morning. I went through my usual routine, coffee, online newspapers, a spliff, a cig, and a shower before donning my only suit and heading off for my second interview in as many weeks.

Though the day may have turned out bright, sunny and mild, it was more than chilly as I walked to my local tube. Since I was travelling well before 9:30am, I couldn't get the off-peak travel card, I had to buy the full-fat variety. It cost seven fucking pounds and thirty shitting pence! I think its about £4.70 off-peak, and that's for Zones 1-4, which is also massively expensive.

Put it this way, the mayor's congestion charge costs a fiver. There is no way in hell I could have spent another £2.30 on petrol for today's journey, so the car would have been cheaper! Ken Livingstone, do you hear me, when it's cheaper to take you car than ride on public transport, something is very, very, VERY wrong.

And it's not like the tube is a first class service, far from it. I waited over ten minutes for the next available train, at a mainline tube station in Zone one. Ok, it was the Northern Line, which known as the misery line, but still, for £7.30, I should be getting blown by a nineteen year old girl while I ride the tube.

When I lived in south London, years ago, I was actually offered a blow-job once while walking down the street. Ok, it happened more than once, but on this occasion the price was a fiver, and she probably would have thrown in a used off-peak travelcard as well! No, I didn’t take her up on it, but I am sure she sucked off someone to buy a rock of crack.

Ken!!! Fix it!!!

I arrived for the interview with time to spare, not because of the efficient tube service, but because I allowed extra time. I gave me a chance to stare at the sky and have a fag before heading inside. I like to be early, always have done, I hate rushing to anything.

I've always chalked up my obsession with being early to my premature birth. I was born about 6 weeks early. Back then, in the early 60s, being that premature was a big deal, but today they are able to save preemies at a much earlier age.

I've always liked to think I was ahead of my time, and continue that tradition in my daily life.

So, I'm always early. Arrange to meet me in a pub or restaurant and I can promise I'll be there before you. I like to keep a nice, hippy-like pace, especially when travelling. If the public transport in London were more reliable, I wouldn't have to leave early for everything. I wonder how many hours of glorious slumber I've lost to London Underground?

I presented myself to reception with 10 minutes to spare, as you shouldn't be earlier than that for any appointment. I didn't have to wait long, I was led up to the office quite quickly.

Now, you can tell straight away; your standing is confirmed by how they treat you when you arrive. I was greeted warmly, shown to a private office and offered coffee or tea. So far, so good, I had a coffee, milk and one sugar, please. I was told the man I was expecting to see was unavailable, and instead I would meet with his deputy.

That was cool, he appeared quite quickly and invited another manager to sit in as well. The interview itself was more formal than last week, with many questions about my background. I handled them all well and was much calmer than I would have expected. They both seemed very nice, but I’ve worked in this business long enough not to let first impressions fool me.

Television is chock full of pricks and cunts, and that is not a gender distinction I am making. Spend as long as I have working in the industry and you would not argue with me.

So why do I do it, why do I continue? Why am I still working in TV?

It’s all I know, and pretty much all I have done with my adult life. That must make me either a prick or a cunt, a quick survey of former colleagues would probably see me labeled me “prunt”. Glad that’s settled.

Then they told me about the work, the hours, etc. I am familiar with this company and have dealt with them before, I know the brief fairly well. They have arranged for me to come in next week for a single shadow shift, unpaid of course. Sounds like I've got a foot in this door as well!

Tomorrow is spent doing some unpaid training at the other place, and I will be back there again next week. Three unpaid training days in less than 2 weeks is not bad, when you consider how long I've been looking.

As soon as I am booked for a paid shift, I'm coming off the dole. I can't wait! I hate it, really hate it. It makes me feel like shit and it's not like its great money either.

So the outlook on the hippy work front is looking good. There are so many things I want to buy. Besides clothing, which I need in great abundance, I want a new PC, a new PDA, and a new(er) car. Don't think my first pay-cheque will be quite that good, but I can dream!

I can't let today's entry finish without mentioning the arrests in London today. You can read the BBC's version here. This is quite a scary one as you can make a fairly impressive bomb with half a ton of fertilizer and a tiny bit of know-how. That’s how much they found. Yikes.

I'm not that surprised. I am certain that the UK is high on the list of targets for loads of reasons, not only their support for the good ol' US of A.. There is one school of thought that suggests the reason London hasn't been hit by Islamic militants is because so many of them are based here. They don't want to rock the boat. That's probably a bit of a misrepresentation, possibly oversimplification, and I don't buy it.

If you believe the Met, they say they have foiled quite a few plots already. Great, but as we've seen today, there's always more to come. Which makes me wonder, if these guys were getting ready to pull something big off, could there be others? Al Qaeda loves multiple attacks, so does this bust mean that we're safer, or are there other, more secretive terrorist cells that continue to operate. My money's on the fact that there are others, there have to be.

Now that its looking like I will be crossing London again fairly regularly, I find all this a cause for concern. Don't worry, my loved ones and I have an action plan should London be a target. We have various places designated to meet, depending upon what goes off and where.

Don't laugh, the threat seems real enough to me. Why not have plans, just in case?

No, I don't have tins of food, a year's worth of water and gaffer-tape to seal the windows and doors of my home, but at least having an idea of where to look for the people I care about when something bad happens makes me feel somewhat prepared. We're all probably going to be toast anyway. Something big is coming. Even the cops and the politicians keep saying that.

That's all from your friendly neighbourhood hippy. If you found out I was your neighbour, would you move away, or lend me some sugar? I bet you wouldn't let your daughter visit me!

Monday, March 29, 2004

A very typical day for you favourite hippy, I started the week as I mean to finish it, peacefully.

I was up mid-morning, later than usual actually and my first task of the day was plucking a few shrooms from my grow-kit. I'm planning a trip with a friend of mine this weekend, and I've got plenty now.

Once I tended my shrooms, I sat down at the PC and did a cost analysis of my growing experience to date. Fresh shrooms cost about 40p per grams, depending upon where you purchase them. You can get them for less, especially if you know where to look or are buying in bulk, but your basic 30gram portion of Mexican p.cubes should cost about 12 quid.

My home grown have cost about 15p per gram, if you include all of my one- off costs. If you subtract the costs that will not be repeated, like the propagator, spray bottle, thermometer, that cost comes down to 7p a gram. Well, I was impressed.

Think about how much drugs cost. I've read in the papers that pills are down to a couple of quid each, charlie is now suppose to be fifty a gram. Drugs are expensive, and they fuel the black economy. My shrooms only fuel me and they are really cheap.

I like producing my own drugs. I think it's cool. If I had the space I would have an indoor garden to grow weed as well. If we ever move house, I think an indoor growth space should be a requirement. We'll have to see what Mrs. hippy thinks about that. With the warm, humid summer we had last year, perhaps I should consider a couple of plants outside.

After tending the shrooms, I read the papers online. There wasn’t anything too exciting or interesting, a slow news day.

Then it was a quick spin up to my local high street. I went into M&S, which I don't do very often. I needed a pair of trousers and they seem to have the most choice for the short, fat, middle-aged hippy that wants to create the illusion of respectability. I bought a decent pair of trousers, with loads of pockets for 32 quid, which is not bad because M&S clothing is durable, they will last me a while.

I also picked up a few bits in the food shop, though they are always out of fresh chocolate milk, whenever I go. My younger brother raves about it regularly and I would like to try it, see if his praise is justified.

Then it was back home to relax and prepare for my interview tomorrow morning. I recorded the programme that I could be working on, it’s not something I normally watch. I'm not going to say much more about it. If the job is staff, it better pay well, because the show was dire.

I'm going into this interview cold. A friend and former colleague recommended me for this position; I followed up with an email. Within an hour, my prospective employer's assistant rang to arrange the interview. I didn't ask her any questions, I figured I could wait to see her boss. Maybe he will be my boss too.

My gut tells me they are desperate, whether it's freelance or staff. I could be starting fairly soon, in no time at all I could be back to work for real. Or they could hate me and think I am a total twat, stranger things have happened. Who knows? I'll find out the score when I see this guy in the morning.

I can feel the hippy lifestyle slipping away from me as I come closer to securing gainful employment. That's not a bad thing, especially the knock-on effect it will have on my finances, but there is a small part of me that will always want to remain barefoot and high.

I've noticed the time, it's just gone midnight, north london-time. I missed out making an entry on Monday and this one doesn't count, even if I started writing it at 11:50pm, it will be posted on Tuesday. That means I'll be back later to write some more. It’s late and I want to watch episode 5x4 of The Sopranos, which I downloaded today. Who wants to wait for E4?

Sunday, March 28, 2004

The fallout with my parents continues, after my conversation last night, they rang my younger brother. He also lives in London and has been here even longer than me.

It was my father who spoke to my brother. Conversation with my mother is very difficult, and since the stroke she is very hard to understand. When she concentrates and speaks slowly, you can get what she is saying, but if she is a little tired or emotional, it becomes next to impossible. She is tired much of the time and almost always very emotional.

My dad said he very much wants my brother and I to visit, especially me. It's not that they don't want to see my brother, but his circumstances are such that they are less demanding of him. It's me they want to see and they don't understand how I can refuse their request.

The reason my father thinks I am not jumping on a plane is because I don't want to see how sick he is right now. The last time I saw him, nearly two years ago, he was a very fit and healthy 80-year-old who looked much younger than his age. Two years later, ravaged by cancer, worn-out from being my mother's sole care-provider, I am sure he looks terrible, like he is one hundred and ten years old. But that's not why I am not going.

I would dearly love to see him, and my mother, but I'm not going because I know I couldn’t handle saying goodbye to him for the last time. I'm not going because I can't bear to see my mother, knowing what awaits her upon my father's death, a lonely, sad existence in a nursing home.

My brother tried to explain this to my father, and to an extent it sounds like my father understood. Maybe he got the the part about me not wanting to see him for the last time.

My family has a history of melodrama, every visit back to see them since I moved to London has been punctuated by an over-wrought and tearful good bye, each more intense than the last, all because of the possibility that it would be the last time I'd see them alive. A visit now would mean it is more than just a possibility, it undeniably would be the last time I would ever see my father.

I can't handle it. Sure, I'm weak, I am a coward. I'm not denying that. I've always gone for the easy option, whenever possible. I've disappointed them before, on many occasions, this is really not that new.

I do want to see them, and if I thought I could deal with it, I would be on a plane right now, but I can't. My parents are having more trouble accepting this than I am. That shouldn't surprise me, they have never handled not getting their own way very well.

What's a hippy to do? I don't think I am going to cave in, I really don't see myself going anytime soon. I'd like to think that after my dad is gone, I would go visit my mother, but the thought of seeing her in a nursing home is even worse. What a fucking wimp I am. What a total cunt I’ve turned out to be.

I can try to justify this anyway I want, wrap it up in all sorts of reasons and excuses, but it doesn't change the fact that I am not able (or perhaps willing) to do this one small thing to make my parents happy. But would it really make them happy?

My brother, who is pretty good at judging these situations, thinks my father has a secret agenda. Once I am there, he reckons, my dad will turn up the pressure to attempt to get me to move to the states, to care for my mother. This could never happen, but my dad could try.

There are so many reasons why I don't want to move back, why it’s not practical, why it could never happen. I went through this two years ago, when my mother had her stroke, I gave it serious consideration, and it was just not plausible.

If I am having this much trouble finding a new job in London, where I have worked steadily for the last 13 years, where I have contacts all over the industry, how impossible would it be to get something decent in the states. If the purpose of me moving back were to help out my parents, then I would need something as close to them as possible, which would limit my search and what I could do. If it were a fulltime job, as most are in the states, what time would I have left to be of any help? I can't take my mother to the toilet if I am working in an office 75 miles away. It was just not feasible.

My parents are not totally alone, they have a live-in helper, a middle-aged woman from Georgia (not the one in the US, the one with Tblisi as it's capital). She doesn't speak much English, but she seems to really care about them. Even if I was there, I could not do what she does for them.

They also have my three older half-siblings. I am not in contact with any of them, and haven't been for a very long time, but they are around. My father was married once before, which is where these three come from.

They are all significantly older than my younger brother and me, we were never really close. Actually, that is a half-truth, we were close at one point when I was a child, but they did there best to sabotage that.

My younger brother says that they hated us when we were in the womb and there is more truth to that statement than I ever realised. I think they were always jealous and resentful of us because we were raised by our father. Growing up, they only saw him on weekends.

Also, my father was not very wealthy when they were children, by the time my brother and I were on the scene, he was much better off financially and we had many material possessions. As children, they did too, but their memory of my father's generosity seems to be failing them. We all got cars when we were old enough to drive and the chance for a higher education. He's helped all of us out with housing and accommodation at one point or another, whether it was letting us live under his roof, co-signing a tenants agreement or even loaning us money for a down payment on a home.

They had no real reason to resent us like they did, my father did his best to treat us all equally. Perhaps I say that because I know I was his favourite. The others know that too, but I was the first kid he had that he actually raised.

My father fought in Europe during World War II, he was away from his oldest son for several years when he was young. When he returned from the war, he had the other two with his first wife and then left while they were still quite young. I was the first one for him to care for from birth till I moved out at the age of nineteen. I think that is a big factor in him choosing me as the favourite.

It also makes it harder not going, knowing that he wants to see me, possibly the most.

Anyway, the other three are all much closer geographically than I am. My middle-half-brother lives 5 minutes drive away. I haven't spoken to him in nearly 18 months, I did make the effort though.

This brother is the one I was closest to the longest, he lived with us from the age of 18 until he got married, at 24 I think. I could waste pages on telling you about him, but I don't feel like it today, I'll just stick to how he relates to this story.

I saw him a few times while was on my last visit and made an effort to get to know him a bit again. He is actually fairly close to my mother, who he calls "mom", and I think that he may very well care about her, but still sides with his real brother and sister over all of us.

When I phoned him 18 months ago, all he could do is tell me how hard he found visiting my parents. Remember that my father was not ill at this point, just my mother. He said that he had to force himself to visit about once a month and barely stayed an hour. I can’t imagine he finds it any easier now. He’s in his 50s.

I know what you are thinking, I'm one to talk and criticize him, while I'm sitting on my ass in London. At least I'm honest about it. That counts for something, doesn't it?

He’s now the on in charge of their wills and has power of attorney on their bank accounts and control of other matters financial. The thought of him having any say over my mother terrifies me, but it’s out of my hands. He will steal them blind.

It could have been worse, my oldest half-brother, the king of evil shits, was down to do it until recently, but my father has admitted finally that he was a bad choice. He openly despises my mother. My father chalked it up to distance, as the oldest one lives about 70 miles away. I don't care what the excuse is, as long as its not him. The middle-half brother is very much the lesser of two evils, he'll steal, but he won't be vindictively cruel to my mother when given the chance. At least I hope he won't.

Before the oldest one, their executor was a cousin of mine on my mother’s side of the family and his wife. They were a good choice in my book as they are fairly well off, have no real emotional involvement in my family and would have executed my parents’ wills exactly as written. My cousin’s mother, my aunt heard about this arrangement and blew a gasket. Cue another large family rift and my cousin was no longer nominated to this role.

Before all of them, it was I, your friend and narrator, the northlondonhippy, who was going to handle their affairs. My mother’s illness, her stroke, was a test run for this and it highlighted in a big way that it was just not practical for me to do it. Three thousand miles was the main issue, but my mental state was also a factor.

I know I briefly mentioned in a previous entry that I suffered a breakdown last year, all of this contributed to it. I didn’t feel strong enough to handle everything that would need to be dealt with upon my parents passing. When I told my father that I couldn’t function in this role, I tried to explain my reasoning, but he didn’t get it. He just felt let down and disappointed.

I'm good at disappointing people, I think it comes naturally to me.

My father’s not stupid, but has fairly simple views of things, black and white are his favourite shades. He didn’t understand what I was telling him, he just saw me as weak. The word he used to describe me to my younger brother a “flake”. That set my relationship back with my dad a fair bit and I didn’t speak to him that often after that. We’ve never really talked about it since.

I tried to suggest ways of sorting this out, my first idea was to hire a lawyer to handle their estates, and take care of the admin involved in caring for my mother, after my dad died. He rejected that on the grounds that it would cost money and he was unwilling to pay a percentage out to a lawyer. It's not like he or my mother would be around to bitch about it anyway. He then told me any executor has the right to take 10%, so it wouldn’t matter who did it, they would still get something.

We settled on my cousin and it only took a few months before that plan was in pieces. I could care less about the money, not that I think any will be left. Between my mother’s future care and my half-brother nicking whatever is left, there will be nothing for me or my younger brother. We've always anticipated this.

Not because we are morbid, or actually after the cash, but because it was a frequent topic of conversation in our house when we were growing up. Yes, really. Everytime my father fell out with one of his other children, he would amend his will. It's called writing a codicil (Law. A supplement or appendix to a will.). I even know the terms.

And the game was not to cut them out completely, oh no. If you do that, they could contest it and get a fair share. What you do is you leave them a token, which demonstrates clearly your intention to not give them much. For my parents, this magic amount was one-hundred dollars.

My younger brother and I both expected that by the time our parents were near the end, we would be in the one-hundred dollar section of their wills. My brother believes this to be true today, I don't know what to think. I know I am not expecting to receive a penny from their estate, I haven't for a very long time.

And that’s fine. I have been telling my father for the last couple of years to please take me out of his will. I don’t expect anything but hassle, I don’t want to deal have to deal with any of my half-siblings. Matter of fact, for the last decade, I’ve have been encouraging my parents to spend it all enjoying themselves.

As you can see, my family is a mess. Is yours any better? Maybe it’s worse, perhaps it the same. Are all families dysfunctional? How will I know, because shit like this is best kept behind closed doors.

As I mentioned, at various times, my parents have fallen out with all three of my half-siblings, the oldest half-brother went decades without speaking to my father. Most of this has to do with the mere existence of my younger brother and myself. It really does.

My younger brother was visiting when my mother had the stroke. As she lay in a coma, and we didn't know if she would live or die, my middle-half-brother brought up the rift between my oldest half-brother and my mother to my younger brother. Older middle-half said that my mother was to blame for all the trouble. Whether or not this is true (I am old enough and clever enough to remember what happened and it isn't), this what not the time to be mentioning it.

It was bullshit of the highest order, because all my mother (and father) did was defend my right to exist, my younger brother and I were children when all this came to a head. Again, this rift is a long story for another day, but it confirmed that none of my half-siblings could ever be trusted.

Sitting here on this gray Sunday afternoon, rubbing salt into all of these old wounds, that will never heal, makes me realise even more that I just should not go for a visit. All of the problems with my family are deeply rooted in past. They should have been dealt with thirty or forty years ago, it’s too late to fix any of it now.

I've lived most of my life knowing that this time would come, that all the turbulence of the past would be brought back to the surface as my parents, mainly my father approaches the end of his life. With his death more imminent with each passing day, I find myself less able to process any of it. My brain is simply overloading.

Is it any wonder I indulge is casual drug use? Why should anyone be surprised that I like to load up on mushrooms and spliff to escape this reality. Dying parents, unemployment, stalled creativity, lack of dosh, gimme drugs, gimme drugs, gimme drugs everyday.

This hippy is feeling down, but not out. Life goes on no matter what and will do even after I'm gone.

"...All we are is dust in the wind." At least there's some wind to shake things up.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Saturday night, just sitting down to write something. It's already after 9pm, the clocks go ahead tonight, and there’s one less hour of sleep for everyone. Prepare to travel through time!

This isn't going to be a particularly long entry, as I am being distracted by a large bowl of Hagen Daz Pralines and Cream, so you will have to excuse me if you don't have my fullest attention. Also, I spent the day enjoying a mild dose of shrooms, so I am probably not as sharp as I could be right now. After the ice cream, I'll skin up a nice spliff and relax until the Mrs. gets home.

Speaking of the ice cream, its delicious. It's one of my favourite flavours as well, the saltiness of the carmelised nuts compliments the sweet creaminess of the ice cream. Mmmmmmmmmm.

My father telephoned earlier, I picked up. Bad idea, especially with all the shrooming going on, but I thought I could deal with it at the time. He told me was pissing blood again. Whenever I hear him say stuff like that, it makes my scrotum tighten and my insides-down-there shrivel. The whole thing is very distressing.

He heard from his urologist that the oncologist is not going to have the surgery performed on him, so his bladder and the tumour will stay put. The tumour won't, it will just keep growing until it breaks through the bladder and spreads. They can still consider chemo or radiotherapy, but the outlook is pretty bleak.

My mother was in the background, largely unintelligible by both my father and me. Overall the entire thing is pretty pathetic, but made worse by my drug-induced state and my inability to deal with the situation.

They asked me to come again, begged really. I said no. My father asked why. I never ask why, I find it a fairly pointless question, if something is one way or another understanding why it is that way is not going to change the outcome.

I told him I thought it would tear me apart, that I couldn’t handle it, that it was all too much for me to deal with. His response, to tell me about the giant hamburgers he bought at a local shop, cheap and delicious.

He changed the subject, which is what he does. By not going for a visit, I'm denying a dying man his last wish that’s what I do.

I think my mind is pretty made up, I am not going to visit. I might regret it for the rest of my life, but right now, I believe it is for the best. If I was to change my mind, the clock's ticking, but I'm not going to change it. I'm not. Really.

Anyway, today is a bit of milestone for the hippy because if you plug "northlondonhippy" into Google, it will now bring you straight to my blog. You can see for yourself here .

Living that hippy lifestyle, so you don't have to!

Friday, March 26, 2004

Another day and no dollar, sometimes being poor and unemployed really gets me down. You would think I'd be used to it, and to an extent I am, but every once in a while, something reminds me of my desperate financial situation. Today it was a trip to my local high street.

I needed to pick something up, it doesn't really matter what it this item was. I didn't buy it, it cost more than I expected, so I left it on the shelf. What a drag, man.

So I'm back home now, doing a couple loads of wash. I've finished the dishes, I've emptied the bins, I can just about kick back and relax until the Mrs. gets home.

Not all my days are this dull and pathetic, but frequently a lot of them are similar to this. I have to keep reminding myself that things are looking up, I have another job interview on Tuesday and I have my first bit of training with the other company after that. Things might actually be improving.

I'm not counting my chickens just yet, but I need something to give me the tiniest shred of optimism that my extended period of non-productivity is about to end.

That doesn't mean I haven't had any little adventures, they do occasionally happen.

A couple of weeks ago, I was desperate for some dope. My usual source was dry, which is very unusual. The problem with having one steady source is that you fall out of contact with the other people who might be able to help. That was my problem. I tried to reach a couple of other people that might have helped, but they were gone, changed their mobiles, dropped out of the business, or off the face of the planet.

Normally, that wouldn't be a problem, as in any job, someone knows someone who can help. Again, foiled by lack of work, so I couldn't ask a colleague, I don't have any! I tried a couple of friends, but by and large, I am the only serious dope smoker I know, and the others all use the same contact I do. I was well and truly stuffed.

You might be thinking, this is not such a big deal and you would be correct. I can go without weed, but it is a lot easier to do that by choice rather than necessity. I decided to turn to the net for help.

A couple of months ago there was an article in the Guardian newspaper, saying that there were several companies selling grass and hash online, some based here in the UK, others in Holland. Read a reposting of that Guardian article here.

I managed to track down one of the dutch "hash traders" mentioned in that article and I emailed him. He quickly replied with his menu, which looked as good or better than any coffeeshop I've ever visited in Amsterdam. His prices looked high, but the range of choice was impressive. Then I dug a little deeper.

I found loads of posts on bulletin boards saying he was very unreliable and seemed to use all sorts of excuses for non-delivery of goods, which were paid for already. It wasn’t the solid recommendation I was hoping to find.

I couldn't manage to locate any of the UK based companies, as they seem to work on a referral basis, they are not contactable publicly. If anyone reading this knows about any, web based or London-based delivery companies, this hippy would love to hear from you!

As my desperation increased, so did my determination. I decided to use the member directory of a popular web-portal to find some local people to ask. Risky I know, but I decided to be polite and take it slow, then ask if they could help sort me out.

I trolled the member directory for a while and found a few people online in my general vicinity. My thinking locally is that this is just the sort of area where there would be a take-away or mini-cab office selling a bit of gear. That was my goal, to find someone who could point me in the right direction.

The people I spoke to were suprisingly nice, not one told me to fuck off. They were all very sympathetic to my cause. Sometimes, the world can exceed your expectations, and that's exactly what happened with the last person I spoke to online.

He was based very nearby, his profile said he was twenty-something, and was a big fan of hip-hop and Tupac Shakur. This was a good start. I sent him a message, saying hello and I think there is something you can help me with today.

He said, what's that. I explained to him that I was desperate to find some spliff. He was lol'ing his head off, but said yes, he could help. He sent me a mobile phone number, told me the guy was local and could help me right now, just don't mention how I got his number. He told me his name was "little man".

What did I have to lose? I phoned "little man", who grunted and whispered and said he couldn't help me. He couldn't help with spliff, but he was good comedy value.

I went back to my new online buddy and told him "little man" brushed me off. He gave me a second mobile number, same deal, don't say where I got it, and he told me to just ring up and ask if he could help me with some "draw".

That's what I did, and this time, I was rewarded with a "yes, I got some good shit and I can help." He said he was heading in my general direction in about an hour and could meet me somewhere to do the deal. Sounded good to me, so I said call me when you are nearby and we'll do this thing.

He then asked me how I got his number. Thinking quickly, I said I got it from Jimmy. He asked me who Jimmy was and I said, I don't know man, he says he knows you and you are the man that can help. My new friend said "ok" and that I would hear from him in about an hour.

He phoned me as promised and I told him of a quiet spot not 20 steps from my place, that he could pull up and we could take care of business. Now, I know what you are thinking, because I was thinking it too, this could be dangerous.

I stuffed a sharp-edged weapon in my pocket and went outside to meet him. He pulled up in his car, with two of his mates and for just a split-second I was a bit nervous, but we made the exchange in seconds and off they drove.

I got inside and checked my purchase, it was exactly as described, a small, smelly bit of commercially produced skunk weed. I stuck it on my cheap little scale and it weighed up exactly as it should. I rolled a quick spliff and it was tasty and strong. Hurray for the hippy!

I still can't believe I pulled this off, but it goes to show you what a little manic energy and determination can achieve. I went from no possible chance of scoring to organising a dirty little street deal on my own corner via the internet. How fucking cool is that?

I messaged the original helpful guy when I got back inside and told him that it all went well. Turns out the guy I met is one of his best friends, and he was going to tell him how I got his number later that night. I would never have done the same if I had a local dealer friend, but I am sure glad this guy took a chance on me.

Why not? What were the chances of the police using the net to solicit very small-time weed dealers. Police resources would be better spent doing anything else, like catching real criminals. And since cannabis has been downgraded to class "C" here in the UK, it is no longer a policing priority.

Who did I hurt? This guy had something I wanted, we had a free exchange of goods for cash, wasn't I just doing my part for capitalism, entrepreneurial spirit, and the success of a small, local businessman?

Well, I thought it was pretty cool, it certainly beat spending the day like a zombie on the sofa.

That's it for today, back tomorrow to report on more hippy escapades.

"The northlondonhippy realizes that you have a wide selection of weblogs to visit, thank you for choosing his. He hopes to see you again on your return journey. Thank you for flying with the hippy."

Thursday, March 25, 2004

A very dull day for me today, was planning on going up to my local high street for a bit of shopping, but haven't gone yet. Too many distractions and excuses to leave, though I might take a walk up soon, for an abbreviated trip.

I don't have that much to say today, feeling more than a bit blah. There is more to this picture than I am willing to share right now. Things have been pretty good in the last week or so, I guess one down day ain't so bad.

My brother has read some of this blog. I think he was surprised at how personal I have been, especially about our parents. When I decided to start this blog, under the influence of shrooms, I set down some simple rules I would follow.

One, be honest, two, be personal, three, write quickly, four, edit it once and then publish, five, decide on boundaries and stick to them. So far, so good.

Basically I envisioned this blog as a place where I could write just about anything I wanted, whatever was on my mind that day. I was always hoping it might get my creative juices flowing a bit, since I have been, not blocked, but stalled with my writing.

So far, I've stuck to this plan, especially the writing quickly and only editing once. A quick troll of my previous entries shows text littered with typos and mistakes. I'm not going to apoligize for this, its part of the nature of the way I'm going to blog, I do not want to get bogged down in editing this to death.

This is off the top of my head writing, which is fairly undemanding to do. I just hope it is equally easy to read.

I've been thinking about what would happen if people actually started reading this blog, what effect it would have on my writing. I would like to think that I will continue without any change, but the reality is that if I ever receive any feedback, it will influence what I write.

I've got a pretty thick skin, you need one to work in television, but this is fairly personal, can I handle criticism? Not well, he replied truthfully, but I've opened myself up to it here. It's not like anyone would be able to trace this back to who I am in the real world, not easily anyway.

Unless someone who knows me reads this, which I suppose is possible, but not likely. I don't think I've put that much in here that would make it easy to unmask the hippy.

And what if I was identified, so what? Who would care? I really am nobody. I would like to think that I would keep writing no matter what happens. I'm actually enjoying it. I've never kept a diary before and this is the closest thing to one I've ever had.

I think what I like about doing this blog is the instant gratification of it. You type some shit, preview it, then publish it and suddenly its out there on the web. I know I've come late to the world of blogging, but its a very simple, quick and undemanding form of expression. Perhaps too easy and that makes it simple to ramble endlessly about nonsense. I hope not, but it’s impossible for me to judge.

The northlondonhippy is one week old today! With my track record of attention span, this is quite a feat for me and I am not taking it lightly. Once I have built up a reasonable archive, I might consider submitting it to some sites that advertise blogs. I'm not sure what this would accomplish, but it might get me some feedback, which would be nice.

That's about it for now, I might come back later if I have the time and something new to say.

"What's so funny 'bout peace, love and understanding?" How much time have you got?

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Just another day in hippy-heaven! How's everything little thing with you?

I met my old friend for some drinks last night and had a very enjoyable time. I'd not seen him in several months, it was good to catch up. While there will be no work with him anytime soon, we agreed to make an effort to stay in touch and he is up for taking some shrooms with me soon.

The real highlight of my evening was my mini-cab journey back to Casa del Hippy, which was spent in deep conversation with my driver. He was an Arab gentleman and unashamed supporter of one Osama Bin Laden and his merry band of cold-blooded killers, Al Qaeda. He doesn't view them as terrorists at all; he sees them as "freedom fighters". His opinions didn't shock me, but his willingness to share them so openly with me, left me more than surprised.

Now, hearing terrorists being referred to as "freedom fighters" is nothing new to me. As a journalist, I was taught early on that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. If memory serves, the style of both the Associated Press and Reuters is to not use the word "terrorist" unless it is in a direct quote from a source or interview subject.

I'll give you an example, if you lived in Britain in the late 1700s, you probably would have viewed George Washington and his fellow-fighters as terrorists hell-bent on ending the King's rule in the colonies. Suggest that to an American today and you would probably be smacked in the face, or reported to the office of Un-American activities for further interrogation. Bring on the rubber hoses.

I can think of a few current and recent world-leaders that started out committing terrorist acts. How about one I admire, Nelson Mandela,? He was involved in violence against the state. I won't argue that the state he attacked and its system of apartheid was evil, but do the ends always justify the means? Machiavelli certainly had a point, but if you subscribe to his philosophy, then you would have to extend it to people who's ideology you do not agree with - you would still have to respect their right to pursue their own goals by whatever means they choose.

My minicab driver, who quite confidently claimed his views were held by the majority of Arabs around the world, said that the victims of the Madrid bombings deserved to be killed, "because that is what happens in a war and this is a real war with Al Qaeda." He genuinely believed that all of those people, over 200 dead and more than a thousand injured, were legitimate targets. He said all this in a calm, gentle manner with a smile on his face, which made it all the more disconcerting.

I am not going to claim that all Muslims feel that way, just because one mouthy taxi driver says so, but I do think that his opinions are more widely held than you or I would care to believe. My travels whiling working have brought me into contact with extremists before, there's only one way to handle them. Listen politely and keep your own views private, disagreeing or arguing will not do you any favours.

I when got home, I relayed this tale to Mrs. Hippy. She thought I should have gotten his details and reported him. To whom and for what, I asked. He's entitled to his opinions, no matter how repulsive I may find them. And as far as I can remember, thought-crimes only exist in "1984". There’s was nothing I could or should do about it.

I've begun to think I was born at the wrong time. No, I don't mean too late, I don't believe all this "good old days" nonsense. The world is not that great a place now and it wasn't back then, although different reasons ruin different times.

I try to imagine what the world will be like in one thousand years. I know that is silly, because it is fairly unknowable. I don't subscribe to a Gene Roddenberry-Star Trek version of a future utopia, though I can appreciate his optimism. I think about a future where differences in race, nationality, religion are all gone and over a period of one hundred centuries, this level of change is certainly possible. Likely is another story.

We live in a world where every major city is one suitcase nuke away from being blown back into the stone age, where governments, especially the US are eroding our civil liberties daily. And what is at the root of all of this? No, not the threat of terrorism, that is a symptom of the greater problem, the divisions across the globe.

Everything that separates us today, all the things I've mentioned above, race, religion, nationality, plus poverty, are all behind the instability in the world today. They always have been, but thanks to globalisation and the media, these divides have never been more apparent. The key is the homogenization of the entire planet.

What the fuck does that mean? What it means that over time, the residents of this planet need to unite, how about under the catch-all banner of earthlings?

Think about it, if we all view the entire world as one place that we all reside upon, think about how it might change the way we treat each other. I read a report the other day that said by 2050, the white folks in America will be outnumbered by "people of colour". I think this is great! I'm by no means a racial purist, leave that to the eugenics nuts, but I dream of the day when there is just one race on the planet, the human race.

Think about it, if everyone was just a shade of brown, it would eliminate one of society's biggest dividers. It will happen, not in my lifetime, but one day this will be true and it will be a good thing.

Nationality and religion are a bit trickier, since they are ideological rather than physical. If you look at the "us vs. them" nature of the world today and extrapolate it a bit further, you see that there are two competing sides already, the west vs. the fundamentalist Arabs. In terms of resources, the US and its allies have the upper hand, but in turns of nationality and religion, Al Qaeda is winning.

What do I mean, that Al Qaeda are winning?

OK, for starters, Al Qaeda blurs the nationality issue, its loose collection of groups and members come from just about every country. They see themselves as Muslims first, their nationality is secondary or totally unimportant to them. In this regard, they are doing more to unite their cause than America. The US, on the other hand, has succeeded in damaging or destroying relationships with some of their oldest post-world-war-two allies. America is more isolated today than I can ever remember.

And how about religion? Again, Al Qaeda scores well because they are committed to their fundamentalist views and see it as a foundation for everything else they believe. The west, with its mixture of Judeo-Christian and moderate Muslim values has no middle ground, and they can't even manage to have a smooth co-existence amongst themselves. How can the west be an example to the rest of the world when they are not showing a unified front?

One side will be victorious over the other, that much is clear, its a question of which one. Of course, I want the west to win, but I have clear enough vision to see that this is not guaranteed. Complacency in the face of committed resistance could lose this fight. So could a fucking dunderhead like George W. Bush!

I don't have all the answers, I'm not even sure of all the questions. I do know that the world has always changed and will always continue to change. The shape of the future is unknown, but I like to think that in one-thousand years, we might manage to put an end to most of this shit. A boy can dream.

I'm starting to wonder if anyone's visited my blog yet. Only one person knows about this so far, my brother and he hasn't really bothered to read any of it yet. I haven't told Mrs Hippy, but I will, once I build up the archive a bit.

Email me if you've read any of my blog, I'd be interested in hearing from *you*

"Your ass is a space ship that I want to ride...."

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Back again, post dentist, ouch, oww, oww. He was able to fix my broken tooth, with lots of drilling, drilling and more drilling, then he refilled and reshaped it. It's a whole tooth again. He also gave me a scale and polish, so I'm set for six months. The anaesthetic is finally wearing off and feeling is returning to the left side of my face.

I had to do some shopping after the appointment, pick up a few bits from the local supermarket. With half my face numb and feeling paralyzed, I was hoping I wouldn't have to talk to anyone. There was a quite an attractive woman smiling at me at one point, I wouldn't qualify it as flirting, but I had let her walk in front of me and she acknowledged this with a slight grin. I tried to return the smile, but I ended up looking like a stroke victim. The look of horror on her face made me realize just how repulsive I must appear. I'm not all that on a good day, the crooked smile was doing me no favours.

I shouldn't make jokes about strokes, my mother had one almost exactly two years ago, the anniversary was last week. She had a bad one, it was in the lower bits of the brain, the cerebral cortex. She nearly died at the time and has not recovered very much. Her speech and movement were the most effected, she has been bedridden ever since. Her mind is just as sharp as ever, so you can imagine her frustration. Though she is desperately hoping to walk again, this is very unlikely. She's 74 years old.

If you haven't figured out from my lapses of spelling, the northlondonhippy didn't originally come from London, or even the UK. My parents live in the states. When my mother had the stroke, I went over to help my father deal with it.

I spent the better part of two months over there that year, thankfully I had a lot of holiday time from work. There's not much you can actually do to help, you just stick around and do what you can. It wasn't much. At the time my father was a very young eighty, but since then he has aged dramatically. At the time people were constantly surprised by his age, most people thought him to be late sixties, seventy tops.

Being there for as long as I was, took its toll on me. The frustration and helplessness of not being able to help my parents in any meaningful or practical way was more than I could handle.

When my mother came home from the hospital, my father was the sole provider of her care. The way the system works in the US, with private medical treatment, is simple, you pay for your own. My father decided he was not going to spend the money and for a year and a half he ran himself into the ground doing everything. They now have some living in with them, who's mainly there to take care of my mother, because my dad finally couldn't cope with it.

He also worried a lot, far more than he ever did before. His biggest fear was what would happen to my mother, if something happened to him. He told me he would lie awake at night, imagining that he had all sorts of health problems.

It was only a matter of time before his fears were realised. Last August, he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of bladder cancer. They removed the tumor once, and it grew back quite quickly. He started a course of chemotherapy and managed three sessions out of six, but had to stop because of the side effects. Over Christmas and New Year, my dad was in the hospital, he nearly died. Merry Fucking Christmas, Happy Cunting New Year.

He's just switched oncologists, his new ones are considering major surgery to remove his bladder and prostate. His previous doctor elected not to perform it, but this one is more open to the idea. My father has several things against him which mean he might not survive the surgery, his age (82), his general health (a history of heart trouble, massive weight loss, weak and run-down) and he still hasn't fully recovered from the chemo last December. If he has the surgery, his chances of making it off the table alive are slim, and recovery will be very, very slow, if he even recovers and heals completely.

If he doesn't have the surgery and my feeling is that they will not do it as it is a six-hour procedure, there aren't many options left. They might consider a weaker form of chemo, or possibly radiotherapy, but against this aggressive form of the cancer, it won't have a chance.

I spoke to my father on Saturday, it was a very difficult conversation. He pretty much told me that he going to die soon. He wants to see me. I want to see him, and my mother, but I don't know if I can handle it.

Put aside my dire financial situation, I could throw the flight and rental car on my plastic and worry about it later. I've got the time as well, so why aren't I booking a flight right now?

After my mother's stroke and all the time I spent there, I came back to England and started using harder drugs, more frequently and liberally than ever before. Specifically charlie and E, in combination, with spliff (of course) and cognac and valium (when I could find them) for the comedown. This was not good.

I limited my "disco dancing" as I called it to days when I was not working, but was heartily abusing all of these substances very regularly. It was all done with small amounts, a gram of coke would last me 5-7 days. If you know about charlie, you'll know that's not a huge amount. But I did this solidly for about 5 months. It was escape as best I could manage. Don't try this at home kids.

I don't think it led to my breakdown, if anything it put it off, but the breakdown came. I'm not going to detail what I went through now, but it was not fun and it lasted far longer than it should. At the heart of all of this was the depression caused by my family situation.

There's plenty more to it than just my parents both being ill, but their illnesses have brought much of it, years of resentment and distance, to the fore.

So there it stands, should I make one last, dramatic, emotionally intense trip to see my father one last time? I've always been close to him, probably closer than my other siblings, but in the last year and a half, we've grown apart. He's never been happy that I lived so far away, he's not impressed with my current lack of employment. He believes any job is better than no job and has recently suggested working in McDonalds or selling apples by the side of the road as career options for me. No, I'm not joking.

I know my dad, and he means well, and those work-related comments aren't meant to excuse me from visiting. I'm afraid to go, afraid that it will effect my mental health and return to the world of the working. I know how painful it will be saying goodbye. Every time I have visited, since I moved here more than a decade ago, its been difficult leaving, knowing that it might be the last time I see them.

This time, it would be worse, because there is no denial, this would be the last time I saw him. I wish I could do something...anything to help them both. Visiting might make them both feel better, fuck it, I know it would, but the departure would be just as hard or harder on them than on me.

I think the shrinks call this being "conflicted".

Am I going to feel worse for going or not going? Answers on a post-card please.

Well, I warned you this was going to be personal, didn't I?

The really good news is I have another interview next week. Actually, it will probably just be an informal chat, but I'm not sure. It could be a staff position, though with the other confirmed work, it would be good if this one was freelance and I could do a bit of both. I like the idea of having two baskets to keep my eggs in, it would make a nice change.

I'm supposed to have a drink with an old friend tonight. I can't remember the last time I was inside a pub in the evening, or had anything alcoholic to drink. This friend of mine offered me some work a while back, I know I mentioned it before. It was suppose to start late last year, but he never phoned me back. He recently got in touch, apologizing profusely. It will be interesting to hear what he has to say. It could be that he still has some work for me as well.

From famine to feast in the space of a week, perhaps keeping this blog has brought me some good luck.

Don't be peripherally naughty when you ought to be snotty!

An early start to my day today, was awake at 7:30am. Like most days, I switch on the tv and the PC and make myself a fresh cup of coffee which I enjoy with my first cigarette of the day. One of the benefits of unemployment is that everything can happen at a pleasant and leisurely pace. I start out with the day's newspapers, while SKY News can be heard on the tv in the background. I read The Sun, The Mirror, The Times, The Guardian and the Independent, plus I check the headlines on Drudge.

Once that's done, I check my email accounts and since starting this blog, I make an entry. My plan today is to write this one, then come back later and make another one. Ambitious, I know.

I have to pick some mushrooms this morning, my next crop is ready for cultivation. It's the third one in as many weeks, I have about 20 of them this time, not many at all. However, they are huge, they look a bit like mutants they are so large. I think what I am lacking in numbers, I will make up in weight per shroom. Enough about mushrooms, I've bored you enough about them already.

I had my meeting yesterday and it went well. It was less of an interview and more of a briefing on training and getting me up to speed to fill-in on this senior editorial position. I have my first day of (unpaid) training next Wednesday, then two shadow shifts early in April. That's the good news. The bad news is that initially he can only offer me between 2 and 6 shifts per month. It will be very good money for what effectively is part-time work, so I will need to supplement it somehow. Anyway, I'm feeling pretty good about the whole thing.

And then, when I came home from the interview, I had a message from a friend of mine who's been keeping an ear out for jobs. He's got a friend in another company who has a job going that would suit me perfectly and I could probably stroll right into. I don't know if it is staff or freelance, I couldn't reach my friend yesterday - I'll try him again when I finish writing all this. This would be another good one to get, and if it is freelance, it could compliment the first job fairly well with minimal conflicts of interest. Things are looking up for the hippy!

I cracked a tooth yesterday, don't worry it was an upper rear molar, so I didn't go to my meeting with a hillbilly smile. This particular tooth had a very deep filling put in it, maybe 20 years ago. God, it’s scary referring to events that happened in my adult life as being 20 years ago! Anyway, the tooth was always a bit sensitive and a few years ago, it had a slight crack which my then dentist ground out for me. A few weeks ago the sensitivity started to increase and I made an appointment to see my dentist.

Now I'm lucky because I have a good NHS dentist. The surgery is hard to reach on the telephone, as they are always busy and they let the machine answer, so I need to call in personally to make an appointment. I did just that last week, the earliest they could see me was the 30th of this month. I explained about my tooth and they said if it got worse, to phone them. I got really lucky yesterday and reached them on the second try, the dental nurse remembered me and was able to squeeze me in this morning. I don't know if the tooth can be repaired or if it will require extraction, I really don't want to think about it.

With the exception of my wisdom teeth, which were removed when I was in my early twenties, I've always had fairly healthy teeth. Yes, I've had the odd filing over the years, plus one root canal that then required a crown, but overall, they have been in pretty good nick. Having this tooth implode is a bit upsetting, as it is a marker of both my age and my own mortality. I wonder what will go next.

I'm only forty-one, or as I like to think of it, forty-wonderful. It's not that old! Is it? I was thirty-wonderful a decade ago and I had a great year, I want this year to be good too. I want it to be that new beginning, a fresh start, at least professionally and creatively.

I'm moving in the right direction work-wise. Ok, I haven't got anything firmer than the promise of a handful of freelance shifts, but it is a start. I'm confident once I get into any job and they say how competent I am and experienced I am with the work, they will give me as much as they have available.

I'm also hoping that this year is a creative breakthrough for me. I think I have mentioned that I (attempt to) write and it would be very nice to actually finish something for a change. I have a fully planned and plotted screenplay ready to go, complete with an outline to follow. I just need the discipline to sit down and write it out, one scene at a time. It's a psychological, revenge thriller that I think has some potential. I just need to put the time in.

And then there is my long planned novel, which I have been working on for almost a decade. I write a chapter or two, then throw it out and start again. This time, I think I like the direction I am taking and am not going to be so quick to discard it. But enough about my writing, right now being the northlondonhippy is helping to get the juices flowing.

Anyway, I've got a few things to do before I visit my dentist. I'll be back later, if I can.

What's cooler than being cool? Ice cold!

Monday, March 22, 2004

It's Monday morning, and I could have used a bit more sleep really, especially considering the day I have ahead of me today. I'm not unrested, but I could have benefitted from sleeping later. I went to bed at about 2am last night, set my alarm for noon, but woke up at 8am. Don't know why, well maybe I do.

The Israelis killed Sheik Yassin with a missile. He was the spiritual leader of Hamas. He was in jail for many years, but released a few years ago when the peace process in the mideast appeared to be moving forward. His death today is going to have a very serious effect on the stability of the region. Expect major retaliation and revenge against Israeli for this, they're saying Ariel Sharon personally approved the operation. I'm not going to argue whether they were right to assasinate him or not, it really doesn't matter. Now that he is dead, there's going to to be a whole new level of shit there. I'm watching live coverage of a huge his funeral in Gaza right now - showing tens of thousands of very angry people. It's not going to take long before it all kicks off.

I spent the day off my face on magic mushrooms yesterday. I've mentioned them before as it is a fairly recent hobby of mine. If you check my very first blog entry, there are several links to sites you may wish to visit for more information. They have been used by people for thousands of years and have a very strong effect.

I've taken acid a couple of times and I have to say I much prefer magic mushrooms. They are natural, easier on your system and there is no real comedown. From what I have read, you would need to consume your own weight in shrooms for them to be toxic, so physically they are fairly safe, as long as you know what you are taking.

I've never picked them in the wild and wouldn't know how to spot them anyway. All the shrooms I have had were farmed, either in Holland or here in the UK. You can order them on the net, many headshops sell them, the markets in Camden and Portobello road also have stalls which sell them.

I purchased a grow kit a few weeks ago to produce my own. It's amazingly simply, you just take the lid off the take-away style container, put it someplace slightly warm and spray it with water twice a day. The shrooms grow very quickly, I'm nearly finished with my third flush in as many weeks.

In their fresh and natural state, the mushrooms are 100% legal, the companies who sell them had this point clariifed by the Home Office in writing. They become a class "A" substance when you intentionally dry them, so its best to keep them fresh.

They are also more potent when they are fresh, though you have to consume a fair bit to get the really wild effects. I took a reasonably large dose on Sunday, but at this point I am quite experienced and know what to expect.

I always make sure I am in a safe, secure place when I trip on shrooms, physically and mentally. Evything that needs doing around the house gets done before I start. I've recently discovered that it is more enjoyable to trip during daylight hours, as the natural light makes things look better, so I ingested the shrooms at about 2pm.

As I hate the taste, I threw the shrooms into my blender with some juice and turned it into smoothie. It tasted absolutely foul, but I managed to gulp it down quickly. Then I sat down and smoked a spliff.

People can sometimes feel a bit of nausea when they eat shrooms, but this passes quickly and a joint at this stage helps minimize this feeling. Within about 15 minutes, I could feel them begin to kick in. Like any drug experience, it is a bit hard to describe, but I will try.

At first, it is almost a bit speedy, like you just had ten cups of espresso. You start to feel happy, almost euphoric, something definitely changes in your brain. Within about 30 minutes, the visual effects begin. It starts with perceiving light differently, you may notice a sudden increase in brightness on the edges of your vision, as if someone was shining a torch at you. Colours increase in brightness and intesity, your vision becomes sharper and more crisp. At this point, you might also notice things moving or breathing slightly. Patterns begin to emerge in the textures of fabric, my cat's fur breathes as well.

Now, what's happening in your brain is that the drug is making your neural synapses fire a bit quicker, meaning your brain is receiving more information than is really there, its almost a state of hyper-reality. Your mind can race, flitting from one topic to another. I find myself trying to not think, and just experience what's going on around me.

Music takes on a distinctly different quality, sounding crisper, fuller with more seperation between the individual tracks. You may experience sound as a physical sensation. It it really a lovely feeling.

Once I am peaking, I like to lose myself in music video channels. When you discover a new song or video while under the influence of shrooms, it can amazing, yesterday was no exception. I heard several songs for the first time, which really impressed me.

The first was from a band I've never heard of before, called Rasmus. The song, entitled "In The Shadows" is a hard-edged, rock-pop song and very catchy. The video is an expensive, well directed piece, and is sure to grab your attention. I don't know anything about the band, but keep an eye out, I expect it to sell well.

The next one I discovered is the latest single from N.E.R.D, called "She Wants to Move" and it blew my mind. I've read about N.E.R.D before, but never really paid attention. This song rocks! It's got a great fusion of beats, funny, nasty lyrics and some wicked guitar. I am down with these guys, I could do business with them! I'm downloading, I mean purchasing this one from my local high street retailer today!

The third song that grabbed me is the latest offering from Outkast. I've had the Speakerbox/The Love Below for sometime, and I have been hooked on Dre3000's disc. "Hey Ya" is as close to perfection as a single gets. I hadn't really given Big Boi's side that much time, but I heard "The Way You Move" properly and was blown away. The horns are very retro, 70s, Earth, Wind and Fire style and it is a very smooth slick sound. It's another winnder. Those Outkast guys are very talented, they first caught my attention with Stankonia a couple of years ago. It deserves all the acclaim its received.

The other general observation I came away with yesterday after watching several straight hours of music videos is that they want everyone to be a cool black guy, pimp daddy. Every video seems to be showing me that all the cool black guys have all the fun. This is hard to explain, but if you watch, a common theme emerges from all these videos. They say, "I'm a cool black guy, I'm rich, I know how to dance, I know how to party. All the sexy, hotties want to get down with me. If you pay attention, I can show you how, just like this. Break it down!" Watch a bit, you will see what I mean.

Anyway, that was my day on Sunday, totally monged off my face on strong magic mushrooms. Its not for everyone, but I surely do like it!

Believe it or not, I have a job interview today. A real one, for some freelance work with a very large corporation. I'm trying not to be nervous, but the fact is, this is the first real interview I've had since I left my last job. Yikes!

It's going to be informal, I am meeting the guy for a coffee this afternoon. I've been in touch with him for nearly six months, waiting for an opening. Finally, last week, he told me there was the chance of loads of work with him. I am very encouraged by this, but not counting my chickens just yet.

I still don't know when the job might start, what the hours will be, how many days a month I will get, and how much it will pay. Its a senior position, so the money should be decent and the hours shouldn't be too bad. I'm hoping that it will be full-time or fairly close to that, as I really need some money.

I'm going to have to wrap this up now, I've to go try on my suit and see if it still fits. This hippy doesn't dress-up very often and its a very long time since I've worn it. If it doesn't fit, I'm going to have to make a quick run up to the high street and hope to find something in my size.

Stay cool, stay groovy, ride the vibe.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Another shitty day in London, with high winds and heavy rain. A typical day in March I guess, but not a great day for the big peace march which took place in central London. I can't believe the war in Iraq started a year ago today.

When did years stop feeling like years to me? I wish I could pinpoint the exact moment that I started perceiving time differently, faster. I can remember when a year seemed like an eternity, and when summers could seem to last forever.

Not anymore. Now, time flies faster than I ever thought possible. The last year, for example, seems to have been and gone in the blink of an eye. Not working should have had the opposite effect, the year should have dragged, but it didn't.

And how about that war in Iraq? The hippy is gonna get political!

I don't claim to know exactly why they attacked Iraq, but I can certainly eliminate a few reasons. They said that Iraq posed an imminent threat to the western world with their vast stores of unconventional weapons (hippy style point, I won't refer to them as WMD, because to my knowledge, the closest Iraq came to possessing any was when they were building the supergun. Yes, Saddam did gas Kurds in the 80s, and it was horrible, but that is not a classic WMD. If you are going to split hairs, and why not, WMD should only mean one thing: a nuke. Saddam didn't have one, did he?).

To date, they have not discovered any unconventional weapons in Iraq. The head of the Iraqi Survey Group, David Kay (who was appointed by Bush Jr) threw his hands up in disgust and resigned, saying there were no weapons to be found and probably none from the start.

Even the president of Poland, a member of the "coalition" has said that the case for war put forth in the intelligence used to get his country on board was exaggerated. Following the terrorist bombs in Madrid, the Spanish electorate sent a strong message that all the governments belonging to the "coalition" should heed. They said: "we don't feel safer now, we don't trust you!" Beware Bush and Blair.

Now, they claim they invaded Iraq to get rid of the evil dictator, Saddam Hussein. I won't deny he was evil, but so what? Plenty of countries have and have had evil leaders, why aren't they leading military crusades against all of them, any of them? Oil really don't know, do you?

Take Zimbabwe and evil and allegedly syphillitc President Robert (Hitler's 'tache) Mugabe. He's not just evil, he's craaaazy, man. Is anyone trying to oust him? Well, maybe if you think about who might have hired those mercenaries they arrested recently, but I digress. There is no concerted effort to do anything to stop him. His regime and its policies are responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people and a virtual reverse apartheid against the white population. But don't worry, the debate about the future of the England cricket team's upcoming Zimbabwe tour continues. Thank god for that!

How about Kim Jong Il, another craaazy, evil dictator. He's like a real life version of a Bond-baddie. He wears funny jumpsuits, kidnaps, probably has an A-Bomb or 2 lying around just in case and I would bet money he has an evil lair built into the side of a mountain. The Red Cross, frequent visitors to famine-stricken North Korea report regularly on the mass starvation killing off legions of people there. Why haven't we invaded the northern part of the Korean pennisula? Technically the north and south Korea are still at war, same for NK and the good ol' USA, so they could probably re-started the fighting on a phone call if they wanted. Why don't they?

Simple, north Korea could fight back, unconventionally. If they really have nukes and put them on the missiles that could hit Japan, things could get really messy, that's why. Iraq, as we saw a year ago, wasn't in a position to put up much of a fight. The west likes wars it can win and they knew going in that they could. If they didn't, why did they launch hostilities before all the troops could be properly kitted out with NBC suits, boots, and all the other useful toys. Simple, they knew it would be a cake-walk.

The same way they knew there would be no unconventional weapons, they just didn't expect everyone to make such a big deal about their non-discovery. We're suppose to be grateful that they used whatever means necessary to remove Saddam, regardless of the loss of life. They can tell you exactly how many soldiers have died in Iraq, even how many journalists, all accurately. How many Iraqis have died? All you'll get are estimates, no one knows for sure.

I heard a bit of a Bush the lesser speech on Friday, he was prattling on about the war on terror and Iraq, because he loves to link these two practically unrelated issues. Well, they used to be unrelated, until all the real terrorists took advantage of the chaos that was and is post-war Iraq and moved in. Bush was going on about how much stability he's brought to the region. Huh?

I don't recall quite so many terrorist style attacks in Iraq, prior to the war a year ago, do you? Actually, I'd say there were precious few before the war. Yes, yes, yes, Saddam was a bad guy, but how they eliminated him and what's replaced him doesn't seem any better. Dare I say it, for the average Iraqi, its actually much, much worse. From security to social services, Iraqis don't seem to be benefitting from the occupation of their country.

And what about the Israelis and Palestinians? If you want to see instability, you only have to look at the West Bank and Gaza. How stable are the lives of the people living there, and those living near-by? Sharon thinks a wall is going to solve it all, just like they do everywhere. If you want to make the mid-east a more stable area, Georgie, you best start paying a bit more attention over here.

And who's going to believe Georgie-Porgie the next time he says the world has to go to war? I didn't believe him in the first place, but I am sure there are people who supported Bush and the war a year ago, who don't now. How about Mel Gibson? When a right-wing president like Bush starts to lose the support of a serious hardline conservative like Mel, how much longer can they expect to stay in office?

My guess, he'll be out next January 20th. People have had enough. His daddy was a one-termer, he's going to be a one-termer. I hope I'm not being overly optimistic, especially after the 2000 election, I just hope the voting masses in the US can see this adminstration for the joke that it is.

I'm no great fan of John Kerry, to be honest I don't really know that much about him. He's rich, so's Bush. He speaks French-fluently, and a bit of German, which would make a nice change. Bush speaks just enough Spanish to stumble through a few phrases when on the stump, but I don't believe he is that good. They both get their support from the same big businesses, so neither is terribly clean in my book. Kerry gets the edge for not being a Bush, plain and simple. Anyone would be better than Bush and I think Kerry would at least try to reverse the damage done by Bush Jr in the last 3 and 1/2 years. If the election were held today, Kerry would get my vote.

I actually had other stuff I wanted to write about today, but the anniversary of the start of the war got me going a bit. I'll try for something a bit more personal tomorrow.

It's Saturday night, are you going to be getting your freak-on?

Friday, March 19, 2004

I've been busy today. Well, that's a lie. I took a walk up to my local high street this morning and did a tiny bit of shopping. I hit a cash point, then visited a large discount clothing shop. I bought 4 tee-shirts and a pair of sweat-pants for 14 quid. The trousers alone were only four quid, this hippy loves a bargain.

The shop is a recently opened, well-known, chain-store with a reputation for very cheap clothers. The staff were surly to say the least, bordering on rude. I guess people don't mind getting treated like shit, as long as the price is right.

Then I came back and chatted with my cleaner. Yes, I know, I have a cleaner. The exploitation of the working class, eh? She's been cleaning for Mrs. Hippy and myself for many (6?) years and is now studying to be a plumber. It won't be long before she is very rich, she has another year of studying to go. Her schedule combined with my income means she only comes once every 2 weeks these days, but that's fine. Clearly I have the time to do lots of housework myself, and I do.

I do all the food shopping, cooking, and dishwashing. I do about 75% of the laundry, but only because Mrs. Hippy likes to do some if it herself, otherwise I wouldn't mind. I also do the regular cleaning and tidying around the house. It doesn't sound like much, but it adds up to a few hours a day. Ask your mothers and wives, they'll tell ya how long it takes.

I decided to set up a homepage today, so I would have a place not only for a Hippy FAQ, but also a guestbook, so if you are one of the few/many/thousands who reach this nonsense and feel the need to share your thoughts with me, you can. All the links have been added to the right hand side of this page. Click away.

I bumbled through the Geocities web wizard and managed to get something up and online in about 10 minutes. It wasn't as hard as I thought, though it would help if I could do more than spell "html". Even with setting up this blog, some html skills would have been useful.

When I went to school, computers were fairly rare. My high school had one, a Tandy TR-80. I had one at home as well when I was 17, so I knew my way around it. You saved programs on audio cassette at first, but eventually they added a disk drive, external of course. It had 4K of RAM, which I boosted to a whopping 32K. It spoke one language, basic.

10 Print "Basic Sucks"
20 Goto 10

I probably remember a little more than that, but not much. I took a college level course in programming, over the summer while still in high school. It was run on mainframes and dumb terminals and didn't teach me much more than I had already taught myself. Well, it did teach me that no-one likes you when your young and clever. I was the (quite-noticably) youngest member of my class and I wasn't shy about answering questions. Obnoxious would be more like it. I learned fast that people like you more when you sit in the back of the class, and don't say a word unless called upon.

Anyway, computers. Everything I learned about programming then is of no use now. So what?

So I kept on using them, just not programming them. My next computer was an Apple IIc, which was the first one to have a modem attached. Back then, in the early 80s, you didn't have many options of other computers to dial up, just home-run bulletin boards (BBSs) and Compuserve (CIS).

Compuserve was text only and very slow. You paid per minute and it wasn't cheap. It also had something called CB, which you would now all know as chatrooms. They were very addictive and full of people who were eager to meet in real life. Yes, in real life.

It was a relatively small community back then and regional parties were regular. I only went to a couple of parties, it wasn't really my scene. But I did meet quite a few women through it. A real pioneer was the hippy. I'll tell you about my adventures some other time.

After the Apple, I bought an Atari 1040ST, which was a great little desktop. It was like a cheaper, more cheerful version of the original Mac, but with a colour screen. People still use them I hear, they're still good for MIDI.

When I moved to London, I left the Atari behind and it was a few years before I bought another PC. In 1992, I bought a Packhard Bell laptop, and that kept going until a few years ago. These days I have a four year old Dell Dimension XPS T600r, which is a desktop with a slow Pentium 3 - 600Mhz processor. The hard drive is about 27 gigs and I am constantly needing to delete things before I can download anything new.

I need to replace it and have done for about a year, but with no job, blah, blah. Hopefully, I can get a new one soon, as soon as I am working. It's not that that my old Dell's broken, I am typing on it right now. The problem is its slow, it crashes alot and its running Windows '98, not known for its reliability. I'll get a new one when I can.

Wow, making a couple of webpages certainly brought up some geeky memories. I didn't plan on giving you the history of me and computers, it just came out. In general, I think that's what I should do with this blog, just sit down at the PC, see what's on my mind and what comes out.

That's about it for now, time to spark up a spliff and relax a bit.

Your kids are probably smoking dope right now too, think they'd sell me some?
Good morning! It's a very windy and rainy day here in north London today, with gale force gusts blowing hard. I'll need to head up to my local high street soon, to pick up a couple of bits, plus make a withdrawl from the cash point as I am picking up some spliff tomorrow.

Ah, spliff, weed, grass, puff, draw, pot. You gotta love the stuff...I know I do!

I started smoking weed the night I graduated high school. It wasn't the first time I smoked it, but it was the first time I felt its pleasant effects properly. I've pretty much smoked every day since then, nearly 22 years.

For me, it gives me that extra ingredient that my body chemistry is missing. If I could have a gland implanted that secreted THC all the time, I wouldn't need to smoke, but science is not quite that advanced yet.

There have been some studies released recently linking marijuana to depression, saying if you smoke dope you are more likely to suffer from feeling down. Now, my view is the complete opposite, since I started feeling depressed long before I ever had a toke. If anything, weed helps manage my depression and people who are already depressed soon discover that it helps alleviate the symptoms. Noboby's ever going to be straight about it, but I think this is closer to the truth than anyone will admit. At least its true for me.

I re-read my first entry from yesterday, and I think I focused too much on my drug and media consumption. Unemployment has meant that I have had time to fuel both obsessions properly and I can feed both addictions at will.

Isn't grass not suppose to be addictive? That's what they say, but my experience bears out that you become psychologically addicted to it. You think you need it, I know I believe that's true.

And so what, lots of things are addictive, I smoke cigarettes and I know damn well I am very hooked on them. Alcohol can be addictive, so can chocolate. So what?

Also, I thought I would mention the death of someone famouse in the states, well famous if you are about my age and watched the original VJ line-up on MTV, JJ Jackson has died age 62. He had a heart attack.

Here's a link to his obit: JJ's OBIT

I didn't just watch JJ, I also met him a few times. I started my television career at MTV in New York, back in the mid 80s. It was the first paid (and unpaid) work I ever did in the industry.

I didn't know JJ well at all, but I met him a couple of times. He seemed like a decent enough guy and wasn't on a star trip, unlike some of the other 4 original VJs (who were: Alan Hunter, Marc Goodman, Martha Quinn and Nina Blackwood - you can guess who really liked themselves, I'm not gonna say today).

JJ was always soft-spoken away from the camera and fairly approachable. He was one of the pioneers of music video. Bye-bye JJ.

My schedule today is not what you would call "heavy", so I will probably be back later to write some more.

Oh and you might notice I added 2 new links to the right side of this page. One is a mailto: tag that will let you email me, the other is a button for contacting me on Yahoo messenger. Feel free to say "hi".

At some point, I will add the hippy's FAQ, once I find someplace clever to host it. Oh, and write it as well.

Until later, keep on chillin', you don't need to be illin'!

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Hello kids. The northlondonhippy here. I've decided to start a web log and why not? Everyone else seems to have one, why not me...!

Since this is my first post, I should tell you a bit about me. I'm middled aged, well, early 40s, and I live in north London.

Am I really a hippy? Do I wear love beads and sandals? Am I high all the time? Well, I don't wear the beads or even own sandals, but I am a fairly voracious dope smoker and have been for nearly 22 years. There's a whole lotta smokin' goin' on.

I'm currently unemployed, which also adds to my hippy status. I've worked in the media for about 18 years, mainly in television. I left my last job in the summer of 2003 and have not hooked up with anything new yet.

That's not strictly true, I was promised a job by a friend of mine, which was due to start last November, but that still hasn't happened yet. Who the fuck knows why?

I had an interview about 6 weeks ago for another job. I applied for it on the net, cool huh? It was quite possibly the lowliest job I've ever come across in the media. Even lower than fetching lattes for someone like Johnny Vauhn. Nothing against the former coke dealer, he's paid his debt to society and should be free to have his lattes exactly the way he wants them, who am I to judge? But I wouldn't want to be the poor dumb fucker who has to get them. And I would ring his pencil-neck if I told me it was too foamy, or cold, or not enough nutmeg! Get your own damn latte! Anyway, I wasn't offered the job, which is not really a bad thing. C'est la vie.

Right now, I guess the best description of me is that I am a "job seeker", but this means I receive an allowance from the government, the call it job seeker's allowance - clever. I will receive £54.65 per week (rising to £55.65 per week on 16 April - yipppeeee) until the beginning of September. Fuck me, if I am still claiming benefit by then, I am gonna wanna buy a uzi, then go empty someplace crowded before turning the little Israeli automatic's barrel towards my own head and firing that last bullet squarly through my brain.

Hardly the thoughts of a true peace loving hippy.

It sucks being unemployed and my troubles didn't start there. I had a long dispute with my former employers, which meant I got to sit at home for a while before my "resignation." I'm really not suppose to talk about it, but they breached the terms of my compromise agreement 22 days after it was agreed, so fuck 'em, I can say what I like.

On the plus side, unemployment has meant that I've gotten to enjoy lots of good television I wouldn't normally have bothered watching, most notably Buffy the Vampire Slayer and it's spin-off, Angel. I've seen all of Buffy now and thanks to the net, I've downloaded every episode from the latest series of Angel and I'm up to date. If you think it's just for kids, think again, the writing and production values are top-notch.

I watch loads of things, far too many to list. I'm a total news junky. I prefer SKY News and usually have that on in the background when I am surfing the net. I like the newswall, which I still believe is very innovative (and now widely copied) and think that SKY is the fastest for breaking news. I used to be a tv news journalist, so I know a little bit about the subject. Who knows, I might be one again sometime soon. And wouldn't that be great, 'cause the hippy needs some serious bread, man.

I'm a serious film fan as well, though I don't get to the cinema as often as I would like. I'm a big consumer of media all around. I've got SKY+ here at home, which if you don't know is a hard-drive based recording system that works with SKY TV - it's great and I will rave about it more another time. I also download films from the net occasionally. Piracy, shmiracy, if its hurting business, how did LOTR: ROTK gross a billion bucks when it was one of the most-shared items on the net the week it opened in theatres? OK, when the box set comes out with all three LOTK films, I'll buy it, happy?

I'm not big on listening to the radio, not really a big fan of it. I prefer music channels, and I listen to Radio One on the shower radio, Virgin in the kitchen. Both choices have more to do with the reception I get in each room, than my tastes.

I do read lots of newspapers. Everyday, I read the online editions of The Sun, The Mirror, The Times, The Independent, The Guardian, plus ThisisLondon, and the BBC. I sometimes look at the New York Times and the Washington Post. In general, I like to stay informed.

Weekly, I read Time Magazine, Time-Out, and a decent satellite tv guide. I also subscribe to Private Eye, which is fortnightly, and Which? Magazine, a monthly. Why would a hippy need to read Which?...? I'm actually a capitalist as well as a consumer and I like to know what's best to buy.

I forgot to mention the Drudge Report ( DRUDGE ), which I also check out frequently. Yes, Matt Drudge is very right wing, and even though I'm not, I respect the niche he's carved out for himself. Also, his page is chock full of links to other news resources on the net.

I also read Popbitch ( POPBITCH ) quite a bit. I've been lurking on there for a couple of years, and have posted previously under a couple of different guises, one of which was thanked in a mailout, a long time ago. My only claim to fame. I've registered northlondonhippy as a login on PB and when I feel the need to be called a "cunt" I will drop by and say "hi". Sign-up for their mailout, it's always worth reading.

I'm also a fan of clueless_joe, who started out posting on PB. Here's a link to his site:
Clueless_joe C_j always makes me laugh.

I like Holy Moly (HOLY MOLY ) as well, but I don't have a login there, so I can't read the message board since they closed it to the public. Neither can you, but they have some other entertaining stuff on there, so have a look. They also have a mailout that is worth your valuable surfing time.

I also watch the music channels, I like Q, MTV2, but when I am in the mood for pop, MTV Hits and the Box are pretty good too. The best time for me to watch MTV is when I've taken some magic mushrooms, which you might not realize are legal in the UK, if they are fresh. Here's some links:

From the Guardian (my fav paper, naturally):
Legal Shrooms in the UK

My favourite online headshop: Everyone Does It (they also have some good forums associated with them, and you'll find the original postings from the northlondonhippy)

Another good site: MAGIC PLANTS - They also have a great stall in Camden, see their website for details.

Ok, now that you've read a little about shrooms, I'll tell you about my experiences with them.

The first time I tried them, I threw them up. They were some dry liberty caps, picked in the wild and given to me by a colleague (FYI Kids: If they're dry, they're class A, stick to fresh!).

The second time, Mrs Hippy (yes, there is one) and I munched some dry ones that a friend gave us in a restaurant over dinner. I think they might have been grown in Germany. We didn't puke, but we did giggle our faces off and generally found them fun. This led us to a disasterous experience with LSD a month or two later, but I will save that story for another day.

I discovered the fresh shrooms online purely by accident. Being a bit short of cash, I thought I would invesigate legal and herbal highs, since I hadn't really ever looked into it. When I did, I discovered you could legally purchase fresh shrooms and truffles (yes, magic truffles!)from a number of websites. I placed an order for the truffles first.

I was not impressed with them, though I took a low dose, about 15grams. A little giddyness, some giggles, but god didn't visit or even whisper to me. Then I ordered some magic mushrooms.

Specfically, I ordered 30grams of fresh Psilosybe Cubensis and they arrived the following day. This particular strain is currently the most common being sold in the UK.

Now I should mention that I absolutely hate the taste of all mushrooms, magic or not and the thought of gobbling down 30 grams of them was making me retch. So I came up with a clever idea. I threw all the shrooms into my blender, with about a pint of pineapple juice (I've since learned cranberry is better, cranberry-cherry is best!) and whizzed it up. It turned into a nasty-looking smoothy, which I was able to force down quite quickly. It tasted like shit, or more precisely what I imagine shit tasting like.

After about 20 minutes, I began to feel something happening. I had a ready-rolled supply of spliffs to enjoy during the trip as well. Before long, the lights were getting brighter, the music was sounding better and the blue carpet on my living room floor was alive with movement. It was as if I could see each individual fibre of the carpet, broken down into the different colours making up this particular shade of blue. The smoke and haze from my spliff created a spiderweb pattern in the air, which seemed to pulse and move in time to the music-videos on my television. Quite frankly I was monged and mullered for a good 4 or 5 hours. It was like my living room turned into Disneyland and I had a day pass for all the rides!

It was a very controllable trip, at no time did I feel overwhelmed by the experience. Since then, I've done them a few times and recently bought a grow kit to produce my own. I had a little sample a couple of days ago and they are indeed the real deal. I'm planning a massive trip this Sunday and will of course share the resullt afterward. I would try posting while under the influence, but the computer would be too difficult to deal with in that state.

I used to take harder drugs, mainly charlie and pills, but I don't anymore. If you still do, cool, but it got to be too enjoyable for me, so I stopped it. Now I stick to more natural substances, like shrooms and the ever-present spliff.

If you are going experiment with magic mushrooms, do your homework. Don't start with a high dose, start out low. If you want some more details, check out the SHROOMERY

Or you could always ask the hippy!

That's about it for today, wrote more than I expected. My plan is to try to post something daily. I can't promise that I will, but at least I have good intentions.

Until next time, be cool! And if you can't be cool, stay home.

Email the hippy!

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