Norman Allan
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Norman Allan : the story
book two: secrets
chapter three: stoner

Chapter 1: Maybe Cynthia                        Chapter 6: the substance of life and painting the city
Chapter 2: Past Lifes                                    Chapter 7: Three Portraits of Lucky
Chapter 3: Stoner                                          Chapter 8: Creep
Chapter:4: the Sacred                                   Chapter 9:The Psychic Lover
Chapter 5: Spring 2015                                Chapter: 10: the Devil's Story



Chapter 3: Stoner

disclaimer: this is a fiction. it wasn't me…. I never inhaled mate.

How would the stoner story start? With Woodstock!  But we didn't have Woodstock in the England, in the UK. That same weekend though we had the Isle of Wight. Bob Dylan's would play for the first time after a mysterious absences from the scene (the Basement Tapes come from those hidden years) The Who flew in by helicopter. Jimi Hendrix was there. Richie Havens and Tom Paxton were revelations. And how did I get there? Let me back track...

  A while before we had been driving round all night in Rolling Stone's Jann Werner's white Cadillac: Had he shipped it over for his visit to the Isle of Wight because of its quadraphonic sound system?
      I'd been round visiting Alan M. In '69 Alan edited Rolling Stones London edition. And Doctor Sam Hutt was there. He and Alan had just been down to the docklands to pick up the car. Sam suggested we take it out for a spin. In the car was Alan's beautiful wife, Jenny, and sweet Philippa, who worked in the

Rolling Stone London office. And me. I was rolling the joints. (1) We drove round all night, high as kites, I remember Dylan Like a Rolling Stone rolling off the quadraphonics.
     In the wee hours someone suggested that we stop by the Covent Garden (produce) market where we might get a cup of tea in the middle of the night . A young (18 years old ?)
northern lad, working in the market unloading the trucks, came


up to us in our dandy gear and asked in a thick brogue,"What do you call yourselves?" the lad asked.
     "Freaks," said Alan. (Cause that's what we called ourselves, "Freaks" or "Heads.")
     "Ah, you're nay freaks," he said.

So, that last weekend in August, 1969, I set off for the Isle of Wight, and on the platform at Waterloo Station I bumped into Philippa. She greeted me warmly. We found seats together. Philippa asked if I had a Press Card. I shrugged. "You'll have to come in with me, then," she said.
     The ferry sailed from Portsmouth. While waiting at the docks we met Sam Hutt with his magic National Health Orange Juice bottle full of THC laced juice. And a pocket full of "tabs", acid. I popped mine straight into my mouth, like Alice. By the time we arrived at the festival site, I was eight miles high. We went in "back stage" on our press passes. There was the Who's helicopter! "I'm just going to chill here a while," I said. Philippa and Sam went off to watch/hear the Who. I lay beneath the helicopter to listen...
     Some time later I was approached by two young lads who started asking me all sorts of questions. I got quite paranoid. In retrospect, I think they'd somehow got backstage and were wondering, inquiring about the lay of the land, but it freaked me out at the time. Restless, then, I wandered into the Press Tent.
     There were two couples sitting on a blanket in the middle of the tent, pavilion - it was quite large, the tent. I must have, may have looked quite agitated and disturbed. One of the young ladies waved me over. "Are you all right?"
     Having just been grilled by the two lads outside, I thought, "I
'll ask the questions."
     "Who are you?" I asked. She said her name. "And you," I asked the young man in the snake-skinned boots..
     "I'm with a band," he said.
     "Which band?"
     "Oh, you wouldn't know them."
     No, not until I came down, some, from my trip. It was Keith Richards.



I've not much more to say about the Isle of Wight. Except, I met Steve Gee. He had been on the fringe of the group centred round my friends Sean, Joe, Andrew and I, that I jokingly called "The Hampstead Junior Zen Men", back in the fifties, back in our teens, we'd weekend in Soho, hang at the Partisan Coffee House. Actually, I called us all fringers, weekend beats.
     Steve was now a photographer, and he had the gig of on-stage photographer for the festival. "Rock and Roll has cornered the market on orgasm," he told me. And, "I'm going to show Dylan "Warrendale" (2) tonight. If you can drive, you can be my chauffeur." But I didn't drive, and I was still several miles high. (3)

But what has this got to do with being a "pothead", a "hash head", a stoner? Oh, festivals were a very important part of the counter culture, and we'll come back them; but let me tell you a bit about mary jane.











there's another place

the poet would say

another pace
a different way of processing
of experiencing
(the spelling corrupted)

get out of that one

and meanwhile, while scanning and posting the above, I scanned and posted brandon face
and sent it to him on Facebook (I'm learning)



like as not, i would not have been high when sketching brandon two evenings ago at the art bar... nor would I have been stoned performing with Waleed at the Art Bar... Val Peter's film is wonderful... but none of that wouldn't be stoned... so why post it here?        it's arbitrary.... (Oh, it's... this is Norman Allan: the story...    it's what's happening.... so....


a new day: it's cold.
rime on the windows


Oh Canada
cold toes.!


I was talking about festivals      how the hopes that came with Woodstock:        "... and I thought I saw the bombers riding shotgun in the sky,   they were turning in to butterflies above our nation.")   CANT DO THIS STONED (footnote) so hours later went back and found Joni's picture again... SO our naive hopes were dashed at Altamont       
                           such a brief season of ease.

       Gimme Shelter: the documentary (the trailer
        and/or the movie)
of the Rolling Stones 1969 tour
        of America, documents Altamont, which dashed the
        dream, the high hopes...   the Jefferson Airplane's
        song Volunteers "look what's happening on the
        streets: want a Revolution, that's the revolution..." (4)
        speaks of our hopes!

At Altamont the Rolling Stones asked the Hells Angels to work their security. The Bikers beat up on numerous people including the Jefferson Airplane's drummer, and killed, stabbed one member of the audience... He had a gun. He had a gun, this black dude they encountered, and stabbed him to death. The end of the hippie pipedream. The love team.
In the movie, Gimme Shelter, we watch Jagger watching the films rushes and lamenting the tragedy.... how sincerely? (oh, his talent is awesome, for sure)

And that brings me to another story about concerts and festivals...
      I missed Glastonbury, I was abroad. But in the mid seventies I was thinking festivals and how there was a chance, an embryo of a new society. To quote Jagger from just before Altamont: "It's creating a ... microcosmic society which sets an example for the rest ..." Yes, even so, even after Altamont, festivals were our microcosm and the nursery of our hope. So in the mid-seventies, one of my friends, John Coleman, who had been one of the organizer of the Glastonbury festival - we thought we'd explore revivinge Glastonbury, drove down to Wales to visit another of the festival people, Arabella Churchill... (And what can I tell you that's special about that? That I rode horseback with Arabella's then spouse Jim and with his border collie herded sheep? No, that's not germane.) That John and Arabella recalled how the first concert goers to turn up were a group of deadbeat youths who built a little shanty out of branches and "scavanged" plastic sheeting in the corner the field where folk would camp, and then this group were the last to leave, hadn't left when clean up was finished, needing to be escorted off the farm by the fuzz. ngcht
     shall I tell of the drive home stopping at Glastonbury Tor at dawn and how at that hour the slope was covered in rabbits!


No, the story that's germane concerns the Rolling Stones. Apropos of Altamont and Gimme Shelter, John related how a couple of years later, after Altamont, he had built the stage for a Rolling Stones concert in France. (That was John's gig, building stages.) The Rolling Stones hired the local leather boys, again, (this time the bleus en noir) to police the gig! Some of them appropriate short length scaffolding, metal pipes, and were laying into the crowd with these lethal batons. John went to alert, and complain, to the Stones management. He was dismissed with, "Oh, we have to protect our kids."
     What's the expression. "Everything changes. Everything the same." (5?)


I wrote about rock festivals and Woodstock in my the hippie fairy tale: Pipedreams. Pipedreams is a bit of a shaggy dogstory, an ecological psychodelic alagory, a fantasy about the origins of music and dope: my journeyman's piece, it was a major project in my tune-in turn-on dropped-out 1970s. There's about four years of work went into writing that book. I edited some in the 90s (and going back to it recently I found one chapter full of racist stereotypes : I had to apologize and take down them black faced vaudeville coons dancing around in my fairytale... Sue's Billy loved it, Pipedreams. Thought it better than Fowles. Go take a read - Pipedreams - but, remember, before you go too far in that silly story, come back here… )
     Festivals... Woodstock... I once interviewed Canned Heat (Bob Hite) and their roadie...

"... Did you ever hear Hot Crust get it on? Nah, you'd be too young. You shoulda heard the set they laid down at Woodstock. Shit man, now that was boogie. Woodstock..." repeated Boogie, a magic word, and he started to reminisce. "Woodstock. What a gig. They had this country house, hotel place, they hired for the bands a few miles away from the site. The things that went on there, wow:" Boogie hooted. "Man, there were bottles lying all over the corridors, people fixing up on the stairs, balling on the landings... They had this fence round the building to keep the chicks out. There'd be dozens of them at the gate trying to get in, trying to get at the bands. Me and a couple of other roadies, we'd go down to the gate, pick out some chicks, ball for a couple of hours, then tell the pigs to throw them out."



next is my notes for this chapter is: "early history of my partoking? ITS NOT SPECIAL"         one thing of interest, perhaps: early episode with cannabis were ideated/experienced as "intoxication", much like alcohol. From 16 to 23, I'd perhaps half a dozen what ?    relatively short phases of hanging out in this doorway

Then Joe Whitaker (years before of the Hampstead Junior Zen Men) Joe (footnote) came down to Brighton on Guy Fox. We drank eight (English) pints (Guinness) while carnivalling in Lewis where gaily, with fireworks, we burnt the Guy and the Pope. Then went home and Joe rolled and I was psychadelasized ... in Jimi's words "Experienced" ... and what's acid to that? it's been such a long time I forget...


no I do remember,
the painting flowed,
the cats coat glowed, feathers


I think it is time for another (important) disclaimer...

I have never treated a patient stoned never! I once visited a patient in hospital when I was stoned, and then I didn't hear from Villa again! That gave me paranoid pause. Then, several years later I bumped into her son, who said "Oh Villa went back to England, right after her illness, and she's well"
     I was always straight in clinic, always sober.
    What's next in my stoner notes... ?

  painting and weed... now that's worth telling if only cause we get to look at pictures: and I want to show you what I drew today!


  Till recently, when I tried to paint when "high", I painted recognisably "stoned" paintings... yes there is an organic flow to them, but... till recently, no great merit... So, I start all my painting straight. Once I have the image mapped out on the "canvas", then I can "edit" when high, and very often do. This picture came home from the Arts & Letters Club Sunday life session, and then at home, stoned, I added the silver paint under Addi's arms, and the light bright blue on his cheek and in the "sky".

     Then in "If you could find the words", several things were added: the words themselves, the swash of metallic paint on the cheek, and bits... (It's not a master piece, but... it's interesting.)

Some more examples of pieces that came home not quite finished...

I like this piece, however.... a couple of weeks ago, I was stoned and... perhaps it's a desecration... I was smudging, with sweetgrass (most first nations elders feel that intoxicants are inimical to spiritual practice, as do the Buddhists!)... and on impulse I took the sooty braid of grass to Gena's temple....

That works for me much better. Feels complete.


There's a slightly different story with this next piece that I call "Renaissance". It came home like...

Now, were I a well known painter, I'd have left it thus. But I thought it too subtle for an unknown artist. So I dramatised it by adding an ink-wash background... (yes, stoned)


A last example:  I did a painting from Sam Shaw's photo of Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe. It sat by my desk, for severalyears, and didn't quite please me. And then, last week, stoned again, I saw it! Try darken it there, I thought. With what? I grabbed the green marker that sits on
my desk, added a little triangle of dark to Miller's right cheek, and...

                                             ...  ah, now it works for me...






"Stoned" "High" "Tripping" ? What is "psychodelia" all about?
     You may recall my relating how Philip said that the different Buddhist techniques are variant ways of stopping the verbal, conceptual, mind; moving from the map to the terrain, to direct, unedited, experience. I think the psychodelics are somewhat similar...

Back in the mid-sixties, when I was looking to where I might do my postgraduate work, I visited Keys and Dewhurst. (They were working with cats. I was all right (then) with vivisecting the baby chicks (that would otherwise have gone into the grinder), but not with torturing cats.)
     In one of their experiments, Keys and Dewhurst recorded activity in the cats auditory nerve. As the cat listens to a metronome, the nerve impulse "spikes" in the auditor nerve gradually diminish and vanish as the cat "habituates" to the stimulus. (That prosessing, that "habituation", is done, they found, peripherally, in the nerve nets of the ear itself.) Then, after they gave the cats LSD, they no longer saw any habituation! No filtration. Just a sensory flood.

Intoxicant, and psychodelics, poison and "block" some nervous processing and programing. And so they take us out of our habits into a rawer terrain. Or...  at least, that's some part of the "story".


"what day wed Tues "I'll know in half an hour
Lucky and weed dogs and cats      Jay Kay       6 year hiatus
what has dope meant to me? Ted dreams      paranoia/persecution  
  ...   ..."

Till very recently I would write my first drafts of NA:ts in "Word" and then paste them into my old Dreamweaver 4.0 to post and to polish. Then I got lazy and started first drafting here in my Dreamweaver version. and have again But this old Dreamweaver often "crashes", and last week I lost an hour of writing … on the notes above and more and,    and I lost them! I have to remember to post/save again and again paragraph by paragraph. I do not lose many ,,, heartbreaking is an overstatement, but frustration doesn't begin to… and it seems to me this has changed the world… changed this chapter at least.. it's now different… cause...
     I smoked up, got into doing yoga, got hung on the setting sun and my shadow crossing the wall. Contemplated that, stoned as I was, I could not remember at that moment what exactly was on the table, the bureau in these photos with its Buddhas and...     I can recall most of the "objects" that are there when I'm straight. And that reminds me now of a time a couple of years back, how stoned in the afternoon,
one day I couldn't remember if it was Tuesday or Wednesday, and thought, "Not to worry. I'll know in half an hour." Poisoned (neural) programs...

Oh, and the other day my thoughts went to writing (notes in my head) Book Two: Secrets, the chapter on "Genius" - as for instance: "It's no fun being a genius when you've nobody to play with" - oh, we'll get to that… and the days run on…

enius? the painting (look what's on the south wall in here), and now the prose is evolving ("Ted Allan in Spain" is wonderful!), and the poetry has always been ... (did you look at the video?), and the ultradilute dot-blots !!!… and it's all so "oh so what" …

and the days run on...  

but look what I painted yesterday…


So what I already writ once starts/started with, I think, interacting with animals while stoned. I recalled the cat in Brighton who, meeting me stoned/tripping (6) ran up and down the side of the armchair, flashing her tail at me.
     and with Lucky...        that's another shaggy dog story through another "secret": the psychic, Jay Kay. They were my "partner" Jay Kay's dogs, and she was working at home... Jay had a great reason for wanting a dog (we'll get to that) … so we got her a dog, the beagle, Rita. Jay Kay fed Rita: I walked Rita. Rita thought she was my dog. Now (this is curious) Jay Kay never left Rita alone at home while she, Rita, was a puppy, and so, though I could leave Rita in the car when she was out with me, Jay Kay couldn't leave Rita at home without her howling, once for five hours (we were told!). And then when Rita was a year old, Jay finished her film studies and determined that she had to find a paying job, so the beagle would need to be left alone… and, meanwhile, Jay Kay discovered that she wanted and needed a Blue Heeler, a Cattle Dog. And that actually worked for Rita. She was happy enough being left at home in the company of the puppy, Lucky.


      However…     as Rita had become my dog (as it were), Jay Kay dictated that I not pet or cuddle Lucky, ever (or at least, till he was grown), So to begin with Lucky was Jay's dog. I couldn't even put my hands on Jay in Lucky's sight or he'd try to pull me, pull my arm, off of her. He was serious about this. Later, when I'd massage Jay's feet while watching movies on T.V., which we did a lot, I would massage her feet, but that would always have to be done under a wrap or blanket.
     And why is this in the stoner's chapter? Jay Kay's ex, father of her Matt, was a stoner. And it was a no no in our equation. And I thought, "It's been decades. I'm due a break."
     It would be a six year break.
     Then six years on, how much of the bloom was gone off our couple (and our coupling)? and I felt I was missing an important part of me: and then I toked again, and again and again, and of course, much more of the bloom shed / fled
     So, when I started smoking again, when I was stoned, and alone with the dogs, Lucky would push the boundaries of our affection    of our interaction    but how weak that reads: of course one reacts differently when wearing a different head space … and Lucky would take advantage of that to peer up. It's not like taking advantage or liberties, it's that they see, animals (and kids) often seem to realize that they can interact with you more intimately?/ /personably? when you are high…(7) Diabalo/Spirit)
Somewhere in there my psychic said, "My lifestyle has changed. Find the dogs a good home." I said, "Give me a week..." And that's how I got the dogs.

The next "note" say:
"Ted, dreams, paranoia/persecution"
       My father, Ted, did not (for the most part) enjoy my stoned company: he said my eyes roved looking off into space like his crazy father. Notwithstanding that, when he asked me if I thought I could novelize "Lies…" (8) I did that work pretty much stoned/high. I'd type some, smoke up and edit. Come down enough to make the corrections and then continue on… and granted, "novelizing" I was given the structure, the characters, the action and the dialogue… I used to say that primarily I just had to "stylize", … (what did I mean by that?) The novelization took three weeks for the first draft: then two weeks for the polishing.
     Do I write stoned? Not infrequently. Is it different? Yeah; but it's difficult to describe… and it all gets edited anyway, straight or twisted, twisted and straight .

       I was telling Ted, once, that I thought I recalled my dreams less when I smoked; that, one function of smoking was that it was a way of suppressing dreams, I speculated. Ted grabbed this utterance: "A way of suppressing dreams, a way of suppressing dreams."
     Has it been a way of delaying dreams? I don't think that's clear or evident. (Procrastination is large in my life. And a none following thoroughness… which I've tried to excuse, or nationalize, by blaming it on my trying to do, needing to do so many things…

"Persecution", though, that's been an issue. Though in my life Jews were hardly persecuted, and I was hardly Jewish, I was aware from almost toddler on of the holocaust. Psychologically: did I identify so strongly with the persecuted and oppressed, that I needed a threat of prosecution/persecution. Did I smoke in part to be doing something illegal, to be an outsider, an outlaw?
     You dirty Jew. You dirty Jew. We'll set the dogs on you.

And is this "waffle"? I've hardly spoken yet of "altered consciousness"; what does it means to be "stoned" to be "tripping."    What is it? "Presence"? What's that?

There's something psychedelic in alcohol (apart from the numbing, the dumbing, the discoordination): there is somehow a "knowing"…    Riding home (drunk) on the Underground (the Tube), in my teens, I'd seemed to sense people so much more... (lost adjective.)
   " 'Ere... "straight" don't have knowing? Straight's got information, and therefore can be better at operating and.


I recall on my first "trip"seeing the typewriter
as I had as a Christopher Robin aged child
(the family totem!). And stoned as well as tripping having a phrase to type and setting out to type it and noticing that it is gone from my conscious mind, gone till it falls on to the typed page.

The next note says "dope", and that reminded me that in the seventies, in the UK, we would often call hash "shit". Do you any shit we could smoke? That was good shit. Hmm?            "Dope."

When I was eleven, twelve, new to London, we rented the upper apartment of a dwelling attached to a theater, at Swiss Cottage. At the back of the kid's room's closet there was a hatchway that opened into the theater. The most interesting bits were "backstage". (Backstage is actually largely in the basement of a theater.) There in a store room/work room and in the muddle on a desk/table there were some small bottles, vials, labeled "dope". Now, dope here means "a varnish applied to the fabric surface of model aircraft to strengthen them and keep them airtight", but to me these little vials (red, green, blue, yellow) of "dope", were... my God must be the stuff that steals peoples minds away! (As mysterious to me at the time as "fuck"). Scary! Awesome. Mysterious (adult) magic.
             Is it some similar fear with the Devils Mint Tea? We'll get to that. We'll come to that.


And important facet/aspect part of the stoned experience (when it happens) can be paranoia. After Joe Whitaker came down to Brighton and turned me on, he left me a couple of "blims" (9) , and I smoked up the next couple of days, and when the fourth day came, I wanted to score some shit. (Sean's younger brother Pete was a head, and his friend Paul Bee down at Sussex, Paul was a doper and small time candyman (9b)) so I visited the candyman and scored my first ounce: crumbly, powdery, tan Lebanese: and we smoked up, and      and I got "paranoid". : and what's that mean? I can't quite grasp it now. "Panic attack" is too strong, but frightened leery, wary, and aware I was not "rational": and I think that that paranoia, as much as anything, is what kept me returning to the stoned space, where perhaps one time in four the paranoia would return in some guise - and I wanted to, needed to understand it!

We are going to need a chapter on "tripping". I've only scratched the surface here.... and tripping takes us to psychosis: drug induced psychotic episodes/expediencies (DIPE)... and beyond     it takes us to the metaphysical...


But meanwhile, before we get back to looking for Woodstock ~ a brief reference to stoned goofs is required (for fair balance).
     There will be days, stretched out towards weeks, when I'll avoid toke ~ and stretches when I crave and behave addictively. One such occasion, not too long ago, I rolled a joint to take with me when I went to see a late patient at the clinic and then smoke up (out on the street) before running on to another event... So, right after seeing May, on leaving the clinic I toked up, and then arriving at the subway station ~ it was ten minutes on from the patient leaving the clinic, but there she was outside the station talking on her phone/ her mobile. I did not want to have to interact (stoned as I was). I walked past the station... ahh, what to do? I walked into the station, then changing my mind about going to Oz, afraid to walk back up stair, to meet May, road one station west, then back two east, feeling a goof (being a complete doofus!).
    And just the other day: because I had another meeting before going to the art bar, I took the car. Then, on parking, toked up in the car.
     For several years now I've been going to the Art Bar's weekly poetry readings and I've made a habit of drawing the features as they perform. (I've a page on line of these drawings (10).) And usually I would be straight or having "come down" quite a ways from any earlier high: but this last Tuesday I was quite recently stoned. And the drawings are nice, I like them, but they are far far far from likenesses.


Ah, but the point of the story here, is that when I got home, on public transport, I noticed the car wasn't home! Stoner groaner! (Hell, that could happen to any geriatric.) (Anyway, I fetched the car. (11) It was no biggie.)

Before I close this chapter, with a promise that I will come back to address the boarders of tripping, psychosis, and metaphysics... and meeting the demonic!
  There's another little bit of Woodstock left to us, here in Toronto in the twenty teens. The "meditative dance" that takes place on Sunday nights at Ozzington House - dance barefoot and sober and without talking on the dance floor - except for the relative sobriety, that's a little bit of Woodstock preserved here in the city.
     For the longest time I went sober, and then realised that many there were high, and found I could dance just so much freer (at least to start, it opened a door for me). I got into the habit of smoking up in the nearby Christie Pits. Oh, and discovered the mural round the swimming pool there! Awesome.

Then a few months back, in December, it was drizzling, close and damp. Where to toke? I ended up in the glass bus shelter across from Oz House, toking in that close confine. Caitlin, who was "on door", took me aside. "Have you been smoking pot? This is a sober space."
      My mind spun a lot and fast. A sacred space, yes, and what to say? "I smoked much earlier, medicinally. But I'm straight now," I lied straight faced. And that ate me up for days.
      Next week I took Caitlin aside. "I need to tell you a story." And I told her how the Buddhists say there are three gates one needs to pass before speaking. You must ask, "Is it true, is it kind, and is it useful." And I told her the story of, "My friend, who likes to get high before she dances here, but one week it was raining so she smoked up in the bus shelter, and she promises she'll not do it again. And as to the Buddha's three gates...:      two out of three ain't bad."
       Then last night, seeing Caitlin, I told her I'd just written about this in (NA:tsfE) in a chapter called Stoner. See, I can be a complete doofus straight or stoned.  

yes, we are going to have to come back to "altered states", to LSD and tripping ... to tell the devil's story...

and meanwhile

Untitled: this side of Atlantis

This side of Altantis
we put on flesh,
fleshed out the ego
we so proudly wore
lighting the sky,
loud as God.
Lucifer was a myth,
a dream.
He didn't exist
in our great scheme,
unless he was in all of us.
How surprised we were
when the walls fell down.
From the rubble of Atlantis we built.


Post Script: Some short while ago I heard a rather brilliant "spokenword artist" (12) perform. In his work he alluded to, and explored, an earlier period in his life when he had been a crackhead. Despite the fact that he was now clean and actively engaged in responsible and creative social activity, I found that his former deadbeatness did tend to taint my perception! So to anyone who is judging my art or science at all through my use of cannabis, wise up!


  oh, and do visit : the website