Norman Allan
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Art and Fiction


Book Four

El Stone

Chapter Thirty Seven

Hashishmas eve in the great canyon of El Stone in the bosom of the Atlas Mountains: Since the abolition of the Berber, Kali and Carlo have been free to devote themselves to the preparations for the great Hashishmas Death of Grass Benefit Concert. At this very moment they are consulting with the Khalif about the arrangements for the feast. Carlo speaks. "I've a cancelled the soft-drinks and the hot-dog concessions."

"You should not have done this without my consent." the Caliph re-posits. "I have an interest in these hot- dogs.(footnote) They are not pork."

"I thought the Berber was dead," whispers Kali. But little Berbers were springing up all over.

"Still, Carlo," Kali continues, "there is no reason, despite the hot-dogs, why this Hashishmas should not be the best times ever. We should have a lot of fun, yes, even without smoke. You know, Hon, the death of grass really is a great mixed blessing."

There are those who say that dope was a Company plot. The romance and fascination of illegal freakdom seduced potential dissenters - spaced us out in limbo while the Company bought up and secured the planet..

On the other hand there are two things that the "controllers" themselves really fear. These are cancer, and insanity. Actually, cancer is good business. It is really only insanity that they fear. Dope they see as voluntary insanity. Subversion. Invisible infiltration, and perversion. Have you seen that vintage poster of the US narcs: "Marijuana, the weed with roots in hell." It's really quite hysterical, the fear of this flower of Satin, this stuff which can get inside you and change you, rob you of your will and steal you away, invisible irresistible infection!

The invisible infectants. They're all around us. One touch corrupts. Daren't touchshit: will cling forever. Flush it away! "Where's the disinfectant?" That's better. Spotless. White for clean and pure. So they spread the fields with poisons to kill the bugs while smoke-stakes belch poisons, black the sky to build hygienic dreams. They’re hiding mummy's flesh under a concrete corset, and we, in protest, play in the mud.

One side of hippie, and most of punk, is like the fat-boy in the Pickwick Papers. The fat-boy woke Pickwick in the night at Dingle Dell. "What do you want?" asked Pickwick. "I wants to make your flesh creep."

Dope has changed us, we pretend: made us outlaws. but given us wings we sing as we crawl onto our cross with lowered heads, thinking we're the only ones who've woken from the dead.

The Boss Mob and their Truth Gang have thrown the Shibboleth, marked us down as "Jew" and the word went out on the jungle wire "tonight we hunt WhoDo.'"

They're peeking down the pavement through the basement windows the Bully Boys, playing their pranks. "You do it, don't you?" their eyes accuse. "We've got your number!" You dirty Jew! You dirty Jew.! We'll put the synch on you.

But we've got the genius. (We're taking over!) We've got the genius.
"How do you know?"
She told me, she told me, she told me so.

Can you remember what it felt like to be in the quick of it, all your nerves alive? Another nigger.

"Got any dope?" Pervert! Trudging through the endless sand... "Got any smoke?" Balm.

So, as Kali saw it, if all the nirvanaleaf was gone, it could be the silver lining: we can wake from the pipe dream, lay down the guilt, face up to the Boss Mob and strive for something real. It's more than a crust we're asking! We want our share. So stow the dope. At Hashishmas this year, sure we'll shed a few tears, goodbye, but we’ll celebrate a new beginning.

"And yet," wished Kali whistfully, "it would be nice if we could score some smoke to stoke the El Stone pipe. Just one last time. Next year there may not be any grass left anywhere, so this could be the last opportunity in all history for such a blow."

"Well," said Carlo through his clipped nasal speakers, "there's still a few grand left in the kitty from the television rights, you know."

Kali's eyes glowed. "We can get a whole banana boat. Phone ‘Jamaica deal’."

Only a fraction of those who felt an involvement with nirvanaleaf, gratitude, and regret at its passing, were able to make the pilgrimage to the "Death of Grass Relief Benefit Concert". Still half a million made the journey from England, and five hundred thousand came over from the States. Smoke or no, it was to be the greatest musical gathering ever staged. Two and a half million people in all, for a least a million Moors made their way up to El Stone. It was rumoured that Zimmerman would put in an appearance, and that George Harrison was donating Ravi Shankar. A sizeable proportion of the world's musical talent amassed at El Stone to pay homage at the year zero concert to the passing of grass.

"It is all very well, all these bands," allowed Carlo, "but what about the Riffians? Imported music and foreign dope is not going to assuage them, you know."

"How we gonna get the Riffians to celebrate the passing of the kif age?" Kali wondered. "They're all sitting round waiting for Pasha to return and to fulfil the prophesy. They won't give us a minute or sing no humdullas. We could collect together all the bands, all the happies in the world and jump and shout and they're just gonna sit there glum waiting Pasha to produce a miracle. What we gonna do?"

"I don't know," said Carlo. "What a, a what you want we should do?"

"I don't know. What we gonna do? So far we’ve got hot-dogs, coca cola, and a lot of music, and of course the imported grass. Hold on. I’d better check this out in the ball." The gypsy turned to her crystals. "I can see Chris Pasha wandering with a lot of freaky animals spaced out under butterflies lost in the desert. No way he can get here by Hashishmas."

"Unless he is the Messiah," said Carlo.

"Even so, this massltobe, if he returns for Hashishmas he will want to be taking over."

"But a... without him getting back how are we going to get the Riffers positively involved. If the rif raff refuse to have a good time, Hashishmas is going to be a bit of a bummer. We've got to convince the Riffians that the death of grass isn't the end of the world, and kif was their world. Chris Pasha must return to fulfil their prophecy."

"So we get ourselves a "Chris Pasha"… Carlo, you dress up as the Pasha person, yes? and do the master of ceremonies bit. Is M.C. Pasha. Is good."

"Aum, a.. no."

"So what we gonna do?"

"Aa... maybe there are some reflections of Chris Pasha trapped in the Sy.ed Booth mirrors?" There were, but they were insubstantial.

I guess I’ll have to do the gig and dress up like Pasha for the people.

Right, we make the rehearsals.
           KALI paused.
Hmm. You don't look too happy. Come on honey. Make with the joy. You've got to be the inspiration, yes? You want to be happy, yes?"

CARLO (dressed as Pasha)
Yep. (blandly.)

Okay, it’s easy. First the posture. The posture sustains the mood. Up now. Straight spine, clear mind. Bend the knees a little. Fell a string from the top of your head holding you to the sky. Elastic. There, you are floating, yes? (SHE BOUNCES HIM) You still don't look too happy.

We could paint a happy face.

I’ll show you how to make you happy. Okay. First you get the happy music. The music can dictate the emotion. Let the music move you. Alright, shaka da hands: jiggle the arms to the music. That's better, yes? Now jiggle the feet... is good? Good.

And the music takes over.

Bear was saying something about octaves and sevenths and inner harmonies to Tony Goode, and Tony said exuberantly, "No, music comes straight from the dink, and fa..." hands fountain over him: Bear said.

Music: does it speak to us through body rhythms, postures, tensions, and through these movements to the emotions? There are certain musical phrases associated with simple "idems" of meaning that children chant, like:-

I wonder if they are universal?

There is an unpublished article of Dr. Pashanski's which may be of interest here. Pashanski made a study of the non-verbal vocal repertoire of the human infant. "Perhaps the central grunt," Pashanski decided (he was listening one day to a four month old vocalising while pooping) "perhaps the central human vocalisation is the grunt of effort, "eh". Then tone, perhaps, is indicative of degree or intensity of effort. Content we sigh bass." Worlds of meaning in the pattern of breathing.

Music. Music is pattern. It is the nature of things to fall into patterns. Water runs over sand and sets the sand into waves. Wind and water, dune and dune. Water runs against a stone and sends back standing waves. The mind works in patternings. Music is the sound of a pattern and music is in the nature of things.

Travelling on the train down from London, staring at the standing waves in my coffee cup, I sat opposite and talked with Massaud, a Persian person. Massaud said he had composed a painting which explained everything, all things in the world. He drew me a copy of this all embracing composition on a napkin. Taking rough measurements to get his proportions right, he spent half an hour working on his drawing (a distant smile on his face) his drawing which contained in it the explanation of everything, and which had kept him alive - "I stayed alive to prove this," he explained - while I spoke to him of yin and yang (and thought briefly of baby chick calls). The finished drawing looked like this:-

As he finished the drawing, a porter passed clearing the table. Massaud passed the scribbled napkin. And rested content.

El Stone doodle by Sue Gibson

Chapter Thirty Eight