Beer, Blackford Quarry, Bourgeoisie, Brother, Butler, Dream, Dreams, Drink, Edinburgh, Farmer, Farming, Humor, Illegal Rave, Party, Pentland Hills, Pentlands, Rave, Table Service, Trance, Unlicensed Rave
I went to my brother’s apartment for dinner last night, and could not help observing that whilst he leaned back on his chair and regaled me with the latest news of his stock market portfolio, a rather grand-looking gentleman who I had never seen before was marching about the apartment with plates of food arranged up his arms in steps.
It soon became time to interrupt my brother. “Is that man… a butler?”
My brother blinked. “Fotheringay? I suppose he is…”
I snorted with exasperation. “But we ordered a pizza. You order a pizza most nights when you’re at home. All you have to do is pay the delivery man and take it out the box… There’s no washing up…”
“I guess so…” My brother frowned. “But when we took over that golf club, I ended up with this guy… He’s on contract until October.”
The butler advanced towards us with a bottle of coke, like a gardener brandishing a watering can. “Would sir care for a top-up?” he said brightly. He looked very amused by the idea of the coke, as if drinking it was a quaint savage custom.
We finally decided to abandon the dinner and my brother suggested that we go and look for a rave which was being held up in the Pentland hills. The prospect of such a party will always make one feel like a man who has suddenly realised that he is wearing four or five too many layers of clothing. If only adulthood and all its achievements could be taken off like coats and left safely in a pile somewhere, leaving only the youthful pleasure and simplicity of cool bare limbs.
My brother and I drove around the Pentlands for a bit, whilst my brother repeatedly phoned his friends to try and establish where the rave was being held. We were eventually directed down a dirt track, through the backyard of a farm, and over several sodden fields to where pulsing lights crouched and huddled nosily behind a barn, like a badly-concealed spaceship. When we arrived, some people were dancing and a lot more were standing about watching. I became grimly aware that I was totally sober and I suddenly felt like an old solider who has turned up to a parade in civilian dress. I drank three bottles of beer on the spot to try and arrive at the party in a more complete sense.
I was dancing with a group of kids who wore dreadlocks and scummy combat pants. They smelt of weed and musty old sofas, but they whooped at each other with the sort of voices that I imagine you would hear in the bar after skiing, or on a Boxing day hunt. In front of me, the least attractive woman in the party was already climbing out of her clothes, her huge, hypnotic breasts seemed to be looking around the barn of their own accord for men to attack and gobble up. A family joined our dancing – I mean, a real family – a plump father and a mother, and two snotty-looking children. I was outraged.
I confronted the mother. “Do you know what this is? You can’t bring children here!”
The mother laughed as if I was not quite present, like a transvestite on the other side of the street. “What characters they have at these things!” she trilled to her husband. “You should take some more photographs Gerald!” Her children were dancing with expressions of furious concentration on their little faces.
Suddenly a light came on from somewhere. A man was walking into the rave, waving at everybody to attract their attention.
“Hullo!” he called. He looked around with amused astonishment. “Goodness me! There seems to have been some terrible mistake. You see, you’re all on my farm!”
Perhaps he imagined that everybody would burst into gales of laughter at this mix-up. Yet the music was wrenched to a halt, leaving a chorus of boos and coughing and restless groans. The farmer smiled in encouragement at all his unexpected visitors. “Would anybody like my wife to make them a cup of tea,” he offered finally.
“The poor old man,” I complained to my brother. “I feel terribly for him. You know, I think that I’m going to phone the police on his behalf…”
My brother looked at me in horror, not sure if I was joking.
A girl in a leather suit, who looked more masculine than half the British army, began to scream at the farmer. “Just you fuck off! This is our party! Fuck you!”
I intervened to reprimand this rude girl. “There is no need for any unpleasantness. Now listen…” I put my arm around the old man’s shoulders, “I expect that this party woke you from your sleep, didn’t it?”
The farmer nodded, bewildered. “Yes, I was sound asleep and then my wife woke me up and told me that she could hear noises from the barn…”
I smiled. “This is what I want you to do. You and your wife will go straight back to bed and have a good night’s sleep…”
“Go back to sleep?”
“Yes, and when you awake in the morning, you will find that this party – and these people – and even myself – were all just a rather odd dream.”
The farmer began to recognise the logic of what I was saying. “This is a dream?,” he wondered reluctantly.
“Indeed so. Just look around you. This is madness. It’s completely irrational. You must obviously be dreaming.”
Just to make certain that the farmer did not think about this any further, my brother and I walked him back to his farmhouse and put him to bed. When we returned to the barn, most of the ravers had departed in a fleet of cars for a party in Blackford Quarry. I will never understand these unlicensed raves – no barman, no proper toilets, and there is no hope of finding a taxi out here. About a hundred legless partygoers now faced a two-hour walk back to the city. My brother’s car remained where we had left it, but the windscreen was smashed in and there were two men masturbating together in the back seat, so we also had to walk home.
[Tychy previously described a party in the Pentlands here. Ed.]