Suicide Saturdayby Mark Sinclair / Images by Iain Cluett / 10.09.2011
We had dubbed it Suicide Saturday but I woke up that morning feeling like death. The night before had been drink and dance at Arcade Empire. I felt broken. But it was early yet and I knew that if I could locate some water and marijuana I’d be just about ready for a day of recovery leading into a night of mayhem. The water was easy; schoolboy mistake not taking some to bed with you. It stood lukewarm in a beer mug which I pulled to my face thirstily. A few gulps later and I was sliding out of the bed and getting started on my morninglys. A quick pot purchase and we entered high chill mode; sitting in a hammock, with a joint and tea. It was just Burny and I there and we passed the time exchanging anecdotes, listening to music, rehydrating, blazing and considering our night to come.
Witch House party in Joburg. Ominous. What to expect? No idea. But we knew of the people involved through reputation and trusted that they would deliver something worth remembering. We had a basic outline of their taste and agreed that it would be palatable. We were staying at Burny’s commune in Pretoria and aware of the fact that Truth would be on our way home. We were also very much aware of the fact that Dubmental would be taking charge of one of their dance floors. Thus the term “Suicide Saturday”. Rose would be joining us on our Kamikaze mission, along with any other friends who could keep up.
3 pm came around and it brought with it Burny’s dad for a visit. Joe joined us in our spot in the sun and like all social intersections of well varied age groups we started comparing the cultural differences of the 2 generations. Talk turned to partying and we found ourselves discussing our night to come. When asked to explain the concept behind the Witch House party we were lost for words. How can you explain something you haven’t experienced? Through our conversation it became apparent that Joe would have no problem with us rolling and smoking a joint, which we then proceeded to do. It was strange to smoke with a parent figure present, but I got over it very quickly, still trying to normalize before we embarked on our adventure. With timing which only stoners possess the Gypsy arrived and joined us in our session. Once again we laid out our plan for the evening and it piqued the Gypsy’s curiosity. “Do you want to join us?” “How much?” “R80 for the excursion excluding drinks.” “Sounds good!”
Joe then lit a cigarette and asked nonchalantly what people’s reaction would be if he arrived at either of these parties. We knew he was asking to be invited along and after exchanging a glance, Burny and I told him that he’s more than welcome to join us, but the invitation came with a warning that things might get crazy. He accepted and a half hour later he had bought us drinks and pizza and we were feeling alive and excited; nearly ready to hit the road. Rose had arrived and was helping us enjoy the various consumables. Most of the drinks down, a couple of joints up and not a scrap of pizza remaining when Joe started to get anxious about the clothes he was wearing; nervous about sticking out too much. And who could blame him? We told him that he must just make sure he’s comfortable because no one can enjoy a party when they feel they’re being scrutinized. He decided to go home and change, meeting us at the commune after so we could all drive together.
As he left the rest of us retreated to Burny’s room for some pre-party pep prep. We took the remaining coke from the night before, the quarter gram of cat a friend had given us in lieu of money owed and a single dose of 5-MEO-DALT all mixed and cut into three intimidating lines. Three because the Gypsy isn’t into that sort of thing. Boom, buzz, whump, ding, flip what the fuck was that. I felt like a cartoon in one of those manic moments they had back in the Looney Tunes days. Where legs do 360o rotations becoming blurs and everything is loud, colourful chaos. We were amped. Shouting and whooping we went to the car and listened to songs as we smoked and waited for Joe’s return. Once he arrived we didn’t even let him in; Burny rode shotgun with his father and the other 2 came with me. We were off.
The drive was loud music, punctuated by laughter. It felt far quicker than expected and we arrived still buzzing hard. We made our way to the entrance and found it quite quiet and queueless. “It doesn’t say you have a plus one.” She said as she wrote a plus one in next to my name and then quickly crossed it out while handing me 2 arm bands. I pass one to Burn and we walk up the path towards the house awkwardly clicking them into place on our wrists. At the door a very large very black man stood guard; he didn’t ask for ID, didn’t search us and hardly even looked in our direction. As I walked inside I wondered how much he gets paid to be an ornament. Then again maybe shit would get out of hand in this big house late at night when the electronic growls and social lubricants took hold. Inside we found a plethora of décor in line with the theme. We explored it all like children in a fun house. A shrine with fairy lights, pictures, dolls and various other trinkets made up in a fire place and framed by what looked like a wedding vale fascinated us for some time before we got thirsty. It was all quite exciting, taboo in a way. Perhaps we would have sacrificed someone, but finding a virgin in that mess would have been damn near impossible.
We got drinks and went outside to explore further. A fire was burning and cliques littered the garden. We started milling around looking for a spot to stand. The effects of the line had diminished to a gentle hum which seemed to come and go in waves. I felt that I still had a lot of energy left in me and started to get apprehensive about the evening. Were we missing something more epic at Truth? But it was early yet I told myself, no point in rushing through the night. We drank, talked, got another round, edged closer to the fire, drank, talked, made conversation with strangers, explored the house, drank, talked. We had had a look at the dance floor by that stage but it was empty and the DJ was just starting up. It was a relatively small empty room next to the bar with fuckoff big speakers which were oozing bass. Perhaps they weren’t as big as I remember them, perhaps there was only one, but something struck me about the way the sound reverberated in that small space which seemed larger than life. By that stage there were quite a few people there, but they were all congregated in the garden or trying to get drinks. We decide to smoke a joint. Send the Gypsy to the car to fetch the weed methinks, and he was back in a flash, far too fast in fact. He hadn’t made it much further then the large ebony doorstop. Apparently there was a fuckload of people waiting to get in. Shit.
Back to milling and talking and drinking, then once Burny and I were away from his dad, he turned to me and said, “Acid. Now.” Earlier in the day, somewhere between the first 2 joints and Joe arriving I had gone to a friend’s house to pick up Oppikoppi supplies. 10 plies of very strong LSD. They had a full colour drawing of Shiva on one side, and a line drawing of Ganesha’s head on the other. They looked amazing and were procured from the same source as the trip I took at Pelussje. During our afternoon’s big chill Burny and I had toyed with the idea of dipping into the stash and thus the term “Suicide Saturday.” We decided half a paper each would suffice and I had 4 halves cut and ready in a small bankie in my inside jacket pocket. As I reached in for it though my hand brushed against something larger, my weed, it hadn’t been left in the car, jackpot. But first Burny and I dropped our acid, and then he called Rose to me and she dropped hers. The Gypsy had never had LSD before and wanted to save his first experience for Koppi. No stress, but I tasked him with getting the weed into our systems, since I had no papers on me and didn’t feel like badgering strangers. 2 minutes later and he brought 2 guys over who were in possession of a pipe which we stacked, smoked and passed around a few times. I was getting restless and decided it was time to dance. None of my group joined me though, content with standing, drinking, talking, smoking; I left the Gypsy in charge of the ganja and made my way to the music room. Getting passed the bar and all the people was tricky, but I smiled wide and felt the scent of weed dripping from me would soothe the people as I pushed through. I got to the music and the smile flickered from my face. There were 4 people in the room, the DJ, 2 bouncing hoodies and someone standing with his back to the music rolling a joint by the empty shelves. Ironically he had come to the music room to get some peace and quiet; not quiet in an auditory sense, since the music still ebbed consistently, but quiet from the people who were everywhere besides.
I started dancing the way I always do, swaying from side to side like someone wading into the sea, waiting for the first break to twist my body and send me into convulsions, my upper body bouncing up and down like it’s riding the waves of music. The music was great. Filthy electro which started to grab me, the oh so satisfying bass pulling me into something of a spastic fuckout. I kept my eyes down, I felt dirty dancing by myself, like I was jerking off in public. After a while the guy rolling his joint left along with the hoodies who I then realized were just waiting for him. I was about to follow suite when Rose arrived with a smile stretching her face asunder. Looking at her I realized that despite my encroaching discomfort I wore the same expression. The LSD was taking hold, Rose was glowing. That beautiful little blond sprite hopped into the sea of music with me and we splashed and played together. Any anxiety I was feeling evaporated with her arrival, now we were uninhibited exhibitionists fucking in public, with nothing to hide. Someone came in the door behind me and activated a smoke machine; I heard its hiss and turned in time to see the smoke envelop me. By the time it had dissipated and the music had slowed enough for me take notice of my surroundings, Burny had joined us. We were starting to make a dent in the emptiness, the three of us wild eyed and smiling like lunatics.
I don’t know how many songs later but soon a few more had joined us in our shenanigans. I decided it was time for another walk about and made my way out of the loud small space. The whole property was crawling with people when I went out into the garden for a relaxed cigarette. I made a swing by Gypsy and Joe but didn’t stay for long; the acid was really taking hold and I couldn’t keep my grin at bay. As I departed their company I bumped into Axle. He was very happy to see me; during the week I had given him my student achiever login details so that he could buy his Oppikoppi ticket. All he had to do was change some profile information on my account and bingo, mission accomplished. I told him that I was on LSD so that he knew where I was coming from. He told me he was doing coke and offered me a line as a way of saying thanks. I accepted, why not, it was fucking Suicide Saturday. I follow him towards the bathroom and we found the hallway clogged with people waiting to go in. I turned to Axle and told him my car was parked just outside. We turned from the congestion, exited the mansion and walked down past the queue and out the gate. We decided to just do bumps off a key, he went first, and I followed. Rush. I leant back in the car seat as the feeling gripped me. I saw Rose and Burny skipping down the road towards us as I lit a cigarette; Joe was walking along behind them.
“Truth. NOW!” Burny was at my door as Axle and I got out. I was keen. “Let’s hit it, where’s the Gypsy?” I asked. He was still in the garden smoking pot with the randoms. I left the rest of my group at the cars while I walked with Axle back to the party to fetch the Gypsy. As we got inside he said goodbye, I said thanks and then we parted ways. The Gypsy was just where I had left him and one of the randoms was pulling a fresh pipe up to his lips. Abandoning all stoner etiquette, I took it from him and emptied the bowl in one iron lung pull that had me expecting the smoke to billow out of my ears. It felt amazing. I took the bankie from the Gypsy and removed a generous amount, placing it in ones hand in a form of an apology for my rudeness explaining that we were in a rush and had to leave. We make our way back to the car and a second later were on our way to Truth. The Gypsy wanted to us to explain to him what the acid was like. I told him that was like trying to explain colour to a person who was born blind. “Would you like to try some now?” I asked. He replied that perhaps he should just have a quarter of a tab and see if he’ll be able to handle it. I reminded him that I was on half a tab, hurtling an extremely heavy metal object down the road at 120 kilometers an hour and that it was Suicide Saturday. He replied with a nervous smile which I saw in my rearview. I told Rose where the acid was and she placed it on the Gypsy’s tongue. Kowabunga motherfucker.
In a flash we were there and got a sick parking close to the entrance. We got out the car and waited for Burny and Joe to make their way up the hill to us and the party. We paid our entrance and ran inside. I was suddenly apprehensive, something was wrong. I had had this feeling before but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Oh yes, I needed to piss, I needed to piss badly. For some reason acid makes me perceive physical discomfort as a general anxiety, I left the rest behind and headed for the toilets. As the liquid started to leave my body, I became aware of my bladder which felt swollen and sore. I wondered if I had done any sort of damage by holding it in for so long. As the pressure released the walls of the cubicle started to pulsate in towards me and then away again. The grids of the tiles were some sort of optical illusion, none of them looked parallel and yet I knew they were. The dirty smudges, fine details and ridges within the tiles were slowly flowing, moving and melting, dripping patterns which seemed to go on forever; regressing deeper and deeper. I had finished pissing and was now tripping my face off. I had a look in the mirror on my way out and I seemed fine, besides my pupils and the fact that I could see the entire world reflected in a small piece of glass. I seemed fine but I felt amazing. More than amazing; I felt superhuman. When I found Burny and Rose I could see that they felt the same. The Gypsy still had the nervous smile over his face but I knew he would be fine. I knew that it would probably be one of the most intense, enjoyable nights of his life.
And we were off again; dancing our faces off to trance, dubstep, dubstep, trance, dubstep. Migrating from one floor to the next dragging our demented smiles behind us. We’d lose each other and find each other. Eventually Rose tells me that I must please just keep an eye on her because she’s nervous about getting lost. I say sure knowing that it’s damn near impossible for me to keep my eyes off her. She radiates life and energy, a love of music and dance and a willingness to experiment with new and exciting experiences. It’s like all the things I love got together, grew legs and came out to party with me. We were at the Dubmental floor when Burny came in wild eyed and called us outside. “Where’s your dad?” I asked. He tells us that he had convinced his dad to buy a cap of MDMA and share it with him, his dad had given him the money, Burny had bought it, cracked it in half and at the critical moment, right at the cusp, Joe had said no. “So I popped both halves in my mouth and a bit later he left.” His pupils were so dilated they looked as though you could stretch them over his head as a hat. “Please join me, I don’t want to do this on my own.” So Rose and I left Burny looking after the Gypsy who was indeed having the time of his life and we headed off in search of MDMA. She found some; we handed over the money, went to the car, split the capsule, pulled faces at the bitterness of it and then ran back inside to reengage with the party.
From there the night got intense. It was a blur of dancing and laughter. A kaleidoscope of feelings and emotions and the type of thoughts which could stop you dancing even though you thought you never would. I realized that music is laughter; a vibrating throat verses a vibrating speaker trying to express a happening. Rose grabbed my hand and led me outside to take a break from the chaos. We stopped to catch our breath at a fountain and the water mesmerized us. It was so clear and the lights shone through it in such a way that it would throw colours across our vision. “I want to jump in it,” she said to me. I told her that it was probably freezing. Nevertheless she sat down next to it and dipped one foot in shoe and all. I couldn’t resist, I stepped in to the fountain and the water came up to my knees. It was cold, but felt amazing, like nothing I had ever experienced. Rose squealed with delight as she dipped her feet in and out of the water while watching me walk small circles in the fountain. Then we got out and ran and skipped about on the bricks; leaving wet trails behind us. The water sloshed in my all stars, my pants clung to my calves for comfort; holding on for dear life as the lunatic they were attached to threw himself about. The Gypsy found us and told us that Burny was upstairs. We frolicked off to find him, but before we made it to the stairs we saw him standing up on the balcony having a cigarette and smiling down at us. I noticed a ledge and a wall on my right. I hopped onto the ledge, grabbed the bottom of the balcony, kicked my right foot against the wall and pulled myself up and through the railings embracing Burny on the other side. “I fucking love you man!” He lit me a cigarette as the other 2 ran up the stairs to join us.
Us four wild eyed freaks then stood for a while exchanging thoughts and feelings. Some were profound and centered around such topics as fate, some were fanciful along the lines of telepathy, some were silly; like I bet I could jump off this balcony. We had been joined by a tripped out Indian guy who insisted he could read Rose’s mind. The only problem was that we could hardly understand a fucking thing he was saying. Next thing I knew Burny was off the balcony and the new random followed after him. “Come down,” he challenged. I had no idea how he accomplished it because it seemed too high to simply jump. I made up my descent as I went along; first hoisting myself over the railing, then spinning left and kicking out with my right foot against the wall in an attempt to slow my drop to the ledge and then the ground. The spin kick maneuver was far from effective and had me hitting the ledge at quite a speed, it was then that I notice the vines which covered it like tripwires designed to take me down. I pulled my feet up off it quickly and hit the ground stumbling and arms flailing. But Burny and the psychic, managed to grab me and stop a potential face plant. I felt invincible. But couldn’t help but think I could have been one of those assholes who make the news after dying on drugs. “Young man on acid thought he could fly.” But fuck it; this was Suicide Saturday, a day of no rules next level shit. We partied till 6 and were only home by 7. We smoked weed as we drove and waved and smiled at people jogging and others on their way to church. The last 500 meters from home I took my feet of the pedals and controlled them with my right hand, steered with my left while peeking over the dashboard. My life is not some example others should live by, it’s mine and mine alone. I have a new Friday night mantra, “If you want to die happy, make sure you don’t survive this weekend.”
*All images © Iain Cluett.