Rates: * * * *
Why Did I Watch It? it was late and I needed some funny.
Dateline: Perth, West Australia, 1996
My friend Bill contacted me and asked me if I wanted to meet up and drop some acid.
I said, ‘Sure’.
I was 19, I only worked casually some evenings, and this is the sort of thing I would do then. When there was nothing else on.
We didn’t even really have much of a plan.
Bill said: let’s wander around a bit, maybe sit in the park, and trip out.
I suggested we also get some nangs (little cylinders of nitrous oxide that make you giddy for ten seconds, in case this slang term is no longer in use).
We set our pyschadelic outing for a weekday afternoon, when all of the squares would be off working or making themselves better citizens.
On the day, we met up in the city. I wore my favourite outift: a pair of dark and light blue striped corduroy pants that I had bought at the Salvos, and a tshirt showing Ralph Steadman’s famous sketch of Hunter S. Thompson, from ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.’ Bill wore a pair of camoflage pants and a plain white tshirt.
My friend Bill was an unusual guy. He took a lot of recreational drugs, had dyed hair, and would go to all night dance parties and stay up for days at a time. I mean, he LOVED to party. He was also a devout Christian who went to church every Sunday, and who wanted to (and eventually did) join the army. His mother, who I met during high school, was beyond strange. A lot of different, dark forces were at work in this guy.
He was also very genial and one of my best mates. He had acquired the acid.
We had discussed beforehand that we would not take it straight away. Like, let’s not peak too soon, kind of thing. We had the whole day and night, let’s do some stuff, hang out, get into the drugs later.
So, as soon as we met up;
Bill: So, shall we just do it now?
Me: Yeah, I reckon.
And away we went. We slipped the tabs under our tongues and then moved to the next stage of our “plan”.
This involved getting the nangs, and for that we wanted to go to ‘The Hungry Spot’; a crummy 24 hour diner and convenience store, that had a deal on boxes. Like, if you bought ten boxes of nangs, they would give you a box for free.
‘The Hungry Spot’ was in Northbridge, which was the suburb right next to the city, so we decided to walk there.
Along the way, the acid began to take effect. The streets took on a lustrous glow, the pavement became rubbery, Bill’s face began to speckle and evaporate away into space. By the time we were halfway, we were off our chops. The journey seemed epic. Like, the hike into Mordor.
And then we were there.
One moment we were walking, the next moment we were in the shop. Like; shazam! And we had been transported. Or, I was. Bill was not with me, I suddenly realised.
The young girl behind the counter looked at me.
She said: ‘Well?’
I said: ‘Where is Bill?’
She said, ‘Huh?’
‘My friend. Where is my friend?’
‘Jesus christ, do you want something, or not? You’re been standing there silently for like, 5 minutes.’
‘Oh. Ah. Oh.’
The kept the nags under the counter, so as calmly as I was able, I got my 10 boxes of nangs, and my one free box of nangs, and left.
Bill was waiting for me outside: he had not been able to cope with the ‘psychic stress’ of going into the shop.
The journey back into the city was long, and arduous. We stopped in several parks. We had another ill fated detour into a different convenience store, where we grappled with the mind bending difficulty of trying to buy a bottle of juice. We smoked a joint. We found a particularly nice park and pumped a few nangs, then lay back on the grass and looked at the clouds.
The acid had settled down to the point where I was really enjoying myself.
Everything flowed to a graceful rhythym.
I could hear the ants in the grass, doing their thing.
Eventually, we found ourselves back in the city and we had to decide: what next? I suggested a movie, and so we went to the Royal Palace theatre, which was a small mutiplex in one of the city’s arcades. It had a long, sprial staircase for an entrace, which proved challenging in our condition, and discounted tickets.
The movie we picked was ‘Beavis and Butthead Do America’.
The cinema was pretty much deserted, there was a maximum of two other patrons. We took prime seats in the middle of the middle row, and put the remaining nangs and my launcher in the seat between us. I sucked one down as the film started.
If you have never seen this movie before, here is how it begins:
There is a fantasy scene, where the boys are dreaming that they are godzilla sized, and destroying a city. This is followed by an opening credits sequence which is a parody of an old 70’s cop show; Beavis and Butthead are maverick detectives and they kick down doors, get into car chases, woo some ladies and get chewed out by the chief.
And I was losing my fucking mind. I cannot ever remember laughing so much. Tears were streaming down my face as this played out.
Bill had to get up and leave at one.
When he came back he told me: I just couldn’t handle it.
We finished the nangs off during the film, and had a great time. When it was over, we left while the ushers eyed us supiciously.
Later, as I was walking home, I sat on a pedestrian overpass for a while and watched the traffic stream by on the freeway under me, as the sun went down and the drugs slowly wore off, and everything returned to normal.
And this is a different era, but I will always have a soft spot for this movie. It reminds me of my mispent youth, which is fun to think about now that I am old.
And it is still funny as hell.
Some people didn’t like Beavis and Butthead because they thought it was a celebration of stupidity. But this is confusing the messenger, with the message. This film takes aim at people who sit vacantly on their couch, oblivious to the world around them, and does not show them any mercy. It’s a takedown of a trash culture that was ominously advancing in 1996, that has now become kaiju sized; and so it is a satire of trolls and men’s rights and the alt right and climate changer deniers, years before anyone had heard those terms. A film far ahead of its time.
And it has Robert Stack, who rocks.
Note: Someone identifying themselves as “Cornholio” was reported trying to hijack this afternoon’s flight from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.