Through the darkness of the rainforest trekked four figures. In the oppressive heat and extreme humidity they lashed sweat as they pushed through the undergrowth, careful not to touch anything, a brush with a curare plant could paralyze your nervous system and signal a slow death, or a thousand other venomous plants, insects and animals could help you to shuffle off the mortal coil. Sometimes you’d put your hand on a tree and it would crumble to dust, you had to wonder how long it had stood there rotten, could be months, could be centuries. Everything in the Amazon wants to trip you over, hurt you or kill you.
The four figures were a motley crew to be seen out here in the pluvial Peruvian jungles. Four men, they looked in their thirties, working their way through the thick bush in singe file. At the front, a thin, bright eyed man, with a mischievous grin, intelligent eyes, and a perfectly trimmed goatee. He moved with jerky, gangling, movements, almost a dance, he was garbed in gold. Behind him walked a lean, hairless man, athletic and wiry, keen-eyed and angular-faced, ink tattoos crawled across his skin in elaborate tribal patterns, the parts of him that weren’t naked were clothed in yellow garments. After him came a shorter, stockier, fair-haired, round-faced character, with azure eyes that spoke of inner-depths and a crooked smile that portrayed rascality, he was clothed in vernal green colours like that of a spring equinox.
Taking up the rear was a bedraggled figure, a rocker judging by the leather, denim and chains, unshaven, unkempt, with a mohawk and torn denims, badly drawn prison-style tattoos vandalised his frame, and he walked with the peculiar lurch of the drunk, clutching as he was, a bourbon bottle in his hand which he swigged from periodically, and a hand-rolled, weed-laced cigarette in the other, which he drew from regularly, leaving a thin trail of grey-blue smoke in his wake.
The troupe had been navigating the dangerous passages of the deadly wilderness for many days, they had been on a long journey with one aim in mind, and that aim was in sight. A legendary plant, described in journals, texts, ancient documents etc. that possessed awesome powers. A relative of ayahuasca, but rarely seen, and lost in time, perhaps extinct. If any remained though, it was in this part of the jungle, to which the group had journeyed with the aim of procuring some of this wonder plant to sample.
The four wanderers were a group of fellow intrepid psychonauts, a mixture of trippers, shamanistic-types, adventurers and seekers. They had experimented with all the psychedelics of the enpsychedelicopaedia from A to Z, and this sacred plant they sought, was the holy grail of their field of research. Said to have the power to not only take a person through dimensions and visions with its DMT components, but also reputed to have the power to actually manifest said “hallucinations”.
Using staffs to balance the soft, moist, uneven terrain below their feet, they came upon a small clearing to which they had been directed by a local tribe. A milllion winged insects feasted upon their sweating skin as they set up camp, drawing water from the deep end of a fast flowing stream and purifying it, they cleared away fallen branches and leaves, chasing away the multicoloured snakes that hid there. The drinking smoking rocker sat on a moss-covered boulder and scribbled in a notepad with the stub of a pencil, taking belts of bourbon and puffing a dogend as he did so. The others did more practical tasks, digging a small trench in case of heavy rainfall, laying down the tarp and draping the mosquito nets. They erected tents, lit citronella candles and placed them around the tents. The rocker drained off his bourbon and cigarette and finished scribbling his notes to finally make himself useful by preparing and cooking dinner.
They tucked their hiking pants into their boots and sat down to eat a meal of freshly caught fish, nuts and fruit, for dessert the rocker snacked quite happily on large, live locusts, and fat, squirming grubs – the rest politely declined and drank strong dark cups of coffee out of tins.
Once fed, rested and settled, and after washing their plates and pots in purified water, the wiry, glabrous tattooed one had a mission, with his knowledge of plants, his field guide book, a scythe and a machete, he cut his way off into the foliage and did not return for some hours.
By the time he did return darkness was casting its eerie pall over the thick blanket of trees, mist crept ethereally through the branches and unknown creatures made strange noises in the near distance. To a cacophony of crickets chirping he came back out of the forest’s inky depths, bloodied and scratched from his search, but smiling. The rest of the group knew by his grin his mission had been successful. Excitedly, they put a small cauldron on to boil…
As the water percolated in the pot they brought it back down to a gentle simmer and poured in some organic vinegar, then they dropped in the plant material they had harvested, they cooled it down and strained all the water out. They put the liquid and the leftover plant material in separate pots, they repeated these steps all evening until they had a concentrated mixture left.
The liquid they poured into four cups was a dark brown ruddish colour, like very strong tea. They took their small cupfuls and sipped at them until they had drank all the earthy, woodsy, thick potion down, wincing at its unpleasant flavour. Afterwards they sat in a circle round the campfire and sang songs to guide them into their trip, the yellow-dressed one played on some bongos…
First came the nausea, and the distinct unsettling feeling that they were just bags of flesh, water and organs. One by one, they left the ring of fire to vomit profusely, their egos dying as the drug entered their nervous system seemingly through their stomach and intense visualisations ensued as they purged their body with black puke onto the ground. Some of them dropped their shorts and defecated, it was as if they were lightening their bodies in preparation of taking flight, they were jettisoning their load, it felt like they were turning inside out. The sickness scared them, but they were masters of psychedelics, they had all done ayahuasca before and san pedro and peyote and just about everything else, and they knew how to deal with it.
And take flight they did, whole movies were projected through their mind, sometimes they felt like they were swimming through their own veins as bloodcells, and vivid rubescent visuals accompanied this feeling. Some rolled on the floor and laughed, some wept openly against a tree, bawling and crying, some sat comatose in a trance with beatific smiles fixed upon their face, sometimes they babbled incoherently, the rocker scribbled notes frenetically, lucid within himself while experiencing a maelstrom of phantasmagorical colour all around him and the shapes of lizards dancing by his head, flicking their tongues out and glittering with a gemlike shine as they winked at him with reptilian eyes.
They were visited upon by other animals too at points throughout their mystical journey. For the yellow-dressed tattooed one who had found the plant, alligators floated in dizzying circles round his head to the sounds of saxophones and trumpets, swooping down and coruscating with iridescent scales, he did not fear them, he felt closely connected with them, he rode on their backs across seas of people with outstretched arms.
For the golden-dressed goateed one, sharks swam in the air to the sounds of cowbells, brushing past him as he stared wide eyed and in awe at the majesty of these ancient beautiful creatures, sparkling with the fire of a multitude of vivid colours within their gracile bodies.
For the green-dressed one turtles encircled his vision to the sounds of psychedelic sitar, emerald green and glowing with a phosphorescence that radiated in bright shafts that bounced off everything, a spoken wordsmith he created poems and rhymes in his head, scribbling them down on a cigarette packet as he did so, all the while the turtles did their merry dance all around him like planets orbiting a sun, he felt like the shelled creatures were 150 years old. They ducked and weaved and he stretched out his fingertips to touch their strange green glow, with wide eyes and a slack jaw he gazed in amazement at his visions.
The blood coarsing through their bodies sounded like a train rattling through their head, they remained poised even as they were flipped inside out and turned around drastically, ancient forgotten neural pathways in their brain firing and lighting up like stars in the interstellar sky and shimmering like the aurora borealis in their mind’s eye. They experienced death, their fear was stripped away, they experienced love, their hearts opened and they experienced terror which stripped away their ego.
They felt a drunkenness of their earthly body, but they felt the infinity of their energy. Their consciousness was connected to all living things as they flowed through their conceptual journeys. There was strength, power and incredible depth to the imagery and inspirations that these intrepid travelers of the other realms went through. Spectacular fluorescent flowers opened up inside their brains and blossomed within their mind shedding sparkling seeds that fell like raindrops before their eyes.
It is said, that with this particular plant, endangered and the most powerful of psychotropic substances – you can manifest your trips into reality in your chosen form, strict warnings against attempting to do this were distinctly expressed by local tribes, and perhaps that is why this plant had remained a hidden secret, guarded by the jungle surrounding it, and growing only rarely in intermittent spots, because you have to be very careful what you manifest from these powerful mind-altering trips.
The golden-dressed one manifested a band of people that would provide soul with their art, and joy with their sound, and would unite people in the form of dance, and would soothe the saddened with their healing vibes and lay down a funky bassline or two.
The green-dressed one manifested a group of individuals that would amaze with their art, be progressive in their field and inspire many others. They would create melodies that would transcend all genres, unifying techniques, and leading a great many on pilgrimages, fulfilling summers, illuminating nights, and pushing boundaries everywhere they go, so that the word would spread, and soon all would bask in the glow of their beautiful melodies.
The yellow-dressed one manifested a creative movement, that would be political, social and positive. They would be spearheaded by music to party to and make friends over, happy music, that would create smiling, carefree states of being, and would take a message of peace and love and spread it like mustard on bread. They would unite a scene, and realise their dreams as they proliferated the land with good times and positive energy.
The rocker stopped scribbling in his notebook, and suddenly looked up, alarmed. He was sweating profusely (though it was hard to tell in this humid climate), trembling violently and had a wild-eyed look of panic on his stressed face. He experienced intense discomfort within his body that was not relieved despite extended bouts of spewing. He jibbered madly, possessed by an insanity, and his teeth chattered loudly. He had been stung by an unidentified insect just before taking the plant mixture, and he wondered if the brute had poisoned him and the venom was interfering with the drug and causing these feelings of intense pain and slow agony. Was he dying?
In order to spare his companions from his negative vibes and possible death, he staggered off into the jungle with savage thoughts in his head and twisted, dark images flashing before his eyes. Uncontrollable feelings of guilt and anxiety surged within him as he crashed, staggering into the bushes and fell to the floor, suddenly unable to move his body. He lay in the bushes in the grip of paralysis with the insects crawling on him and biting at him and suffered the most intense, worst several hours of his life, he didn’t know what he had manifested in that trip, but he knew it must be really bad…
…The Chibmarks stepped out on stage, in uniform white tshirts and clutching their instruments. Fresh off being thrown out of the STV studios in a Sex Pistols/Bill Grundy-esque fashion, for their drunken anarchistic behaviour and foul language, they walk out on stage at The Classic Grand to spew their abject filth and abhorrent disgusture onto a crowd of unsuspecting individuals.
Three chord, raw, snotty punk rock – brilliant! With such catchy moronic choruses as ‘My dog’s gay get fucking over it’ you can’t go wrong. Four very accomplished musicians and Kev, going off in the Yellow Movement like an atom bomb of anarchy, fury and downright debauchery. Punks in the audience young and old were in their element, pogo-ing, hanging off rafters and moshing in violent circles as they clung to one another. While the rest of the audience just looked on in shock
In an age without many true D.I.Y punk bands we find a great one in the aggressive energy and we-don’t-give-a-fuck angst of The Mississippi Chibmarks. Sure to be spreading their pestilence at venues around Glasgow soon, with duct tape, tie-bands, tonic wine, purple Y-fronts, knuckourines and hammeracas! So with much chibbing afoot, I’ll seeya’ in the pit!
                                                                                    CTH.
Originally published on NHC September 18th 2016, view that here
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