There was an imaginable enough group gathered that evening – certainly Wax Noyle was there. Steve Arse (Ears to his face. Arse behind his back), Punk Wayne, Magic Sam and Little Annie. They were seated at a trio of tables in the front window of The Eight Kings.
This would have been sometime prior to 1986, being the year that the brewery rolled out the barrels as ‘stand around’ replacements and these well-lit, almost cheery, three tables were reconvened, head to head to head, into a woeful wooden queue, jetty-like, by order of The Dean, on his investiture as landlord, to the dark and damp end of the pub, between the constant creak and crash of the lavatory doors that wafted, with every soul that issued forth from therein, with a yellow sigh of relief, a renal perfume! Phew! Some sentences are longer than others. As are some pisses.
Wax was explaining the finer points to sweat lodge construction and use of. The purpose of which, he explained in that witless and dreary tone of his, was to cleanse mind, body and spirit. He had a theory that where you lived affected your health, both mental and physical. The sweat lodge he described as a bivouac constructed of sticks and bits of tarpaulin sheet. Being a practical man he could, or felt obliged to, employ any object at hand as visual accompaniment. In this case he was sat low at the table, chin upon it, erecting a lean-to of cigarettes and matches. He conversed as he constructed the sweat lodge.
…techniques unchanged since, well, since forever. The Dakota used them for spiritual cleansing and, obviously, as a means to convene with the dead. Through death, life. And the opposite. The whole package.
Apparently, such a structure, quite unlike the one on the table, was very close to completion at a secret location somewhere in Croham Woods and, yeah, it would certainly be ready for an inaugural ceremony by the following weekend.
Perfect timing, he said.
For what? Wondered Magic Sam.
For the solstice, of course.
He had recently returned from a week of silent retreat at The Alternative Wellbeing Centre, Guildford, where a variety of holistic courses, including Intuitive Vegan Crystal Workshop, Tantric Yoga, Creative Head, Karmic Response & Tao Ti Ching For New Mums, could be studied with other open minded folk.
So, who’s in?
Can I have a fag? said Punk Wayne.