On June 10, 1976 we met Blue and Mac. They were in the New Inn and we got into conversation with them. We did not know then that Blue was to play a big part in our undercover future, an exciting part. And on one occasion, a downright scary part! Mac, in his own less prominent way, also had a part to play. We recounted our cover story to them over a couple of beers in the New Inn. A story so natural now, I completely believed in its authenticity.
Mac and Blue must have been okay with the cover story too. All four of us left to continue our drinking and socialising at Blue’s home, Bridgend, a house he rented in the village. Blue was about 27 years old and claimed to be from Leicester. Yet, he had a transatlantic accent. It turned out he had lived and travelled a lot in Canada and the United States. He was a six-footer, stocky with a barrel chest, dark longish hair that had a touch of early grey at the sides. A ginger moustache perched on top of his mouth. He was an engaging character, a man I warmed to immediately.
Back at his home, Blue regaled us with tales of New York, Los Angeles and Miami. It was clear he knew these locations well. He dropped names like Ken Kesey, the author of ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,’ and Timothy Leary as if he knew them as friends. Perhaps he did? Blue was the first person to talk to us in depth about LSD (acid). He went into great detail about the acid travelling labs in California. In particular, he talked about the selling of LSD to the Hell’s Angels on the west coast of the States. This was the story of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love.
Mac was the complete opposite of Blue. He was about the same age as Blue. Where Blue was stocky, Mac was haggardly skinny. His thin pale white skin stretched across a bony frame. He had the sharp facial features of a weasel, light brown hair worn collar length, and a pendant earring in his left ear. Mac lived outside of the village, on the road toward the youth hostel. He was fond of his weed and showed us a two-ounce weight wrapped in polythene. He hid it in his trousers. I did wonder about the bulge in his pants until he showed us the bag of weed! All four of us had a pleasant chilled evening.
Our routine became one of using our mountain retreat to bathe and breakfast. Refreshed, we would drive up the mountain road to explore the beautiful landscape. Once, we made it as far as Llyn Brianne. There, we marvelled at the man-made water spout spewing thousands of gallons fifty yards or so up in to the air. We never failed to use our rock pool for some nude swimming to escape the heat of the midday sun. Then, it was time to work. The pubs were open.
Blue became friendlier by the day, acting as an unofficial guide to the area and an introducer. He took us to a house at Llangeitho to meet an American who wanted to buy a Transit van like ours. On reaching the house, neighbours told us the American had gone to London for the week. Yet, it wasn’t all bad news, as this attempt by Blue to help with the sale of a van could only mean one thing. He believed our cover story. He thought we could accommodate the American by sourcing and supplying a van. If necessary, we would have done just that.
On returning to the village from the abortive trip to Llangeitho, Eric, Blue and I headed straight for the New Inn. Smiles had returned from London. He hadn’t yet gone home since returning. Several shopping bags lay on the pub floor beside him. He was eager to show us the expensive-looking new clothes he had bought in London. He was with a big guy from Liverpool. A well-dressed fellow who, like Smiles, enjoyed throwing his money about. They were both buying drinks for everyone in the pub. Smiles repeated he was going to buy a VW camper to tour Europe and would soon go to Belgium to buy it.
The big guy tried too hard to compete. It seemed like he was trying to outdo Smiles. There was only one winner in a popularity contest. Blue got as pissed off as us by the show-off from Liverpool. Someone mentioned the Mick Jagger film, ‘Performance.’ It was showing at a village hall in Pontrhydfendigaid. Blue asked us if it was of any interest. He didn’t need to ask us twice. We agreed to go with him.
The small village of Pontrhydfendigaid was like a scene from Woodstock festival. There were so many heads, as in acidheads, potheads, etc. The three of us made our way to the village hall main door. The film was due to start at 10 pm. It was still daylight as we arrived on Midsummer’s Day, June 21, 1976. A massive gorilla stood guard on the door. He looked out of place with his shaven head amongst all the hippie hirsuteness. The individual tattoos on his forearm were bigger than my fist! We got in with ease even though we were complete strangers. Once inside, the smell of patchouli oil and marijuana filled the air. There must have been between 100 – 150 heads in the hall waiting for the movie to start.
I lost count of the number of lit cannabis joints. There were men, women, boys and girls and toddlers. Almost all wore typical hippie style fashion - loose tops adorned with Indian beads; and many of the men sported waistcoats with vivid floral patterns. Old Levis filled the room. About half the men wore a hat of some description with fedoras being amongst the most popular. There were many male ponytails. The females often wore their hair long and in varying stages of unkemptness.
We took a seat at the back of the hall and were immediately accosted by a girl who looked about 20 years old. She was pretty with long blonde hair tumbling down to her waist. She wore a cute see-through white cheesecloth top. I could see the most perfect small but rounded breasts with large, erect pink nipples. I tried to make eye contact but failed.
I heard her say, “Mushrooms.”
Not the kind you fry up for breakfast, she had psilocybin, a hallucinogenic. To decline was not an issue.
All three of us said “No, thanks,” and she moved on. I hoped to see her some time again soon but I never did.
We watched about three quarters of the movie. I became restless and bored so I told the others I was off to the kitchen area of the hall to see if there was any beer. Eric and Blue followed. There was a skinny kid in there, no older than sixteen, rolling a huge joint. I asked him if there was beer and he nodded toward the refrigerator. There were about twelve cans of beer in there. I grabbed three. I passed on two of them to my buddies, leaving a bit of change on the work top that should have covered the cost of the beers. We stood about in the kitchen until we finished our beer and chatted to the kid. Or rather, he chatted to us. He seemed to have a lot to say.
He was friendly but completely stoned. The only way to describe his utterances is utter gibberish. He thought he had solved the problems of the universe. The only trouble was he had extreme difficulty in communicating the solution. From time to time he would pass us the giant cone of a joint. Blue was with us. We all had a few tokes, then took off. Next stop was the Black Lion in the village. I was still thirsty and even more so now as I began to discover that dope made my throat dry. The landlord of the pub was keen not to miss an opportunity to increase the takings over the bar. Even though it was late, he continued to serve what seemed like the entire hippie population of Wales.
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