Last night I was lucky enough to enjoy an ecstatic dance experience that is rare enough to enjoy. I went down to B-ton to attend a dance party thrown by the Psychedelic Dream Temple crew which I had been looking forward to for weeks. The place was divided into two areas -- the primary dance floor, which had two DJ's from Denmark-based Iboga Records on the bill, and a second, alternative floor which played mainly groovy ambient.
This is were it all came together for me. After refusing ecstasy that was being offered to me earlier in the night and watching in awe as the bouncers ejected some guys queueing for the bathroom for holding a rolled up £10 note in their hand, my hopes of getting my hands on something that would just facilitate enough of a psychedelic state to throw myself in the music was on the wane. In the end I plomped down on a sofa right next to a lovely couple who were bugging out on some Ketamine --a disassociative hallucinogen reasonably mild yet powerful drug if taken in measured doses with a very short halflife. [Mega doses have an ego-destroying, out of body, super-psychedelic effect... also worth a try. --AJ] Out of kindness they agreed to let me borrow their packet and I loaded up on a dose.
Over the next hour I had an amazing conversation with the two of them while riding the very rim of what's possible without going into a fully immersive k-hole. We reflected on the nature of London and how it is such an amazing nexus -- a super collider for people, of all sorts, of all origins.. and how the city in itself has psychedelic properties. Sound weird to you? Well, "psychedelic" means "mind-manifesting". London has a way bringing to light whatever is on your conscious or subconscious mind and presenting you with whatever experiences you need to be having based on what's going on inside you. If you come here to party, you can party. If you come here to work, you will find a job. If you don't know what you came for, things will happen to you will reveal the reasons why you came, and the nature of your personality if you take the time to reflect on your experiences.. it is unparalleded in this regard.
Following this logic, I suppose I had a definite need to rinse and flush out my system and get out there and I was about to get what I was looking for.. With the K waning but still very present in my system, I passed the ambient floor and got completely sucked into the music. It wasn't a conscious act of dancing, about contemplating how you will move which part of your body, at all. It was more like surrendering and letting the music take over. All in all this is by far my favourite kind of dancing.
I rode the grooves like a surfer rides the waves, for a good while, breaking a good sweat before the lights came on and the party wound down at 6am. Big smiles all around as all the like minded people who live for moments like this congregated to the music of the DJ. When it was all over introductions were made, backs slapped and good energies exchanged between the dancers before everybody bundles their sweaty limbs back into their warm jumpers and went back out into the London cold for a gorgeous early morning ride home on the 133 bus.
As I sat on the top deck of the big red bus contemplating, the music and experiences of the night still ringing in my ears, I felt glad to be a part of this. The tradition of the underground speakeasy, where you can drink and dance and partake in mind-altering substances without fear of any major reprecussions. (Besides, of course, being booted out of the club if you are too overtly partaking.) The bus crossed the bridge over the Thames and I was rewarded with a great view of Tower Bridge at sunrise, the orange clouds reflecting in the perfectly still waters of the river. Time to go back to my hostel and tuck into bed, with my faith in humankind refreshed again, just enough to answer the question of why we are putting outselves through this..