Eyes Wide Open!

When I hear Faithless Insomnia I just need to close my eyes and I am back at that rave. 1996 and I was 18 years old. I have seen them loads of times since but that is the one I will always remember.

We planned it for months, buying the tickets, planning the route, picking the driver and most importantly getting the drugs! There were five of us going, squeezing into a Ford Fiesta and driving that ancient car 300 miles to Manchester.

There was me, the baby of the group. Not even the youngest but most definitely the baby. Everyone always had to look after me, maybe because I had this weird innocence like the whole world was new to me. A fortune teller at one festival said I was a new soul and that I had a lot to learn. My response “if you can’t go crazy and fuck it all up when you’re new when can ya?”

Next my best friend Nicky, she was a party animal and so far from new it scared me. I had known her forever and she was always the first one to try anything new, light years ahead of me but only a step ahead of most people.

Then there were the boys, Nicky’s current boyfriend Watta. Oh my god, that man was gorgeous. Add to that he somehow always managed to find the best designer gear allegedly at some market stall and he was just perfect. Then there were Scotty and Macca two of the most fucked up guys I ever met, but they were funny. I never laughed so much as when I hung round with them.

Following our strict rules on partying meant that one of us, Scotty, was babysitting. This was a system set up by us to ensure we were safe. We took turns to not drink or take anything so that someone had their head straight in case anything went wrong and in this case so that we had a driver. Good theory right? Well not really because we were all unreliable and there was a good chance the babysitter took something just to help them stay awake, I know I did when it was my turn.

So there we were first thing in the morning, that’s half past four in the afternoon to me and my mates heading off in the Fiesta......................................

“Iwant to sit in front, I’m not sitting in back with those two snogging all the way”
“No way babygirl, I’m sitting up front with Scotty so I can DJ, we’re not listening to your Take That tapes. Anyway you might learn something watching Nicky’s moves!”

Not fair I think stuck in the back with them but someone has just opened a bottle of poppers and it doesn’t seem that bad anymore. I’m listening to Macca telling Scotty about some girl he met last night, takes him about an hour to reveal that nothing happened. And of course Scotty has a story, top secret it can go no further:

“You know little Doug?” he starts knowing we all do. “He was out down town last weekend and he’s in this bar and this hot woman comes over to him and says he can buy her a drink. He goes for it and she orders a cocktail. They’re both sitting on bar stools and she has slipped her shoe off and is rubbing his crotch with her foot. Dougie’s turned on in about 2 seconds. They sit talking for a while then she says he can take her back to her place if he wants. Doug can’t believe his luck, this is a real sexy woman and older so probably knows some stuff. He leaves the bar and doesn’t notice that all the other guys are cracking up. Dougie told me the story while we were playing pool the other night. He pays for a taxi back to this woman’s flat and all the time she is touching him and stoking him, hand right in his pants in the cab.

The flat was one of these new blocks with private parking and security. They go in and the flat is unbelievable. She gets him some beer and they take some coke. It’s all going really great and I’m sure she sucked him off but he didn’t admit that. There’re in the bedroom and she takes her dress off, Dougie says the light wasn’t good but she had a fantastic body. He is pressed up against her, kissing her and starts to slide his hand into her knickers and finds that she has a dick. It’s a guy! Dougie says he was out of the flat in a second, left his shoes and had to walk a couple of miles barefoot before he gets a taxi. He thinks no one else knows she was a guy so he’s gonna tell them it was fucking fantastic. Didn’t have the heart to tell him that Scullie paid the guy 50 quid to set him up!”

I’m laughing so hard it hurts but inside I’m thinking would they do something like that to me just for a laugh?

“We’re stopping at the next services.” I hop out to use the toilet check my make-up. I know its going to slide off my face as soon as I start dancing but have to look good to get past security. We all grab some food and stretch, gives Nicky’s tongue a change to talk instead of check for cavities in Watta’s teeth!

Now we’re back in the car and we’re racing down the motorway, doing about 55 because any faster and the car feels like it’s going to break-up. Macca and Scotty start arguing about something, I missed the point. Macca starts to get really wound up and I’m getting scared. Scotty just stops it with: “I’m the left eye, you’re the right, would it not be madness to fight?” Macca laughs and comes back with “We come one”. I love these guys.

“This is it, we’re here” and we are. It takes ages to find a parking space and then we are all taking pills. Well everyone except me and Scotty., I’m not allowed, “you don’t try new things away from home” so I have to stick to speed. You have to time it just right so that you don’t look high when you’re going in. Then we’re walking to the field. There is one giant tent in the centre and loads of tents and stalls round the outside. It’s about 10 o’clock and the place is bouncing. I hand over my ticket my heart racing; it can’t be the speed yet must just be nerves and excitement. The security guy seems to be staring at me but he doesn’t stop me and I’m in.

The guys are laughing at me because already I’ve got my big frightened bunny look. Nicky sticks up for me, “she’s not scared she’s just trying to take everything in a once, that’s why her eyes are wide open!” There is so much going on, people everywhere. You’ve got your proper hippy travellers with their baggy clothes and dreadlocks right though to Watta types with their designer gear. They would be worrying about mud if they had there heads with them. There are stalls selling glow sticks, handmade jewellery, food, and drinks. There are lights and noise from everywhere and the smell, it’s nearly indescribable – grass, food, smoke, poppers and people mixed together. There is nothing like it in the world, the place attacks all your senses at once and it almost hurts.

There is music coming from the main tent but we need to leave that for a while. We walk around and watch the sideshows. There is a fire-eater, always my favourite and we stop there for a while. I can’t keep my eyes off the flames, the way they leave tracks in the darkening light as the guy spins them around his head before swallowing the fire. It is as if he is swallowing the sun as it sets in the background. I could stay here all night but there is so much more to see.

A girl stops us by grabbing mine and Nicky’s hands. Nicky tries to pull away but I just go with it. The girl says to Nicky “you have an amazing ability to make people feel comfortable, it will take you far in life, don’t waste it!” Then she looks me right in the eye and says “you will betray a friendship but don’t feel guilty it was always meant to be that way!” We run after the guys laughing “you just attract these psychic types everywhere you go don’t you”, I just laugh because it’s true they always have something to say to me. I guess it’s because I have my eyes and my mind wide open.

Finally we head for the main tent. Everything in there is even more intense than outside, the smell is stronger and the music louder. The lights are amazing with laser shows on the walls and big screens showing animations. I stop to watch one of the screens for a while. I don’t realise how long I have been just staring until Watta takes my arm and hands my a bottle of water. He smiles down at me and asks “are you OK babygirl?” I just nod because my heart is racing, he is so close to me and the look in his eyes is making my heart pound so hard I think it is going to break through my chest. He looks at my lips and I know he is going to kiss me. But then he looks back into my eyes and I feel like I’m falling into the blue. He says so quietly “you’re just perfect” and then he does kiss me. It feels like nothing I have ever felt before, the music, the lights, the smell and his lips soft but insistent pressing on mine. It feels like it lasts forever but it probably was only a minute or two.

We break apart and the first thing I see is Nicky standing behind him. I put my hand up to my mouth and turn and run. She catches me easily and just looks at my face for a second before hugging me and saying “how could he not want you?” I look at her totally confused “you’re not angry?” “No, I always knew he liked you from the first time he saw you. I was just having some fun with him while I waited for him to realise what he really wanted.” I think at that moment that ecstasy is the best invention ever!

We go back to the others and just then Faithless come on stage. The opening bars of Insomnia fill the air and I feel the excitement growing as the sound builds. I look at my friends and I love them. We are all dancing now as the beat builds up and then that baseline kicks in and the crowd is going crazy. Finally he is there, Maxi Jazz, the worlds only Buddhist rapper. He starts to rap and I feel my soul lift. They are fantastic, I believe “God is a DJ” and if he is this is my church! They end with “We come one” and we are shouting ONE back at them with our arms round each other. I have never felt so good.

So that was it, our adventure was over. And as I said whenever I hear Insomnia I’m there. It fills me with memories, I can almost feel the heat, hear the sounds and smell that smell. The emotions are mixed now because of everything that has happened since then. I look back at the child I still was in so many ways and think how stupid we we’re. We had no idea what we were doing. I have really fond memories of that night but it is mixed with sadness now.

After that night Watta and I stayed together for a couple of years and then saw each other off and on for a while after that. I stopped calling him Watta and used his real name, Ian. He was the man I finally lost my virginity to when I caught up to the rest of the world. We never really broke up, I moved away when I got my first job and the distance meant we drifted apart. For a long time we just picked up where we had left off when ever we saw each other. He never stopped taking the drugs and gradually he just got worse and worse. The perfect man that I fell for when I first met him disappeared and this shell of nothing was left behind. He died of an overdose when I was 25. I saw him not long before and it has left a pain in me that will never leave. No one could help him, but I just wish I could have done something to take his pain away.

The others well they are just fantastic. We don’t see each other much but when we do its like going home.

Nicky didn’t waste her ability to make people feel comfortable. She is a doctor in a kids hospital and I told and believe that she is amazing.

Macca and Scotty, well how we didn’t realise at the time! They are still together, had a lovely wedding just as soon as it was legal and now live happily with their dog, Petal. “So we can say settle petal!”

And me I’m learning a lot everyday. I’m still a young soul and everything around amazes me. I’m fascinated by everything and everybody. Nosey people call me, but I just want to take in everything. It really is like I’m seeing it all for the first time.

Oh and Faithless, in case you don’t know they are still going strong. And I still love them, their greatest hits album is my most played cd ever.


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30 something female, GSOH, independent, unreliable, seeks sanity. Must like dogs and handbags!