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From the FPG Chronicles / the Dutty Babylon

Born without a clue. A lifetime later, situation largely unchanged. Nevertheless, one perseveres.....


The Dutty Babylon

For reasons still not entirely clear to me (mind you, it was thatcher’s “great” britain of course), we had frequent run-ins with police on the otherwise totally amiable festival circuit. Although our Transit van looked a little untoward, it was nothing like some of the rough and ready vehicles many of the festival followers were driving. But they, the Babylon, were always hovering by access and egress points at most of the festival sites to do “random” stop and search in an effort to keep thatcher’s Britain safe.

One time, shortly after leaving a site, we were being tailed by a squad car and, partly to shake them, I suddenly pulled over to pick up a hitch-hiker. The law shot past and I thought we’d avoided another contre temps, but as the hitch-hiker began to get in, he looked over my shoulder, aghast, and backed out again. Turning, I saw that the rozzers had backed up on the dual carriageway (come on guys, that can’t be safe driving) and were just outside my driver’s side window. The poor hitch-hiker hastily told Nick he’d already been harassed by the law that day and sloped off. We were required to exit our vehicle to assist in the inevitable search. The intrepid lawmen very quickly found some organic licorice in the back and announced that they were doing us for “possession”. “For heaven’s sake,” I said, “It’s licorice. Just taste it!” but they weren’t about to be tricked into losing their minds and spiralling into addictive oblivion by such subterfuge. Nick and I were taken to a local station, held in separate cells, and periodically, over about a 12 hour period, independently given the full panoply of good cop/bad cop routines as they tried to get us to give up “Mr Big”.

“We’re not after you,” intoned the fat good cop to me. “We just want to get the suppliers.” After some tough grilling, I gave up the name of the wholefood shop in Frome which had supplied the licorice, but this wasn’t enough. “We’re wasting our time with this loser,” the tough lady cop kept snapping, to which I felt compelled to agree. “You’re not just wasting your time,” I added, “but much much much worse, you’re wasting mine.” We were eventually released “on our own cognisance” with dire warnings as to the damage that drug-taking can do and were left to sort out the havoc they had wreaked in the back of our van.

Another time they actually found some dried mushrooms and, after the usual 12 hour holdover and the complete ransacking of the van, we were released subject to “substance testing”. We never heard from them again. Perhaps, on that occasion, they did taste the goods.

Rozzers, see the "mushroom" link below for what can happen to you if you’re not careful.

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© 2020 Deacon Martin

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