It has to be admitted, that in my youth, I have been known to indulge in what the press used to euphemistically call 'certain substances'. It also has to be admitted that I had no great revelations, and that once I'd stopped indulging, I didn't miss them.
The much missed Chairman, however, indulged almost until the minute of his departure from this mortal coil, and his life genuinely appeared enhanced by them. Admittedly for the last 20 years of his life, this had been restriced to what are known as Class C drugs, but earlier he had been quite enthusiastic about the use of hallucenogenics.
Sometime in 1969, before we'd met, and when he had only been in London a very short time, he met up with other friends from the North West, and was very excited to learn that one of them had 'scored some acid'.
Now, this was a first for all of them, and I suppose there must have been some trepidation mixed with the curiosity as they swallowed their LSD impregnated squares of blotting paper, but swallow them they did, and then they wandered around Central London, waiting for something to happen.
I don't know how, but then probably neither did they, but they found themselves on the Victoria Line bound for Walthamstow, a place that not only had none of them visited previously, but they had never heard of either. Anyway, sometime around midnight they found themselves wandering down a street with early Edwardian terraced houses on one side, and a park on the other. In those days, Swinging London had not yet reached the outer suburbs, and a crowd of noisy, long haired northerners wearing brightly coloured kaftans and beads were bound to attract attention.
It wasn't long before the attention they attracted was of the uniformed and helmeted variety. A dark van drew up next to them, and several burly officers tumbled out, searched them and began to ask them questions. When they'd established that nobody was in possession of 'certain substances' - mainly because they'd already consumed them - they tried to establish what they were doing wandering in E17 in the middle of the night. One of the quickest witted of them said they'd been visiting someone in a house in the road. 'Which road?' asked PC number 1. 'This one' another bright spark added 'What's it called?' asked PC number 2. Nobody knew. 'OK' said number 1, 'What number is it?' 'We came back with our mate who lives there' said bright spark. 'OK then', said Number 2 'Which house is it then?'. At which point they all helpfully pointed at different houses in different directions.
I think the Police must have realised that though they were under the influence of a substance of an hallucinogenic nature, they weren't actually committing any offences, but they went through the motions of asking for their names and addresses, and asking for proof of identity. Most of them did in fact have driving licences or other proofs of identity on them except for one chap. 'So how can you prove who you are?' asked they by now bored young policeman. There was what seemed like a long pause, but it was probably only a couple of seconds.
'Look at me, Man' said the Chairman's friend 'That's who I am'.