Authors: Julian Cope
A Time-Shifting Gnostic Hooligan Road Novel
I looked up from the book I wasn’t reading and glanced around at the other passengers, all the while raising my butt cheeks as imperceptibly as possible, so as to let off an unprovenanced SBD. My biliousness at 35,000 ft got the better of me, however, and – rather than the intended
– instead a flabby brown thickshake slurried into my leather kecks. This was too much even for me. My heart beat so fast Al Jourgensen programmed it and my stomach’s long-congealed smorgasbord of illegal, psychiatric and over-the-counter drugs forced me upright, lurching upright, hesitating and lurching upright, then escorted me with great haste to the lavatories at the back of the plane. One woman waited in front of me. Alright? I rested against her back and lolled my head into her neck. She let me go in first. I collapsed on to the moulded seat thing and shat long and hard … once again into my leather kecks. Then my phone rang – probably Mick – and I fell asleep. When I woke up, my phone was ringing again and people were pounding on the door and shouting. I soon realised they couldn’t get in however hard they beat, so I slid down on to my haunches in that tiny gap between the toilet seat and the door, and fell asleep again, my blood circulation terminated at the knees, my head pulsing like a cranium-sized bell-end unable to orgasm. The next time I woke up was when Rave-orange tank-suited Sardinian airport engineers prised the door off the lavatory and I fell forward into
a brief consciousness as I smacked against the wall opposite. My phone rang and I rose out of my body and stared down judgementally at my bleeding, sticky face below. A stewardess screamed but nobody caught me, or even dared approach my stinking proto-corpse. Instead, the engineers cordoned off the area and let me come to gradually in my own brown-trousers-round-the-ankles humiliation, as embarrassed African ladies hoovered the aisles and disposed of jet-set rubbish. My phone rang again: Mick for certain. Eventually, I staggered/shuffled/crawled/seeped/inched back into the eurobog’s restricted square feet and did my best to clean myself up.
11.30am, Saturday June 10th, 2006
Leaving Fertília Airport, Alghero, Sardinia
Cosmically entangled in the revelry of my own drunken spirits, I was utterly remote from humanity but still buoyant in my own solipsistic stupor. Welcome to Sardinia: my hell, my prison, my meditation these past sixteen years. What a place to die. But that’s precisely why I was back. And not for any grand death, either. Nothing heroic here, though neither was it all for purely selfish reasons. Not quite back to the Great Infinite. Oh, but what greedy anticipation! However, I’d long believed that before I quit this 21st-century episode of my Mortal Coil forever, I would first be obliged to settle certain life accounts for all of the others for whom Sardinia had also become hell. I’m talking about those luckless fuckers who, like me, had got themselves kidnapped at Italia ’90 right after the one-sided hooligang war at Sant ’Elia Stadium had kicked off between the Rest Of The World and we hapless English. Oh, all right then, kicked off between the Unholy Alliance of Dutch and Italian Ultras versus we hapless English. Can I say it any louder? We
the victims. The hapless English. Since that dreadful summer of Italia ’90, the kidnappings had been ruinous both to the kidnapped
to their families; mental issues, overdoses, even suicides. You’ll most likely remember the story; it was a big thing at the time. Me, I’d probably been the least of the victims. Yeah, they beat me, humiliated me, drugged me – but they never buggered me.
Besides, drugs have always been central to my life anyway (‘No Shit, Sherlock!’ –
), so central that after the kidnapping I’d just spent the rest of the ’90s sinking deeper’n’deeper into the Smack Settee, waving bye-bye to the Present and befriending any compliant ex-psychiatric nurse willing to inject me with largactil, wheelchair me nice and cosy into ye local shopping mall, then leave me sitting peaceful for twelve hours.
Now I was back here one last time on this grief-giving island, and I was determined – drugged up to fuck, but determined – that before I slipped through the life net one final time, I should attempt to settle the score for those real victims of the kidnap. Dean’s sudden suicide yesterday on the eve of his thirtieth birthday had forced me to cut through the red-tape bullshit, twist the melons of a few airline employees I knew, and fly like the wind to demand Sardu restitution for Dean’s bereaved and aggrieved parents, his Sardu grandma and poor Uncle Mick left blubbering back in Blighty. Though you’d think, from all the phone calls he was currently bombarding me with, that Uncle Mick had himself been the sole victim. Mick Goodby: agnostic poet, fizzy drinks fanatic, novelty hitmaker, hermit, exercise magnate and murderer. Not that last one really, though I have seen it installed more than just a couple of times on his Wiki. But I knew plenty of people who blamed Mick for this entire situation. The kidnaps, I mean. Moreover, that very same Blame Culture tone had been struck by the dubious TV documentary team who – at the end of ’91, right around the first anniversary of Brent’s suicide – had hoodwinked Mick into being filmed during his most epic under-the-stairs psychological low-point. What callous cunts. Anyway, by now, my mobile phone screen was announcing ‘14 missed calls’, every one from Mick, probably embroiling me in dinner plans with some of his Catalan
cousins in Alghero, or just clucking randomly about my being here without him.
Throughout these deep musings about my people and their cruel fates, I’d been slumped in total silence across the sumptuous front bench seat of a vast 1960s Buick convertible driven by Anna, whom I’d several months before hired to drive me around Sardinia. Not quite true, actually; back then through the internet I’d hired her archaeologist sister. But when Dean’s sudden death yesterday morning had galvanised me into action, her sister was away digging up Romans. So Anna it was who drove me now and also she who delivered me safe through airport security. How on earth did she sort that one out? I probably shouldn’t ask in my current proto-human state. No shower, but a bidet and a change of kecks well straightened me up. Besides, this weather was incredible. It was 95º and I was so cosy right here in this passenger seat that – as the rich olive groves and defiantly Catalan architecture around Alghero’s Fertília Airport had rapidly given way to a crumbling landscape of venerable Bronze Age towers – I’d actually had to check myself to keep from purring: very off-putting to the ladies. Nevertheless, as an impending Sacrificial Lamb whose Sardinian return was both dutiful
selfish, I’d long ago decided to be kind to myself during these, my final days. So I had, soon after landing, cleverly downed a few shots of those bizarre Fernet Brancas at the Fertília Airport café, followed by calamitous amounts of Sudafed, some very old Klonopin and Ativan prescription downers that I’d recently found clearing out my flat, plus … wait for it, that other little matter … all the fucking pot! What? Don’t even fucking ask. I’ve never ever done anything like it before, never ever copped out with the cops. But, after
arrival, then tottering with God’s Wedgie down the 737’s steel staircase into a full-on Med
navigating eighty metres of sticky Sardu tarmac and spying those armed federalés? Well, I just totally lost my nerve for the first time ever and munched up my full half oz of squidgy black there and then. Gifted to me, gifted. I’d never pay for such rubbish: a CID mate’s going-away-present replete with gold Customs ‘confiscated’ seal and hazardous clear plastic wrap. But yeah, I shat out and downed the lot in the passport control queue. Nearly killed me, too, nearly killed my guts.
Spectacular results, though. Now less than two hours later I was so well rounded and recumbent lolling here on General Motors’ finest ’60s tuck-and-roll upholstery that neither the fumes of ye bucking & bronchial Buick, nor even Mr Sun’s Golden Wonder effects could trouble my equilibrium unduly – although I did probably have no more than ninety mins before another tussle with Armitage Shanks. Oo, the heat, my aching butthole, my heart going like the clappers. But for now I lay low under Anna’s radar, lost in thoughts of Dean’s final moments, his epic loneliness, his dead twin teenage brother already so many years gone, all of our spectacular fuck-ups (Mick’s spectacular fuck-ups). And I soon got very angry again at the crap manner in which the Italian authorities had dealt with our plight. Far too much still remained unknown here in 2006, such stuff as the authorities evinced no interest whatsoever in finding out. Who had really pushed my dear friend Leander AKA the posh rapper Full English Breakfast to his death that bleakest of afternoons before the England v. Ireland match? And how could the murder of this English viscount with a recent Top Ten hit single in full daylight on the World Stage have been passed off as an accident? What Figures Diabolical had decided that we all needed kidnapping for our sins? And who’d ordered the bummings? What the fuck! I’d only missed that special treat because I had
the good fortune to be lactose intolerant – I’ll explain later – but those cunts still kicked the living shit out of my naked body.
At the trial, the Italian authorities had pinned all the blame for everything upon the infamous Dutch DJ and Rave producer ‘Judge’ Barry Hertzog: the murder, the kidnapping, the lot. After all – the authorities had argued – on the day of the match, Hertzog had been captured all over live TV dicing with death on top of the RAI-TV tower, playing bagpipes in Rave-orange face paint whilst marshalling his insane Party Orange members far below with a loudhailer, and directing them on how to increase the damage by pushing the Meatburger caravans over into the wind. But blaming only the insane Hertzog was just the authorities’ way of closing up the case. Every English and Irish fan at the match believed Gary Have-a-laugh’s claim that he’d seen another figure on the tower right near where Breakfast had ‘fallen’. And although we’d stolen a Carabinieri patrol car right from under their noses, really they’d just let that sucker go. Then, at the very height of a ninety-minute chase, the cops’ cavalcade of helicopters and Alfa Romeos had slowed down and allowed us to ‘escape’ into the diabolical clutches of parochial sodomists. How could Judge Barry Hertzog have organised that little lot with just his loudhailer? Who was he, some kind of Dutch Charles Manson?
But the judge at the trial came from Naples and cared nothing for truth. Shut down the whole embarrassing affair was all the authorities wanted. With FIFA’s collusion, the Italian government had – by diverting we insane English and Dutch fans to barbarian Sardinia – successfully avoided bringing down our wrathful Italia ’90 activities upon their mainland population. So now, following a somewhat similar pattern, all blame for the Sardinian murder and kidnaps was resting squarely upon the
shoulders of a single foreigner: Judge Barry Hertzog. For evidence of Hertzog’s guilt, the authorities had nothing at all. So instead they pointed to the high levels of organisation that Party Orange had displayed in the run-up to Italia ’90. For example, furious with FIFA’s cruel decision to force Dutch fans to lodge on neighbouring Sicily except for match days, Party Orange had sneaked into Sardinia aboard the Skanska ferry through the northern port of Ólbia, light years away from Italia ’90. Purloining the orange windsock from Ólbia Helipad and running amok through the ferryport, Party Orange then headed inland to the hilltop town of Témpio Pausánia – the Sardu Hay-on-Wye – where shops were looted and books set on fire. It all read sensationally in the press, but how then could Barry Hertzog alone have pulled all these strings? Did any of it even happen at all? Bullshit. So with Hertzog as the authorities’ chosen scapegoat, all we’re stuck with is bullshit. Of course, the press had added in all of the weird goings-on and super-sleazy incidents that had taken place around Hertzog’s N. Netherlands Rave club Slag Van Blowdriver. But it was just more bullshit. So when, back in 1995, Hertzog had been jailed for twenty years for the whole shebang – murder, rape and kidnap – I was convinced that some kind of Jim Jones thing had taken over everybody’s minds.
Anyway, the outcome of this crock of cack is that my first move today is a long-overdue visit to Florinas Penitentiary, wherein resides the extremely bad Judge Barry Hertzog. It’s all booked and kosher, and it’s taking place at 2pm.