Saturday, 28 April 2012

A cruel blow for a cool blow

It's thirty years since I and my then girlfriend used to spend long weekends in Amsterdam smoking cannabis and being culture snobs. Not for us the vulgar 'bulldogs' beloved by dope tourists with thudding rock, the red-lit Walletjes or the hostels clustered around the station; we frequented a tiny cafe on an alley between between Spui and Singel called De Tweede Kamer, much favoured by local artsy Amsterdamers. We'd share a little blond Leb or mild grass spliffy after breakfast and before a morning spent in a museum or gallery to heighten perception, then maybe red Leb or Rocky (Moroccan) to sharpen the appetite before lunch, saving the oil and the sticky Afghan black for an evening in a live jazz cellar drifting with the notes. It was all very ... civilised. And it truly advanced perception; I recall we visited the Anne Frank House on a quiet afternoon and the intolerable pressures of remaining fearfully hidden in this secret attic space became palpable - we spoke in whispers and cringed at each tiny creak of the floorboards lest the sounds be heard below. However, like many folk, cannabis was a thing of one's twenties that one grew out of along with girlfriends. 

News of the proposed Dutch ban on foreigners using the 'coffee shops' prompted me to check on Google whether my old haunt was still there - and yes it is (below), looking exactly the same as it did thirty years ago. I may just make a final nostalgia trip before the ban, though whether I can still remember how to roll a spliff after a quarter of a century of abstinence is another matter ...




11 comments:

lilith said...

I'll meet you there and roll it for you Radders. Surely banning tourists from the Coffee shops is "restraint of trade?"

Elby the Beserk said...

Spliff? Put it in your pipe and smoke it, Raddled :-)

The black market weed growers in Holland will be jumping for joy over this decision

Elby the Beserk said...

Lilith. Not restraint of trade, rather discrimination

non mouse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scrobs... said...

Hmmm Raeders..

You said in Dec 2010; : -

"Skunk-head, eyes red and bloodshot and stinking of weed. Late 20s, physically fit but uncertain of date, time or place. Deeply resentful of any 'interference' to his life - can only take instruction from people he 'respects'.

The list goes on. We can't employ these people - they're a liability and a risk, and there's absolutely no place in Construction for them. These aren't immigrants - two thirds or more of them were white British, the beneficiaries of a generous Welfare system, free education, cradle to grave health care. What the hell do we do with them?"

Don't encourage them please.

Anon 2 said...

Glad you gave it up, Raedwald.

Potheads I encounter nowadays have the lowest perception of any people(?) I ever met.

In fact, except for you and the Beatles, I never encountered any druggies who could deploy coherent language in which to express these 'amazing perceptions.' I suspect that, in your cases, the ability had been nurtured by a decent culture and education before the drug habit was entrenched.

Among today's primitives, I read work that nauseates me: not only because it lacks quality, but because it is soaked in the stench of the filthy weed. Lord, I hate that stuff.

Tom Somebody said...

Ah man, there go those vibes again. I guess we'll now have to revert to the green green grass of home.

Raedwald said...

Scrobs - there's a world of difference between the mild euphorics we used at weekends back in those days and self-destruction by Skunk - the difference between drinking a pint of bitter and a pint of Gin. But I take your point that I shouldn't encourage it.

banned said...

Never been a toker, prefering jenever, but I did visit a couple of Coffee Houses just for cultural enrichment but found them rather dowdy places. That being said I can't see the EU allowing the sale of any particular product to Citizens of Holland but not other EU folk.

Elby the Beserk said...

Anon 2

Broaden your boundaries. Start with Huxley's "The Doors Of Perception". And I am sure you are not aware that LSD assisted Francis Crick to envisage the structure of DNA.

Not a lot of people know that...

James Higham said...

Drug tourists "weeded out". LOL.