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In The Midnight Lands

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21. Taming the tiger.



LATE IN the day, the boys and I were back at camp for a change of clothes.

Tiger Balm

We shared a joint before Sam headed for the portaloos and Darius ducked into his tent. He came back carrying a small jar.

"Right-o, time to tame the tiger," he said.

How to explain taming the tiger now?

Well I guess the first thing to understand is that the recreational drugs accompanying Electronica come with their own accoutrements: small things used to make a night out flying better; knowledge passed from one to another as dance scene lore.

There was gum, poppers, nos, chupa chups, glow sticks, glitter spray; and for my crew there was also Tiger Balm: a liniment normally used to help with sore muscles, arthritis and the like, which heated on application.

But someone - my money was on Darius - had discovered that if you rubbed it on the side of your temples and the back of your neck when high it quickly went from ice hot to burning cold - paradoxically cooling you and feeling pretty damn good all at the same time.

The only trick was not to rub your eyes after application, which I'd promptly done my first time, a lesson never to be forgotten . . . but still better than the guy who once thought it chip dip, with predictable and hilarious results.

Darius - being Darius - soon started to push the tiger envelope, applying the balm to new and interesting body parts generally heading in a southerly direction, until one fateful day it happened and a brave soul’s love spuds came into the crosshairs.

Whom that brave soul was I don’t know, but ever since it had become a rite of passage for the boys, even acquiring a name: taming the tiger.

So that explains the what, as for the why . . .

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