Given strict instructions to write about A RECORD, A BOOK, A FILM OR DVD, A COMPUTER GAME, A FANZINE/MAGAZINE/COMIC, A TV PROGRAMME, A BAND, A PLACE OR EVENT and/or A WEBSITE, I nearly fainted from the wealth of options on the table. I knew I had to have my finger on the pulse, write about things that matter to the kids, and pull it off in a fashion that leaves me looking cool as fuck in the eyes of the reader. A role model, a deep thinker… maybe even an Idol.
So I was going to write a paragraph about A BOOK, and wax all philosophical like about the release of Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, the pointless focus on game balance and oversimplistic mechanics overhaul at the expense of backstory & other fluff on player races and a shift of focus away from collaborative storytelling and toward MMO style XP grinding, but fortunately for you guys, something exciting happened in my life, so you’re all spared.
Instead, I’m writing about AN EVENT, that event being my getting arrested for the first time. What can I say? Being arrested sure isn’t what it was in the old days. I always figured it’d involve handcuffs, a night in the cells, blagging a “snout” where and when I can, and an eventual court appearance, which, let’s be honest, would be a near perfect excuse for buying some clothes that look like they should be worn by a grown-up. Fortunately, I was spared this indignity, and can continue dressing like a badly informed 19 year old for the foreseeable future.
This is how it “went down”:
My band played a show last night, our first for like two years. Needless to say, it was a real return to form, what with my late arrival for soundcheck, typical tuning problems and a heaving crowd of around twelve people once all the emo kids had gone home to bed, just in time for the headline act. After the show, the spirit of rock & roll clearly pumping through my veins, I managed to obtain a small amount of the smelliest weed I have come across in years. Thing is, I don’t really smoke anymore. Rarely touch the stuff. But as I say, this night was clearly all about the power of rock, and with no groupies in sight after about 10pm, I was destined to take a ride on the Children’s Plastic Slide with A Badly Formed Snake’s Head of the “slippery slide” of the drugs world: weed.
Heading back to my illegally-parked car with a spring in my step, closely followed by despair on my face, I noticed I had acquired a new decoration on my windscreen; a bright yellow flyer advertising a band called “Fixed Penalty Notice”, with an eye-catching yellow and black logo. This was truly going to be a night to remember.
Driving home with my windows down, the breeze in my hair, and the reassuring pungent odour of cat’s piss filling my nostrils, my attention was drawn to flashing blue lights in my mirror. I pulled over to the side of the road, expecting them to just pass right by, but to my dismay, it was me they were flashing.
I was taken to the rear of my car, and told that my brake lights weren’t working. I expressed genuine surprise – I keep my car in decent order, and am always up to date with tax, MOT and insurance. It was at about this moment that I started feeling my age – policemen are usually such cliches, it must be part of their initiation or something, but this time, I was the damn cliche. I kept looking at the officer writing out my ticket, and all I could think was “god damn, you young”. It also seems he was a young man, most likely a non smoker, with a keen nose. He told me in no uncertain terms that my car did indeed smell like an elderly male lion had decided to mark it as his own, and to be perfectly honest, he was right. On being pulled over, I had cleverly removed the offending article from my pocket and placed it in the super-secret compartment known to the criminal underworld as “that bit in the door where you throw your change and sweet wrappers”.
At that moment, perhaps noticing that I was suffering a little from the cliched thoughts going through my head, the young officer decided to take the weight off my mind and run out a few for himself. As he was searching me (very thorough, though not as intimate as I was hoping), he basically told me that if I co-operated and just told him where the weed was, this would all go very smoothly for me, but if I gave him a hard time and made him actually work for it, my night was going to be over. I held out for a couple of minutes, but as soon as they requested backup in the form of a couple of female officers to search my female passengers and a gosh darn, full fledged dog unit, I decided it was probably best to come clean. I handed it over, and the dog unit and backup duly arrived to search my companions and car.
I was put in the back of the police car, and told I was being given a “Cannabis Street Caution”. Now, this was pretty impressive – I like that they throw in the word “Street” there. It makes it sound cool and edgy. But this is the confusing part – they told me I was under arrest, read my rights etc, but I was merely getting this caution. So basically, I was under arrest for about half an hour while they filled out some forms, which were delivered by yet another officer in the fourth police car of the night, which I now fondly refer to as the “Forms-mobile”. They asked me a bunch of not-very-thorough questions, and transcribed every single word of my answers. This was one of the cooler parts – I noticed they were doing this, so rather than saying “yes” every time, I mixed it up a bit to make it exciting for them. I broke out “Indeed”, “I understand” and “very much so”.
All things considered, they were actually pretty cool about the whole thing, and they completely upheld their end of the deal, which I didn’t expect. They did spell out exactly how it would have gone down had I not cooperated – night in the cells, blood test, followed by court appearance and loss of driving license. Dude even pulled my trousers up for me while he was searching me, though I did have to point out that he was the reason for them nearly falling down. A few cliches later (“Needless to say, we’re not going to give you your drugs back” and “so, this is what ‘no cannabis’ looks like”) and after being forced to sit there and listen to them chat about how they were lucky to be “back on their patch” and not have to “go back into town” (this was the only slightly unsettling part – they were vocally really pleased that they were dealing with me rather than stopping people being knifed and bottled in the town centre) and I was free to go.
Five officers, four cars, two dogs, one bag of weed. Result!
Now something about A TV SHOW – if you don’t watch LOST, you’re insane.