The following is an excerpt from Chapter Eight of “The Jason Zodiac Files”, Jamie Carter’s biography of Jason Zodiac.
October 1988, and it’s time for my first real rave, my first illegal warehouse party in the middle of nowhere. All in the cause of investigative journalism, you understand.
I pick Mandy up in my car and like she said, she’s brought along a couple of mates, a girl called Julie who’s like a blond version of Mandy and her boyfriend, a stoner called Pete. Pete gives me a sly grin as he gets in the car, and I wonder what Mandy told him about me. He’s got a sharp face with thinning dark hair and designer stubble. His clothes are all in shades of grey and dark green, maybe expensive stuff, but none of your Casuals Man at C & A bullshit.
We drive around the North Circular and the M25, heading for somewhere south of the Leatherhead turn-off. We’re looking for the designated meeting point printed on the party flyer – a strategic strong point when organizing raves. The only other things on the flyer are a psychedelic sunburst, a cell phone number and the name of the party – ‘QUASAR’.
The meeting point turns out to be an Esso service station, and there must have been hundreds of cars and about two thousand clubbers who’ve already turned up, waiting to place the phone call to the number on the flyer at nine o’clock, dancing in the forecourt to the pirate stations on car radios and blasting out whistles and air horns. I recognize the track: Joey Beltram, Energy Flash. The bad news is that PC Plod has also arrived. Over the year the Old Bill’s got more and more rave-savvy, but the cops are keeping a low profile at the moment, black Mariahs and jam sandwiches and lemon curd sandwiches back at the turn-off, keeping an watchful and disapproving eye on the ravers and muttering KKKKKHHH into the walkie-talkies every two minutes.
Off our heads in England’s green, pleasant and highly policed land.
Mandy and Julie get out of the car and dance in miniskirts and fluffy bras, shouting out random song lyrics, throwing around Milky Ways that they’ve pilfered from somewhere.
“I can taste something,” Mandy screams.
“Chocolate?” I call.
“No,” she calls back. “I can taste the electricity.”
Inside my car, Pete produces a bag of Es and we sort out payment. I roll up a spliff and after Pete’s had a toke he says to me, “So … where do you think Acid House started, then?”
“Chicago, wasn’t it? No, hang on … Ibiza. No, Manchester.”
Pete shakes his head and gives me a knowing wink. “No, mate. It started a couple of years ago, in Northampton. It was an experiment. All Jason Zodiac’s idea.”
I laughed, blowing out a cloud of fragrant smoke. “Jason Zodiac? Jason’s a recluse. He’s in the John Lennon stage of his career, but with no sign of a Double Fantasy on the horizon yet.”
“Guess again. The New Acid Test, he calls it. The Eighties Acid Redemption. I seen it, man, I was standing on the Racecourse with a few mates when Jason did it. It’s real. The door of the sun, man. Jason’s gonna open the door of the sun.”
I pull on the spliff and try to make sense of what he’s telling me. “So why didn’t NME hear about this?”
“Because they don’t want you to know about it, man.”
I can’t think of a reply to that.
“I’m writing an article, man. Gonna tell the whole story.” He stares at me, eyes narrowed. “You reckon NME might be interested?”
I shrug. “I’ll do what I can, mate. Put in a word for you.”
He leans over and holds up a clenched fist and I sit there for a few seconds until I realize he expects me to touch fists with him. So I do.
A massive scream goes up from outside. “It’s on!” yells Mandy. “Start the car!”
The convoy hits the country roads, with ravers standing up in their open-top cars shouting Aceeeeeeeeed! and flashing blue lights somewhere behind us. I’m driving, following the BMWs in front, and Mandy’s giving directions and Pete’s stopped being mysterious and started snogging Julie.
About five miles from the Esso station, the convoy pulls off the main road and through an open pair of gates. I drive us through a labyrinth of dark hulks of buildings until we reach the loading bay, converted into the party’s entrance. Five police vans turn up at the same time. We park where everyone else is parking, start walking, and then the security guys by the door yell at us to get inside the warehouse as quick as we can. We don’t need to be told twice.
Light pours out of the windows, turning the warehouse into a fairy cathedral. Beats are pounding, making my sternum vibrate in sympathy.
Here be treasure. X marks the spot.
JASON ZODIAC AND THE T-SERVICE:
“THE CAMELOT RUN”
by PETE KORNER
and MICHAEL SHENLEY
first broadcast – 13th March 1968.
SCENE 14 EXT
Ariel shot of the rally cars racing along the cliffside roads of Padstow, south west Cornwall, with the sea raging beneath the steep drop to the rocks. Groovy trumpet and Hammond organ music plays on the soundtrack. MAN-SNAKE is in the lead, followed by TANGERINE and SMITH.
TANGERINE’S Car – Interior.
TANGERINE: The Padstow cliffs – our second test.
ARTHUR: Our third test will be that driver up ahead. I fully intend to win this treasure hunt, my dear, and it seems Mr. Korvik is the only driver faster than us.
SMITH’S car – interior. JEREMY has his head out of the side window and is squinting through his glasses.
JEREMY: Beautiful car …
SMITH: Which one?
JEREMY: Mr. Korvik’s car, in the lead. 1963 XKE hard-top Jaguar convertible. Funny thing, though, the hood ornament is the wrong one. It’s from a much newer model … a 1966 S Type Sedan, I think.
SMITH: I’m so glad you told me that.
JEREMY: But why would he put the wrong ornament on his own Jaguar?
SMITH: When we catch up with him, you can ask him.
TANGERINE’S CAR – INT.
TANGERINE: What are you doing?
ARTHUR: We’ll cut the curve as close as we can.
TANGERINE: Do you think that’s wise? We’re going too fast! You’ll have to slow down for the curve.
ARTHUR: What, and lose our chance of winning? Never! This is the kind of excitement that makes the boredom of being a multi-millionaire tolerable.
TANGERINE: (with heavy sarcasm) Oh, poor you.
They race around the curve safely with a spray of gravel and a screeching of brakes.
SMITH’S car – int.
JEREMY: Looks like your lady friend is round the bend.
SMITH: I keep telling her that.
TANGERINE’S car is pulling up closer to MAN-SNAKE, so he puts on a burst of speed as he approaches the curve.
SMITH’S car – int.
JEREMY: Jumping jalopies! He has to slow down!
The Jaguar doesn’t turn but crashes straight through the safety railings, and launches itself into the air. The camera follows its plunge down to the rocks below, where it explodes.
They all stop their cars, get out and run to the hole in the railing. They stand looking down at the smoking wreck at the bottom of the cliff.
ARTHUR: Oh, bad luck.
TANGERINE: Is that all you can say? A man’s been killed! We’ll have to call off the race.
SMITH: Somehow, I don’t think that’s in Trask’s plan.
ARTHUR: Absolutely. We have a clear lead now – and I intend to keep it!
ARTHUR turns and strides back to his car. The other three whisper together in a huddled group.
SMITH: Jeremy, do you think it was brake failure?
JEREMY: No. All the cars were checked by experienced mechanics before the race. And anyway, I’ve never seen brakes fail as catastrophically as that.
SMITH: So it’s sabotage … this race is getting serious. Someone is prepared to kill to get their hands on the treasure, and there’s another player in this game besides us and the Church.
JEREMY: What Church?
SMITH: I’ll explain later.
TANGERINE: But what is the treasure? What’s all this about?
SMITH: I think it’s time we found out. Let’s call Jason on the walkie-talkie and see where he’s got to.
TANGERINE: With that dolly bird in his car, I dread to think.
They walk back to their cars. Music fades in.
TO BE CONTINUED …