I took drugs recently and colours danced on the insides of my eyelids | Adrian Chiles

I’ve only had two encounters with cannabis, and both left me feeling so unwell that I’ll never repeat the experience

One of the things I’ve heard about music festivals is that a lot of drugs are taken. That’s something else I’m useless at. My drug-taking career began at a community centre disco when I was about 15. I had drunk a load of homebrew beforehand – and then someone gave me some pot. I felt quite unwell. To address this, I decided to go and have a headbang to Deep Purple. Scenes as ghastly as they were predictable ensued. The mere smell of pot still makes me gag, as my fellow headbangers and I were retching on that awful night.

Fast forward almost 40 years to March this year, and we get to my second – and emphatically last ever – encounter with cannabis. I was in a hotel bar in Manchester having fallen into conversation with quite a famous actor. After a while, she said to me: “Come out for some spliff.” Next thing, I’m sitting outside, pulling on a joint the size of a fencepost. I felt a bit funny at first, and then decidedly peculiar. She soon went inside, possibly because I had completely stopped speaking. As well as losing the power of speech, it turned out that my motor functions had all but deserted me, too. And I was overwhelmed with nausea.

Eventually, I managed to stand up and execute a kind of grandpa shuffle back into the hotel lobby, and make my way past pitying eyes to the lift and my room. I felt utterly awful. I contemplated a quick headbang to expunge it from my system, but thought better of it. I lay on the floor, which seemed to be the thing moving least, and shut my eyes. A very vivid array of colours danced on the inside of my eyelids.

I slept the best sleep I have slept in ages that night. But I am still not touching the stuff again.

• Adrian Chiles is a broadcaster, writer and Guardian columnist


Adrian Chiles

The GuardianTramp

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