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EEL PIE DHARMA - a memoir / haibun -  © 1990 Chris Faiers



Chapter 8 - More Eel Piers

The crumbling hotel, where the Rolling Stones had played some of their first gigs, attracted more and more people.  Prophet Chris was a bearded, balding, scrawny ex-psychology student from a major English university. He was in his mid twenties, which at the time seemed old, especially as his roomate was Sean, an immature nineteen-year-old from the L'Auberge scene.

Two Scandinavian women in their early twenties joined us.  They had been "au pair girls", a euphemism for domestic slaves.  They had tired of working for demanding upper-class Brits and had run away from their assignments to the hotel.  Heloise was dark and plumpish, and she spent a lot of time sewing her clothes and those of her friend Britt.  Britt was blonde and thin and quite attractve.

Eventually the immigration authorities tracked them down, and to avoid deportation they decided to marry two of the Eel Pie men.  We had a true hippie wedding, with a motley crew of twenty-five or so Eel Piers present at the registry office for a double wedding.  We were all stoned as usual, and I ran out to an off-licence and bought some bottles of cheap wine.

One of the American "hippie tourists", Margaret, took up housekeeping with Don, who was rumoured to have been a semi-pro soccer player.  They spent most of their days in bed, although Don took to going to the local library, where he spent hours pouring over philosophy texts to dispel his jock image.

Roy was a broken-toothed Cockney, from the docks of London's tough East End.  He had long, dirty blond hair cut in a raggedy page boy haircut.  He had been the original bass player with the seminal rock band, Savoy Brown.  As the band had become more sophisticated they had let him go.

Gurdjieff Dave was a mystery man of working class origins.  He was in his early thirties, and had lived a life on the road for many years.  He was self-educated, and supposedly highly intelligent.  None of us saw much of him at first, as he spent his days sleeping in a dirty nest of blankets and his nights reading until dawn in esoteric texts on magic, psychology, and philosophy.  He turned out to be a bit of a power tripper, sort of a nonviolent Charles Manson, and the commune split into those who considered him an inspired genius and leader, and those who thought him a dirty, unkempt nuisance.

People kept drifting in from all over the world.  Two brothers, Odd Job and Little Brother, came all the way from Australia. Odd Job was built like a fire hydrant, and had supposedly been a biker in the Australian Hell's Angels.  Little Brother was his younger brother, a mischievous sixteen-year-old who at least managed to keep a small motorbyke running, unlike his transportless brother.  Odd Job's girlfriend also moved in.  Mouse was a typical biker chick, and as nondescript as her name.

Colin also arrived from Australia. He had a young daughter, Melissa, about five years old.  Colin looked like an aging surfer, and he gave off an air of perpetual amazement at the goings-on in the hotel.  Some people would always retain an air of "straightness" about them, and Colin was a good example.

Christos arrived one evening, all curly freaked-out hair and handsome dark Spanish looks.  He had left Spain to avoid their military draft, and it was humourous to hear his attempts at English which became even more fractured with his increased dope smoking.  He soon took up with a gorgeous dark English girl, and eventually they got married.

There were only a limited number of rooms, and soon people began sharing the tiny quarters.  Many were traditional male-female couples, but others were very odd matches.  Billy was an easy-going waiter from L'Auberge.  His roommate was Scotch John, a tough former construction foreman from the roughest part of Glasgow.  Most of us waited for Scotch John to pummel Billy, as we often heard him swearing at him in his tough brogue, but somehow peace and goodwill prevailed, and they shared a room for years.

Through thin walls
    radio blaring
        "It's All Right Now"




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