A Burmese stupa was not exactly what i expected to find in Balingup. The small, close-knit town, nestled amongst the pine forests just north of the Blackwood River, is famous for two things.
Magic, and mushrooms.
I tell my friend Sarah i am going on an exploratory mission to Balingup, and will be staying with friends at a place called the Origins Centre, a study retreat which sounds very much like a hippy commune harbouring a hotbed of Trotskyist environmentalists and lesbians.
"Honey," Sarah says.
"Stop on the side of the road and buy some honey."
Why honey, i wonder?
"It's excellent for preserving mushrooms. And the golden tops are very hard to see once they are immersed in a tub of honey."
Its just tremendous to have friends who are so generous with their arcane knowledge. I scrawl 'honey' on my list, underneath the two words 'camera' and 'kaftan'.
My mission, should i choose to accept it, is to find some magic mushrooms. As it is illegal to harvest the psilocybe subaeruginosa, i realise that if i were to stumble across some, it would be best to immediately destroy the evidence by swallowing as many as possible. Last time i had golden tops was around 1993. Ah, those were the days. Before i met Mili X, back when i was still running Initiation Studio. I went on a few mushroom quests, the most successful of which was when Christina, Matt and i travelled south to meet up with Jack and her shaman boyfriend, who were at that time living in a teepee in Pinjarra. Jack, of course, was the sister of Puck, one of the presenters of the anarchistic radio show News From Nowhere, broadcasting on the university radio station. Jack once performed a miracle on me with an aura massage. She was a wonder.
But i digress.
Matt had a very large sword, which, for reasons of his own, he needed to dispose of somewhere in the south west. Something to do with Feng Shui, or karma - i didn't bother to ask. When somebody climbs into my car with a very large sword, i just assume they are a sushi chef.
The golden tops or subaeruginosa are not native to the region, and - as i found out on an earlier trip with a bunch of stoned musicians - you can't successfully find them merely by wandering the forests of Balingup and taking it in turns to ingest a selection of random fungi. While i hesitate to tell anybody what to do - proscription has never been my forte - i would not recommend this practice highly. I have since discovered a sure-fire way to identify something that looks like a golden top is to squeeze it. If it really is brain food it will turn blue. As it turns out, the mental morsels around Balingup are found only in areas where the spores have been dropped. They are, in other words, cultivated.
Quite apart from his skills as a swordsman, Matt also possessed an intimate knowledge of several magic mushroom locations. After finding and ingesting goldentops, Matt and Christina and i spent hours wandering the gentle slopes of the forest by a sparkling brook, where lichen grows on the south side of the trees, and the faeries speake in Vulcan.
But i digress.
I intend to travel up the highway with my friend, who for legal reasons must be known only as Alphonso, to meet up with another mysterious friend at the Origins Centre.
After a series of salacious and unsavoury comments were published about her on this very blog, this anonymous personage banned me from writing about her. Or about our meetings, which have now become, in effect, clandestine. Therefore, for reasons of privacy and social decorum, this person will henceforth be known only as Murgatroyd.
... to be continued
Friday, June 13, 2008
FEAR OF FUNGUS
Posted by Mark Roy