Philip K. Dick

My favourite Philip K. Dick story concerns the most powerful hallucinogenic trip he ever experienced. The man who would ingest enough Psilocybin on a schoolnight to convert a particularly boring documentary (for example, Alan Yentob's 2006 episode of "Imagine" entitled Sitting Comfortably examining the changing styles of the modern chair) into an encounter with the great bearded monitor lizard who watches over us all from his rainbow mind-bubble in second-space. The man who took his son to hospital to get him checked out because a 'pink beam' told him to. The man who, for a brief period in 1974, believed he was experiencing the life of a persecuted Christian in 1AD and the twentieth century was a lie conjured by a malevolent demon. This man's most vivid  and intense hallucinogenic experience was prompted by an overdose of vitamin C.

True, it was over 300 times the recommended daily dose but still - it's in oranges. Apparently Dick saw the entire course of human history flashing before his eyes including all artworks that were ever created by all the great masters as well as all of the artworks that they created in Universes tangential to our own. Dick saw all of this beauty and was overcome. His brain was flooded with all human knowledge - past and future - his soul a pebble dropped into a swirling system of rapids, beautiful and terrifying in its size and majesty.

Of course, he forgot it all when the experience ended and retained only echoes of what he witnessed. Infuriating shadows of something lost - like the USB cable from a broken iPod. But I still think it's worth mentioning. Even if it is a story I heard years ago from a source I can't remember and have told so many times it likely has as much truth in it as the bottom of a shot-glass.

Incidentally, I've been busy for the last two weeks doing really fun stuff so this picture is a four-year old jpeg scan I found during a panicky search through my hard-drive two hours ago. It was in a folder called "stuff from my old computer" inside another folder entitled "stuff from my old computer" and it serves as a depressing reminder of just how little progression I've made since I painted it.

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