A: It must have been around 2001 when horror movies ceased to cause any particular perturbation or 'heebie-jeebie' rattling night time sweats in me, before this I found no better way to make myself feel prickly than to scare the living DNA right out of my body with a fright film. Then I saw 'Threads', a British movie about the effects of the Cold War, a 'what if...' scenario made for television in the mid-eighties and it terrified me so much I genuinely believe that it altered the already fragile settings of my encephalon and mind and re-wired my tunings so that true 'horror' movies no longer had any effect. Previously had I watched, let's say, 'Ghostwatch' at midnight in bed and then realised I was in the need for bathroom refreshment I would have probably rather lay in my own urine all night rather than experience the frightful journey in the dark to the toilet. After 'Threads' the only thing I was scared of was a fucking atom bomb tearing through my house and making my face melt off.
B: Sometimes boys talk about something so much that they begin to actually believe that the utter nonsense they are speaking is in fact the most perfect idea ever formulated.
Whilst traveling with the other three of Televised Crimewave we hit upon the topic of cause and effect, specifically how one small action, as tiny as it may be, could change a persons life within a blink of an eye from what it is now to something almost unidentifiable. As four boys together we quite inevitably decided that such a course of action might be a desirable change from the norm.
After ten minutes chat of why killing someone may not be the best idea we've ever come up with and whittling it down to either chopping someones hand off or standing completely naked in a pitch black room together with a strobe light, we decided that we just wanted to find our limit of absolute terror and push ourselves over the edge.
Please keep reading, I know how all this sounds, we sound like idiots. Bored idiots. But we're not really. I'd like to say we are explorers of the darkest corners of the mind, but that makes us sound like Goths and we all know Goths are the most deplorable bottom feeders of all sub-cultures. Apart from maybe Levellers fans.
So anyway, what did we decide? What could we possibly do to make our brains feel like they're going to shut down and leave us like gibbering wrecks?
Yes, camping; an activity that is enjoyed worldwide by fathers and sons, friends, music lovers, fishermen, trappers, poachers, the scouts and people who can't afford a proper holiday. Sounds lovely doesn't it?
Well our trip wont be.
We're going to a place near Stevenage that sounds so scary I nearly had a conniption fit in the car just talking about it. It's near a massive lake which is surrounded by an exceptionally large and dense forest and along with this it houses a mental asylum on it's grounds.
Yes, a mental asylum.
Where real mental people live.
Rob said they found patients at the bottom of the lake. He might be lying but I hope he isn't.
The following is our camping list, note that every item has been selected carefully and with good reason.
(Disclaimer: We are not Goths we are pop stars.)
1: Single man tents x 4
2: Bottle of whisky x 1
3: Cans of imported lager x 12
4: Brass hand bell x 1
5: Ouija board x 1
6: Book of spells
7: Sandwiches (lots of)
9: Mobile phone with brand new sim card x 1
10: Digital camera x 1
12: Plastic bottle containing fox / cat blood x 1
To make sure that the excursion doesn't spiral into a farcical teen movie in the vein of 'Up The Creek', a coming of age weepy like 'Stand by Me' or anal rape a'la 'Deliverance' we have devised a simple plan that should be stuck to.
If adhered to the following set of rules will provide maximum terror and minimum safety.
There must be only the four members of Televised Crimewave. Initially I thought it may be fun to bring one of our indie superstar friends such as Ryan Jarman of The Cribs, Eddie Argos of Art Brut or Nick Hodgson of Kaiser Chiefs. They were ruled out for several reasons, they aren't in our band, Ryan certainly doesn't own clothing that will keep him virginal from the night time elements, there wont be enough booze for Eddie and Nick would probably be more scared of the Ouija Board than Rob.
Plus they're all too busy being famous and popular.
The team of brave souls has to be driven there by Rob's Dad (Big Rob) so that the group can't shit themselves at night and drive home.
Arrival time at the scary forest should be no later than 1pm (the group is to spend 24 hours) and upon finding a clearing close to the lake but not too far away from the mental home the tents should be erected thus:
Each one man tent (chosen for the simple fact that being in a tent on your own in the middle of nowhere proper puts the willy's up you) should be constructed and placed at least 15 foot from the other, giving the impression of loneliness come nightfall, whether they are in a line or facing each other is left to the groups discretion.
Each man is to then consume a sandwich.
A small recce of the area is to be mapped out noting the distance from the lake, blood curdling screams from the mad house and any creepy tree stumps that might look like vampires or nutters when it's dark.
Fire wood should be gathered in abundance and placed in a pile near the tents, conversation at this point should turn to bravery and the fearless nature of each person. Anything that can be hacked at with the machete should be (evidence of machete heroism is to be captured on camera)
At 4:30 pm a pentangle should be made with sticks near the fire wood and tents (Batneck ©).
Each man is then to consume a sandwich.
As dusk falls the mobile phone should be switched on. The use of a fresh sim card is required as no one should know this number; ergo no bother from outsiders yet we should still be able to ring the police if a real life mad fucker tries to get us.
The Ouija board is to be unpacked and placed in the center of the pentagram, in turn the brass bell should be placed onto the Ouija. Thelemic rule suggests that a blessed ring of salt should be placed around each user so as to protect them from any evil spirit conjured, but it's still light so fuck that.
Each man is then to consume a sandwich.
Once the evening is upon the group and night has truly begun (I don't know, about half six? Surely it'll be a bit dark then) the fire should be lit and sat around. Each member may drink as many of their 3 cans of lager as they like and now has a personal choice as to whether they have another sandwich. Talk at this time must turn to the paranormal, the extraterrestrial, the unexplained, urban legends, terror movies or all five. The lager has been bought in such small supply so that whilst it gives the fearless explorers mild dutch courage it doesn't make them pass out shit faced with absolutely no care whatsoever for fright. Once the lager has worked it's way through to the bladder and mecturation is imminent each person must do their liquid business on their own and in the opposite direction to the rest of the team. They are not allowed to take the bell, the phone or the machete but may take the book of spells if they actually think it'll make a fucking difference. Oh and at some point one of the team has to go and piss in the lake on their own, that'll be dead fucking scary!
Whilst still around the fire the team are allowed to open the whisky and swig at will, but always in turn. It's no good if one person is sat there shivering with fright whilst everyone else is spangled out their box running around with a machete throwing the fox / cat blood everywhere.
Speaking of the blood, it's time to use it.
By now it should be about half past ten and everyone should be scared but mildly drunk and full of adventure, so the best thing to do is get the bottle of animal blood and place it on the Ouija board. Essentially what is happening is a game of spin the bottle but in this horror version if it lands on yourself you are required to read a spell from the magic book. Don't bring a magic book for kids with Paul fucking Daniels on it, no one wants to see a coin disappear or a floating tea towel, bring one that has a picture of Satan on the front or written in Latin or was found in a grave or something. The older the better and if the cover is made out of human skin you are a double hard bastard.
The bottle has blood in it because blood is scary and it's animal blood so it's probably full of disease which opens up a new genre to the trip; zombies and mutating infections.
You have to read out the spell in a scary voice, not a funny scary voice like Marty Feldman or a mong, but as though you actually want Lucifer to appear and slap you on the head.
Each man is then to consume a sandwich.
Everything should be documented on the camera especially the above and next part. Sometimes ghosts and horrible things liked fucked up, twisted faces and gnarled babies only show up on cameras and if you can keep checking a digital camera right there and then it'll fuck you up massively. Which, obviously is what we want.
Keep drinking the whisky, keep pissing on your own, keep photographing, keep eating sandwiches and keep an eye on the machete.
At this point you have a choice, either go and throw stones at the asylum windows or go for a swim in the lake.
At midnight the valiant troupe should pour each other salt circles around the Ouija board and bless them for protection. Thing is by the time you read this bit you will already be there and have realised I haven't written 'Salt Shaker x 1' on the list above, plus non of us are priests so trying to bless something will just be us talking shite to a pile of salt. Neither is there a torch listed above. Never the less, sit around the Ouija.
(Disclaimer: Ouija boards are incredibly dangerous and fucking unbelievably shit-your-pants scary, so don't go fucking around with one. We're doing it because we are utter morons and have a machete NB. Buy machete off ebay)
Place your finger tips upon the brass bell and relax.
Ask if their are any spirits whom would like to make contact. Once you have established a spirit take it in turns to ask the astral being questions, scary or pleasant questions depending on your mood.
Be aware that evil spirits may take the guise of long gone relatives or friends and follow you home.
Use the talky board and drink the whisky until you are so frightened that you think your veins might explode with pressure. Everything in the dark should now resemble something horrifying and essentially you will have opened a portal to another dimension with the Ouija.
Once everyone is tired place the bell in the centre of the Ouija, extinguish the fire and go to your respective tent, on your own, in silence.
Proceed to spend the next seven hours scared out of your fucking mind, holding your wee in until you get an ulcer and more than likely crying.
If you hear the bell ring in the night it is probably best to kill yourself rather than let what is out there get you.
Happy camping wimps!