The Olympic Comedown
Sydneysider Jasper Clifford-Smith compares watching the Olympics to taking acid. Lots of acid:
Years and years ago when I was younger and looser I was playing at this music festival. This particular festival went for four days and I had never been to a festival for that amount of time. We arrived on the Thursday afternoon after a cunt of a mission trying to get our van into the grounds, packed all our gear away, sat around for a bit and then walked into the festival. As it was only a Thursday night and there was not much going on we decided to eat a couple of pingers and dance for a while. After smoking and drinking ourselves to sleep that night we were up by noon the next day where we felt extremely worse for wear. I managed to down a banana smoothie and get myself and the rest of my band to the stage we were supposed to play at 2pm. The weather was lovely and the set went ok. As soon as I got off stage someone, I can’t remember who exactly, put a microdot in my mouth. That took about 45 minutes to kick in. I walked around meeting people, watching bands and smoking copious amounts of weed. I believe the last band on at the end of the day was The Brian Jonestown Massacre and by the time they came on stage I was into my fourth tab of acid. Things were no longer real. All I could see was strobey hallucinations. The night ended with me alone in my tent trying to ‘tap into’ my friends’ emotional psyches and yelling ‘I WANT TO BE A PSYCHOLOGIST! I WANT TO BE A PSYCHOLOGIST!’ at no one in particular. Saturday was spent in recovery. I spent most of it walking around in a kaftan smoking weed or laying on my back in the Hawkesbury River, stoned beyond comprehension. By 8pm I was in bed. I woke up the next day, a shell of my former self, shattered at the fact I had taken more drugs in the previous few days than I had in the six months leading up to it. I just wanted to go home. One of my then bandmates had fallen in love with someone at the festival and wanted to stay. I didn’t give a fuck. We left. I got back to Sydney and the next day I decided to go on the straight and narrow. I applied for jobs and by Tuesday I was working for Google, never to play at a music festival ever again.
I had a very similar experience with London 2012. I went so hard. Too hard. Pulling all nighters. I’d watch it at work. Ignore friends and family. It was too much. That first week-and-a-bit was just crazy. Considering I don’t even watch gymnastics and diving apart from during the Olympics, they became the most important things to me. It really doesn’t make sense. I got caught up in the fever and my life suffered accordingly. Staying up until 7am on black coffee to watch a European handball match is just as harmful for your mental health than staying up until 7am doing acid. At least when you stay up all night on psychedelics you can realise things, appreciate art and music in a different way and have amazing sex. If you are sitting in a dark room watching rowing at 5am you are just a fiend. A fiend with an addiction that offers you nothing but occasional stabs of glory, frequent anger and a fucked up body clock.
The best thing about an Olympics bender is, even if you don’t get sick of it before it’s over, it does end. You run no risk of going through the looking glass, leaving your friends and family and moving to a tree house somewhere in North Queensland where you and fourteen dirty hippies hang out and watch the Olympics all the time. That doesn’t happen. Nine days into these games I was pretty much over it. The thrill was gone. A few nights ago I was flicking through the eight dedicated Olympic channels they had on Foxtel and found that there was nothing I was interested in watching. I couldn’t give a fuck about sailing, table tennis or weightlifting. I watched a double episode of Law and Order instead. It was great.
These Olympics have provided me with moments of glory and jubilation, which I think I will remember forever. Mo Farah and Usain Bolt on the track were phenomenal. I loved the gymnastics. The triathlon was great. The opening ceremony was probably my main highlight. It got me into these games and kept me there for a good week-and-a-half.
But that’s the thing. I simply stopped watching. Life got in the way. I had to start thinking about being a respectable human again. Instead of the realization that I had to stop eating stupid amounts of acid and get a square job, it was more that I had to stop watching sport until 7am and get a good night’s sleep.
I didn’t even watch the closing ceremony. I couldn’t give a fuck.