The Long Strange Golden Road by Courtenay Pollock - The Persian Affair Final Chapter
I resided for another few days at the country residence under the care of Ardath. I gifted her family with what I had, which was not money, just my belongings - my hiking boots, my down jacket, gloves, whatever I had I gifted to the family because I was going back to the city. We went back to Tehran and I visited with Ali's mother. She seemed intoxicated and I realized that she had taken some of the LSD that I had distributed at the dinner. She was maintaining a certain sobriety but at the same time she was expressing her fears and her hopes and I realized that she was totally tripping. So I spent a few hours with her, calming her fears, bringing her down, making her feel comfortable about her perceptions.
Eventually, she was comfortable and Ali showed up and we went off to his apartments. We made a plan to go and meet up with the Grateful Dead in Europe. We had a week before we were due to rendezvous so Victoria and I flew to Geneva where her mother resided. She had a beautiful, grand apartment on the shores of Lake Geneva. My first impression upon entering her domicile was this massive, hand-woven Persian carpet. In today’s world, it would probably be a million dollars. There was Victoria’s 18-month old baby crawling around on the carpet. I was delighted to see how casually they treated these priceless possessions. I had a really good rapport with Victoria’s mother. She was delighted that Victoria was with a forward-thinking person and gave her blessing to our adventures henth forth. We made plans to meet up with the Grateful Dead band in Paris.
Leaving Geneva, we had made arrangements to visit with my family in London. My mother was living in Putney with a war veteran who had lost a lung during WW2, he was a hero. He drove a Munitions train, that was already on fire, out of a city in France to remove the train that was full of explosives. ON route out of the city, the train exploded. He survived but he suffered the loss of a lung. He was not a soldier, he just knew how to drive the train and here we are many years later, he is supporting my mother in Putney working as a librarian. My mother was working in social services evaluating handouts to the homeless.
As with all my girlfriends, my mother disliked Victoria on sight because nobody could be as good as her for her son. “But mother, I love her, she is a great joy in my life”.
“We went to visit my father in Buckinghamshire. By this time, he had remarried and had six more children. A delightful family. I remember his wife Sue, I met her before she had her first child, she was eighteen years old. A gorgeous blond blue-eyed Scandinavian woman that was barely a few years older than me. Sue and I got along famously. They were so gracious to host me and Victoria. We went out and found a ten-year-old Rolls Bentley that would be a really good ride around Europe. We went to Monte Carlo, myself, Victoria, Ali and Victoria’s sister Patricia. We went to one of the casinos and put a stake down on the roulette table and we dispersed around the table. We had this special energy between the four of us and Patricia was a game player. We directed her with our thoughts. Of course, she won and then she won again. And then she won again with her stakes becoming more serious. She won again. I was directing the scenario and then a beautiful concierge lady walked by me and dropped her handkerchief. Got my number! So, like the true gentlemen I was brought up to be I stepped out and picked up the handkerchief. She said “so sorry” and of course Patricia lost, lost that fortune. It broke the energy completely.
From there, we went to Paris to meet up with the Grateful Dead. It was the third to last show of the 1972 tour. We had guest seating on the balcony at the wonderful Paris show. Just before the show started a man came up from the aisle and said: “Excuse me, what are you doing here?” I said, “Well, I am the guest of the band and my guests are too”. He said, “I don’t know you”. I said, “Excuse me, but I don’t know you either”. He said, “I’ve been away for a year or two”. I am called The Bear, who are you? I said, “I am Courtenay, I do the tie-dyes. If you would like to, I will sit in the aisle and wait for you to verify who I am but please do not disturb my guests”. So five minutes later he returns with profuse apologies. He verified that I was part of the production and apologized for not knowing who I was because he had been away for a few years. He had been in prison doing time for LSD, a four-year sentence for LSD production. He had been the financier of the Grateful Dead.
And now he was liberated and free to express his creativity in any way that he chose.
He and I were destined to become the closest of friends.
The show was fantastic, I was totally attuned to the upcoming songs for each set and was able to name the next song coming up. We went backstage and we were all invited to an after gig party. We met in Grateful Dead’s party suite at our hotel.l. Ali and the two sisters Victoria and Patricia and Iwere the only guests for the after gig party. It was just the band and the top echelon of the stage management crew and everybody was delighted to play host to the exotic Persian beauties and my host Ali, who was an exquisite Persian gentleman.
There was another gig after Paris, it was in Lille in France. I drove in my Rolls Bentley with Ali and the Persian girls. The venue was a wonderful spot and I met up with the band with my Bentley parked alongside their trailers. We waited and waited. And nothing happened. And finally, Sam Cutler came up to me and he said “Courtenay, the equipment never arrived man, we gotta fucking cancel the gig. We gotta get you french speaking girl out there on the fucking stage and tell them it’s fucking all off, no fucking gig. So I asked Victoria to go on stage and make the announcement. “There will not be a show tonight, I am sorry, the equipment never arrived. You can get your refund tonight or catch up with the next gig.”
Victoria did a splendid job but she didn’t realize what a riot she was inducing. We went backstage and we ran for the cars. I got in my Bentley and we shot out before anybody else even had a chance to get there. We got out free and clear. Sam and company had to hire a helicopter. Thank god I got out first because my Bentley would have been a big mark for the mad Frenchies.
We met up in London for the last gig of the tour. We all booked into the same hotel as the band . Going on stage, Victoria and I went by kid Candelario. He said “You want some LSD? Wanna get high?” I said, “We are already high, what have you got?” He said, “I got some of Owsley’s special. I said, “Sure, load me up”. He gave me a squirt and I sucked it down, gave VIctoria a squirt too. We went backstage with everybody and within moments we were swimming in a virtual swamp, a cacophony of sound and fragmentation of light. We were blind to all senses. I found a little corner backstage that felt safe. We rode out the entire concert there in that condition .
Before the concert had finished, we surfaced enough to be functional and went to join the band back at the hotel. The craziest of nights. We were so far beyond coming down. We were running around completely crazy in the lobby at 5 in the morning. I had never been so f*ed up. But it was my responsibility to keep it together . We made it back to our room and after a couple of hours respite we were able to go to breakfast and gain some normality . We bid farewell to the band that day.
I sold the Bentley before returning to the United States and Victoria and I separated to pursue our own lives on different continents with the promise that we would meet up when I had found an appropriate house for us .
Subsequently, I rented David Crosby’s old house and thereby hangs a tale.
Another great chapter keep them coming Courtenay!
Enjoying your adventures Courtenay! These tales of ‘back in the day’ bring back tons of memories and I’m glad you’re sharing.
What a grate tale! I love how you write and hope these blog posts will become a book! Thank you for sharing your art and your memories. ⚡️❤️⚡️