Their trip to Amsterdam rekindled memories of my only visit there in 1979, as a twenty-one-year old. Accompanied by my best mate, Alwyn, my patchy recall of our long weekend is rather different and comprises some less refined moments, as two testosterone-drenched, unattached young men experienced what was then the sex-and-drugs capital of Europe.
- Attending a live sex show where the lady, kneeling on all fours, appeared bored and unforgiving while the poor bloke thrusting at her rear struggled to sustain an erection.
- Arriving back at our economy accommodation – the Magic Inn – at 4.00 am to find a bearded tramp in a stained raincoat asleep on my bed. Having lost the power of speech due to imbibing copious quantities of Heineken, I fumbled my way back to reception and tried, using a combination of grunts and hand signals, to explain to the young girl behind the desk about my unwanted room-mate. She sped upstairs and, seconds later, I heard her scream, ‘Dirck! How many times do I have to tell you – get the fuck out of here!’
- A 230-pound pimp in a three-piece pinstripe suit and tie encouraging us not to linger too long gawping at the red-light ladies in the windows. If I recall, his exact words were, ‘Move along or I’ll cut you into little pieces’.
- Participating – fully – in an ‘all-day booze cruise’ along the canals and, by the evening, engaging in some communal on-board sexual groping. I have little recollection of the nature of my playmates; I just hope they were human!
- Lounging in a city-centre café surrounded by hairy, sandal-clad hippies, all of whom were smoking reefers. As a lifelong non-smoker – not even tobacco – I did not join in, but recall the sweet, sickly smell that clung to me. In the aftermath, I suddenly realised that Alwyn was an alien who had been sent to planet earth on a mission to murder me.