Your guide to a safe acid trip
LSD is enjoying a renaissance period right now – here’s our highway code helping you navigate the intricacies of hallucinogenics
We have partnered with The Global Drug Survey, the world’s largest of its kind, and the results of which are used to influence government drug policy. Last year, 100,000 people took the survey, with their invaluable insight into drug habits proving influential on a worldwide scale. Look out for editorial over the next month and tell us how you do drugs, who with, where and why. Take the survey here.
Just like an alcoholic remembers his first drink, my first dose of information on the classic psychedelic LSD-25 remains clear in my mind, despite having been administered over half a lifetime ago. I was 11, and a former heroin addict was explaining to a packed school hall that his permanent limp came from jumping out of a window at a party on acid. Towards the end, he asked which drug we were now most afraid of trying, and although we’d mostly been subjected to the horrors of poverty-stricken heroin dependency, to me the answer was clear – LSD. Why?
I was blown away by the thought of “seeing things that aren’t there” and the total destruction of objective reality that hallucinations seemed to represent. In hindsight, it was the first sign that something in me was powerfully drawn to these experiences. A couple of trips produced real hardships in my inner life for a time, others are truly some of the best days or nights I’ve ever spent. I’d argue that none really represented the “escape from reality” that detractors scornfully dismiss.
These days we’re a long way from “just say no”, with harm reduction being given greater weight. As this year’s Global Drug Survey illustrates, LSD’s popularity is booming – possibly due to the emergence of the darknet – and its “highway code” is focused on providing would-be users with recommendations for using it safely, as suggested by the users who responded. Every one of the eleven points is helpful, and each is accompanied by a figure indicating the percentage of users who follow their own advice, as well as the perceived impact on pleasure. It’s interesting to note that, for psychedelics, there’s a far higher percentage adhering to the guidelines and a generally lower-resulting impact on enjoyment than for other drug groups.
The problem with taking these guidelines from a survey is that they are unavoidably general, and tend to focus on the circumstances of tripping rather than the nature of the experience itself . So, some of the advice that follows is life-learned advice on how to have a good time tripping and how to avoid the things that may “fuck you up”.
KNOW YOUR PLACE
“Set and Setting” are watchwords popularised by the first wave of acid counter-culture – be in a decent frame of mind and a suitably conducive location. You won’t find a head who disagrees, but what constitutes a “suitable” place is very open to interpretation. The great thing about modern methods of drug acquisition is that you don’t have to go to a psytrance event to pick up some acid, so I’d skip clubbing at least for the first few times – but if you feel comfortable then you can enjoy tripping in places that really no responsible guide would recommend. My favourite “inappropriate setting” comes from a group of friends who took it on holiday in Eastern Europe; they ended up jumping on buses simply because they had the same numbers as ones they used to take to school in the UK.
Outside in nature is a favourite for many people, preferably camping so you can set aside a full day for the trip and don’t get bogged down in the logistics of travelling. For me, there’s nothing better than an already beautiful vista undulating with the cartoonish welcome of a medium dose of acid. Hikers are unlikely to find much unusual about people just laughing and looking at the scenery, so forget the suspicion that everyone can tell you’re tripping and soak it up. Sometimes the challenge of holding it together around sober people can be fun, but it’s worth having an escape route if you start feeling uncomfortable – breaking into uncontrollable giggles at the bar of a countryside pub is liberating until a gang of pissed post-rugby meatheads piles in.
When prioritising safety and control something of a bunker mentality can set in, but I’ve had trips in my living room far harder to balance than ones in the great outdoors. One of the classic hurdles to an enjoyable experience is the thought loop, an inability to move away from some internal discomfort that has started to niggle. In many ways it’s akin to getting on the bus and wondering if you’ve locked your front door, but since acid is such a psychological magnifier it can be much harder to disperse, and the unlocked door in this case might be some unpleasant memory or current insecurity that becomes a heavy and unavoidable distraction.
The crucial thing is to move on, and that often requires literally moving and finding a new stimulus to engage with. The outdoors is full of new things, your flat is full of shit you look at every day, sometimes with mixed connotations. If you are going to be indoors, be mindful of this need to have new scenes to move into – set up different rooms if possible, if not then have some lights, drawing materials, instruments maybe, something physical to do. Run a bath like an adult. Make a den like a kid. Crucial thing is, recognise you need a break from the current feeling. It’s hard to leave the loop, but in 5 minutes when you’re delightedly stroking a fuzzy blanket, you’ll be glad you did.
WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE
Some moments of a trip can be wonderfully serene, others hysterical. Language acquires the kind of creative potency that weed used to give you in your teens, before over-smoking and increasingly strong skunk sent that all down the shitter. Describing scenes to each other can change or consolidate group hallucinations, the banal can become mind-blowingly profound, riffs on a joke re-emerge at unexpected times and angles.
Occasionally, things can acquire a manic tinge. Your words run away from you, carrying unintended resonances that send you tumbling into apologies and intended clarifications, taking you away from the present and into your head. It’s the thought loop out loud, a communication jam that can cut you off from your fellow wanderers quicker than you can say “never mind, sorry, am I being mad? Sorry if I’m being mad” ad infinitum. It’s why I often don’t like talking too much during peak – clear and meaningful thoughts somehow don’t make it out of your mouth alive, and the spell is broken. Catch it, breathe, and let go.
Conversely, if someone you’re with dives into the muddle puddle, for the love of an-unnameable-cosmic-order don’t start trying to psychoanalyse them. Yes, psychedelics have a promising future in different types of therapy, but they’re not best applied by spangled, untrained you in the middle of a field while your friend is vulnerable. Take some tender actions to redirect their attention and reinforce a good group dynamic.
My partner and I have developed a kind of safe word for when we think things might be about to go astray – if one of us feels it coming on, we might try and imagine something we can see having a similarly rough time. It might be a rock that’s lost its mates, a tree that looks like it’s shit itself, a sheep that wonders if it likes grass, or just likes the idea of liking grass. A little bit of effort and balance can be restored in no time.
MIND YOUR HEAD
If you’ve been paying attention to the “set” part of set and setting, you should know not to be diving in while in the grip of any serious issues. A bit of existential boredom is fine, fertile ground even, but your self-esteem and relationships with other voyagers should be in decent shape. Beyond this hopefully common sense advice, there are other ways to ensure that your mind is in a suitably receptive, uncluttered state. Be well rested. Plan so that you won’t need to be around screens too much – make a playlist or you’ll be dragged into the internet, bring a camera so you’re not tempted to use your phone. Texts, social media, your usual websites, it kills it. You don’t have to meditate for hours in silence beforehand unless you really want to, but you don’t want to remember that dreadful assignment or work email as you’re coming up either, so get that out of the way the day before.
For me, the big insights LSD is famed for don’t need to be hunted down in the heat of a trip. Sure, sometimes a realisation will just hit you, but often they unfurl in their own time. In fact, although it’s physically gone from your system pretty quickly, I find that acid somehow hangs around, bending my thinking for a week or so – this is the time to take something from it that you can apply to straight life, what people call integrating the experience. How you do that is up to you – writing it up can be a good way to get started thinking on it, drawing is popular too – but it’s worth reflecting. Not only does it help fix the memories in your head, it gives them lasting meaning and value, and a respect for the substance is cultivated that quells the temptation to dive back in every weekend. Sure, the risks of acid have really been oversold in the past, but doing it all the time still isn’t a good idea – at best, you’ll just get bored of tripping. Keep it infrequent and consequently, special.
LSD is enjoying a renaissance period right now – here’s our highway code helping you navigate the intricacies of hallucinogenics
Leeds-List: The Best & Most Insightful Guide to Leeds
25 Brilliant Indoor Activities for Kids in Leeds
1 August 2019 · Joseph Sheerin · Culture
From freejumping to pottery making, there are loads of indoor activities to enjoy with the kids in Leeds.
Make the most of those rainy days and treat the kids to some of the best indoor activities in Leeds.
Leeds is no stranger to bad weather, but what do you do when the rain is pouring and you’ve got little ones to entertain? Thankfully, our city has loads of indoor activities that will get the kids out of the house, and most importantly, keep the boredom at bay. So whether they’re budding skateboarders, climbers or jumpers, you’ll find plenty of things to do with the kids next time you’re looking for some inspiration.
LS-Ten Skate Park
If you’ve got kids who adore extreme sports, there’s only one place to visit on rainy days in Leeds. LS-TEN is a utopia whether you’re on board, bike or blades, with four different areas. Big Street features driveways, flat banks, and quarter pipes, while Easy Street is designed for all skill-sets. There’s The Pool, perfect for dipping into and showing off tricks, and the Spine and Bowl, ideal for momentum-building. Adult membership costs £35, under 18’s membership costs £25 and they offer a host of family membership packages too – they will get you discount on their sessions which start at £7.50.
LS-Ten Skate Park, Kitson Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1NT.
Clubbing isn’t always an option for parents, but what if you can take your kids along with you? That’s exactly what Raver Tots offers. They come to The Warehouse every few months to put on a family-friendly afternoon rave. For each event, they pick an era or style of dance music, from acid house to 90s classics, and while you relive the good ol’ days as top class DJs spin tunes, the kids get to dance around, play dress up, wave glowsticks and take part in craft workshops.
Raver Tots events take place at The Warehouse, 19-21 Somers Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2RG.
As soft play centres go, Jungle Kids in Armley have got it covered. The kids have plenty of things to do as they go on their own little adventure, exploring their way through crawl tubes, cargo nets, slides and dizzy discs. There are also areas specifically for younger children, featuring a kiddie kart track and a ball pool, while grown-ups can have a rest in their 130-seater cafe. Entry is a fiver for adults and big kids, £4 for kids aged between 2 and 4 and £2 for kids under 2.
Jungle Kids, 12 Whingate, Armley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS12 3BL.
If your little ones love video games, Arcade Club is gaming heaven. Pay them a visit on Saturdays and Sundays where you can explore their three floors, each one jam-packed with old school arcade machines that feature some of the most popular games of all time. We’re talking Pac-Man, Space Invaders and Donkey Kong. They even have all the modern consoles too if you want to play on more familiar games.
Arcade Club, Unit 3, Abbey Retail Park, Savins Mill Way, Kirkstall, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS5 3RP.
Thackray Medical Museum
Credit: Danny Hirst
If the kids love a bit of goo and gore, Thackray Medical Museum is a great way to spend the day. They take you right back to Victorian England where you can meet a quack doctor and walk down a replica of Leeds’ slums before you learn about modern medicine and how it’s all changed due to the wars of the 21st century. You can even get hands on at one of their dissection workshops which are not for the faint-hearted.
Thackray Medical Museum, 141 Beckett Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS9 7LN. The museum is temporarily closed until late June 2020 for refurbishment but is still hosting events throughout this period.
TeamSport is the ultimate go-karting experience in Leeds and it’s one of the best indoor activities for the whole family. Race around their 580-metre track which features 12 corners, with kids karts for children aged 8 to 12 or adult karts for anyone over 13. You can book on their Open Timed Race Sessions from £20 per person and their Family Madness events are £30 per person, while they also do Junior Track Days during the holidays and offer kids tuition to improve those skills.
TeamSport, South Accommodation Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1NQ.
Clip n’ Climb
Clip n’ Climb is the ultimate family-friendly indoor climbing centre. You can get to grips with their brightly coloured climbing walls, which are suitable for kids as young as 4. There are 32 different climbing challenges and it’s easy to get the hang of it – the clip-on safety system retracts as you climb and then lowers you back to the ground when you’re done. Feeling brave? Try the 9-metre vertical drop slide too. Prices start at £12.50 for a 90-minute session.
Clip n’ Climb, Unit 3, Tristram Centre, Brown Lane West, Gelderd Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS12 6BF.
Why not spend those rainy days in Leeds getting creative? Jackrabbits in Oakwood is a paint-your-own pottery studio that the whole family can get involved in. Simply choose the ceramic item you’d like, then paint it, hand it back and pop in a week later to collect it once it has been glazed and fired. You can choose from plates, mugs, boxes and vases, as well as seasonal items throughout the year, and prices range from £2 to £36.
Jackrabbits, 633a Roundhay Road, Oakwood, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS8 4BA.
Our Place is a family-focused events space in Chapeltown from the folk behind Boomchikkaboom. They hold hugely popular family-friendly raves around the country and this 200-capacity venue is where you’ll find them in Leeds. But it’s not all superstar DJs and dancing. They also put on regular workshops, classes and parties for the little ones, particularly during the school holidays, and they have a family-friendly cafe where you can hang out after.
Our Place, Unit 3 Buslingthorpe Green Industrial Estate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 2HG.
Need to tire the little ones out before bedtime? A visit to Oxygen Freejumping will do just the trick. Down at Cardigan Fields on Kirkstall Road, they have more than 100 interconnected trampolines to bounce back and forth between, making it one of the most fun indoor activities in Leeds. There’s also an obstacle course, a giant airbag and plenty more for the kids to get involved with. If you’ve got toddlers, take them along to their tailored Little O sessions for extra peace of mind.
Oxygen Freejumping, Cardigan Fields, Kirkstall Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS4 2DG.
Scuba Leeds offer a duo of different sessions that make getting in the water loads of fun. The Bubblemaker is for kids over the age of 8 and introduces them to scuba diving with the help of trained instructors. Alternatively, you can sign them up to the PADI Seal Team, which will see the little ones completing a series of fun-packed aqua missions, learning essential skills as they go – it will eventually lead to a series of certifications too.
Scuba Leeds, Unit 2, Carlton Mills, Pickering Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS12 2QG.
The Little Bookshop
© Copyright Leeds-List 2018 by Corvin Pamp
The Little Bookshop is a great place to take the kids if you’re looking for things to do indoors. It’s the city’s only dedicated children’s bookshop and there are loads of great reads inside – but it’s not just good for shopping. They hold traditional storytelling sessions regularly, so you can sit back and relax while their friendly staff regale the kids with stories of fairytale lands. They have a cafe here too, with fun food for the kids and delicious dishes for mum and dad.
The Little Bookshop, 47 Harrogate Road, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 3PD.
Kids Club House
Kids Club House understands how important it is to keep kids active for their physical and mental wellbeing and have designed their playhouse especially to encourage the little ones to get moving. They can slide, crawl, balance, bounce and swing their way through the course, as well as having a go at hand-eye coordination challenges and testing their ball skills. It’s £4.95 for over 4s, £3.95 for 2-3 years, £2.75 for under 2s and £1 for pre-walkers, although they get in for free if you’re bringing an older child. There’s also a cafe for the adults and free wifi.
Kids Club House, 75a New Road Side, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS18 4QD.
Grim Up Nerf
Nerf, or nerfing, is a modern craze that comes from the name of foam dart blasters, which look like guns but are completely safe for kids. They’re so popular that Leeds has its own club, Grim Up Nerf, and they arrange Nerf Wars in Headingley or Farsley, as well as events in Bradford. They run about, tagging other gamers with their darts (think of it like a game of laser tag that kids can do anywhere) – it’s just £1 to take part, and if the kids are into it, it’s one of the most fun indoor activities they can do in Leeds.
Grim Up Nerf takes place in venues across Leeds every month.
Tumble Town is without a doubt one of the best indoor activities in Leeds for the little ones. The soft play centre in Guiseley has loads going on – you can dress up as a shopkeeper, serve tea and cake in the cafe or fix the tiny cars in the garage. They even have a ball pool and slides on the second floor. Entry is just £1 for babies, £2.50 for crawlers and £4 for walkers, with meal deal options too.
Tumble Town Adventure Play, South View Business Centre, Ghyll Royd, Guiseley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS20 9PP.
Level Up Academy
Level Up Academy provides a fun and unusual way to keep energetic kids active. This 3,000 square foot centre is dedicated to urban sports like parkour and free-running. Open to anyone aged 9+, it’s the perfect place to learn new skills. Your little ones will be given a full safety briefing before they climb, jump and run around the massive complex. If that’s not their bag, they can also try activities like tricking, cheerleading, martial arts and aerial arts.
Level Up Academy, Unit 4, Lockwood Court, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 5TY.
Emsley’s Play Barn
Emsley’s is well known for their farm full of animals, but it also has The Barn, a soft play and activity centre for all the family. There are different things to do every day, with Tiny Tales and Tunes, Creation Station and more. If your little ones like to roam free, they can just let off some steam in their play area while you have a break in the cafe. It’s £4 for over 18 months or £2 for under 18 months, while adults go free.
Emsley’s Play Barn, Emsley’s Farm, Warm Lane, Yeadon, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS19 7DW.
You can introduce the little ones to the world of ballet from as young as six months with Babyballet. They run regular ballet, dance and tap classes at various venues across the city. Start them with their Tots classics, where the little ones will learn the basics while having loads of fun, before moving up through the Tinies, Tappers, Movers and Groovers classes as they get older. You can get three introductory classes for £15, then each session will cost £5.50.
Babyballet takes place at various venues in Horsforth, Headingley, Moortown and Alwoodley.
Credit: The Royal Armouries
The Royal Armouries is more than just a museum. Once you’ve had a whale of a time exploring the incredible National Collection of Arms and Armour, head to the fifth floor where you’ll find their special indoor archery course. Kids over 4 foot can learn the ropes with a qualified instructor. You’ll get eight crossbow bolts to fire at the target for £3 a go, but once you get the hang of it, don’t be surprised if you might want a few more goes.
Royal Armouries, Armouries Drive, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1LT.
Sensory Space Leeds
It’s now widely recognised that sensory rooms have a huge impact on a child’s progression and that’s exactly what Sensory Space offers. Their sensory room is designed for young children, babies and people with additional needs, with a sensory tree with fibre optic lights, a touchy-feely sensory box, a bubble machine and a vibrating bubble tube. There’s also the UV Active Room, which uses ultraviolet lights and gives the kids an interactive space to play in. It’s £4 per person, whatever your age.
Sensory Space Leeds, 1a Haddon Hall, Backfield Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS4 2JT.
Head out to Horsforth for fun family activities at Firefly Pottery. The main activity here is pottery painting, which means the kids can pick a piece of pottery from £3.50, get a tutorial on how to paint it, and then actually do it, before collecting it a week later. That’s not all though, as they put on specially tailored pottery wheel throwing lessons and clay hand building sessions. It also doubles up as a cafe, so grown-ups can treat themselves to a brew and some cake if they don’t want to join in.
Firefly Pottery, 116 Town Street, Horsforth, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS18 4AH.
When you want a day indoors, The Tetley is one of the best places to take the kids in Leeds. It’s a leading contemporary art gallery spread across three floors with loads of cool and interesting artworks to explore. They use their exhibitions as the inspiration for their family art workshops, which take place on weekends during term time and throughout the holidays. You can follow a class with a bite to eat in their family-friendly cafe.
The Tetley, Hunslet Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1JQ.
Go for a dip in Bramley Baths instead of getting caught out in the rain when it’s pouring down. This isn’t your average swimming pool – it’s the only lasting example of a Victorian bathhouse left in Leeds, and the kids can have a ball here. They put on special under-5s and baby sessions during the week, or you can visit on Saturdays or Sundays for their Family Fun Swim. It’s £4.65 for adults, £2.50 for kids or £10 for families.
Bramley Baths, Broad Lane, Bramley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS13 3DF.
Why not use those rainy days in Leeds to keep the kids active? The David Lloyd Leisure Centre has an almost endless list of activities that will get the whole family moving. DL Kids matches up with their group exercise classes, so you can enjoy the club while they try out a sport, play some games or have fun in an arts and crafts session. They also have Toddlers to Teens sessions where they can try their hand at a range of activities and DLicious which features a toddlers area, play frames and a cafe.
David Lloyd Leisure Centre, Tongue Lane, Moortown, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 4QW.
Popular London soft play centre Eddie Catz is now a favourite in Leeds and it’s definitely something the kids can enjoy on rainy days. Situated inside the Mothercare at Crown Point, it offers up a 3-tier play frame for children up to 5 with a crawler’s zone and a studio. There’s also a community space that runs a series of pre-school, toddler and pre-natal classes, as well as half-term workshops, and while you’re there, you can pop into the cafe next door to take five. Prices start from £2.50.
Eddie Catz, Mothercare, Crown Point Shopping Park, 8 Junction Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1EW.
Cover image copyright McFade.
From climbing to scuba diving, make the most of those rainy days and treat the kids to some of the best indoor activities in Leeds. Check ’em out…