Hunt the skunk

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The Independent Culture
"So I get to Waterloo station with about 30 seconds to spare," says Eddie, "and the guy is shouting at me, `Quick, quick, you're going to miss the train,' and I'm like, please. He snatches my ticket and stuffs it into the machine. I go through the door and there's this uniformed freak, a real muscle queen, looks like someone stuck an air hose up his bum and over-inflated him. Anyway, he gives me a rub-down and I start moaning and rolling my eyes like I'm enjoying it, just to wind him up.

"Next thing, I'm running up that big metal walkway when someone shouts, `Eddie!' and I turn around and 20 yards behind me there's DP and his crew, off to Paris for the fashion trade show, so I smile and wave, and someone else shouts, `Eddie!' and right behind DP is David and Peter and Tamara from Arena, going out to cover the collections, and someone else shouts `Eddie!' and this time it's you, Mr Alix Big Shot Journalist with The Independent, and I'm thinking this is a bit weird.

"Then I hear `Eddie!' again, and standing behind you is Jimmy Pursey, from that punk band, Sham 69, smiling and waving at me. I've never even met him, so for a second I wonder if I'm still in bed dreaming. Then I realise he's having a laugh, winding me up. So I'm, like, darling, if I had teeth like that I'd keep my mouth closed and stick a tube up my nose at mealtimes, so I don't know what you're grinning at.

"Of course, my seat is right at the back of the train, the Arena people are right up the front, and DP's mob are in the middle. So I go and sit with them and Jimmy Tombstone Teeth who - you won't believe this - is going to model in the Comme des Garcons show. Anyway, we have a chat, all very civilised, and one of these kids hands me a joint, right? There's fashion people all around us getting drunk on red wine, but I take a couple of tokes and pass it on. Nobody seems to notice. DP says the air-conditioning gets rid of the smell.

"All of a sudden these two French plainclothes police come along, checking passports. So this kid puts the joint in the ashtray, still burning, mind, and cool as you like pulls out his passport. And the policeman doesn't even look at it, just nods at him, and they both carry on down the carriage. Everyone's trying not to laugh, but I can't believe what just happened. Did they really miss the joint? As soon as they've gone I head up the train to sit with the Arena crew, who are a lot more sensible, as you know.

"About 30 minutes later, I spot the French cops at the end of the Arena carriage, one of them talking into a mobile phone. They both turn round and look at me, then look away again. I know what this means: welcoming committee at the other end, dogs, guns, handcuffs, the lot. Then I remember this bit of skunk weed I've got with me, so now I'm totally paranoid. I go back to my seat and try to look inconspicuous as I rummage around for it in the bottom of my bag. It's wrapped in cling film and tucked inside a little sachet of Clarins moisturiser in my washbag, to kill the smell.

"In the toilet I unwrap it, flush the cling film, and rewrap it in a piece of paper. I wash my hands three times but they still stink, so I go back to my seat and try not to sweat. At the Gare du Nord I put it in my mouth, tucked into my cheek, so that if I get pulled I can just chew it twice and swallow, right?

"Walking down the platform there's no sign of DP's mob or the Arena crew, and I'm thinking maybe it'll be all right, when up ahead, on the other side of the ticket barrier, I see Jimmy Pursey. Standing each side of him are two big guys in overcoats, and they're all looking in my direction. So I make like I don't even know they're there, and decide to swallow the weed. But my mouth is so dry the paper has stuck to the inside of my cheek, and I'm trying to dislodge it, but my tongue feels like sandpaper and it won't move. I'm getting closer to the gate, and the cops, hoping they haven't spotted me in the crowd and maybe I can just walk straight by, when Jimmy Pursey points at me and says, `Here's one of them.'

"So I stumble up to them, the pot still in my mouth, barely able to breathe; my knees have turned to water, right? As for Jimmy Pursey, I'm ready to stab him when he says: `You wanna lift to your hotel? These two gentlemen are chauffeurs from Comme des Garcons, sent to pick up the models. Looks like that's me and you, right?' And he gives me a sly wink, takes a drag on his cigarette, and shows me those teeth again"

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