Euphorium, The Roundhouse, London

By Rhoda Koenig
Friday 15 November 2013 02:36
comments

The Roundhouse up in Camden Town –

A fine old building; you may know it –

Has something called Euphorium,

Based on a dream that laudanum

Brought to a famous poet.

Some Californians happened on

That lovely vision Kubla Khan

And thought that they could re-create

The bliss experienced by STC,

Employing, to achieve that happy state,

Not drugs but modern techno-trickery.

But oh! the chasm 'twixt the thought

and deed!

If Coleridge this Euphorium had known,

He'd not have been presented with

the seed

Of nursery rhyme, not e'en the basest

screed.

He would have brought forth only wail

and moan.

One at a time, the patrons enter here.

They're offered red or white wine or

a beer.

I chose the beer. A sweet American lass

Enquired, "Would you like it in a glass?"

Another, with black nails and

kohl-rimmed eyes,

Led me to where I took, with mild

surmise,

A "magic pouch" and earphones and

a tip –

"Go slow, or you'll regret it" – for my trip.

Upon a throne within a darkened room

I heard how Coleridge fell asleep,

and then

The chair swung round! Another

gloomy den!

A figure moved! I knew not what,

nor whom!

"'Tis MORPHEUS," a voice intoned,

and bade

Me obey this slender youth, in

sweatshirt clad.

I rose, and with unholy dread

I suffered this act unorthodox:

He raised his hands, and on my head

I found a large, black magic box!

This rare device contained a

looking-glass

In which I could see coloured figures

pass.

As I proceeded slowly, my way feeling,

Observing them suspended from the

ceiling.

And as I walked, three voices spoke

The poem, and noises faint were made.

I gazed in wonder on figures quaint

From cardboard formed and poster paint

(Or so they seemed) – a joke

That I did not find funny.

Indeed, I thought it rude

To ask one's hard-earned money

For this, so drab and crude.

To all who hope that they will see

That sunny dome, those caves of ice,

I say, O friends, be guided by me.

Beware! Beware! I say to thee

This witless, dull chicanery

You will find dear at any price.

This show would make a saint concede

That drugs, not art, are what you need

To catch a glimpse of Paradise.

To 20 Oct (020-7478 0151)

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments