Chapter 17

You walk through the main doors of the Theatre Royal. Staff tell you the downstairs is full and you will need to head up to the balcony.

You go up the carpeted stairs and smiling theatre staff direct you through double doors to a seat. It’s a beautiful old place. Very classical and it feels quite special to be sat in such a grand theatre at a music festival. You wouldn’t admit it, but it’s quite nice to have a quick sit down too.

The lights go down and Howard meanders on to the stage to warm applause and some shouts. It’s a lovely show. He is such a softly spoken man, but the audience are in his grasp as he tells fantastical stories of his days as a dope smuggler, as well as some history of cannabis, way back to the Aztecs. It’s especially hard to connect the stories of being on the run from the FBI with the gentle old soul, but the man is right there, up on the stage, as living proof. What a guy.

It’s over all too soon. You head out and go to find the toilets but become rather lost. You follow a man through a door, then find you can’t then get back through without a key code. And the man is gone. Where are you?

You wander about for a while, clearly somewhere you aren’t meant to be. Before getting into any bother, you find a door marked ‘exit’ and quickly step through. You’ve somehow ended up round the back of the building, in some kind of car park.

There’s a middle aged man standing there smoking, slightly startled by your appearance. By way of appeasing him, and explaining your presence, you tell him you are lost and gesture round the corner with a raised eyebrow.

Oh yeah. It’s all going on round there man’. He takes a drag of his hand-rolled cigarette.

So you’re playing at this festival are you?’ the man asks, without giving eye contact. “Man, I played some pretty far-out joints in my time, I can tell you. You ever heard of a band called The Forever Children?

Do you