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The Secret DJ tells a story of taking magic mushrooms on a flight to Miami

Flying high in the sky

  • Words: The Secret DJ | Illustration: James Clapham
  • 27 March 2017

I often have to check my luggage for drugs. Usually a nice airport security staff member will do this for me, but I like to do it myself first. When you are a DJ people genuinely do throw drugs at you. Sometimes quite literally. They can put a ‘gift’ of drugs in your bags at the club with all the best intentions in the world. It doesn’t occur to them in a few hours the same bags will go through scanners and x-rays, expert dogs and machine-gun wielding professional sadists. Also there was every chance someone like my Tour Manager would put some in there ‘for safe keeping’ and then forget. So it is always best to check.

My Tour Manager and I were bound for the yearly conference of our industry in Miami. The Winter Music Conference, or WMC, set itself up in the 80s as the go-to conference for the global industry. Naturally, being American, they really and earnestly believed all that nonsense. We usually had all our business done for the year by the time it came around, but it didn’t hurt to be seen there. Our hosts usually locked up all the booze, drugs and women when the Brits were due to arrive, conditioned as we were by bizarre Victorian licensing laws to attack everything like wobbly Vikings in a blind panic that everywhere would stop serving us at 11pm and the Queen might be angry.

Boarding imminent, I went to the toilets and had a rummage. In a rarely-used crevice I discovered a withered bag of dried nonsense. I couldn’t quite work out what it was at first. I had a sniff and a feel. It looked like leaves or herbs, but not marijuana. Possibly the remains of a mummification process, or satanic ritual. I went back out to the departures lounge.

“I think I’ve got a large bag of magic mushrooms. I’m fairly sure they’ve been there since forever and have since been through every airport in the world, undetected.”

My Tour Manager wasn’t interested really. He was keen on fast, expensive things. I went over to the bar and ordered tea for two. Then I ditched the tea and put all the contents of the bag in the hot water pot. Wheels would be off the tarmac in 20 minutes.


The Tour Manager had a habit of saying words from 1950s children’s comics that were only ever written down, never spoken.

“PFFFT! This tea is vile!”.

“Shut up and drink it.”

I felt bad-but-not-bad. You should never spike a friend, no matter how much it needs doing.

We both drank all the tea.

I woke up feeling most peculiar. I was on the plane, but not actually on the plane. It looked like a plane’s interior, but it was like a cartoon of a plane. Or rather a line drawing of one. A good draughtsman’s job of work. I was experiencing a strange sensation, like floating. I turned to the Tour Manager, who for once looked fairly beatific and serene.

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