Eight Finger Eddie – Advice in “Pigs & Palms”, Goa 1975
Eddie lived on Anjuna Beach from the late 1960s & was often concerned for the young & inexperienced travellers who experienced ‘bad trips’; here is his advice on how to come down. Still relevant today, viva The Stoned Pig Magazine! Eddie himself had stopped taking drugs in 1963 although he was fond of an occasional shot of dark rum.
I don’t know which year Eddie started his soup kitchen for indigent travellers, but it was running in 1969 when I lived briefly on Anjuna Beach. He had let it be known that anyone with spare uncooked food, often only rice & dal, could bring it to him & whatever was available in the late morning would be cooked up & served to whoever appeared; anyone could turn up & get a basic meal; this was literally a lifesaver for some of the crazier boys & girls.
He was also known for being able to handle people who had flipped out; he’d tie them to a coconut tree until they came down, rough & ready perhaps but it usually worked & afterwards they would join the queue for the soup kitchen as often people flipped out from lack of food as much as from too many drugs.
He’d talk to them in his crazy-seeming rapid-fire monologue, which if you listened to it was usually good old-fashioned parental-like advice, but couched in Eddies own inimitable Beatnik/Hippie style.
The Stoned Pig magazine was started by Tarot Ray Selby, who wrote:
“The original idea came out of a realization during 1974, whilst tripping on a full-moon night in late season that we freaks had been shitting on our own doorstep and were too stoned out – in the wrong way – to realize what we had done and were/are doing Tin cans purchased by freaks, from the fruit-juice vendors lay discarded half-buried in broken glass, used Tampax, shitty newspaper, broken ampoules, cigarette packs and the other waste products of a Stoned-out sub-culture of the modern western mixed-drug culture removed to a once deserted palm beach paradise.”
“I had learnt that it would cost very little and be an important service to the beaches of Goa and to our ecosystem in general to publish a broadsheet that gave simple instructions as to functioning in an environment such as we lived in, in a clear and healthy manner.” From Year of the Pig.
Eddie took on many roles & even officiated at marriage ceremonies on the beach, he became a kind of alternative minister; there was a certain cachet too in having the oldest hippie officially bless your union.
I left North Goa in March 1970 & didn’t meet Eddie again until January 2010 when Georgette took me to see him; he of course didn’t remember me & I remembered him only as a kind of symbol of the Goa 1960s scene; it turned out he was this really nice, friendly, skinny old man of 86, living alone with few visitors & supported by a couple of devoted much younger friends who saw to it that he got his meals & had his rent paid.
The next day I came back alone with a bottle of dark rum & a couple of cans of Coke & we sat in the looming evening of a Goan winters day, drinking & talking.
When I left I could hardly walk; Eddie seemed unchanged by the alcohol.
I never saw him again & nine months later he died.
Eddie on The Flower Raj encyclopaedia.
Eddie in The Flower Raj photo albums.
(thanks to Peter Thomas for alerting me to the Stoned Pig article).