Monday, November 17, 2014


“Have you  checked in yet?”  asks Lucas.

We're stood at the check-in desk for Brussels Airlines at Bromma Airport and being that it's the “check-in desk” I'd assumed that this is where we'd be fucking checking in.  Obviously I've made some sort of howling mistake.  The friendly looking woman attending us is sat behind her desk and is on the phone, and amidst the confusing conversation  I've now embarked on with Luk and Viktor I hear her saying something about "standby list" and "overbooked".  And for a moment I have that sinking feeling in my stomach.  We’re flying down to Holland via Brussels to play Bloodshed Fest in Eindhoven tomorrow and I do not want to miss this fucking flight!  There are a lot of friends bands playing this evening, so for a start that’s going to be a good crack, but first and foremost we’ve paid for these flights ourselves and my student budget won’t stretch to flights being tossed in the can.  And then there’s Kev, who has already been on the go since cack o’ clock this morning and is probably already in Eindhoven and we can’t just leave him there.  Like your life flashing by you in the space of a few seconds as you face the final curtain so are these thoughts whizzing about my head, and then I’m pulled back from the brink by the friendly looking woman, “Okay, we’re upgrading you guys to business class”.  Dancer.

Chuffed, we make our way through security and head to the bar whilst we await our flight.  Stix is on the beer but I’ll be fucked if I’m paying sixty odd kronor for a pint of Carlsberg, so opt for a ridiculously expensive mug of filtered coffee instead.  Airports seem to have an inflation rate all of their own.  Of course, once on board we take full advantage of the complimentary service, laughing our asses off at the thought of Kev crawling out of bed at three in the morning to catch that soul destroying Ryanair flight out of Stansted Airport as we sit there swigging free drink and eating our pasta pesto.  I’m sure our fellow business class passengers have clocked that we’re not supposed to be here.  “Just because you’re in business class does not mean that you are business class” quips Lucas.

We land in Brussels, which is a huge airport and walk for what takes about twenty minutes to the baggage hall.  So nice not to be carrying anything, we’re lending all our gear from the Hårda Tider and Night Fever guys.  I have no idea who is picking us up but before we even have time to look around our lift has spotted us.  We walk about one huge car park followed by another until we find our van, our driver for the day, Koen, can’t remember where he left it, such is the magnitude of this place.  We eventually locate the splitter though and we slowly make our way for the exit, the van roof scraping along the low concrete ceiling as we go.  “It’s only rented” Koen assures us.

The drive to Eindhoven takes an hour and a half and it’s around four pm by the time we arrive.  Kev has already texted us, telling us he’s found the hotel and he’s gone to bed for a bit.  The poor fucker had put on a Dry Heaves gig at the Nest last night so has probably only slept a couple of hours.  That he can be arsed continually inspires me.

The venue isn't the usual punk house you'd find on the DB tour circuit. It's more a complex than a venue, with several floors, one of which houses the production offices alone.  There are two stage rooms, one in the basement where we're playing and then the big one, which has a big high stage and looks like a school assembly hall.  The lobby is where all the merch tables are set up, as a well as the kitchen and a bar.  Whilst waiting for our passes and fee, which luxuriously enough we're picking up before we even play, I make a right cunt out of myself.  One of the big outer walls is made entirely of glass and the sun is blasting mercilessly through it, heating the entire lobby area up with it's rays.  I spot who I think is my mate Stijn from the band Reproach stood by a merch table in front of this glass facade but with the insane amount of backlight it's a little hard to decipher whether it's him or not.  I look over a couple of times, and then, despite the fact he seems to have grown a grey beard, I decide it is indeed Stijn and slowly make my way over, squinting in the light, hoping that before I get to him his face will be revealed.  The venue is not open yet and there aren't many other people around so me shuffling slowly across to him is hardly inconspicuous.  When I finally reach him I put my hand on his shoulder and with a big smile greet him, "Hey man, how are you doing?" I've clocked that it's not Stijn before I even ask the question but can't seem to stop myself.  Grey Beard, very confused, shrugs his shoulders, "Yeah, I'm good".  I offer a pathetic, "Sorry, I thought you were a friend of mine".. he nods, obviously getting that fact, and I shame walk away.  Luk is right behind me, "That was a bit embarrassing".  Yep, thanks for pointing that out buddy.

The whole debacle reminded me of another disastrous episode when I was a kid and I thought I'd spotted my cousin Ian up the town centre.  I was walking about fifty yards behind this guy with long hair who I was certain was Ian even though my best mate Neil assured me it wasn't.  I ran up behind him and playfully kicked him up the ass only to recoil in horror when this total stranger turned around with a look on his face that suggested he was about to destroy me.  Fuck knows how I got out of that one unscathed...

I’m so fucking glad we decided to book a hotel, anyway.  We got a mail from the festival production manager a few days back informing us that the accommodation provided this year would consist of a wooden floor in the gym hall on the third floor of the venue, and it would be a good idea to bring an inflatable mattress.  Obviously haven flown in with only hand luggage allowance this wasn’t an option, as neither was a sleeping bag, so we were faced with a couple of very rough night’s sleep that I’m not sure I could still handle.  For some reason it would have felt more manageable, both physically and psychologically if we’d been on tour since when you’re on tour you’re pretty fucked up anyway,  but just coming down for the weekend, taking a couple of days out of my regular life of early mornings and sleepless nights with Polly, I just couldn’t handle the thought of coming back an utter wreck on Sunday night, because obviously, if I’m going to crash on a wooden gym floor with no sleeping bag then I’d have to be completely fucking boats to do so...

“There was a bit of a mix up with the booking so we’re upgrading you to a deluxe room”, the friendly looking woman at the hotel desk informs us.  This seems to be our day!   We head up to the rooms, one of which Kev is sleeping in. Luk and Vik think they're being a pair of wise cunts by telling me I'm staying with Kev and claiming the upgrade room for themselves but when I follow them along the corridor it turns out their room is exactly the same as the other one and that both our rooms must be the deluxe upgrade.  "Fuck me, I can't imagine what the normal rooms are like then" laughs Kev from underneath his quilt when I update him on the crack.  Indeed, the deluxe room's "added extras" seem to consist of a fat back tv with one barely decipherable channel on it and a kettle.  Still, better than that fucking gym floor any day of the week.

After a quick shower we decide to head into town and get some grub.  We'd been talking about buying a couple of cans from a shop and hanging out in the hotel room for a while, instead of hitting a bar, budget limitations again coming into play, but decide against that plan almost immediately.  It's a nice, sunny evening, way warmer than back home and this counts as holiday for me, I'll be fucked if I'm spending it sat in a hotel room drinking cans like a fucking alchy.  I've been banging onto the guys about the legendary chips and peanut butter sauce since we left this morning, and I'm starting to get on their tits with it.  I do tend do go on a bit if I'm excited about something though, especially food. We hit one of the many chippies along the way and I delve into the heavenly snack.  The other guys look at me like I'm a fucking wanker.

The street we're on, which is a pedestrianised stretch of alley between our hotel and the venue is lined with mostly horrible looking bars, even worse looking clubs and fast food joints.  It's relatively quiet now but you can tell it's not going to stay that way.   We do find this one little place though that seems to be pretty quiet and has a load of decent beers on sale, a little bit more expensive maybe than the other places but that's probably a good thing.  We sit there for an hour or so enjoying a couple of select picks from the bar. Kev as usual hasn't got a fucking clue and just follows Viktor's lead.  Vik likes his strong Belgian beers and jumps at some blonde 8,3 percenter.  You can see the look of disgust on Kev's coupon as soon as he sips on it, "Tastes like fucking paint stripper".  Vik ends up polishing Kev's off and Kev opts for an Amstel or something similarly uncouth.  A little warm from the beer, we head along to the venue where we meet up with some of the Deptford crew, Jamie, Viv and Wayne.  They've made the trip in Jamie's car.  Kev could've just as well have made the trip with them.  Jamie's brought a box of our merch for us too, great lad.

I don't really catch that many bands during the evening, we spend most of the time hanging out upstairs in the merch room with the guys from Hårda Tider, Night Fever and Dogmatist, as well as our friend Jos from the legendary bands Lärm and Seein' Red, who's taken the train down after work to hang out.  The tiny little beers you get to buy for your beer tokens here fly down the neck at a steady rate but they have little effect being that it's pretty weak lager.  Probably just as well, I don't really feel like getting too fucked up, I don't want to waste a good nights sleep in a hotel bed.

The first band I watch is Systematic Death from Japan.  Our friend Ronald is driving them around, who also have the Citizen's Patrol guys on tour with them.  Lucas told me that he'd spotted them earlier when they arrived in the van and they literally jumped out the back of the van and began taking photos of everything, totally chuffed.  I love the Japanese, wonderful people.  And fuck me, can these old guys still play.  I hope I can perform at that level in twenty years time.  The drummer is like a fucking machine, hits the shit out of his snare drum at full speed.  They were absolutely great, loved watching every second of them, and by now the beer was just starting to work it's magic, just a little.

Night Fever played after them on the main stage by which point I was really starting to zone into party mood.  Night Fever are the perfect band for that.  Solomon flying about the stage with his fingerless, leather gloves on, mixing up his hardcore ranting with the old Danzig style warbling.  Sounds like a horrible mix I know but somehow Solomon makes it work.  This is party hardcore.  They work the big stage really well too.  I have to say that I'm a little surprised there aren't more watching them, although there is still a good crowd in, but maybe the festival in general feels a little calmer than last time I was here with Victims.  I'm stood near the front with Viv and Viktor, enjoying the show drinking one of the little beers when some kid comes running across the stage and dives right into the section of crowd I'm in.  I have to laugh as I and a few others around me immediately scuttle off to the side, beers held above our heads and away from the danger of being spilled as the diver hurtles towards the ground.  Old cunts.

Talking of old cunts, Varukers play last on the main stage.  Fuck me.  I clocked Biff earlier on in the evening, sat behind their merch table, his eyes and mouth rattling about all over the place.  Apparently they'd driven all the way from the UK just to play the one show here tonight, no doubt off their tits the entire journey.  They can still play but "can" and "why" are two very different sides of the coin.  I just don't get it.  There will always be the hardcore fanbase down front loving every second of it but I can only stomach a couple of songs.

The first night of the Fest done, I'm really in the mood to go and grab a nice quiet beer somewhere and just chill out for a while before heading to bed.  There is talk of an after party where there are some bands playing, one of whom are friends with Kev, and for a minute it sounds like it could be fun.  The place is in some tiny squat, it costs five Euros to get in and then it's a free bar after that.  But then Kev says, "Twenty minute walk" and any thoughts I had of going are immediately extinguished.  Kev and the Deptford guys head off whilst me, Vik and Luk head back to that small bar we were in earlier, via another chippy.

The street is now absolute chaos.  Hundreds and hundreds of people on the piss, it feels more like Ibiza than Eindhoven.  We make our way to the seclusion of our little bar but even in there it's pretty packed, although with a substantially older and calmer clientel.  Luk soon succumbs to tiredness and heads back to the hotel through the masses in the alley whilst Vik and I stick around for another couple.  Vik is talking a lot and doing it enthusiastically and I can tell he's pretty drunk, not surprising considering he's back on the paint stripper Pale Ale.  We eventually decide to call it a night, although not before we grab some more food, this time a falafel joint being the preference.  The falafel is dog shit.  No sauce, no salad.  When I ask for some accompaniment the guy squirts some garlic mayo into the bread and hands me a small pot of sweet chilli sauce.  That'll teach me to stray from the old pommes frites whilst in the Netherlands... We sit at the falafel place for almost another hour, Vik banging on about this and that, the volume increasing steadily.  It's past four by the time I get to the hotel room. Kev's bed is empty.

I wake with the slightest of headache's.  Nothing major, just enough of it in the background to annoy you.  My phone buzzes, it's Lucas asking if Kev and I are ready to go get some breakfast.  I look over my shoulder at Kev's bed.  It's still empty.  I lie in bed watching Amy Schuler standup on the fuzzy tv channel for a half hour, before rustling up the energy for a shower.  Kev rolls in about half hour later, bright as a button, although he claims his head is a little sore.  He says he ended up sleeping at the hotel the Deptford crew were in, although he didn't get there until six am.  According to him the after party was an absolute blast, this really small little squat and it was indeed free booze after the initial five euro entry fee.  His mate's band, Terror Defence were awesome by all accounts, and the crowd, which was full littered with Scando pissheads kicked off big time.  I kind of wished I'd had the energy to go along but I was knackered, and I can only imagine the hangover I'd have now if I had.  Fuck knows how Kev is in such a relatively healthy state!  "I was fucked when I got to the hotel, but I've slept for five hours now so I'm okay".  Wanker.

We meet the guys outside the hotel reception and head down to a breakfast place Kev had found the day before.  It's another glorious day.  Summer has stuck around late here in Eindhoven.  The breakfast place has good coffee and their freshly baked bread hits the bullseye.  Good start to the day.  We head along to the venue around mid day, the chaos street sleeping once again.  When we get to the venue we find Hasse who plays guitar in Night Fever and drums in Dogmatist slumbered on the pavement, hood up over his head, cradling a kebab in his hands.  He looks like he's been sat there all night.  Vik is delighted to see him. "Heeeey Hasse!  How's it going?"  Hasse looks up, eyes swollen red, "Naij!  Fucking shit!"  We burst into laughter.  He looks absolutely fucked!  It turns out he's only slept an hour and he doesn't really know where he is right now.  Poor fucker, Dogmatist are first on, in about an hour and half.

We head in and set up the merch that Jamie has brought with him from the hotel.  We hang around there for a while, looking forward to the day ahead.  We're on after Dogmatist so it's an early start.  Kind of nice in way, get the show over and done with, but I do wonder if there's going to be anyone in the building by that time.  Kev tells me he met a lot of people at the party last night that had said at five am that they really "hoped" to come check us out but couldn't promise anything.  I'd be amazed if anyone from there made it to see us at three-fifteen this afternoon. As we're sat there chatting with Jakob Adult Crash, who is out driving Night Fever, shaking his head recalling last night's partying, we hear Hasse somewhere off in the distance, "Naaaaij!".  Five minutes later he's got a beer in his hand.  I think that might actually be his only way out of this.  Nikolaj, their bass player, looks on unconvinced... Luk isn't doing too well either, he's been complaining about a headache all morning, insisting it's nothing to do with the booze.  He's got a couple of asprins from somewhere anyway and headed to the bar to ask for some water when suddenly the room is drowned in insanely loud grindcore, some wise cunt obviously hasn't checked the volume when putting the stereo system on.  Luk turns around, his shoulders hunched up to his ears and his eyes squinting in pain, as if he's just had a sharp rod inserted up his rhana.  This amuses me no end.

Dogmatist play just after two pm.  Hasse is smiling his ass off before the start, there's a hint of shock and resignation in his smile though.  It starts off okay but it doesn't take long before the cracks start to appear.  A dropped fill here, a missed snare there, Hasse huffing and puffing, shaking his head but all the while grinning to himself.  Apparently they drop a few of the faster songs in the set to accommodate the situation.  At one point Hasse drops a stick and for a split second it seems like he's going to keep the beat going whilst he recovers a pin but then he just stops playing, unable to manage two things at once.  Brilliant.  They're a great band though and you can't help but enjoy the show, this is punk rock after all, not fucking Deep Purple.  And Hasse had warned of the dangers of them playing first after Night Fever's show the night before.. Still, their last lp is one of my favourites of the last six months and it's great to see them play.  Lucas is going about how much he loves the singer's high screeching style, Luc calls him The Witch and imagines him flying onto the stage on a broomstick that turns into a guitar and then flying off again when he's done.  Luc then does a little re-enactment of how he sees this scene in his head.

We're up next on the stage, although there's something else going on the main stage whilst we set up.  Peter from Hårda Tider has literally lent me everything, even his guitar.  He's such a nice guy, I can't thank him enough, although he continually assures me it's no problem.  I lent this very same Gibson SG a few years back when Hårda Tider played with Victims in Potsdam and I liked the particular model so much I bought one.  Anyway, our show goes pretty much to plan.  For once we're playing a stage with an actual monitor set up and you can actually hear everything pretty clear.  Sometimes that has the opposite effect to that you're after, since our set is based on it being a little chaotic but if the truth's told, it's nice to be able to hear everything now and again.  There are maybe fifty, sixty people in the small room, enough to make it feel pretty good at least.  Funny thing is, my legs are tense as steel rods for the first couple of songs and it makes it hard to get into the gig, but after taking a swig of beer after the first block of songs I start to relax and enjoy myself.  Feels like we get a pretty good reaction and we play pretty tight.  When we go into the final section of I'm Still Drowning, the slow section, I notice Linus HT starting to get a stomp on.  He loves that stuff.  He's right up to us afterwards beaming about the show.  The stage is hot as fuck with all the lights and I'm drenched by the time we're done.  I stand there chatting with Jos for a while afterwards, before packing down.  He's telling me about his spoken word thing he did here at Slowend Fest a while back and about his book that he's bringing out in the near future.  I'm really looking forward to reading that.

Afterwards, when all is sorted, we head out in search of a bar selling quality beer, needing a break from the little cups of foam you get from the bar at the venue.  The Deptford crew and Jos join us.  It's Saturday afternoon and of course, Chaos Alley is brimming with footy fans going to the PSV game.  We steer clear and end up in some modern looking bar, loads of space and a long table, kind of has that new hipster bar feel to it that a lot of the places have these days.  It's just the ticket though, sitting there with friends and a couple of quality ales,
recounting stories old and new.  Can't think of a better way to spend an afternoon.  Of course, quality beer usually means higher alcohol percentage, and after a couple of IPA's I'm already feeling that warm glow inside.  It's only five pm, it's going to be a long day.

Viv and Wayne are telling me about the party last night and how crazy the gig was at the squat.  Viv says she knew it was time to leave though when it got to around six am and a large section of the males in attendance started taking their tops off and chest slamming into each other.  Wayne adds that it was sweaty as hell in the small room, of course, he had kept his leather jacket on the whole time...  

We head back in time to watch Hårda Tider down in the basement.  There's a fairly decent crowd but I'd imagined that the pace would be packed since there is a bit of buzz about the guys right now.  Luc was telling me last night though that the Fest was a little calmer this year than it had been in previous years. Still.. The HT guys seem to enjoy the gig anyway.  It's not totally my thing but what they do they do really well and Erik the singer is always fun to watch, he never stops moving, between songs he gets into these little rants and just paces back and forth across the stage like a kid who has got their hands on a lot of the old E numbers.

After the gig we head back upstairs and I bump into the guys from Reproach who had arrived right after we'd played.  Typical.  Great to see them all the same, really nice guys.  And I realise that Stijn really does look nothing like Grey Beard.  Iron Lamb have arrived too, strange hanging out with Johan here when we normally meet at the play park or at nursery with our kids.  The Night Fever guys are all looking pretty sauced, the drummer is spread out on the merch table, half asleep, Solomon has an intense vibe going on, apparently he hasn't slept at all since they came back from the squat last night, and Hasse has apparently just gone back to pissed up again.  He doesn't even remember meeting us this morning outside the venue.  Those Danes sure know how to party.

We head back downstairs to watch Cardiac Arrest.  They're fucking great, proper good American hardcore.  Wayne is in his element, down the front the whole show, leather jacket sitting proudly on his torso, finger resolutely pointing at the singer, every now again he's on the mic chanting along.  Great seeing Wayne bouncing about with these taller hardcore guys, impervious to everything except the Cardiac Arrest vocalist.  Viv prods me now and again, nodding in Wayne's direction like a proud mum.  Vik gets chatting to their singer afterwards, they know each other from when Nitad played with them over in the States, seems like a good guy.  They're playing out in the suburbs in Stockholm next weekend but I already have tickets for the Shellac show.  Would have been a fun gig to try and get on otherwise.

There's not really much else I'm want to see today except Voorhees so we start talking about heading out to another bar again.  Good to take a break from this place.  Solomon is still going strong, well, he's still standing anyway but he is starting to look a little tired, not surprising since he's been up since yesterday.  He's up for going to another bar with us and duly leads Vik, Luk and I to the closest bar to the venue, just across the street.  The area is starting to buzz again and Chaos Alley is already brimming with people.  Solomon marches straight into this bar, which I think in actual fact is more of a restaurant, a pretty chilled out one at that, and orders four vodkas.  Straight.  No ice.  Who can argue with that?  The girl behind the bar, who turns out to be the proprietor, looks a little taken aback by Solomon's abrupt style.  Vik offers to pay for the round and we all line up to collect our drinks, I motion quietly to the barmaid that I would very much appreciate a little ice in my drink.  We take a table outside and Vik asks if we can sort him out with money for the drinks.  I had a feeling he'd jumped the gun a little.  We sit there sipping from our glasses, Luc looking a little tortured as he does so, I actually quite like vodka on the rocks, whilst Solomon knocks his back.  Some guy, a friend of the owners, approaches us and starts with some small talk.  I can tell he's checking us out to see if we're going to be any trouble, it's pretty obvious.  Solomon loses interest immediately and leaves whilst we three engage him and end up having a pretty good talk.  We chat for a while and when he's satisfied that we're normal guys he makes his excuses and leaves us to it.

Once the voddy is polished off, I finish Luc's for him, we head for yet more chips and sauce.  Viv and a couple of the others tag along.  We meet Hasse there who is by now well into    party mode once again.  He's a little intrigued by my peanut butter sauce so I offer him some.  At first he seems to like it but then his face changes, "It's pretty dry... It's really fucking dry!  Isn't sauce supposed to make the foot wetter?"  Seems like I'm on my own.

We get back in time for the Voorhees show.  Me and Jos get chatting again for a while, just general stuff about life, family, work and so on before he heads off to catch his train home.  It's always great to see him, a genuine gent of the scene.  I then catch up with Acko from Voorhees, he's still spouting the Charlie Manson look, he pulls it off though.  He's another one it's always fun to catch up with.  We follow them down to the basement and now, with a good amount of beer and some voddy in me, I'm ready to get down to business.  Again there isn't a huge amount of people in the room but enough to create an atmosphere and when they kick into the first song I'm beyond caring anyway, me and Kev are straight into the pit.  We're followed shortly thereafter by Vik and Luc, the whole of DB moshing to Voorhees.  Brilliant.  Wayne is right there with us too.  In all honesty it's more fun for the nostalgia aspect than anything else.  I mean, it's pretty good but not great by any means.  But I really don't care, it's eleven pm, I've been drinking since two pm and it's Voorhees.  Fucking worse ways to spend an evening.

Stijn and the Reproach guys are doing their best to entice me to another after party at the squat again but I'm not even close to being tempted this time, far too knackered.  I know fine well I'd get there and crash out straight away.  Better to do that in a bar nearer the hotel.  Of course, we end up back at our favourite place.  We're all pretty fucking sauced by this point.  The bar is pretty busy too.  The Deptfords come along for a bit but one by one they drop off.  Kev says he's taking the merch bag back to the hotel room but doesn't return, Vik is just pure boats and fucks off, leaving just me and Luc.  More chips.  The last I really remember is being stood outside amongst the chaos of that fucking street, eating chips and banging on to Luc about how I'm willing to go for another beer with him, that it's something I'm prepared to do for him.  We end up lurching back to the hotel, just a vague memory of thrashing my tooth brush around my gob before collapsing into bed.

I wake up a few hours later with the feeling in my stomach that tells me I'm going to vom.  But it never arrives, just lurks around in the background the whole fucking day, plaguing me.  Vik looks like cack so that helps.  Kev seems to be fine again.  Don't fucking get it.  He tells us though that when he was making his way back to the hotel last night he couldn't make his way through the packed alley so decided to sit down on a bench for a while where he ended up falling asleep with the merch bag beside him.  He woke up about half hour later, not knowing what the fuck was going on.

Kev is catching a lift back in Jamie's car anyway, can't say I blame him.  His flight is a ten tonight which sounds very boring.  If he travels with Jamie and the guys he'll make it home about four hours before his flight even lands at Stansted.  No brainer.  We say bye to him and walk off in search of breakfast, via checking in with the venue where we're meeting Luc Bloodshed who is giving us a ride to Brussels.  We meet Kalle HT there who is waiting with their van.  Apparently the fucking guards had kicked out all of the bands who were sleeping in the venue at eight this morning!  Wankers!  I'm so relieved we weren't there.  I think if I'd been in that situation I would have fucking cried.  We bump into Peter, Linus and Erik from Hårda Tider who tip us off about a great bagel place they found.  We laugh about all the chips and sauce we've eaten this weekend, I really need something healthier.  Feels right now like I'll never eat another chip again, but that's obviously nonsense, much like the many occasions I've sworn myself off the booze.  Peter tells us about this sauce they have in Holland they call War Sauce, apparently it's a mixture of brown and white sauce and they derive the name from that.  Fucking mad.  Lucas is outraged.

The bagel place is indeed top notch, although I wish I was in a fitter state so I could truly enjoy it.  The Deptfords end up walking in just as we're finishing up so we get to say goodbye all over again. We end up waiting for ages outside the venue, Luc has been dealing with a lot of shit due to these arsehole guards at the venue.. We finally get going around one pm, so there's still plenty of time to catch our flight, although we don't have much margin for unforseen fuck ups.  I feel mildly nauseous  the whole trip, not helped by Luc's girlfriend's tub of noodles that she's brought along, but the vom is kept at bay.  Despite the fact I feel pretty shite we still manage to have a good gab with Luc and his girlfriend which helps the journey no end.  Nothing like a few rib tickling tales to keep your mind off the hangover.

Amidst all this joviality the game nearly comes to a very sudden stop.  Luc is in the fast lane and the traffic is pretty light.  Out of fucking nowhere some asshole comes from behind us and barges right into our lane, not just cutting Luc up but very nearly smashing him and us into the central reservation.  We'd been on the verge of overtaking a lorry and I can only imagine that this half wit had just come off the slip road we passed and simply not seen us because as Luc's girlfriend put it, "Nobody is that much of a twat!"  Luckily Luc was aware and hit his breaks whilst avoiding a skid.  We're all a little shaken though.  I'm sat in the middle seat in the back, cramped into the tiny car but with no seatbelt, if we'd crashed I wouldn't have stood a fucking chance.  The gig would have been up in the blink of an eye.  Fucks you up a bit if you start getting too deep into that frame of mind.  The whole episode seems to have woken Vik up anyway, he'd been sat there until now, eyes closed, no doubt trying to shut out his own hangover.

We arrive at Brussels airport without further drama.  I'm very glad to get out since I'm really starting to feel sick again and after bidding farewell to the guys we make a beeline for the bogs where I wash my face with tepid tap water.  The flight home is smooth enough although this time we're sat where we belong.  Lucas comments on how it's hard going back to economy once you've experienced the upper echelons of business class.  I'm just glad to be on my way home.  I sit there contemplating how utterly and pathetically predictable this hangover is.  I remember thinking on the flight over how well I felt, sat there with my free pasta pesto and coffee and knowing then that I'd most likely feel shite on the return journey.  As if there's no way I can actually effect this outcome...

One of these days I might just give up drinking.  I mean, why not really.  I'm sure I could live without it if I really chose to.  One thing is for fucking sure though, I won't be eating any chips for a while.  

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