I’ve just returned from a 4-day drinking bender to celebrate my good friend Paul Winter’s impending marriage.
I’ve known Paul since I was 12, but since Uni days he’s acquired the nickname of Squaddie and now everyone calls him that — something I’m still not 100% used to!
The festivities started in Southampton, where Squads went to Uni. Paul arrived dressed as Paula Knickersoff, a hot new Russian tennis star. Many pints and pubs later we ended up in the Frog and Frigate where much topless table dancing ensued — unfortunately, we were the ones topless and dancing on tables! Then the full extent of the fun was revealed to Squaddie — we bundled him into a car and drove him to Stansted airport (with one memorable Slough roundabout wee-break) where we Paul and 7 of us got on a plane to Berlin!
We landed early morning Berlin time, and dumped our bags at the Circus hostel where we were staying. Sadly we couldn’t move into our rooms until 2pm, which meant killing four hours. Most of us hadn’t slept much, a fitful hour or so in the car (barring the best man who was driving!) and another 45 minutes on the plane, so we did the honourable thing and hit the local bars, with the intention of popping back later to freshen up and get some shut-eye.
Several beers later and we realised that Live 8 was on in Berlin — we headed straight there! Setting ourselves up near a handy beer tent we drank and enjoyed the beautiful Berlin sunshine and the ‘interesting’ selection of music. Highlights for me were Green Day, Brian Wilson but most of all A-ha! Sadly we hung on til about 10pm but didn’t get a chance to see Faithless, which is a bit gutting. We repaired to the hotel for a quick s-cubed, and then went back out…more boozing…
Eventually we finished about 3am, making it a 33-hour spectacular session…and we still had two days left!
The next two days continued in a simlar vein, with beering and a fairly decent amount of touristing going on too — Berlin is a lovely city, and to my surprise I much much preferred the old East side to the Western half. The areas around the old Berlin wall like Checkpoint Charlie are particularly moving — as a Eurosceptic I was surprisingly moved by the story and of the reunification of Germany. I’ll have to rethink my views on unifying Europe now…
The flight back landed at 10am this morning (the 5th), and after a quick burger and pint in the pub nearest the station we waved our goodbyes — a splendid time! Top marks to Nick Noel-Johnson (the best man) for organising the whole thing — it was bloody ace and I’m sure Paul’s well pleased at his pre-marital sendoff!