As regular readers will know, I take a notebook with me everywhere. It's an indispensable tool for an author; you can have an idea for a book, or piece of writing, can see a quirk of character or a nuance of description anywhere at anytime, and I hate losing them.
This weekend, my notebook grew very fat remarkably fast with all I witnessed on my 70's themed Butlins weekend stag do. How could it not?
Being the jealous type, I'm keeping them to myself. I can definitely see a tvdetective book based on such a premise! But, as part of my public service duties, I thought I'd use my experience of the weekend to offer some tips about how to survive such times.
1. Don't bring a watch. You won't want to know how slowly time appears to be passing.
2. Drink lots (even if you're teetotal). If you're not drunk, you'll see the place as it really is, which would never do. Note - your car can be searched for alcohol on the way in. If you haven't got enough, the security staff give you extras.
2(a). The drinking also helps you to deal with the undead creatures of the night which you'll meet, somehow magically resurrected by the power of a 70's weekend.
3. Leave sanity, dignity and civilisation at the gate. As (2), you'll be searched on entry and if you've got some, it will be confiscated.
4. Don't bother using irony. It's not a tradeable currency. No one laughed when I asked for directions to the on site library.
5. And forget words with more than 6 letters, or sentences with more than 10 words, too.
6. Bring earplugs. Sleep is frowned upon. People come home at all hours, very loudly, and the soundproofing of the chalets consists of cardboard and papier mache.
7. Also bring bedding, or preferably a bed. Those provided are as narrow as a fast-food addict's arteries, as long as a chav's list of qualifications, and as comfortable as laying on cobbles. You won't sleep (see 6), but it's better to have somewhere comfortable to suffer.
8. Try to wipe from your mind the dictionary definition of "entertainment". Disappointment will be your companion, otherwise.
9. Dancing. A very important element this, and try to remember - if you've any sense at all of rhythm, tempo or time, do not dance. You'll be horribly conspicuous.
10. If you're really keen, practice some of the fun activities beforehand. Projectile vomiting, public sex demonstrations, drinking, smoking, and screaming at artillery barrage volume levels will serve you well.
One final word - despite all this, I actually enjoyed myself. As ever, it was down to the people I was with, which, I maintain, if you get right you can have a good time anywhere. Cheers lads, if you're reading this! Now, where did I leave the booking form for next year...?