On Christmas Day I left the 'excitement' of a traditional family gathering and headed over to Mattimals place for a late night rendezvous, the reason for this was our dawn mission to Dover to catch the ferry to France for the New Years Eve snowboarding trip. The was a reasonable sized crew of about 10 assembled for the mission, the cast included Weller, Manimal, Mattimal, Pete King, Dave Robinson, the Plumber and some Northern monkeys. We were divided into 2 groups, some in the Plumbers van and some in a hire car. On boarding the ferry we headed for the top-deck for a cross channel smoke, which pretty much knocked me out for the entire journey across France.
We were somewhere in the vicinity of where we were supposed to be going when it was decided that it was my turn to drive. We got to the foot of the mountains in the late evening to be greeted by signs telling us that the roads to Val Thorens (our destination) were closed, obviously this raised moral in the van to an all time low. we decided to have a crack at getting up as far as we could (despite the fact that we had no snow chains). We were doing alright and wondering what all the fuss was about when we drove into a blizzard and the van was going all over the show, we had no choice but to head back down and try to sleep in the van. We found a McDonalds car park and settled in for the night. The attempt at getting some sleep soon turned into a complete farce as there was obviously not enough room for 6 people and all there gear in a Mercedes van. It would be fair that tempers got a bit frayed and that everyone would have rather been anywhere else. Chins kept everyone "amused" by waking up and announcing that he was having a lot of trouble sleeping and that he wanted to swap positions then, before this could be discussed he would fall back fast asleep. In the morning the van was dripping with condensation and everyone couldn't wait to get out of there. We had a hearty McDonalds breakfast (better than the shit you get in this country) and decided to make another run for the snow. Paul sorted out some chains and we headed for the hills, this time we got all the way up to the resort below Val Thorens but the final stretch of the road was was still shut. We spent the rest of the day dossing around in the van reasonably cold, tired and demoralised. Eventually, at about 5pm the road opened and we finally made it into the resort (the highest in Europe) in time for an evening out. Everyone was so glad to be out of the van at last and a good mood filled the air. Our apartments turned out to be pretty deluxe and well within easy stumbling distance of the nightlife.
This was my first time snowboarding and I was really looking forward to getting on the snow, although I was a bit apprehensive that the state of my leg (absolutely fucked) would spoil my enjoyment. I needn't of worried, from the second I got on the board until the time we went home I loved every minute of it. (Thanks to Alex for the brief but efficient lesson). Matt also seemed to share my new found appreciation of snowboarding, Pete wasn't so sure at the start but was soon well into it as well. The best way to explain it (as told to me by Weller) is: "It's like when you just started skating and you just cruise round bombing down hills !"
I'm writing this a long time after the event, so I can't remember when a lot of this happened, but hopefully you should be able to get the idea. Basically, everyday was similar, get-up, go snowboarding , go out and get pissed, come back to the apartment, get stoned, sing along to Lee "Scratch" Perry , sleep.
These were the highlights (not including any of New Years eve activities):
Dave Robinson eating a pint glass and cutting his mouth to bits.
Manimal getting so stoned in the apartment (on his own) that when I came back he was stumbling around knocking everything over.
Getting involved in a massive snowball fight with some foreigners, including mooning at them and giving them some serious verbal abuse (primarily questioning their sexuality).
Dave and Manimal having a massive fight in the street and burying each other in snow.
Getting grief off our landlords for singing reggae at about 3 in the morning.
Manimal chucking a load of rugby playing types off the top of a hill, then having to commit suicide before they killed him.
Going to some club that played a load of old school hip hip, and getting down with our badselves, table top style.
Dave running along and sliding on his back to take out 2 Danish girls like a pair of skittles. (One of the funniest things I've ever seen)
There's probably a shed load more but that's what I remember.
THE MAIN EVENT:
The crew at the new years eve feast
New Years Eve started like any other day, we got up and went snowboarding and came back. In the evening everyone converged on our apartment for a feast, prepared by John C. We ate , we drank and we smoked. I lent everyone a Hawaiian shirt for the occasion, I sported a tasteful 70's safari suit, shades and afro wig, we also persuaded a drunken Manimal to wear a dress, long johns and a woolly hat (much to our amusement). Before long everyone had gone off the rails and we were out on the balcony hurling abuse and bangers at the French, next came an outbreak off throwing bangers at each other in our small apartment and a bit of dancing to Lee Perry. It was at this stage we decided that we were ready to hit the town. First up we headed to the local "English" pub, where we threw bangers at each other , slapped people with sticky hands (supplied by Matt?) and I questioned a married couple about there opinions on anal sex and golden showers. Amazingly we left the pub of our own free will and headed out onto the mountain top to see in the new year. On the way John and Dave R jumped over lit fireworks and generally tried to hurt themselves. There was a massive firework display and ski jump demo, a countdown and then all hell let loose. A million bangers were going off and we had a group bundle. Manimal threw himself into a fire and set his dress alight and everyone generally went crazy. We then headed to our local club for a serious bogel/breakdance/bundle session. I don't think many people in there could relate to our method of partying, every now and again the bouncers would find us in a pile on the floor and stand us all up again, only to find us like it again 10 minutes later. Matt put his credit card behind the bar and bought strangers drinks. Me and Dave decided to go for a walk, on our way past some shitty Dutch club we saw a bouncer hit a woman. Dave (much to his credit) took some serious offence to this and began giving the doorman some serious shit. I could see that it was going to get out of hand so I went and tried to pull the boy away, but after he threatened to kill me I decided to leave him to it and settled down to watch the fight. Dave got in some good, fast early blows, but soon looked on the way to getting a beating. Next thing I know there's 3 blokes on top of him, so I jump up and run over ready to steam in with fists flying. Luckily before I wack anyone I realise that they're policemen, one of them is holding his legs, one's sitting on his back trying to cuff him and the other is trying to hold his head still. All the time this is going on Dave is trying to escape, swearing his head off and generally acting like he's got rabies. After a quick trip to the Police station and a brief explanation of what happened and promising to take Dave straight home (all while I was wearing comedy glasses and wig) they let him go and we were back in the club in no time! I can't remember much after this except jumping off loads of things into snow drifts and going to another club on my own.
Manimal and me enjoying warm-up drinks at our pad
And that, my friends, was how I spent New Years Eve.
We had another few days snowboarding and then had another trip from hell in van.
There's talk of doing the same thing this year, and I truly hope it happens.
Thanks to Weller for his logistical operation and Lee Perry CD, everyone who drove, Manimal and Weller for lending everyone there snowboard gear, John C for the excellent feast, and Dave Robinson for amusing me endlessly.