I finished at work on the Friday evening. It had been a long punishing week. I was ready to collapse. But fortunately there was one engagement that could keep me motivated. One reason that I could continue my movements in hope.

I picked up Grant from the local station and we drove south. South to Bognor. To Butlins. For a winter festival of dreams and nightmares. The Bugged Out Weekender.

We arrived at Butlins at 8pm and encountered the crew. There were twenty of us in total split over four 7-bed apartments. I love a good camping festival. But sleeping in a proper bed in your own apartment in January after a heavy night of house music is beyond all worldly pleasures in this life. Especially when you can wake up to cold milk and a box of crunchy nut cornflakes.

So upon arrival we got the booze out, set up Jake’s massive speakers and began the revelry. It was like a holiday and a house party (in your own house) combined into one, with all your best friends and no dicks.

Butlins Yes.

Unsurprisingly it was some time before we left the apartments. During this time Amy jumped out a window we got totally smashed.

Then we headed to the dance halls.

Jonas Rathsman

To be honest I have no recollection at all of who we saw that night. The only reason I know we saw Jonas Rathsman is that it says name in the photo above that I apparently took.

What I do remember is discovering The Shop.

The fact that I’ve put The Shop with capital letters probably makes you think it was a special hidden dance floor. Or even an underground bar that few knew the location of.

In fact it was just a shop.

A classic dodgy Butlins shop that sold the most useless things in the world. Of course we loved it. It had those weird tubes you turn upside down to make a nnnnnnnnggggrrrrr noise. It had rabbit ears:

White Rabbit

But best of all it had a variety of weird sacky gloopy things. We used a number of the tubes to get some slow motion facial video slaps. One day I’ll find out where they are and let you know. Such things can never reside in the realm of forgotten for too long.

Then we took a squidgy little green creature thing that was to become known as Cedric, and left.


It was Butlins. So between all the various dance floors you had to walk through an area of arcade machines. Many of which we played on. And a challenge arose.

The flight simulator.

How many people can you fit in a flight simulator?

We piled and squeezed as many as we could. Arms over heads and elbows into groins. It was at least 7 of us in that tiny space – you know the shitty little simulators you get that cost £2 a go.

We switched it on to rollercoaster mode.

And thus began 5 of the most hellishly enjoyable minutes of my life. Thrown from left to right, forward and backwards. In a mass of contorted bodies. Every exposed fleshy part experiencing the pain only an anonymous bone can inflict.

At last it ended and we scrambled out. I felt sicker than I have ever felt before. And I’ve felt pretty sick.

Fortunately I kept it contained. We just returned to a dance floor.

Bugged Out Weekender

And continued to dance like crazy persons.

I turned to Ben and told him to stick with myself, Jake or Freddie so as not to get lost.

Then turned and smashed Kate’s drink with my hand and watched it splurt all over her. She was soaked. So I bought her a new beer. I gave it to her and said: “Come with me!”

In doing so, as you do, I gesticulated wildly. And catapulted her fresh beer out of her hand and into the air. It hit the ground with the explosive force of a dirty bomb.

But luckily there was something to distract us. A truly odd sight.

There was an elderly couple raving it up in front of us. This isn’t odd though. I believe anyone no matter who they are or what they do should have the right to dance to whatever they want.

It was the fact that the elderly female had the most terrifyingly solemn look on her face I’ve ever witnessed. The elderly gent on the other hand was having the time of his life, while waving a teddy bear in the air. Like it was a god. Maybe it was a god. Who knows?

Though on second thoughts we were dancing with a luminous green squidgy thing so maybe a teddy bear isn’t that strange after all.

By the end of this small interruption I turned to Ben and he was gone. Vanished. This was literally 5 minutes max since I told him to stand by my side. I don’t know how he managed it.

I decided to phone Grant, who was also missing, to see if he was with Ben.

Upon answering the phone he informed me he was at that very moment vomiting into a bush. There were strangers watching. Lots of strangers.


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