A GUEST SERIES
7 – One More Time – Daft Punk (2000, Virgin Records)
Released as a single in November 2000 (Reached Number 2)
To say the situation is frosty is an understatement. We haven’t spoken since we got in the car at the airport and that was an hour ago. My hands are sore because I’ve been gripping the steering wheel too hard, his steering wheel. I’m in my brother’s car and we are driving back from Heathrow after having spent three days at Munich’s annual Oktoberfest.
We are not talking because my brother has a hangover and he is being especially stupid about it. In my head I am going through the amount of times he has irritated me since 8am that morning, a list I am going to relay to you all now, well most of it. I am also being enjoying suddenly having to be harsh on the brakes of his car and jolting him in his seat.
At 8am earlier that day, the phone in my hotel room starts ringing. I have to get out the shower to answer it. A strange German voice speaks to me down the line. He tells me that my friend is ill in Room 423. This is my brothers room. I throw some clothes on and stroll on down to the room. The first thing that greets me is the smell. There is sick on the floor, in the bed, in the sink, on the fucking window, god knows how it got there. The most disgusting sight however, is the sight of my brother in what looks like leopard skin boxer shorts and very little else, lying on the bed. The cleaner identifies himself as the caller and points at my brother. I shake my head and give the cleaner 20 euros for his trouble and for his later troubles and I apologise to him – he smiles and says ‘Oktoberfest?’ and I nod. He laughs and says, ‘Every year, you English…’
I tell my brother that he needs to drink some strong coffee and get packed and ready to leave as we are booked on a flight in five hours time. He tells me that he will catch a later flight. I tell him I am leaving in one hour and so is he, and I pick up his tickets and passport and walk out of his room.
At 9.15am my brother vomits outside a Porsche garage about five minutes’ walk from the hotel. He at least gets most of it into a handily positioned bin. The sick is a weird orange colour, like the colour of Donald Trump’s hair. I walk off and sit on a wall overlooking a nice park and wait for him.
At 10am my brother lies down on the floor of train to ‘stop the world moving so fast’. A nice American couple ask me if he is ok. A German man looks at him and then at me and says ‘Oktoberfest?’ I sigh and nod and the German laughs so much he starts coughing like a comedy villain in a Childs TV programme. Twenty-three other people get up, walk over him and sit somewhere else.
At 10.30am I make my brother run to catch our airport connection. We don’t need to run but I convince him that it is leaving in two minutes. This makes him dry retch into a carrier bag. This pleases me. I text my wife and update her with the circumstances she tells me to leave him where he is. She doesn’t like my brother since he beat her at Risk two Christmases ago.
At 11.15am my brother somehow makes it through security. Despite looking like someone who has been killed. Twice.
At 1130am whilst in departures, my brother vanishes. I sit in blissful moan free silence for 45 minutes for the first time that day I relax and I listen to some music. This track comes on and I feel my anger subsiding a bit and a little bit of sympathy creeps in for my brother.
Jump N Shout – Basement Jaxx (1999, XL Records, Reached Number 12)
At 12.15pm they call our flight. My brother hasn’t returned from wherever he is. I guess it’s the toilets. So I grab his bag and my bag and head to the toilets. Of which there are four sets. I pick the closest one and shout his name when I go in. Two men leave quickly. A cubicle door slowly opens and a white-faced shadowy figure who looks like my brother emerges. “Let me die” he says with a croak. Which I have to say makes me laugh.
Between 1pm and 3pm my brother sits on a plane in the crash position blowing into a sick bag. I chat to the German man next to me. He looks at my brother and says “Oktoberfest…?” I sigh and nod. He tells me that he goes every year and every year on the flight he catches back there is at least one.
I get off the plane at 3pm and wander down the gangways and into the arrivals lounge. When I got off the plane my brother was behind me, when I got to arrivals he was nowhere to be seen. I retrace my steps and find him being pushed in a wheelchair by a kindly air stewardess. She frowns at me when my brother tells her that I am with him. We at least avoid the crowds going through customs.
At 5pm I have to pull over on the hard shoulder on the M3 so that my brother can be sick. After improving the Wiltshire countryside, he at least perks up a bit. He manages to control his own window switch and asks nicely if we could stop at the next services, which we do. I sit in the car park in the service area near Yeovil and wait for him to come back.
I switch the radio on. My brother comes back and gets back in and offers me a weak “Thank You”. He’s carrying a can of Red Bull and is eating a bacon sandwich. About ten minutes later, ‘One More Time’ by Daft Punk comes on, and my brother looks at me. “I bloody love this song” he says. It’s the best thing he has said all day. “Me too” I tell him and I turn it up.
“You know something” he tells me ten minutes later, the mood having lightened considerably “that was a brilliant trip, I mean, today was a bit shit, sorry, for being such a lightweight, but I’m definitely going to do that again next year, you’re coming right…?”
To be honest he wasn’t a lightweight, he drank way more than me, I just remembered that we had a flight to catch, so stopped drinking and went bed earlier than him. I left him drinking in the hotel bar with a couple of Albanians, but I don’t tell him that, he was convinced I was there until the end. I look at him, somewhat gobsmacked. But he was right. It was an amazing trip.
Life Is Sweet – Chemical Brothers (1994, Virgin Records, Reached Number 25)