I’m sitting on the plane on my way back to Luton. Just me, a small packet of peanuts and a bloke snoring, mouth wide-open, flinching every few seconds before he wakes up, looks around, remembers he’s on a flight and goes back to sleep.
Not to mention departure was delayed by an hour, so we found ourselves sitting, immovable, on the baking hot tarmac. Liberty. I reach into my bag and pull out A Little Life, opening to the page I’d folded over five nights ago, when we started descending into Spain. Then I remember I’m at the bit where Jude is getting prostituted in a hostel and – actually, too depressing. Page re-folded.
I start thinking: what makes a good holiday? Sun, of course. I’ve always avoided visiting cold places. Seems daft to pay to go somewhere more miserable than the UK. The company has to be spot on, too. I like the adventurous types: friends who’ll promise to eat some market stall chicken eye if I do after. Only, I won’t – I’ll watch them wretch on a street corner and piss myself laughing.
Cheap booze and filthy clubs are a must, too. It’s all well and good strolling barefoot along the waves, taking in the sea air and staring out into the sunset. But really, I’m preoccupied thinking about tapas, cheap vino, and a night in a back-alley club that, from the outside, looks like an illegal sex dungeon.
Ah, yes: sex. Unlike a one night stand in London which lasts all but, well, one night, a holiday romance develops into a climactic four night stand, made all the better when you chuck in throbbing sun, sand between your crack and knowing you’ll never see the guy again. It’s a mini relationship of sorts, but with all the shagging and none of the pain.
Spain was ace. Me and four mates in an Airbnb, smoking out the non-smoking apartment window, buying pills from the dealer next door, heading out to a music festival with most of our favourite DJs playing. There was one row (unavoidable), but loads of pissed-up “I lurrrrv you”s, too. Sometimes, all you need are your friends.
Actually, fuck that. On the way to Spain, there was no denying that I was pretty convinced I was about to get royally fucked – up the arse. New scene, warm air, horny pilled up gays swaying to techno at 5am. At a festival in the UK – and I’ve had my fair share since my first at 16 – you could have a cock in your mouth before noon.
But at the festival in Spain, the gays were posey, aware they were being looked at as they sucked in their cheekbones and rolled their eyes (alright, alright, guilty as charged – but only while walking down the street pretending I’m on a runway). I’ve never really had a type, but if I do, it isn’t that. Come to think of it, in the past five nights, had I even seen anyone snog? Or anything beyond an arm around the shoulder? It’s a far cry from Reading Festival, where a bloke – who probably works in finance – walks around with a sign attached to his bare arse telling people to spank him. Or the kinky darkness of what’s arguably Europe’s best temporary queer club, Glastonbury’s NYC Downlow, where I sucked off a tennis instructor who, it turned out, lived in Hackney Central.
So the sun was out, the company was great, cheap booze bought. But there was a lack of sex. And not just in the fuck-me-sideways kind of way. That pulsating beat that makes you feel like something naughty could, or is about to happen, wasn’t there either. Shame, really.
I start thinking about British festivals, and how we go mad for it. We chuck sleep, hygiene and sanity into an overflowing bin, ready for a heady weekend of drugs, sex and booze. We love it, getting filthy and releasing our primal need to eschew all responsibility for four days. Isn’t that what all festivals should be like? Surely? Well, I guess we’re not all cut from the same cloth.
After a long period of stillness – is he dead? – the man sitting next to me on the plane just let out a snore. Phew.
We’re being told to put our seatbelts on now. Isn’t flying the worst? And who thought to put “London” in front of Gatwick, Luton and Stanstead airports? They’re nowhere bloody near. Anyway, enough of the moaning. Must be the comedown. Summer’s only just getting started, at least.