Silverstone with James Clay


The client that keeps on giving

So you’ve got this client, and they take you to Berlin for two days, to get a feel for their business; to understand their brand, the philosophy, soak up the atmosphere, get it under your skin. To drink a shit-load of beer. Then you come home and you’re like, ‘it doesn’t get much better than this. I think we peaked too soon…’

But then said client asks if you fancy joining them at Silverstone. To watch the British Grand Prix. To drink a shit load of beer. Again.

Let me think about that for a second.


So, between the PR account team we um and ah and discuss who should take the bullet and go (we do none of this in real life). We manage to muster up a few willing bodies in the form of Adam (Wosley), Alice (Fral) and myself (no interesting nickname for me I’m afraid). We’ll make the trip, we say, y’know, for this work thing.

Pool car stuffed to the brim with tent, sleeping bags, booze and baby wipes – essential, obvs – we’re on our way.

Hours later, arrival. Greet client; high fives and kisses all round. Necessary wristband acquired. We’re told there’s hot showers. HOT SHOWERS! Hashtag winning. Baby wipes, be gone. And then the first of the weekend dramas – tentgate. Bring an eight man tent for three people, we thought. We’ll have so much space, what luxury! We thought. But there’s a missing pole, which is only the beginning of our trouble considering we can’t really tell one end of this tent from the other. Fuck it, it’s going up anyway, the worst that’ll happen is we suffocate in our sleep if it comes down on us. And it looks cool at this weird jaunty angle. Sort of.

So, to the beer truck we go. Berliner Pilsner, Brooklyn, Erdinger on tap. Over to our clients, congratulate one on his outstanding shirt – he always wears outstanding shirts. It’s his third wardrobe change of the day, he tells me. His other shirts were too loud, and the midges fancied him too much. What a shame, I think.

Beers in hand and burlesque on the stage, it’s shaping up to be a pretty entertaining weekend. The dancers start to shake bits of themselves I didn’t even know we had control over and I have to put my glasses on to get a better look. I think I like this burlesque malarkey; it’s fascinating.

Then an odd turn; guy with balls in mouth takes to the stage. Ping pong balls (we know what you were thinking), gin bottles and Beethoven’s Fifth. Make of that what you will. Like I said, weird.

So, back to the beer. And more beer, and more. Things get messy and it’s all a bit of a blur, so bear with me.

Dodgems: nothing seems more appealing when you’re drunk than driving around like an idiot, smashing into things and it all being safe and legal. And at Silverstone! Dodgems happened several times, and it was so much better than I remember it as a kid, for which I thank Brooklyn Brewery.

Silent disco: why are these so appealing? Somehow, every song you hear with headphones on sounds uh-maze-ing, and drives you to the edge of insane, as Wosley so kindly demonstrated for us. Enthused with Bon Jovi, he swung his head so violently his headphones took flight. Undeterred, he continued with a slut drop and promptly split his shorts at the crotch. Standard.

And so it went on. Bodies cramming into photo booths, drunken selfies we can’t remember, losing your shit again ’cause Boston’s ‘More than a Feeling’ is playing in your ear.

Then a storm hits and it’s belting it down. Guys, don’t think our tent is going to survive this one…

It didn’t. Collapsed and water logged, we know we’ve been foolish. Wild abandon has done us over and we’ve got to be bailed out by our client: “Sleep in one of our spare tents, it’s free ‘til tomorrow.”

Yes! Winning again – this is much comfier than ours would ever be. So comfortable, in fact, that I decide to pass out face planted in the doorway while Fral reflects on our ridiculous situation uttering her oft-repeated phrase delivered in that familiar Yorkshire drawl: “Can’t cope.”

Morning, sunshine, headache, confusion. More sleep please.

Up and out for the qualifiers. Need paracetamol and hair of the dog.

Wish is granted with Pimm’s by the jug. Domino’s makes an appearance too. Everything is better now. Until the sudden realisation we have no home for the night. Tear-arse it down to Halfords thirty minutes before closing and purchase the first four-man tent we can find.

And so we go again with the beer. Burlesque. Weird ping-pong dude. More beer – we’re flagging now. And just as we think we can drink no more, the Cuban Brothers take to the stage. Highlights include references to ‘nose whiskey’, penchants for horse tranquilizers and some epic breakdancing. BOOM. We’re back in the game.

Sunday. Race day, the atmosphere’s terrific. Now, I don’t know anything about Formula 1 and Fral downright hates it (boyfriend’s obsessed, you see), but I bloody well wanted to see what was happening. Hammers in pole loses his position immediately, Button and Alonso collide, Button’s out. And I only know because there’s gasps and whoops and oooohs from the crowd that we have to keep getting Wosley to explain.

A win for Hammers, and what a great thing to see – a British driver wins the British Grand Prix. Then a mad dash onto the track to watch him lift the trophy. Wosley, aka Instagr-Adam, loses it again, meaning we lose him while he takes approximately ninety thousand selfies.

So yeah – we went to Silverstone with our client, and we had a bloody good time. While we spent the majority having a reet good knees up, as is our prerogative when with a client that deals in beer, watching the British Grand Prix has to be a highlight.

Adam may have been a fan way before our trip was on the table, but I think the Formula 1, or at least Silverstone, has found new fans in Alice and I.

Her boyfriend will be pleased.

P.S. We found the missing tent pole on packing up the car. All together now: “Can’t cope!”