Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Sobbin' Women














Just watched Seven Brides for Seven Brothers- Amy lent it me and it is Fucking Brilliant. I love a good musical and after watching Seven Brides, I now know how I will find the man of my dreams- I just need six single girlfriends, then seven bearded woodsmen will come, put bags over our heads and carry us, kicking and screaming, into the mountains, then we'll get snowed in for nine months and we'll all end up married. Actually, when I put it like that, it sounds more like gang rape. I guess that is what Seven Brides essentially is all about; except instead of ravishing the girls, the red-headed lumberjacks sing to them about the joys of Springtime. I know what I'd prefer.

(By the way, I use semi-colons a lot; I get a warm feeling inside when I slip one in. But I'm not sure if I always use them in the right place; if anyone knows that I'm using them in the wrong way... keep it to yourself.)

In other news, I had a job interview tonight. They have a cat. It is fate.

I hope I get it, if I don't get this job I think I will take it as a Sign to go back to England. Oh I do miss England: it is the home of roast dinners and binge drinking; it is the home of the National Trust and fish and chips by the sea, in the rain; it is the home of apple and blackberry crumble with custard... Unfortunately, it is also the home of Nick Griffin and my Overdraft, so I may as well stay away for a little while longer, pretending that I'm not in A Lot of Debt and also pretending to learn French.

Haha! I have just been Googling 'Seven Brides for Seven Brothers kidnap scene' to find photographic evidence of the unbelievably dodgy storyline of the film. I can't find anything, but I have found the lyrics to one of the songs- 'Sobbin Women'- that I think illustrates my point:

Them a woman was sobbin', sobbin', sobbin'
Fit to be tied.
Ev'ry muscle was throbbin', throbbin'
From that riotous ride.
Oh they cried and kissed and kissed and cried
All over that Roman countryside
So don't forget that when you're takin' a bride.
Sobbin' fit to be tied


Oh yes!
Them a women was sobbin', sobbin',
Sobbin' buckets of tears...
Oh they acted angry and annoyed
But secretly they was overjoyed...




I'm just going to check that my door is locked.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Villette Sonique

Today a French man dressed in nothing but bright pink hotpants, with a fluffy animal tail wrapped around his head, told me I was eating too many crisps. At first I was outraged, "What does he know about nutrition??" I was yelling, "They're cooked in fucking sunflower oil!" But it is now four hours later and I am actually feeling very sick from all the crisps I have eaten. He may have had a point.

Oh why did I agree to babysit tonight? The night is all dark and sticky, not like blood, more like... I don't know, something nice. 'Dark and sticky' sounded a bit sinister. I just mean that the air is warm and charged with energy... I get the feeling people are out there enjoying the summer night whilst I am sat on The Family's couch, listening to the two girls whisper in their bedroom, thinking they are being ingeniously quiet.

I spent the afternoon at 'Villette Sonique', a free music festival at Parc de la Villlette which is this really pretty park in the North East of Paris. There's a canal with a floating bridge over it, little gardens and walkways and for Some Reason a big mirrored globe.















It really felt like I was at a festival today, everyone was spread out on the grass, drinking and smoking, and waiting for the music to start. I saw Caribou then I had to fucking haul myself back onto the metro and come to work.

It's on again tomorrow night, if you are reading this and you live in Paris, it's definitely worth the trek there; Ikonika with Optimum and Kode9 & The Spaceape are playing. Wooooh. I'm looking forward to some dubstep in the summer sun.

Also, last night we went to the lovliest place ever, a bar and restaurant called Le China in Bastille. The style is kind of 1920s Orient, which sounds tacky but it isn't, when you go inside you feel like you should be wearing a vintage twinset with stockings. We sat at the bar and watched the bartender expertly make us our 12 euros cocktails (try the house speciality- The Contreaupolitan, made with fresh sage) which isn't too bad for Paris- City of Overpriced Drinks, then we went and sat downstairs on leather pouffes under seductive, red lighting- it made a nice change from arriving drunk and then fighting with the bouncers.

Speaking of which, tonight me and Kayt were supposed to go back to Le Longhop and aggressively show the bouncer the ID that we didn't have last weekend (I say 'show'- what I actually promised him I would do is bring my passport and slap him across the face with it), needless to say we went to Villette Sonique instead because a) its better and b) Amy pointed out that it is illegal in France not to carry around ID so technically, technically, we didn't have a leg to stand on...

I am feeling a bit blue tonight (as in sad not as in raunchy) because my mum is having a house warming party for this bloody house I've never been to, and my brother told me on Facebook before that my stepdad and my mum secretly thought I was coming as a surprise and the more he insisted that I wasn't coming, the more my mum thought he was trying to lead her off the scent.

"No, listen, she is really not coming."
"Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh... ok! Wink wink!"

Well I am really not coming, I am currently sat in an apartment in Paris, feeling sick because I ate too many crisps and waiting for 'The Only Way Is Essex' to load. Ahhhhh I do like living in Paris but I do hate missing out on things and I do miss my family and friends soooo muuuch. What shall I do????
WHAT SHALL I DO????

Friday, 27 May 2011

Marche des Salopes

Arghhh I am so frustrated. All the lovely little boutiques near me are having their sales, but not just like a normal sale where they put up signs in the window and mark down a few shit dresses- the streets are full of tables filled with clothes and it all looks really cheap, even the designer stuff. They are such good sales that the mum came home early from work and said I could leave two hours early so I could look at the sales before it all goes tomorrow. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I have no money. I have about five euros.

This is so unfair. I am all fizzing and anxious with Sales Fever, thinking that somewhere out there is the perfect item of clothing for me, reduced from 200 euros to 20, in my size... and I can't buy it. I hate this feeling. I HATE it when the sales are on and you feel like you are missing out on the bargain of a lifetime, but it's worse because I look at these shop windows every day and they always have really nice things in and they are all in the sale and I caaaaaan't buy anything.

I am trying to think calming, non-materialistic thoughts. There is more to life than clothes isn't there? Last weekend I went on a protest, to prove to myself that I am Deep and Intelligent. It was the Paris version of Slutwalk, the movement that started in Toronto a few months ago, after a policeman went into a school and told girls not to dress like sluts if they don't want to get raped. (I refer back to my 'Vent' post where I got a bit angry and asked why policemen don't go into schools and tell boys not to rape people instead.)

I found out through Facebook that Paris was having its very own Slutwalk- 'Marche des Salopes' in French- and I decided I had to go, seeing as it's something I feel strongly about. I don't really have any political views, apart from 'refugees = good' and 'rape = bad', but I have always thought that one day I would explode out of my shallow shell and become an Activist, petrol bombing members of the British National Party on the street, not buying Starbucks etc.

So I thought Marche des Salopes could be my chance. I dragged Kayt and Amy along with me to Place de Bastille where it was supposed to be starting. Unfortunately there was only five people there. Half an hour later, there were slightly more people there but still only about 200. I can't decide if it just wasn't very well publicised or whether French people just think people who dress like sluts deserve to be raped. We thought it was pretty funny that the girls who had come dressed as 'sluts' were wearing tights and long-sleeved dresses, I'm so glad we didn't come in the English girls' version of what 'sluts' wear...

Anyway, my right to wear what I want and get as drunk as I want and NOT get raped is one of the only political/social issues I feel strongly about, and yet I still ducked out of the protest an hour early to go and get falafel. I'm disappointed in myself, but at least now I can stop pretending to care about things and just be honest- I want nice food and I want nice clothes and that is all.

I don't know why I started talking about this, I suppose I am trying to distract myself from all those FUCKING SALES that are going on right outside my door. Apparently tomorrow it is going to be even better, and all the rich people in the area set up little stalls and sell all their last season designer clothes for ridiculously low prices, because they don't need the money.

ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

(By the way, the pink sign says 'In skirt or in burka, my body is my right' and the yellow sign says 'Don't tell women how to dress, tell men not to rape'.)

















































Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Shallow Waters

I've cheered right up now!!! I watched this French film with the kids today called 'Nos jours heureux' and there was the most beautiful little boy in it called Youssef. I asked the girls which boy they fancied the most, because it's a film about a summer camp so there's loads of kids in it, and they both said Youssef and I said "He would be my choice too if I was younger" and then I had the most Incredible Thought.

"When was this film made girls?" I asked.

We waited until the end of the credits and it was made in 2006. He looks quite young in the film but they always cast teenage actors as children, so I guessed that actually he was about fifteen when the film was made... making him the same age as me!!

A quick Google search has shown me that he is actually nineteen. Humph. That's too young.

I can feel a depressing slump coming on again...

My arms are looking nice and brown though!!

I spent all of Saturday sunbathing by an outdoor pool, and it bloody worked, I forsee the next seven weekends spent exactly the same way.

Actually, it was quite traumatic, because I didn't get up in time to go with my friends so I had to go in on my own. My friends who have been before said bring picnic food and stuff, because you can stay there all day eating and tanning, so I brought two baguettes and a big bag of swimwear stuff. I thought there would be a different way to get to the outdoors pool and the sunbathing area, but there wasn't, so I was wandering around the changing rooms, fully dressed and carrying bread, getting more and more panicky. These pool attendants were laughing at me and speaking to me in French, and I couldn't find my way out of the changing rooms. They asking me if I was going to take my dress off and I just thought they were being pervy, but they were asking me because the only way to get to the outdoor pool is to walk through the indoor swimming pool.

Eventually I found my way out of the changing rooms, but the 'way out' was a changing cubicle with no back to it, like a secret passageway for fucking Psychic Swimmers. On the other side of the cubicle there were showers and lots of people who were very wet and they all stared at me as I walked past them fully-clothes carrying two baguettes and my handbag.

I felt more and more like I was doing something terribly wrong. At the end of the changing rooms was what looked suspiciously like the entrance to the swimming pool and I mean the entrance into the actual pool, filled with water. I had to walk through a shallow pool and it went around the corner. For a whole minute I thought the water was going to get deeper and deeper and that I was going to have to swim to the outdoor pool in my dress and with my bread.

THANK GOD the pool was only ankle-deep. I was able to get out and walk around the swimming pool, although I did look a bit weird walking around not in my swimming costume. I finally found the girls outside and it was all fine, but I won't be taking two baguettes with me next time. By the way, we saw the two most beautiful men I have ever seen in my life, worth the 5 euros entry fee alone. Unfortunately, they sat and watched as Anne and Clare tried to teach me how to swim, without much luck. Oh well, the doggy-paddle's still sexy isn't it?

Anyway I'm all cheered up, and all it took was a bit of a tan and the prospect that a fit, young actor I have never met might be the same age as me. I always suspected I was a shallow idiot.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Jurassic Bark

Why did I let myself watch it again??
I have been crying so much I can barely see. I remember the first time I ever saw it, I was fifteen and I was at my friend Lucy's house. Everyone was in the other room (all looking at MySpace I think, the gimps) and I walked past the TV and saw Futurama was on. I sat down and watched the whole episode and at the end one of my friends came to see where I was and I was just sat on the couch, hysterical. Everyone thought it was hilarious and about a year later some of my other friends heard the story and didn't believe it.

"You don't even like dogs!" they said.

To prove to them how sad it was, we got hold of the episode and watched it together. At the end I was once again hysterically crying, that sort of crying where you can't even breathe. Nobody else cried but they were in hysterics- laughing at me.

A little while later I was looking at my brother's Futurama DVD box set and I realised 'Jurassic Bark' was on it. I told my brother how much I had cried at it and he didn't believe me, proclaiming me to be a dog-hater and generally a stone-hearted bitch. We watched the episode together and at the end I cried again, of course. I remember my brother got up without saying anything and turned it off, then he came and sat next to me and said quietly "It's just a cartoon."

The thing is I like crying, it makes me feel better. I don't want the magic crying power to fade, so I won't watch it ever again now, until maybe I'm an old, old lady and I've half-forgotten what happens.

The thing is I don't even like dogs, I hate them.

Watch it, and let me know if you cry, I hope this link works:

http://loombo.com/0qs52qah19mu

Emo

Fucking hell. There is absolutely nothing the matter with me yet I have been walking around listening to Adele's Someone Like You (my new emo song after Nicki Minaj's Moment 4 Life) on repeat, holding back the tears. The lyrics don't hold any special meaning for me and I have no reason to be sad, at all.

So what is the matter with me? Absolutely nothing. I'm just suffering from an extreme case of Hangover Paranoia. I feel like such a dick and I'm not sure why.

I went out on Sunday night with Anna and had to get the metro home at six am on Monday morning in my bare feet, because I was too drunk to put my high heels back on. They are really very beautiful shoes but they're so hard to get my feet into. And now they are dirty and ruined and I've worn them twice.

I only meant to go out for a couple of drinks, but this is what I always say. I don't know if 'pecking head' is a phrase exclusive to Manchester, but I am definitely pecking my own head. I am like the annoying friend who flakes out on you and gets ridiculously drunk every time you go out, except I'm not my friend, I'm just Me and I'm annoying the fuck out of myself. I came home on Monday morning minus my favourite (and only) black jacket, but somehow clutching a man's blue shirt, even though honestly I didn't do anything whoreish. I don't think.

We went out with a group of people Anna works with, including her manager. He said we could in VIP with him to see Bob Sinclar at Showcase, which is a huuuge, expensive club by the river, not far from where Family Thrift live, ironically.

It is the first place in Paris I have been where I have felt under-dressed: everyone there was very Dressed Up, in little dresses and bare legs and massive heels; a far cry from Le Long Hop (which, by the way, we were refused entry to on Saturday, because we didn't have any ID. The ages of our little group ranged from 21 to 30, so we got rather irate with the bouncer as we left I promised him I will return next weekend, with my passport, and I will slap him across the face with it.)

In the VIP area of Showcase we had free champagne, free whiskey, free vodka... I've been clouded with Hangover Paranoia for two days now. I am seriously not drinking alcohol again for a while. I was supposed to be meeting a friend for cheese and wine tonight and I've flaked out. I can't bring myself to talk to people, I'm going to stay in and watch something sad instead, maybe Romeo and Juliet or that episode of Futurama with the dog (it's called 'Jurrasic Bark', Series 5, Episode 2 if you've not seen it... don't bother, unless you like crying, which I do).

On the plus side, I Googled 'left bank manc' and I am the Seventh thing that comes up!! The Magic of Seven never fails me.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

My Cousin's Wedding- Part 3

I think three parts is two parts too many considering I was only in Serbia for twenty four hours, but for continuity's sake I feel I must finish what I started...

There was a whisper amongst the English guests that things 'kicked off' at Serbian weddings when The Trumpeters arrived. Apparently it has become a tradition at Serbian weddings to have a band of gypsy musicians play at the party- I thought that maybe my dreams of meeting a Eastern European Gypsy to marry and set up caravan with might be about to come true.

At about eleven o'clock the band suddenly stopped and everyone on the dance floor froze for a second. Then there was the sound of music and five men on trumpets and two drummers walked through the door, playing very loudly. Everyone started cheering and wooping. The Trumpeters found the Father of the Groom and sourrounded him, playing directly into his ears, but I mean actually playing their trumpets into his ears. The Father of the Groom stood there, waving his hands as if daring them to play down his ear louder, and he got out a wad of cash and started putting it inside their trumpets.

The Trumpeters then went and singled out another man, who also put money in their trumpets and egged them on to play their instruments into his face. They went around doing it to different men, having a musical dialogue with them; the man calling them out, egging them on or pretending not to be impressed, and the trumpets answering with a low note, or a wa-wa-waaaah; it was a discourse in trumpets.











































The music was brilliant AND some of the guests got together in a circle and there was circle dancing! I KNEW there would be. An old man let me and my cousin into the circle and we joined in dancing to the gyspsy music while everyone else danced around the circle and some women twiddled white hankercheifs. It was the moment I had been imagining in the weeks since I booked my flights.

Even though I didn't get to marry any of the gyspsy trumpeters, I still felt like one of my wishes had been granted, but there was something else I'd been hoping to see at the wedding- Ridiculousness. I'd assumed that something farcical and Ridiculous would happen at the wedding, but so far it had been very classy and beautiful. After The Trumpeters had left, the wedding quitened down a little bit and it seemed as if any opportunity for Hilarious Mishaps had passed.

I was talking to my uncle about how nice the wedding had been and I expressed my surprise at the lack of rakia- the very strong Serbian spirit that my cousin had brought back for us to try at Christmas. It's very strong, nearly 50%, and I'd been led to believe that at the wedding everyone would be doing shots of it every two minutes.

"You've not had any? Ask for some!" my uncle said. And that is when I finally got my wish for Ridiculousness.
















There was a lot of rakia, a lot of dancing and then suddenly everybody was going home and my cousins announced that we ('we' being: me, my brother, our three girl cousins, plus an Australian cousin from the other side of the family who we'd never met before but quickly became friends with through our shared desire to drink rakia and dance to trumpets) were going clubbing with some Serbian boys who were the cousins of the groom, plus two Belgium boys who were also guests of the groom and where staying in the same hostel as us.

If it sounds confusing, imagine how confusing it was at the time. It got even more confusing when the Serbian boys announced we would all be getting a lift to the club from the Best Man, in the one car. (The Best Man by the way, had been on Diazapan in the weeks leading up the wedding because he was so nervous about giving a speech- giving speeches is an English tradition and they don't do it in Serbia.)

We said goodbye to the Adult Family Members and if they were concerned about our plans they didn't show it. In fact my Aunty was all up for coming with us but my cousins Forbade It.

As we waited in the carpark for the Best Man to come and get us, in what I was hoping for Comedy Value would be a Mini Cooper, we casually asked the Serbian boys how we were going to fit twelve people in one car.

"Won't we get stopped by the police?" I asked them.
"We pay the police!" they laughed, "It's good!"

I knew seatbelts wouldn't be an issue, because my cousin who came to collect me at the airport informed me when we got in the taxi that in Serbia, it is seen as an insult to the driver if you wear your seatbelt.

"I hope you're happy," my cousin told me as we waited for our Clown Car, "is this the Hilarious Mishap you were waiting for?"

And it was.

When the car came, it wasn't a Mini but one of those cars that has two rows in the back, so although it was still a squish it wasn't impossible. The Serbian boys told us that because it was expensive in the club, we would go and drink in an apartment first, although whose apartment it was wasn't made clear.

In the apartment we found ourselves drinking alcohol that had a small tree in it and it seemed as if two of my cousins had met the men of their dreams...















Out of all of us 'cousins' at the apartment, there were three of us in our twenties who were expected to look after the others, especially my little brother and my youngest cousin who are both eighteen. They were all flying back to England together at 6am, but I was confident that my two cousins who are in their twenties would take care of things and get them all back safely. However, after a few hours of dancing on the bed and drinking strange, home-brewed alcohol, it became clear that my little brother and my youngest cousin were actually the most sober and Sophie (yes I'm going to name and shame her) who is the oldest out of all of us, was in this state:





























At about half three my youngest cousin had the sense to call us all taxis. Me, the Australian cousin and the two Belgium boys went back to the hostel but my cousins and my brother had to go the hotel where my family was staying and get their stuff. My brother said that the two oldest cousins were so drunk that they had to stay in the taxi so that my grandma wouldn't see them and get upset at their Terrible State.

Back at the hostel I fell alseep straight away, but not before setting an alarm, thankfully. As I stumbled about the room trying to find my pyjamas I wondered how the hell my cousins would be allowed on the plane in their drunken state. I've since found out that they have no memory of the airport, or of the flight.

My brother told me that, at the airport:
-one of my cousins lost her passport and had it returned to her by a complete random who found it in the toilets
-then the same cousin lost her boarding pass and had to run round all the toilets in the airport until they found it
-then once they were in England they had to queue for an hour to get through Border Control
-and then once they reached the desk, Sophie realised she had left her passport on the plane so that took another hour to sort out

That is why they don't let you fly when you are drunk!

Anyway, I am glad they were allowed on the plane, even if it is a bit of a miracle that they were.

Whilst they were arriving at Luton Airport, I was just waking up at the hostel. I logged on to my email at reception to discover that Air France had emailed me the wrong Boarding Pass and a horrible, hungover, transport-related panic descended over me. The man who owns the hostel was asleep on his little wooden shelf above me (fully-clothed) and I tried to wake him up so I could pay him, but there was no waking him. I gave my money to the Australian cousin because she was leaving later, but I wonder how many people have crept out of there without paying.

I was quite stressed and panicky, so we went to the hotel where my family were staying. My Aunty and my grandma were having breakfast which was so nice, because I hadn't expected to see them again. There were some other wedding guests who are Very Experienced Flyers and they calmed me down and explained that if you don't have a boarding pass, you just ask for another one and it isn't a big deal at all.

I got a taxi from the hotel and my Aunty and my Grandma walked me to the car. When I got inside, all of a sudden, I realised that I missed my family so much and I started crying as we pulled away. I felt like I had barely spent any time with anyone and now I was going back to Paris, alone.

At the airport I wandered around trying to find somewhere to exchange my money. Serbia is so cheap that I had barely spent any money the whole weekend and I had about forty euros worth of dinar. Honestly, I did look everywhere but I couldn't find the exchange place, so I was forced to purchase a litre bottle of Absolut vodka, plus a little bottle of rakia.

I was back in Paris by 3pm and it seemed as if I'd dreamt the whole thing. It was a little adventure and I'm so glad I got to be at my cousin's wedding. For months I wasn't sure if I was going to make it or not but I did and it was Amazing. It was worth a month of eating cake decorations.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Martyr Au Pair

Soooo. Someone commented on a post a few days ago saying that they have been reading my blog for a while and they think I am hilarious. No, they really did say that, let me just take a minute to smile smugly to myself... Ok, smug smile gone now. So, they said that, weirdly, their current au pair job would be perfect for me next year and they asked if I wanted to meet up with them for 'English banter'.

I know it sounds like the comment a cunning fifty year old man in corduroy slacks would write in an attempt to lure me to the river for wine and rape, but the girl- Chloe- gave me her email address and she seemed like a genuine English girl and her job did sound perfect for me, so last night I went to meet her and her friend Hannah along the Seine, kind of near the spot where me and Kayt were chased by a gang of hoodlums.

They were indeed real people and we stayed by the river over-sharing and drinking until it was almost time to get the first metro. Chloe had her bicycle with her and suggested that rather than wait half an hour for the metro to open, I could get a Velib and we could cycle home. Now, I always tell everyone that I can't ride a bike, but the idea seemed so pleasing that I was sure I'd be able to if I just jumped on and tried my hardest. I had a little practice on Chloe's bike and I managed to ride round in circles without falling off.

However, about five minutes into our journey home I realised there is a reason I tell everyone I can't ride bike: I can't ride a bike. The pedals were going round really fast without me touching them and I couldn't find my feet, even though they were on the end of my legs. I was wobbling this way and that, swerving towards cars and lorries. Chloe turned round and decided that maybe it wasn't such a good idea, so I tried to stop but just fell sideways into the pavement instead.

We put the bike back at the nearest Velib station and I was sad that my first (and last) experience of Paris Velibs was so short and angst-ridden. We didn't have to wait long for the metro to open, as I was looking at them the gates opened to me slowly, as if welcoming me into the underworld. I said goodbye to my Cycling Chum and down I went, into the depths of the deserted metro.

I wandered through the tunnels looking for Line 1, wondering what metro station I was at. (One of the theatre posters made me stop in my tracks, because on it was the photo of an actor I saw in The Caretaker at The Everyman last year [back when I used to be Interested In Stuff]. I vowed to remember what theatre the play was on at but alas, I have no idea.)

I crept past the homeless men in their sleeping bags and found my way onto a flat escalator. As it carried me along the silent metro station I realised how tired I was, suddenly it was an effort not to close my eyes and fall asleep standing up. Through drowsy eyes I then saw a sign telling me the name of the metro station -it was Chatelet- the Worst Metro Station In The World. I wondered why it was taking me so long to get anywhere and why there were so many homeless people down there- it's the metro station that Paris has given up on. Luckily, you can get Line 1 from Chatelet and after much drifting around the still and pungent passageways, I found my platform.

On the platform there were a few other people waiting, all dressed as if they were just starting their day. I was glad I'd just been sat by the river all night instead of in a club; my journey would have been so much worse in high heels and with semi-permanent eyeliner smeared under my tired eyes. I kept nodding off in my little plastic seat.

When the metro finally came I couldn't stop myself from drifting into sleep, into half-conscious dreams. I was half on the metro, my head resting against the shiny plastic, and half in a reality where metro stops weren't places; they were options on a tax form and I had to wait for someone to tick the little box next to my metro station before I could get off.

That nice liminal state you find yourself in sometimes- when you are awake yet still believe in the bizarre world of your dreams- is not a particularly good state to be in on the metro. I almost didn't get off at my stop because I thought someone was going to tick it off on a piece paper, but somehow, my own loud voice cut through the mugginess in my head and I mentally yelled at myself to Get Up and Get Off.

When I came out of the metro it was daylight, I'd even missed the sunrise. I got into bed at half six, set my alarm for four hours later and fell alseep and then it seemed like five minutes later I was waking up again. I managed to drag myself into the shower and find something semi-clean to wear and then the mum of The Family was calling me, going on and on about veal and some sort of singing show.

I wasn't sure that veal would make a very good Hangover Breakfast, but I went to the butcher's anyway and got four pieces of veal for mine and the girl's lunch. I felt ok as I walked to the girls' school, I realised I wasn't even hungover, just really, really tired.

But the school gates were closed. Ten minutes went by and the girls still hadn't come out. I felt something weird in my stomach and I realised it was hunger- I haven't been hungry, not really hungry, for weeks. If I feel even slightly peckish and I'm at work there's always biscuits or cheese or ham to stuff into my mouth, but I wasn't peckish, I was starving and I hadn't eaten anything or even had a drink of water for about twelve hours.

I tried leaning on a post but that didn't help, then I tried sitting on a metal thing that you slot bicycles into, but all the other parents started giving me funny looks. I stood up and went to rest on my pole again. I was hot, too hot, so I took my cardigan off, but I was still too warm. My head started buzzing silently and I remembered my mum saying to me once 'It's horrible, that feeling you get when you know you're going to faint.'

My legs didn't work and I thought 'Shit, I'm actually going to faint'. I tried to walk somewhere but I didn't know where to walk, so I walked round in a little circle, my legs buckling underneath me and my head floating above me, not attached to anything. Then I kind of woke up, without realising I had gone anywhere, and I had a person on either side of me, holding me up, walking me away from the school gates.

I've only ever fainted once before, after a party at Lauren's flat when I dressed up as a French maid and vomited at the end of her bed. The next morning I was getting a drink of water in the kitchen, then I woke up on the living room floor and Lauren's flatmates said "Your friend fainted". Lauren said "She's just pretending, she's doing it for attention." But I really did bloody faint Lauren, if you're reading this!

Anyway, I fainted, even though I Don't Faint, as a rule. There was a man on one side of me and woman on the other, and as they carried me away from the school I tried to say "Je doit... chercher... les enfants.' (I must get the children.) I was Martyr Au Pair- much more fun that being Shit Au Pair, I like to think even better than Super Au Pair.

The man asked me if I'd eaten any breakfast and I said 'no' so then every two minutes he was saying 'Il faut manger le petit-dejeuner!' (You must eat breakfast!) He disappeared and left me with the woman who sounded like she was Portugese but didn't look Portugese, just like many a French person as commented about me (ok, one person). She was talking to me a lot but I couldn't hear words. Everything was dark and I could just make out her mouth moving.

The man came back and gave me a glass of water and a big white pill. I put it in my mouth and let it lie there on my tongue while I drank. It tasted sweet and I realised it was a sugar cube. I ate it and he gave me another one, like I was a horse. It was quite nice actually, being given sugar cubes. I can see why people go in for that pony thing, you know where they pretend to be a horse during sex, and they wear saddles and stuff.

Anyway today I fainted and that was the most exciting part of my day, when the girls came out of school the nanny who helped me told them to look after me but they thought it was hilarious that I'd fainted. They had another friend with them today so I didn't even get any lunch in the end I just cooked their fucking veal for them and then I lay down on the couch while they ate, wishing someone would come and feed me sugar cubes. I'm out now to get Chinese and sit by the river, again, but I don't think I can stomach any more alcohol. I'm going to finish my wedding story tomorrow, because if nobody else cares, I now know that my aunties will probably be reading it.

Also, it was lovely to meet Hannah and Chloe, glad they weren't old men in corduroys.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

My Cousin's Wedding- Part 2

Last night my bed was worse than I thought. There were belts and spoons as well as all the other crap I mentioned and I just swept it all onto the floor. Now I feel like I'm living in a bin.

In my last post I didn't make Belgrade out to be particularly scenic did I? But it is, it's beautiful, it's just that me and brother went down a lot of back streets on our little walk, and along the railway tracks, so I don't think we really saw the nicest bit of Belgrade.

My cousin's wedding was in this old fort at the top of the city, overlooking the Danube river. The venue was really, really special and I am not just saying that because it was my cousin's wedding. I don't know why but in the weeks leading up to the wedding I have been imagining a big tent in the middle of a flat field, surrounded by men in furry hats (I may or may not have got 'Serbia' and 'Siberia' mixed up in my head).

I've stolen a photo from the internet of the fortress, because I planned to take some nice photos as the sun was setting, but they opened the buffet at dusk, so understandably I didn't get a chance to take the photos.





























It was a Nice Place. Inside there were pillars and white flowers everywhere and a string quartet (I might have made that up, but there were people playing violins anyway) playing at the top of the stairs leading down to a huge conservatory, which had a white canopy draped from the glass ceiling.
















Outside there was a terrace with two levels. The wedding ceremony was held on the lower terrace, under an archway covered in ribbon and flowers and all the guests stood watching from the higher terrace. The ceremony was in Serbian and English and the Bride's sister read something out. I couldn't really hear her, but one of my other cousins was crying and smiling.

"What she's saying?" I asked her.
"I don't know, I can't hear." she said.

I guess some people are just determined to cry at weddings. I did get a bit weepy when The Bride first walked in. I thought: 'How lovely, she is all dressed up and looking beautiful and she has a whole room of people admiring her, all the attention is on her.' I can kind of see why people get married.

As well as the Danube, from the terrace you could look down into Belgrade Zoo, specifically into the concrete pens that held a forlorn looking lion and a sleeping tiger. There was also a wolf behind metal bars who was was pacing up and down, howling for the loss of his wild days...































(I stole the tiger picture from my cousin by the way. Unbelievable.)

Apart from the rather grim-looking zoo below, the venue was gorgeous. As we all arrived a little early, we waited in the bar at the top of the fort. My aunty and my three cousins (I know I keep going on about all these different cousins but I don't like naming people) came in a different taxi and for ages I kept spotting them in different parts of the fort, walking over bridges and round and round the bottom of ruined turrets in their high heels and fascinators, looking for the wedding.

I've never actually been to a wedding before, not to the service and the party, so everything was novel for me. When it was time for it to start, we went into the wedding and as we walked in the Bride's sister tied corsages around the girls' wrists and the Groom's sister put flowers in the mens' buttonholes. Then we had to greet the Groom which was a bit traumatic, because in Serbia they kiss on the cheek three times and I instinctively tried to dodge away after every kiss. Unfortunately there was a man filming every single person who walked through the door so my awkward groom-greeting will be on film forever.

In fact, the Cameraman filmed everything. I think some people found it a bit alarming (having an energetic dance to 'Hit the Road Jack' and then discovering that a man carrying a heavy-duty camera is filming your every move), but as a drama student and self-confessed Attention Seeker, I didn't mind so much.

It didn't take long for me to convince someone to get on the dancefloor with me. The band played lots of songs in English as well as in Serbian, not that I didn't appreciate the Serbian songs, in fact they were what I had been looking forward to the most.

"I can't wait until they all get in a circle and do Serbian dancing!" I told my cousins.
"That's Greek people and Jewish people!" they tried to tell me, but I would not be told...

Hmm, I might split the wedding into yet another part, as I have finished all my biscuits now and if I stay sat on my bed typing for any longer I will want to go the shop and buy some more. It's very annoying though, why do they only tell you how many calories there are in one biscuit? I'm not going to eat one fucking biscuit am I? How many are there in the whole pack?

Let's see... there's sixty-three calories in one biscuit, and there are twelve in a pack. I'm not very good at maths, but that means there's under a thousand in one packet doesn't it? That's all right then. I know you are supposed to eat 2000 calories a day, but I've been jogging twice this week so surely that means I can eat twice as many calories? Listen to me going on and on about calories like an Anorexic. I think I will just go to the Family's House and eat some of their biscuits.

I'll do Part 3 later, it will be good, honest, there are trumpets and Belgium people in it!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

My Cousin's Wedding- Part 1
















I have finally uploaded the photos from my cousin’s wedding in Serbia- now I can tell you a tale and illustrate it with photographs… how thrilled you all must be.

But first I would like to congratulate the person who found my blog by searching for ‘Ben Affleck The Town’, I know what you’re playing at you dirty perv and I salute you. To the person who found my blog by searching ‘was Myra Hindley wearing much make-up on her mugshot’, all I can say is I hope you find what you are looking for, but if you would like to see what Myra might have looked like wearing a tiny bit more make-up, I can email you a copy of my student card photograph.

And now onto last weekend- I still can’t believe that I managed to get myself from bed, to Belgrade, and back again, in less than twenty four hours...

My journey started on Saturday morning, a little later than planned, about forty minutes later to be exact. I have no idea how this happened. I had planned to be on the Roissy bus (the bus that goes to the airport from either Opera or Porte Malliot) for 7.30, but after faffing about taking my rollers out (they had got all tangled up in my enthusiastic night's sleep, meaning that the big, bouncy curls of my imaginings came out more like limp tendrils, but still, any wave is better than no wave… or at least makes it easier for me to pretend I am a gypsy) I wasn't ready to leave until 7.30am.

Just as I was about to leave, I realised that the bus stopped at each terminal and I didn’t know what terminal I was flying from. After spending ten minutes turning on my laptop, waiting for it to start-up and then messing about trying to get Tunisian Man’s internet to work (why does he taunt me?) I realised that the terminal was written on my boarding pass.

By the time I got to the bus stop, which took me a long time, plus frantic phone calls to Amy and Kayt asking for directions, it was 8.30am. It was 8.30 and my flight left in less than an hour. I started to panic a little bit and when I panic a white veil of cloudy light descends over the part of my brain that deals with Other Languages…

It was like I’d just arrived in France, from the moon. I asked the bus driver for a return (which is 25 euros, if you’re wondering) and then forgot to take my ticket. He was shouting ‘mademoiselle’ and everyone on the bus was staring at me but I wasn’t registering French so he had to walk down the bus and ask me if I’d wanted a return, waving this ticket in my face. I didn’t take the ticket until this American man stood up and said ‘Ma'am, he said that is your ticket’ and everyone looked at me, tutting, thinking ‘Can’t even be bothered to learn the language’ and I would have stood up and yelled ‘I’ve had fights with bouncers in French!’ but I was too stressed and anyway, that would be a lie, I just yell at them in English.

The whole bus journey I was sighing and swearing under my breath like a Deranged Person and when we finally got to my terminal, I followed the driver into the staff toilets because I thought he was showing me where to go. He wasn’t, but I found my way anyway and just as I got to the gate, they started boarding. I was so relieved, but swore to myself never, ever to Cut It Fine again. I am a nervous flyer. I need at least two hours at the airport to convince myself I’m not going to miss my flight.

Oh my God, just as I was typing I checked my blog and 'Alice', someone who reads my blog who I don't actually know, has commented saying she is stuck in Mexico City without her luggage. My ‘flight story’ really is very lame in comparision so I’ll stop going on about it now. Skipping to the end of my (lovely and stress-free flight), I arrived at Belgrade airport at noon. I exchanged my euros for thousands of Serbian dinar (a tenner is 1000 dinar, roughly). Normally when I’m on holiday I make sure that I can at least say ‘hello’, ‘goodbye’ and ‘thank you’, but I can’t say one word in Serbian, in fact I can’t even say one letter because it’s a different alphabet. When I was exchanging money I did the whole thing in complete silence. It was weirrrrrd.

Thankfully my cousin Emily (the bride's sister) and her boyfriend came to meet me at the airport and we got a taxi together. I hope she wasn't offended because she's seven month's pregnant and I kept calling her unborn child 'it'.

They took me to the hotel where some of the English guests are staying. My three other cousins, a cousin from the Bride's other side of the family, plus my brother were waiting for me. My 'No Hugging or Touching Except For A Small Selection of Female Relatives' policy extends even to my brother, but I did poke him on the arm because I haven't seen him for a few months. They took me to the hostel round the corner where I would be staying. They had already been there one night and they introduced me to the owner who sleeps on a wooden shelf above the reception desk. The hostel was nice, it had a cat and it was called 'Three Black Catz'.












































I don’t know what to say about Belgrade really because I didn’t see much of it. I went for a walk around with my brother and took some photos, but we didn’t wander far in case we got lost. There were shops selling tight, dated ‘clubbing wear’, the kind of clothes shops you would find in run-down areas of Paris or on Stockport market. There was also a McDonalds and a Costa’s…. I guess the world is kind of blending into itself, a smoggy brown of cheap tat and coffee in polystyrene cups.

Ok... so every where isn't really the same, it just feels like that sometimes. Belgrade, from what I saw of it, seemed like a very interesting place. It had lots of unique quirks, such as the disused railway track that runs along the river and is very close to a children's playground. Well, at first we thought it was disused, but as we walked over it we heard the train coming and discovered quite quickly that we were wrong:















































I will finish this tomorrow (and talk about the actual wedding- only I could write something entitled 'My Cousin's Wedding' and talk about myself the whole way through) tomorrow, right now I have to sweep my bed of clothes, keys, mugs, books, chargers, bags and hangers before I can sleep. In fact I think I might just make a nest in the middle.

Good night, sleep tight... and I hope you get sorted at Mexico City Airport Alice!

Shit Au Pair

I really, really am Shit Au Pair. I got to work this morning, late because I didn't get out of bed until 8.30am which is when I'm supposed to start, and the mum gave me a huge lecture about being the 'mistress of her house' and leaving peas on the floor. I don't want to be the mistress of her house. I want to sit in bed eating cake and watching Jersey Shore.

She was annoyed because last week they ran out of yoghurts and she sent me a text on Friday night saying 'We cannot invite people round if we have no yoghurts' and I pictured her, stood looking into her empty fridge, composing the text furiously while her eighteen dinner guests sat in the other room holding their teaspoons, blissfully ignorant of the impending yoghurt disaster. Sometimes they forget that the French Way is not the Only Way. She said 'use your initative' but it is not common sense to always keep up a supply of yoghurts- in fact if I was at my friend's house in England and they offered me a yoghurt, I would say 'no, don't be weird.'

So anyway she was going on about that this morning, in a nice 'I know you are Shit but please I am loosing the will to live with your scrubby, scruffy housekeeping' way. Then she tried to explain the 'schedule' to me, which involved a lot of faffing about dropping off various children at various friend's houses, and for Some Reason I had to make sure the five year old was in his Spiderman costume at 3pm.

The eleven year old had her tutor round at lunch which was awkward as fuck and then while the lesson went on, I was supposed to do laundry etc but I accidentally had a nice, two hour nap on the eight year old's bed and then when I woke up I was late for getting the five year old and putting him in his Spiderman costume.

Now I just have the eight year and her friend and I know there is something important I am supposed to be doing but somehow I am on my laptop, eating biscuits.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Chocolate

I've finally caved.

For the past two weeks there has been an unfinished block of Milka chocolate in The Family's fridge, two little rows of four creamy brown squares, folded up at the bottom of the packet. Every day, whenever I've been alone in the house, I have unfolded the pale purple paper and slowly inhaled the sweet, chocolatey scent. Then I've been folding it back up again and carefully placing it back in the fridge, where it has remained, untouched by The Family.

I thought that maybe The Family were testing me, that they had planted a chocolatey trap for me to stumble into greedily, so that they could then turn round and say 'We knew you ate everything!' It has been my very own French Resistance, bravely eating all of their Nutella, all their biscuits, all their cake, all the kid's Easter eggs*- anything to stop me from touching the half-eaten bar of Milka chocolate.

But I think maybe I am being paranoid. Normally I would say that you can never be too paranoid, but I think, asides from eating the eleven year old's chocolate cake that was meant for school, the family don't mind what food of theirs I eat... In fact, I think they prefer me this way than when I first started working for them and I let loads of food go to waste, because I assumed it was Sacred Food when in fact it was just food that needed eating.

Do you understand though? There are some foods that are Sacred in somebody else's fridge- posh ham, expensive cheese, exotic fruit... and over the past six months I have gradually, tentatively, started eating all of their Sacred Foods and nothing has been said. I bet now the mum will get home and demand to know why I have eaten all the Emmenthal and all the parma ham, but so far I have managed to eat sneakily, which is quite a skill. I have little tricks: I'll slice the cheese lengthways to make it look like a thinner piece of cheese that hasn't been touched, rather than take an obvious chunk off the end; or else I'll eat an entire packet of something so that if they notice it missing, they'll convince themselves it never existed.

Of course, they probably know exactly how much I am eating. But so what? With a job that 'includes food' they can't stipulate how much food or what food... can they? If they do I will burst into tears and tell them I am a Compulsive Eater.

Anyway, last night the eleven year old finally ate the Milka chocolate. I realised that the mum and dad wouldn't get home and ask who had eaten it, they wouldn't even notice, and I vowed that if such an occassion should reoccur, I will eat it without a second thought.

About ten minutes before I started writing this post, I looked in the cupboard to see what biscuits they had and what did I see but seven bars of Milka chocolate taped together. I don't know why they sell chocolate like that here, but I know the only reason that it isn't causing an obesity epidemic is because French people can control themselves when it comes to food.

I, however, am not French. I've eaten half a bar (when I say 'bar' I mean a massive one with twenty four squares, I am not being funny about a tiny, normal-sized chocolate bar) and I was going to save the other half for the kid's gouter, but I really, really want to eat the rest.

There was a little card at the front of the first bar and it said '6 + 1 GRATUIT'. This means they thought they were buying six and instead they got seven. Maybe they didn't even notice they got one free...

Seven is my lucky number.

I am going to eat it and after this post saying how they won't mind, I have almost definitely jinxed myself, but I am ready for their wrath. It is worth it.

By the way, for those of you paying attention, you will know that I went to Serbia on Saturday night for my cousin's wedding. I am waiting until I can upload the photos, because without photos I don't think you will believe it.

*Easter was weeks ago! I'm not being Mean Au Pair eating all their chocolate, if they leave it on their bedside tables any longer it will go off, so I'm just doing what needs to be done. The joy of stealing Easter eggs is that they have loads of little ones, too many to keep track of, and the big ones are all broken up, so they will never know that their Easter chocolate is being nibbled away, little by little, by their Greedy Au Pair.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Nervous Flyer?

Finally got my bording pass printed.

I got up really early to go to an internet cafe on the other side of Paris that I know has a printer, because even though there is probably one round the corner, I thought it would quicker to travel than looking around for one and then not finding it. But when I got to Chatelet the RER B wasn't running, for no reason. Once again I've been foiled by Paris Public Transport (although I'm glad now that the metro was closed on Wednesday, stopping me from going out, because I took my passport out for ID like an idiot and something might have happened to it). I went to work feeling very violent and panicky, but luckily Clare printed it off for me after lunch. I hope I don't need anything else...it's all very confusing buying things online.

I am not ready at all for tomorrow. My room is a mess again, I need to wash my hair and put it in rollers so that, come morning, it will be bouncy and bountiful and ready for the wedding. I'm not sure how I'm getting to Charles de Gaulle airport, some sort of bus as last time I got the RER it was AWFUL. I don't know where the bus goes from through.

At least I've got my outfit. Although no bag and no jewellery. Just a skirt, a top and my massive heels. It is hot in Serbia isn't it? I don't know. I don't know what money they have or anything, all I know is that you can't take it in or out of the country or something. Oh fuck. The only productive thing I've done all day is buy some Haribo for my bus journey to the airport and I've already eaten most of them.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

News

I'm babysitting for the first time in weeeeeks. Even though it's been a long time, we've got straight into our old habits: me in the kitchen, eating Nutella with a spoon behind a cushion in case the kids come in; the little boy in bed and the two girls sat in front of the TV, watching a cartoon that as far as I can tell is about magic strippers:












While they're watching Magic Strippers (or 'Winx Club' as I believed it's called), I've been thinking about Next Year and The Future and Shit...

I've got the Future sussed- Spice Girls fashion will make a comeback and the Middle East will finally be open for tourism.

But while I look forward to embracing both of these happenings in The Future, I really should be giving a little more thought to the other two Worries in my life, although I've got so much random Shit going on that I can't really be arsed worrying about it anymore (no money, uneven eyebrows, big fat belly etc). However, I have managed to make a decision of sorts about Next Year.

I'm sticking with my decision to stay in Paris, because for the first time since I arrived here in September, I feel like my French could actually progress further than ordering fast food. (Saying that... on Sunday I got given chips instead of a bottle of water because they thought I said 'potato' instead of bouteille d'eau. To be fair, in my accent they do sound quite similar, but do I really look so stupid as to wander into a McDonald's and shout POTATO if I wanted French fries?)

Getting up early and going to lessons didn't work for me, but talking to French people really has and I've been doing a lot more of that recently. I'd rather stay for another year and go home with some half-decent level of French than leave now and have to explain in job interviews that 'Yes, I did live in Paris for a year' but 'No, I don't speak much French... What did I do then? Well, erm, there were some strange men involved, and lots of chocolate spread...'

Besides the French thing, I also really like Paris and a year isn't enough time to explore this city: I still haven't been to the theatre here, or the ballet or the opera (why are you laughing?); I haven't even been to the Louvre yet; and I haven't seen anyone do parkour in the street- that was my secret Paris dream. I thought that when I got here there would be muscley men leaping over lamposts left, right and centre... unfortunately the only time I have seen any men moving that quickly was last weekend, when they were running across the bridge to sexually assualt us.

Being an au pair can be a fucking pain in the arse, but you get free accommodation and you get a lot of free time. I even considered asking my family if I could work for them next year. I mean, the kids can be bratty and I have to do horrible, soul-destroying laundry, but:
- the money is good
- the parents are really, really nice
- when I am not working I am completely independant... they still have no idea, for example, that I have twice gone to London just for the night, or that I woke up one Saturday in Lyon.

The only thing is I have to speak English with the kids and the job is a lot of work. But it's 'better the devil you know' isn't it? So rather than risk getting a new job with a Mental Family, I decided over the weekend to ask the mum if they would consider keeping me for next year- after all I am Shit Au Pair, for all I know she is counting down the days until they can bring in another Super Au Pair like they had last year. (Her glowing, seven foot ghost has haunted me since I took the job.)

On Monday I asked the mum if we could chat when she got home from work. She was pleased I asked because she said: "I wanted to discuss with you your plans for the summer."

Earlier on in the day the eight year had been asking me I wanted to go to the Côte d'Azur with them, but you can never tell with kids when they are talking sense or just being random, so I didn't want her to think I was taking her seriously. She was being deadly serious though, when she said this:

"If you want wear a Swimming (she doesn't know the word for 'costume'), you must-" (here she sucked in her cheeks and her belly to demonstrate the Act of Slimming Down, a notion she clearly thinks I need explaining) "-and you must stop eat the bonbons and all the big dinner."

You know when I said I would pay good money for someone to follow me round all day shouting 'DON'T EAT! IBIZA IN FOUR MONTHS!'? I think I've found her...

When the mum got home I explained that I was planning on staying in Paris. I asked if they'd have me again next year. She said...

No, fuck off.

Ok so her actual words were 'If we were using the system I would use you, for sure'. But they're not using 'the same system', they want to get someone who can do my job and be a private tutor to the oldest girl, because she is failing school because for some reason she always watches the telly eating biscuits instead of doing her homework...

Then, in true positive re-inforcement style (compliment followed by criticism followed by compliment) she said that they'd like to invite me on holiday with them for two weeks at the end of July- they have an apartment on the French Riveria. She then something about working hours and sleeping in the living room with the kids, but I couldn't really hear her because there was a very loud voice in my head yelling: TAN! TAN! TAN FOR IBIZA!

My friend Claire said on to me on Skype this morning that A Good Tan isn't a reason to do anything but you see, it is, because that is the reason why I am going to the South of France and sleeping on a sofa bed for two weeks, while the kids sleep on beds in the corridors... I know it sounds a bit hideous, but think of the Good Tan I will get!! Also, I know I have sworn off men for life and I am definitely not going to falter on my six months-abstinence plan, but... think of all the millionaires with yahts that will be there! The apartment is near Monaco. Do you know who lives in Monoco? Rich, tanned, rich men with yahts- that's who.

So I have said I will go and That Is That. And if they change their mind then it means I will get to go back to England two weeks earlier than I expected so celebrations all round. My plan is to go home for the summer and then start my new job in September, depending on what my 'new job' might be. I'm thinking of finding accommodation in exchange for babysitting, then I can get a second job in a cafe or a bar or possibly a strip club, depending on just how bad things get.

In other news...

I am going to Serbia for the night on Saturday for my cousin's wedding!

I don't feel very organised, apparently you can't take Serbian currency in or out of the country, and I'm not sure how I'm getting to the airport and I don't know how to print my tickets off. Is a bording card the same as a ticket? Do you need both? Can I take my make-up in my hand luggage if it is half-open?

I am panicking slightly, but at least I have my new shoes. I have a blister just from trying them on, so I know they're good. Makes me feel like I'm back in Liverpool when the deeper a shoe scarred, the nicer it was. Ahhh English girls. When will we learn to appreciate shoes that don't cripple us? But how does the saying go? 'Go high or go home.'

Speaking of shoes, the premonition I had earlier about the future may come true sooner than we think...



Just you wait until the 90s kicks off again, I am so up for bindis and big furry coats. And those platform boots! I might get some for my walking tour of Baghdad, or else I could team them with hotpants and a tshirt that says: 'GIRLS ON TOUR! BAGZY 2020!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Missed the Last Metro...

Just got to the metro station as they were closing the shutters. It was exactly like that moment in Amelie when she misses the last metro, except with more swearing.

I was supposed to go and see Bambounou at Social Club, instead I'm now in bed, with all my eye make-up still on, because the memory of last Saturday is still fresh in my mind: that horrible twenty minutes I spent desperately scrubbing at my new Semi-Permanent Eyeliner, after I fucked it up just as I was about to leave. My eyesight was blurry up until yesterday, no joke.

What is a joke though, is closing the fucking metro two hours early without bothering to tell anyone and when I say 'anyone'...

I mean ME.

By the way, I have some news of sorts but for now, seeing as I've already got my eyeliner on, I'm going to turn the lights off and dance around to Bambounou for a bit, it will be just like being there, but without the Bad Nobhead Social Club Bouncers...



Oh why did I do that to myself?

I'm mad all over again now that I missed it.

Think positive thoughts, think positive thoughts... I bought some new shoes tonight actually! (The H&M on the Champs Elsysees is open until midnight.) They are really nice and high, I can go to bed happy now.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Ghetto Princesses: Part 2

I know 'Comedy Sexual Assault' sounds like an oxymoron, but what happened on Saturday night was just so bloody Ridiculous that at first I couldn't mention it without doubling over in silent laughter. I'm kind of over it now, but when we revisted the scene of the crime yesterday, and re-enacted it in our hungover hysteria, I was laughing so much that I almost fell into the river...

It was about 4am, maybe a little earlier, and me and My Friend who I won't name because it's not really my place to announce her horrific experience to everyone, needed a wee. Despite my excellent arguement that we could perch on the wall and wee into the river, My Friend thought there might be somewhere still open nearby. We walked up the steps, away from the glittering river and towards the quiet boulevards of St Michel. That area can be busy even in the small hours, as people take alcohol down to the river and some of the kebab shops are open late.

But we were obviously in a quiet part. There was nothing open and no people, until all of a sudden there was. Across the road, quite far away, we saw a large group of about ten scally lads (I don't know what the French for scally is, I'm assuming it's les scallies). As they were quite far away we didn't worry too much, but we stopped walking so we could see what direction they were going in. As we stopped, one of them spotted us and yelled something. Then all his mates joined in and they ran towards us, yelling. But they weren't yelling in an angry way they were yelling in a joyful, over-excited way. I don't understand what they were saying but I assume it was something along the lines of:

"RAAAAAPE!! WE LOVE RAAAAPE! YEY! WE ARE SO EXCITED TO RAAAPE THESE GIRLS! YEY!! HERE WE GOOOOO! WOOOOH!! RAPE!! WE LOVE RAPE AND WE LOVE LIIIFE!"

It was like a battle scene from Braveheart and they were the blue-smeared Celts coming over the hill, only instead of tartan loincloths they were wearing Adidas tracksuits.

They made it over to us in no time at all. I'd panicked and pegged it back down the stairs to the river, but My Friend was frozen to the spot with terror and surprise. I looked up the stairs and saw the moment that the hordes reached her, swarming around her grabbing out for her boobs and her bum. My Friend was spinning around and fighting them off like in a karate movie, then she managed to get away and run down the stairs. They came running down the stairs after us, still laughing and yelling in high-spirits and generally loving life and rape.

Once they got down the stairs however, they saw who we were with and it all got smoothed over very quickly. HA! What if we hadn't have been with our RnB pals though? I guess we wouldn't have gone down to the river in the first place, but it's still ridiculous. I bet someone out there is saying 'Didn't they teach you in school not to get drunk and stay out late and go to secluded riversides?' Yes a lot of girls are told that, but a more fucking productive practice would be to go round schools and say to teenage boys 'If you see drunk girls out late at night near the riverside... DON'T RAPE THEM.'

Anyway it was all ok in the end, but I cannot believe that they ran, yelling, because they saw two girls on their own. It is ridiculous.

After the Comedy Sexual Assault, we decided to leave the river and go home. One of the boys invited one of my friends back to his for a little party and she agreed thinking it was an excellent idea. To be honest we didn't try and talk her out of it, in fact if I remember rightly I was running around her in circles going 'Woooooooooh! Do it do it do it!!' But we got his address and his telephone number and they were walking back with the guy's friend, his friend's girlfriend and our new Gay Best Friend, so we were being responsible, under the circumstances.

Me and Kayt had been hankering for a kebab during the walk from the river, hence me dismissing someone who tried to talk to us with: "If you ain't a bit of a meat on a stick and I can't eat yer, get out of me face!" We spotted a picture of a kebab in the distance, so we headed towards it like it was the star of Bethlehem. Everyone was a bit worried about us going home on our own after the Comedy Sexual Assault, but we could not be dissuaded from our kebab. After we'd said goodbye to everyone we marched up to the kebab sign and it wasn't even a kebab, it was a picture of a glass of beer. It was a pub and it was closed. Luckily we got a taxi pretty quickly and our ridiculous RnB night was finally over.

But for our Friend who went back for the party... we found out the next day that for her the Ridiculousness had just continued, getting more and more unbelievable.

They were walking back to the guy's apartment when all of a sudden she felt like she'd been punched in the face. She nearly fell over and she went blind. Tears were streaming out of her eyes and they were burning. She could hear the other people she was with screaming in pain. Then The Guy she was with held on to her arm and said "It's tear gas, don't touch your eyes you'll make it worse, just keep walking."

There was a cloud of fucking tear gas just hovering in the street, left over from a riot or a fight or something. They walked through the tear gas blindly, struggling to breathe, until eventually my friend said she could feel fresh air in her lungs and the tears stopped. I can't believe they are allowed to use it like that. Imagine if my friend had been on her own and not known what it was?

Luckily it was fine afterwards (although her make-up was everywhere, but our new G.B.F helped her sort it out) and they reached his apartment. Once they got inside, my friend saw that he had a bunk bed and after seeing this, her heart just wasn't in it anymore. She fell asleep in a chair while the others talked about her in French. When the others eventually left, leaving my friend with The Guy, they got into his bunk bed and he said to her:

"What are your boundaries?"

I don't know if something got lost in the translation but no girl wants to hear that. I'm definitely adding it to my list of Top Worst Things To Say To A Girl During Intimate Moments, along with "Is your daddy hairy like me?" and "Haha. I've just thought of a funny song..."

Luckily he didn't want her to dress up as a yak and tap his nipples with hot spoons, but she didn't feel very at ease.

The next day as we ate cakes and drank mint tea at the mosque (hoping Allah wouldn't come and throw me out for being an alcohol-consuming whoreish mess) The Guy rang my phone asking where my friend was because she wan't answering her phone for some reason...He asked if me and my other friends had got home ok and he invited us all to see him 'play' tonight at an open mic night somewhere. Now that I've realised our lives are Ridiculous, I think that we should embrace it. I hope we end up going tonight and I'm hoping against hope he's a one man band, complete with a harmonica and bells on his trousers.

I can't believe how quickly Saturday night descended into a Ridiculous Farce, but when we looked back on it yesterday, we realised something horrifying: For the past few weeks we haven't managed to have one normal night out and we've all been feeling like French men are out to get us and make our lives Ridiculous...

BUT.

On Saturday night, we chose to go to Le Long Hop for RnB. The guys we met didn't hassle us or try and get us to dance with them, on the contrary, we fought and fought to get into the dancing circle and we didn't stop until we had the whole club watching us re-enact the Diva video. We suggested buying alcohol and going to the river and it was us who suggested The Guy have a 'private party' back at his apartment...

It was all us, we instigated the Ridiculousness.
Italic
It's not French men who are weird... it's English girls.

It's always been us.

And I've just realised something else, on Saturday night we were in the Left Bank and I was bouncing around being a mouthy little shit, wearing scally earrings, shaking my bum around to Soldier Boy and looking for kebabs- I don't think I've ever been more of a Left Bank Manc.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Ghetto Princesses: Part 1

My Big Fat Belly hasn’t shrunk since last week, despite all the hard work I have done looking at it in the mirror and poking it. And there is a dead pigeon outside my building. You focus on this type of thing when you walk through the valley of the shadow of Hangover Paranoia. But for once, I don’t actually have H.P- I didn’t wake up this morning wondering if I acted like a dickhead all night…

…because I know I did.

But it’s ok, I know now that there’s no point worrying about my behaviour and cringing over it. I was born with this personality and I have to live with it for the rest of my life and I have accepted that, I’ve made my peace with being the girl who yells at strangers on the street at 4am: “If you ain’t a bit of meat on a metal stick and I can’t eat you, then GET OUT OF ME FACE!”

I’ve been on the edge of hysteria all day, partly because I was with Amy and Kayt who were also hungover and hungover people act like meths when they’re together, but also because last night was so ridiculous, not in a bad way, but there’s no other word to describe it.

The night was another product of mine and Amy’s drunken planning last week and I’m starting to think that maybe me and Amy shouldn’t be allowed to make more plans. I started to think this last night during Phase 1 of the plan, which was basically:

‘Get dim sum. Get wine. Consume on bench.’

Why would you eat Chinese food on a bench? And drink a bottle of wine? On a bench in the street, at half eight on a Saturday night? Why would you plan to do that?

Thankfully we had a flash of Good Sense just as we were opening the Chinese, so we took it to Amy’s and ate and drank everything there, like Normal People. Then we went and met The Others and we drank gin and tonic out of a water bottle. (Sometimes when I reread stuff on here it makes me wonder if everyone thinks we drink too much, but it was only an Evian bottle and it was between four of us.)

I was looking forward to a night of shameless RnB dancing and grinding, but when we got to Le Long Hop the pool table was still in the middle of the dance floor, so we just sat down with our drinks and waited for everyone to put their lighters up like Amy had promised.

Eventually the pool table was moved. We made our way over to the dance floor. I had a secret knowing smile on my face because I knew that everyone was about to be Shocked and Astounded when I pulled out my amazing RnB dance moves… Me and Amy had privately told each other in a moment of drunken honesty that we were both ‘really good’ at dancing to RnB music. Yes. We were those girls.

The music started and we bloody went for it. I say ‘we’, I’m just trying to make myself feel better by assigning some of the blame to someone else. It was definitely ‘me’ and not ‘us’ who requested Diva by Beyonce, cleared the dance floor by pushing strangers back against the walls declaring ‘C’est juste pour les filles!!’ (It’s just for the girls!) and then, oh god I don’t know if I can actually write this, then I danced in the middle of the dance floor like I was in the final scene of Save the Last Dance. There was definitely some shoulder-brushing.

But I really felt like we had to prove ourselves. There was a big group of guys who were really good at dancing and they wouldn’t let me and Amy join in. Every time they’d get into a circle and take it in turns to dance in the middle, me or Amy would jump in and they were having none of it. It took the Diva-move to make them see that we really are Terrific Dancers.

They also played that song that goes ‘Get low, get low,’ and the group of guys were doing a good job of getting slightly lower than they already were, but then me and Amy leapt into the middle of them and we got LOW. The only way we could have been any lower would have been if we were lying down on the floor.

After we had proved ourselves on the dance floor, we had a dance and a chat and then as I was dancing with a guy (who we nicknamed ‘Specky’ to give you an idea of how dangerous beer-goggles are), I looked across the room and locked eyes with…

Tunisian Man!

My next door neighbour who I steal internet off was in the same club as me, it was so weird. I’ve not spoke to him for weeks and weeks but yesterday evening I was going to have a shower and I saw him going into his room. My hair was all mad because I’d taken it out of a bun and I had soap and a razor in my hand. Women don’t really use razors in France so he probably thinks I am some sort of transsexual with Shit Hair. Maybe he feels sorry for me and that’s why he lets me steal his internet.

I went over to him and said ‘Hello’ but now I am terrified I will see him loads in the corridor and he knows that I’m a Bad Dick who dances to R’n’B like she’s been locked in a barn listening to banjo music all her life.

When the club closed, our new RnB Loving Friends said that they knew another club nearby that played RnB that was open late, so went with them, eager for the night to continue with the irrational determination of the Very Drunk. The next day I can never remember why I was so obsessed with staying out, why I didn’t want to go home to bed, why I chose to find a shit, dodgy club to go to… all I ever remember is point blank refusing to call it a night.

The club wouldn’t let us in, maybe because we were four drunk idiot English girls with about ten guys from the banlieus, but we didn’t let this stop us. I have no idea how the conversation came about or who instigated it but somehow we ended up by the river drinking rum and coke and talking. Once again the secret French-speaker in me, who only comes out after dark and is fuelled by alcohol, came out to play… and to tell everyone that my dad is a gypsy- he’s not a gypsy, but I wish he was with Every Fibre Of My Being and when I’m drunk the lines between ‘reality’ and ‘dangerously delusional fantasy’ become strangely blurred.

Anyway we had us a nice little time down by the river. Despite what you may be thinking the guys were really, really nice and there were other people by the river; we are not that stupid that we would go to a dark, secluded riverside with ten nasty gangsters. One of them was actually very camp and hilarious and we love him. He texted us all this morning to say ‘hey crazy girls it was lovely to meet you, I want to see you guys again!’ His English was amazingly good but he’s actually from the French Caribbean. Everyone else there was French apart from this Jamaican guy who was lovely, until he told Kayt:

‘In Jamaica I like big punani, but in France I like little punani.’

(I’m hoping that I would be classed as ‘little punani’, although not for much longer. Today I had falafel from the Marais which is so big you don’t need to eat anything else afterwards for two weeks, yet we then went to the Mosque and had Middle Eastern cakes and tea and then we went to St Michel and had a kebab and chips. I really, really would pay good money for someone to follow me around yelling ‘IBIZA IN FOUR MONTHS! IBIZA IN FOUR MONTHS!’ because I am going to be very, very hot lying by the pool in my beach burka.)

The night doesn’t sound very ridiculous at the moment, but I haven’t told you about the tear gas or the Comedy Sexual Assault or the bunk bed yet. As usual I’m going to write a ‘Part 2’ because now I need to sleep all this food and alcohol off. I need a good night’s rest if I am going to go to work tomorrow and pretend to not be a Bad Meth who clears the dance floor aggressively and dines out on park benches.