Monday, 31 October 2011

We Love Art

Mmm I've just eaten a lot of creamy pork and I'm not using any disgusting euphemisms. Before I came to France I never would have thought of frying meat in butter and cream, but it's so nice. I'm worried though that the things I eat most often in Paris consist of cream and some sort of fatty meat: chicken cooked in cream and butter, pork cooked in cream and butter, lardons cooked in cream and parmesan cheese... why does fat taste so nice?

Anyhoo, on Saturday night I went raving with Julia and her sister (Julia is Abby's friend, Abby is my French friend who I met through Lauren, who met her when they both worked in Oxfam in Manchester about four years ago) and now, because of the magic of my new Blackberry, I can show you some photos, finally, after months of having no camera!! The night was a 'We Love Art' night called Boombox and I'm going to tell you all about it...

I didn't get home from work until about half seven and I was absolutely shattered. My body ached and I needed a shower and a Sit Down. I was supposed to go to Julia's flat to get ready and for pre-drinks, but she lives in one of the banlieus and I didn't know if, once I'd had a cup of tea and got all my stuff together, it would be worth travelling to where she lives. But Julia texted me saying they had made pasta and I realised I'd barely eaten all day. I'd had been given an 'English Breakfast' at work at half eleven, but it had been covered in baked beans and I don't eat baked beans (unless someone's mum cooks them for me, then I'll eat them to be polite), so I just picked at it.

It didn't actually take that long to get to Julia's and it wasn't a scary banlieu, although I took the wrong exit off the RER and had to wait in a deserted carpark while Julia and her flatmate tried to locate me. (When they finally found me, me and Julia didn't recognise each other at first because we have actually only met three times before and I had no make-up on, so obviously I looked like a Scary Mess and not like my usual self. She stared at me as she walked past and I just stared back at her in a rude way and then after she'd gone past we both went 'Ohhh!') From the RER station Julia drove us to her flat which was a bit exciting for me because nobody else I know has a car in Paris!

Her flat is really cute, she has two pet rats which she lets run around the place and she said she was nervous I would freak out, because she read on my blog how I hate animals. But I don't hate all animals! Just ones that want to eat my face with their huge, strong jaws. Her rats are actually really sweet, but I kept thinking how weird it would be if she hadn't told me she had pet rats, because they snuck about in the cupboards and hid in our coats. Imagine if you didn't know she had pet rats and then this guy ran across your feet:

We ate pasta and we drank quite a lot of vodka and then rather misguidedly we decided to get ready after all the drinking. I remember trying to focus on the mirror and pulling on my pony tail to make it really high and bushy which is never a good look, no matter how drunk you are.

As it turns out, it was a Good Job I went to Julia's to get ready, because I ended up borrowing a dress from her and some really nice shoes that she bought from Topshop. She buys Topshop things online and gets them delivered to Paris, which must be soo expensive, but it's kind of made me want to do it as well...

In my rather drunk state I took a picture of her toilet, because people have written on the walls, as though her flat is a bar or a club. I'm going to share it with you to prove that I do finally have Real French Friends:

Eventually, we made it out of the flat about half eleven. Her flatmate was a bit annoyed because, when we told him we'd be 'ten minutes', he believed us and made plans to meet his friends in town. Obviously when we said 'ten minutes' we meant 'an hour' so he was very, very late to meet his friends, but girls always take longer than boys to get ready, especially when you factor in the alcohol. We got the bus to the RER station and none of us paid. I was quite shocked but Julia said "Nobody pays the bus here!" We jumped the RER barriers as well, because my Navigo doesn't work outside of Zones 1 and 2 and Julia and her sister said they never pay for the metro.

"You never get caught when you expect to get caught!" they said and it seemeed like Good Logic to me.

When we got off the RER to change on to the metro (I can't remember where we changed) I swiped us through the barriers with my Navigo. In our drunken haze we hadn't seen the swarm of Transport Police waiting for us on the other side.

The pulled us up straight away and said Julia and her sister had to pay fifty euros each there and then. They had loads of people against the wall and some rough looking guys were arguing with the police, being really confrontational. The guy who pulled us up kept flitting between us and the agressive guys and when he wasn't there a little light bulb flickered on in the back of my foggy brain- I remembered an au pair last year who got caught out and the Metro Guy said it was fifty euros or he'd call the police. She told him to call the police and he said "Ok, it's twenty five euros."

Also, when I got caught last year, it was twenty five euros, so this policeman or whatever he was just Trying It On. I told Julia and her sister and they were like "Are you sure? Are you sure?"

"Yes! It's twenty five euros, he's lying! It's twenty five euros!"

Julia went up to the guy and asked him why it was fifty euros, when it was normally twenty five. He told her that it was twenty five euros when you can produce a ticket that isn't valid, but it's fifty euros when you are caught 'jumping' (literally jumping over the barriers, like most people do, or sneaking in behind someone else). Hmm. It still seemed a bit dodgy but there wasn't much we could do about it. The guy who had pulled us up seemed really irritated and he kept glancing over at the aggressive guys against the wall, one of whom was being pushed back by a lady police officer because he was trying to get all up in her grill, y'all.

Luckily, the guy who had been dealing with us couldn't cope with our annoying questions anymore, so he passed us onto someone else who was really, really nice. It was so weird- he was really polite with us and he said to Julia "Ok, you are sisters, twenty five euros for the both of you." Julia paid it before he could change his mind and he gave her a ticket for the rest of our journey. Twenty five euros instead of one hundred- it just proves they make it up as they go along and will try and get whatever they can from you, so be careful. (Or buy a ticket and don't jump the metro, I suppose.)

The venue was le Grand Halle at Parc de la Villette, which by now has become one of my favourite places in Paris. As well as looking really modern and interesting, with strange architecture and landscaping, they always have good events on and it is home to the music venue Cabaret Sauvage. This weekend at the park there was a festival on called Pitchfork and I found out tonight that on Saturday, while I was raving, Georgie was working at the festival, just behind the Grand Halle, taking photographs backstage.

The only problem with Parc de la Villette is that it's a bit ghetto and when you get off the metro, you find yourself in an empty building site. You have to walk in the dark for quite a bit until you get to Cabaret Sauvage. As I have been before, I managed to get us there from the metro, but we weren't going to Cabaret Sauvage were we? None of us could remember where the venue for We Love Art was.

On the canal opposite Cabaret Sauvage, there is a random club on a boat that is always open, but always empty. We asked the bouncers if they knew where the 'big party with DJs' was and they pointed us in the right direction. Literally, they pointed in a direction and told us to walk as far as we could. Look how bloody far we had to walk:

We walked along the canal, following the bright lights, for ages and ages. It was cool though. At one point someone was yelling at us from across the canal and the lights were so bright we couldn't see who it was. We had a conversation with the Mystery Person over the glittering water for about a mile and I started to think maybe something weird was going on, like we were talking to a ghost or maybe we were so drunk we were conversing with our own echoes... But eventually we got to a bridge and we crossed paths with the Mystery Person. He wasn't a ghost, he was just a weird guy. He said he hangs out by the canal 'just on the off chance' he'll meet a girl there. To rape, he probably meant.

I started to think we'd never get to the rave and we'd just follow the bright lights forever. But then we got to the rave, finally! And it was really good. (It made up a little bit for the fact that I couldn't make it to Mulletover.) The venue was huuuuuge, normally it's an exhibition space. The DJ booth was really high up and surrounded by projection screens:

I didn't really know any of the DJs, but the music was quite good. I haven't been to a rave for ages and ages so I was just enjoying bopping about and being Generally Fucked. But at one point, things got a bit weird...
We were chatting to this guy and he went off to get a drink. When he'd walked off I thought 'Shit! What table number is he?' and I couldn't remember it. I decided that he was probably sat at table 16, but then where was everyone else sat? There were too many people and where were all the tables? Then the guy came back with his drink and I couldn't figure out where he'd got his drink from. Where had everyone got their drinks from? They weren't allowed to bring their drinks this far from the restaurant, surely?

I have definitely been working at the restaurant too much this past week.

After a while I realised I wasn't waitressing, I was raving! I had a Good Time. We were just dancing and dancing. There were no nobheads there and the light effects were amazing:

We finally left about six am. It took us a VERY LONG time to get back to Julia's, it was about half seven when we got back I think. The next day when I woke up, it felt a bit surreal because I was half-asleep and Julia and her sister were talking to each other in French. I've never actually stayed over at a French Friend's place before. There was no language needed really; we mostly sat in silence and stared at the wall, feeling really Terrible and Ill. At about five pm, Julia drove me back to mine because she had a family meal in Paris. I'm so glad I got a lift home, I couldn't have faced the bus, then the RER and then the metro.

Driving through the outskirts of Paris was weird because I never see that part of the city, ever. It went from being industrial and a bit grimy to being really modern and futuristic and then suddenly we were back in the grand boulevards of Paris. We had to drive around the Arc de Triomphe which  was crazy. There really are no lanes, you just have to try and get across any way you can without smashing into the other cars.

Julia dropped me off at the top of my street. I said goodbye and walked up to my building, looking forward to a cup of tea and then cooking myself something nice to eat. I was Starving, Freezing and Tired. I went into my building, passing Homeless Man who sits on the step all night and all day. I put in my code and got in the lift. I slumped against the wall in the lift, nearly there, nearly there... The lift stopped and I got out. Nearly home, nearly in reach of a kettle and teabags... I put my key in my door, walked in and switched on the light.


I plugged in my lamp, nothing. I tried all the switches and nothing was working. I had no light, no cooker and my fridge and my little freezer were off. I tried to text my au pair family to ask them for the Gardienne's number, because I couldn't remember where she lived, but my phone wouldn't let me text or ring anyone. I went downstairs and hovered around where I thought the Gardienne lived, but I wasn't sure and I didn't know what to do.

I was in no state to deal with Electricity Problems. I went back upstairs and sat in the dark, crying.

It was very cold and I was hungry and I could barely see my own hand in front of my face. I thought about going to Georgie's, but I didn't know her code and if I couldn't use my phone, it might be more upsetting waiting outside her building in the dark with no way of contacting her.

I opened my door and used the light from the corridor to find where my electricity box thing was. I messed about with all the switches. Nothing. Then, just as I was about to give up, I noticed there was a little square that said 'OFF' on it. There was a sticky-out thing next to it so I pulled on it and the square said 'ON'. The lights came on. My fridge hummed back to life. I was saved.

I have no idea why that switch had been turned off and furthermore, I wonder why it was in English? Anyway, I'm just glad I got my electricity back.

Wow. I don't think anyone has ever written so much about one night before. I think it's time for bed. I worked at the restaurant today and I'm working again tomorrow. Today went really, really badly- I had the dreaded Front Section. How long am I going to keep this up until I quit??

Ha ha! Just chatting to Lauren on Whats App and she said that at the weekend, she made friends with a Randomer in Bumper (a club in Liverpool that has a tendency to be a bit pretentious) and they both pretended to be wearing Subconcious Hats. Then somebody I went to uni with, who Lauren doesn't know that well, ended up going home with her and her flatmate to eat Yorkshire puddings at 5am in the morning.

I am really missing England at the moment.


  1. Sounds like an interesting night...I never went raving when I lived in Paris. Probably because of the agoraphobia.

    Just curious...what is the name of the banlieu your friend lived in? Was it West near La Défense? I live for 2 years in Houilles/Sartrouville (shit hole) and then 1 year in Chatou (very nice posh neighbourhood).

    Good luck at work!

  2. She lives in Nanterre. Shame you never went raving!

    Thanks for the good luck, I really should be getting ready now instead of looking at my blog...