Monday, 24 December 2012

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Merry Christmas, slags.

My mum just took the bottle of sparkling wine out of my hand and said she was going to be in charge of the pouring. I do feel light-headed actually, but it's Christmas! And I'm home!

I got home about an hour ago, I got the Eurostar yesterday and spent last night and all of today at my stepdad's brother's house, because he was driving from London to Manchester tonight. It was a little bit awkward because I have only met him and his wife a couple of times, but they are really nice. Last night their little girl was at her grandparent's house so I got her room and I pretended to go to bed early but really I played with her doll's house. The living room furniture was all mixed up with the bedroom furniture and it needed sorting out.

I'm paranoid that my mum and stepdad are being weird with me, maybe my stepdad saw my tweet about Dial-a-Dick before I realised he was following me and blocked him. Maybe he told my mum and together they have been discussing what a terrible crude person I am with loose morals. Oh God.

Guys, I am buzzing for Christmas.

Tomorrow we are having quite a lot of Jewish people round to celebrate Christmas with us, half of them visiting from Israel. I'm not really sure how this all came about but all in all there will be fifteen of us tomorrow Jews and non-Jews alike, including my cousin Sophie who surely will get drunk with me. But am I allowed to get drunk when demonstrating how to celebrate Christmas to people who have never had a Christmas before? Maybe I will get really drunk and start singing Hava Nagila. Probably I should not drink very much. There is a lot of food.

I still have presents to wrap. I got my dad a tin of sardines for Christmas, if he doesn't like it he can NOB OFF because he didn't get me anything last year.

ALSO my number of followers is finally SEVENTY SEVEN! Those of who know me or who have read my blog for a long time will know about my obsession with the number seven. YESSSSSSSS.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Mildly Baffled

I finally started my Christmas shopping today, I ran round the Galeries Lafayette food section, cheerfully chucking French delicacies into my basket and thinking 'This is what all Christmas presents should be- edible and luxurious.'

Then I came out of the big doors, laden with shopping bags, and almost fell over a blind Romany boy, lying on his back on a straw mat while his daddy sat next to him, holding out a begging bowl. I felt absolutely disgusting. I didn't even have any change on me, so I just walked past, the weight of the shopping bags pulling me down, down...

Fucking hell, I hope it is the end of everything tomorrow. It's grim as bins, this world we live in.

In a shameless attempt to lessen my guilt, I'd like to tell you all that I didn't go mad with my Christmas shopping today. I just bought small quantities of things that I knew my family would like- I hate it when people waste loads of money on crap that nobody wants, just for the sake of buying something. I think I did well with the few French delicacies I chose. I won't specify what French delicacies I bought in case my stepdad happens to be reading- most of the food stuff was for him. (He's so hard to buy for and I refuse to give anyone a pair of socks or a tie for Christmas.)

I'm 99% sure that he doesn't read my blog- ever- but the other day I got a horrible fright when I saw that he had found Left Bank Manc on Twitter and had started following me. The last thing I'd tweeted was: I wish Dial-a-Dick was real*... Needless to say, he got BLOCKED faster than you say "Your mum and I would like to talk to you... about your salacious, offensive Twitter activity."

Talking of dicks... do you want to know what happened with Mizmiz Man?

If the answer is no, stop reading now. 

SO. Last week I posted a rather, ahem, gloating post about how Mizmiz Man texted me, asking me out for a drink and 'maybe a dance', after I had given him up for dead.

B had already invited me to go to an Electro Swing night at La Java on the Friday, so I asked Mizmiz Man if he wanted to come along, thinking I wouldn't be alone with him if he turned out to be a weirdo and equally, if he decided I was a weirdo and ditched me, at least I wouldn't be left on my own, propping the bar up in and looking for fat, short, hairy, bald men to take home with me just so I didn't have to spend the night alone, wondering whether it was my uneven eyebrows that put him off. (Yes, last week I went too far with the tweezers. No, I don't want to talk about it.)

Mizmiz Man said he had a family thing, but would come afterwards. He seemed keen, if anything he seemed a bit too keen- sending me question marks when I hadn't replied for a long time, telling me that he really wanted to see me- but I put that down to him being French; they do love a good barrage of text messages.

Friday came and I wasn't sure what was going to happen. I had work the next day so I didn't want it to be a really late one...

On my way home from work, I stopped at the Chinese traiteur opposite, which is a terrible new habit I've gotten into, since discovering the place a couple of weeks ago. (I don't know if it's just opened or if I'm just really unobservant.) It started with a few fifty cent nem here and there, then last Friday I went in feeling really hungry and ended up spending ten euros. I felt really guilty, which doesn't make sense because I'd think nothing of spending twenty euros on myself in a restaurant. But somehow, standing there on my own, handing over a ten euro note, I realised how far some poor families could make that tenner stretch.

When she handed me my food, the woman behind the counter gave me a knowing wink and slipped a free desert into the bag. She's trying to get me hooked with free nougat and a smiley service. I must never step foot in there again.

As soon as I finished my Chinese I knew it was going to be one of those nights where you feel sick and have to sit down all night. Maybe I'd eaten too fast, or maybe it was because I was eating so late, or maybe it was the type of food, but whatever the reason, I knew I was going to feel ill no matter what I did. I told myself I'd feel better if I just sat on my bed for a while and got ready really slowly.

I didn't get to B's until midnight, then two of her friends joined us for pre-drinks and we finally left B's at about 1.30am. (This didn't bode well for me having an early night.) By this time I'd had a few glasses of wine and I felt fine.

The music was really good at the Electro Swing night, it was a bit like some of the stuff Mr Scruff plays- saxophones and old swing records over electro beats- but unfortunately, it was too quiet. La Java is a long, narrow club and the sound didn't carry very well.

I'm sure I could have danced all night, but after we'd been to the loo and put our coats in the vestiaire, then queued at the bar and finally made our way to the dance floor, I felt really ill. I managed about fifteen minutes of dancing before I had to find a chair and sit down. I sat down for half an hour, hoping that my rum and coke would perform magic tricks on my stomach, but I just felt worse and worse as the night wore on. I knew I had to take myself home.

I've never been on the night bus on my own before. It took me about half an hour to find the right bus stop, which turned out to be a vandalised stump by the side of the road, but once I was on the bus it was fine. I felt confident that if anyone tried to sexually assault me, or touch me in any way, I would instantly vomit all over them.

When I finally got home to my bed, I knew I'd made the right decision- I still felt really ill and the only thing that could stop me from throwing up was going to sleep. It was only when I got under the covers that I realised Mizmiz Man hadn't contacted me all night.

The next afternoon was our Christmas dinner at Julia's. I told Kayt, Julia and her friend Elodie how Mizmiz Man hadn't shown up or contacted me to say why he wasn't coming. Julia said I should just text him, if only to satisfy my own curiosity. I sent him a casual text to say hi and he replied saying sorry, he'd gotten really drunk at his family thing. He asked me if we could meet up that night instead. I told him I was going for drinks at Menilmontant, because me and B were actually planning on going to Le Mizmiz again- it was the same 'Future Garage' night, Street Bass, where I met Mizmiz Man. (When I say 'met' I mean chased down the road and asked for his number, obvs.)

He said he was going to Disneyland the next day and had to be up early, but could come and meet me for one drink because he didn't live too far away... I don't know why but I felt a embarrassed. I don't like the idea of people being too excited, it makes me cringe, and I instantly pictured him on a ride, enjoying himself and going 'waaheeey I'm in Disneyland'. It made me shudder with embarrassment for him.

In the end, B didn't come out and I went to Nouveau Casino with Kayt, Ruth and some of Ruth's friends. They knew the guys playing that night- Hoosky. Ruth told me it was going to be 'electro hip hop'. The DJ duo before Hoosky were certainly not electro hip hop. They were that crap, 'wannabe dubstep' kind of electro music, all jarring basslines and eletronic beats that sound like robots fighting, or dogs barking. I'm not being a music snob but their music actually hurt my ears and made me wince- that ain't good.

Me and Kayt still managed to have the time of our lives, sitting out the robot dogs upstairs, laughing at everything for No Reason.

When the Gruesome Twosome (I don't want to name names in case they somehow find this blog post, hunt me down and say 'YOU DJ in front of hundreds of people then, smartarse') FINALLY left the stage, Hoosky came on and were really good, although not as hip hop as I was expecting. Oh my God, I've just found this track of theirs on Youtube, I wish they had thrown in some Bollywood-esque music on Saturday!



Our ears had been abused for so long though, that thirty minutes into their set me and Kayt decided to go home- we were stone cold sober and suddenly no longer in the mood for raving.

As you might have guessed, Mizmiz Man didn't contact me all night, again.

I'm baffled. Why bother texting me if you don't want to meet up? How about... you just don't text me?

Boys are incomprehensible.

I really, really don't get it. This time, I didn't even need to pretend he was dead because I wasn't embarrassed, just... mildly baffled.

What is wrong with people?

Two days ago he sent me a text, not mentioning the weekend but saying that we should go for a drink this Friday at 10pm. He said he knows a nice bar we could go to. Obviously I didn't bother replying... but then the next day, curiosity got the better of me and I told him I'd go. Now I feel like I need to have this bloody drink with him to prove he really exists and that I'm not just schizophrenically texting myself from another phone.

Also, that Bollywood-esque Hoosky track just reminded of a video B introduced me to. I plan to learn all the words, then mime along to the song without the English subtitles, so that I people will be tricked into thinking I can sing in Hindi and that I am a Bollywood Superstar:



*I just felt like being ridiculously crude and was referring to the Sex and the City episode where Samantha says they should create a no-frills, male gigolo service.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Festive Feelings

Who is feeling festive?

You may remember that a couple of weeks ago, I declared myself on a festive diet of nothing but mince pies and mulled wine. Other festive treats such as yule log and egg nogg were permitted as occasional variations. Oh my God, 'yule log' and 'egg nogg' rhymes- why has nobody put that rhyme in a Christmas song before? I can feel a Christmas Number One pouring through me...

I'm on a Christmas diet
And everyone must try it
Mince pies and yule log
Mulled wine and egg nogg
A special diet for a special time of year
It will make your knees thick!
It will make you be sick!
But it's full of festive cheeeeeeeer.

We'll get Cliff Richard to record it and then sell it to either a leading supermarket or Weightwatchers for their Christmas campaign. This time next year we'll be celebrating Christmas inside a diamond submarine, submerged somewhere off the coast of Chili, giving each other emerald encrusted lobsters as presents. Probably.

Anyway, since declaring myself on the Christmas Diet, I've only managed to consume one glass of mulled wine and ten mince pies. It turns out that ten mince pies is actually quite a lot of dried fruit and pastry to eat in two weeks. I feel as if I couldn't eat another mince pie ever again and yet... if anyone offers me one when I'm home for Christmas, I know I won't be able to say no. I'm not sure if I even like them, I just feel a frenzied need to eat as many as possible during the Christmas period.

I have been feeling very festive this weekend- on Saturday me, Kayt and Julia had a roast dinner. We bought four bottles of sparkling wine and listened to Christmas songs as we cooked. Abby was supposed to come as well but she told Julia she was sick, suspiciously not long after Kayt and I announced that we would be doing the cooking... Well, if you're reading this Abby, you missed out- Julia is now fully converted to the idea of an English Sunday Roast. Perhaps it was because it the first roast dinner I've had in a long, long time, but I was amazed at how well it turned out. I had a sneaking suspicion that we would panic and fuck it up somehow we didn't- it was a Christmas miracle.

On Sunday evening I went to a carol service with B at an Anglican 'English' church in the 16th. It made me feel really at home although, as someone who was brought up a Catholic, I must say that I missed the gorgeous, jewel-coloured gowns and the eccentric hats, the sinister chanting and the heavy incense. Still, they had mince pies and mulled wine in the parish hall afterwards. It was full of jolly English people, very Vicar of Dibley.

Today I've been listening to music from The Nutcracker and I've got a a bowl of clementines and a big candle on my desk, servicing as festive decorations. Very 'Christmas in Old Europe'- dark forests and wild boars, blood on snow and warm fires. Or am I thinking of The Hogfather? (I bet you didn't have me down as a Terry Pratchett fan, did you?)

I've been so caught up in all this festive fun, that I've forgotten to buy any Christmas presents. I am now panicking slightly. Tried to buy a couple of things on Amazon but my card isn't working, as usual. For once, I know that I have enough money in my account, but it's just not working. Why do I even bother with banks? I know I always say this, but I really feel like I should stop all dealings with banks and start stuffing money into my mattress.

Another thing I can't be bothered with is trying to organise 'drinks' with 'boys' in the interests of perhaps one day having 'sex' with them. I've used quote marks for the words 'drinks' 'boys' and 'sex' because, while they are all concepts that allegedly exist, I have no (up to date) evidence of their existence.

I'm sure you can guess what happened with Mizmiz Man. Sigh. It's the predictability of my 'love life' that makes it so tragic, the sheer boredom of it. I'll tell you the full story later, I'm babysitting tonight. Until then, I'll leave you with the December photo from Cliff Richard's superb 2012 calender: (I said I'd plug the calender for him seeing as he's agreed to sing on our Christmas song.)



Thursday, 13 December 2012

Mizmiz Man Is Risen

HA!

Guess what happened today.

Mizmiz Man sent me a text, asking if I wanted to go for a drink and maybe a dance...

VICTORY.

Victory is mine. 

And we all thought he was dead... (Read this blog post if you don't know about the 'Kill Off Any Guy Who Isn't Interested in You Trick')

This afternoon, I got a text from B written in French, obviously meant for someone else. Just as I was about to reply, telling her she'd made a mistake, I saw the name again. It was a name beginning with 'B' but it wasn't her name... it was Mizmiz Man, risen from the dead just like Jesus Prawn.

I actually let out an audible HA of triumph as I read the message properly.

Who would have thought? I was so surprised to hear from him after giving him up for dead and swearing off all men.

The only downer is, he didn't mention the phone conversation we may or may not have had on Saturday, or my follow-up text message, so I still don't know whether it was him I spoke to or Ageing Reggae Man. If it was Mizmiz Man, then why was he ringing me from a phone box? I have no interest in wealth but... you can't afford phone credit? Sly on you.

After the initial excitement had died down (I know, I know- I was excited, how embarrassing for me), I decided to ignore the message and never contact him again, choosing instead to merely keep the message so that I could read it every once in a while and gloat over it, in the manner of a hoarding dragon.

I mean, what's the point?

He'll either turn out to be a weirdo, or else I'll really like him and he'll decide I'm a weirdo...

My French is shit and I make a bad first impression, the date will be a disaster...

I've never been on a date before, I don't really understand the concept... (I keep hearing that you're not supposed to sleep with people on a first date, so then what do you do afterwards? How do you decide when the date is over?)

I was the one that asked for his number, it doesn't bode well that I had to chase him down the street and ask for it. Surely if he was interested he would have asked me for my number?

If any of my friends are reading this and despairing over my mental worrying, don't worry- I have since changed my mind. Tonight I went out for free drinks with B- yes FREE DRINKS! She knows a place near Opéra where cocktails are free for girls every Wednesday, between 8pm and midnight. It's a teeny tiny bar called Earth's Kitchen. I can't believe the cocktails are free, I really don't know what they get out of it, apart from a lot of very drunk girls. One girl fell off her stool and smacked her head on the floor. The bouncers threw her out immediately, which I think is a bit harsh, considering they had been giving her FREE cocktails all night. What do they expect?

Me and B only had two drinks and didn't even feel tipsy- very classy of us, I know. I told her about Mizmiz Man and she thinks I should meet him for a drink, as does Kayt. Of course I should, if only to have something to blog about other than electro music and messiah prawns.

Tomorrow I'll blog about Mr Scruff but for now, let me just reiterate:

He texted me, ha! In your FACE Paris.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Katapult: Getting On It and Giving It Up

We'd been debating it all week and in the end we decided to just fuck it and get tickets- I've wanted to go to Katapult since Julia told me about it back in September. We even discussed having a 'huge night' and going to Concrete the next morning...

Katapult was supposed to be in a 'secret location' but B discovered pretty quickly that it was at a venue called Seven Spirits which, from the photos on the website, looked like it mainly did bar mitzvahs and weddings. The people behind Katapult obviously claim that the party is in a 'secret location' because they don't want to advertise the embarrassing venue.  Look at it:


Nevertheless, we knew the music would be good and I'd heard that it was always a 'good crowd'.* 

I didn't really think about the fact that it was just going to be me and B, on our lonesome twosome. It could have been intense, considering it was only our second meeting, but do you know what? It was the 'best night ever'- that's what we kept squealing to each other over the music. Nobody was there to witness our squealing and arm squeezing, so we don't have to be embarrassed for ourselves. 

It was kind of like going on a night out with myself.  B turned up at mine an hour and a half later than we'd arranged but when I opened the door, I still hadn't done my make-up.

"It's like we're in perfect synch!" we kept saying. 

And it was! We got the same level of fucked (right, just to say, for any French or American people reading this, you know when I say 'fucked' I don't mean we had lots of sex with various men, right?) and just danced all night, sometimes not speaking for ages, both in our own little worlds. We kept standing right in front of the DJ booth and then coming out of our Rave Trance to realise we were now standing at the very back of the venue, with no idea how we had moved so far back without noticing.

The venue, by the way, was fine. (Drinks were predictably expensive, but B snuck a bottle of rum in, so we only paid for cokes.) It would have been better if it had been a warehouse or a car park, but remember- this isn't London, there aren't any large, unused urban spaces in this city.  It also would have been better if there had been more people there, but I think the venue might have put a lot of people off- the last Katapult was in the same place. 

The music was really good. There were only two DJs- Daniel Bell and Jacques Bon- and I'd never heard of either of them, but a bit of researching before we left mine suggested we were in for a night of deep house:




We were having such a good night and then... all of a sudden... the lights went on and it was over.

Except it wasn't over, because there was still Concrete!

It's been my Secret Rave Dream for some months now to go have a massive night on a Saturday night and then go straight to Concrete the next day but somehow, something always gets in the way. This time, finally, I was going to do it... We left Katapult and started thinking about the awfully long metro journey that lay ahead, when an amazing thing happened: a guy asked us if we were going to Concrete, because there was a FREE COACH waiting to take people there!



We jumped on the coach, chuffed as two steam trains, raring to go. But we were among the first people to get on and they wanted to fill the coach up, so we had quite a long time to wait before the bus set off.


As we waited longer and longer, we started to feel less and less eager to go to Concrete. The excitement train we'd been riding was slowing to a halt. We convinced ourselves that we would just get back on it and everything would work out wonderfully.

The bus pulled up outside Concrete and it wasn't open yet, even though it was 7am, the time it was supposed to open. We stood in the queue, too frozen to even shiver, like two hard crystals.

"Are we sure we want to go in?" asked B.


We both knew we had to make a decision, but neither one of us wanted to suggest leaving the queue. Maybe it would be amazing, once we got inside and the music started? But what if it wasn't, what if we paid fifteen euros to get in and then decided to go home straight away? We no longer had the excitement train with us to pull us through... it finally seemed as though the night was ending.


It was the right decision, I was so happy when I got home and saw my bed. Snuggling under the covers, closing my eyes, thinking 'that was the best bar mitzvah ever' before falling instantly asleep... a perfect ending. 


But that's not the end, because I forgot to tell you something. 


On Saturday night, while I was getting ready to go out, I received a phone call from an unknown French number. I struggled to follow the conversation, but I heard him say something about Le Mizmiz. It had to be Mizmiz Man, not dead but very much alive, asking me what I was doing that evening! I told him I had tickets for Katapult, but that perhaps I would be pre-drinking somewhere. At the end of the conversation he said something I didn't catch and then asked 'ca marche?' 

"Oui, ca marche." I said, with no idea what I was agreeing to.

Something didn't feel right. The whole thing smacked of what happened with Personally Recommended, when I thought someone was asking me where I was going that night, so I kept saying 'I'm not sure where it is', when really they were telling me that they were going to a wedding. They thought I was asking where the wedding was, as if I was invited and... oh God, it still makes me want to die, just thinking about it.

Why would Mizmiz Man ring me from a different number anyway? I sent a text to the number, explaining that my French wasn't very good over the phone, sorry if I caused any confusion etc, but the message wouldn't send. Ah, the mystery number could have been a phone box. I then sent a text to Mizmiz Man, asking him if I had spoken to him on the phone earlier, sorry for the confusion my French isn't very good etc etc. 


Then it hit me-


Ageing Reggae Man.


What was more likely, that the mystery caller was a good looking guy I chased down the street to ask for his number, or that it would be a creepy old man that I only gave my number to out of politeness?


I GIVE UP. 


Do you hear me Paris? I give up. I concede defeat, this city is full of weirdos and I will be alone forever. I fucking give up. The Vow of Celibacy is reinstated, everyone can fuck off, I've had enough. I give up. 


Look, I don't want to end this post on a negative note, so guess what?


When we went to Katapult, the gold-striped rave jacket came out of retirement! It was just like old times, apart from the fact that on our way from the metro to Seven Spirits, a dodgy pervert approached us asking for a fag and he was wearing the exact same jacket.

*I realise that I say that a lot now and that it makes me sound like a dickhead, but sometimes the 'crowd' can make or break a night- it doesn't matter how good the DJ is, if there are dickheads bumping into you and spilling drinks on you, or not dancing, or trying to rob your bag, then it's not going to be a Good Night.

Hip Hop and The Trick

Let's go back a few days, to the Friday before last.

What do you mean, why?

Don't be a bore darling, just pop back in time with me for a moment. I want to show you something...

Me and Georgie, waving to each other across the road at Place de Clichy, after not seeing each other for about four months. She was wearing her pink coat with wedge boots and a black furry Russian hat, just to give you a clearer picture. (I was probably wearing something stained, with a pair of holey leggings.)

Sometimes, when people who have left Paris come back for a visit, they instantly slip back into their old Parisian selves and it feels as if I've gone back in time, back to when that person still lived here and was a permanent fixture in my life in Paris.

But with Georgie, it didn't really feel as if she still lived here... Perhaps because we used to spend so much time in her lovely little apartment, whereas this time around she was staying with friends, running round the city collecting boxes she left here over the summer. (She left SO MUCH stuff here, it makes me wonder how the hell I am ever going to move all my shit back to England.) I couldn't believe that we weren't going back to her apartment for a cosy dinner, followed by tea-drinking and a tarot card reading.

Even though she stands by her decision to move back to London, Georgie she still had a marvelous weekend in Paris, as did I- I know I said this in my last post, but Paris really has got its mojo back.

On Friday we went to Le Bal for lunch- a photography gallery and cafe just round the corner from Place de Clichy. 

There was a Paul Graham exposition on and I really recommend it, I don't know if it was just because I was walking around the exposition with Georgie who is a photographer, but I felt like I really engaged with the photographs, in a way that- oh, sorry! Just read on the website that the Paul Graham expo finished two days ago, so you can't go and see it. No point in boring you with my musings on the artist's early 'Beyond Caring' project then...

I suppose you wouldn't want to know how, in my opinion, Graham manages to capture boredom without creating a boring image, or how tiny details spark huge questions, or how I found myself looking at the photos and creating stories for the subjects and, in some cases, for people who aren't even in the photo? (The poster of a horse looking ridiculously out of place in a grimy dole office, for example. Who put the poster on the wall? Did they really think it would cheer the place up?)

No?

Well that's a shame, because I had lots and lots of very profound, interesting things to say on the exposition and now you will never know what they are. You'll just have to take my word for it.

Kayt joined us for lunch in the adjacent cafe. We'd forgotten how bloody expensive it is, but by the time we were seated we were starving and couldn't be bothered going anywhere else. Normally they do a 'soup and tart' formula for twelve euros, but that had sold out by the time we ordered, so we ended up paying eighteen euros for two courses. The food was really good though- I would definitely recommend it if you are feeling flush or having an indulgent weekend break here.

That evening I had no concrete plans and on my way home from work Ruth invited me to her flat for pre-drinks, even though nobody was sure where the actual drinking would be.

As we drank, I told Ruth and her two Italian friends about the 'Kill Off Any Guy Who Isn't Interested In Me Trick': Basically, if you text a boy and he ignores you, instead of letting the rejection damage your self esteem beyond repair, you agree with your group of girls that the boy has 'died'. Think about it, you can't be embarrassed because he's dead. He's not sat at home sniggering to himself and thinking 'What a dickhead, texting me when I am clearly not interested', because he's DEAD. Bad news for his family, good news for your self esteem!

(If anyone is reading this thinking 'Golly gosh, I would never doubt myself like that, just because somebody I don't even know wasn't attracted to me', all I can say is that you were probably born with Posh Girl Confidence which as we all know, is not something that can be learnt or bought, so leave me alone to dwell in my insecurities.)

I think it was Amy who started the 'Kill Off Any Guy Who Isn't Interested In Me Trick' and I am now trying to spread the word.

Ruth and her friends agreed it was an excellent idea. We were talking about being single (not Ruth, she has a boyfriend) and I told them about the guy from Le Mizmiz who 'reminded' me of Drake. I explained how I had recently started taking people's numbers (remember Biblical Barman?) and then, after the initial, drunken triumph has subsided, I wonder why I bothered: I am clearly never going to do anything with the number, I just keep it on my phone and look at it every once in a while. I'm like a scaly, old dragon who lies on a hoard of gold for hundreds of years; she has no intention of ever spending the gold, she just wants it for the sake of it.

Anyway, Ruth and her friends pointed out that I should text Mizmiz Man because I had nothing to lose- if he didn't text back, it was because he had died, so I needn't feel embarrassed.  When I say that Ruth and her friends 'pointed out that I should text him', perhaps I mean to say that I got my phone out and started yelling 'Shall I just text him, shall I just text him?' and they all shrugged noncommittally.

In any case, I sent him a text to say that I was drinking in Menilmontant and asked him what he was up to that evening. If you think that sounds a bit direct, you should know that in France it is not uncommon for a boy to send a text that simply says: Tu fais quoi ce soir?

I know this from all my many, many, MANY dates with beautiful, charming, successful French boys, of course.

Hang on, no, sorry, I'm doing that thing again... You know, that thing. What's it called?

Lying, that's it.

In the end, we decided to go to a free hip hop night at La Villette Enchantée. We met more of Ruth's pals and chums at Point Ephémère, as well as Georgie and Louvre Laura (not to be confused with Laura from Glasgow, who left Paris last year, sob) then Kayt finished babysitting so she came and met us at the metro station. It was the BIGGEST group of people I've been out with in Paris for a long time.

The hip hop night was not exactly what we were expecting- it was live M.Cs, rather than DJs playing hip hop. (Actually, it was just how I imagined Paris would be before I moved here, for Some Reason I thought I would be listening to live French rappers all the time.)

When the rappers had finished, they did have a DJ who played hip hop we could dance to, but by that time Ruth and most of her friends had left. It ended up being just me and Kayt. We stayed til about 4am and then we decided to go home, because I had to go to my au pair job in the morning. Ugh.

It wasn't a massive night, but it was fun, especially because there was such a big group of us. Although... I must say, I'm afraid I was being an atrocious dickhead all night. I was being really loud and obnoxious and the next day I had The Fear really badly. Me and Kayt got a taxi home and I told Kayt that I was in love with the taxi driver.

"I just love people who can take me places... In taxis, buses, metros, coaches... and bicycles." 

This is why I need to cut down on my drinking.

I can't remember what happened at work the next day, but as soon as I got home I slept for about a million years and then me and B went to Katapult... yey! 

I've just finished blogging about Katapult and it's the longest post ever, so I'm going to copy it into another blog post...

By the way, Georgie always introduces me to new music. Since visit two weeks ago, me and Kayt have been loving LV's new album 'Sebenza':


Little Shirley Beans Launch Party

If you live in London, you should definitely go to the 'Little Shirley Beans Launch Party' tomorrow:






I've met Laura, or 'Little Shirley Beans', a few times- she's Olivia's friend from Liverpool and came to Paris a couple of times last year. She reworks vintage pieces into accessories, my favourites are the collars and collar necklaces she makes out of beaded lace, sequined silk and all kind of lovely things like that:





She's freaking out that nobody will go to the launch party, so if you live in London and you're reading this- GO! There will be cupcakes and cocktails, plus vintage and retro clothing, as well as the cute collars and accessories that Laura makes.

I'm trying to spread the word, as I can imagine how shit-scared I would be if it was me organising a launch party for something. I see on Facebook that my cousin and her friend Becky are going, excellent. I just wish I could go...

Little Shirley Beans Launch Party
TOMORROW (Wed 12th Dec) at 6:30pm
Revive London, 268 Holloway Road


 
Facebook Event

Little Shirley Beans blog

Friday, 7 December 2012

Mojo

The day I have been eagerly anticipating for weeks has finally arrived...

Mr Scruff at Nouveau Casino.

Now I am not even excited.

No, I am still buzzing and fuzzing and fizzing inside, but I have calmed down, a lot.

It's a good thing, I think I was too excited a few weeks ago, when there were no other raves on the horizon and the city felt like a decrepit old man, shuffling in front of me down a narrow Parisian street, blocking my view and slowing me down until I had to shove him out of the way, screaming:
'HURRY UP YOU SLOW BASTARD! MOVE OUT OF MY WAY! I HAVE SO MANY PLACES TO BE AND SO MANY PEOPLE TO SEE AND YOU ARE PISSING ME OFF!'

Then after I posted on here about being bored to tears (literally), I had a couple of really good weekends to take the edge off my rave cravings and I feel a lot more relaxed.

Paris has got its mojo back, the Good Times are coming thick and fast. No need to get hysterical.

My entire future happiness is no longer riding on one night. If tonight turns out to be a disaster (I get mugged, I get stabbed on the way home, I throw up on the dance floor, I have a seizure, I get arrested etc) then it's ok guys, don't panic, I know there will be other nights.

But it won't be a disaster, it's going to be excellent. (Touch wood, please don't let me have jinxed myself.)

Now I am off to get ready and drink gin. I was going to make rose and lychee martinis, all proper with the posh syrups and expensive gin like Olivia makes... But somehow, I just ended up buying shitty gin and a carton of cheapskate apple juice.

Wahey!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Jesus Prawn

I didn't realise how weird this was until I mentioned it on Twitter and received some flabbergasted* responses. My tweet was something along the lines of:

'The family had a pet prawn and it died, then it rose from the dead one day later.'

He (or she, I don't know how to tell with prawns) is just like Jesus, except he came back to life a lot quicker. No need to mess about really, what was Jesus doing for those three days, wasn't he just strolling around, appearing on deserted roads and stuff? I'm actually going to Google the 'Easter Story' now and I went to a Catholic school.

Oh, it looks like Jesus actually had a few laughs after he rose from the dead- he pretended to be a gardener and then he pretended to be a fisherman to his mates. Then he magicked them loads of fish and they all went out for a meal. Lolz Jesus, what are you like, eh?

But what was he doing before he rose from the dead? Was he really dead, or was he never really dead? Was he just lying there for three days, thinking of all the practical jokes he could play on his pals?

Anyway, the point is, Jesus Prawn did nothing as elaborate, mainly because, I suspect, he has no pals. He lives with two snails but I'm pretty sure they don't talk to him. They didn't look very sad when he died anyway.

Let me start at the beginning- the little girl told me on Monday that she has a pet prawn. She tried to point it out to me but we couldn't see it. It was a very small tank and I was beginning to think it was some sort of Houdini Prawn, but then I noticed a translucent grey thing, poking out of the water purifier or whatever it is (an important-looking plastic thing that whirrs and makes bubbles) and flapping about. I didn't want to tell the little girl, but it looked like Houdini Prawn had been sucked into the water purifier thing and was being mangled to death. I decided to tell her anyway, in case we could rescue him.

"It's not real what you say!" said the girl. (Not in a distraught,  'I won't believe you, it simply cannot be true!' self-denial kind of way, but in a blunt, 'Don't be an idiot' kind of way.)

I decided not to press the matter.

Then yesterday night, Houdini Prawn was back in the tank, crouching in the corner as if nothing had happened, although he did look a bit odd, like he was folded in half.

"I have a big problem with my prawn!" the little girl started yelling.

I just rolled my eyes and told her not to be so dramatic, but the mum came rushing in and started poking the prawn with a stick. She dislodged him from between two pink stones and he floated to the top of the tank in a way that was both graceful and dead.

My theory was that Houdini Prawn had indeed been mangled in the water purifier (an escape trick gone wrong perhaps, trying to win the snails over?), but had managed to heroically drag his wrecked, tortured body out of there and on to the pink stones, where he had died with dignity and in view of the plastic log he loved so much. I bet the two snails just rolled their eyes and carried on sliding up the glass walls... Drama Queen to the last. What a bloody show-off, always wiggling those little legs about.

Well. So far, so normal- just another minuscule libretto in the grand opera of life.

But guess what.

Today the little girl suddenly screamed, "My prawn is alive! My prawn is ALIVE!"

I hurried to look and there he was, the jammy bastard, wiggling about looking all healthy and casual. He looked shinier and a bit more streamlined.

Then I saw another prawn stuck to the outside of the water purifier, dead and flip-flapping about in a stream of bubbles. This one looked much more like the weird, folded-up prawn from yesterday. Me and the little girl started yelling at the same time.

"He has risen!"
"He is alive and he made another prawn and now I have two prawns!"

I'll let you guess who said which theory.

Suddenly I had a brainwave:

"He's shed his skin! Like a snake!"

I fished out the old prawn with a fork and sure enough, it was an empty prawn shell, obviously put there by Jesus Prawn to discredit himself, to keep the world media at bay while he gets on with the really important jobs his dad has asked him to do. (Cleaning algae off the stones, cleaning algae off the glass walls, neutralising the world's nuclear weapons e.t.c)

The biggest question raised by this whole incident is:

Why do the au pair family have a pet prawn?

*I don't think I've used the word 'flabbergasted' since I was seven years old, I feel like I am trying to think of a Big Word to put in my Year 4 story:
"Let's go in that big cave!" Rebecca shouted loudly and excitedly.
The two happy girls ran quickly into the dark, gloomy cave and to their big surprise they saw a huge, scary lion! "Argh a lion!" screamed Jade in a shocked and terrified voice, "I am flabbergasted!"

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

The Lives of Others

I've just remembered what happened when we got back from Le Mizmiz...

Me and Julia went back to Kayt's, because we weren't tired and none of us felt like the night was over. We thought we would see the sunrise in with a gin and tonic and some chats, I don't think we even put any music on...

At about 6.30am, Kayt's neighbour started banging on the wall which is absolutely outrageous, because Kayt has to listen to them arguing constantly and a lot of the time they argue really early in the morning. The walls are so thin that she can hear every word, normally the arguements are about the fact that the woman wants to have sex and her husband doesn't.

Me and Kayt feel really sorry for the wife, because it seems as if her husband has no interest in her. He doesn't even live in Paris all of the time, most of the time he works in Dublin. He's some sort of business man and only comes back to see his wife every few weeks. Kayt knows all this because she has spoken to the woman in the corridor a few times.

Orginally, we wondered why they were still keeping up the pretence of being together; obviously the man had either a boyfriend or another woman in Dublin and he was hiding his French wife away in a tiny chambre de bonne, refusing to have sex with her and shouting at her all the time, like she was the mad wife in the attic from 'Jane Eyre'.

Then one night, when Kayt knew for a fact that the husband was in Dublin, she heard the woman having very noisy sex. She heard her pacing around in high heels and then she heard the unmistakable sounds of wild, loud sex- the mattress groaning, the bed moving across the floor, that sort of thing...

When Amy came to stay for a few days, we all slept at Kayt's one night and me and Amy had the misfortune to hear the neighbour cheating on her husband. I could mainly hear the man, emitting the deepest, most aggressive grunts I have ever heard. It was quite scary- I was imagining this huge monster of a man, thrusting violently on the other side of the wall, just inches away from my head. They kept us up all night and we didn't know whether to be amused, scared, disgusted, or annoyed.

So you can imagine our surprise when either the wife, or her unsuspecting husband, started knocking on the wall after Le Mizmiz. I could imagine the wife frozen, waiting with bated breath to see if we would quieten down, or if her husband would be forced to knock on Kayt's door... perhaps she was wondering if we would spill the beans on her all-night grunting sessions.

We did quieten down however, so no beans were spilt. Also, we're not horrible dickheads and we would never shop her in.

A few days later, Kayt saw the husband in the corridor and apologised to him for the noise. He told her that she had nothing to worry about and that he had tried to stop his wife from knocking on the wall. He assured Kayt that he had no problem with people making a little bit of noise on a Saturday night...

Now we are convinced he is emotionally abusing his wife, undermining her and trying to make her look stupid. Maybe he knows she is cheating on him. If he won't have sex with her, what does he expect? I'm glad she's getting a shag from somewhere, poor girl.

Anyway, that is our theory. Of course we have no actual clue what goes on next door, but in Paris it's too easy to imagine a life for the people you hear but rarely see, on the other side of the wall. We thought Kayt's last neighbours were a couple with odd voices who were always arguing about their dog... then one day we realised it wasn't a couple- it was a Portuguese transsexual whose voice alternated between a squeaky lady voice and a deep baritone. She was always shouting at her dog.

Incidentally, on Sunday I finally saw 'The Lives of Others'- one of those films that you keep meaning to watch but never get round to it. It's brilliant, the best film I have seen in years, apart from 'Lawless'- we all know how I felt about that...


More Miz

Once again I've left it too long and now I can hardly remember what happened last weekend at the 'garage' night at Le Mizmiz... All you need to know is that me and B got on like a roof, the roof, the roof is on fire and all parties involved enjoyed a raging, raving good time. The music was good even if, as I mentioned last time, it wasn't actually garage. BUT they did play the kind of songs that make you shout, 'YES! I haven't heard this for EVER!'
For example:

The only annoying thing about the whole night was that when it came to the last song, the DJ played the beginning of four or five really good songs, but didn't play any of them for longer than ten seconds. He teased us with snippets of really good songs until we were ready to leap behind the decks and throttle him. People were actually booing him because they were so frustrated. I can't remember what the final track was now, but the one he finally stuck to wasn't as good as the tracks he teased us with.

Also, there was one moment in the night when I thought it was All Over- Kayt arrived from her babysitting job and they wouldn't let her in because, unbeknownst to Julia and I, Le Mizmiz lock the doors at 2am and stop letting people in. Once we found out what was happening, we begged and begged the doorman, telling him our friend was all on her own and had no way of getting home, but he was having none of it. We realised we'd have to leave, so I went to say goodbye to B and suddenly... Kayt was right behind me! The doorman hadn't been convinced by me and Julia but somehow Kayt had melted his icy bouncer heart. He had let her in through a secret back entrance and Kayt said that as she followed him down the dark, silent passageway, she wasn't entirely sure if he was taking her into the club or down an alleyway to rape her.

Needless to say, he took her into the club without any attempt at sexual assault, which is a very desirable quality in Paris: City of Perverts and Sex Pests.

Talking of Perverts and Sex Pests, the crowd at Le Mizmiz was a bit odd: the majority of people there seemed fun and normal and really into the music; but there was also a big group of underage kids (I'm not exaggerating, one of them looked like she was thirteen) and an old man at the bar who kept stroking young girls' backs and he whispered something creepy in my ear when I was getting a drink. I have absolutely no idea what he said to me, I couldn't understand a word, but I know it was disgusting from the raspy tone of his voice and the salacious look in his half-closed eyes. Sick.

It seems these days I only attract disgusting old men and lunatics...

Towards the end of the night, when I was a bit more drunk, winding and grinding my way through 'Murder She Wrote' or something similar, an ageing reggae artist with his dreadlocks wrapped in a scarf came up to me and wouldn't leave me alone until I gave him my number. I'm not being racist and assuming he was a reggae artist because he was black and had dreadlocks- he told me he was a reggae artist. (Oh my god, this reminds me of one night in Liverpool when I was chatting to a man from Nigeria and later on I saw him outside the club and said, "Hey, it's my Nigerian friend!' and everyone I was with thought that I didn't know him and that I was being a Big Fat Racist.)

When I told B this story- yes, we have seen each other since Le Mizmiz and I'm pretty sure we will become Top Pals and/or Big Chums- she asked me why I gave him my number. Now, I have no answer to this, other than I am a Silly Idiot. But sometimes men are so persistent and annoying that you feel it will just be easier to give them your bloody number to make them go away and then ignore any calls or texts from them.

Well I won't be fucking doing it again and I'll tell you why later, but for now, while I'm on the subject of telephone numbers and Sex Pests, I ended the night by chasing a boy down the road and asking for his number. I know nothing good ever came from ever chasing after guys, but there's always that little voice in my head that says: 'What have you got to lose?'

For Some Reason I just really fancied him, he reminded me of Drake...

Long time readers might remember that when I first moved to Paris I had a strange obsession with French men that looked like Drake, except actually Drake isn't that good looking if you really look at him... He is only my Secret Guilty Crush because he says things like:

Let me put something in your life, put something in your life
You telling me it's only been a couple other people that you've been with
I'ma trust you I'ma give you the benefit of the doubt, and I'ma love you



He definitely writes his songs with insecure, lonely teenage girls in mind, because he knows they will EAT THAT SHIT UP.

Listening to that kind of shameless romantic/sexualised Hip Hop and RnB makes me feel fourteen years old again, sitting in my room thinking 'One day all this will happen to me.'

Except, of course, that it didn't.

Is this depressing you as much as it's depressing me?

Anyway, that's the end of my story about Le Mizmiz. I really want to go there for dinner one evening, apparently they do good Moroccan food. However, I am not sure I can face going back there again, after what happened this weekend, but I shall tell you about that tomorrow.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Miz

Christmas time has officially started. I was trying to restrain myself from being festive until the first day of December, but this afternoon Kayt invited me round for gingerbread cupcakes and it felt so festive that we decided to watch 'Elf' while we ate them.

Now I'm in the Christmas mood and there's no getting out of it- from now until Boxing Day I'll be watching Christmas films, listening to Christmas songs and I'll be trying to stick to the Mince Pies and Mulled Wine Diet. Not only does this simple-to-follow diet fill you with festive cheer, but it promises to fatten you up for winter and it's very flexible- you can swap the pies for any Christmas-themed sweet treat (gingerbread, chocolate, candy canes etc) and you can substitute the wine for any kind of alcohol, as long as you heat it up with a few cloves and a stick of cinnamon.

A lot of people (Christians) complain that we've lost the true meaning of Christmas, that all we care about these days is stuffing our faces and hanging up pretty lights... But that is the true meaning of Christmas which as we all know, is just a rip-off of Yuletide. It's an excuse to light up dark days and nights, to cheer ourselves up in bleak mid-winter. I don't think we've lost sight of the festival, I think things have come full circle and the Western World is returning to its pagan roots.

But enough about pagans, why does everything always have to be about pagans? 

There's something I wanted to say, before I got dangerously carried away talking about mince pies and Yuletide...

Without wanting to sound like a dickhead, I would like to thank everyone who left lovely, supportive comments in response to my last post, which was the blogging equivalent of slamming my door, throwing myself on the bed and screaming 'IT'S NOT FAIR! NOBODY UNDERSTANDS ME! I HATE MY LIFE! NOBODY CARES ABOUT ME! I'M FAT AND UGLY AND I'M CRAP AT NETBALL!'

Instead of rolling your eyes and telling me to cheer the fuck up and to 'think yourself lucky young lady, there are people out there more bored than than you', you quietly knocked on my door with a cup of tea and told me everything would be all right. (I'm still talking analogically here, come on, stay with me...) How very indulgent of you but thanks, it really did cheer me up.

Now I'm going to do the blogging equivalent of skipping down the stairs ten minutes later as if nothing happened and saying brightly:  "Ooh, are we having spaghetti bolognaise for tea?"

Hands up if you enjoyed that analogy.

Hands up if you have no idea what is going on.

I'm seeing a fifty/fifty split...

Basically- last weekend I was a miserable bastard, some of you left very nice comments and then I ended up having a really good night out. Yey! Paris is back in my good books again, thanks to one commenter who invited me to a garage/bassline night in Menilmontant.

I woke up assuming that it would end up being another lonely, shit Saturday like the weekend before. I wrote my miserable blog post, then I went to my au pair job for a couple of hours. (I had two other toddlers sprung on me from nowhere, but the mum gave me a croissant and made me a cup of tea so it wasn't a bad afternoon, considering I had nothing better to do.)

On the metro home I was imagining that something amazing was about to happen and that the night would turn into a spontaneous adventure and Paris would be like it used to be- a place where I could jump on tour buses with dubstep DJs and would get invited to private members clubs by Parisian indie-pop bands. (Eeesh- I know that was a dickheady thing to say, but I can't help myself, I feel like I have to prove to everyone that I do more in Paris than sit in my Cinderella room watching 'Sex and the City' and drinking tea.)

A familiar feeling started fizzing away inside me... the feeling that something exciting was about to happen.

I kept looking at my phone, in the mad hope that someone would text me, even though I knew everybody hated me and I had no friends.

I just dragged myself down cold streets, resigned to my fate.

On my way home I bought some Lindt chocolate and a bottle of rosé wine. (I made sure I got one of those half-bottles this time, because I knew that I would end up drinking the entirety of whatever sized-bottle I bought.) I saw another evening of 'Sex and the City' stretching ahead of me, possibly followed by a dozen tear-streaked viewings of Lea Salonga singing 'On My Own'*:

And now I'm all alone again
Nowhere to turn, no one to go to
Without a home, without a friend
Without a face to say hello to...

And then BOOM. Before I'd even opened the wine, I saw a comment on my blog from a girl who said she had been reading my blog for ages but had never commented. She was inviting me to a night of bassline/garage/dubstep at Le Mizmiz, a venue I've never been to before. For two seconds I thought 'No. What's the point in trying to have fun? Life is boring and shit.'

Then I GOT A GRIP and I wrote back saying yes, I would go. Then I got myself ready to get back in the rave game.

I even considered getting the trusty old, trice gold-striped Raving Jacket out of the back of my wardrobe, but it just didn't feel right. I haven't worn it for over a year now, I fear the Rave Jacket is finished in this town. Sigh. There was a time when I would wear it every time I went raving, with my gold-studded Disco Tights and my long, gold chain. (Haaaaaa- I'm imagining what you're imagining and I hope it didn't look as horrendous as that.) Those days are gone. Or maybe Paris was never ready to see a girl bouncing out in a gold-striped Adidas jacket... who knows? Perhaps I'll pull it out of retirement one last time for Mr Scruff.

Anyway, once I'd said yes to the commenter and checked out her authenticity on Facebook, I started revving myself up for a night of UK music by piling on the make-up and dancing around my room to old garage tunes like this (it reminds me of my friend Anna who I used to go to bassline nights with and who once told me that one of her ex-boyfriends cheated on her, then played her this song in lieu of an apology):



As I had suddenly found myself in a cheerful, going out mood, so I decided that everyone else must be in a similar state of mind. Kayt was babysitting, but I rang her and told her to come down after work. Then I texted Ruth and Julia and asked them if they wanted to come out. Ruth was already in bed watching DVDs and Julia had promised herself she would stay in and catch up on uni work...

But then she decided to come out anyway, yey! My evening had gone from Les Mis to Le Mizmiz and yes I did just make a word pun. You love it.

We got to Le Mizmiz quite early. It was a lot smaller than I expected and it started to fill up quickly with an interesting array of people. I felt like a spy, sat in the corner sipping my pint, looking out for anyone who could be the mysterious Garage Girl. Ok, that was a code name I was trying out and I don't like it. I think I'll call her B, because I like Bees and because she's British and because her second name begins with a B.

There were LOADS of English people there, I guess because it was the only UK Garage night this city has ever seen. Although as it turns out, it wasn't really a garage night at all: the music was really, really good and they did play a few garage tracks at the beginning; but after that it was mostly reggae, dancehall and dub.

When B got to the club she sent me a text to say she was on the dance floor, wearing gold earrings. I felt like I was on a secret drug-buying mission as I wove through the crowd, until I spotted someone wearing gold earrings, with their hair in a high bun, dancing like they were in a club in Bristol. It had to be her.

I'm really tired and I've waffled on for far too long already, I'll finish this little story tomorrow.

*Unfortunately, living in a chambre de bonne with paper-thin walls means that I can't get drunk and sing along to sad songs on Youtube- I have to settle for just watching them with the volume turned down. But if I could get away with singing along horrendously loudly, I think I would relish spending Saturday nights at home on my own...

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Horror


I have lost my love of blogging. I literally have nothing to say, other than I am really hating Paris at the moment. But before I go into that, here is a blog post that I wrote on Wednesday. Now it feels like reading the words of a stranger:

Paris really does feel like Fairyland this evening, I got off the metro at Concorde and it felt like being in a beautiful fairground- the big wheel was lit up as always, Hôtel des Invalides was glowing with a golden light and it must have just struck the hour because the Eiffel Tower was twinkling all over. I didn't walk down the Champs-Élysées because I'm sick of it, to be honest, but I walked down a dark road that runs parallel to the Champs-Élysées, and through the trees I caught little glimpses of the Christmas market, illuminated with bright lights and giant, glowing halos that seem to float along the avenue.

Ah, it ain't so bad Paris, is it?


What a fucking idiot. I hate Paris.

No, I don't hate it, I'm just bored. I'm so bored. On Thursday night I was literally bored to tears- I got home from work, thought 'What shall I do now?' and burst out crying. If I stayed here for another year my tongue would fall out from lack of use. My hair would turn to leaves, floating down empty avenues, and my skin would turn into the crackly pages of dusty books in Shakespeare & Company. Finally, waiting for the metro one day, I would just sink into the tiled wall behind me. Those shiny white tiles have always reminded me of bones.

I wish I never said Paris was like Fairyland because now I have made myself really paranoid- when I return to England all my friends and family will have moved on and I will be exactly the same, yearning for a place I can never go back to, because places aren't geographical, they are made up of friends and atmospheres and my place in this city- My Paris- is gone now. It's gone and I've only just noticed. It went without telling me.

I've had some Good Times in this city, but I fear the Good Times are finished. Maybe I had too many Good Times and I used them all up? Now I must spend every weekend on my own, doing nothing. Literally- on my own, not talking to a soul. Last weekend was fucking horrendous. I realised that I only have a handful of friends in this city and when they are busy, I don't have any work friends or family to fall back on: I have no life of my own here.

I didn't talk to another human ALL WEEKEND, from when I finished work on Friday evening to when I went into the nursery on Monday morning.

Ok, I just lied- I went to my au pair job for a couple hours of Saturday, so I spoke to the kids, and on Sunday I spoke to a sausage vendor at the Christmas Market: I said, "One Toulouse sausage, please."
He took my money without saying a word, silently gesturing to the line of people queuing up for their sausages.

It was so shit. On Saturday night I knew I would have to sedate myself with wine before I could sleep, not being one of those fabulous independent-types that can spend an evening on her own in a jazz bar, politely turning down drinks from admiring strangers, saying thanks but she just came here to listen to the sax and to enjoy her own company...

Instead, I drank almost an entire bottle of wine (completely by accident) whilst sitting in bed, watching Sex and the City. The next morning, the horror of what I had done really began to sink in: I had intended to have one or two glasses of wine with dinner, but there was barely enough left in the bottle for one more glassful. Also, who drinks wine in bed? In my defense, I live in one room- I don't have a living room with a couch and a TV, otherwise I would have consumed the wine in there. As for drinking it with dinner... after half the bottle had gone, I was suddenly ravenously hungry again, so I made a huge pan of pasta and then an hour later, I made another one.

Don't look at me like that, I know exactly what I am.

The pity behind your eyes is actually causing me physical pain, stop it.

When I get that sick of myself, the only thing to do is start walking... and keep walking... So on Sunday I walked to the Marais, but I didn't have the heart to queue up for L'as du Fallafel on my own- not when I have been in that queue with so many pals and chums, with nearly every visitor from England I've ever had- so I walked to the Christmas Market on the Champs-Élysées and enjoyed two seconds of stimulating conversation with the sausage vendor.

The good news is that last weekend I finally got my Personal Statement done. The bad news is that I have since realised it is all wrong- it's three times too long and it's basically a mini-autobiography, when it needs to be an answer to the question: 'Why do you want to study acting?'

I was really excited for this weekend, which is always a bad sign. When you're desperate for Good Times, you scare them away. Me and Ruth were going to go for drinks and dinner, then Julia told me that she was going to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show at St Michel with a couple of friends, did I want to go?

I LOVE The Rocky Horror Show. I went to see a really good production at the Liverpool Empire when I was at uni and it was like going on a really fun night out- we dressed up, we got drunk, we cheered, we shouted expletives, we sang, we danced and then we went out afterwards.

I asked Ruth if she wanted to go and she said that she loved Rocky Horror, then Kayt found out that she wasn't babysitting so she decided to come as well. I was excited to finally be going out and even though I had a funny feeling that the night would end really early, I was hoping that The Commenter- a girl who always comments on my blog about good raves in Paris- would get in touch, because she said she might be going to see Jeff Mills at La Machine. I figured I could meet The Commenter and her friends there afterwards.

I met everyone straight from work. (I purposely wore a wooly pinafore over the top of a black, fitted dress, so that I could be warm and appropriately-dressed for the nursery and my au pair job, but then I took the pinafore off just before leaving work. The au pair family were a bit alarmed when I asked them if I could take my dress off and leave it at their house.) We planned to go for a sophisticated pre-theatre dinner but in the end, we barely had time for a Greek kebab and a plastic bottle of chilled red wine before it was time to queue up for the show.

Now here's the thing. Before we went in, Julia told me that it wasn't strictly speaking a theatrical production of the Rocky Horror Picture Show; it was a showing of the film, with real actors acting some bits out in front of the screen. They do it every Friday and Saturday night and the tickets are only nine euros, so I guess I shouldn't have been too surprised.

I went in with no preconceptions, but about ten minutes into the film, I realised it was my worst nightmare- people talking over a film. Not only talking, but shouting. And singing. And screaming. But not shouting the words from the script and singing along to the songs- they were making jokes about the script and singing completely irrelevant songs. Imagine somebody in the film says 'I see, I see' and the actors on stage sing 'I see your true colours....' and then a real song starts on screen and you have to concentrate really hard on blocking out their loud, out of tune singing.

The problem is that because I really wanted to watch the film, I was trying my hardest to block out the noise of the French actors and so, perhaps I did miss a lot of the jokes and that's why I didn't find it funny... But I did understand some of the jokes. And I didn't find them funny.

I like Rocky Horror. I wanted to watch it. The audience was fun- everyone threw rice and water at the right moments, people were yelling 'Asshole' when Brad introduced himself and hurling insults at Janet (this won't make a lot of sense if you don't know anything about Rocky Horror) but I found the actors very irritating. The essential idea is all right I suppose- actors dressed as the characters, encouraging the audience- but it was as if they'd seen the film so many times (and I suppose they have, considering they do the show twice a week) that they found it boring and were trying to entertain themselves until the film was over.

There were a few outrageous moments when the actors chose audience members, took their tops off (which got a huge gasp from Kayt and I) and proceeded to mime having sex with them. They did it to females during the scene with Janet and Dr Frank-N-Furter; then they did it to males (including Julia's friend Matthieu who we all agreed was a 'very good sport') during the scene with Dr Frank-N-Furter and Brad; and then when Rocky and Janet have sex, they chose one man and one woman and all the actors had a mime orgy with them on stage- sitting on their faces, bending them into all sorts of positions, dry-humping them e.t.c

I think I was being a bit of a miserable bitch, but the whole thing felt like a manifestation of my two biggest hates- people talking over films and films being dubbed.

At the end of the performance, the actors asked us all for money, because they said they didn't get paid. I didn't give them any money, because the actor who played Janet was stood at the door in her underwear and we were expected to place money inbetween her boobs. Also, I was in a foul mood. They shouted at me as I walked past, but I didn't feel bad- they should increase the ticket price or put a note on the flyer telling audience members that there is a compulsory donation. Don't heckle me. Also, don't ruin one of my favourite musicals.

So. I'm a ray of sunshine, aren't I?

When I got home I went to bed feeling like shit. I have a whole weekend of nothingness stretching before me. Also, I looked at my blog this morning and I had a comment from The Commenter that she left at 8.30pm. If I would have checked my blog on somebody's phone when we were out, maybe I could have arranged to meet her at La Machine when the Rocky Horror Picture Show was over.

Also, there is a secret rave on tonight and it it too late to get tickets.

Ok, moaning over now, I promise. I just needed to get it all out. Mr Scruff is playing on the 7th December and that is going to be a BIG NIGHT. In my excitement I even told the au pair family that I won't be able to work that weekend because 'I have a party that finishes at 7am and I want to stay out all night.' That is how sad I am, I feel like I have to prove to the au pair family that I have an active social life.

I know it's not good to put too much pressure on a night out, but if the 7th December isn't a raving success I will depart immediately for England.

Oh! I've just remembered Georgie is coming next week!! Maybe, if I can survive this weekend, the Good Times will come rolling back to me, slowly but surely...

By the way, I think I better say this just in case anyone is reading this who doesn't know a) what I look like and b) what The Rocky Horror Picture Show is- that picture at the top is a photo of Tim Curry as Dr Frank-N-Furter, it's not me. My eyebrows are a lot better than that.

In fact, any eyebrow enthusiasts reading (shall we start a club? I'll make badges- 'Sisters not twins') might be interested to know that I have just bought a new eyebrow pencil and I love it- Instant Brow Pencil by Benefit.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Well well well.

Look who got drunk on her own.

Tidied my room and everything so don't feel so lazy now.


Old Lives

Everyone is away and I have no friends. If I died nobody would find out until next week. I have to go to my au pair job ay 4pm for Some Reason, but I bet if I didn't show up the family would just assume I had gone AWOL and wouldn't alert the authorities until they got a new au pair and needed someone to clear out my chambre de bonne. I've just realised that none of my jobs have an emergency contact number for me, so if I missed a lesson or didn't show up for the nursery, my mum wouldn't suspect anything was wrong until I failed to show up for Christmas dinner in five weeks time.

No, stop it. I need a quiet weekend because I need to finish my personal statement and organise my life. Instead of moping around drinking tea and eating cake out of a plastic bag (don't ask), I will practice Shakespeare speeches for my auditions and fill out applications online, otherwise I won't have any auditions to go to, making me a friendless freak who lies in bed reciting Shakespeare out loud for no reason.

Also, I now have my mum's Sex and the City box set here in Paris and it is very addictive, even if the more I watch it, the more I wonder how I never noticed that Carrie is a massive dickhead and egomaniac. If anyone is reading this thinking: 'I hope Left Bank Manc realises the irony of that sentence', all I can say is, yes, I am vaguely aware but I don't think I'm as big a selfish idiot as Carrie, am I? I would never send my boyfriend over to a friend's house when they specifically asked me to go round because they are lying naked and injured on the bathroom floor and can't move.

Anyway, after just saying I am not a selfish idiot, I'm now going to finish blogging about my time in England, because it's my blog and I can write about me me me and NOBODY CAN STOP ME!

NOBODY CAN PUT A STOP TO MY ALL-CONSUMING EGOCENTRICITY!!

Except maybe my Arch-Nemesis, the Rude Waiter from my cousin's wedding, but the last time I heard he was safely tucked away in the Cotswolds, serving drinks in a purpose-built wedding barn, tipping glasses of water over rowdy wedding guests whenever he thought he could get away with it.

Anyway, we got back from the wedding on the Sunday and the following evening Amy came over from Liverpool for the night and took me out for tea. My mum was aghast when she learnt that Amy treated me to dinner, because she hates the thought of people lending me money or anything like that. But one day I will repay the favour a thousand-fold, obviously I will, when I am a famous cloak-wearer and all-round celebrated eccentric. They pay good money for that, right?

We went to Trof in the Northern Quarter and I had the halloumi salad and I can't remember what Amy had but I remember thinking it looked lovely. (I know I describe everything as being 'lovely' but it is the only positive adjective I can use without feeling queasy and embarrassed.) Then Amy's New Boy (who lives in Manchester) joined us and then Kayt came along with her new boyfriend. I didn't know beforehand that I was going to be spending the evening with two couples, but it was fine; the boyfriends sat quietly while me, Amy and Kayt yelled over the top of each other and they bought all the wine.

(I've never seen Kayt in England before. It's funny to think that when I first moved to Paris I didn't expect to make any friends, that's why I accepted that first [horrendous] job for forty euros a week, because I thought 'What will I need money for? I'll just be visiting free museums and writing poetry.')

This summer Kayt is going to leave Paris and she is moving to Manchester and she kept trying to persuade me and Amy to do the same, but if I wasn't moving to London (which I am), I would move back to Liverpool; Manchester just doesn't feel like my city anymore.



That's probably because my mum now lives in Any Northern Mill Town- a thirty five minute train journey away from Manchester city centre. Thirty five minutes! You may as well live in the bracken, in the Scottish Highlands.

Also, most of my friends have now moved to London, or Leeds. The only friends I have left in Manchester now are Beth, Chaz and Lucy and they work every day. I rang all of them, expecting them to say 'You're home! I will jump on the train and come and see you right away!'

Instead, they said in whispered tones: 'I'm in work mate, why didn't you tell me you were coming back? We could have planned something.'

I didn't get to see ANYONE. I mostly sat on the couch, eating biscuits and cheese and watching shit television, or else I went with my mum to see her friends who live nearby, one of whom went to RADA and was giving me advice about drama school. She said she didn't get an agent from her time at RADA, but she said this is because she didn't make any effort to smooze and network. Hmmm 'smoozing' and 'networking'... not exactly two of my strongest skills, are they?

One day me, my mum and my stepdad went to see the new James Bond film. I loved it. When we got off the train in Any Northern Mill Town, me and my stepdad were pretending to be spies and we saw a red bag lying suspiciously on the pavement. Then we saw an old lady at the top of the hill, asking cars to stop and talk to her.

She couldn't really speak English, but she managed to tell us that she had had her passport and purse stolen, she was dressed like she might be on a walking holiday and had some suitcases with her on a metal trolley. We kept asking her if perhaps she'd lost a red bag, but she didn't understand, so I ran down to the red bag and dragged it back up the hill for her.

At first she thought I had stolen her bag and had hidden it. Then she understood that we were trying to help her, but she still had a problem and we couldn't understand what she was trying to tell us. We called the police because we were really worried for her, but they didn't come for about twenty minutes. While we waited, we discovered that the lady was trying to get a train somewhere, where she was going to stay with a bus driver she had met who said she could stay with him

My stepdad rang his dad who speaks German and put him on the phone to the lost lady, then he spoke to his dad who said that the lady wouldn't tell him her second name or the name of the bus driver- she only wanted to speak to the Police.

When the police came they parked really far away, so my mum ran up to the car in case they couldn't see us in the dark. As they walked from the car, my mum explained the situation and the policewoman said of the old lady: "I think she's known to us."

The plot thickens...

We left the lost lady with the policewoman, but I would love to know what was really going on. Me and my mum think that maybe she had escaped from an old people's home and couldn't remember that she could speak English. Perhaps she did that journey once, years and years ago, and stayed with a bus driver she had met on holiday who became her husband.

Then, years passed, and a whole lifetime was lived...

Perhaps there were no children, so when the husband died and she developed Alzheimer's, there was nowhere else to go but into an old people's home.

As the illness gets worse, she forgets that she can speak English and some days she wakes up, forgetting where she is. She packs her bags, today is the day she is going to see that bus driver she met. She likes England, everyone is so friendly, she only meant to come here for the summer, for a long walking holiday. Maybe she will stay for longer.

I don't know- she could have been a genuine tourist, lost in the dark and the bus driver could have been a German friend who would be waiting for her at the train station and she just didn't want to tell us his name because she didn't trust us.

But I got a glimpse inside that red bag- the bag which she said had her passport and all her bank cards in- and it was stuffed with empty plastic bags.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Country Wedding

Have you missed me?

I haven't been in the mood for blogging, every time I try to type anything I sigh and think 'Why would anybody want to read that?'

But Amy messaged me last night to say that she wants to hear about my time in England  and even if she was kind of pretending, in an attempt to coax me out of my non-blogging slump, I've decided I will do a blog for Amy. Also, if I don't write things down I will forget about them and one day, when I am old and dirty and surrounded by cats, it will be nice to have a reminder of a time when I had friends and travelled around and the kids on the estate didn't yell 'Cat Lady' and throw rubbish at me whenever I shuffled to the corner shop to buy cat food and chocolate digestives.

So.

I'm going back a couple of weeks now, to the 26th October I think...

Me and Kayt were on the same flight back to Manchester (her new boyfriend lives there). It made a nice change travelling back to England with a friend. We got up at 4am and got the Night Bus to Gare du Nord, only to discover that the first RER would be arriving an hour later than specified on the RATP website. We panicked a little bit, because we knew there were strikes at the airport, so we went outside to try and get a taxi. Neither of us was keen to eat into our already pitiful 'One Week's Holiday in England' budgets, but I pointed out that we couldn't afford to miss the flight. It's always better to arrive in England penniless, than not to arrive in England at all.

(I felt a bit mean because there was another girl waiting for the RER and she said she couldn't afford to get a taxi. As we left her to wait alone, a group of scallies bounced onto the platform and she looked a bit nervous. That's my main qualm with getting the RER- it doesn't feel entirely safe and if you can avoid it, you should.)

I asked the taxi driver if I could eat my apple and he said "Normally, no. But it's a special occasion!"

As we sat back in the taxi, eating apples and watching the dark city disappear faster than we could have hoped, we knew we'd made the right decision.

During the flight, I told Kayt about the last time I was home and how my stepdad practically threw me out of the car while it was still moving because he didn't want to park at the airport. As soon as we landed, Kayt's boyfriend was waiting for her and my mum was nowhere to be seen. When my mum finally walked into Arrivals, she told me to follow her quickly because my stepdad wasn't allowed to be parked where he was. The car started moving as soon as I climbed in and my stepdad drove off while my door was still wide open. I'm surprised he bothered to stop actually; I thought that perhaps he would just yell at me to jump in as the car drove past, like that scene in Little Miss Sunshine.

(By the way, whenever I use the word 'stepdad' I feel about thirteen years old. Normally I say 'my mum's Husband' but recently I've realised that this makes it sound as though I'm estranged from both my mum and her husband; as if my mum remarried and moved to Prague, leaving me and my brother in a boarding school where she occasionally sends us hampers of fine cheese and truffles [when she can sneak the money away from her cold-blooded, tight-fisted Husband].)

It felt a bit surreal, zooming down the motorway, in England, when the last thing I could remember clearly was sitting in the back of a taxi eating an apple, looking at the banlieus through the window. We stopped at a service station and my mum told me that my brother had split up with his girlfriend- apparently the girlfriend said that she wanted more affection and love from him and my brother just said: "Well I won't change so we better split up."

THEN my brother's girlfriend was really sad and said, "Oh I wish I'd never said anything now."

Maybe I was over-tired and feeling emotionally fragile because of the travelling, but when my mum told me that last bit I burst out crying. It's the kind of little detail that gets me Right. There... even if you can't really explain why.

I think it's the disappointed resignation that breaks my heart; me and my friend Claire used to watch this documentary over and over again where this single woman in her forties says, "Once I get my coat off and cook dinner and stuff, I'm fine, honestly I'm fine. But when I first walk into the flat...and I know that there's nobody there... I just feel so sad."

OH GOD, CAN'T TAKE THE DISAPPOINTED RESIGNATION. STOP IT.

What was I talking about?

The wedding! So, we arrived at our B&B and got ready. The B&B was full of dolls that the owner said she and her ancient mother had made in their friend's workshop in America. Yes, it was a bit sinister. Also, me and my brother were sharing a room. I felt about six years old again.

I wore my Claudie Pierlot dress with black tights and shoe boots and a tailored jacket I borrowed from Julia. My nose was still a bit hanging so I had to put on about fifty layers of concealer, foundation and powder and to be honest, I'm not sure that I didn't look like a lady wearing a big false nose, because her real nose has been unfortunately eaten by rabid dogs. But it was to be expected- Coldsores Ruin Lives.

The wedding was beautiful and I am not just saying that because it was my cousin's wedding...

It was absolutely freezing but it was one of those crisp, pretty days that make you wish we had a bit more time to appreciate Autumn, rather than everyone pretending it is Christmas as soon as the first leaves fall. The wedding was in the 'wedding barn' of a gorgeous hotel in the Cotswolds. I was so excited to be there that I got (a tad) drunk quite early on, but don't worry, I stopped drinking before anybody noticed: I bumped in to my mum on her way back from the toilets and I told her how the waiter at my table was my Arch-Nemesis and she said that perhaps I should stop drinking for a bit. (I wasn't being a dick- he told me I couldn't have any more champagne and then he spilt a glass of water all over me and he didn't say sorry.)


The wedding favours were little bottles of homemade blackberry brandy.



Anyway, the food was lovely, the speeches were very good and my cousin's dress was beautiful- it was sparkly around the bodice, but not in a WAG way, and it had little cream buttons down the back. She wore it with a lace bolero and a pretty headband rather than a veil. The dress had a really long train that she could adjust for dancing, which she'd asked for specifically because the wedding band was a ceilidh band! Ceilidhs are EXCELLENT.

There were two little girls who had the whole dance floor to themselves, spinning each other round and round. Me and my cousin Chloe tried to dance with them but they wouldn't let us, and we mourned our childhoods and the days when we would have been those two little girls, dancing like mad things and having the best fun EVER...

Then the two little girls went for a nap and me and Chloe had the whole dance floor to ourselves and we danced like mad things and had the best fun EVER!

We span each other round and round and then we did the tango and then I did some ballet moves... In a way it makes me sad that I never grew into the adult I always wanted to be, but it's time to face facts: I'm essentially the same person I was when I was seven years old, except now I am allowed to drink alcohol.

The ceilidh was really fun but then a Horrible Thing happened. It started with a Brilliant Thing- my gran suddenly thrust her handbag at me and said "I'm going to dance!"

She got my aunty by the hands and they skipped into the ceilidh...

Literally five seconds later the ceilidh stopped and people were moving out of the way- my grandma had tripped over a lighting rig and there was blood pouring down her face. It was awful. She was shaking and looked really shocked, so my aunty sat down with her and then we noticed that her right cheekbone had swollen to about five times the size of the other one. It looked like she'd done something really serious, so I went and got the bride, who is a doctor. She had a quick look and then asked a doctor friend to come over, because you're not allowed to treat your relatives.

Thankfully, my gran hadn't broken anything- her cheekbone was just swollen because she doesn't have a lot of cushioning on her face. She doesn't eat enough. She's always worried about her cholesterol but I don't understand how she can have a high cholesterol when she eats like a bird.

So, that wasn't very nice. There's nothing worse than seeing an elderly person falling over, especially when it's your grandma. I think it was more shocking because my grandma doesn't look like a little old lady- she's quite tall and she has a straight, dark bob. The next day she had a huge purple bruise on one side of her face and she was too embarrassed to go to her literature class the following week.

It was ok though, it didn't ruin the wedding for her. For the rest of the night she sat down and chatted to people and she even got up for a little dance right at the end. It could have been a lot worse.

By the end of the wedding I was quite drunk and I felt a bit sick from all the eating, drinking and enthusiastic dancing. In my defense, I'd been awake since 4am and when you're tired alcohol affects you more. I managed to make it all the way back to the B&B without throwing up and fell asleep straight away.

The next day we were served a Full English by the lady who owned the B&B. For Some Reason she put on a CD of brass music to accompany our breakfast. As we were leaving, she told us more about the dolls- she and her mum make the molds, cast the dolls out of clay, then they cook them, glaze them, design the faces and finally they make all the dolly clothes themselves. Don't pretend you're not impressed.

Well, that's just about all I have to say about my cousin's wedding. It wasn't eventful as the bride's sister's Serbian wedding last May, but it was just as fun. It's funny that in Serbia, both sisters were pregnant and at this wedding there were two little babies being passed around.

(Incidentally, my mum told me that both sisters had been told it would be really hard for them to conceive because of an ovary problem or something, so how lovely that they both had babies, at the same time!)

I wonder who will be next? My cousin Sophie caught the bouquet at the wedding. Her boyfriend Dan, who was at the wedding, didn't run away screaming or even look worried...

I love a good wedding, me.