Tuesday, 28 February 2012

England, How You've Changed!

It's been twelve days since my last confession.

But guess who's back after an unforgivable absence of almost two weeks, with a FIXED laptop and a NEW Blackberry and her Ibiza holiday ALL PAID OFF?

If you didn't guess Left Bank Manc, then I don't know what to say to you.

That's right- my laptop is fixed and running smoothly, which means I am back in Blogland (and as I am working every single day for the next twelve days, you can bet I'll be blogging every free moment I get, because I certainly won't be going out.) The computer shop I went to, on Smithdown Road  in Liverpool, even managed to recover all of my word documents and photographs. Not my music though, which is slightly annoying as I had over 12,000 tracks before that nasty virus attacked my computer...

Still, considering that the majority of my music was either Dolly Parton or Destiny's Child, maybe it's a good thing I lost all my music- maybe it's time to finally move into 2012, music-wise. Maybe I should start downloading songs by 'Kreayshawn', or 'Motopony', or one of the many, many other names I've been confronted with over the past week, all so unrecognisable to me that they didn't even stir a faint zephyr in the fog of my musical memory.

It's been so long since I was back in England for anything other than a flying visit, that the crap music scene came as a bit of a shock to me. It was all David Guetta and Calvin Harris, and really weird collaborations. Who thought it made sense to put Dappy and Brian May together, for example? Why did Jennifer Lopez and Will.I.Am want to work with Mick Jagger ? How did Madonna, Nicki Minaj and M.I.A decide to do a song together? Does Old + Young = Hit all of a sudden?  And why is James Corden in a music video for a song about mamas humping, or something?

Anyway, before I tell you about my Jolly Holiday to London, Liverpool, Manchester and, for better or for worse, the scrubby green bleakness that we may as well call Any Northern Mill Town, there's a few things I need to fill you in about that happened in Paris before I left. I'm going to work now, but I'm babysitting, so I'll  do another blog from the family's house.

I'll leave you with a Dolly Parton song, because I want to and I can.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Strange Friday

O.k. Let's see how long I can suffer the Onscreen Keyboard for.

Right. I WILL DO THIS! I need determination. I need patience. I also need a plan to stick to so I don't go off on crazy tangents. I need some sort of structure...

So. First I want to tell you about last Friday, then I'll quickly fill you in on everything I've been wanting to blog about this week: house parties, late night car journeys, tarot card readings, my war with a Mystery Neighbour, my upcoming trip to England... Hopefully then I will finally be able to relax and stop feeling as though there's some mammoth task that lies unfinished, the incompletion of which makes me uneasy and causes me to compose imaginary blog posts in my mind constantly, whether I'm riding the metro to work, or lying in bed and drifting into dreams.

Wow that was a long sentence. Hey big boy, got any more clauses you want to show me?

O.k. I'm going to focus now...

Friday was a strange day and night.

After school I normally take the eight year old to the park and she plays with her friend Caroline, while I sit on a stone bench in the cold, texting and Twitter-ing and Facebook-ing and Whats App-ing to my heart's content. However for some reason, probably because of the snow, the park was closed this Friday. I was secretly really pleased because it was bitterly cold and I just wanted to get back to the family's big, warm house. But the eight year old and her mate Caroline had other ideas.

Caroline said we could go back to her place to play, because she only lives two seconds away from the park. Caroline's nounou seemed hesitant and asked Caroline to run upstairs and ask her dad if it was all right. She came back down a few minutes later, out of breath and excited. She jabbered on to her nounou in French and I managed to decipher that the dad had said the eight year old could come in and play, as long as her au pair stayed outside.

"I'm not waiting outside!" I almost yelled, furious that yet another parent of one of the eight year old's friends* didn't want me in their home.

The eight year old looked crushed and the stupid thing is I almost agreed to wait outside in the snow, just so she could play with her friend for half an hour. But then Caroline's nounou spoke up, in English which surprised me:

"She can't wait outside Caroline, it's too cold."

And also fucking weird and rude, I wanted to add.

Caroline then said that her dad hadn't said I had to wait inside; he'd said that I could come in, as long as I was happy to speak to Caroline's nounou. Did he think I was forcing my eight year old into his apartment just so I would have the priceless opportunity of striking up a conversation with him? Presumably we'd mostly be discussing ways of alienating and offending people.

My eight year old and Caroline then bounded up the stairs before we could stop them, but me and Caroline's nounou exchanged uneasy looks.

"It is complicated with her father." she said, unnecessarily.

By the time we'd reached their floor, the girls were already in the apartment. The door was wide open and I could see the girls hovering in the doorway and hear a man shouting angrily. He was basically telling Caroline that he was trying to work and that she couldn't invite people back to the apartment when he'd specifically told her no. So Caroline had clearly been bullshitting us all then.

Finally the eight year old and Caroline disappeared into the apartment and the nounou followed them with Caroline's little sister. But I hadn't understand everything that had been said, was I allowed in the apartment or not? I dithered about in the hallway with the door wide open, until the dad suddenly started yelling about the door being open. Caroline came to shut the door and beckoned me in. I had half-decided to stay in the hallway on my own for half an hour just to avoid feeling like an imposition, but then I heard an angry-sounding dog barking and snarling on the stairs, so I dashed inside quickly and Caroline shut the door.

Before I even had a chance to look around, Caroline's nounou hushered me into a small room and shut the door behind us. Inside the room were Caroline's sister and her little brother, who looked about three years old. He had the cutest little face I have ever, ever seen. The nounou told me that she is trying to teach them English, so I asked them a few questions like 'What's your name?' 'How old are you?' etc etc. They had no idea what I was talking about but they did sing me a song that went 'Blaerghblaufleaur. Clean white seets! Clean white seets!'

The little boy was so smiley and curious, he kept pointing at things in the room and asking me to say what colour it was in English. I could not believe how beautiful and lovely and CUTE this child was. I seriously considered sneaking back in the middle of the night and stealing him. It's not fair, his parents obviously don't need him, they've got two kids already and they're so busy all the time, I'd probably be doing them a favour...

The little sister however, was a Tantrum Kid, she was screaming and crying the whole time. But it wasn't really her fault. The bedroom was completely bare, all the toys were tidied away into a cupboard and when she tried to open it, the nounou told her off.

"The parents say it must be tidy at all times." she told me.

In the absence of toys, the kids were allowed to sit on little chairs. The nounou sat on the bed and she gave me a little chair to sit on as well. Obviously the kids were bored and they kept trying to wriggle around and lie across their chairs upside down, but the nounou kept making them 'sit up properly' and that's when the tantrum started.

I couldn't fucking wait to get out of there, but I did wish I could take the little boy with me. You don't understand how cute he was and this is coming from a girl who, since working as an au pair for a year and half, has decided that she doesn't want to have any children.

On my way out of the apartment, I saw the dad for the first time, even though I'd heard already him shouting. He was sitting at his desk surrounded by paperwork, listening to someone on the phone and looking all stressed. He looked up as I walked past and said 'Au revoir'. I didn't say it back, bastard. How has he managed to make three cute (one good-natured) and adorable children?

Anyway, that was my Weird Afternoon. I don't have time now to tell you about the Strange Night that followed, but all you need to know is I went to Showcase to see Brodinksi and Fake Blood, it was so rammed that we almost got crushed to death in a brick tunnel and then, right at the end of the night I got my Blackberry stolen.

I miss my phone A LOT.

Tonight I'm meeting up with my aunty and uncle for a drink as they're in Paris for a few days, then I'm going round to Kayt's because she's going to New York on Saturday for two weeks, I'm so jealous. But not too jealous, because on Saturday I'm going to England for a weeek!! My French is so bad that I'd completely got mixed up: my au pair family don't want me to go on holiday with at all; the mum was telling me to put the dates in my diary so that while they're skiing, I can go back to England. Ooops.

But also yey for me!! It wasn't even that expensive considering how last minute everything was, but I'm getting slightly panicky now because when I worked out my finances at the beginning of this month, I did not reckon on buying a new Blackberry (I didn't have insurance and I can't live without it), getting my laptop fixed and sorting Crumbly Tooth out.

Still. England here I come!

(Sorry these posts are so rushed and shit by the way, when I get my laptop sorted I'll get the blog back on track.)

*If you don't remember last time one of the eight year old's friend's parents didn't want me in their house, which resulted in me being assaulted by a mute Labrodor, then read The Dog Incident.



Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Blue Note

Whoever found my blog by Googling 'Daisy Lowe thinspo'- get a grip. Scientists have proved that looking at 'thinspo' pictures over long periods of time actually changes our perception of 'normal', conditioning us to recognise anyone fleshier than an anorexic pencil as overweight.

(Now that I've started talking about Thinspo, I bet some curious readers will look for it on the internet... Don't. Look at Fatspo instead.)

Anyway, sorry it's been a while since my last post, I have soooooooo much to tell you, but every time I settle down to write, I manage to type about three setences with the on-screen keyboard before I either have to go somewhere or I get so frustrated that I close the laptop in a huff. But the longer I leave it, the more things happen that I want to blog about and if I leave it any longer I'll have a backlog of about three weeks and it makes my mind feel messy.

So. The first thing I want to say is: I am NEVER going to Le Blue Note EVER again. For those of you who don't know, Le Blue Note is a tiny 'club' in the 18th where they have live Brazilian jazz and samba music. We went a few times last year because the music was fun to dance to and it's free to get in, but the last two times we went it was full of horrid, pushy men so we sacked it off. Then last Saturday, the weekend Kayt's friends were here, we decided to give it one last chance...

Half an hour after arriving, we were forced to make ourselves a men-free paddock in the corner by making a barricade out of chairs. This meant we could dance about happily without being groped or grabbed by the arm and spun around. I know it sounds like we were being bitches, but we know from experience that if you try being polite and give any of the men at Le Blue Note a little dance Just For Jokes, they will not leave you alone for the rest of the night.

So that's why we penned ourselves into the corner. The Horrid Men gathered around the perimeter of our Safety Zone like hyenas, pacing up and down and staring at us. One of them eventually started to pull apart our barricade of chairs, saying we were creating a 'health and safety' risk.

I don't know why the men, who all seemed to have come to the club on their own (weird), were so angry and astonished that a group of young girls wasn't up for being groped by them. It's RIDICULOUS. At one point some of our group ventured out of the Safety Zone to go for a fag and I saluted them as they stepped across the threshold, into the sweaty jungle of Horrid Men.

Our Safety Zone didn't last long. After a couple of songs, one of the Weird Men who was stalking around the chairs in a scarf and coat, clapping us like we were dancers in his private harem, decided that blocking him out of the group with chairs was our way of saying 'We like you a lot, please come and give us attention.' He strode  through a weak spot in the defense line and lunged at Kayt's friend Lynn, trying to kiss her on the mouth. Obviously we swarmed around him, swearing and being Aggy, but it was too late. The attack had started. A bouncer came along and moved all the chairs as they were taking up too much room and once again, we had to suffer strange men yanking our arms out of their sockets as they tried to spin us around the dance floor.

So. I'm never going to the Blue Note again. And that is all I've got time for today. Tonight some of us girls are having a nice, romantic meal together to celebrate the fact that none of us has a horrible, arsehole boyfriend.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

I Dreamed A Dream

Just listening to 'Memories' and grieving for the fabulous theatre career I never had. 

Last night I went to the theatre for the first time since I've arrived in Paris. I really enjoyed it but sitting there in the dark, in a theatre space that was remarkably like the one we had at uni... the whole thing made me feel a bit sad. I felt sad, nostalgic and confused, as it was all in French, obviousment. Added to the language barrier wad the fact it was a Brechtian (not Brecht) play, so just as I thought understood the language, a woman dressed as a baby would roll in on a trolley, or the glass bottle that The Drunkard was carrying would suddenly have a little hat and a cloak on it, and a fake nose for a face. It was mad, but I thought the actors were brilliant. They used Commedia dell'arte-style masks to distinguish between characters and the acting was very physical, almost like clowning sometimes.

We went to the play because one of the actors I teach the drama classes with is in it. She's really lovely, every time we teach the class together we go for a coffee afterwards and she chats to me in French, telling me to do language exchanges and take lessons and stay in Paris forever. She's given me the number of her friend actually, I need to text him. Probably won't though. This French thing is really PISSING me of now. My time in France has been a big fat fail, basically. Everyone keeps telling me I've got loads of time left to learn, but the whole thing has left a bitter taste in my mouth.

Kind of like the 'drama thing'. I don't know. I don't really like talking about it.

Pfft. 

Is my whole life going to be a series of whims and fancies I have a half-arsed attempt at chasing and then get so disheartened that I have to give up before I've even started? I'm not feeling very optimistic at the moment. When I think about next year I feel a bit sick.

Oh I'm fucking full of la joie de vivre tonight aren't I?

Wow. It's taken me an hour to write this crap. On-screen keyboards are not the way to go.

I have news to tell you as well, I'm not going away with the family anymore for February half term, I'm going to England instead!! So exciting!!!

But for now, I've had enough, I'm off kids. 

Before I go, if you would you happen to be in Pazzington at the mo and would like to go to the theatre, the play is called 'Zakouski ou la vie joyeuse' and it's on at Théâtre de l'Opprimé (78 rue du Charolais in the 12e arrondissement, metro: Gare du Lyon) until Sunday 4th March. Tickets are 16 euros or 12 euros if you're a student, unempoyed, or a resident of the 12th arrondissement. I recommend it, especially if you can actually speak French. 

So. YOU should go to the theatre. I'm going to get 'I Dreamed A Dream' up on YouTube and sing along whilst thinking Sad Thoughts and watching myself in the mirror.  

The Man in the White Furry Hat



Guess what?? Julia has very kindly lent me her old MacBook to use until I get my laptop fixed!! She doesn't use it anymore because some of the keys don't work, but with the on-screen keyboard, and a bit of patience, it works perfectly. Yey! I can write blog posts and watch animal porn again! : ) 
 



But before I dash off to watch 'Two Slags and an Armadillo', I need to run you up to speed- we've got so much to catch up on darlings! Shall we start with last Friday night? 
 



So. Julia invited me to a 'secret party' somewhere near Bastille... someone had told her flat-mate Eduardo that we had to wait on a certain street corner and look out for a man in a furry white hat who would lead us to the party, which was five euros entry but then an open bar, apparently... A Foolproof Plan if ever there was one. 
 



I agreed to meet Julia, and Eduardo on the RER, a plan that could have so easily gone to shit if I didn't time it right. I was planning on setting off early just to be on the safe side, but as I was getting ready to leave something Rather Alarming happened... 
 



I was sat on my bed eating chocolate and thinking about how many pairs of tights I could get away with wearing without looking like that woman who has One Giant Leg, (in the end I went for one pair of tights, with leggings over the top), when I felt something sharp and bitty in the milk chocolate I was munching. I didn't think much of it until I'd finished my chocolate and I started choking on something. I reached into my mouth and pulled out the offending 'bit of Mystery' and held it up to the light. It was a shard of tooth. 




 
Then I realised that I could feel more of these little shards nestled like knives between my gums and the soft fleshy thing that your tongue is attached to... you know, the bit that looks like an oyster. I noticed that one of my teeth felt really sharp and weird. I was pretty sure it was the same tooth that has recently developed a massive cavity (I've just been politely ignoring it, because I haven't got a dentist in either France or England). I looked in the mirror to discover that the hole had gone... because the half of the tooth that the hole was in had crumbled away. 
 



So that was slightly worrying, but I'll allow myself to panic when the other half falls out... 
 

I didn't want to mess up the RER plan, so I put the shards of tooth under my pillow for the Tooth Fairy and hurried to the metro station.
I got to Charles de Gaulle just before Julia and Eduardo's RER passed through, so it was all good, apart from the fact that half my tooth had crumbled away for No Reason.

Eduardo didn't tell us the somewhat suspicious plan until we got to Bastille At first I thought the whole thing was terribly exciting and very 'Alice and Wonderland', but after standing around in the freezing cold for what felt like an Age, it seemed less like an adventure and more like a Cruel Joke. 






"There is no man in a white furry hat, is there?" I concluded, after we'd been waiting for over an hour.  
 



But then a couple of other people showed up and started hanging around near us, so we got chatting and it transpired that they were also going to the 'secret party'.  Then, just as the blood started freezing in my veins, a scrawny man with two black eyes showed up, wearing a white furry hat. 
 



After some hesitation, we followed him round the corner to a quiet street and the Man in the White Furry Hat led us to a boarded up building. He swiped a key against something hidden in the shadows and one of the graffitied boards swung open, revealing a dark staircase... 
 



The Man in the White Furry Hat lit his lighter to guide us up the stairs, but apart from his little flame the building was so dark that I couldn't even see the person in front of me.

I heard Julia whisper somewhere just behind me: 



"I hope someone is not going to take our kidneys."  
 



When we reached the top of the stairs, I expected to find a heavy door, leading into a sound-proofed room or something, but instead there was just more darkness and nervous, hushed silence. Beneath my feet I could feel broken beams and chunks of cement and I had to get my phone out to cast a little light over the hazardous terrain we were navigating blindly. 
 



As I moved my phone about in the damp gloom, the light showed enough to tell us that we were in a building that looked as though it was one collapsed ceiling away from being demolished.
 







The Man in the Furry Hat led us up some stairs, then down some stairs and eventually we arrived in a corridor that was filled with people. It was still pitch black, but by the light of my phone I could make out a bouncer-type man. We gave him our five euros and he stepped aside... 
 

 


At the bottom of yet another dark staircase made out of crumbling cement, there were three large basement rooms, filled with people sitting on chairs or stood around chatting in groups. It was very tame. The 'sound system' was a pair of iPod speakers resting on a pile of books. Oh yeah, let me tell you about the books. 

 

Against one wall were stacked hundreds of books, all brand new and wrapped in cellophane. It was so weird. I picked one of the books up to have a look but the title was in Hebrew... I wonder why someone was keeping hundreds of new books in a derelict basement? I wonder if it was the same person who had the bright idea of charging people five euros to stand shivering in an abandonded building, drinking cheap beer and listening to someobody's shit speakers? 
 

Anyway, we drank as much as we could before the free wine and beer ran out and we ended up having a Good Time. Towards the end we got chatting to a group of fairly normal French men and they invited me, Julia and Eduardo back to theirs. As the 'party' finished at 4am and we'd only arrived at 2, we thought 'Why not?' 
 

However, when we got to the 'studio' (it was kind of like my Cinderella Room, but three times the size and with a balcony) we realised that although it was definitely 'after', it wasn't a party. We called a taxi home and as we left one of the French guys, who Julia had said was being a dickhead all night but I hadn't really noticed because he was speaking in French, called me a 'stupid cow' or a 'fat cow', I can't remember which.

Julia said they were a bit mad at me because I'd been chatting to them all night and then hadn't kissed them goodbye. I was really mad and wanted to say something cutting to him, but unfortunately I'm not a very sharp girl, so instead I yelled at him bluntly:

"Watch your fucking mouth!"
 


I was triumphant. He looked at me in shocked silence. Then everyone asked me what I meant, so I spent five minutes trying to mime watching one's own mouth and then gave up, my empty threat hanging in the air like silly string behind me. 
 

I got in about half five and stayed awake for about an hour, bawling my eyes out for No Reason Whatsoever. I watching myself in the mirror the whole time, the ex-drama student in me observing how my mascara really did stream down the contours of my face, just like in a film. Oh I'm very vain, aren't I? And dramatic. There was nothing at all the matter with me, but I indulged in such a hysterical crying fit that you'd think I'd just been dumped at the alter by my childhood sweetheart, Edgar, because he's galloped off on a horse with my lady in waiting, Ethal. Beautiful Ethal. Such sparkling wit and rumoured sexual prowess she possesses... It was inevitable really. I hope that horse throws Ethal and Edgar to the hard ground. No, I take that back! I wish them love and happiness! (Even imaginary ill will can harm your karma.)
 


Anyway, it's taken me about three years to write this post, the on-screen keyboard isn't as quick as I'd first thought...









Friday, 3 February 2012

Quick quick

I stayed at Kayt's last night, so I'm using the opportunity to write a blog post. Well, I'll have to leave for work in a minute, don't know if I'll actually have time. Eeeee it's so annoying not having my laptop! I don't really have anything say, just missed having my blog there, in case I do think of anything interesting to say...

This week the eight year old has been ill and she wanted me to stick a thermometer up her bum. She chased me round with it for about half an hour, but there are some things I am not comfortable with and one of them is inserting something cold and pointy into a child. In the end she did it herself, using the mirror as a guide, but I did tell her she can put it under her armpit and add two degrees to the temperature. She gave the armpit a go, but wasn't convinced. Apparently Bum is Best when it comes to France and matters of medicine. Remember last year when the mum of my last au pair family also wanted me to stick a thermometer up her children's rear end? They did it themselves by lying on the couch, on their backs.

It's WEIRD.

Anyway, my au pair job has been going ok. On Tuesday night I chased the eight year old round the house for obver an hour, trying to get her in the bath before her mum came home. I finally managed to get her in the bathroom, but she made a big fuss of bringing the iPad in and 'checking her emails'. She had one email, from me, that I'd sent her earlier on in the day. She opened it and it said in big letters:

GET IN THE BATH.

Ha! She looked at me in amazement. I knew she wouldn't get in the fucking bath, so I'd sent it her at lunchtime, knowing she would check it around bathtime. It really freaked her out.

I'm not sure what I'm doing this weekend, I've agreed to go to about four different things with various groups of people, Facebook doesn't work properly on my phone so I keep saying 'yes' to things. Inevitably I'll end up so hassled and indecisive that I'll spend the entire weekend on my own, drinking tea and brooding over my lack of laptop.

Options are:

Miss Kittin at Rex Club

Julio Basmore at Social Club

There's also a night at Nouveau Casino that Georgie wants to go to.

Plus Kayt has her best mates from Newcastle over, who I've met before and they are really lovely, bu they don't really like 'DJ music', so they'll be going out for general Drinks and Merriment.

Then on Saturday Julia says there is a 'free party' in a disused train stations somewhere on the outskirts of Paris, plus Angélique is hosting an after-party on Sunday morning called Concrete, but I guess as I'm working at 11am, probably can't go to an after-party that starts at 7am. As for the actual party, Angélique says either Rex Club or (the anti-) Social Club.

Pffft. I'm no good at organising my own social timetable. Why can't ONE person invite me to ONE good thing, ONCE a week? I've not really been going out lately, can't be bothered somehow, it's so fucking cold and however much make-up I put on, lately I just look Shit, all the time. However, there's a couple things on this month that I wouldn't mind venturing out for:


10 Fevrier
Fake Blood at Showcase

I've been to Showcase once, when Anna's boss got us a table in the VIP section and someone stole my jacket. They're really arsey on the door and have a strict dress code.


17 Fevrier
Joy Orbison at Social Club

I am definitely going to this, even though I hate Social Club- the tiny 'big' club where bouncers treat you like a criminal and you often find yourself surrounded by Massive Nobheads, posing on the dancefloor without actuallly moving to the music.


18th Fevrier
Kode 9, King Midas Sound and Ikonika at La Machine

I can't go to this, as I'm going away with the family on the 18th. No dubstep for me... I'll be stuck up a French mountain somewhere, looking after the baby while the family jets past me in their designer ski wear... This is the last time I saw Ikonika in Paris:

Shit, going to be extremely late. Bye for now!