Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Spoken Word, Smackhead

Last night I performed a poem at a Spoken Word event. I use the word 'poem' loosely as my 'poems' are actually more like raps except I'm not ghetto enough to be a Badass Rapper and I never will be, so in actual fact they're just a collection of sentences, which don't say an awful lot and occasionally rhyme and I read them out really fast whilst involuntarily jabbing my hands about like Jay from Geordie Shore when he's talking about bringing a lass back, banging her and then sending her on her way in a taxi.

If you don't know what I'm talking about... forget it. Just forget it.

Me and Georgie went to Spoken Word (I'm feeling proper paranoid this week, not telling you where it is in case a stalker shows up next week to hear me read poetry, then hack me to pieces with a shard of pottery) for the first time last Monday, mainly to enjoy other people's work but secretly I also wanted to scope it out, to see if I felt like I could get involved and read some of my stuff out. After listening to a guy talking about snow over the sound of his friend playing saxaphone, and a lady singing about a lover she once took who had no legs, I decided that if there was ever going to be an audience who might not mind listening to 'a collection of sentences which don't say an awful lot and occasionally rhyme', then it was this one. Everyone was very attentive, interested, open-minded...

So last night I took my poem 'Sexy Homeless Man'. At first I thought I was going to be too late to sign up, and I was relieved, but then we got there and Laura had signed up for me. I was going to be on in the second part of the evening (there's an interval). I felt sick and my hands were shaking, but as the first act got going I forgot I was going to be reading my poem. As it was Shakespeare's birthday, most people had chosen something Shakespeare-themed and I started to worry that I'd look like a tit...

Fortunately there were others who hadn't chosen anything to do with Shakespeare, but as they read their poems about broken relationships and ended relationships and failed relationships (they were a lot of poems about relationships) I started panicking all over again because my 'poem' wasn't serious in any way, shape or form... What if people didn't find it funny? If it wasn't serious, and it wasn't funny, then what the hell was it? The more I thought about it, the more I realised that in actual fact, Sexy Homeless Man was a big pile of Nothing. I couldn't even remember why I'd written it, other than the fact that I saw a sexy homeless man, obviously.

The interval came and my heart was beating so fast... I thought about chickening out. I had a drink and a fag outside. I got chatting to this really lovely girl called Melissa, who was French but spoke fluent English (she said she was self-taught as well, grumble grumble bitter grumble) and I told her it was my first time reading and that I was really scared.

"Do you want to read it to me, now?" she asked.

We went moved round the corner, I took a deep breath and read it to her.

I couldn't read the look on her face at all. I thought she might be doing a 'oh that's good I like it' kind of face. Or was it more of a 'oh no this is really awkward what the fuck was that' face? Had she understood a single word I'd said?

"You know Misfits?" she said. "You sound like Kelly from Misfits!"

For the record, I DON'T sound like Kelly from Misfits, but a lot of French people tell me I do. I don't know why, I don't even know why so many French people like Misfits. The actress who plays Kelly is from Derby anywaywhich is... erm... well I'm pretty sure it's nowhere near Manchester.


To be honest, I think I'd spoken so quickly that she hadn't understand a word I'd said, but she seemed to genuinely like the way my voice sounded, even if she didn't know exactly what I was saying. I felt a bit more relaxed and decided to just play up my accent; I was hoping all the non-British people in the audience would find it novel and also they might not be able to understand the actual words...

After the interval, I still felt nervous but a little bit more confident after my practice run. (One of the problems with living in a chambre de bonne is that I can't practice performance poetry, because the neighbours will hear and think I'm talking to myself very loudly and rhythmically.) My heart was beating so hard though, I looked down and my cleavage ('What cleavage?' I hear you cry. Ha-di-ha. Not.) was visibly vibrating with each beat.

We had the three witches from Macbeth... my palms were slippery and I looked down to see with surprise that I was rubbing them together...

Then an American girl (or Canadian, sometimes I can't tell the difference, don't shoot me) read some of her poems, one of which included the line 'When he threw me from the bed, I felt like I was flying'... Then they called my name and I was standing up, tripping up to the front, my notebook tight in my hands...

Everyone clapped and cheered. It's a really warm audience, actually. I know I had that moan a few weeks ago where I said everyone in the English spoken word/writer's group scene in Paris is a snob and hates me for no good reason but sometimes you've got to stop and ask yourself the question: Maybe it's actually me who hates everyone else, for no good reason?

Anyway, I read my poem. I don't know if anyone liked it or not. I'm glad I got up there though, I'm grateful that I did it.

The problem is, when I got up there in front of all those people, my inner Attention Seeker kicked in and I was suddenly quite confident and not nervous. So if I go back there again and read another 'collection of sentences, which don't say an awful lot and occasionally rhyme', I'm worried everyone will think I'm really cocky about my crap poems and that I love myself as a Person and an Artiste...

Also, after my poem Laura, her husband (I know, it seems weird saying it because I don't know anyone else who is married!) and Georgie wanted to leave because it was getting on for half eleven, so I snuck out quietly with them and now I'm worried everyone will think I was being rude...

"Goodbye my loves, I'd love to stay but frankly, it'd be a draaaag. I've done MY poem, you've fed my ego with your insincere applause and now I'm going to SWAN off into the night because I don't give a DAMN about listening to anyone else's poem."

Also me and the nice girl who let me practice my poem on her said we'd swap numbers and be pals, but I left without giving her my number... I'm like the Poem Bomber, turn up, shout a poem at you quickly, and then leave. BOOM. Except... it wasn't even a poem, not really.

Right. I'm off to bed. But tomorrow I must tell you about my news!!! Life choices to be made, decisions to be decided.

JUST DELETED A WHOLE MASSIVE PARAGRAPH. SO ANNOYED.

Can't be arsed writing it again. But to paraphrase it...

I was woken this morning by my dentist. She was really angry and kept shouting raté which means missed or failed. Eventually she calmed down and said I can go in on Friday (so going to have to miss work) but I'm really apprehensive because the tooth which she has taken the nerve out of has started hurting again. How can it hurt if there is no nerve??? The gum around it has gone a bit black and the white stuff she sealed the tooth with has disappeared, so I have half a tooth and the sharp edges cut into my tongue and it's all swollen. I just know it's going to need loads more serious, horrible work done. She'll take the tooth out and it will give me a sunken jaw and make me look like a smackhead.

Good night.


Monday, 23 April 2012

Foreign Beggars

I tidied my room!!

I hoovered and EVERYTHING! I borrowed the Mystery Hoover that lives in the shared bathroom on the corridor, I'm sure they won't mind, whoever it belongs to... Maybe it was put there by The Universe just for me to use. Or maybe it belongs to the Bavarian lady next door who uses it occasionally... I guess we'll never know.

Anyway! Life is good again! Now I can actually spend time just being in my room- blogging, curling my hair, drawing pictures of myself in cloaks- rather than sleeping all the time because the ugly sight of such a huge pile of washing up leaning against my shower made my eyes sad and confused.

I have a lorra lorra* things to tell you so let's get cracking, shall we work backwards?

We shall.

Today (being Sunday- just because it's past midnight does not mean it's Monday morning yet, please Lord) was productive... I tidied my room, think I might have mentioned that already. Also bought hot cross buns, crumpets and shortbread biscuits from Marks and Spencer. The thrills just don't stop coming.


Saturday was all babies and beats, new people and new places...

The day got off to a bad start- I wasn't sure if my au pair family needed me or not so I didn't set my alarm. Then I slept until 3pm, when I was woken up by my phone ringing- it was the au pair mum calling to see where I was... She'd sent me a text message at 1pm telling me to be at their house for 2.30pm... Whoops.

I could tell she was pissed off when I got to the house, but it's not really my fault. I'm fed up of never knowing when I'm supposed to be working. If I wanted to be at someone's beck and call I'd be a geisha.

Anyway, in the end it wasn't too bad- I just had to look after the baby for a couple of hours. (You know what? He's actually two years old now so I'm going to stop calling him 'the baby'. Let's call him The Toddler instead.) We mostly fed chocolate biscuits to two dollies and The Toddler was amazed because my dolly actually ate her biscuits! Every time he looked away, he'd turn back round to see she'd taken another big bite, until she'd gotten through a whole packet of mini Prince biscuits... This made him really annoyed at his dolly because she wasn't eating her biscuits, so I took over and sure enough, her biscuits soon disappeared as well. What can I say? I'm just good with dollies.

When I finished work I was still deciding what to do- I'd been invited on a 'work night out' by people at the resto for the first time ever (not the restaurant reject anymore... possibly...) Julia wanted to go to Rex Club- apparently if you knew the secret password you could get in for free- plus Foreign Beggars were playing at La Machine. Last year I saw Foreign Beggars for the first time at Excuse My French at La Bellevilloise and I remember how much crazy energy there was, on the stage and in the crowd- people were trashing the speakers and thrashing into each other, getting sweaty and getting carried away by the performances on stage.

Georgie is pals with one of the MCs in Foreign Beggars and he'd invited her out for drinks before the Foreign Beggars gig and to see a 'musical comedy show' by an Italian pianist with his aunty, who lives in Paris. Georgie invited me along too but we arrived too late to see the show, which was a bit embarrassing as MC's aunty is friends with the pianist and afterwards we all went out for dinner together.

(I really wish I'd gone to the show, in case there's any piano enthusiasts reading, it's on at Theatre Petit Hebertot and he's supposed to be a brilliant pianist as well as being very funny. It's also suitable for kids too. Click here for more information.)

First we went to a pizzeria round the corner for drinks (and a couple of slices of pizza) and then we went to an AMAZING Turkish restaurant called Seç in the 17th (18 rue Jouffroy d'Abbans, metro station: Rome).  It's MC's aunty's favourite restaurant and she kept ordering food for us to make sure we tasted the 'best dishes'. There were lots of mezze-style dips and thin, spicy Turkish pizzas called lahmacun made with mince meat which we squeezed lemons onto and ate with our hands, folded up like sandwiches. Then I had bagdat kebab which consisted of very tender chunks of lamb in a mint and aubergine sauce and Georgie had musaka which, judging by all the oil that was still bubbling on top when it was served, must have been ridiculously bad for you but it tasted ridiculously good...

Do I sound like a twat ? I'm not very comfortable talking about things that I actually enjoy- I find it much easier to slag everything off and be miserable and I know everyone prefers my blog when I'm having a shit time, fucking everything up and moaning...

But...

I can't complain about last night- it was one of those fun, unexpected nights that happen in Paris every once in a while, were you don't plan anything and you discover new restaurants and bars and chat to people you never thought you'd meet. MC and his aunty were really lovely. His aunty is one of those people who I could listen to for hours, she speaks about seven languages and has lived all over the world. When we were in the Turkish restaurant a man came in selling flowers and MC's aunty introduced him to us, she's spent some time chatting to him and she found out his story- he's a recently come to Paris as a refugee from Bangladesh, where he trained as a surgeon. He spent thousands and thousands of euros getting here (hidden in boats and trucks) and now he works selling flowers to people in bars and restaurants.

I felt a stupid and dull compared with everyone else. Three people over the course of the night asked me what I did for a living and when I said 'Oh, I just work in a restaurant and I look after children...' I was met with frowns and/or awkward smiles.

Georgie said I should tell everyone I'm a writer, but I can't lie to people. I write. Does that make me a writer? I don't know. I'm a dreamer, baby.. Maybe that should be my answer from now on to the dreaded 'What do you do?' question. (It's all right when I'm in England, because I can say 'I live in Paris' but you can't get away with saying that to people when you're actually in Paris.)

After the meal in what might become my new favourite restaurant, MC went off for a nap before the gig and me and Georgie went for more drinks with his aunty in her local bar. It was full of rowdy LADs from the South of France, drinking shots and 'metres of beer' and telling us how unfriendly they thought everyone in Paris was. When it was time to go to La Machine me and Georgie gave MCs aunty heartfelt hugs and promised we'd meet up again. I really hope we do.

Once we got to La Machine, MC kindly gave us backstage wristbands. (I had to smirk a little bit as we walked calmly up the same stairs that one year ago I'd taken two at a time as the bouncer chased after me yelling Mademoiselle! Madmoiselle!! Ha. What's in the past can fucking stay there.) On our way to the backstage area MC got mobbed and I mean Mobbed- the crowd was all riled up and crazy, so excited to see him, so determined to get close...  I wonder if all their fans are like that?

When Foreign Beggars came on stage, me and Georgie went into the crowd to watch them, to experience it properly, but we couldn't stay out there for the whole set because we kept getting squashed against the wall by sweaty men with no shirts on...

I didn't think the atmosphere would be the same as it was at La Bellvilloise, because La Machine is such a big venue, but it was just as electric. The air was charged. People were crowd surfing, sitting on shoulders, moshing with their eyes closed, their faces scrunched up with concentration and complete bliss, thrashing their heads like they were going to hurt themselves...

Me and Georgie went backstage again when we felt we were going to get crushed to death and we watched the rest of the set from the back of the stage. Yeah, I was one of those people that lurks around behind the DJ, bopping about trying to look like they belong in the group of hanger-ons, even though they have nothing to do with anything whatsoever... Don't worry, I won't do it again.

I had such a fun night, here's a video from the gig I found on Youtube:




And with that I bid you adieu.

I do sound like a twat, don't I?

*I was going to to explain the cultural reference of this for my (two) French readers but... can't be arsed. Google 'Cilla Black Blind Date'.

Friday, 20 April 2012

French Fries and Fantasies

I'm sorry kids, it's been over a week since my last post. 

I have a lot of things to tell you, most of them small and stupid, but some of them are Quite Important things to do with Next Year... Sorry to tease you but I'm very tired and lazy, so tonight I'm going to cheat a little bit and present you with:

Here's Something I Made Earlier! I started writing it on Monday afternoon, but then I had to go to my au pair job...

I'm back in my little room for the first time in three days and I can't say I'm overjoyed. It looks like it's been raining in here, from clouds filled with dirty clothes and shoes and for Some Reason, two sweet potatoes. I can't remember leaving two sweet potatoes on my floor yet there they are, one nestled against a sock and the other one next to the fridge, as if he's waiting for the one banana and four yoghurts inside to open the door and let him back in.

I should probably pick them up.

I'll do it later.

Shall I tell you about my weekend?

I'll take that as a 'Ooh yes please, we do so love to hear you talking about yourself, day after day, for paragraphs and paragraphs, telling us the same old shit over and over again because even though you live in Paris and pretend to have quite an interesting life in actual fact you're incredibly boring and spend most of your time either sat on the metro going to work, at work, or in bed eating burnt lamb fat out of the pan.'

Hmm. I detect a slight tone of sarcasm in your answer, but I'll carry on anyway... anything to avoid tidying up my room. I'm actually trying to watch 'Game of Thrones' on the internet but it's not loading. I decided to start watching it last week, because I needed something fantastical to distract my imagination, to stop it creating visions of my future, showing me myself in thirty years time, still not a writer, still trying to pay my overdraft off, still not knowing what to do with my life, still struggling to obtain the Perfect Brow*.

So. In order to avoid worrying about reality too much, I planned to watch the entire series. I reckoned it would keep my mind occupied for a few weeks at least.

'From here on out it's all kings and swords and steamy scenes in barbarian nomad tents!' I said to myself.

Except... I'm not very good at downloading things.**

So far I've only managed to watch two and a half episodes and I can't be arsed anymore. I might just give up and face reality.

Oh, not reality! Anything but that.

On Friday night me and Olivia stayed up until six in the morning watching the BBC 'Pride and Prejudice' box set. We kept meaning to call it a night and go to sleep, but every bone in our bodies ached for the moment when Mr Darcy and Elizabeth FINALLY admit their love for each other...

I know, I know- I always go on and on about how I hate talking about/listening to/reading anything about 'love'. I don't really understand it and I'm not interested in it. But at the moment I'm just... I don't know if it's  the Mass Boy Hysteria taking or whether I've finally snapped and gone completely Mental, but recently I've been all moony and giddy, having romantic daydreams about everyone from Sirius Black to the Domino's Delivery Boy.

Ok, so I say 'everyone from' but really I mean literally just Sirius Black and the Domino's Delivery Boy...

A couple of weekends ago me and Kayt stayed over at Olivia's and watched some Harry Potter films. (Rock on, you crazy ravers!) As we all fell asleep we were talking about romantic fantasies and how detailed we make them, for example Olivia even tells herself what type of wallpaper would be in the dressing room of her Dream Home with her Dream Man (I can't remember the name, but it's that one with little scenes of people on it). I decided to Overshare and tell everyone my very detailed and very strange romantic fantasy about Sirius Black. I won't go into it now, but basically it involves... oh God, I really can't tell you, it's too embarrassing.

Anyway, me and Olivia were describing our preposterous romantic fantasies, involving such ridiculous details as having a specific wallpaper pattern and cooking a lasagne, and Kayt was keeping very quiet. I asked her if she had any detailed 'romantic fanstasies' and she said yes, she did:

"He's a French man and we're in Newcastle together, in Nando's."

I am not exaggerating- that is actually what she said. She could have had her Frenchman on a boat going down the Seine, or on a tropical island, or in a magical, rose-scented lagoon, but no! She said that she wants to be with him in her home city of Newcastle so that she can  'speak French to him and nobody else will understand' and then she said:

"I wanna, like, show him proper British cuisine, so I'd take him to the Nando's in town. It's where all the footballers go."

By this point me and Olivia were laughing at her quite a lot so she stopped, but I have a horrible feeling that her fantasy didn't actually go any further than that. Frenchman, Newcastle, Nando's... Wuthering Heights eat your heart out.

What was I talking about?

Ah yes, that same weekend that we got Domino's delivered (we're being very lazy these days) and the Delivery Boy was FIT. Then this Sunday me and Olivia got Domino's again (I know, it's disgusting- not so much the grease of the pizza, or even the laziness of ordering in but the all money we spent) and it was the same Delivery Boy and I still retain that he is FIT. Olivia is going to England on Friday. I should borrow her keys, order pizza and yank Delivery Boy through the doorway.

No, no. Mass Boy Hysteria taking over my brain again.

I've still got loads of things to tell you... let me see, where was I?

Ok, so last weekend me and Olivia stayed up all night on Friday watching Pride and Prejudice and eating ratatouille. The next morning we lounged around making plans for Saturday night. Olivia's friend Bernise from uni, who has been working in Dunkerque for her ERASMUS year, was staying in Paris for the night with some friends for her birthday. Bernise wanted to go out for drinks but she didn't mind where, so me and Olivia had a look online to see what was on.

It was then I found out that French Fries was playing at Social Club- French Fries the Parisien DJ who I have wanted to see for ages and ages but something always comes up.

"We have to go!" I squealed.

Olivia rang her friend and tried to Peer Pressure them all to go, but they weren't exactly being Keen Jeans. After much persuading on our part and after discovering that it was free to get in before midnight, Bernise said that her and her friends wanted to go to Social Club. The only problem was that I was working in the restaurant until 1am, so I wouldn't be able to get in for free and would have to rock up on my own, to face the Nasty Bastard Bouncers and a huge queue.

The tickets were fifteen euros, which I didn't mind paying as I really wanted to see French Fries. At least with a ticket I would definitely get in. As my I've lost my French bank card and my English bank card expired last month, Olivia lent me her bank card to buy the ticket online. We were chatting and watching Sex and the City as I did the booking, so I wasn't really concentrating... therefore what happened next is the fault of Olivia and Carrie Bradshaw...

When I 'completed the sale' it gave me the choice of printing off my ticket there and then. Olivia doesn't have a printer so I was just going to ignore it and close the window, but then I noticed that it was asking me if I wanted to print out THREE TICKETS.

I'd somehow bought three tickets. What a fucking nobhead. Who knows how I did it? Sometimes the universe just screws you over when you're not looking.

With the booking fee, I'd spent nearly 55 euros. That's 35 euros MORE than I needed to pay. I looked Olivia with panicked eyes.

"What have you done?" she asked.

I told her and we both sat in grumpy silence for a while, equally bemused by my stupidity.

No, I take that back. It wasn't MY stupidity, it was the website, somehow messing my order up. I'm sure it was. I messed around for ages trying to find out if it was possible to refund tickets, but of course it was not possible. Nothing is ever possible, unless it's something that you don't want to happen. Like accidentally buying three tickets instead of one, for example.

Ok this story is boring me now. Skip to the end:

... finally made it there after wandering the streets of Paris alone for half an hour. As predicted the bouncer was an absolute cunt, I asked him if I had to queue up even if I had a ticket and yelled at me. I was fuming until I realised it's normal to queue up for clubs even if you have a ticket- I was just getting confused with Rex Club where there are two separate queues.

I tried to sell my tickets in the queue but everyone thought I was a Dodge so I gave up and just stood there sulking, writing nasty things about Social Club on Twitter. In the end though, I only had to queue up for about twenty minutes before I was let inside, then just as the two girls in front of me were about to pay, I decided to try my luck one more time and asked them if they wanted to help me out by buying my two spare tickets. I also said they could have them for twenty five euros for the two. They said yes but they only had bank cards with them, no cash, so I said they could just buy me drinks when we got inside.

They each bought me a vodka and coke, which were ten euros each, and then I decided to play the Generous Stranger and let them off with the two drinks, meaning they paid a tenner each to get in, instead of fifteen. Actually, I think it was more expensive to pay on the door.

Anyway, they were really nice girls and I felt Karma smiling at me. I told the girls I'd chat to them later if we bumped into each other and went off to find Olivia and Bernise and her friends. At first I panicked that I was never going to find them in the crowds, but then I heard someone arguing with a Liverpool accent behind me. I turned around and it was, of course, Olivia. Arguing with a French man.

All in all it was a Good Night. The music was really good. A highlight was when French Fries played Wildfire by SBTRKT towards the end of the night... Bernise and her friends left about half three, but me and Olivia stayed until the club closed at six. We were the last people to leave, apart from a girl with gold teeth we were chatting to for ages outside.

We also met a girl in the toilets who asked to borrow lipstick from us because her ex was here with his new girlfriend, we made friends and she took us round the club looking for the new girlfriend so she could show her to us, I can't remember why we wanted to look at her so much but it was fun bonding with strangers over nonsense. In the end we lost the girl so I'll never know what her ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend thought of her boyfriend's ex-girlfriend's borrowed lipstick... Gosh being drunk is confusing.

We did a LOT of dancing and had a LOT of heart to hearts about how you have to 'keep your heart up' if you live in London. It was the drunkest I've been in a long, long time.and I spent way too much money.

At one point we got into a bit of Argy Bargey with two girls stood next to us at the front, because they said we Olivia was pushing them. As soon as we started arguing however, I realised from their accents they were from Manchester. Me and one of the girls decided to be friends instantly once I told her I was from Fallowfield and she told me they were from Salford. But her other friend was still being an aggressive dickhead, so Olivia decided to 'walk away from the situation' and then I chased after her, until she stopped at the entrance to the smoking room and we had a drunken argument because Olivia kept telling me to get back to 'my new bessie mates from Manchester' and I kept saying 'I was sticking up for you! I was sticking up for you!'

In the end I pointed out that we'd come to see French Fries specifically and he was now on stage and we were missing him, so we stopped arguing and then it was fine. But, it did make me realise, yet again, that alcohol does make people behave ridiculously.

I'm going to stop drinking.

I can't though! I'm not an alcoholic but I can't give up drinking, do you know what I mean?

Since Saturday night at Social Club a lot more Things have happened that I'd like to blog about, including performance poetry and duck in Roquefort cheese and a diamond on the floor...

But more on that tomorrow. I'm too tired for blogging these days, I don't know what's happening to me.

Stay tuned, stay safe.

I'm off to have a very detailed romantic fantasy about Sirius Black. Or maybe Mr Darcy climbing out of the lake and handing me a Domino's pizza.

Shit. I've turned into fucking Bridget Jones and I'm only 22.

*Obviously I mean brows, I don't want just the one Perfect Brow. Although if I did manage to get one of my eyebrows perfect, I always could hide the other one with a side fringe...

**Or I should say, my laptop isn't good at downloading things... but I'm scared it will get offended if I say that. Ssh..  Last time I complained about my laptop in my blog, it broke completely. That's why I'm whispering and hiding in the footnotes.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Your Head Is Not On Your Shoulders!

My Mac bronzer has just died a very messy death on my bedroom floor. I've used it about three times- I got it for Christmas and have been saving it until my face is sun kissed enough to carry it off... nothing worse than a muddy orange face sat on a ghostly white neck.

Sigh.

I should have taken it out of my make-up bag, but instead I've been unnecessarily transporting it between Kayt, Olivia and Georgie's. (I probably sleep in my own bed about twice a week- they have such nicer chambre de bonnes than me- mezzanines and mini bars and balconies galore- and they're so much better at cooking. And cleaning.)

And now it's broken.

I opened it upside down about five minutes ago and all the broken pieces jumped to their untimely deaths, scattering across the floor like ashes. I tried to pick up some of the bigger pieces but they crumbled to silky dust between my fingertips. So smooth and such good quality, makes me think I should buy another Mac bronzer straight away. I think that's the best thing to do with lost things- replace them as soon as possible and then it doesn't feel like such a blow to your finances.

I'm sick of losing and breaking everything. Laptop, scarf, shoes, handbag, Pandora bracelet, Blackberry, hair straighteners, digital camera, teeth...

By the way, I never told you what happened when I lost my key. I was locked out for three days because the gardienne was never around. What a shit gardienne. What is she gard-ing exactly, her precious free time? Anyway, when I eventually caught up with her, she told me she does have a spare key, so it was fine. Since I moved in I've been panicking every time I leave my room, because I thought I had the only key and that if I lost it the world would end and Doom would come and claim me like a demon. At least I know now that if I do happen to lock my keys inside my room, I can just go downstairs and ask the gardienne for the spare, unless it's after 8pm. Or before 10am. Or during the weekend.

Anyway. Talking about losing things, that reminds me- I never told you about what happened the last time I went back to England!! (Sorry, two exclamation marks might suggest a more exciting tale than the one you've got coming to you. I suggest you calm down a bit in order to avoid disappointment.)

I was at Euston Station, waiting on the concourse for the Liverpool train. The evening before me, Kat, Hannah and Hollie had gone to Fuse but had been refused entry because they said we hadn't put our names on the guest list early enough (personally I think we were just too high-spirited for them, the bastards) so we'd sulkily gone elsewhere to get drunk, then gone for a curry on Brick Lane, then been asked to leave, then we were chased around an empty Spitafields Market by a very fat security guard who couldn't catch us, because we were posing for photographs on the stall tables for Some Reason...

Hungover as hell, I could have so easily overslept or gotten lost coming out of Kat and Ricky's flat (last time I walked for thirty minutes in the opposite direction until an old lady had to put me on a bus to the tube station and I nearly missed my coach back to Paris) but for once, I gathered my wits about me and got to Euston in plenty of time- I even had time to go to Marks and Spencer's for a sandwich. I should have known it was too good to be true.

For about twenty minutes I waited in front of the big information boards, constantly looking up to see if they'd put my platform number up. All the other trains had platform numbers. Even some of the later trains had platform numbers and mine didn't...

It got to about five minutes before my train was due to leave and they still hadn't said what platform I needed to go to... I started to panic a little bit. Had I made a horrible mistake and gone to the wrong train station? Had they cancelled my train and not told anyone yet? Had I booked my train for a different day?

I checked my tickets and all my travel details were correct. The train couldn't be cancelled, because up there on the board it said it was leaving on time, which was by now in about two minutes.They just hadn't put the platform number up yet.

Just as I was starting to really worry that I was going to miss my train, they made an announcement:

"We believe Left Bank Manc is somewhere in this train station. Please can Left Bank Manc make herself known to the Information Desk in the middle of the concourse."

***OBVIOUSLY THEY DIDN'T SAY 'LEFT BANK MANC', THEY SAID MY REAL FIRST NAME, MIDDLE NAME AND SURNAME. BUT THAT'S A SECRET, SO LET'S PRETEND MY REAL NAME IS LEFT BANK MANC, OK? OK.***

They repeated it twice. I wasn't going mad. They DEFINITELY said my name. My full name.

What the fuck?

They 'believed' I was in the station? That made me sound like some dangerous criminal, believed to be in the vicinity and not to be approached under any circumstances. My first thought was that they'd got me on CCTV the night before, taunting the fat security guard at Spitafields, running a little bit ahead, jumping in the novelty sports car for silly photos and then jumping out again just as he got near to us, panting and red in the face, yelling at us to leave and stop touching things.

Then I thought, 'Perhaps they are going to tell me what platform my train is leaving from? Perhaps they know me as a Special Customer and so are telling me personally?'

I know- the Second Thought is a lot more idiotic than the First, but I had no better ideas. I had no clue why they would be calling for me, by my full name as well.

I wandered over to the Information Desk, curiosity overcoming my urge to run out of the station in case the police were waiting for me. preparing to arrest me for 'criminal damage' charges. Also... I may have made a tiny bit of a Public Nuisance of myself... It's not my fault, I forgot how cheap alcohol is in England and I just o excited to be back in England. Full of beans, I was. And wine.

"Hi." I said to the man in the Information Desk (no police in sight, I noted), "I'm Left Bank Manc."

He looked at me strangely.

"Is this yours?"

And then he held up a very battered, very familiar looking...

...passport.

He handed it to me as my mouth fell open. Of course it was mine. But I hadn't even noticed it was missing.

"Somebody found it in Marks and Spencer's." he said.

"Oh my God! Oh my- I didn't even know I'd lost it! I don't even... I don't live in England! I need it! I really need it!"

I was a blabbering idiot. I was so shocked. Imagine if I'd gotten all the way to Liverpool and realised I didn't have it! Imagine if I hadn't realised until I was getting ready to leave for the airport back to Paris!

I walked away from the Information Desk in a daze, only half-noticing that they'd finally put up the platform number for my train.

The day I left Paris for London, the dad of the au pair family was pissed off with me because I almost left my coach tickets in his office (he'd  printed them out for me), but the point is, I didn't forget them, so I don't know why he was mad.

"Your head is not on your shoulder!" he said crossly.

I'd just raised my eyebrows and said, to wind him up a bit more:

 "Ok, see you when I get back then. If I make my way back, ho ho."

But I came so very close to actually not making it back to Paris... Fucking hell. I don't think my head is on my shoulders.

Anyway, random blog post over. Good night.

Oh one more thing, I definitely did lose my bank card last week. At first I didn't want to admit it but I've looked everywhere and I think I left it in the ticket machine at the metro station. It took me eight days but I finally cancelled it, so maybe my head is attached to my shoulders by a wispy thread of glittery dream silk.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Easter Weekend

Jesus has risen! And so have I unfortunately, thanks to the zealous cleaning efforts of the lady in the chambre de bonne next to mine. Can't she live in squalor for just one weekend, so that I may have more than three hours sleep? After all, what did Jesus die for?? Not so that she could wake me up with her hoover, surely. I haven't even got any Easter eggs, so he didn't die so that I may eat chocolate either. Hmm, I think that question needs more pondering.

I thought I'd try and do some blogging seeing as I'm up. (Although this might be one of those temporary bursts of wakefulness; one of those mornings when you wake up for no reason after having three hours sleep feeling all Alive and Ready for the day and then half an hour later your eyes close half way through an episode of whatever TV program it is that gets you through a hangover and you sleep until the sky grows dark.)

Last night me, Kayt, Olivia and her two friends from home (Laura and Jane if that's not adding too many girl's names into the mix) went to Rex Club. I REALLY wanted to go to the Sound Pellegrino festival because Soul Clap were playing, plus two Parisien DJs I like- Manare and Bambounou- but tickets were 32 euros and nobody was up for spending that much money, even though I pulled my best Pouty Sulky Face where I stick my bottom lip out, but it didn't work. In fact, I don't think it's ever worked. I should probably work on a new face.

Kat also sent me a link on Facebook for Social Club, saying 'Go Go!' because Maya Jane Coles was playing, also Simon Baxter who me and Kayt saw a few weeks ago at La Machine... For some reason, maybe because the bouncers are arseholes at Social Club and none of us have fond memories of the place (although the last time I went to Social Club, to see Joy Orbison a few weeks ago with Julia and Olivia, we actually had a really good night. I forgot to tell you at the time but when we first arrived the club was completely empty, apart from Dita Von Teese who was chatting at the bar, looking immaculate and very made-up, dressed head to toe in black vintage, if you want to know what she was wearing... She left as the club started filling up. Random...) we decided to go to Rex Club, because we always, ALWAYS have a good time. The only problem with Rex is that it's quite small, so if you don't have a ticket you could be queuing up for three hours and still not get in, but this problem is easily avoided if you buy a ticket before you go.

Ion Ludwig was playing, who is kind of minimal techno, plus some other people I had never heard of. We were a bit worried because it said on Resident Advisor: 'Le canadien THE MOLE, connu pour ses sets house très groovy.'

Could house très groovy be French for 'funky house'?


But I'm racing ahead. Let me tell you about the Lovely Lunch we had at Georgie's first...

She made deviled eggs to start (how very Enid Blyton, pip pip) and then we had a chicken from a rôttiserie-  a very Special Easter Treat as none of us have ovens and can never roast anything- which we ate with sautéed potatoes and carrots cooked with honey and coriander. After a long and leisurely lunch we crossed a little bridge over a narrow part of the Seine and went to a nearby jardin that stretches out over the river. On the walk there we looked at the houseboats that are moored near La Defense. Some of them aren't boats, they are just houses built on stilts in the river. I would LOVE to live on a houseboat. I'd like a real narrow boat though, decorated with flowers and magic wooden ducks that come to life like in 'Rosie and Jim'.

In the jardin (I'm not using the French word to be pretentious- if I say park you'll imagine a big field with swings and a climbing frame in it but calling it a garden sounds wrong because that sounds like we sneaked in to somebody's private garden. I think I've said the word 'garden' about five hundred times now, so I'll stop) Laura (not Glasgow Laura, a new Laura who you don't know about yet. She works for the Louvre and she said my eyebrows are amazing. Just thought I'd share that compliment as, we all know, I am obsessed with my eyebrows. Oh God, I'm the new Samantha Brick aren't I?)and Kayt ran around hiding little chocolate eggs and Lindt lambs while me, Georgie and Rihad (I'm pretty sure that's not how you spell his name) drank champagne out of the bottle. I think the champagne came from Laura and it definitely added a festive cheer to the day. Jesus has been crucified! Let's drink champagne in a park!

The easter egg hunt was actually quite difficult, especially because we were all a bit tipsy. A very cute little French boy walked by with his grandpa and Kayt told him (whilst waving her fag around and slurring a little bit) that he could join in. His little face was adorable. After working for kids who don't always appreciate you, it's really lovely to see kids being smiley and shy and grateful. We made sure his pockets were full of chocolate eggs and as he left he said 'Bye Bye' and his grandad said 'Have a nice day'. I like to think he'll treasure forever the day he found three drunken English girls and a French man drinking champagne in the park, and there were chocolate eggs hiding in the tulips and the hedges.

After our Easter egg hunt we went to the Le petit théâtre du Bonheur, a tiny theatre in Montmarte, about half way up the steep steps you climb from Abbesses metro to the back of the Sacré Coeur. A friend of Laura and Georgie's was acting in a series of comedy sketches, written by her boyfriend and his friends, all in English. As soon as we got in there I felt really uncomfortable and awkward and just... terrible. There were a couple of people there who were at the writer's group at Shakespeare and Company when I went  couple of times last year and I don't know if I've got a chip on my shoulder or if I'm just too paranoid to function around normal human beings anymore, but they're just so rude.

One of them turned round, looked at me and Kayt and said "Who are these people? Who are you?"

Kayt said "Who are you?"

Ha. He then turned around, saying 'Good question' but I have a sneaking suspicion that he may have, in actual fact, thought it was a rather bad question to ask him...

I think he did answer us, but about five minutes later and by then I was so freaked out by the whole trauma that I looked around the room nervously while Kayt answered for the both of us. Do I have Special Needs?

Perhaps.

God. They are just so... I don't know. I feel very inadequate and frustrated at the moment about my, erm, literary talents so maybe that is why I felt so threatened and felt as if they were being snobbish. But when we first walked in, when I was still feeling Happy and Comfortable from our lovely lunch and easter egg hunt, I was introduced to one of them and I said in what I thought was a perfectly normal and acceptable manner: 'Actually, I recognise you from the writer's group at Shakespeare and Co, I went a couple of times last year...' and he looked at me as if I'd given his child a rock of crack to suck on.

Anyway, the sketches were funny, I'm glad I went. I respect anyone who writes comedy, it is really brave to write something, perform it and say 'I'm actually trying be funny...' (I don't mean they actually stop the sketch and said that to the audience, that would have been awful... You know what I mean.) The sketches were surreal, intelligent and although a couple of the actors were actually the writers and not, in fact, actors; I thought everyone had great stage presence and timing.

It's just a shame I'm not one of those people who can smooze and network, maybe I should have talked to everyone about writing and acting in Paris but instead I left as soon as it finished, with the intention of getting very fucked. Wooooo.

Oh I know 'getting fucked' can't always be my solution to everything, but it works for now.

I had a BRILLIANT night. Sometimes the music wasn't to my taste but I used this time to have a Little Sit and a drink and wait for it to get good again and when it was good, it was fucking great. I got home at half six this morning and spent an hour drinking tea and looking at pictures of myself on Facebook, trying to decide when my eyebrows looked their best.

Oh I might never be a writer kids, but I think I'm on the brink of achieving The Perfect Brow.

Oooh, also, Seth Troxler is playing at Showcase in a couple of weeks and I am completely torn because I love Seth Troxler but as we all know I have put a jihad on Showcase because I hate them so much. It is the worst club in the world. Why are you playing there, Seth?? Why? WHY?? Why aren't you playing at Cabaret Sauvage again, where I had one of the best nights of my life at Rebel Rave Paris?

Also, I wish Kate Tempest was performing somewhere other than Shakespeare and Company because I lover her A LOT but I can't be doing with someone turning round and asking me 'Who are you?' For me, Kate Tempest represents the complete opposite of all that 'scene shit'.

I might listen to some of her poems, get myself all riled up before I go. Probably one of them will say 'Hello, welcome to-' and I'll panic and scream: 'FUCK YOU' when all they wanted to do was give me a leaflet.




Now I'm off to have another lovely lunch at Olivia's AND Jane and Laura brought easter eggs with them from England and Olivia said I can have one!!!! Thanks Jesus, for rising from the dead and bringing me a chocolate egg. I'm not really sure what the significance is but... thanks all the same.

Sparkly Magic Music

I just had an amazing day and an amazing night, the sun is still hiding so it must be time for bed, but there are things I need to blog about tomorrow, I'm sorry I've been so shit recently, too many things on my mind struggling to escape through my writing. Let's just say my heart is very torn, between London and Paris. I'm scared that London will crush me, but if I stay in Paris I'll never know...

Also, what am I going to do with my life? Would someone would like to pay me to dance around their garden dressed in a velvet cloak, telling fairytales and singing folk songs, occasionally rapping and doing strange voices? Please can someone pay me to do this? I'll be like a garden gnome but 100% more energetic, surely there must be someone out there rich enough to hire a full-time storyteller and all round whimsical attention seeker to live at the bottom of their garden??

I'm a massive dickhead aren't I?

Why am I though?

I don't even realise I'm doing it most of the time.

I better go now before I say something ridiculous.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Carpet That Looks Like Wood

I check my blog stats compulsively and I love it when Blogger tells me how people got onto my blog, sometimes people stumble on across it after searching for the strangest things. Today there were three rather unusual 'Search Keywords' that led people to my blog...

To the person who found me by Googling 'can a single guy hire a au pair': First of all, it's an au pair. Second of all, of course you can, provided you have a child. If you don't have a child then no, you can not hire an au pair, you pervert.

I have no idea why my blog came up for the person who was looking for 'carpet that looks like wood'. I can only assume they clicked on a lot* of O's (you know, when you Google something it says Goooooooogle underneath the search results and each 'o' takes you to another page of results). I'm afraid you've been mislead and my blog can't offer you any carpet that looks like wood- you'll have to carry on the search elsewhere, although who can say where such a search could lead... I have a question for you- have you thought about just using actual wood?

It appears somebody also found my blog by searching for 'call girls paris left bank'. Well, to you Sir (I'm assuming you're a Sir?) I must admit that I no longer live on the Left Bank, but how much were you looking to pay? Because I could get myself there in fifteen minutes...

Finally, to the person/persons who have found my blog by searching 'Left Bank Manc'- I have no qualms with you. Only might I suggest adding my blog to your Favourites? Then you wouldn't have to keep Googling Left Bank Manc every time you fancy reading my blog. Even better, why don't you FOLLOW ME and then I can write to websites and magazines and say 'Look, I have a very successful blog with lots of followers, please can you give me a job writing a column/weekly blog post for you?' and then I can stay in Paris for ever and ever and write my blog every day and never have to worry about the future again.

As you might have guessed, I have a little confession to make, but I can't say it on here before I've talked to my friends in England about it because I'm scared they'll hate me and never speak to me again.

You see...

I'm kind of thinking...

that maybe...

I might want to...

Shit. I better tell you another time. I'm going to make myself another cup of tea and see if I can muster the energy to tell you about the weekend.

*Ooh! I've never underlined anything before! I might start doing it all the time. I was going to put this unnecessary comment in brackets but it made the sentence too confusing... Ok I don't think the underlining thing is really working for me, I'm going to stop it now... Really, what is the point in underlining things? It adds nothing to my blog, nothing! From now on I'll stick to my Idiosyncratic Way of Using Capital Letters... Also, just realised, do I normally put my footnotes in italics? I want to be consistent with my presentation but I've confused myself... I don't know who I am anymore!!

Monday, 2 April 2012

Teeth and Kate Tempest

Uh-oh. My Blackberry just reminded me that I have a dentist appointment in ten minutes. It takes me about fifteen minutes to get there so I suppose if I left right now I wouldn't be too late...

Ohhhhh.

I really can't be arsed.

I had a weird feeling there was something important I had to do. I even remembered earlier, while I was working in the restaurant, that I'd made another dentist's appointment and was idly wondering which day it was... Shame I didn't put the two thoughts together. Idiot.

Yeah... I'm definitely not going. I don't really understand why I have to have another appointment anyway. She's filled in the root with a weird white thing and sealed the tooth. Kayt couldn't go with me to my last appointment and I thought it would be the last one, but when she'd finished the dentist said something about next time moving the top of the tooth or something... What? Sorry? You want to do more horrendous things to my tooth? Ok. I just nodded and paid her.

She kept asking me if I was sure I wanted to pay her all in one go, making me think that there must be a lot more work to be done... Like what though? I know I need a crown, but that is a whole different thing- she gave me an invoice for that and it's going to be 820 euros. That's for a ceramic crown though-; if I have a metal crown it will be a bit cheaper and I might also look like a pirate.

I don't know... a metal molar could look pretty bad ass and would also add to my super hero persona when I get my cloak (See Cloak Girl with her tooth of steel!), but what if people can feel it when they are kissing me? What if someone runs their tongue around the inside of my mouth and tastes that I have a metal tooth? Is this possible? It's been so long, I've forgotten what kissing is even like. If I ever get the chance to do it again I'll probably just place my open mouth on the end of their nose and move my head from side to side. No, I won't.

Oh I'm worried I will now.

Five minutes later

Just rang the dentist. I put a YouTube video of 'Restaurant background noise' on in the background and told her I had to stay at work all afternoon. She sounded relieved but still made me another appointment, the only time she could fit me in is Thursday morning, so I'll have to tell the restaurant and they'll be pissed off. Oh for fuck's sake... do I really need another appointment?? Why is she just dragging out the process, I HATE going to the dentist's. My tooth doesn't hurt anymore. Can't we just let it go now?

Oooh I have exciting news!! This morning I received my monthly newsletter from Shakespeare and Company (even though I never go to anything because I'm always working) and Kate Tempest is performing on the 16th April!!!

Georgie introduced her to me a few weeks ago and ever since I've been listening to her poetry in place of all the music I lost. This is quite an old video but if you don't know who Kate Tempest is, you need to watch it:



I really, really, REALLY hope the 16th April is school holidays as then there might be a chance I won't be at my au pair job...

Do you know what? I was going to write a really long blog post about the weekend- we tried some new places and got abused on the metro by an old couple wearing matching double denim- but I think I'll have a quick nap before my au pair job.

I'll be back later...