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.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Fairyland

I can't believe I'm going back to England again tomorrow- I don't feel ready at all. There were so many things I had to do this half term- write my personal statement, start my applications for drama school, find material for my English classes and plan a whole term's worth of work...

It's not like I went out a lot either- once again I arrived in England penniless and had to spend most of the week on my mum's couch, drinking tea and watching reruns of Come Dine With Me. I don't understand what happened- I planned on saving up loads of euros, so I could pay my mum back the money I owe her for the flights, visit my friends and family in Liverpool and buy myself some English treats to take back to Paris...

By the time I stepped off the plane at Manchester airport, I had fifty euros for the entire week, which shrank into a measly thirty five when I changed it into pounds.

The money I earn is Paris is like Fairy Gold- I seem to have a lot of it to spend on champagne and croissants when I'm here, but as soon as I try and leave France it crumbles to nothing in my purse. When I opened my purse at the bank, I swear there was actually a layer of glittery dust at the bottom of it.

Maybe France is my Fairyland: I spend my days playing make-believe games; the gold I earn looks like Monopoly money and disappears as soon as you look away; and the streets are lined with gold-dusted chocolate tarts...


They say you're not supposed to eat the Fairy Food or you'll have to stay forever.

But this time I am DEFINITELY moving back to England. I know I say that every year but this year it's different, because I have The Plan. The drama school thing might not work out, but it's better to try, don't you think? How can you live your life not knowing? I don't want to get to sixty and be miserable because I always wanted to try drama school and I never even tried. At least if I audition and I don't get in- I'll Know.

My mum seemed quite supportive at first, when I told her The Plan, but then she took me for a long walk in the rain and started asking me what I expected to happen after drama school.

"You like going to Ibiza, don't you? You like nice make-up, don't you? It's not fun, you know, when you can't pay the gas bill and you have to ring up and ask them if you can pay a little bit this month and another little bit next month."

My mum is obsessed with me not being able to pay the gas bill, she brings it up every time we talk about The Future. I'm not an idiot, I know what happens when you don't pay the gas bill- one year at uni I lived in a hideous slug cave in the grimiest part of Liverpool and our gas was on the meter and we never topped it up, so we were very cold a lot of the time and we couldn't use the gas stove and we had to boil the kettle to run a bath...
Of course it wasn't fun and I will try really hard to avoid such a dire financial situation, but must this be at the expense of doing what I really want to do?

It's fucking terrifying. What if I make a decision now that I live to regret? Shall I try and get a sensible job, or shall I go to drama school (if I get in, of course) and get into more debt? I think that training somewhere like RADA or Guildhall will open up a world of opportunities. I want the credentials, as well as the experience.

What am I more afraid of? Not having the experiences I want in life, or not having the security?

What if I get a job that I don't really like, buy a flat somewhere crap, and then get run over by a bus?

Pfffft.

The truth is I do live in Fairyland sometimes...

I was going to add a 'but' but I can't think of one.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Security

This morning I was embarrassed before I'd even opened my eyes- a new low. I just lay in bed, burning with dark shame, struggling to remember why I was embarrassed. Then, as I became more awake, my cloudy head cleared and my memory sharpened, coming into focus before splintering into fragments from last night, each memory a sharp pain, making me wince and shudder:

Hiding a huge carton of vodka and apple juice in my tights... Eeesh.
Squinting at my phone, typing an embarrassing Facebook message... Ouch.
Winding down a car window, leaning out over the side and heaving... Aiiiee.

I have disgraced myself. The antics of last night will cling to my reputation like a slimy shadow and now I shall never find a husband. Who will keep me in petticoats and potted beef?

Yesterday it took me five hours to get home from Manchester. On the plane I sat next to a lady with a cat in a basket. The lady told me it was an Egyptian cat ('Un chat des pharaons!' she kept saying) and that she'd taken it to England so that a sexy Egyptian stud from Durham could make her pregnant. Life would be a lot easier if I had an old lady to organise my sex life- I could stop worrying about boys and just get on with my life while she organised trips across Europe for me.

"We're going to Dublin tomorrow, you will have sex with an Egyptian stud."

It would be good if she could groom me for the meetings as well- wax me and moisturise me, maybe rub a bit of fake tan on in the winter.

She didn't speak English so I had to be her translator (apparently I can speak French now, but only when I'm not in France) as she wanted to ask an English woman if she could steal her seat next to the window and then she wanted to make the same woman swap seats with me, because I said I loved cats and wouldn't mind sitting next to one.


The English woman was really nice and didn't mind where she sat, but she was a bit bewildered, especially when, after finally sitting down in my seat, the air hostess came along and asked her to move to a different row so that the cat could have its own seat. Then the air hostess said that the woman couldn't take her handbag to the new seat, for Some Reason, but she wouldn't really say why. I think actually the English woman could speak a bit of French, but she just wanted me to confirm that people were really saying the weird things she thought they were saying.

Anyway, the lady with the cat asked me if I wanted to teach her daughter English and offered me a lift home, but when the plane landed I felt a bit awkward bringing it up again so I just said goodbye and got off the plane as quickly as I could.

Going through border control took about forty minutes, and I was the only white person in a sea of Japanese people. I couldn't see anyone from my flight and then they all arrived at once, stood in a different queue and went through really quickly, while I hopped about looking anxious and wondering if I should switch lines. When I finally got through I couldn't find my bag for ages, then I couldn't find the Roissy Bus, then it wouldn't let me pay on my card... I needed  a wee and I was thirsty. I was seconds away from a complete Travel Meltdown, when tiny traveling stresses build up and up until you feel like throwing your bag down, ripping all your clothes off and running off into the wild, free from baggage and borders.

I felt like I'd never been to Paris before. I had no money in my purse and no money in my English bank account. I started getting really worried that I would have to walk home, but I found a cash machine that let me get twenty euros out.

Some men in army uniforms stopped our bus for twenty minutes, blocking the doors to the airport so that nobody could get on. It reminded me of when my little brother was told by the army that he couldn't get on the Roissy bus, and then his phone didn't work and I thought he'd be lost in Paris forever. Whenever I think of that night I get a horrible feeling of dread in my stomach.

The traffic was awful and it took us over an hour to get into Paris. At one point the man in front turned round and asked me if I knew what time the bus back to the airport was. We were driving through Place de Clichy at the time and I thought that maybe he didn't like the look of Paris and decided to go straight back home, but he told me that he had a connecting flight at 10pm and had planned on getting something to eat in the city, but now it looked as though he wouldn't have enough time.

We chatted for a bit and I found out that he was South African and English was his second language. ("What's your first language?" I asked him, stupidly. I didn't know Afrikaans was a language.) I told him that I'm from Manchester and that I work in Paris as a teacher and then we discovered that his English aunty lives up the road from my gran! What a teeny tiny world we live in.

Anyway, I've rattled on for so long that I don't think I'll have time to tell you about last night. I didn't plan on going out, I wanted to stay in and save my pennies, but Julia kept persuading me and well, you know how the song goes... I'm just a girl who cain't say no. I'd forgotten that Pitchfork Festival was on at Villette Enchantée and Julia said you could buy tickets on the door for twenty euros. (It was fifty euros for a day ticket.) Julio Bashmore and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs were playing and Julia had a litre of vodka that she wanted to sneak in. I had no idea how she was going to sneak it in, so we tried to drink as much as we could before going in.

When we were at the entrance, we filled a half-empty carton of juice with vodka and I stuck it in my tights, pushing it to the back of my thigh. The queue to get tickets was pretty big and we were worried that they would sell out of tickets, but then a ticket tout came up to us and offered us two tickets for twenty euros. Julia suggested that I go first and then if the ticket worked, she'd pay the man and go in.

As I walked up to the security, I tried not to look like I had a carton on apple of juice wedged in between my thighs. I walked up with my bag open, holding it out ready for the woman to take a look. No vodka in there, miss. Then I took my coat off and told her to look inside the pockets, which might have been suspiciously over-enthusiastic, but she just smiled. Lastly, she wanted to pat me down. She patted my arms and my midriff, then she moved onto my legs and patted my thighs around the carton, but without touching it at all. AH-HA!

In hindsight, I kind of wish she'd discovered the vodka and disaster might have been averted.

Woah, I'm really tired now, and I can't type for a minute longer, sorrrrry!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

You're Boring.

Back in Paris. Lots to tell you but first... I must vent some confused feelings...

I don't know whether I should be offended or not- somebody has left seven comments on my last post, all consisting of one word like 'great' and 'superb'. I have the teensiest feeling that somebody is being sarcastic, suggesting that it was a really boring blog post...

I don't understand, if you think my scabby nose is boring, what are you interested in then? What could possibly be more exciting than MY NOSE?

The Commenter is obviously a very thrilling and interesting person, I should like very much to meet them!

I should like to spend an evening with this Commenter, trawling the internet, reading other people's BORING blog posts and laughing wildly as we fight over the keyboard, both trying to bash out one-word comments that let the blog-author know that we think they are BORING. After leaving six or seven sarcastic comments on all the BORING blogs we find, we will jump onto one motorcycle- one of us driving and the other one standing at the back flashing our pierced nipples at alarmed onlookers- and zoom across town to an illegal cock fight, where we will sit in the stalls snorting vodka and tipping shots of Malibu down our ears. When the cocks are all slaughtered we will put their bloody feathers in our hair and then go out raving, probably to a Clowncore squat party in a disused abattoir. After three days of SUPER COOL partying we will hitchhike home and maybe eat a few slices of bread and do you know what? The bread is actually green and furry but we don't care maaaan because we are WILD.

Right, I'm going out now and I'm not telling you where, because I feel all rattled and defensive and if I tell you where I am going it will just be to prove I am not boring and I don't have to prove myself to anyone- I can be boring if I want to be. Who the fuck are you anyway?

If, however, I have misunderstood the comments then I am sorry.

And also a bit embarrassed.