Tuesday, 19 March 2013

GILFs and the Five Days of Sleepovers

Saturday night was sooooo good!

I feel that Paris heard me complaining, rolled its eyes and decided to throw a good night my way. Listen, English Girl, I don't have to prove anything to anyone... but as you won't shut up about it, here you go. Don't say I never give you anything... You are actually leaving this year, aren't you?

Cheers, Paz! (And yes, I am leaving, but just to give you a heads up, before I leave I will be burning all my belongings in a Ritual Fire... nothing but nothing is going to make me lug three years of accumulated crap across the Channel.)

This weekend has felt like being on holiday, actually the whole of last week did as well, apart from the fact that I had to go to my au pair job everyday. It wasn't too bad though, on Friday the grandad took me and the ten year old to Jardin d'Acclimation and he was being so nice, pointing things out to me on the way there and chatting to me about Paris and why I can't speak French after living here for so long... Also, I found out he trained at the Conservatoire de Paris, the French equivalent of RADA. He told me that he gave up acting after being in one play- he got such bad stage fright that he decided acting wasn't for him.

I felt like a kid again, going on all the rides with the ten year old, the grandad spinning us round and round on the roundabout until I felt sick and fell over.

There was an awkward moment when we went on this weird see-saw thing: the ten year old lay lay back in a big, dish-shaped seat and I had to sit on the opposite side, with my legs spread quite far apart by metal handlebars, bouncing up and down really fast on a big orange ball to make the ten year old's seat go up and down... The grandad walked away from us and I got really paranoid that he thought I was being obscene and trying to subtly tempt him into becoming my Woody Allen-style lover... I definitely wasn't. Although... if I had to choose between him and the au pair dad... the grandad would win hands-down. GILF.

Oh I've just remembered! I started writing a blog post about a show I went to see last week, my internet wasn't working last week so I wrote it in a word document. May as well whack it out seeing as I've already written it...
"I can't believe it's been snowing this week- I really thought Spring was on its way. Yesterday I was walking through Porte de la Villette and it felt like being in a completely new city, somewhere modern and further North. The clean lines of the canal and the walkway that runs alongside the low water, red lights in a straight line, everywhere white with snow...

Me and Ruth had tickets to see 'Barbès Café' at Cabaret Savauge- a musical spectacle about the history of Algerian migration to France. We bought the tickets a few weeks ago, I kept seeing posters for it on the metro and decided that for once I would actually go and see something, rather than mentally make a note of it and never get round to organising tickets...

I'd forgotten how much I love Cabaret Sauvage. At the bar they were serving mint tea, baklava and halal kebabs (at really reasonable prices) and there was a space for dancing between the stage and the front row. I thought it would be more of a musical, with actors singing on stage; but it was more of a concert, with some dialogue to provide a narrative, accompanied by slides of information and old documentary film projected on two screens, either side of the stage.

The actors, musicians and singers in the show were brilliant and I loved the music, but I'm also glad I went because it was so educational- I knew a little bit about the wars in Algeria, but I had no idea about the massacre of 1961, where between 70 and 200 Algerian people (they have no way of knowing the exact number) were killed by the police during a peaceful protest. I can't believe I'd never even heard of it.

Throughout the night, people got up to dance in front of the stage, making the whole thing feel like an Algerian wedding. The film projections were brilliant (although the slides got a bit sloppy at the end, as if they'd been in a rush) and the premise of the show- a French cafe-owner chatting at the bar with an old regular, Algerian customer, between them telling the story of Algerians in France- was simple but surprisingly effective, thanks to the skill of the actors.

Ahhh, I'm so glad we went, especially as one of the things I wanted to do this year in Paris was get myself to the theatre more often. 'Barbès Café' has finished now, but from what I gather they put it on every year for a couple of weeks, so it's something to look out for if you're a long-term resident of Paris.

My only problem with 'Barbès Café' was the fact that it started at 7.30pm (and we got there half an hour early to get a good seat) and it didn't finish until 11pm. It was way too long. At the end of the show people were cheering for an encore, but I was praying to go home. One of the musicians made a joke about baskets of pain au chocolat being on their way... and then they brought out them out, it wasn't a joke! They were lovely and warm, with all the chocolate melting inside. Mmmm."

Ok so that's where my little review of 'Barbès Café' finishes, but the night didn't end there...

I got home at midnight, desperate to make a cup of tea and crawl into bed, but when I got to the second set of doors in my building (you need a code for the first door and a fob for the second), I realised that I didn't have my keys. I checked my pockets over and over again (I didn't take a bag out with me) but I already knew in my heart that I wouldn't find them... I had a memory of patting my pockets before I left, feeling satisfied at how flat and light they were. BECAUSE MY KEYS WEREN'T IN THERE.

The worst thing is that at the moment there is no gardienne for my building- before she left I could go to her to get the spare key. I had one minute of utter horror where I envisioned myself walking the streets all night, or curling up in the cold courtyard to sleep, then I remembered that I was actually really lucky- I had plenty of battery on my phone to call people and the metro would still be running for half an hour.

B only lives three metro stops away so I ran to the metro and made my way to her place, calling her about twenty five times on the way and sending her texts, because she wouldn't pick up. Eventually she texted me to say sorry, she'd been in the shower. Phew.

Little did we know that that night would be the start of a five day-long Sleepover Marathon. The next night I stayed at B's again (I got a spare key from the au pair family, which they had lying in a drawer. Hmm. Funny how they didn't mention this key a few months ago, when the gardienne went on holiday and I was locked out for an entire weekend) because we went for sushi quite late and then I decided that I finally wanted to watch Taken. So many people have described the plot to me in minute detail that I felt as if I didn't really need to watch it, but B said she had it on her hard drive and I wanted to see whereabouts in Paris the sinister parts of the film were set...

I was worried the film would make me terrified of going out in Paris alone, but all I can say is... it's completely unrealistic: there's no way sex traffickers would steal American tourists because it's cheaper than smuggling impoverished Eastern European girls into France- it would draw too much attention; and when has anyone ever seen a yaht gliding down the Seine??

Also, it's incredibly racist towards Albanian people

But more importantly... the moral of the film seems to be: Non-virgins get kidnapped by Albanian gangsters in Paris and they are forced into heroin addiction and prostitution. Then they die. Virgins get kidnapped by Albanian gangsters in Paris, they get sold at auction to millionaire Saudi Arabians- heralded as the best buy of the day because of their 'certified purity'- then their daddy comes to save them. Humph.

Let's hope I don't get kidnapped anytime soon, then.

Also, I've just realised my dad doesn't have a passport. Typical.

Anyway... our five day sleepover marathon continued the next night with our Top Night Out In, then on Saturday night B stayed at mine because I live round the corner from Cirque Paradis, which I will now tell you about...

When we arrived it looked as if there was a huge queue- but this turned out to be for people who had made 'a reservation', the queue for non-reservations was really quick. As you couldn't buy tickets online, I wasn't sure what people had made reservations for, but once we got inside all was revealed.... It was one of those clubs where the VIP section is bigger than the non-VIP section. As well as the VIP section which was roped off behind the DJ booth, the dance floor was surrounded by rows of little tables with ice buckets and bottles of alcohol on them. Clearly this is what people had been reserving.

I know it sounds like a pretentious nightmare, but it actually worked in our favour- all the rich kids (and they were kids, I couldn't believe that some of them were eighteen) were either penned into the over-crowded VIP section, or they were sat down, looking after their one hundred euro bottle of vodka. The tiny dance floor was left to people who had actually gone to enjoy the music.

And the music was amazing!

I know the music is good when I'm happy to dance by myself- Kayt and B kept going to the smoking room and I just stayed at the front, loving life. My internet is being shit so I can't share any links, but you should check out Tom Trago and Dyed Soundorom if you like Deep House, if you haven't already heard of them, obviously. And erm, if they can be called Deep House... maybe there is a new, very specific genre they could be ascribed to, but I would call it Deep House. Oh God. From now on I might just call everything either Really Good or A Bit Rubbish.


All that matters is, Tom Trago's was the best set I have seen for a long time, whether it was techinally Deep House or not.

Ahh I needed a good rave.

If Friday was a Top Night Out In, then Saturday was just a Top Night Out, in every single way. We had fun pre-drinking, then we walked over to the club, there was no queue hassle getting in, the club was nice if ridiculously expensive (ten euros for a bottle of water), the dance floor wasn't too rammed... Also there was never anybody in the toilets! It was amazing! Other highlights from the night include: B meeting a ridiculously good-looking Austrain aristocrat and chatting to him for about an hour, then exchanging numbers (he has since texted her- yey for B and her soon to be Austrian title); Kayt saying that Paris has no edge, then me realising that we were The Edge in Paris, cue lots of shouting about how we were the side of a square, lying on the side of a house, perched on the edge of a cliff, etc; and not sure if this is a highlight or a lowpoint really, but I definitely remember it... realisng that the man dancing next to me was at least seventy years old. An actual grandad, in a club, dancing to Deep House. I have proof:

The club closed about half six, then we walked back to mine (which made a nice change as I never go out in my area) and had a cup of tea. As my hard drive is broken and my internet was playing up, we couldn't listen to any music which was a bit shit, so we just kind of sat in a rave-induced daze until Kayt's bus started running. She couldn't stay because of her contact lenses, but also, I don't think she fancied the idea of all three of us sleeping in my little bed.

Me and B tried to sleep, but I got up after just two hours of lying there. I had to go to my au pair job because it was the toddler's birthday party and I just wanted to get it over with. It was surprisingly pleasant- I ate cake and watched the toddler open his presents, then I played with the toddler and his four little mates for a bit... it was fine and it went really quickly. When I got back home, B was still sitting in exactly the same position, she said she'd been snoozing on and off all day.

We went to the chinese traiteur across the road for tea, I felt a bit sheepish as I'd already been in on my way back from work to pick up some nem for us to nibble on but the staff are really lovely, I feel like I've finally become a Valued Customer.

The plan was to go somewhere horrifically crap and cheesy for some St Patrick's Day drinks, we kept trying to convince ourselves that we'd be fine if we 'got back on it'. After our Chinese however, the only thing we wanted to 'get back on' was my bed. So we traipsed home and watched 'Save the Last Dance'. Well I did, B fell asleep ten minutes in, but I didn't notice until the film had ended. She stayed over again, thus completing our Five Day Sleepover Marathon.

Sunday night was the best night's sleep I've had for ages, then I had a massive nap in between jobs this afternoon and all my lessons went well and I made fajitas for tea at my au pair job. I feel very content, my eyebrows are pleasing and my room is quite tidy. Now I've said that, I'm really scared I've jinxed myself. Maybe the rest of the week will be a nightmare and everything will go wrong. Oh God.

Probably I will get Taken by Albanian sex traffickers and they will say 'Unrealistic, eh?'


  1. I'm so glad you posted two long texts as I'm working very late again !
    And it seems you had great nights, I haven't had them for a long time now... Argh in 3 weeks I'll have money and my exams will be over !
    Also I wanted to see Barbes Café, and the reason why you never heard those terrific stories is that France doesn't acknowledge them as they should and it's only very recently that Francois Hollande recognized all the suffering we inflicted to the algerian people and apologized...
    And to finish I've seen Dyed Soundorom at rex club once he is a resident there and it was one of the best night of my life, I'm glad you enjoyed it !
    Hope to see you soon, Bisous !

    1. Thanks for commenting Julia! I would love to seeee Dyed Soundorom at Rex Club, sorry you couldn't come on Saturday, let's find something to do in three weeks when you're exams are over! As for the Algerian events, they showed a clip of Hollande apologising during Barbes Cafe, it was pretty emotional. They also showed clips of an old man and everyone booed him, I think it was the Chief of Police who instigated the massacre. I can't believe it happened in Paris, in 1961, sometimes I feel like there is a lot of racial tension in this city and now I understand why! xxx

  2. I'm so glad I comment again ! I kept trying from time to time and it finally worked !
    Yes there's still a lot of unresolved problems due to the position of France on immigration... I'm preparing next night out, really good one not weird ones like Gibus haha (sorry for that !). At rex club there's Laurent Garnier the 04/04 and a big night on May too, I'd love to go ! Also How are you doing with your auditions ? Bisous

    1. I've learnt my two Shakespeare pieces and need to find two modern pieces. Not long until my first audition... eek!

  3. I've read only one piece in english and it was brilliant it was "pity she's a whore" I think and it was brilliant but I'm not sure it's modern...

  4. Nevermind it's from John Ford and it was written in 1629... But if you haven't read it it's great ! Ok I'm going to bed now... Bisous

    1. Thanks anyway... you should read some modern English plays and you'll have to tell me some French plays to read, I've just realised I've not read any, in French. I've read that one about the three guys and the white painting, but in English, which doesn't count.... x

  5. It's been three years, wow! I have seen people (on the Internet) genuinely concerned that they/their daughters might be Taken. *rolls eyes* Glad you had a fun weekend!

    1. Rrrreally? Don't they think it would be in the news a little more often if girls went missing every five minutes?? Congrats on your new job!

  6. I follow you on twitter and want you to know I really enjoy your blog + adventures. I'm an american living in Tours (you ought to have heard of it, but if not, 1 hour south of Paris by TGV) and can relate to almost everything you say about Paris/France.

    1. Thanks so much for commenting! Yeah I have heard of Tours mainly through Gwannel Sandiego's blog, you should read that too...

  7. I love the french authors Jean Giraudoux (La Guerre De Troie N'aura Pas Lieu, Amphitryon 38, Ondine) and Jean Anouilh (Antigone...) they are brilliant but nor very modern (around the 60's).
    Eric Emmanuel Schmidt is a great writer (still alive) and he wrote some plays too (I never read them but they should be good).
    There's also Marcel Aymé, Jean Genet (I realise now that all the french authors I know are named Jean !), Albert Camus wrote some plays also, Eugene Ionesco (La Cantatrice Chauve, Le Roi Se Meurt, Les Chaises), Alfred Jarry (Ubu Roi), Jean Paul Sartre (Huis Clos), Jean Cocteau (La Machine infernale).
    But again they are old from the last century !
    Yasmina Reza is modern I've read Trois Versions De La Vie and it was great.
    Well that's all I can Think of but I would love a list of english writers !

    1. Woah that's a lot of Jeans, I need to join a library... We'll talk about English writers next time I see you, I don't want people on here judging my literary tastes! xx

  8. Paris always makes liars of us when we're horrible to it and tell it it's shit.

    Kayt. We need to emotionally abuse Paris more.

    1. You're so shit Paris... What you giving us this weekend?