Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Cocobeach

First of all, it didn't rain!

It wasn't exactly warm, but it was nice enough to enjoy the outside terrace. The new venue, on the edge of the gorgeous Parc de Floral, is not what I was expecting- it's a lot bigger and reminded me of a teeny tiny Zoo Project. There was an area with food vendors and giant rubber rings for people to take a break from dancing and the outdoor DJ booth was draped with camouflage netting.

The only other time I've been to Cocobeach was at the end of my first year in Paris and Georgie's DJ friend took us there after Villette Festival. The whole thing felt like a well-kept secret, house music and relaxed ravers, tucked away by a quiet part of the Seine. Back then the venue was a lot smaller, decked out like a beach hut bar, down by the quai de la Rapée at Gare du Lyon.

This year, Cocobeach has certainly lost its 'well-kept secret' vibe but not necessarily in a bad way; there were a lot more people there, but it's a much bigger venue. As the event is so much bigger, they should  have sacked off the whole guest list thing.... but they didn't. It was supposed to be five euros before 4pm if you were on Guestlist, ten euros after and you could also buy tickets on Resident Advisor for ten euros.

We arrived at 3.30pm and as usual there was a massive scrum outside the gates, with two bouncers at the front yelling and not letting anyone past. I might set up a business where I take Parisian bouncers over to London for the weekend, to show them how it's done properly.

If you think I'm just being a dickhead- one of the bouncers punched me in the nose when I was at the front of the scrum. OK, so it was an accident- he punched his arm out to make a barrier with his arm- but it was fucking unnecessary. I yelled out and the bouncer just sneered at me, then he shouted at me when I tried to duck under his arm to join Kayt on the other side.

People with tickets were allowed to cut through the crowd, which I understand but it caused a horrible crush as people tried to make room for ticket-holders. Then there were some people who just barged past everyone really obnoxiously and the bouncers let them in. Queue-cutting shouldn't be rewarded!

Saying all that, we only queued for about half an hour, which is good by Paris standards. Once we got inside I was really impressed with the venue, even if the inside space did look a bit like a community centre. The outside venue was pretty cool as I mentioned above and when it went dark it was even better:

Photo of the exterior, from Cocobeach Party Facebook page.
It was a bit weird raving in the daylight, especially as the outside terrace looked out over Parc de Floral and there were old couples and families with young children stood on the other side of the fence gawping at us. Talking of kids, the first thing that struck me when we walked into Cocobeach was how young everyone was. We felt like the oldest people there. There were some kids there who I just couldn't believe were eighteen, although the bouncers were checking ID so I guess they must have been. As the afternoon wore on and turned to evening, the people coming in seemed to get older and the crowd became more mixed. Good- nobody likes to feel like they've accidentally queued up to get into a school disco.

The other worrying thing was that not everyone had ignored the Flower Power theme- there were lots of people with headscarves, wigs and comedy glasses on. I'm all for dressing up, but hippie costumes remind me of 60th birthday parties, baldy Barry from down the road donning a long, blonde wig and a giant CND necklace from Smithy's... not what I want to be reminded of at a rave.

If I seem like I'm moaning a lot... let me get onto the music. It was so nice to see all new DJs that I hadn't heard before and to love all the music. When we were outside the music was quite chilled out, then it suddenly came up up up and the weather didn't seem so bad and for a few hours we could pretend it was summer...

Dusk came and the party moved inside. I didn't expect it to be such a... rave. I think I was remembering the last time I went with Georgie and so I was expecting it to be chilled out, more of daytime thing, but all of a sudden it felt like 5am and everyone was fucked...



We left just before the end and got the night bus home. I was dreading all the Normal People going to work, staring at the fuckheads on their way home from a rave... but then I realised it was only 2am! It felt like 7am, in the middle of winter because it was so dark. The journey home was long but without incident, apart from when we got off the bus a horrible man started talking to us, putting his arm round Kayt's waist and trying to walk with us. Then he got angry and tried to follow us home. Luckily, because it was so early, Kayt's corner shop was still open and as we approached the shop the stopped following us and went back to his mates, who were stood at the bottom of the street drinking. None of them thought it was a good idea to step in and tell their horrible mate to leave it out... I don't know any boys that would casually hang around chatting while someone they knew harassed two girls. Oh, Paris. Can't you open some sort of Behaviour Correcting Facility for perverts and weirdos?

As it's the school holidays, I wasn't in the nursery on Monday morning, so I had a lovely long sleep and woke up feeling ok. I think daytime raving is very time-efficient: instead of spending all day sleeping and getting ready for the rave, then all night and the next morning day raving, then an entire day recovering from the rave; you spend all day raving, get a good night's sleep and then you're able to function normally the following day. Perfect.

So Cocobeach was definitely more a Go go than a No no. I looked online to see when the next event is and guess what...

It's going to be at Showcase.

WHY does this always happen? I thought it was going to be on regularly throughout the summer, at that lovely venue by Parc de Floral. Gutted.

Also, at some point in the evening my phone broke (might have had something to do with the open bottle of beer I'd put in my bag) and I lost my Magic Ring- it's a big, green, iridescent, mystical thing of beauty and it was my favourite piece of jewellery in the whole world. In fact, it was the only piece of jewellery I haven't managed to lose since I moved to Paris. It's tragic.

Anyway, here are some of the DJs that played on Sunday, I'll be looking out for them:

Luna City Express - (Moon Harbor / Watergate) / Berlin
Nicon
é - (Dantze / Still vor talent) / Berlin
Sucr
é Salé – (Dantze / French Kitchen) / Paris


P.S I've just remembered that for Some Reason, they were giving everyone free shots of Jagermeister...

Sunday, 28 April 2013

It's Bagpuss, Bitches

It's Coco Beach, bitches.  

Why do promo people in Paris always call me something offensive, in English? I'm wincing when I read my emails and scouring Facebook...

It's Concrete, Motherfuckers!
It's Cocobeach, sluts!
It's Katapult, massive dickheads!

Also, I wish I could get a job in Paris doing social networking for events; my French might be shit but if they insist on trying to write everything in English, I could do better than this:

The really promising Antigone made the last Ep on CONCRETE Music ! There is not so much copies so maybe you should dig it quickly MF's !

Anyway, I can't believe I'm up so early on a Sunday morning. Last night I slept at Ruth's (we had a very tame night compared with last Saturday- just a couple of drinks at Aux Folies) but her boyfriend and his friend were coming back from a long trip at 8am this morning, so I decided to make an early dash for it, to avoid any awkward 'oh you are in the sofa bed I was supposed to be in the sofa bed shall we both just sleep in the sofa bed oh my god were you waiting for me in the sofa bed' conversations.


Would my life be easier if I wasn't so paranoid?

I know what you're thinking: if your life was any easier sweetheart you'd be a tubby tabby cat, sitting on a velvet cushion in a shop window....

I'd be Bagpuss!


It's tiring, going over things in your head all the time, wondering if people could have misconstrued what I said... sitting on the metro, remembering conversations and moments- did people think this when I did that, or doing that mean that they thought this? It's exhausting.

My mum's friend told me that the key to inner peace for overly-paranoid people is to stop and think 'cancel cancel cancel' whenever you hear the negative thoughts come rolling through your mind, prickling into existence, here, there and suddenly everywhere...

Erase it, forget it. Life's too short.

I think living on my own has finally turned me into the fully-fledged lunatic I've always threatened to be. Maybe I should go and live in a commune, or an Iron Age Re-enactment Village (which was my Life Plan for many years, after I watched a documentary about it on the TV... turns out you can't actually live in them full-time: years of dreaming down the drain and as a result I now have no Life Plans).

Anyway... my cousin Sophie was here Thursday night and Friday night! It was a lovely little visit. As soon as she saw my Horrible Coat, she wanted to try it on and she wore it out on Friday night, exactly like Clo did when she visited (they're sisters). Kayt commented that our family seem to be the only people in the world that like that coat. I really don't what everyone's problem is with it. Just to remind you, this is what my Horrible Coat looks like:



The first night she was here we walked along the river until we couldn't walk anymore, then on Friday we also did a lot of walking and ended up at Porte de Saint-Ouen by accident...

"I feel like I've seen the real Paris," Sophie said.

On Friday night we went to Comptoir Général with Kayt. I know I say this a lot but I LOVE
Comptoir Général- we spent a good twenty minutes stood next to a post talking about much we love the atmosphere, the people that go there, the music, the decor, the bouncers... They're my new favourite bouncers, they're so calm and helpful. 

Also, I have a new favourite barman. Forget Welsh Barman at Le Sans Souci: he's kind of attractive but kind of a dickhead; whereas my new Favourite Barman is very attractive and I could also tell (in the thirty seconds that I spoke to him) that he is kind, funny, intelligent, generous of spirit...  I might be suffering from a slight case of Mass Boy Hysteria.

I need to calm down and get a grip. M.B Hysteria can only be cured with cold weather and reading an interesting book.

My cousin had some great news- she quit her job last week to find something in film production and just before we left mine yesterday morning to go to the train station, she got an email offering her a runner job! Yey!

She also had something sad to tell me, about one of her closest friends. I don't want to take anything for granted. I want to stop worrying and enjoy life, no point planning for the future really because you never know what's going to come round the corner and fuck everything up. Wishes and prayers.

Sophie is in Geneva now, staying with Clo. I love my little family, but I don't know when I'll be going home next, I will be going back to England but only for drama school auditions. I need to start thinking about my next audition, it's in two weeks.

Guys...

I didn't want to say this out loud because then it would mean it was true...

But...

I think it's going to rain at Coco Beach.

Damn. I've been imagining the opening party as a gorgeous summer's afternoon, feeling warm and happy, sun glinting, bright ripples in the river, listening to tunes like this:



Hmm, just noticed on the Facebook page that there is a theme and the theme is 'Flower Power'.

Hmm. Think I'll just politely ignore that.

Let's see what the day brings...

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Restless

It's one of those restless nights, warm air and city sounds floating through my open window. Out there, evening is fading in on the city and I'm just pacing round my room, listening to spacey remixes of old RnB songs.

This is exactly what I used to do when I was thirteen, listening to music (back then I used to have 'Say My Name' by Destiny's Child on repeat and now it's the Cyril Hahn remix), gazing out of the window, wondering when my life was going to start...

HA!

What did I think was going to happen?

I really felt like blogging tonight. Earlier I was looking out of the window at the sun setting over Paris (the tiny bit I can see from my skylight, anyway) and I had the sensation that I was somewhere else remembering the moment... then I suddenly pictured myself in my old bedroom in Fallowfield, looking out of the window late at night, in summer, listening to music and feeling exactly the same.

I know this post seems a bit melancholy and pointless, but I actually have some disturbing news to share- my mum is getting a puppy. Anyone who knows me will understand my horror at this news. (Remember when I was indecently assaulted by a mute Labrador?) I should have seen it coming... When I was home over the summer, my mum kept cooing over dogs we'd see in the street and gushing about this thing called 'Doggy Daycare' that her friends send their dogs to. I didn't think she'd ever actually get one- my stepdad and my mum are at work all day and they have a cat...

Last night she sent me a photo of a vicious-looking dog saying: 'Look at the puppy we're getting! She'll get a lot bigger!'

Straight away I asked her if she knew what breed it was, because it looked like one of those illegal breeds to me...

'Are you kidding?' she messaged me back.

I then told her that she'll have to train it not to bite me and she said, 'Don't worry, I'll train it and she'll love you!'

I don't want the dog to love me, I want it to not tear half my face off. (Last week I read yet ANOTHER story of how an evil dog in Britain ripped into a toddler, scarring the child for life.)

Just to give you some idea of what I'm talking about, this is the type of puppy my mum is getting:



They look savage and you can already see how powerful their front legs and jaws will be when they're fully-grown. Apparently the breed is called Rhodesian Ridgeback (sounds suspiciously like a dragon's name to me).

I was thinking about maybe living at my mum's over the summer while I sort out my next move after Paris (argh) but there's no way I'm staying there now: yes I might gain money because I won't be paying expensive London rent; but I might lose a limb.

I was also thinking it would be nice to live in Manchester for a bit because Amy has just moved there with her boyfriend and Kayt will be moving there to live with her boyfriend when she leaves Paris this summer... but I was forgetting that Any Northern Mill Town is bloody miles away from the city centre.

Is it definitely London next? Why do I keep thinking about Marseille, or somewhere in Spain?

Istanbul?

If I go back to England there's no way I can live with my mum. Before you know it I'll be gazing out of the window- except I'll be looking at cows instead of Parisian rooftops- listening to nostalgic tunes and wondering when my life is going to start...


Sunday, 21 April 2013

Mashed

This morning I couldn't sit up, couldn't think straight. I had the shaky shakes, walking on legs of jelly, wibble wobble, wibble wobble, someone get me a glass of water.

Ergh.

I've not felt that bad since the morning after my birthday last year and last night I made the same mistake- drinking solidly for twelve hours with not so much as a bag of crisps to line my stomach. Beer isn't food, kids. I stayed at Ruth and her boyfriend's flat last night and this morning I felt awful, hanging around their living room like a sticky spilt drink, or the smell of stale cigarettes.  Ruth was really sweet and got me bread and a banana from the shop, then I had a shower and I started to feel normal again.

I did not expect last night to be so messy. OJ and TC said they weren't up for a massive one because they've got loads of big weekends coming up, but we arranged to meet for afternoon drinks in the sun. I taught two drama classes in the morning then met up with Ruth at Jardin des Plantes for a walk in the sunshine. I thought I'd have a coffee with Ruth, a drink with OJ and TC, then go home, get changed and go to Rex Club with Julia and some of her friends from uni...

It was one of those lovely days that turns into a lovely evening, which then turns into a very messy, confusing night. Some parts are a blank. Me and Ruth met TC and OJ at Point Ephémère then Ruth had to go for dinner with her boyfriend, she came back an hour and a half later and we were still in exactly the same spot. Ruth's never met TC and OJ before, I knew they'd get on.

I love how all my friends know each other, I've started a Supper Club (I know, I know- Clare's influence I think, although 'Tea Club' doesn't have the same ring to it) with Kayt, Holly, B, Cleo, Julia and Ruth, so far we've been to Chez Gladines and A la Biche au Bois and last night we invited TC and OJ to join too. I like being in a club, I might make little badges and a secret handshake...
From Point Ephémère we went to TC and OJ's apartment for Some Reason, then we went to a party round the corner. A few months ago a new English girl in Paris blog popped up on the scene that I really enjoyed- Boulevard de Cliché. All of a sudden, the blog posts stopped coming and then I got a message on Twitter from the blogger, explaining that she now gets to paid to blog for someone else so she doesn't have time for Boulevard de Cliché. She also asked if I wanted to meet up for 'drunken fun' but we never got round to it... Then last night, she invited me to a party she was having so me, Ruth, TC and OJ decided to pop in. 

I hope I didn't do anything embarrassing, we were all mashed and nobody at the party was drunk yet. I had a lovely chat with the author of Boulevard de Cliché and then we left to go to Ruth's flat, for Some Reason. We had a very edgy metro ride, or was that when we got a taxi? I've just remembered leaning over the front seat to look at photographs of the taxi driver's daughter at her wedding, then he showed us photos of the village in Cameroon he left behind. He showed us photos of the well he paid for, before that they had to walk for miles to get water. Nice chatting to you, Mr Taxi Man, could have knocked off that 'fourth person' charge though...

When we got to Ruth's flat her boyfriend and his friend were there. We did some more chatting, everybody got one well, filling me with a warm glow of accomplishment for bringing people together. We went to La Bellevilloise and a lot of it is a blur. I think it was hip hop. I bloody hope it was because I remember grinding and winding, convinced I was a Hip Hop Superstar. Actually, if I remember rightly, I was grinding and winding on The Friend of Ruth's.

Don't even have the energy to be embarrassed.

I don't know if we were in La Bellevilloise for one hour or three, but suddenly Ruth, her boyfriend and The Friend disappeared. Me, TC and OJ looked for them everywhere and decided to call it a night, then Ruth called me, telling us to go back to their flat, she said they'd looked for us everywhere and gone home.

Everything was so confusing and hazy. 

We went back to their flat, then TC and OJ decided to go home. They'd only come out for a few beers after all...

The Friend said he didn't mind me sharing the sofa bed with him and I couldn't bear the thought of stumbling home in the state I was in, so I stayed over...

TC and OJ invited me to their wedding! I really want to go but I'm just worried I'll be awkward and also not sure if I can afford it. Last night I was one hundred percent definitely GOING and also I told them I'd go to Secret Garden Party- they're going with all their mates for a sort of honeymoon. I love SGP but the tickets are really expensive now and not sure if I can get the time off work... I want to go to a festival though!

It's so shit, I'm going to miss Weather Festival and Marvelous Island, because of auditions and my au pair job- I have to go to their country house for five whole days. They said I can take a friend again but I don't know anyone bored enough to spend five days in  a chambre de bonne, in Normandy.

Oh and just because I don't like to leave things unfinished- when Clare was here we went to an anarchist bar in Menilmontant with Ruth and Kayt, then on Sunday we went to Jardin du Luxembourg where we saw our second anti-gay marriage march of the weekend. What the fuck is wrong with people? Nobody is making YOU marry a gay person, calm down.

Don't know what to do with myself now. Feel a bit fucked still. It's such a beautiful day but I don't feel up to going outside. I should plan my lesson for tomorrow...

Think I will just lie on my bed staring out of the window until it goes dark outside, then panic and cry because I haven't planned my lesson for tomorrow.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Our Apartment

Last night we drank by the river for the first time this year- the sun has finally come to Paris.

On Sunday it was so hot that I got a pink nose and a red chest- the worst place to get sunburnt. (I'll turn into one of those women you see in Ibiza/Marbella/Alderley Edge*, the ones that look fifteen years older than they actually are, with a thin, leathery chest hanging above their cleavage like an orange lizard-skin wall hanging.)

Clare was here last weekend and it felt like we were on holiday.

On Thursday night Kayt and I went to meet her at Gare du Nord, then whisked her straight to 'our apartment'- G.Shore was away again for a long weekend. Last time he didn't have any bedding so we couldn't stay over, but now he has bedding, so we moved in completely. Ah I love our new apartment. I'm so glad we clubbed together and bought it...


That picture on top of the drawers is a photo of me, Clare and Kayt. We got took it by the river and got it printed out on Sunday, to make sure there is always a little piece of us in G.Shore's apartment, in a non-sinister way...

On Friday night we went for dinner round the corner, choosing to eat in one of those 'ten euros for three courses' restaurants that we'd normally avoid for fear of feeling like a Silly Tourist. Clare technically was a tourist though and she wanted onion soup and steak-frites, so there was nothing else for it. We found a nice one teetering on the edge of 'the strip', on the last pleasant street before everything descends into Greek kebabs and souvenir shops. It was twelve euros for three courses and we were early enough for Happy Hour. Sometimes it's nice to feel like a tourist.

Although...

We were sat outside and there was a busker, serenading everyone with a guitar. There was a sad-looking blonde lurking behind him, dressed in the uniform of a Parisian prostitute- puffa jacket, short skirt and knee-high boots with bare legs- following him from table to table. I was sat with my back to him but Clare and Kayt suddenly gasped- apparently the busker was putting two fingers under the woman's skirt and then, when he thought nobody was looking, he put his hands around her neck and strangled her a little bit.

Why is nothing nice in Paris? You're drinking by the river- someone tries to sexually assault you. You're walking through the Bois de Boulogne- you see a couple having sex on a plastic bag. You're enjoying a steak outside a restaurant- you see a busker fingering a prostitute.

Needless to say, we didn't give him any change when he came to our table- here you go pal, a euro for the sexual violence, top notch strangulation and hey, nice touch with the fingers- but Kayt did re-enact the strangling scene for him by putting her hands round Clare's neck (much to Clare's chagrin) just to show him that we knew what he'd done... To be honest, I think he took it as sign of excitement and delight at his music, because he started singing louder.

After dinner we all felt knackered, so we went back to our apartment and watched a documentary called 'Unsafe Sex and the City'. It's set in a GUM clinic in Manchester and it's brilliant. I couldn't believe how so many people don't use condoms. Clare was amazed at all the Northern people.

I'd forgotten that Clare is insane. She brought 'Fluffy' with her to Paris- Fluffy is a piece of real fur that she likes to carry around like a comfort blanket. Once upon a time it was bright turquoise but after so much stroking and snuggling, Fluffy has faded to an uneven, powdery blue. At Christmas she cut a piece off, framed it and gave it to her boyfriend. So thoughtful... (Actually, she is. She gave me and Kayt a gift bag filled with English chocolate, sweets, tea bags, toiletries and magazines.)

On Saturday we went to the mosque for mint tea and I got a message from my mum:

Got a letter from RADA do you want me to open it?

I told her to open it and second later she said:

It's a thank you, but no. Sorry! Hope you're ok. xxx

I didn't even get a second audition. I didn't tell Clare and Kayt for ages, I just sat looking at the little birds washing themselves in the fountain, singing as they shook the water from their puffed-out feathers, like something out of a Disney film. The mosque makes me feel like I could be in the palace from Aladdin, with birds singing in the trees as I sip my sweet tea. I love how they come so close, eating crumbs off the gold tables.


After a while I told Kayt and Clare. I started crying a bit but Clare was having none of it. She said I had to get over it and think about my next audition. She's right, of course, but in that moment I realised that the drama school 'plan' has just been a dream. Suddenly I'd been pulled out of the dream and I was sitting up in bed, dreading the day to come.

The chances were always slim. I knew it would come down to luck and I told myself that I would be fine if I didn't get in... but I felt as though luck was on my side.

I guess what is meant to be is meant to be. Not getting a second audition for RADA means that perhaps drama school isn't meant to be for me.

I was just sad, kind of mourning the idea of drama school. For the first time in months I had to seriously think about what I'm going to do when I leave Paris if I don't get into drama school. I've been living in a bubble. I really don't think I am going to get in anywhere and now I don't know what to do. People keep suggesting shit jobs to me that I don't want to do. I feel like everyone is just waiting for me to get a grip on reality and get a boring job that I hate.

Thanks for all the nice comments about my audition though, I didn't reply because by the time I'd read them, I knew I hadn't got a second audition and didn't know what to say.

I've really depressed myself now, I started off in a really sunny mood because of the weather! I need to get out of this room, I'll finish writing about Clare's weekend later.

I want to cry and jump about in excitement at the same time, which is EXACTLY how the Cyril Hahn remix of Say My Name makes me feel:


*An upmarket village in Cheshire. It used to be the home of sleeping warriors and wizards, now it's just an area where lizard-chested ladies go for lunch and- according to my mum- 'do coke'.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

My Audition


Can't believe I'm back already. This morning I was riding the DLR with Lauren, looking out at London, grey and misty in the rain, then in no time at all I was back at Gare du Nord, retracing my footsteps from yesterday morning...

I thought I was going to miss my train yesterday, because the metro stopped for fifteen minutes and I was already cutting it fine. For once I'd decided to arrive half an hour early (as recommended by Eurostar) instead of panicking and turning up ridiculously early like I normally do, but I didn't allow any time for metro mishaps... When my metro stopped (the ever-unreliable Line 9) I prayed it would start up again a minute later like it normally does, but no, we stopped for ten minutes and then five minutes at the next station. I had that horrible 'Sliding Doors' feeling, when you know you have to make a tiny decision that could alter your fate- should I get off the metro and get a taxi? Or will the metro start up again as soon as the doors close behind me?

In the end I arrived at Gare du Nord with exactly half an hour before my train left, so I'd just made it. (Actually, I've seen people stroll on to the Eurostar seconds before it's due to leave, but I don't have the nerves to do that.) By the time I checked in, my train was ready to board and I walked straight on from security.

Ambitious plans to spend the train journey reading 'Anthony and Cleopatra' (Cleopatra was my back-up speech) went out of the window as soon the train started moving and the motion sent me into a slumber... I slept for most of the journey and woke up as everyone was getting their bags down from the luggage racks- we were about ten minutes away from St Pancras.

I went to meet Lauren at her work and we had lunch in their swish new canteen. She'd made us some pasta salad at home and also a surprise wrapped in tin foil- 'for good luck'. It was a home-made macaron! She said it had been a bit of a disaster and she'd only managed to salvage two out of twelve, but it tasted like a macaron, even if it was a bit flat and beige (she'd wanted them to be bright pink). Anyway, it's the thought that counts.

After our lunch I went in Marks and Spencer to put my make-up on in the toilets (I wanted it to look fresh) and made my way to my audition. When I got off the tube near the drama school, I still had an hour to kill so I sat in a coffee shop, flicking through my interview notes. I wasn't sure exactly what they'd ask me, in my audition letter it said I would have to describe a live performance I'd been in and to 'demonstrate a commitment to studying acting'.

I was really nervous, but not so nervous that I was shaking and wanting to be sick, which is what I was worried would happen.

My nose was still a bit blocked and my throat was a bit sore, but you couldn't hear it in my voice.. The thing I was most scared about was that I would open my mouth... and nonsense would come out. I didn't feel in control of myself. I knew the lines and I'd practiced some movement, but I didn't trust that it would all come together in the audition room. I don't know where this feeling came from, I guess it was nerves.

When it was time to go in to the building, I realised that I was sweating a lot, I kept trying to smell myself discreetly. As soon as I walked into the foyer, I realised I was one of the last people to arrive, even though I was ten minutes early. There were about twenty nervous-looking hopefuls loitering at the bottom of an sweeping staircase. I went to reception and told the lady my name and she gave my a sticker with 'Auditions' written on it. Nobody was really talking, then four people next to me struck up a really irritating conversation, one guy going on and on about all the theatre work he'd done recently, making bad jokes and generally being a massive cringe. He looked about nineteen and I wondered if I'd ever been that embarrassing when I was his age...

Then I started to wonder if I was that embarrassing now. I had to walk to the other side of the room to get away from him and the possible self-image I would see reflected back.

A lady appeared and told us all to follow her up the stairs to a large conference-style room. She explained what was going to happen and gave us back our application forms, so we could write down our choice of speeches. The lady who spoke to us worked in admin I think and she was really nice. She said that we would be split into four groups of four or five, each group led by an ex-student who would also sit in on our audition with the 'audition panel'. I'd been imagining a tiny room and a table with four or five people sat behind it, but the nice lady told us that each audition panel would be made up of just two people.

My group left the conference room first. We followed our ex-student out of the building and down the street to their 'studios' across the road. I was glad of the fresh air. I didn't speak to anyone else in my group until we got to our audition room. The ex-student told us we would be auditioned in the order she had called our names out in the conference room, so I knew I would be second.

She left us for a while and I started chatting to the other people in my group. They were all really sweet, they were all still studying for their A Levels, apart from one girl who was twenty-two. I went to the loo and went over the words in my head. I felt really nervous. This was it, this was it. We waited about twenty minutes before the first one- a guy called Tom- was called in.

One of the girls showed me her folder of research and interview answers she'd brought. She was only seventeen.

The ex-student came out of the audition room asked me if I was ready.

“Yep,” I said, jumping up.

She said something to me that I didn't catch and then suddenly I was walking towards a man and a woman sat behind a small table. It was large room, with props and chairs stacked up along one wall. We shook hands and I sat down. They asked me what I was doing with myself, so I told them about Paris, we chatted about that briefly and it all felt very relaxed. The woman was lovely and put me at ease straight away, the man was slightly less friendly, but I don't if I just thought that because the woman was Northern and he wasn't. The man seemed surprised when I told him I'd studied drama and I rushed to explain that it wasn't an acting course... I don't know though, it is a little strange that I want to study acting for three years when I already have a degree in drama. It's my prerogative, but I am worried the drama schools won't like it. Nothing I can do about that, I suppose.

They asked me which speech I wanted to start with and I decided to do my contemporary piece, because I think it's the best out of the two.

I don't know if I brought it on myself by worrying about it beforehand- a self-fulfilling prophecy thing- but I was kind of right to fear losing control, of opening my mouth and not knowing what was going to come out of it...

I said some of the lines in the wrong order.

There's no way they could tell, so I don't feel too bad about it, but then I did my Shakespeare speech and I had to stop halfway through, I forgot a line and suddenly realised I had no idea where I was in the speech, so I asked them if I could go back a few lines, then when I finished, I realised I'd missed out a line. It's a really famous speech so they will have noticed.

Fuck.

But... I still felt ok. In my contemporary speech there's a moment where I have to cry and I was worried no tears would come and it would look shit, but I've been saving up my tears for a few days (thinking sad things and not crying) and obviously my emotions were running high, I was able to genuinely cry. I'm pleased with that and the interview felt ok, so overall I came out feeling fine.

Feeling 'fine' can sometimes mean you've done really badly and are blissfully unaware, but I'm glad it wasn't a bad experience. I've heard first-hand accounts of how the staff at this particular drama school can be dismissive and haughty, how auditions can be an intimidating and nerve-wrecking experience. But I enjoyed the whole process, so that's something, even if I don't get a recall.

I'll find out within the week, I think.

After my audition I met Lauren from work and we walked across the river to The Globe. Ahh. Last weekend when I went to Holly's to work on my movement (which I forgot a lot of in my audition, by the way), she lent me Bill Bryson's biography of Shakespeare (Harper Press). I love reading about the theatres of Shakespeare's London. From the book I've discovered that when they rebuilt The Globe in the nineties, they based the design on the only authentic image we have of an Elizabethean theatre- the copy of a sketch by a Dutch tourist, the original sketch having been drawn during a live performance at the Swan Theatre in 1596.

Lauren suggested she take a photo of me outside The Globe, so in years to come and I can look back and say: “That's where it all started.” 

I wouldn't let her though in case anybody found out and thought I was a dickhead. I do find it a bit embarrassing, auditioning for drama school, in case people think I'm a deluded idiot for thinking I'm good enough to get in...

All my friends and family have been really supportive and positive though, ridiculously positive. Why wouldn't they be? It doesn't matter what I want to do, it's nobody else's business but mine. Life is short and if you want to do something then you have to do it.

Just do what you want, all the time, as long as it's not raping people or stealing from the poor. 

Ah do you know what I really want to watch now? Shakespeare In Love.


Monday, 8 April 2013

Procrastinating

Tentacle Erotica?

Accidentally went out yesterday- a casual afternoon drink at Comptoir Général turned into many and then we all went for Chinese in Belleville...

But guess what!

Not longer after I arrived, I noticed a woman stood at the bar with two kids. She was wearing one of those purple bowler hats with cat ears on and her kids were dressed in the same shade of purple... then I looked properly at one of the little girls and I realised she's in my nursery class! Some toddlers in Paris are too cool for their own good. 

I've met Sunshine's* mum before, she's from Manchester and once asked me why none of the other teachers can pronounce my name properly (imagine my name was Jessica and all the teachers and kids call me Wheshipa- that's how far off they are, but it's been so long now that it's too late to correct them).

I went over to say hi and after that the toddler kept coming over to play with me. It was a really surreal experience, I would be drinking my beer and talking to Kayt about octopus porn* or crack or something and then suddenly notice this little face peeking up at me from the side of my chair. She brought loads of coats over and made a tent out of our table. She's so cute and at first I was really happy to chat to her and play with her a little bit, but I was relieved when her parents came over to say they were leaving...

Anyway, I'm procrastinating, I should be practicing my speeches but for some reason it's the last thing I want to do. My friend Mog is in Paris for a few days and I'm hoping to see her later, but I sent her to Chez Gladines (she's here with friends, I didn't send her alone) and they probably won't even be seated yet.

I can't believe my audition is in two days. I do feel like I've worked hard though, on Saturday I performed my speeches for Holly and she helped me work out some movement for my Shakespeare piece- it really helped having someone look at it other than my own own reflection. Also I can't act properly in my Cinderella Room, because I know all the neighbours can hear me and will think I'm ranting to myself. I should be doing it right now though. I should be going over them...

If only B hadn't lent me the second season of 'Game of Thrones', I haven't been able to stop watching it.

The sexy men in fur are calling me...

I think if I over-practice my speeches they'll seem too rehearsed and stale, non?

I can hear swords clashing...

Ok... I should probably watch the rest of the series now, so that I won't be thinking about it tomorrow.

Imagine how well my cloak would fit in, if I were suddenly transported into the world of 'Game of Thrones'?


Am I really going to London in two days, to audition? ARGH.

*I can't use her real name because it is even more unusual than Sunshine...
**No seriously, it is a Real Thing. When we went for Chinese I was telling everybody about  my new-found suspicion and fear of the octopus race and Ruth's boyfriend told us about 'tentacle erotica'- to call it by its scientific name- so obviously we had to look it up online straight away... I'm still having nightmares. Don't search for it, seriously. I don't understand how it's not in the news more often, surely people die from putting tentacles- ENOUGH. Can't think about it anymore. Gaaaaaaaah. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD??

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Saturday Night Fever

Less than a week until My First Audition. I've got a fucking cough and a blocked nose. I sound like Dierdre from Coronation Street, if she were holding her nose and trying to talk through it... unfortunately that's not the character I'm going for.

I'm lying low this weekend, pandering to my throat and nasal passages: Come on my lovelies, you're all right aren't you? Let's just sit here quietly and drink tea and when you're ready to perform monologues again just let me know, ok? No pressure...

FOUR DAYS!

Really I should have had TWO quiet weekends before my audition- maybe that would have prevented this snuffly cold and cough- but last weekend Mairi was visiting and my cousin Chloë was here from Thursday to Friday.

They both arrived around the same time on Thursday night so me and Kayt took them to Coffee Parisien on rue Princesse- they do a lot of brunch-style dishes, as well as bagels, burgers and club sandwiches. Then, instead of going straight home, I took Clo on a late night stroll to the Grand Palais. We walked arm in arm until we could see across Pont Alexandre III, to the golden dome of Hotel des Invalides.


"I didn't think it would be this beautiful!" she said.

Say what you want about Paris, it knows how to Dazzle and Beguile. 

Unfortunately, it can also Disgust and Bewilder, as you can see in the picture below...

It worked out really well that Mairi and Clo were here at the same time- on Friday afternoon they went on a tourist chum together, while me and Kayt were working. We all managed to meet up for a sandwich at lunch from that amazing Greek traiteur near Blanche metro. We ate our lovely sandwiches on the steps of the Sacre Coeur and then we saw a man dressed as a chicken, pushing an empty shopping trolley through Montmartre... Oh leave him alone, he looks happy enough! (By the way that coat on the edge of the photo is me, wearing my infamous I Know What You Did Last Summer Coat. Not sure where my hands and legs have disappeared to...)

 
I was amazed that we were the only people who seemed surprised/disturbed by Chicken Man, considering how widely-accepted it is to openly stare at anything deemed 'unusual' in this city... In fact, when we went out that evening, my cousin decided to wear my multicoloured, feathered headdress (that I only wear in Ibiza or at festivals) and people on the metro couldn't stop staring at it. Maybe Parisians just want us to commit: either go full-blown chicken, or leave the feathers at home.


On Friday night we ate dinner at G.Shore's apartment... it's amazing. If you've never lived in a chambre de bonne, you won't understand how exciting it is to find yourself in a proper apartment in Paris, with separate rooms and a real oven and a spare room which contains nothing but an old-fashioned writing desk, positioned next to the window. 

Luxury.

We spent so much time there this weekend that me, B and Kayt started calling it 'our apartment', the only snag in the cardigan being that G.Shore returned to Paris on Tuesday and we had to vacate our lovely home for three. We should have looked into French squatting rights... I can't believe how big the apartment is- I think that after living in such a small room, I'd get tired walking from the bedroom to the shower every morning, then into the kitchen for some breakfast, then back to the bathroom to brush my teeth... yaaawn.

TEED was playing at Social Club on Friday night and Chloë really wanted to see him, but we left it too late to get tickets and I wasn't sure if everybody else was up for it, so we ended up going to Le Truskel. I was a bit worried I'd ruined her trip by not taking her to see TEED. It's stressful having visitors. My mind goes blank and I can't think of anywhere to go... also they expect to go out before 1am and I can't accommodate that: I need at least four hours between getting home from work at 9pm and going out; to drink tea, make plans, try on clothes, check Facebook... and panic.

On Friday I had a little bit a nervous breakdown. We'd had to rush home, get ready in five minutes in my crack den of a bedroom, then we had to rush out again...
"This is why people don't like going out in Paris. It's stressful!" I shouted, as we waited for the lift, which never came, because it was broken.

(Sometimes I'm a horrible host. Do you remember when my little brother visited and he spent most of his time reading in bed or playing on my laptop? It still haunts me.)

After dinner at G.Shore's apartment, Mairi and Kayt bailed on us (slags) but B and Shayna said they would  meet us in Le Truskel. I've not been there since last year, mainly because it's always full of boys in skinny jeans and I don't know how to dance to indie music anymore, but I'm glad we went. It wasn't TEED, but it was fun.

We got home at 6am and had to leave mine at 7am, as Clo was flying to England in the morning. We set multiple alarms on three different phones to make sure we got up. Boy oh boy it was hard getting out of bed, but it wouldn't have been fair to get Clo really drunk and then expect her to find her way to the airport an hour later, so I decided to escort her all the way to Charles de Gaulle. I vaguely remember wandering up and down the terminal a few times, then I got back on the Roissy bus and slept all the way back to Paris.

The next night Kayt didn't come out again because she's got a horrible cough (people on the metro were crawling away from her as if she had the zombie virus) but me, Mairi and B went to Le Pigallion in South Pigalle.

I've wanted to try Le Pigallion for ages, as I've walked past it a few times on my way to Chez Moune and thought it looked like an interesting night... Let's just say I won't be trying it again.

TC and OJ were going with some friends from England and they said it was a night run by the same people as Coco Beach. (Me and Georgie went to Coco Beach the first year we moved to Paris and the music and was brilliant, it was like FUSE but outside.) We queued for about forty minutes. In the line scallies kept asking us if they could go in with us, because the bouncer wasn't letting groups of guys in. Three scallies in particular were really persistant and we heard them saying in French that they were going to tell the bouncer they were with us and we wouldn't understand because we were English. Nice try, dickheads, but there's no way you're getting in wearing that studded denim gilet, whether you pretend to be with us or not.

When we finally got in, I couldn't believe how rammed it was. The toilets were the rankest thing I've ever seen in my life and it had TWO doorways, so there were two lines of girls queuing from two different directions for three toilets. Also, people were walking through the toilets to get to the balcony, which was the 'smoking area'.

I loved the music and the dance floor wasn't too horrendous, but it was just chaotic. It was not the sort of place I should have taken Mairi. We managed to get in about an hour of dancing, then me and B said we'd walk Mairi back to Kayt's.

I won't bored you with a detailed account of yet another dangerous crush in a Parisian club, but the bouncers wouldn't let us leave the club. I know I bitch about all bouncers but these were truly the worst door staff I have ever seen in my life. They wouldn't let us out of the club because they wanted people to queue for the cloak room, but they we didn't have anything in the cloak room and they still wouldn't let us out. People were begging them to let us out but the bouncers just stared over their heads and pretended they couldn't hear them. It got worse and worse, to that horrible moment where you think it's actually all gone wrong and somebody's going to die, then an different bouncer sprang up from nowhere and told the two bastards keeping us all back to open the doors.

Another club I might have to potentially declare jihad on. I don't know, I think it would have been ok if I'd been really fucked, I might go again if somebody good is playing. TC and OJ stayed until the end (or not right til the end I think, because it finished at midday) and TC told me:
"At one point in the night, all the normals disappeared and all the odd bods came out of the walls, like a 90s horror film."

Ha! I can imagine the scene exactly.

The next day was Easter Sunday. Since last summer, when we had that gorgeous day of cooking and drinking at Georgie's followed by an easter egg hunt in the park, I've come to think of Easter as a really lovely day to spend with friends, roasting meat and getting drunk.

I'm so glad Kayt had the keys to G.Shore's apartment for the weekend! Louvre Laura and her friend Anya joined me, Kayt, B and Mairi and we had roast lamb, fairy cakes and ten bottles of sparkling wine. B said she'd never celebrated Easter before we got dressed up in maxi dresses for the occasion- it felt like a real holiday, like Christmas Day with better weather.

Ah it was so nice! Holly had a friend visiting and they wanted to go out, so we went and met them at- surprise surprise- Le Truskel. I can't believe we went there twice in one weekend but hey, it was open on Easter Sunday and it was free. Only this time it wasn't as fun, because the DJ's sound system kept breaking and a horrible man assaulted B outside the club. The bouncer wasn't arsed in the slightest and let the guy back into the club, so we left.

But it didn't ruin our lovely Easter!

On Easter Monday, after putting Mairi on the bus to the airport and promising her we'll visit her in Madrid (we really, really want to!), me and Kayt went back to 'our apartment' to tidy up the remnants of our Easter Sunday/spring equinox celebration. (Eating, drinking, things coming back to life- literally no difference, except druids aren't allowed to wear fabulous hats and silky robes.)


Then Holly and B came round to enjoy our last afternoon in 'our apartment' before G.Shore returned. We went to McDonald's and I got the new eighteen chicken nugget meal... then they told me they'd run out of every sauce and I panicked and didn't change my order. Serves me right for being so greedy, I suppose.

G.Shore has Apple TV so we lounged around watching documentaries through Kayt's iPhone. We watched this one documentary about vaginas and how women have operations to make them more attractive. It resulted in a very lively discussion about our vaginas which I was sure would end up in a mass vagina-exposing session... but it didn't. (I was ready to whack mine out an' all.)

And that's all folks! Went to Chez Gladines on Wednesday, other than that I've been eating lots of oranges and trying to make myself better. Can't believe my audition is in four days.