Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Reverse-Butterfly

Well, haven't got anything to write about because I can't be arsed going out at the moment. I don't like anywhere I've been, don't want to go out and discover anywhere new. Alors.

I need to jump up and get out of the flat, explore nearby areas etc etc. Can barely bring myself to wander down the local high street. Sometimes in Paris I would get in this mood, I'm not looking back through rose-tinted spectacles and pretending I was a dynamic, happy-go-lucky city adventurer every minute of every day, but at least I went out most of the time, trekked across the city and tried new places.

I'm just an English girl living in England now, so what's the point in running around London pretending I'm here on holiday?  Maybe it's because I'm not in the centre like I was, so I don't see the touristy stuff everyday.

There was a moment last weekend, when I changed tubes and got on an overground train, and as I walked down the platform I realised we were quite high up and there was a nice view of the city. I saw the spires*of London, glowing and glittering against a dark cityscape, wide bridges and even wider waters between us and the buildings. I did a little jump inside and said, “I can't believe I actually moved here, it seems real when I see all that.”

And the person I was with just looked at me like I was a dickhead.

Tut. I miss the days when I could say things like that every other minute and instead of looking at me like I was a dickhead, whoever I was with would say “I know, I know isn't life amazing and none of our friends from home are here to listen to our conversation and tell us we're being nobs let's go and get a rose eclair and sit by the river or a champagne cocktail or both because we're in Paris and we don't pay rent and we've got loads of disposable income!"

I've been thinking though, about all that cash I used to have hidden away in bikini tops (I'd slip it in the little padding pocket) and empty perfume boxes... I'm glad I spent it all. I'm glad I didn't save up any money, because then I'd have loads of money and clearly, when I have loads of money, I just spend it. So you see? It's a Catch 22 isn't it? Le serpent qui se mord sa queue.

Any money I get seems to go on cheese and clothes hangers. I never would have bought cheese or clothes hangers when I lived in Paris, see how having to pay rent has already turned me into a sensible, practical grown-up?

Cheese is proper dear, by the way. A block of cheddar costs more than a Megabus ticket to Paris. The coach journey would last for about eight hours too, whereas the cheese could be gone in about twenty minutes.

I'm scared I'm going to stay in this mood for months, emerging in the spring like a reverse-butterfly, crashing out of my cocoon like a fat, pale floppy thing.

There's only one thing that can cheer me up and luckily, it's Halloween tomorrow, so it's a very appropriate time to post this video:


*small possibility they they were tower blocks, not spires.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Soup Sweet Soup

I have a home again! Me and my NEW FLATMATE have already made soup together and frozen some of it in an effort to be Healthy, Wholesome and Frugal. We love soup. We've made two different types and we're going to make more and live off soup and fill our freezer with soup and think of new soups and eat our soup, feeling smug and soupy. Although we both agree that the big chunks of fried chorizo we sprinkle liberally over each soup we have is the best bit. In fact, I'm not sure that we don't just love cured, fatty sausage rather than the actual soup.

It feels weird calling it 'my flat', as if I shouldn't be allowed because I don't really live here... But I do live here, I moved in on Sunday. It doesn't feel like I've moved in properly yet because I've just gone one big bag with me, full of clothes- I haven't been back to Any Northern Mill Town since I arrived. Not sure what outfit I had in mind when I packed one pair of jeans, three black skirts, three tops, a jumper, a leotard, my kimono and five jackets. Maybe I thought nobody would notice I was wearing the same outfit every day for six weeks on the trot if I kept changing my coat?

The nice thing about staying with friends is that I've been able to wear all their clothes. I miss Clare's tapestry pencil skirt and Beth's green coat with the big lapels. It feels like the skirt and coat are kittens that have run away in the night. My clothes are like the mingy dog that stayed behind, that I didn't want in the first place... apart from my kimono.

It's not kimono weather though.

What was I talking about?

Ah, I wanted to talk about how I have been staying with friends for so long, in an attempt to subtly explain myself to all the imaginary people that are slagging me off, saying things like 'Can't believe she has been staying with friends for so long.' They might be imaginary critics but their comments sting.

I never intended to couch-surf for six weeks (or, more accurately, 'bed hop', as I've been sleeping in beds the whole time but 'bed hop' makes it sound as if I've spent the last few weeks exploring the London swingers scene) but that's the way it had to be.

It meant living make-believe lives in each part of  London: busy Brixton bee with Clare, walking home from south London pubs and parties; a lady who calmly lives in one of the swankiest parts of town, with TC and OJ; a young professional, crossing over canals on my to the tube with Lauren, Claire and Jen in east London; and for the last two weeks of my prolonged 'mooching' period I lived with Beth in North London, not too far from where 'my flat' is.

The weird thing about North London is that I faintly remembered a life lived there. Since I was little I've always imagined the north of the city when I've thought about London and I've thought of tall houses, leafy streets, mohair jumpers, autumn. When I went to stay with Beth it was exactly how I'd always pictured it,  felt it. When I moved to my new flat on Sunday the feeling that I was stepping into a memory was even stronger.

After I'd moved in, my mum called me. She mentioned that she and my dad used to live round the corner from where I'm living. I don't know why she hasn't mentioned this before, I didn't even know my mum and dad lived together when they were in London!

My mum said she always remembers it being autumn when she thinks back to living in North London, exactly how I described it.

It's obvious to me and my mum that memories were passed into my subconscious, either whilst I was in the womb or by magic. I've told a few of other people this spine-tingling story and not all of them were supportive of our theory. When I said 'maybe it was a memory I have from the womb' to one person (who shall remain nameless), he said 'maybe you are mad'.

Mad about North London baby! From what I remember of it as a foetus inside the womb... haven't had chance to explore it yet, this time around.

I did have something else I wanted to tell you.

When I was staying with Beth, she needed to take the keys one day. She told me to just shut the door behind me. But when I went to open the door, a couple of hours after everybody else in the flat had left for work, it wouldn't open. One of Beth's flatmates had locked the door on the outside.

After my initial panic, I went into the living room to see if any windows were open. I'd completely forgotten about their balcony and luckily, the key was in the door.

I stepped out onto the balcony and looked down. They live on the second floor, but the flat below has a balcony too, so I considered lowering myself down onto it. A builder was walking past and I yelled to him.

"Excuse me have you got  a ladder? I'm locked in the flat and I need to get to work!"

He was coming to look at the gas in the flat above, so I suggested climbing up onto their balcony, then he could let me in. He said he could only let me in if the residents were at home to give permission. He went into the building and I looked up at the balcony above- it was a ledge that stuck out directly above my head, there was no way I could get up there.

A woman in the car park suddenly shouted up at me, she was a maintenance worker and she'd spoken to the gas man in the stairway. She told me she didn't have a big enough ladder, but she'd seen some painters up the road doing up the front of a building, so she could go and ask them.

By this point I was rather enjoying the drama of the whole thing. I rang the pub I told them I was going to be late. (Luckily the manager didn't think I was a big, fat liar.) I kept trying to call Beth... no answer.

Two painters rolled up, without their ladder. They wanted to assess the problem first, as if the maintenance woman and I needed a second opinion and a different flat-escaping method could be employed. After a quick conversation shouted up to me on my balcony, they agreed the only thing for it was a big ladder. I felt just like Juliet, only instead of declaring their love for me, they said "If you fall, it's not our fault. You can't sue us."

They came back with the ladder and put it against the wall next to the balcony, where there was a wide ledge I could step onto. I climbed down without falling off and was only fifteen minutes for work!

That seemed like such a better story as it was happening. I'm afraid this might have been my most boring blog post ever.

Erm.

I had some really, really lovely food the other day, The Boy I Went For A Drink with' is very versatile, he can turn himself into The Boy Who I Ate Some Food With quite easily. We went to a Pakistani restaurant in Whitechapel called Needo's. That's the kind of food I missed when I was in France, it was spicy, but actually spicy, not like the 'spicy' Thai soup we used to serve at the restaurant and French customers would often send it back because it was too hot for them even though it tasted like coconut flavoured yoghurt.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Lady Gardens

Yesterday I saw something disturbing. I was guiltily watching Game of Thrones instead of making a start on all the copywriting work I have to do this week, when I saw something on screen that made me feel a bit ill. One of the characters was being horrifically tortured and crawling round  a dungeon floor while his captors advanced menacingly, wielding a scythe with which they intended to cut his willy off. Then I saw it.

Two naked women were stood in the background- they were there for a good reason but I won't say why in case it spoils it for anyone who hasn't seen Season 3 yet. One of them was covering her vajayjay with her hands and the other one wasn't. And the one that wasn't had had a fucking Brazilian wax!!!!

What's awful is that the director and the costume/hair and make-up people must have discussed it at length- in a big-budget television series set in an ancient, magical world where there is so much attention to detail that they even went to the trouble of inventing new languages and creating different architecture styles for each city (yes I admit it, I bought the box set of Season 1 and watched all the extras), for authenticity's sake they obviously had to make sure that any Lady Gardens on show were lush, wild and growing free.

The fact that they didn't show a woman with a big, natural bush, thus betraying their own common sense and artistic integrity, means that they found a woman's pubic hair so disgusting and frightening that they just COULDN'T show it on TV. Each female character has her own hairstyle, based on the character's personality and ethnicity and cultural heritage, but this girl was allowed in a scene looking like she'd just walked out of Ministry of Waxing, ready for a night out on the town getting lashed on vodka, lime and sodas with the girls from the office.

They can show boobs and bums, men having their hands cut off, dead girls tied to the bed frame with arrows sticking out of their limbs; but they just CANNOT show a woman with a massive, hairy bush.

I've always had strong opinions about pubic hair.

I'll say it again because I can't believe I just said that:

I've always had strong opinions about public hair.

Ha!

No, seriously, I have.

Some of my friends think it is ridiculous. They cannot believe that there are fellers out there who have been exposed to the horror of my overgrown Lady Garden.

I say, I will never care. Sometimes, if the mood takes me, I will do some light gardening and on occasion I have even had a Brazilian gardener called in, purely because I'm going on holiday and little hairs curling around the edge of my bikini bottoms will ruin the overall aesthetic I was going for.

But waxing is a choice, not a necessity. It shouldn't be normal to wax. It's fine, of course it's fine- we can do whatever we want with our beavers- but it shouldn't be normal. Girls as young as twelve shouldn't be taking themselves to the salon to get rid of all their pubic hair- that's not normal. Pubic hair is normal.

At the moment I'm reading 'How To Be A Woman' by Caitlin Moran (I can't believe it's taken me this long to get round to it) and she perfectly articulates what I have been trying to tell my friends for years:

"If you ask the question, 'Why do 21st-century women feel they have to remove their pubic hair?' the answer is, 'Because everybody does in porno.'... But the hairlessness isn't there for the excitingness... all porn stars wax because, if you remove all the fur, you can see more when you're doing penetrative shots."

Ha! Women in porn films wax so that their intimate parts are exposed for the camera, much in the same way a vet will shave a little rat or poodle before an operation.

So there's no need for non-porno women to have baldy beavers. But like I said before, we can do whatever we want down there, so if girls want to feel like porn stars and have their bits all exposed, then they should definitely get it all waxed off and enjoy themselves...

UNLESS THEY ARE IN GAMES OF THRONES.

Ygritte defending her Lady Garden


I've not read the books, but I assume there is no internet porn industry in the 'seven kingdoms', so nobody would expect the girls to be smooth and hairless. If anything, I think they would braid their bushes and entwine them with little flowers.

This reminds me of a story about my mum's friend Jane, who passed away two years ago. She didn't always shave her armpits and they were really hairy. One day they were planning a night out and my mum said something to Jane about her armpit hair. Jane said she would do something about it, as they going to a club. Later that night, in the club, Jane lifted up her arms and there was a mass of dark hair there, covered in glitter gel. 

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Jamboree

Recently I've decided to start calling myself a freelance social media manager and copywriter, much in the same way a binman from Bolton might decide to start calling himself the King of Norway.

But I actually have got some freelance copywriting work and I'm doing the social media for someone, so I guess I'm not being to... what's the word? I can't think of the word I mean. Maybe this copywriting business will be over before it's even begun.

Anyway, I'm don't want to blog about social media or copywriting. This can be my safe haven from Google+ and writing briefs and self-employment declarations.

Last Monday I went out for a drink with someone, to a little pub at Limehouse that looks out over the river. It's small and narrow, with red walls and low beams, like something out of The Shire. It just so happens to be owned by Gandalf, too.

No, really- it's owned by Sir Ian McKellen

Listen, the exciting part wasn't who owned the pub, but who was working behind the bar...

It was Mez- my friend at the pub in Paris, my Welsh MC rapping partner and sometimes fellow New York showbiz agent. Nice to see ya, kid.

I asked Mez if Sir Ian McKellen ever came in and she said she'd seen him once- he said hello to her in a booming voice and he was wearing a long, hooded white cloak. I'm lying about the cloak. (She did her last shift there last Friday, so don't bother trying to stalk her.)

It was one of those nights where suddenly something slides in your brain and you realise everyone in the room is your BEST MATE. Soon we were chatting to an American couple on the terrace who loved boats- the man was wearing a captain's hat- and an Australian businessman who was living on a boat in the marina. When he said that he didn't have any friends in London, I tried to persuade him to have a boat party so I could invite loads of people for him to meet but I don't think he was convinced... He ended up coming with us (by 'us' I mean me and the person I'd gone out for a drink with- I can't say 'my date' because that sound so American and odd) to a music venue round the corner called Jamboree. CLICK HERE to take a look at their website, look at the lovely, arty graphics they use:


Jamboree is so unexpected- it's an artists collective, hidden in a relatively quiet residential area where there's nothing but blocks of riverside apartments and a couple of pubs. The venue is part of Cable Studios- an assortment of buildings that are grouped around a cobbled courtyard, providing artists with cheap accommodation and studios.

I loved it. They have live music each night from all the world and the bands play on a tiny stage that looks like it could have been designed for a 19th Century cabaret club. It's a really small venue but it wasn't crowded at all- there are a few tables to sit at and everyone in there was really nice. When we first arrived a dreamy, folk band was playing.

The Australian guy we'd adopted undid his tie, shouting "This isn't me!"

Then he gestured round the room and said, "This is me."

I thought he might take all his clothes off but thankfully he didn't.

After the folk band, a French band came on and because I was really drunk I might have been shouting things out in French. I'm pretty sure I yelled allez-y which is the equivalent of shouting 'go there!' Luckily The Person I Was Having A Drink With doesn't speak French and thought I must be making perfect sense.

Talking of drinks... guess who else has been on a date?

My mum. Last night we were gossiping on the phone about dates and boys and I got a bit carried away and told her about The Person I Was Having A Drink With and accidentally let slip that I stayed at his house.

"Oh," my mum said, "Does he have a spare bedroom?"

No mum, no he does not.

I wish I hadn't told her anything now, because if she asks me if we've been on anymore dates and I say 'no', she'll think it's my fault for not going on dates with boys who have spare bedrooms.

Sigh.

My eyes are KILLING from looking at a computer screen all day, so I'm going to go now. I don't know when I'll next get chance to blog. What else did I want to say?

Oh, I went to Vibe Bar on Brick Lane on Saturday for Katie's birthday, a friend of TC and OJ's. The music was good but it was full of Sinisters. One of them tried to start a fight with me on the stairs and I did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO ANTAGONISE HIM. HONESTLY.

Oh, how come you always know when I'm lying?

I didn't realise he was being serious, I thought he was pretending to be a bouncer for a joke but he was actually just a nutcase who knew the bouncers and took it upon himself to randomly tell people off on their behalf.

London is not Paris. Here scallies do not want to engage in a bit of harmless, faux-aggressive chitchat, they just want to stab you. I always knew being a dickhead would be the death of me and now I've moved to London, it is only a matter of time.

By the way, guess who lives near Brick Lane? B. And Holly is moving into a canal boat soon in North London. Everyone from Paris is in London, apart from Mez actually, because she's leaving this week to go back to Wales. And obviously Julia is still in Paris, but she's coming to visit England in a couple of weeks!

Speaking of Paris... I woke up crying again this morning after dreaming about Paris. It's weird because I don't miss it when I'm awake, but when I'm asleep I transport myself back there and this very strong, familiar feeling will suddenly sweep through the dream. When I wake up I can almost feel it still, but I can't quite put my finger on it.

Sorry that was a bit depressing.

Will this cheer you up?


*I always forget to mention Lauren's boyfriend Ben but he lives there too. Lauren told me last week that she was going to Manchester for a few days so I could have her bed, then she had to withdraw the offer when Ben reminded her that their bed wouldn't be free because he would be in it. Ah.