Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Bumblebee

It's been a while.

The last two weeks have been bumblebee-busy.

With my internship, bar job and writing work I've been doing 75 hours a week. And I still don't have enough money to pay my fucking phone bill. Money really is an enigma wrapped in a mystery, wrapped in a credit card statement. I feel messy, my head's all scribbled lines and frayed wires. It feels like a sculpture I saw at Le Centquatre once with Kayt- a tower of cardboard boxes with moving string tails attached to the walls, swishing and slapping against the cardboard. Inside the tower it sounded as though there were hundreds of rats scurrying about inside the tower of boxes. Well it feels like that inside my head, inside the room, underground and on the street. Scratching, scrabbling things that I can feel, but can't see.

When I get paid I am going to EXPLODE with excitement. Or maybe I will go the other way and start hoarding my money away and I will turn into one of those people that says "I can't afford it" when what they mean is they've got £200 in the bank and they just don't feel like spending it on cocktails.

Not that there's anything wrong with that... I wish I could be like that, but Money Karma holds such a strong power over me. If I don't spend money with reckless abandon then my Money Karma trickles away and sooner or later I need a root canal or a mysterious bill shows up. Will I never be free?

I'm going to quit the pub job. I should be ok with my internship (it's paid) and my writing work, plus I've found a family who want me to babysit for them regularly. The pub is getting old now and guess what- the lazy manager who sits in his flat playing X Box all day is leaving and, amazingly, I don't want him to leave! At least when he's 'in charge' I can sit down behind the bar, eat chips and flick through a magazine. We are getting a new manager from another pub and apparently she is the type of manager that actually works behind the bar and gives out orders... Can you imagine??

I've changed my mind about Paris, by the way. I rang my mum and she was really keen on me going back. She said that now she's not with my ex-stepdad anymore she could come and visit me in Paris all the time... It was only when I put the phone down that I realised she just wants me to go back to Paris so she can come and visit me there.

I guess all parents like to think of their kids living somewhere exciting, but London will be exciting I guess, if I don't have to spend all my time either in the pub or crouched over my laptop, writing sly articles about why it's GREAT TO GAMBLE!!!

It would be stupid to leave my internship now. I was lucky to get it, I think. At the moment I am trend-forecasting for them and collecting images from the fashion shows, I love it. (I predict cloaks, obviously.) On Friday afternoons everybody in the office starts drinking and last week I did an inward smirk as I was found myself drinking a gin and tonic whilst taking notes on a live stream from London Fashion Week. It would have been so glamorous had I then not had to go to the pub and serve cheap lager to lunatics.

I feel as if I won't get another chance to blog for a while so I'm going to write as much as I can. 

Oh yes, I know what I wanted to talk about. Remember when I said I was going to help out at a fashion trade show and that I thought I might be trying on clothes? 

Well. 

On the phone the French guy asked me what clothes size I was. 

"That's so typical," I thought, "From Paris and they want to know what size I am before they let me help out on their fucking stall!"

Then he told me to bring three pairs of shoes to try on. I figured I'd be trying on clothes so buyers could see what items looked like on a real person, rather than just hanging up on rails. I thought it might actually be quite fun, trying on clothes all day. I was right about the first thing, very wrong on the second.

As soon as I got there I realised the clothes were for 'older ladies'- long pleated skirts and tops with strange drapes and folds in them. The clothes were in a pallette of mossy green, heather, violet and earthy browns. It wasn't until the last day that I found out the collection was inspired by a quote from Emily Brontë about the moors. Everything at the moment is related to the Brontë sisters, it's becoming a bit like the giraffe thing.(If you don't remember, last year I kept seeing a particular cartoon of a giraffe and thinking about giraffes all the time. I thought something weird was going on and in the end something spooky did happen! I don't know if I ever blogged about it. I'll blog about it at the end so you can carry on reading.*)

Anyway. Even though I'd told them what dress size I was, I was too small for the clothes. The French guy was pissed off and told me I was at least a size smaller than I thought I was. HA! I was quite pleased. Clothes sizes don't mean anything anyway, I'm a different size is every shop. He laughed when I said this, but I told him that I was sorry, but clothes sizes are bigger in more expensive shops because they are more liberal with the material, whereas cheap high-street shops make clothes smaller so they can get away with more material... so technically it wasn't my fault that I was too small.

I think the main problem was that I'm short. I was working with one other girl called Jess who was really nice and works for them every season. She was definitely skinnier than me, but the clothes looked nice on her because she was a bit taller and had slightly bigger boobs. I could tell the French team were pissed off because I had small boobs and was too short, but for the first time ever I really didn't mind what they thought of me because I was getting paid so well.

The main guy was really bitchy and mean, but in such a horrible way that I could tell he didn't really mean it. (I bet he did.) On the second day I filled up the biscuit jar they offered to clients with broken biscuits I found in the cupboard... As soon as I'd put them in I realised they were all broken, but he caught me before I could empty it again.

"But what you do?? You are terrible!! Listen to me, I am terrible!"

He looked at me for a second.

"No, you need to learn. It's good I am hard with you. It's how you learn."

It was actually really nice chatting to the customers and helping them pick out clothes for their boutiques. Most of them were grey-haired older ladies, wearing really edgy clothes that looked just right on them, like loose blazers and long origami-style shirts. Some of them were really pushy and talked to me like I was just an idiot with small boobs and not enough height (why do some big-busted ladies act as if I have purposely chosen to have small boobs, as if I'm at fault for ordering my boobs not to grow??); others were a bit intimidated by the French team talking in French to each other and they liked having me there to chat to in English.

To give you an idea about the clothes, here is an EXACT description of one outfit I was put in and made to wear for the good part of an afternoon:

A knee-length, iridescent orange taffeta wrap-skirt with a tulip shape.
A cream fisherman's jumper with red, orange and blue embroidery around the neckline.
An orange plaid, double-breasted blazer that was way too big for me.

Also my skin was really bad and I was sweating a lot.

The worst thing is there were loads and loads of other girls doing the same job as me for other stands, but they were mostly working for glitzy evening-wear labels. The other girls were really tall, all done up with fake tan and false eyelashes, with their hair up in a donut. They walked around wearing floor-length, backless sequinned numbers and at one point I had to go and get coffee for everyone whilst wearing a massive grey trapeze dress that flared out at the collarbone and never stopped flaring.

As I was shuffling along, a bell-shaped sweaty midget in a sea of pretty promotions girls, I realised who I reminded myself of:

Little My from The Moomins.



Still, as I was with French people I didn't feel as minging as I would have done, because they thought everyone looked tacky and ridiculous. There was one girl, who looked about fifteen, dressed in black underwear and a fishnet body stocking, with a multi-coloured feathery scarf. She wasn't even working for anybody, she was just there to look at stalls with her mum! You could tell what type of shop people had by the way they dressed. 

Most of the people who came to our stand look well-dressed in a mature, tasteful way. The clothes looked awful on me but they were made of really lovely cashmere, wool and silk and it can't have been a coincidence that the earthy colours looked best against grey hair.

The other girl Jess was only working there on the Sunday because she's training to be a teacher. I wished she'd been there both days. It just so happens that she lives one tube stop away, so we went home together on Sunday evening. Her boyfriend recently proposed to her so I was asking her loads of questions about how he did it, the ring, where they're getting married, what's her dress like etc. Out of politeness she asked me if I had a boyfriend and when I said "No" there was a brief awkward silence that I decided to fill with details of my most recent Thing-that-turned-out-to-be-nothing.

She asked me if he was 'really fit' (he isn't) so I showed her a photo and she said: "He looks just like my friend."

She told me that her fiancé's best friend is single and really nice and she thought we would get on. I know this sounds weird, but let me stress that he doesn't actually look like that person I used to go for drinks with. (Not a lot anyway.) Jess asked if I wanted her to organise something and I thought, why not? For a while I've been a bit of a creepy creepperson and not very good at socialising, but now I've got the internship sorted I feel less like a brooding psychopath on the brink of running back to Paris and more like a recognisable version of myself who is maybe ready to start getting her personality back (as Olivia would say) in dribs and drabs.

So. 

I found the whole thing quite embarrassing but she added me on Facebook so she could get a photo of me to show Her Friend and so I could look him up on her Friend List. I could only see two photos of him and in one of them he was drinking from a huge mug of coffee, but I thought it would be good practice to go on a date anyway.

He texted me the next day, asking if he could take me out for a drink and we ended up texting all afternoon and the next day. I couldn't know what was lurking behind that giant coffee cup but I did know he was a good texter. I love a good text session, with little jokes and questions so you have to answer back. Weirdly, he lives five minutes away from me and as the tubes were out of service on the day we wanted to meet, we decided to stay local.

I've haven't been to any of the pubs round me, so it was quite nice to walk round the corner instead of jumping on the tube to go somewhere. When I got to the pub I decided to get a drink rather than walk around awkwardly, looking in every nook and cranny for a guy that might look completely different to his photos. As I was really thirsty, I bought a pint.

I then walked round the corner to find a seat and he was sitting by the window. He had a small glass of apple juice. I felt like a #LAD and not in a good way. Turns out he doesn't really drink, although he did have two alcoholic drinks during our date.

At university I was suspicious of people that didn't drink alcohol, because I thought they would be watching me all night, silently condemning me as I got drunker and drunker. Now that I am wiser and SUPER MATURE, I would never judge anybody for their drinking habits, just as I hope nobody would ever judge me for mine. (I would however judge anybody that judged my drinking habits, I would judge that person as a Class A dickhead.)

The date went well, if you can say a date went well? It's not an exam, is it? The date went. I wish we could say in English 'It goes?' 'Yes it goes' like in French.) He said he wanted to see me again on Tuesday. He suggested that I go round to his house and he would cook for me, which I thought was really nice but when I told my flatmate Natalie she said it didn't sound like such a good idea. I know what Posh Clare and TC would say. They would say don't go round to his house on the second date.

But.

He walked me home as if we were in the 1950s and just gave me a peck on the cheek. The next day he said he had to look after his brother on the Tuesday, but he asked if he could come round for a cup of tea beforehand. He brought me some soup he had made, to make up for not cooking for me. Then we were sitting on the couch and he asked me if he could sit closer... I said no.

I don't know if it's because of the way he is treating me or because I am reading Jane Eyre at the moment, but I am acting all coy and old-fashioned. I should probably tell him the truth before he finds out for himself. He was asking about my blog and unlike previous person I went on dates with, I reckon he could probably work out how to find it, he's clever. I should probably stop talking about him.

TALKING OF DATES AND THINGS.

Do you remember The Boyfriend Train?

My friend Beth is seeing this guy and she told him about The Boyfriend Train and LOOK WHAT HE MADE HER FOR VALENTINE'S DAY:



Looks like someone's got a ticket for the Boyfriend Train.

*Can't be arsed now, I'll tell you another time. 

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Paris?????????????????????????

I have some shocking news and I'm not sure you're going to like it.

You might want to sit down.

Remember my long hard slog to grow my fringe out? Well today I rashly went to the hairdressers and had a side fringe cut back in. It really needed a cut though, at least I'll no longer be mistaken for a Christian. (You know exactly what I mean.)

As always my trip to the hairdressers was an absolute disaster. There was a slight miscommunication and after drying my hair, she clipped half of it before I could get a look at it and started curling it with a pair of straighteners. She had asked me if I wanted it to be curly or straight, but as I was booked in for a blow dry and her English wasn't great, I just assumed she was trying to say 'wavy', like a bouncy, wavy blow dry. Not crispy curls. I was too embarrassed to tell her to stop so I just sat there as she painfully pulled my hair through the straighteners. When she finished everyone in the hairdressers was staring at me because I looked like Curly Sue. I looked ridiculous. 

I'm not even going out tonight. I've got twelve 'content articles' to write before Monday morning and I'm working tomorrow at a fashion trade show which may or may not involve me trying on clothes. I'll explain another time. It's all very confusing.

I am actually very shaken up and a bit agitated, nervous, distracted.

Because.

My au pair family told me Emily, their current au pair, has to leave them in March and I'm really thinking... should I go back? Should I go back to Paris?? 

I don't know what to do. 

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Locked

I shouldn't be here, I won't stay long. I keep saying yes yes yes to everything and now I've got no time to do anything and as usual when I have lots of things to do they all pile up in my brain, watermarked images popping up on top of each other, colours getting deeper until it all just looks like a big brown cloud of smudged ideas.

Does anyone remember when I went through that weird stage of knickers showing up in my fridge and finding items when I needed them that weren't there before in the magic cupboard in the corner of my room? It's like somebody just keeps MESSING ABOUT with things and they think I won't notice... Well I've noticed!!

My bedroom window used to open and close NORMALLY whenever I wanted it to, I've never had a key for it. That reminds me of a story about my cat. Yes, already I'm one of those people- I HAVE A STORY ABOUT MY CAT. MY CAT LIKES THAT! MY CAT DOESN'T LIKE THAT! ME AND MY CAT ARE GETTING MARRIED. Anyway. A couple of days ago he went missing again, this time for 24 hours and I was obviously very, very worried about him, then at 4am I was dreaming about interviewing Linda Nolan for a music magazine and a little meow permeated my dream... It was lucky I woke up, because Rushdie was meowing outside my bedroom window, even though I sleep at the front of the flat and he has only ever been out the back.

How did he know it was my bedroom window if he has never seen that side of the flat before?? Don't you think that was clever of him?

I opened the window and he jumped up. Once again we were reunited but it did make me never want to let him outside ever again.

What was I talking about?

My window! I've just gone to open it and it's LOCKED. There is no key, there has never been a key. How is it locked??? Who is doing this??

Look, forget it. I can see you don't care and that's ok. I would care if it was you but only because I'm a really nice person...

The internship is going well, I think. I like it a lot but every day I suffer a minor social trauma and today I had to eat my sandwich down an alleyway in the rain, for reasons I won't go into.

I am trying to be sociable and normal but it just never seems to be the right time to start a conversation and everybody is getting on with their work anyway. It's just... do you know when you start something new and you feel locked inside yourself, too scared to go for a wee or to get a glass of water?

Maybe I am over-thinking it and nobody thinks I am an antisocial. If somebody talks to me I am chatty in return, there just aren't many opportunities for conversation. I spend most of my time 'researching' as there isn't a lot for me to do yet. Luckily I'm researching fashion trends and fashion shows which I am happy to do for hours. The only downside is that after three days of flicking through magazines I feel really fat, really ugly and really think I need to burn all my clothes as they are crap.

Someone in the office plays really good music and today they played a track that has been in my head for weeks and I've been asking everyone: "Do you know what this is? Babadada-dadadadada-da" and nobody knows. It came on in Light Bar on Saturday night (I came back down from Any Northern Mill Town for my flatmate's boyfriend's leaving party- he's going travelling for six months) and nobody knew what it was then, either.

It's this:

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Home

I'm in Any Northern Mill Town, I came yesterday for my mum's birthday. For once I splashed out on train tickets and while I am still a big fan of the Megabus and think more people would like getting the coach if they only gave it a try; getting the train is a lot nicer. It took me no time at all to get to Euston and then, instead of a manic run from Victoria tube station to Victoria coach station, all I had to do was go up the escalators. The train is so quick and comfortable; the train was quiet and everyone had two seats to themselves. I was really excited to be going back to Manchester. Buzzing, you might say.

My mum picked me up from town then we went and got my brother from his student house in Rusholme. It's weird because we grew up round there but it doesn't feel familiar to me anymore. It's a past life that has been completely blotted out by Paris.

We got to Any Northern Mill Town and mum played me her new favourite album- 'Home' by Rudimental- while we got ready to go out for a meal. At the end of every track she asked me: "Would you dance to this in a club?"

She always wants me to show her my 'club dancing' but outside of a club my 'club dancing' looks like somebody waiting at the bus stop trying to keep warm, stepping from side to side and rubbing their hands together.

Mum played me her new favourite song which I thought was Martha Tilston, a folk singer with a distinctively high, sweet little voice but it was Sophie Ellis-Bextor! (Remember her?) We danced around the kitchen to it, twirling in circles. I really like it. Although the video is shit:



I had some good news to tell mum, although I shouldn't really be telling anyone in case it all goes to shit and I look stupid...

But I am really excited, so I really hope it works out. This week I'm starting a PAID copywriting internship which could last for three months. This week is just a trial, so I don't want to get my hopes up.

I am VERY excited though!

Also.

Have you seen The Musketeers? It's like it's been written by a gang of 1950s school girls and their bored, undersexed mothers, in the best way possible. Think attractive men with swords, pressing women against the ground and breathing down their neck to save them from gunfire; and Freddie from Skins marching up to you and whispering: "You have to pretend we're lovers, it's a matter of life or death." before grabbing you and kissing you.

I wonder if BBC One secretly surveyed ladies up and down the country?

"What's your raciest romantic fantasy and would you mind if we dramatised it and broadcast it every Sunday night after the watershed?"

BE MY GUEST, BBC ONE!



This reminds me of when we asked Kayt what her romantic fantasy would be and she said meeting a French footballer and taking him to Nando's in Newcastle. Not sure we'll be seeing that on the telly anytime soon...