Saturday, 3 May 2014

Swiss Clara

Last Friday I went out with MY NEW FRENCH FRIENDS Marianne and Margot*- I know Marianne from the pub and Margot is her old chum from the South of France and now her London flatmate.

They live in a really nice flat close to the pub, right in the centre of London. I guessed that their parents must be paying for it as Marianne told me the rent is £800 a month each and she just works in the pub once or twice a week, while Margot 'looks for jobs' all day. My suspicions were confirmed when Marianne asked me how to cash her 'pay cheques' from the pub and I realised she was talking about her pay slips. 

"Nobody gets paid by cheque in England, " I said. "They're just pieces of paper that say how much money you've been paid. Your money is already in the bank Marianne..."

I assume she hasn't been living off traffic fumes.

We don't speak exclusively in French, but we switch between the two languages which makes me feel very Smug and Cosmopolitan.

Last Friday we went to Shoreditch to a bar someone had told them about called Nightjar. We queued up for a long time in the cold and while we queued, I asked the girls if I could pretend to be French for the night.

"No... not French." they said. 

"Swiss?" I offered.

"Oui!!!! Suisse! C'est enorme!"

My name would be Clara. 

We finally got into Nightjar to find it was less of the sausage fest they had clearly been hoping for and was instead a very elegant cocktail bar, with table service and jazz music. It was full of couples and the girls hated it, so we left after three minutes, even though we'd been eating the free popcorn as we debated staying or not. As an Awkward English Person I thought we stay for an expensive cocktail even though we didn't want to;  as Swiss Clara I flounced out with Marianne and Margot with my held high (I walked VERY fast so that the waitress wouldn't see us).

We ended up at The Old Blue Last as it was the only place around that looked busy.  I've been before to The Old Blue Last before- it's just a pub really, owned by Vice.

Margot was a lot harder to please than Marianne, who was thrilled to be in what she called 'the real London', but eventually she warmed up as we got chatting to three English guys. Obviously I spoke to them in my Swiss accent, even when we somehow split off into three different conversations. I think it was the best performance I have ever given. To make it convincing we pretended that I was the one who spoke the least English- sometimes I would cock my head to the side, smile and say, "Sorry?" and Margot would have to translate for me.


In the end I decided my performance was so good that I wanted, needed, demanded praise for it. I told the guy I was talking to that I was actually from Manchester and he loved it- he was really good at accents so we spent ages talking to each other in our favourite accents- Welsh, Scottish, Scouse- and I told him not to tell his friends I wasn't actually Swiss.

(In the end he did tell them and I after we'd all had a laugh I told one of them that Margot was really from Birmingham which BLEW HIS MIND because he couldn't work out if I was joking or not.)

The French girls chain smoke and I inevitably ended up outside smoking with them. While I smoked my cigarette silently in what I hoped was an enigmatic Swiss manner, three new boys the French girls had been talking to suddenly mentioned they worked for Vice.

"I love Vice!" I said, "I love ze documentaries!"

"Really? Well he's just come back from Syria." one of them said, nodding to his mate.

I really wanted to talk to him about his work and I couldn't be arsed with the accent anymore, so I told them I was from Manchester- and they were really pissed off and walked away!

Now I feel like I'm not allowed to watch Vice documentaries or read their articles, because I pretended to be Swiss and they hate me.

I feel really embarrassed and sad.

Vice hate me.

Now every time I go on the Vice web site at work I feel guilty, as if I'm going to get caught out.

"No Vice for you Clara! If that's even your real name?"

(Uh oh. Shall you tell them, or shall I?)

I cheered up later when a really, really drunk French man approached us and we had a conversation in French and he really thought I was Swiss. To be honest I mainly made a lot of French noises in between smoking- beeeeeen, fin. Beeeeeeeeeeeen, oui ch'pa**, tssssk, oui, oui. Beeeeeeeeen... ch'pa- but it still made me quite proud. I lived in France for three years and I can convincingly make funny noises like a French person!

Stick that in your pipe and fume it!

So- Swiss Clara is cool and interestig, while I'm a raging lunatic with multiple-personality disorder. What else is new?

The day after was another disastrous attempt to stay in with Claire and Jen. We started off sitting on the kitchen counters, having a chat, discussing the night ahead, what's going on here lads... Lauren and Ben went to bed very early when they have should have stayed up and supervised us.

We had a very candid talk about how we are top lads and we raised the question: Why don't more boys do interesting things with their boy parts?

I said that if I was the owner of such a member, I should like to make mine little waistcoats and Claire or Jen- I can't remember who and it is such a good idea that I must credit the author- said they would definitely paint their little pal like a horse and have a laugh pretending to be ride it in a race.

They are like little pets, aren't they? Snug as a bug down there, I imagine.

We spent the whole evening dancing in the kitchen and somehow Jen still ended up outside while Claire tipped a humongous vase of soapy water over her, to teach her a lesson for something or other. I played them Vehl by Kidnap Kid and we listened to it about eight times. 

Future Garage is one of those things like Deep House, Minimal Techno or Post Dubstep that when you first hear the name, you think 'Ey?' and then you hear a Future Garage track and you go:

'Ahhhhh....Future Garage!'

*For all intensive purposes...
**That's je sais pas said very quickly, if you don't know.

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