Saturday, 18 June 2011

breaking up not breaking down

as it turns out, not everything can be solved by a nice cup of tea, though i'd be lying if i said it didn't help, especially after one of those hysterical crying sessions that i hadn't had since not being allowed the packet of biscuits/cereal i wanted whilst being carted around sainsburys age 5. the one where you'd cry so hard that you can't breathe and you forget what got you started in the first place, except that this time you don't forget and you can see yourself and feel ashamed of your scrunched up facial expression and runny orifices.

from previous experience, all you need to get over someone is someone else but at the risk of slipping into a hateful pattern of serial monogamy i'm attempting to go it alone for a while and using the well known tactic of distraction to keep me from thinking of mr x.

throwing yourself into work requires a job, which for the moment, no one seems willing to give me. monday is the day of chasing people up to remind them why hiring me before they go on holiday is the new black. it's strange to be back in london and no, i'm not glad to be back... yet. that'll come once the initial starting over again has started to take shape. i've done the catching up with friends over the last couple of weeks so the order of events now runs thusly: job, flat, happiness, relationship.

not to worry, i still have plenty more comparisons to make. i call this paragraph "vomderground":

after the paris metro with its gangrenous tramps, i found i had this vision of the london underground as this pristine haven, and so it should be for those prices and how insurmountable the barriers are! this vision was cruelly shattered last week when someone threw up 2mm away from my shoe, yes, the lace and tan brogues. it was the welcome back slap in the face that i hadn't expected. in non-london style, i moved away to the other end of the carriage to leave the man to fall into a drunken coma as his terracotta-coloured sick rolled around the carriage. the other passengers seemed more concerned to see if i was ok than him... which was nice.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

it doesn't add up

this is a common sight in the bars and restaurants of paris. the calculation of the bill is a long-winded process immersed in etiquette. under very rare circumstances will someone say "well let's just divide it by 4." it's usually responded with a very po-faced "but you didn't have a coffee and we shared that starter." this, along with the still very apparent use of cheques (spanning the spectrum of grannys at the supermarket to twenty somethings in a restaurant all pulling their cheque books out of their marc jacobs bags) is something i still struggle to get my head around. it's 2011! get a credit card! for the country that invented the chip and pin system it really is a little backward.

the misconception that 'service compris' means that the waiters receive a percentage of the total in tips means that even after the perfect evening, most of ze french are unlikely to leave a tip. what 'service compris' actually means is that unlike in the states, where some places don't pay their staff and they live solely on their tips, the waiters in france are paid at least a minimum wage. this is possibly why french wait staff have a reputation for being surly. chances are it won't make any difference to their income if they bend over backwards to please you or don't crack a smile throughout the entire service.

the other lesson that i learnt, and i don't know if it comes from the fact that in most bars there's table service rather than ordering and paying at the same time, but the french do not buy rounds.

i was at a gig of a friend of mine's not long after i arrived in paris. i got talking to a couple in the queue and once inside i asked them what they were drinking. chuffed with the pub prices and a bit surprised that they only sold beer by the half pint, i paid for our three drinks and they looked at me as if i'd just given them the keys to their dream home (take it, it's yours). gig starts, first half pint goes down a treat and they don't seem to be making any moves bar-wards so i ask if they want another drink "no thanks". off i go on my tod to get another half in. that one goes down too, they're still holding their empty plastic cups, so off i go again realising that that was probably the first and last drink they planned on having that evening. when i got back with my third half pint they were all "ooh, you're an alcoholic!" "actually i'm english... it's not the same thing." they then asked the girl who spent her pre-smoking ban tweens at the brixton academy, what they should do with their cups. "erm... chuck them on the floor." what could have been an instant friendship based on shared musical taste was not to be. pint and a half down, alcoholic, honestly!

Monday, 21 February 2011


i regret to follow up on my last post with another somber toned account of winter in paris. it's nearing the end of february and there are still shops with their christmas decorations up. i'm all for not letting things go to waste but rather than adding warmth to the grey streets it only accentuates the somber feel. of what i remember from last year this drags on into mid-april with abandoned christmas trees in varying states of decay littering the roads. i started a collection of photographs of trees i have seen on my walks. to me they have a certain beaten puppy look about them which pulls at my heart strings.

things are picking up though. i'm feeling more motivated to use the free time that i have more productively and to make more use of what paris has to offer - i haven't been to an exhibition since basquiat. i'm in the process of making a list of european cities i would like to visit. there's something about being on mainland europe that makes weekend trips feel more feasible than when i was in london. i've also just moved up in the world; into the roof of a haussmann in the 20th. that took a lot of time and organising but i'm finally feeling comfortable and at home for the first time since i arrived. spring is just around the corner, i might go and decorate some christmas trees with blossom to cheer them up a little.

Monday, 10 January 2011

samedi, different shit

i've found myself in another rut. i don't know whether it's winter blues but the greyness of paris in january and the drastic lack of light in the flat definitely aren't helping. my creative spark seems to have withered into the form of a small dry mushroom hidden at the back of my brain behind a bunch of heavy boxes that i simply can't face moving in order to start the slow painful process of reviving it. the larger the gap gets between graduating and the present and the deeper i get into a job that frankly doesn't interest me or require any brain power, the more i feel opportunity slipping through my fingers. two months without writing a word, blog neglect guilt is yet another feeling, probably stored in one of the heavy boxes, that needs unpacking.

the french seem to have it mapped out from the age of fifteen. they know exactly what they want to do with their lives and they proceed down the logical path towards their chosen career. they don't stray (they use their social lives for that) and they take the anal french administration system in their stride. opinionated and ready to take to the streets in the name of socialist change, certainly, but in most regards they remain firm traditionalists who want a certified guarantee that something works before having a go.

as usual it's very easy to see other peoples' situations objectively but when it comes to helping myself i get tangled up and defeatist.