mardi 30 juin 2009
But it is more than that.
Facebook has taught me valuable life lessons. Things that I never knew about myself.
In the days BF (Before Facebook), I never knew that my Korean name was Jung-so Hong. I never knew that if I was an airline, I'd be Pan Am. That if I was a stripper, I'd be known as Lovely Swingfest.
Facebook put my mind at rest when it told me that - in no uncertain terms - I would survive the swine flu epidemic. It wasn't wrong.
Sometimes it disappoints - as a West Wing character, FB is convinced that I'd be Toby Ziegler, when we all know that I'm CJ Cregg.
Sometimes it confirms what we have all suspected for a long time - as a Golden Girl, I'd be Blanche. As a Sex and the City girl, I'd be Samantha.
A while ago, I decided to rediscover my spiritual side. I asked Facebook to tell me more. I was a little worried by the truth that it revealed to me.
It seems that I'm a closet Mormon, a troubled Catholic and my Jewishness is around the 10% mark (thanks to a little nip and tuck I received as a baby).
As a Muslim, it tells me that I have a way to go before my Haj pilgrimage. As a Buddhist, I need to chant some more, spin some more prayer wheels. Clutching at straws I asked whether or not I'd be a good Seventh Day Adventist. It seems that Ellen White would 'roll over in her grave' at my lifestyle.
Damn you, evil Facebook, for denying me the pleasure, brotherhood and permission to judge others that only organised religion can bring.
But I guess the most revealing thing that my New Best Friend tells me about myself is that I'm 95% fabulous and that I act like a 12 year-old.
An over-sexed and especially slutty 12 year-old, that is.
lundi 29 juin 2009
Alas, we had to rally and get some energy from somewhere because Saturday was Gay Pride, Paris style. And before the parade there was shopping to be done!
So, we headed off to the Marais via my local shops on Fbg St Antoine, accumulating bags as we went. In fact, the shopping trip was nowhere near as damaging as the previous day's visit to the Blvd Haussmann sales had been. Although, amongst the crowds and the heat I did manage to pick up the most beautiful pair of silver All Stars with 40% off. Too lovely, I'm sure you'll agree.
Anyway, shoes aside, we tootled round the Marais then headed over to join the parade at the pont de Sully, so that we could walk with the floats on the final leg up blvd Henri IV to the place de la Bastille.
Trust me when I say it was hot. Trust me when I say it was crazy.
Despite the huge crowd and the blazing sun, we managed to dance our way up to Bastille. Our fellow marchers were friendly happy and generally all out to have a great time. The streets were lined with spectators and it seemed that truly all walks of life were there - from straight families with kids to gay couples and big groups of friends, and not forgetting the occasional Parisienne grandmother, looking on in bemused, elegant amazement.
Hot, sweaty and desperate for a cold drink and a sit-down, we arrived at the square and decided that we should head back to my apartment - in theory a five minute walk from the end of the parade. I say in theory because, in their infinite wisdom, the police had cordonned off my street - no doubt in an attempt to stop the fabulous gayness from spreading.
The nice police lady who was refusing me entry into my street did say she'd let us past if I could prove my address to her.
I handed her my rainblow flag to hold and started to root through the TBNIL manbag.
It was only when I looked up at the policewoman to explain that no, there was no ID in my bag did I realise how fantastic this picture was.
She was there, in full riot gear and with a face like a bulldog licking piss off a nettle, holding my rainbow flag. She didn't seem to be happy about it. It seemed to amuse her colleagues though.
I guess it was no way to impress her, and so we had to find a different way home. Instead of the five minutes it should have taken, it ended up being a 20-minute schlep round the back streets. But hey, a bottle of champagne, a cold shower and a comfortable sofa was waiting when we finally got there.
Suffice to say, it didn't take long before we were refuelled, recharged and ready to party....
dimanche 28 juin 2009
jeudi 25 juin 2009
You see - and you know me well enough to realise that this isn’t something I say lightly – I’m kind of off casual sex at the moment. I know, it’s stunning right?
See, the thing is this – I really like Florida Boy. Really like him. And I think it’s changing my perspective a bit. It’s definitely making me think about what I’m doing going on endless dates.
Me and FB talk every day online and then again every evening by telephone. In fact he just called as I'm typing this. He makes me laugh, he’s funny, handsome and dirty.
So it’s kind of weird, because he’s so far away, but I know that deep down I don’t want to get involved with anyone until after I’ve seen him in August - and until I’ve decided whether he’s what I think he is or not.
Then, you’ll understand that it was pure curiosity that led me to leave the stag party behind at 2am and head to the Cockring, the infamous Amsterdam gay club.
"Where are you off to?" said the groom.
"I’m kind of straight-barred out," I said. "I’m going to find something else. You’ll be ok without me, right?"
The groom was, at this stage, barely able to speak and propped up against the bar in an awful Irish pub just of Dam Square. We’d been there for what seemed like hours and hours. Football was being repeated on the big screen. It was so not my scene.
"You off then, mate?" this was the Lost Phone Boy, less drunk than the night before, but equally obnoxious.
"Yeah, thought I’d go find somewhere a bit livelier".
"I’ll come with you – where are you going?"
"I’ll maybe just stay here a bit longer." And with that he skulked back over to the bar.
So I got to the Cockring and it was crowded. And it was small. And hot. And smelly. The place was full of good-looking guys though, so that helped my mood. I did a bit of a tour and ended up standing with my beer at the edge of the dancefloor, admiring the moves of a rather bear-ish Dutchman.
The dancefloor in the Cockring isn’t large, and there was a tiny stage at one side. As I wondered what on earth it could be used for, my question was answered in the shape of two handsome young men. One was blond, short and hairy, and was wearing a leather kilt. The other tall, dark and muscled and wearing a pair of, well, a pair of see-through underpants.
It doesn’t really matter what they were wearing though, as both were naked within minutes and brandishing their ‘weapons’ at the crowded dancefloor. They waved their bits at the crowd and then at each other. Then they started to wave each other's bits at the crowd....
What was the most stunning thing about this, however, wasn’t the show itself – let’s face it, we’ve all seen men with erections dancing naked on tables, right – but more the fact that nobody was watching.
Everyone was dancing and dancing hard to some Katy Perry remix. She’s hot and she’s cold, apparently.
And then I saw why everyone was dancing. There was a guy dealing. No, wait, there were lots of guys dealing. Seems ecstasy was going round the room faster than a dose of herpes. No wonder the boys just wanted to dance.
Well, I know you’d be disappointed to hear that I stood back and watched. That I didn’t participate fully. So with the spirit of my youth pushing me forward, I scored, I swallowed and I danced.
So let's get this clear. I was feeling great, in a happy, lovely, dancing, fabulous mood, as were the rest of the boys in the room. The bar was full of handsome, friendly guys who were out for a good time. I even chatted to a guy or two, and got bought a drink by a handsome Mexican.
So despite all of this, nothing happened.
No kissing, no snogging, no heavy petting. No 'come back to mine', no 'let's go to the darkroom', no 'there's a sauna round the corner you know...'. Nothing.
All of the above could easily have happened, but it didn't. I didn't want it to happen. I shied away. I just wanted to dance, smile and generally have fun.
I'm a bit worried, to be honest.
Do you think that maybe there is something wrong with me?
Please don't tell me it's love, because, quite frankly, that's ridiculous.
mercredi 24 juin 2009
With images of strippers, tanked up lads and lost afternoons in coffeeshops filling my head, I boarded the Thalys with a trolley bag full of dread. Really, this wasn’t the weekend I would have chosen.
The problem is, though, that as best man I had absolutely no way of getting out of the stag weekend, nor did I have any chance of fading into the background and slipping quietly away. What I needed to do was embrace it. Start to look forward to it. Find a way to enjoy – more than enjoy, to love - this weekend.
If you look at it positively, then there are many things to look forward to. Spending the weekend with ‘the boys’, drinking the days away, the occasional joint, dancing late into the morning to crap music with a group of sweaty guys. Sounds just like any other weekend when I put it like that.
Well, it turns out that this isn’t what happened.
From a group of 9, only five turned up – including me and the groom. And the other three were fairly nerdy, pretty geeky and mostly looking forward to watching the Grand Prix on the TV on Sunday afternoon. Jesus wept.
So, it's Friday night and we're planning to go out on the town, but the groom has been smoking dope all afternoon and he’s in no state to go anywhere. I told you it was a classy weekend, right? In the end, I take the other three to meet up with my Amsterdam friend (thank the Lord for friends in ‘high’ places) who is playing in a band that night.
We have a pretty good night, except that at one stage, one of the geeks loses his phone.
"My phone has been stolen from my pocket" he said to me. "I need you to find it for me."
"Erm, that’s not going to happen. Are you sure it’s been stolen?"
"Yes, I am. And you’re in charge so you need to find it"
You can imagine how well this has conversation is going down with me. But it turns out that there’s a reason for his panic. It seems he works for a government ministry and there is sensitive data contained within the depths of his Crackberry. The data must have been pretty sensitive because the boy is practically crying.
Despite it being a lost cause, I enrol the help of my Amsterdam friend, and he heads off to ask around and see if anyone has handed it in. Like that ever happens.
Amsterdam friend came back ten minutes later.
"I’ve asked at the bar," he said, talking to the Lost Phone Boy, "and the barmaid said you’re a wanker".
"Wha….?" Said LPB.
"I also asked at the cloakroom, and she said you’re a wanker too."
"And then I asked the bouncer, but he just said that you’re a wanker."
And that was pretty much the exact moment that the little, weedy, geeky Lost Phone Boy punched my tall, solid, rock-god, Amsterdam friend. Right on the nose.
It was also the exact moment that I left the bar.
I figured that there was more fun to be found elsewhere.
It turned out that I was right…..
(oh, and the LPB had left his phone in his bedroom, so it had never been stolen. This didn't stop him getting a huge bollocking from his employers though....he he)
lundi 22 juin 2009
vendredi 19 juin 2009
So, as the Paris 'season' draws to a close, I thought I'd give you some of my highlights and lowlights of the year....
Highlights would have to include the excellent production of Talking Heads by Alan Bennett at the Theatre du Rond Point des Champs Elysées. Great writing, well translated and then perfectly staged and acted. Shame that the subtle Englishness of some of the comedy was lost on the French audience - how many French people really picked up on the fact that a woman moving from Roundhay to Harrogate really does have 'ideas above her station'....?
Equally great, but surprisingly so was the Tings Tings at the Bataclan. A small venue and a group with an equally small repertoire. I was expecting a car crash and I got 45 minutes of pure pop excellence - highly charged performance that energised the audience and got everyone dancing (which doesn't happen all that often at French gigs).
The other expected car crash that turned out to be brilliant was this week's concert by Marianne Faithfull. She hasn't got the best voice in the world, was singing off sheets (such is her lack of memory) and she seemed a bit drunk, but boy did she rock. Amazing performance. I cried during the Ballad of Lucy Jordan. An experience I'll remember for a long long time.
Amongst the other female performers who rocked my scene this year have been the fantastic Aimee Mann (sublime) and the newcomer Little Boots - a good set and a great performer.
The modern dance evening at the Palais Garnier was also sublime, with an incredibly disturbing final piece that the French found funny.
Disappointment has come in the shape of performers and performances that should have been brilliant.
Rufus Wainwright - my future husband - really didn't cut it earlier this week at the Cité de la Musique. He was alone with his piano and chose a maudling selection of songs, occasionally brightened up by a couple of his oldest numbers. He seemed unprepared and the setlist seemed like it had been thrown together at the last minute. For a big Rufus fan like myself it was really sad.
Equally sad was Morissey deciding to cancel his Paris gig. He's threatening a return in November though, so we'll have to wait and see how that turns out.
And finally, Matthew Bourne's Edward Scissorhands ballet at the Theatre du Chatelêt should have been excellent. I saw the original staging at Sadlers Wells and it was fabulous in a weird, dark, fantastic kind of way. The Paris show was just not right. Something about it was lacking. It just didn't do it for me.
Other concerts included Fleet Foxes, who would have been great if they'd only sung one or two songs, the Killers who absolutely blew me away, and a great presentation by Semyon Bychkow of Rchard Strauss and Shostakovich at the Opera Bastille. The Shostakovich - symphony 7, 'Leningrad' - was truly spectacular.
Chosing the event of the year would be difficult. I really would struggle to pick one from all of them, so here's the top three:
- Aimee Mann
- Marianne Faithfull
....hmm, I want to add Tings Tings to the top three as well.
All rocked. All were amazing, and I left all four of these concerts feeling buoyed, moved and ready to take on the world.
Surely that's what music is all about?
mercredi 17 juin 2009
mardi 16 juin 2009
Both GFW1 and GFW2 are lovely. Both have families now and are working moms, but both manage to be very cool, very stylish and hilariously funny. We always have a great evening out, despite the fact that I generally lean back and listen as they talk at each other.
So, we went to a great place in Kenilworth for dinner. Kenilworth is a pretty little town in Warwickshire - complete with tumbly down castle. It is also home to GFW2's MacMansion. Truly, this house is e-nor-mous. But then, GFW2 has always been able to sniff out the money, ha ha.
Anyway, we're sat at dinner in this fancy restaurant and we're remembering the last time that we ate there as a threesome....
We arrived for dinner at the usual time. GFW1 had driven me - unusually, as I'm normally the driver - and she'd driven us in her fairly old 'mom-mobile', a Renault Mégane Scenic.
GFW2 arrived and we ordered and started to work our way through the fabulous food.
Sometime shortly after the starter plates had been cleared, the Maitre d' cleared his throat and asked, loudly, if anyone was driving a Renault Scenic. He had an edge of panic to his voice.
GFW1 put her hand in the air - yes, just like being at school - and said that it was her car.
"You may wish to follow me Madame", he said. "It seems that there is a problem with your car".
I went with GFW1, out to the car park at the back of the restaurant. We arrived just in time to see her car burst into flames. Literally. Bang. Flames. Lots of them.
Apparently, one of the kitchen staff had seen smoke coming from the engine and had alerted the Maitre d'. Alas, it was too late by the time we got out there.
Not only was the car on fire, but it was not doing the cars on either side of it any good. Alas, the flames were such that it was impossible to move those cars and all the other drivers could do was sit and watch as their cars went up in flames too. Oh, and they called their insurers.
The fire brigade took an age to arrive - as in many small towns in the UK, the brigade is a voluntary one and you need to wait for the firemen to finish their dinners, get out of the bath or get off the golf course before they tackle the blaze. In the meantime, the kitchen staff had tackled the blaze as best they could with the kitchen extinguishers.
As we sat back down for dinner, once the blaze had died down, GFW1 turned to me.
"Well, at least I'm no longer the designated driver" she said. And she promptly ordered a double gin and tonic.
I think she needed it. She definitely deserved it.
lundi 15 juin 2009
Every time I go home, I do the same things, with the same people. Dinner with the Girls From Work (the chickies I worked with 20 years ago...), drinks with Lovely colleagues, a day with the Nephew and Niece, Mother ever-present and hovering in the background.
So this time I decided to spice it up a bit.
There's a guy who I met a while ago in Brum, in a club, and we've kept in touch ever since - albeit in a very loose, surface, vague interest kind of way. He had recently asked if I wanted to do something when I was next over, so I said sure, why not.
As he launched into his third beer and his fifteenth non-anecdote I realised that this was a mistake. He was possibly the dullest person I'd met in a long time. And he should have been so interesting. On paper he's a really fascinating person - he's lived in Tokyo, in Cairo and in Tel Aviv and has spent much of his adult life travelling.
Alas, the paper was more interesting than the flesh and blood. It was dullsville. Truly dull.
Anyone who has spent any time with me will know that I have an anecdote for all occasions. A tale for every situation. I appreciate that this can be a bit much. But this guy - the stories were neither funny, nor interesting.
So, we drank a few beers and then he asked me if I wanted to 'do something'. Now, dearest reader, the guy is boring, but he is hot. Physically, he ticks every box, and then some that I never thought needed ticking.
He is tall, strong, muscled. He has a hairy chest, a short beard and a twinkle in his eye.
How could I say no. We skipped off back to his place in a fancy city-centre loft.
However - and this is where I need to issue a 'too much information' alert - it turns out that he wasn't as well proportioned as I'd hoped.
There were two things wrong.
Firstly, he had the smallest tackle I've ever seen. I mean, this was small. It was like a teeny tiny acorn sat in a birds nest of pubic hair.
He was neither a shower nor a grower. He was underdeveloped.
It's not like I'm a big size queen, but I knew as the shorts were dropped that this wouldn't end well.
And as awful as this was (truly, at one point he was walking towards me naked and I thought he'd tucked it between his legs) it was nothing compared to the other physical disaster.
"What could be worse than a non-dick?" I hear you ask.
Well, the thing is, he had unfeasibly long legs. I mean long. He was probably six foot four, and most of that was leg.
This, combined with a refusal to just lie on his back (I told you this was too much information, sorry) made for, erm, 'difficult' lovemaking.
It was like a shetland pony trying to shag a clydesdale.
It was almost physically impossible. Note that I say almost.
As I tried my hardest to make the most of a bad situation, as my dignity ebbed slowly away and as my desire for the evening to reach a happy ending slipped out of view over the horizon, who do you think was forefront in my mind?
Yes, dear reader, it was you.
And there's the moral of the story. No matter how undignified, boring, awkward or nasty a situation is, it is ALWAYS good for the blog.
My discomfort is your pleasure. My pain, your gain.
His small penis, your big laugh.
At least, I hope you are laughing....
samedi 13 juin 2009
Anyway, she was thrilled to see me, and had something she wanted me to see>
"Uncle, come and look at my brother's willy - it's really hard..."
At this point, I started to wonder what kind of freaks make up my family. Luckily my brother stepped in with an explanation.
"He's been to Tae Kwon Do," he said, "and he's still wearing his protective underpants".
And so he was. Alas, that was all he was wearing.
I accepted the offer of a cup of tea, put my cases down and sank into the sofa.
My niece was dressed as a mermaid, my nephew naked but for backless underwear. My brother was picking at his feet and my sister-in-law was busy with a cookery experiment involving packet mash and tinned beef.
The room was full to the brim of rubbish, crap, junk. A full cast of High School Musical dolls. A Deathstar and TIE fighter. Two televisions. Three two-foot piles of magazines and at least five different Dora the Explorer dolls, in various guises. On top of this was yesterday's dinner plates and last night's pyjamas. And two half full bottles of Pepsi Max.
As I sat there in the surrealist of surroundings and chatted with my six-year-old, jockstrap wearing nephew about his day at school, I truly wondered what was going to lie ahead over the days to come. What freakishness would my friends and family deliver over the next 72 hours?
I hate to give you a cliffhanger, but suffice to say that I haven't been dissappointed. There's more to follow.
Meanwhile, however, I must get back to my Mother - she's just produced some 'Weight Watchers' toast dripping with butter and jam for a suppertime snack.
Oh yes folks, this truly is la vida loca....
mardi 9 juin 2009
dimanche 7 juin 2009
vendredi 5 juin 2009
I booked TGV tickets for me and Debbie and off we skipped. We had two hours in Avignon - plenty of time for what we needed to achieve. Well, it would have been, had we not missed our train.
We missed our train and so our leisurely two hour meeting became, by the time we arrived inthe south, a rushed twenty minute affair. Craziness. Instead of signing the contract with our new customer in a hotel meeting room, we did it sat on the steps outside the Avignon TGV station. Funny, but not my most professional of moments.
Anyway, the train home, we find ourselves in what appears to be the military carriage.
Me, Debbie, the strange woman opposite with lots of bags - and fifty soldiers. All in uniform. All with guns.
It was kind of unnerving (and not a little exciting - they seem to issue pants that are one size too small in the French army, thus ensuring tightness across the thighs and bottom *swoon*), but everyone soon settled down and me and Debbie fell asleep.
I woke up to see that the woman opposite was clutching a large bag on her lap. She'd been sat in the same position when I nodded off except that now she seemed to be holding on to it like it was the crown jewels.
As we approached Paris and the Gare de Lyon, she unzipped the bag. Debbie shot me a look as if to say 'what on earth?'.
The woman put her head next to the open bag and started talking baby-talk into the bag. Real goo-goo-ga-ga stuff.
And then, in one smooth manouevre, she pulled out of the bag the biggest, fattest, ugliest cat I've ever seen in my life. This cat was fugly. And enormous.
The cat, god bless it, was either asleep, dead, drugged or just lazy. The woman, however, was having none of this lethargy and started to shake the cat.
She shook it like Louise Woodward would shake a toddler, but got absolutely no reaction from the cat.
She caught me and Debbie looking at her.
"He has been on his holidays in the countryside. He is worn out." She said.
"Maybe he just needs to sleep", said I, the non-cat-expert.
"I think you'll find that I know what's best for him!" said the clearly crazy cat lady. She slammed him down on the table between our seats.
The cat woke up, screaming.
"See?" she said. "He just needs to see that he's back in Paris. He's really missed the city."
"Haven't we all?" said I, my eyes wandering to the to the tight-trousered Army boys, all busy manhandling their luggage off the train.
"Haven't we all...."
jeudi 4 juin 2009
With this (and your sanity) in mind, I thought I'd give you a bit of a character list - much like the kind of thing you find at the beginning of really complex novels. You know the ones - the kind where thirty pages in you go "Who on earth is Captain Hanshaw?"
So here goes. I hope it helps. Lord knows, it might help me...
This is the boy that I like a lot. He's the one in Paris who makes my heart beat faster. He's handsome and sexy and funny and *swoon* be still my beating heart. He's also the one least likely to commit, the most difficult to pin down to a next date and incredibly focussed on passing his exams.
Now, imagine a thirty-year-old guy who rides a skate board, dresses like he's from Linkin Park, has piercings (various) and a silly sense of humour. That's skater boy. He's also very cute, a bit of a geek and into role-playing card games (no, I don't know what that means either). He's good in the sack, hot as a hot thing and always a pleasure to have visit....but he's not boyfriend material.
A handsome, forty-something postman of Italian origins. He's in great shape and is frequently happy to buy me a beer before we throw each other around the bedroom. I can't ever really see anything going on beyond the beer and bedroom thing, but hey - he's fun. Oh, and he in-line skates....
Jersey came to Paris this spring for a couple of weeks with his job. He's the boy who cried in the Dépot, who cried in the street and who cried in both of our beds. He also cried when I waved him off to the airport, so that won him points. He's now back in Jersey with his dog and says he doesn't miss Paris, but that he does miss me. Go figure that this is going nowhere.
the Fierce People
These are my lovely friends - the American trust-funder and his hard working French boyfriend - who I go drinking with, share laughs galore with and who cook me fabulous food served on the best china. Alas, the proposition of a foursome with Jersey was a low point in our friendship. We laugh about it now. Kind of.
Lovely Paris Friend (now living in the south)
This is my beautifully handsome, charming, funny and overly truthful friend who I miss dearly. After being my big Paris buddy, he moved to the south, where he lives in self-imposed exile, in the sunshine, but out of the limelight - I know which he prefers, and it isn't the sunshine, honey.
Dumb Ass Yank
A recent visitor to these shores, but a long-time visitor to these pages. This is the guy who came to Paris and made me realise how much I miss having a really great friend who lives locally. He's fun, funny and saying goodbye to him was hard. He also has the whitest, glow-in-the-dark-est teeth I've ever seen. And can quote scenes from any film you'd ever care to mention. He also has a great blog. Go visit, you'll be impressed.
Irish Dutch Friend
One of the best gifts these pages have ever given me. Someone that I know I'll still be hanging out with, acting like an idiot and drinking myself silly with in fifty year's time - if either of us make it. If you haven't read his pages, then why not? Start now.
Oh my. What to do/say/think about this one? Well, he's lovely. He's fabulous. He lives in Florida. If he lived in Europe I'm sure we'd be married with a dog, a doublewide and a 4x4 by now. Alas, he's in Florida. We speak every day. He sends me gifts. He makes me feel giddy. Did I mention that he's in Florida?
Then on top of this lot there are various family, friends, bloggers and boyz who have cameo roles. Walk on parts. Extras, if you like. My crazy Mother, for example. Or the American guy who brought his husband round for a threesome. Or my lovely boss.
And of course there's Debbie.
Lovely, crazy, forthright, slutty, beautiful, mad, psychopathic, schizophrenic Debbie.
We all love Debbie.