Monday, 24 June 2013

What a weekend!

Good lord.

Yea, three days of blog to catch up on. Let's not hang about.


La fête de la Musique, or The Million Gigs. Million is no understatement; anyone who could hold a guitar the right way up two times out of three was strumming as if their very lives depended on it. I made my way into Paris after my usual Friday lesson, feeling quite horrifically ill. This was a theme that, like many of the songs I heard, would start softly and develop into something quite different over three movements. While out, I got a great message - a friend of mine, a fantastic friend, is travelling all across the world and she was in Paris that very night. Indeed, she - +Katy Campbell - is here until later this week, and she lives such a glamourous lifestyle that it's impossible not to adore her. I also got to meet her cousin and her cousin's best friend, both of whom are on their way to Madrid where they're nominated for an international film award against Sir Ben Kingsley.

Yeah. That Sir Ben Kingsley. (Credit: +David Shankbone/Wiki commons)

Like I said - glamorous lifestyle. Their names are Brandon Miradi and Bryan Becker, for the film Revolve. I've not seen it, but meeting these guys was the best part of my weekend - funny, charming, utterly disarming. In fact, they were so much fun that I figured I'd see them again. More on that later.

Friday itself was a mix of music; strolling through the city meant I got little auditory tidbits, a little rock and roll here, a little jazz there; here a drum circle, here a group of drunken stoners banging empty pots (though as the night wore on the line between the two became more than a little blurred). At half past one, thoroughly drunk - it was the Negroni at the Brooklyn Bar that finished me off - I managed to lose Katy, Brandon and Bryan and decided to make my way home. I thought this would be easy. I thought the RER would run all night.

Oh boy, was I wrong.

It wasn't as bad as it could have been; the location in which I'd lost my friends was close to a station that the 14, which was one of the only lines still running, serves. The 14 goes to St Lazare, whence my night bus departed. That was the longest, drunkest, most uncomfortable journey of my life. There is nothing so horrible as being drunk enough to want to get off a bus, but sober enough to know that if you do you'll never get home. It's easier to simply be drunk or sober. In the middle is No Man's Land.

In amy case, that brings us to a 4.30am weaving walk back to the flat and a 5am collapse into bed, still full clothed. A few short hours my phone, which had gone from 100% to 1% in 6 hours and then lasted another 5 hours at 1%, went off to remind me that it was a glorious new day and I should get up.

I had to get up, because my alarm requires you to calculate some basic mathematics (this morning's 4-part questionnaire featured 15 x 5 + 12) before it turns off. Not only does it wake you up, but it wakes you up and really annoys you. To join in my pain/fun, you can get the app here (android only). Waking up meant that is must have been


The second movement of my illness. The Dark Knight of my nose and throat. The crescendo which culminated in deafness and no voice, just the thing when one is wandering around and performing magic tricks for students and parents of students who paid triple-digit sums to be there. Ever seen a magician ask you to take a card and then watched in horror as he apparently emptied the entire contents of his brain into a handkerchief? And then didn't even produce a rabbit from the sodden rag? It's not nice, I imagine, and from the looks I got I believe I am correct in that assumption. Nonetheless, a couple of little pieces I've been working on went exceptionally well, and the effect will be multiplied when I can

  1. Speak the same language as my audience with fluidity, grace, and less snot
  2. Hear my audience
  3. Take a breath without choking like a hanged man.
So that's enormously exciting. It was also the first outing for a new deck, which I can't show you just yet, but I assure you they're exceptionally nicely done. Alright, since I'm a show-off (I'm an amateur magician; as I am sure +Derren Brown has said, magicians are simply children who never learned to stop saying "look at me!") the four horsemen are below. In classic cards, they were supposed to represent four great rulers - Caesar, Alexander, Charles and David. 

I don't see it, personally.

The night was incredible. The cruise was unbelievable, and Paris by night and by river is the most romantic thing I've experienced. And I experienced it with a colleague who's been married for several years and has a child; I can't help but imagine what it would have been like with Mary. Still, there'll be other times. In any case, here's a picture of that tower that's always hanging about in the background of Paris. Apologies for quality.
Gaudy, awful, brilliant thing.

Statue of Liberty. Made way less sense after a drink.
There were stars above and stars below that night as this year's BDE turned out to congratulate last year's graduates and, as the clock turned towards 11, a great gaggle of this year's students waited at the quay for our return - not for us to get off, but to get on, as the party would continue until 4.30am. I confess I flaked out at a measly 2.30, but this time the bus ride was not quite so bad - only fatigue assaulted me this time, in place of the previous night's nausea.

The fatigue was because France apparently does not stock non-drowsy anti-allergy medication, and so I'd held off on taking a tablet until the last moment in case they were as strong as the pharmacist told me they were. I took one before I got on the bus and was woken up as we pulled alongside the residence, so the answer to that unspoken question is apparently yes. I've got them on my desk and I'm eying them with great suspicion; perhaps it is some lingering pride but something smaller than my little finger's nail should not have the capacity to put me out like it did, because put me out it did. I slept through until 2pm on


when I was supposed to be meeting Katy in Paris, at ohshitonefortyfiveshitshitSHIT. I text her conveying my sincere and everlasting apologies and received in response a message so chilled I suspected I was communicating with a snowman. I really cannot express how much that was appreciated; anyone who knows me knows I hate being late for anything. I still hated myself, but at least she didn't hate me too. We met up at Châtelet-les-Halls and found a little restaurant to tuck into some grub and while away the hours speaking about nothing of great importance. I mostly listened, a consequence of an enormous and delicious burger and the fact that Katy's stories are wonderful. She's the one who got me onto the student newspaper at Aberdeen and into PR later still. She is a Big Deal.

Later that day we met up with Bryan, whom I helped chat up a French girl - I am on purely wingman duties for the foreseeable future - and had a very slow, very enjoyable drink and chat. Bryan is amusing, intelligent, and an actor. It doesn't hurt much that he has cheekbones you can shave with, eyes you can drown in, five o'clock shadow you could use to sand a door. He is the very pinnacle of good looks and an actor. By rights I should despise him immediately and mock him incessantly. Instead, he's such a nice guy that I couldn't help but get along with him. Brandon, Katy's cousin, was just as nice; a quick wit and a passionate foodie it was he who had found the restaurant we dined in later that night. It's called Le Verre Volé and it was pretty good. Nowhere near as good as I'd hoped, I confess, but I had high expectations. Any other night it would have got a solid recommendation, but this time - worth visiting, but not worth going out of your way for.

The bill was high, but not too much, and before long we were out into the fresh air again. I said quick goodbyes and dashed to the train station, making the last train for home by thirty seconds. I was home and in bed by 3. The fact that I counted that an early night can not be a good sign.

Three days is enough in one go, I think. Any more and you will start to chew off your own arms. Drop by tomorrow for more of my +Third Year Abroad.