Boulangerie indeed, ladies and Gs, and merry Christmas too while we're at it. Yes, it is true, I surprised my beloved with a trip to Paris last week, which is a brilliant and super-romantic thing to do and I urge you all to do it, as we really did have a gay old time.
As you know from when I was leaving, my girl knew nothing about it and thus went out and got flipping slaughtered, and she was still pissed when we boarded the plane. Tragically for her, the inevitable hangover kicked in with all the brute f0rce of a fleet of cotdang TANKS just before we landed, but the excitement carried her through and she did not punch anyone in the eye or anything. My good buddy superproducer Stephen "Winlord" Hague had hooked us up with some sweet ass digs bang in the heart of the city, and advised us to take cabs everywhere because "they're piss cheap". It was when the cabbie's meter crossed the €50 line that I remembered that Stephen and I exist in different tax brackets for now. Nothing in Paris is cheap (apart from shoes) - we got licked €6.10 for a half liter bottle of water in one joint. "These Parisians are crazy!" I said, tapping my head, which was an hilarious Asterix joke that only I got.
Still, my girl was so happy to have been taken to Paris she let my bad jokes pass without comment for the whole first day. Here she is, bowling merrily down Rue Des Archives, like that Haters Gonna Hate guy.
That was on route to the Gay bit and the Jew bit, which are handily right next to each other, and equally splendid. The Jew bit in particular was super awesome. We enjoyed the Best Ice Cream In The World (they use a flipping spatula to carve a multi-flavoured ice cream sculpture atop the cone, sod your gaudy scoop), and I picked up not one, but TWO pairs of amazing steel toe-capped cowboy boots from a nice little clothes spot called The King Of Fripp, an incredible bargain at just €50 for the pair, the result of some dope ass Pigeon-French haggling from me and the Parisian nonchalance of the dude behind the counter, who was immersed in French versions of popular rap songs and that piss-awful Jay-Z version of Forever Young.
Indeed, the middle bit of France that we were in was dead posh and classy, and everyone you saw looked like they'd stepped out of bloody Vogue or something. All the men had curly brown hair and sunglasses and a four-day-old dusting of Beard, and the women all looked like they'd been taught to walk. Well, obviously they'd all been taught to walk, but you know what I mean. The women of Paris on the whole are a very pretty and bosomy lot, so my girl fitted right in. My beard was far too awesome to blend in, however, and I suffered many long, envious stares from men on motorbikes with ladies sat behind them chain smoking cigarettes. Paris is fill of men and women riding around in pairs on motorcycles, chain smoking cigarettes.
I was excited to discover that Parisians really do love wine a whole bloody lot, as evidenced above. We had lots of wine while we were out there, and it was all grayte, thanks very much. I was also amazed to discover that Phil Collins still has a big ass career over there. He was on the radio in the taxi on the way from the airport, and Paris was covered in big ass posters advertising his new album and accompanying tour. He was in all the magazines as well, boasting about his many wives and his incomparable musical ability. The magazines were full of tits actually, and they even adorned the covers of the gossip rags! Here are Daisy Lowe's:
You know what else I found odd about Paris? All the cop cars are knackered. Like, proper knackered. Like, losing a wanted level on GTA4 knackered. I met a policeman, he was actually very nice. We were cycling the wrong way down a road at midnight on one of those awesome bikes they have everywhere that you can rent for a single euro, thus avoiding those "piss cheap" cabs and having a proper adventure type thing, and I styled it out by doing my confused Englishman thing - "mon applogie, je suis un spasteeque angletere" - eliciting a frown, followed by a smile and a dismissal.
The bikes were actually our favourite thing about Paris. They're dead easy to hire, when you read the instructions - you just stick your debit card in a slot and type in a bunch of numbers and presto! Beeciclete! They are smaller than London's "Boris Bikes" as well, and they don't have adverts all over them. We rode ours all over the shop, escaping our posh hood to explore the hills and the river and and the bits Jeres described as, "a little rough and ready but that's where real people are and you can buy second hand shoes for one euro." That was Sacre Coeur, and while it didn't seem particularly rough to me, it did remind me of how I felt when I first walked across Brooklyn, and that heady, joyous rush is a thing I will never forget. I bloody loved it up there, and would move there in an instant, although I'd have to learn French first, obviously, as mine is bloody appalling. I spent a whole day saying "Bonsoir" to people, after hearing it the previous evening and thinking it to be a cooler way of saying hello than "Bonjour". My beloved declined to tell me it meant "good evening" until day three, for reasons best known to her self.
Still, I only made a bit of a tit of myself, and in the main I think we were both tres cool and awesome. I thought pretty much everything was "fantastique", much to my girl's amusement, but it was, and I say that anyway, so there. Nobody seemed to mind, and people kept stopping me to tell me how ace my shoes were, and a whole boatload of people waved at me from a bridge,and I got lost and found my way back using only French words and grunting whilst remaining totally supercool, so I felt like I was "walking with Allah", (as Malcolm X would have it). Indeed, I had many signs that we were "walking with Allah", (as Malcolm X would have it), like when I reclined on the bed in our hotel with the reflective ceiling and switched the telly on, and the first thing I saw was an advert for some chicken soundracked by Chilly Gonzales' Working Together.
French TV on Sunday afternoon is mental, full of superviolent gun dramas with comical blood effects, whole families getting merked, and loads of F-bombs. Flick through a gang of channels full of that stuff and you get some respite in the form of a similarly mental sit-down variety show full of old men crooning weird rock 'n' roll and torch ballads to a reception fit for Le Beatles Dans Le Sixties, bright orange 30-something ladies doing pretty 9 minute folk songs to what might generously be described as A Polite Smattering Of Applause, and crazy nutjobs in thunderbirds glasses, red bowties, braces and little straw butchers hats perched jauntily atop their bouncy dark curls, singing hardcore fucking SOUL MUSIC. To the sort of applause one might expect in a Roman amphitheatre just after the lions eat the slaves.
(Oh, and those last two plurals were really singulars, but I was deep within the flow, and this blog post has already taken far too much of my Sunday as it is)
The show's edits are really big on reaction shots from the other guests, who try to look enthusiastic, until everybody goes genuinely apeshit when some lithe young fellow with half a tub of bryclream on his head busts out The Longest And Most Vigorous Down On Knees Sax Solo I have seen since fucking Lost Boys, and that wasn't live.
I actually watched more TV in Paris than I have in years, but that's mainly because I stayed up until 3am one night watching the pop music video channel. They seem to enjoy a healthy mix of French VS English language stuff in their charts, a decidedly unhealthy amount of Black Eyed Peas And David Guetta songs, and a whole lot of nostalgia - I counted 9 songs in the top twenty that were direct pastiches of sixties and seventies records. And while the lyrical content seemed a pretty typical mix of Boy Meets Girl and I Just Wanna Party, the number one song was about a Black Panther.
I said, "it doesn't feel like being in the new Nazi Germany, does it?" as we passed a gypsy begging on the side of the road. "Not really," said Charlotte, who'd just had her hair straightened, and as the granddaughter of a Romany Gypsy was essentially in disguise. We noticed that Parisian cleaners are mostly black, just like ours (but much better at their jobs - Paris is spotless, all the time). I wondered how long it would be until the tables turned once more, and how long it had really been since they were last the other way around. We argued about Aboriginals, who I pointed out were still hunted by whites in Australia as game as recently as the fifties or something. "They're not black!" protested Charlotte, with indignation. "What are they?" I demanded, "Blue?"
We didn't see the sex-contortion exhibition up by the Moulin Rouge, but we looked in the window. It was a beautiful day. Charlotte bought some flip flops for €5 (shoes, after all, being the only cheap things in Paris), and I binged on fizzy pop (€1.70 a can), knowing that I would be quitting the stuff on my return to England. We walked for hours, taking in the scenery, marvelling at the architecture, glad in the knowledge that there's a truly amazing (like New York is truly amazing) city practically on our doorstep, there for us to visit whenever we like, with the possibility of moving there so long as I can stay off the fizzy pop and learn the lingo, and Charlotte can afford to keep getting her hair straightened.
We got the train to Charles De Gaulles, which was cheap and fun and informative. I read a French magazine and understood a great deal of it, and Charlotte watched the pretty late-summer scenery fly by. Soon we were flying home - not on the big Air France super-plane we'd been expecting, but on a propeller powered sardine can no bigger than a school bus that resembled bloody Spitfire, and couldn't land for some reason, necessitating a 45 minute lap around Heathrow's airspace before we could make our bouncy decent (not that I minded, I was enthralled with my copy of Sci-Fi Art Essentials, from the makers of Imagine FX). When we got out our nostrils were filled with stink, and our eyes boggled at the filth that covers London's streets. What a dirty city this is! We'd better get our act together in time for the
Staged Alien Invasion olympics, else it won't just be creepy and laughable cardinals slagging us off.
Thanks to the great Dr Hague & Dana, Jeres, and the staff of the Hotel du Vieux Saule, which has the illest shower I have ever seen. And thank you for keeping each other entertained with dope stuff in the comments. Winners will be announced tomorrow.