April 28, 2006

Jess presents…The Berets

I finished at my school today (capped off, despite my utterly disgusting cold, by a leaving party with my favourite class:)

The Girls of 1PA

and I suddenly realised I only have a week left in Paris. This is quite scary, 8 months have passed very very fast indeed. I got to thinking about how best to sum up the experience I have had and I decided, completely logically, to have my own awards ceremony for myself. THE BERETS!!

Funniest education moment of the Paris/Courbevoie experience: Today, on my last day of school, when I asked a group of student if they knew the name of the British national anthem and someone replied: 'I Will Survive'. I picked myself up off the floor 10 minutes later.

Funniest non-education moment of the Paris/Courbevoie experience: Joint winners of turning up to the assistantship training day in Neuilly in the clothes I'd been out in (sober, worryingly!) the night before and giggling at all the over–serious Americans with a very cute, very unserious American guy; waking up one Thursday morning with a French lesbian's phone number and having no idea how I got it.

Best gastronomic moment: A three–course meal at Le Ciné in Place de Clichy which cost €13 (about a tenner) and was utter melt in the mouth. (an ashamed part of me is also calling out for Pizza Hut France's mozzarella breadsticks to be recognised…)

Best drunken moment: A tie! Between falling 7foot off the stage in Loco on a Wednesday night's entertainment with Chris M; being asked 'how much I charge' whilst waiting at a Champs Elysees bus stop by a man driving past; and of course, my first week utter wastedness of getting lost on the Metro, missing the last train home and throwing up in a Metro station bin.

Most romantic moment: Surprising young Mathew by taking him to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle as his first sight on his first trip to Paris. Aaaaah.

My finest hour in my French-speaking career: Joint winners of: giving an interview in French for a Ministry of Education DVD; and calling the emergency services for myself when I accidentally ate peanut oil round a friend's house!

Best almost-being-French moment: One of Lucy's French friends being surprised when I was English and not French.

Worst English-tourist-extraordinaire moment: Trying to tell a guy I met in a bar it was better to be reckless than a coward and accidentally going a bit too far and calling him a pussy…

Most useful French phrase learnt whilst in Paris: 'putain' (meaning anything from 'bugger' to 'motherfucker' depending on context and just how angry you are) and various sounds such as 'eh, bah, pffft' which automatically make you sound like a native when added to sentences.

Best Bar: Lotus. Still. Plus the sheesha cafe I went to on my birthday.

Best Club: Gotta be Queen. Largely cos the others, while fun, were no different to any student club in the UK.

Best Café: Senseveria and Le Fumoir.

Best Night Out: A tie between getting drunk on free champagne at a staff do ("MORE champagne Jessica?" "It's OK she's English!"), getting battered with Chris M (little recollection of what we actually did) and going to La Loco with Mat, Andy and Nic.

Biggest epiphany style realisation about self: I might not like living alone but my own company is perfectly adequate, ta very much.

Worst moment of stay: Realising that all the other assistants had become bezzie mates and I was waaaaaay out of the loop.

The BERET OF TRUTH Award for Best Moment of the Year: Today when my students sang that song for me and gave me a signed picture of them saying how much they'll miss me. So I didn't make any friends for life, but enfin I DID make an impact.

OK so maybe PDP isn't strictly recounting exactly how drunk you've gotten through the course of the year…but looking back on it…I've bloody learnt a lot about myself actually. And I don't think I'd change any of it.

End of introspection. I'm going to bed, I feel like shit.

April 27, 2006

Camp as a row of pink tents inhabited by Graham Norton

Follow-up to Things I want to do before I leave Paris from How To Deal With The Unexpected (Tales from Jones Land)

Well 2 of my List of Things I Want To Do Before I Leave Paris can be ticked off the list.

I raved it up in Queen and it was great. It was so camp that the women had more testosterone then the men but there were male strippers. I'm sold.

And on my departure from Queen, I actually managed to get on the Noctilien bus that goes to where I live. Well, vaguely – I still have to walk for 20 minutes afterwards but that's not the point. I figured out how to use it! Admittedly in waiting for aforementioned bus by myself at a bus stop on the Champs Elysees I did get asked "how much I charged" by some twat driving by in a Mini.

Last time I checked though, hookers did not wear flipflops.

Also checked off the list is the one about the Louvre. Well caring about the building sort of counts, doesn't it?

April 19, 2006

The March Towards Mickey…

Well well well, say hello to Mickey's latest bitch. I got the Disney job and I'm going to FLORIDA!!!

I found out at 10pm on a Thursday evening and nearly screamed the flat down – I certainly woke up the kids I'd fought so hard to get into bed, but who gives a fuck. Yes – I'm going to be working every hour God sends. Yes – I'm going to be paid a pittance. But…the prospect of going to live in the United States for 3 months, in the Florida sunshine, with people from all over the world, working for a massive (corporate Satan?) company…it gives me such a thrill.

I might be whoring myself out to a corporate giant but you know what? I don't give a fuck, I'm going to Florida.

I warn you now this is my standard answer in any argument which I am losing!

My mum is thrilled as it has sealed my position as her finest excuse for a holiday. The Boy…well, let's just say thrilled isn't the word I'd use. This one's gonna be a tough one to muddle through.


March 27, 2006

Childish Humour Alert!!

If this doesn't make you giggle then you are far too grown up. Anyone who has read Stephen Clarke's Merde Actually will appreciate it even more.

Le Bollock

Yvan Le Bolloc'h, I salute you.

March 25, 2006

I'm going slightly mad…

Still no word from Disney. My nails are disappearing.

On the upside though I found an AMAZING accessories shop in Les Halles today which is reckon will kit me out with everything I'll ever need for Street Vibe. Safe.

March 22, 2006

A Polite Request to Michael Fish

Can you arrange for the weather in Paris to look more like this:

And less like this:

I just bought some bonkers oversized sunglasses and a pair of bargainous flip-flops that cost £3 and it's really annoying me that I can't wear either.

French expression of the day: 'Ca me fait chier' (translation: that pisses me off, but the literal expression is far better: that makes me shit)

March 20, 2006

Derailed gets derailed (bit of a spoiler)

Movie image
2 out of 5 stars

I'll keep this brief as there's only a few things I need to say…

  1. This started soooooooooooooooooooo promisingly but the outrageously far-fetched story line ruined it. I was almost wetting myself laughing by the end.
  2. Exactly how bad is Vincent Cassel's American accent? I nearly choked on my popcorn when he opened his mouth. What worries me is that he was playing a Franco-American anyway (rather than being a Frenchman trying to play a straight American) which means he might not have been putting it on…
  3. They said fuck. A lot. Which really was just funny rather than threatening.
  4. Gotta hand it to them though – Aniston's rape scene, despite showing hardly anything, was extremely powerful. I felt genuinely nauseous.
  5. Brilliant twist, but sadly that's where it all goes totally mental.
  6. On a completely non-intellectual note, Clive Owen can have an affair with me any day of the week.

Oh and also, totally off the point – even though the film was essentially rubbish it was worth the ticket price just for the sight of a dog with dreadlocks (yes, really) that I saw as I left the cinema.

March 18, 2006

Mickey Mouse and my adventures in the Tube System of Doom

So my 48 hours in the London area triggered off the Parisian that seems to have been growing inside me without my knowledge. It started the ULTIMATE BATTLE:




It is that most highly anticipated of fights – Transport for London against RATP, the Tube against the météor – the London Underground versus the Paris Metropolitain.

What started this train of thought? Well, I couldn't really put my finger on it. Was it when I tried to use the ticket Mum bought me the night before to save time and I couldn't cos it wasn't the 16th any more?

Was it when I paid 3 sodding quid for a single ticket?

Maybe when I had to wait 15 minutes for a train to arrive in rush hour?

Or was it when I hopped on the Tube to go to Disney HQ in Hammersmith only for a polite female voice to announce that "this is the Circle line". Circle? What happened to the District Line?! Why the bloody hell do trains from 2 different lines arrive on the same platform!!!

Like I said, the Parisian inside me has burst forth to do what Parisians do best – moan about pretty much anything. But don't get me wrong. I was born in London. Over a decade in Yorkshire has made me slightly wary of its aura of pollution and £10 coffees but time in Paris has brought back some of my affection for the place. Also, as a French student, it is my duty to love them. But come on guys, the Tube is a joke compared to the Metro which is: Faster. More frequent. More reliable. More extensive. More flexible (tickets are valid until they're used, not on one day). And did I mention it's 3 times cheaper?

OK, that's more than enough French praise for one entry. Did I mention a bar tried to charge me over £10 for a vodka & coke last weekend?

Anyways…back to my encounter with His Disneyness, Sir Mickey of Mouse. The day was great fun. The 90-minute presentation at the start had all the marketing gloss that you would expect from the marketing monolith that is Disney but by God it did the job. Everyone, including me, was foaming at the mouth by the end. I've never been so excited at the prospect of working 40 hours a week in my life. Interview was OK (and almost French-free…) Now follows a 2-week wait before I find out if I have beaten the 10–1 odds and get to go to Florida for 3 months. Keep your fingers crossed – this is my one chance in a lifetime to get a tan, I need 3 months of sunshine exposure to get beyond the lily-white stage.

March 16, 2006

D–Day is upon me

That's Disney Day, not the day I end the war, you silly things.

So tomorrow morning I will be dressed smart for the first time in about 6 months attempting to convince Mickey's friends why they really should pay me to spend 3 months in Florida getting a tan.

I'm desperately hoping that when I walk into the Interview Room of Death all the interviewers are wearing Mickey ears.

March 13, 2006

APFB (All Points Fashion Bulletin)


One pair of the coolest ear muffs in history.

Last sighting: On the Line 12 metro platform at St. Lazare, on the ears of a tiny and incredibly fashionable franco-asian lady. Wearing the same coat as this reporter.

Description: Ear-muff shaped. Black (presumably fake) fur that looked like it had been combed considerably more than the wearer's own hair. Appearance of being able to keep you warm and yet tres tendance in the middle of a snowstorm in the Antarctic (where fashion really counts).

Reward: I will have warm ears and be cool. That should be reward enough.

(Disclaimer: Above picture is a likeness only, actual earmuffs may not resemble those displayed)

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