Wednesday, March 29


The Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash sounded exactly as you would expect them to with such a great name. Foot stomping, yee haw yelling, cigarette in one hand and beer in the other fabulousness.

And while they sang mostly their own songs, they did do covers of Folsom Prison Blues and Ring of Fire.

My ex, F, used to be in an amateur band and whenever they did a gig, if I was there, they would play Ring of Fire for me. Not as a romantic, aw, it's our song gesture, no, as a piss take because my fondness for country music was a source of much ridicule and hilarity - so they would generally play one verse, collapse with laughter, and play something else. Having long ago given up any pretence of trying to like the right music in order to fit in, I would laugh as well, maybe roll my eyes a little and shrug. They were - still are ! - nice guys and if the reccuring joke grew old in the end I can't really blame them for poking fun at me. This was, after all, several years before Joaquin Phoenix made it socially acceptable for a Parisian woman to like Johnny Cash...

But last night, the Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash played Ring of Fire with all their hearts, without a trace of irony, and I was happy.

Sunday, March 26

random thoughts on a Sunday evening

  • Winner of the 2006 Bloggie for best British blog, Girl with a one track mind is like a cooler, more self-confident, less neurotic, and hell of a lot raunchier Bridget Jones. I like her.
  • On Tuesday I'm going to see the Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash in concert. I've never heard their music, but with a name like that, how could I resist.
  • M is married. Married ! Eek. How did that happen ? Where have the last 10 years gone ?
  • I "mystery shopped" the Paris Lush store and will receive 25 £ worth of vouchers from Lush UK in exchange for my report. Very cool.
  • S finds it very funny that I use the word "cool" so much. I guess "cool" is old school. I have no idea what youth-speak for "cool" is nowadays.

Saturday, March 25

they're going to the chapel

and they're going to get maaaarried...

My dear friend M and her fiancé D are getting married today in D.C.

I wish them oodles of fun, a hangover-free day tomorrow, and a long and happy life together.

(and while I appreciate the fact that they're not in it for the presents and are not bride and groom-zillas, I do wish they had registered properly - I've been told they did, with both Macy's and Bed Bath and Beyond, but their names don't show up on the online wedding registries of those retailers. What's a friend from across the Atlantic to do ?)

Friday, March 24

Fighting the blues with the red

Lipstick, that it.

In an effort to cheer myself up and shake off this dreadful lethargy/crankiness/sadness/state of I can't get no satisfaction, treated myself to not one but two new lipsticks from MAC, one of which is only available at the Sephora flagship store on the Champs Elysées, and is called, appropriately enough, Sephora Red. It's lovely.

Hadn't done that in a long time, but new lipstick is such a nice pick-me-up. It's enough of a luxury item to be an indulgence, and yet not cripplingly expensive. And you can never really have too many lipsticks. Once you have the perfect red, you can then go off in search of the perfect natural browny-pink. Some days you want matte staying power, others you want a soothing moisturizer with a hint of sheer color...

Anyway, it worked. I felt better.

Until I went to the ladies' at work to apply my new purchases. When faced with my pale lanky haired self in the mirror I realized I needed a whole new face to go with the lips.

Oh, and a haircut too.

Ah well.

Tuesday, March 21

my current obsession

Pandora, the interactive web equivalent of my friend C, who has over 3500 CDs and is always suggesting new bands for me to listen to.

Saturday, March 18

it's Official

After a couple days of being under the weather, woke up today feeling downright dreadful. Actually spent much of the morning being weepy due to a combination of being exhausted, constantly cold, having aches and pains all over, and a nasty cough, the kind that leaves you gasping.

So I went to the doctor's, and I Officially have the flu. The Official flu, as diagnosed by a medical professional.

I say this because one of my (many!) pet peeves is the tendency that people with a garden variety common cold have to say they're suffering from the flu. Perhaps this is a uniquely French phenomenon, but at any rate it's extremely rare for the French people I know to say they have a cold - un rhume - it's always the flu - la grippe.

Now I'm no stranger to colds, and I know very well that as unpleasant as they are, you can function normally with a cold, as long as there are Kleenexes handy for the sniffles, and in fact once you've taken one of the many over the counter cold medicines available it's fine. Not great by any means, but fine.

Today I couldn't have gone to work and had a normal day if wild horses had dragged me there and I was promised 100 times my salary. Going to the doctor's and the pharmacy, 2-3 blocks from home, was literally all I could manage.

A bit better now after dozing all day, but earlier I was so out of sorts, I checked out the Fugly site, saw it has been updated since I had last looked at it, and felt too bad to read or even scroll down to look at the photos. Can you believe it ?

Thursday, March 16

Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum...

I was supposed to see Joolz Holland in concert tonight with a friend. But cancelled because I've felt bad all day. Nausea, headache and chills bad.

So on my way home I bought rum, lemons, and honey, and will drink hot toddies til I pass out out tonight, in the hopes that it will either kill me or cure me. (Plus, it tastes good.)

Tuesday, March 14

Mean girls

J and I are blowing off steam, making bitchy comments about people we know and laughing our heads off.

Realizing how unkind we must sound, I say, chastened:

- Do you think we’ll rot in hell for this ?
- Oh yes. But at least we’ll be together !

Saturday, March 11

random thoughts du jour

  • Just saw Capote. What a beautiful portrait of an unlikeable man.
  • Earlier, went for a walk in the jardins du Palais Royal and spent some time gazing in the window of Didier Ludot. I wonder if this is the place where Reese Witherspoon found her Oscars dress. There was a stunning Schiaparelli gown from 1937 that I could really picture Uma Thurman in. Not this one, but this is beautiful, courtesy of google images and the Metropolitan Museum of Art :

  • Craving beer, bought a can out of the cooler of a fruit and veg shop on the avenue, because getting it at the supermarket meant it wouldn't be cold. Thought about buying some fruit as well for fear of looking like a rather desperate alcoholic, but didn't.

Wednesday, March 8

So today is Women’s Day, huh ?

It’s like Valentine’s Day – a “Let’s throw those harpies a bone, some crumbs, some rose petals so they stop breaking our balls the rest of the year” Day.

Today’s edition of daily newspaper Le Parisien devotes it front page to the issue of violence against women and domestic abuse, fair enough. But it is also sold with a special issue of “La Parisienne” – 28 pages especially for us lil’ ladies, with articles on losing weight, home decorating, and fashion.

Yeah, we’ve come a long way baby.

OK, so it’s not a very good paper to begin with (the couple of times I’ve bought it, I noticed its “cultural” pages are devoted 80 % to TV, 10 % to films, and 10% to theatre which is a sure sign of mediocrity…yes I am an anti-TV snob) but bloody hell it makes me mad.

Oh, and while I’m on the subject, what is up with those smart, well educated women, my age or younger, who feel the need to start any sentence that might be construed as vaguely feminist with the words “well, I’m not a feminist, but…”

Why? Why ? Why ?

Monday, March 6

Am I the only one...

... who is constantly refreshing the Fugly site ? I can't wait to see their comments on the Oscar fashions.

I love Mondays…

...when I’m not working. Actually any day of the week when I’m not working is good, but Mondays are particularly sweet. It’s like cheating death for a little while longer. (OK, that is overly dramatic…)

The sun is shining and the temperature has risen to tolerable levels (I will not gloat that spring has arrived, for fear of jinxing it) so I have the bedroom window wide open. Have changed the sheets and done laundry – surely one of life’s great simple pleasures is sliding into a bed freshly made with clean sheets.

Have spent much of the day so far reading Oscar coverage on various news sites. Am very pleased with the Supporting Actor and Actress awards – George Clooney and Rachel Weisz were both fantastic in their winning parts. Best Actor and Actress – I don’t know. Haven’t seen Capote yet so cannot comment. Reese – yes, I enjoyed Walk the Line very much and her performance was fine but was she really better than, say, Judi Dench ?

And like many commentators I too think that Brokeback Mountain was a better movie than Crash. Then again, so were Syriana and The Constant Gardener, and they weren’t even nominated for Best Picture. Never mind. At least Ang Lee won Best Director. (And I am pleased but perversely miffed – now everyone knows how brilliant he is – I’ve been a huge fan since The Wedding Banquet, I loved him first… waaaaaah…)

Anyway. Saw Memoirs of a Geisha last night. Was seated next to 2 young girls who giggled throughout the trailer for Capote because of the way he/Philip Seymour Hoffman talked, and also because capote means condom in French... ha, ha. Oh, to be young again and so easily amused. Not. If the theatre hadn’t been full, I would have changed seats but luckily they kept quiet during Memoirs…

Loved the visuals – the costumes, the decors – it was a stunning movie, but didn’t really engage me. And as I recall, the book didn't either. I liked it well enough, it was a good read, it was interesting, but it didn't really grab me. I never felt anything strongly about Chiyo / Sayuri. Still, it's on my list of books to re-read. Perhaps I'll react differently the second time around.

Saturday, March 4

Fun at the farm show

Encouraged by R, who went last Tuesday and had a blast, we went to the yearly Salon International de l’Agriculture yesterday. This is the biggest farm show in France and a Very Big Deal.

For years I thought going to the Salon was incredibly ringard and beauf (think tacky / corny / low brow). Then I started to think that it might be fun, but never got my act together enough to make a point of going.

It was great. There were animals galore (including rabbits – I decided that I love the giant rabbits and the dwarf ones, the regular ones are too banal – and an extraordinarily ugly breed of cattle with huuuuuuge well defined, ripped muscles – think bodybuilding cow and that’s about what they look like).

Of course this being France, and the purpose of farming being to feed people, there were 3 gigantic exhibition halls filled with all the regional specialties you can imagine, and more. Wine. Cheese. Saucisson. Ham. Other assorted charcuteries. Jam. Pastry. More different foie gras producers than you could shake a stick at. We tasted our way through one hall and a half before exhaustion set in and we left.

Thinking about it later, I realized what a complete nightmare the farm show must be for an unsuspecting vegetarian who might wander in looking for information on say, varieties of apples, or cereal production. The show caters to carnivores, overwhelmingly so.

Funnily enough, driven by thirst during the 5 hours in the crowded exhibition halls, I bought 2 half-liter bottles of water – one, Cretan water from the international food hall, cost 1.50 euros whereas the other, a widely available brand of French mineral water purchased at basic refreshment stand, cost 2.90 euros ! Crazy…

Sadly, our budget did not allow us to place orders for cases of wine and liqueurs (oh the Burgundies ! oh the Cognacs !), but we did manage to come away with milk produced from the cows at the show – limited edition milk from the finest cattle in France – c’est mieux que rien !

Thursday, March 2

My big fat hypothetical wedding

The other night I dreamed that S and I were getting married. It was a happy dream, but by far the biggest focus of it was that I was wearing a black pantsuit, something along the lines of a classic YSL tux.

Guests were amused and remarked that we looked like a gay couple. I loved it. Why look like a big fluffy meringue when you can look like an androgynous James Bond ?