I am currently moving this blog from my .mac site, so posts are from 2006, until I catch up to myself! If you've found this blog, you probably know me. If you don't know me, hello there! I mainly blog about my life in Paris (France) and what is happening in my life as an actor (or actress if you want to be British. Maybe ACTRON is less gender-specific. Shall we try that then?). So, yes, here we all are. Have fun.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Jackass strikes again!

What do you MEAN today is April 3rd?! That doesn’t suit me one little bit! I need it to be April 4th right now...

I am currently in Vienna, but I should have landed in Paris a few hours ago. However, the meanies at Sky Europe wouldn’t let me board a plane 24 hours early. So WHAT if it says April 4th on my print-out, cheapo flight ticket when I want to leave NOW! I have appointments in Paris to honour. A full day’s work planned, man. Jeesh. What do you mean I can change my ticket for €380?? That’s not a ticket exchange, that’s a wallet-annihilation-operation. PLUS, I’m going to have to pay for my coffee on the plane as well.

So... why don’t I just enjoy an extra evening in Vienna instead? Feeling like a tit, but never mind. Better to be the (very very) early bird, than a day late, no?

PS This is NOT the first time I tried to leave someplace a day too early. Rewind to Sardinia, July 2001...

(Photo: Stephans Platz, Vienna. No, it has nothing to do with the post at all. You’re welcome.)

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Monday, April 02, 2007

U-bahn, Viennese-style

My favorite European subject, The Underground Public Transport System, is still a great place to gather material - even in a tiny city that only has six short subway lines! I was taking a quick journey on one of those spacious, excessivly clean trains, when the driver spoke to us all over the PA system:

“Dear Passengers,
It’s none of my business, but from where I sit, I cannot help but notice people tearing down the stairs at the sight of a waiting train, biting into a hot dog with one hand, while they use the other to telephone. Folks, please, grant yourselves some serenity. Our trains operate from 4h45am to mid-night. There is definitely a train for you - just take it easy!”


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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Lucky Chinese

Call me childish, but I enjoyed that little touch - an asian pianist playing her mobile piano in front of the Lucky Chinese restaurant in Vienna, near the Stephans Platz.
She is really very good, by the way.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

uhm..yeah - wikked?!

Here is my most embarrassing Edinburgh-Festival story (- the ferocity of my blushing prevented me from posting it any sooner -). Uh, bear with me while my face cools down.

Our theatre required every company to have a steward for every performance - someone who remained outside the door to help latecomers and get people out in (the unlikely event of) an emergency. They suggested that to keep costs down and avoid having to hire a steward, companies team up and help each other out. I posted a notice on the internet forum, mentioning that we were looking to share stewarding duties and in due time, a student company replied. All of our correspondence was limited to emails and text messsages, so to this day I haven’t met the girl in question. Let us call her ‘C’.
Eventually, on the first day of previews, I texted C, to confirm that we would we be sending someone to their show. She replied, saying that they didn’t need anyone that day, did we? I responded that we did need a steward (the deal was from the start to the end of the festival, with no days off so I was surprised at her reply and question). C’s sms reply was the following: Wicked will be there!

Seeing as I was going to be backstage and then on-stage, I knew I wouldn’t meet our steward before the performance, so drummed it into the technician and stage manager that “someone called Wicked (what do I know - it’s the theatre, right? Actors are weird!) will be manning the door for us. Please look out for him.” They couldn’t seem to remember “Wicked” and I kept having to spell it for them in French. They asked what it meant and I told them. I thought it was silly to use that as a pseudonym, but if that’s what makes the guy happy - whatever.

Of course, you can see where this is going, can’t you? I quizzed our boys afterwards, and they insisted no-one called Wicked introduced himself and there was not guy at the door either. I was slightly miffed, so the next morning, before C’s show, I sent another text message to confirm Nico’s presence as steward and mentioned that: BTW, Wicked didn’t steward for us last night - what happened? She shot a reply straight back saying: I was there! And how many shades of red do you think I went? Beet - no wait, blood, crimson, fire-engine, SCARLETT FERRARI-RED. Clearly, the missing comma and subsequent elision in her sms caused the confusion for me. (Wicked, I will be there. or Wicked! I will be there. and none of this would have happened!)

What made the whole thing infinitely worse, is that I used to live in London, where people use “wicked!” (as in “cool!”) aaaaaaaall the time! It’s not like I can claim ignorance. On top of that, I was the English translator of our play and thus responsible for cultural references AND I had been insisting to the French boys that this was a boy’s nickname or pseudonym in English (apparently).

Did my gang ever laugh at me when they found me glowing Scarlett Ferrari-Red after the text message and I had to ‘fess up. From then onward, whenever I did or said something daft - and sometimes just sticking my head around the door qualified - I was greeting with a tilt of the head, a raised eyebrow and a big:
“ WICKED, Heiks!”

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Monday, October 09, 2006

Q and A, Bollywood-style

I’m not quite sure why we were there because we hadn’t seen the film in question, but at some point during the Raindance Festival, Josephine and I attended the Question and Answer session for a Bollywood movie. Although, to be fair, we would not have understood the film anyway, as it was shown without subtitles. and it was not a Bollywood musical-love-story, so we couldn’t have made it up. The filmmakers and producers were deeply apologetic, but something went wrong with the film they were originally scheduled to show, so they showed a different one, and something had gone wrong with that one also, so it didn’t have a subtitle print.

The film’s director - a very shy, soft-spoken fellow - spoke with such a thick indian accent that half the time I was sure he was speaking Hindi. What I did catch was that all his films are about "shoshal ishoes" and that he is considered the indian Tarantino. He is a brand and his films are concept films - thus far removed from conventional indian films. He spoke about his upcoming film "Traffic Light" which is about beggars and eunuchs at a traffic light (in Bombay, I think) and the whole industry that has formed around that traffic light. The distributor of the film wanted to show us the trailer as it is their Next Big Thing. So the Q and A was halted for the trailer and the panelists (Director, Distributor and Film Festival Director) sat down in the front row.

- We waited, but nothing happened.

Eventually, the panelists got up again and Q and A was resumed, whilst the projectionist faffed with the reel. An image flashed on the screen behind the panelists, so the Q and A was abruptly halted and the panelists sat down in the front row again.

But....nothing further happened, so the panelists took the stage once more and the Q and A continued. Due to all the frantic sitting down and getting up again, they kept losing the thread of the discussion and so the Qand A was like something out of a comic film that had us all giggling.

This process went on (we were having fun, so why stop a good thing?) until after the 4th time, it finally worked! We watched the hotly-awaited trailer.... and then we watched the hotly-awaited trailer again. The projectionist must have been so excited that to make up for the wait, he ran it twice in a row. Eventually, just as it was about to start a third time, the distributor got up and called for the lights to come back on. It was surreal... and I suspect very much in keeping with the way these things happen in India (ask Jörg, I’m sure he’ll agree!) Unscheduled film, no subtitles, no trailer and then double-dose of trailer. At the end of the comedy of errors, the famous director sent us off saying: “Tank yoo tu bee a lovely ohwdience” and got mobbed by a crowd of his fellow countrymen outside.

(photo: the T-shirt we were given upon leaving, sponsored by the Indian Distribution Co)

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Sunday, October 08, 2006

one of life's great ironies

This past weekend, I travelled to London to attend a party. In what can only be described as the Way Things Go, I ended up not going to the very party I had travelled to London for. But never mind - I wasn’t overly upset about it (I could have gone if I had really, really, really wanted to) and I had a very worthwhile weekend without it. And maybe the party would have been a let-down. Who knows? This way, in my mind, it’ll always be a great party that I crossed the Channel for and then didn’t actually go to once I was a 10 min walk away.

The party was the closing night party of the 14th Raindance Film Festival - a festival dedicated to independent film. Whilst living in London I worked for the Festival (the 8th), but this time I came at a friend’s invitation to the party...

I attended a ‘Subversive Screenwriting’ workshop, a panel discussion, three Q&A’s, watched three feature films, and almost two hours worth of short films. I happened to be at the premiere of the winning film, so it meant something to me at the award ceremony and even though I skipped the closing party, we got Fossil watches and sunglasses in a gift bag at the awards. So, see? Even though I didn’t have a cocktail with Dame Judi Dench, Raindance was a very rewarding experience.

And if you don’t want to read a short rant about the world’s crappest underground public transport service, please stop reading now and have a trouble-free day.... byeeeee.

For the rest of you, here it comes: the London -Mind The Gap- Underground is truly a marvel. With tiny, rounded trains, dilapidated tracks, slow service, cancelled trains, gaps between the carriage and the platform and infernal s i g n a l failures, the best thing about it is it’s PA system - at least that is always in use and you get the bad news loudly and clearly. Although they should be warning you to Mind The Crap, as falling through the gap might actually relieve you of your tube-induced transport hell. I’m not suggesting the tube makes suicide look like an attractive alternative, I’m just saying that sliding through the gap could create an interesting diversion. You might find Harry Potter’s platform 9½. But what REALLY gets my goat is that this shitty, shitty service now costs £3 per single trip! They have done away with the Weekend Travel Card and the carnet for 10 trips in Zone 1 for £10 and now all you have is £4.90 for the day, or £3 for each trip. How that can be legal is beyond me. Paris has one of the best subways I’ve ever been on in terms of speed, coverage area and reliability and a single trip costs you roughly 90p, 70p if you buy a pack of 10. And they get you to where you’re going - isn’t that something? Actually, in Paris you’re far better off taking the Metro than trying to get a taxi because 1) there’s never a taxi when you need one and 2) French taxi drivers routinely refuse to take you where you want to go because they don’t understand that the whole and only point of their job is to go where the customer needs to go and not where they can get a good coffee and a fag. But that is a different rant altogether....

[Meanwhile, I’ll just go back to saving the world and talking about important issues, shall I?]

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

from township to tent

Well, it’s been quite a day....I saw Township Stories this afternoon.
Go to http://arts.guardian.co.uk/edinburgh2006/story/0,,1854717,00.html if you want to read an article about it.
Let’s just say it’s .... harrowing. Took me a good while to come out of shellshock. Before I had read that they call the director “ the Township Tarantino”, I sat in the theatre feeling like I was in Resevoir Dogs. Lots of violence and brutality close up and lots of beautiful music, juxtaposing the action on stage. Music from Enya, Tracey Chapman, Sting, Paul Simon and Louis Armstrong to Zola and other Kwaito artists. Yet again, there is no point in trying to describe this type of theatre in words. It has to be experienced - that is the essence of theatre, is it not?!

And then tonight at midnight, I found myself in The Famous Spiegeltent in the Spiegelgarden, watching La Clique. A burlesque cabaret with circus performers, the amazing rubberman, the skating Willards (who rollerblade and fling each other around on a tiny round patch of stage about 2 metres in diametre!) and other freaks, including the Caesar Twins. Some stuff is outrageous (mostly the things from Berlin!) some is really awesome and some is.... quite gross. Good fun!

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

smells like...

...dressing room drama!
I have to say, our dressing room at C venues is dismal. I mean, it just can’t get any worse. We share the shack that has been erected in the cellar of the building with around 10 other companies. The cellar of the venue is a very hot place. All the beer barrels are stored there, the ice-machine and a whole lot of other paraphanalia that exudes heat and wierd smells. In the midst of all this, the venue management have erected two adjoining shacks for us to get changed and made up in. The next door dressing room has persian rugs on the floor.... and what do we get? The Big Stink. I kid you not - our place is BO Central - so much so, that Steve even brought in one of those dangly air-fresheners that people hang on their rear-view mirrors. Pine tree-shaped - you know the one. Anyway, he hung this thing over by where the clowns keep their unbearably smelly costumes and the next day someone had thrown it out! THEY LIKE IT TO STINK, obviously.
We also did a dramatic Febreze-ing session, but - can you believe it - the smells in the curtains there are so ingrained, that they overpowered the Febreze!

Actually, I just wrote all that as an excuse to put up this picture of Steve. I mean, it’s all true, but it’s not neccessarily interesting enough to warrant a post, right? The picture, however, is priceless.
Steve getting ready to perform. He says he’s really enjoying the painting of his nails before a show and he will miss it.

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Friday, August 18, 2006

Fred at the Fest

I’ve been very lucky to have friends pop by this festival to see the show and hang out... one such person was Fred Baker, who made a special effort to spend one night in Edinburgh on his way up from Vienna to Cambridge to Inverness for a wedding. Whilst the rest of the wedding party were already having a pre-WEDDING dinner, Fred was watching The Clan of DIVORCEES, bless his heart.

He also brought the DVD of Mind The Gap, the fim we made at the Berlinale this year. Good news. The photo above is of him and his wife Sandra, who directed Mind The Gap.

Fred wasn’t staying very long, so we talked until deep into the morning to make the most of it and here is what I learnt. Fred hates when women say they aren’t good at networking. It pisses him off. Apparently, networking is the wrong word. It’s “having conversations with people about your work and what you’re doing! And you are very good at that.”

So, because I respect Fred and listened closely to his 4am pearls of wisdom, I went off the next night to our publicists ‘having conversations with people about your work and what you’re doing’party and decided to try it out under that new title. I had several conversations and for a first effort on my part, it went swimmingly I thought!

Right said Fred. (couldn’t resist that, SORRY!)
Thanks Fred.

(photo: Fred and his wife Sandra at the Grand Palais in Paris)

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Paul Le Guen, or how to perfect your scottish

You may not know this, and I don’t blame you one little bit, but Paul Le Guen is a Frenchman from Rennes. And this is his current job, according to Wikipedia:
On March 11, 2006, it was confirmed that Paul Le Guen had agreed to replace Alex McLeish as manager of Rangers starting in season 2006/2007. Le Guen signed a 3 year contract with Rangers, with the option to extend his stay at Ibrox Stadium. So, he’s coaching Scotlands Premier League football team, based in Glasgow. Why am I bringing this up, you ask? Well, Paul Le Guen is our stage manager's answer to his language problems!
The stage manager for The Clan of Divorcees is French/Moroccan and doesn’t speak English. However, in a moment of panic when we were all dashing up the road towards the monster rental truck, thinking the traffic wardens cicling it were on the brink of ticketing, he started shouting: “PAUL LE GUEN! PAUL LE GUEN!” By using that name, he was simultaneously explaining that ‘we are from France, but we come in peace, so please don’t give us a parking ticket’! Of course, you would have to be a football fan to get it. I am not and I didn’t...

Similarly, when taking the monster rental truck through a traffic circle in the wrong direction (pesky English, imposing left-side driving wherever they went!) and having a lady gesticulate wildly at him from her little car, our stage manager rolled down his window and tossed the following phrase at her: “I want you BEGINNING!” Put that in your pipe and smoke it, lady. As a put-down, I have seldom heard anything better.

(photo: stage manager in promotional action on the Royal Mile)

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Friday, August 04, 2006

festival living

Due to unforseen circumstances, we have more people staying in our festival apartment than bedrooms. This means that the youngest team member gets to sleep in the living room. This also means that there is no common room for us to have breakfast in, as our youngest team member tends not to get up before lunch time.

Anyway, you remember our empty truck dilemma from the previous post? Well, there was one other thing in the truck that I didn’t mention. When the stage manager noticed that there was no set, he raided the mother-theatre in Paris. In an attempt to bring something we might be able to use as a set to Scotland, they took a sexy little café table and 3 café chairs from the theatre bar. Seeing as they are totally the wrong style for our play, we have set them up in the apartment instead... there is an oversized hallway that we are now using as a breakfast nook for coffee and croissants in the morning!

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Monday, July 31, 2006

our smashing entrance

Edinburgh Fringe Festival news: we certainly made a smashing entrance when we arrived at our theatre venue for our technical rehearsal of The Clan of Divorcees... our truck arrived mere minutes before our slot-time, driven by a stage manager who was under-slept (to put it mildly) and not used to driving on the left, and as he slid into the loading zone outside the venue the top of the oversized rental truck crashed into the scaffolding around Adam House. No lasting damage was done, but it ensured that everyone present knew we had arrived!

In a slick move, after having frightened the smokers outside the venue, our stage manager opened the back of the truck and out came a measly 6 panels, white chest containing utter crap, costume chest and a strobe light from its cavernous interior. Yes, that's right, the massive truck transported virtually nothing useful, save for the lighting 7 sound teccie's guitar and the stage manager's bedding. In terms of our set, we had nothing, except some panels to make up the walls, a broken teapot and broken champagne glasses from the white chest.
Where were our table and chairs, bar counter, bar stools, kitchen sink, step ladder and host of other accessories too numerous to list here? Why did we need a fuel-guzzling, ferry-travelling, border-crossing truck from France to deliver a few random, broken items, minutes before our 4-hour technical rehearsal? Nobody knew, but it was clearly a typical case of broken telephone. The people who had driven the truck from Avignion via Paris to Edinburgh blamed the people who had packed (or not) the truck in Avignon, who blamed the people who had driven the truck for not having packed the truck, and management back in Paris didn't understand how this could have happend! So we spent 4 happy hours at our technical rehearsal discussing whether to construct a bar counter in the morning, using the inside of the monster truck as a workshop, so as to "avoid the shame of others seeing what's going on as we cobble a set together", or whether to capitulate and pay IKEA a visit. After some initial arguing - tempers have a tendancy to flare in sleep-deprived individuals - plans were hatched and charity shops were googled at 2am.

The upshot of which is that we spent our first day in Edinburgh split up into teams of set-scavangers. Some of us did a reccie at the Salvaton Army furniture shop. We struck gold there with a man named Brian who was ever so helpful, patient and accommodating. We then called the giant truck in, to collect our treasures. Meanwhile two actors were cruising the inner city streets for accessories and an ugly tablecloth (which, to our disgust, they found!) and the 3rd team set off for IKEA, searching for last minute items that hadn’t been uncovered elsewhere.

And guess what? Our new Salvation Army set is much nicer than the original! All’s well that ends well, I guess.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

recipe for Charming Frenchman

Recipe for Charming Frenchmen.
1 x sunny day
1 x old bicycle with chain that randomly pops off
1 x girl with grease-covered fingers

1. Put girl on bicycle and let her pedal at low speed for several minutes.
2. When corner café consistancy is reached, pop chain off bicycle and stop pedalling.
3. Crouch girl down next to bicycle and let fumble for a few seconds.
Handsome waiter will pour out of café with a tray of drinks and rapidly distribute them to smiling patrons, shouting: “ Wait, miss, don’t touch that - I’m coming!”
4. Simply wrap waiter around your little finger with dazzling smile and English accent and you’re done! Shake, stir and enjoy!

Alternative for tee-totallers:
Follow steps 1. and 2. but replace corner café with sports shop.
3. Get girl to roll bicycle into sports shop.
4. Fold handsome salesman over bicycle, as they both get their fingers full of grease.
5. Allow to simmer at low heat, as girl and salesmen go ‘round the back to wash their hands and he welcomes her to his country and asks her about hers.

And that, in short, ladies, is all it takes. The French are gourmets, after all.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Pickpocket Penis

I would like to once again thrill you with tales of the greatest form of public transport ever invented.... where one and all rub shoulders, step on toes, smell from armpits and steal from one another. Or try to anyway.

Picture this: it’s Wednesday evening, around 9pm and I’m alone. I’m changing platforms at Sevres-Babylon, from line 12 to line 10. As I walk down a short flight of stairs to my new platform, I look left at a sign board and am aware of another body using the stairs behind me. I obviously don’t pay further attention, but when a few seconds later something brushes the inside of my left elbow (the arm clutching my bag), without thinking or having time to process anything I whip around yelling. My small makeup purse drops to the floor at my feet and rolls down a few stairs. The young man behind me points at it and says: “ Your bag fell.” And I’m off, at the top of my voice I screech: “Like hell it fell, you touched me, I felt it. What else do you have in your hands?! You had your hand in my bag!” He denies it, but very weakly. I stomp off onto the platform and he climbs the stairs back up. As I had decided to use the button to call the station manager, I need to get a better look at the guy’s clothing. I go down on my haunches to see him at the top of the stairs and memorize what he’s wearing. When he sees me, the bad-ass pickpocket punk throws me a “QUOI?! QUOI?!” and without further ado, pulls his jeans down to reveal his willy. It bounces out and dangles there for a moment, then he pulls his pants back up and turns away.

On what planet would such a small, sad little thing that bobs out of the top of someone's trousers frighten me? I described him to the station manager and took my onward train. I hope they chucked that sad-ass out of the station, although what difference would it make in his life, really? Next time, he should be more careful about elbows - then he won’t have to display pee-pees.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Metro bag lady

Yes, I am obsessed with metro stories, seeing as I spend so much time on them and no, this particular bag lady is not what you might expect.
Our metro station, Bibliotheque François Mitterand, marks the start (or end) of line 14. Thus, very often, when you get to the platform there is a train waiting for it’s scheduled departure. Line 14 has no driver; everything is run by the little japanese finger inside a great computer somewhere out of sight. Line 14 also has two sets of doors that have to be conquered before you can get onto a train - one continuous glass wall on the platform, and then obviously the door on the train itself.

So, anyhow, it was one of those days when I sat in an unmoving train for about 2 mins, waiting for takeoff...people were strolling on to the train and sitting down and then, just as the closing door signal rang out urgently, two women came dashing towards us. The one in front was pulling a small suitcase behind her and it was this silly suitcase that obstructed the second woman from jumping on before the automatic doors shut with a violent shudder. The suitcase lady got her coat and one edge of the suitcase and her handbag stuck and it took two people inside the train to pull her and her paraphernalia in. Just as the platform doors closed, a second after the train doors, but before the train had pulled off, the second lady on the platform knocked hard on the glass and we all turned to look. “That’s my bag!” she gesticulated. The handbag that had been pulled on board with the first lady’s luggage, actually belonged to the second lady.

How that had happened, I don’t know. What was she doing tossing her handbag through the double sets of doors as they were closing?? The bag had been crushed by a door, jerked free by two people and was now on it’s way to St Lazare without its owner. What was even stranger, in my humble opinion, is that it wasn’t the silly suitcase lady who had caused a blockage in the first place who took responsibility for getting the bag back to its careless owner, but some totally innocent girl opposite me, who had been sitting on the train from way before take off! She gestured back at the bag lady, that she would get off at the next stop and wait for her. Then she looked at her watch and pulled an understandably annoyed face. The silly suitcase lady just shrugged at us on-lookers.

For some reason I was really cross with her - the silly suitcase lady that is. I thought it was out of line for her to have thrown herself onto the train and cause such a fuss (it’s always very dramatic when the doors slam onto people and other people have to wrench them free) and then not even have the decency to avoid further inconveniencing another passenger by taking the handbag that magnetically came on board with her, off at the next stop! I felt really bad for the girl that had been dragged into it and was now being made late by other people’s idiocy! But I didn’t have the guts to speak up and tell them what I was so pissed about... so I just shook my head and held it in... ahhhhh - the metro.

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Friday, April 21, 2006

shoes off

Little pairs of rubber shoes litter the resorts in Malaysia and Thailand. You get given a complimentary pair of rubbery slip-ons upon arrival, and during your stay you will slip on and out of many pairs of aforementioned slip-ons. Most noticeable is how the staff never wear shows when they step under a roof or into a room. You always know when housekeeping is in your bungalow, not only by the giant supply trolley parked there, but by the shoes abandoned outside your door. I think I would like to introduce that to my apartment in Paris.

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Monday, April 17, 2006

I am a Royal Baby

This year, I spent my birthday on the private resort island of Pangkor Laut in Malaysia. Definitely the most exotic place I’ve ever celebrated in! The beach here is called Emerald Bay Beach. It is exquisite. Although the staff speak English relatively well, Malaysians in general cannot pronounce the ‘tch’ sound at the end of BEACH. They say ‘beaS’ instead. Thus we swim at the Emerald Babies and we dine at the Royal Babies Club (Royal Bay Beach Club)... although they serve very spicy food for a babies club! I think I could cope with being a Royal Baby, if Pangkor Laut is anything to go by. (sighhhhhhhhhh)

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

My RER Driver

RER A is one of the busiest train lines in the world. I overheard a woman telling her friend that a few weeks ago, and then an employee of the RER A line confirmed it and added to that information some neat figures that I can’t recall.

I use RER A every Tuesday and Wednesday to get to the OECD. I always catch the same train out (12h44) and the same train back (14h24) between Gare de Lyon and La Défense.
Last Tuesday, I was flying down the escalator to catch the 14h24, when the door signal went off and as I ran towards the first carriage, the doors closed. I threw the driver an imploring look, wherupon he opened the door to his driver’s booth and invited me in, saying that he couldn’t open the doors again, or there would be an onslaught of running people storming the doors.

And so it happened that I struck up a casual friendship with this driver, who answered all my questions about the functioning of the trains. He demonstrated the dead man’s handle and the emergency braking system and explained what all the knobs and buttons on the oversized dashboard are for.

On Wednesday, I climbed into his booth again and the adventure continued. Next Tuesday and Wednesday he is off duty, but we have agreed that I shall just keep looking out for him and climb into the driver’s booth when he’s on duty and I’m catching his train, so I can get the best view and catch up on how his farm animals are doing.

In what I have learned is typical French culture, we have not exchanged names yet. That comes later - much later. I will let you know how long it takes me to earn the right to know it!

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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Elephant Memory

I’m a contestant on a GAME SHOW!
Yes, folks, the rumours are true. I couldn’t get myself on French and German TV any other way...so I decided to play Memoquiz for Arte. Arte is a bilingual French/German channel and they devised a game show that didn’t require a lot of general knowledge, but tests your memory.

So, my show will be broadcast June 17 at 18h30 Paris time. I don’t want to give it all away, but there are 3 contestants and can you guess who wins? Yes, folks, the rumours are true...

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Monday, March 06, 2006


Oh, the things you get to see when you’re rubbing shoulders with the great unwashed on the metro...
This morning, I’m reading on the metro when I look at a pair of black, patent leather boots that have come into focus near the top left corner of my page. They are of the just-under-knee, lace-up with silver hooks variety and very sexy. I assume that are attached to a lady who perhaps waits on street corners at nights... but what’s wierd is that the toes are pointing the wrong way. I let my gaze slide up along the boots, to see the wearer and this is the sight that greets me: a nerdy looking 30-something man with very short hair and an orange/beige/yellow striped polo-neck pullover, stretch jeans tucked into the ‘ho boots, and he is wearing the right boot on the left foot and the left boot on the right foot!!!
Whadtha’... ???

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