mardi 4 décembre 2018

Paris Match

I spent the weekend in Paris with my dear friend Katherine. Incidentally, we first became friends a few years ago at a birthday party, when I told her I thought she looked French and we then talked for about 100 hours about how much we both love Paris.

We stayed in Montmartre, in a beautiful apartment belonging to a handsome violinist (even the bathroom door had a stained glass window incorporating musical notes!), where I lived out all my basic Breton bitch Amelie fantasies. It was perfect.

We walked in the rain to go to Serge Gainsbourg’s house. Well, stood outside and looked at the graffiti and imagined all the times he must have stumbled down that little street. Still, I like to think he’d have invited us in, if he’d still been around – me with my leopard-print coat and Katherine with her 60s hair.

A few months ago, I read that it was bad feng-shui to have too many pictures of single figures around the house, particularly in the bedroom. Particularly if you are living alone and kind of like the idea of, well, not doing so forever. It stuck in my brain and so I ordered a whole stack of postcards picturing Jane and Serge being all madly in love and sexy. I’ve still got them all around my bedroom.

We had our Saturday night dinner at Chartier, a veritable Parisian institution that my mum first took me to when I was seven. In the thirty years since, I have been back at least a dozen times, keeping the day’s date-printed menu every time. I have taken friends and ex-boyfriends, and eaten there with nearly every single member of my very large and complicated family, at one time or another.

For a more modern experience, the hot hipster tip these days is to go to the 11th, where the back streets are full of cool bars selling natural wines and small plates. Go. You won’t regret it. We had a time.

I also highly recommend avoiding the interminable queues for the Catacombs (still never been, still not all that sorry) and instead sitting nearby and drinking red wine outdoors, by the carafe.

We drank quite a lot of red wine (and the occasional pint of Long Island Iced Tea), and would stop every evening on our way home to the Rue de Trois Freres, for a late-night digestif. A calvados, perhaps.

These are all excesses that I’m sure can be entirely erased by the sheer volume of French beauty products that we bought in Monoprix on the way home. I also bought some underwear while we were there, so I’m pretty sure my metamorphosis to sexy French woman will soon be complete.

In short, Paris is always a good idea.

jeudi 29 novembre 2018

The Dust

Sometimes the feeling that all is right with the world comes from the most unexpected places. Sometimes the universe works in strange, marvellous, fucking baffling ways.

I have grown infinitely more as a person in the past four years than in the entire decade before that. At the time, when I was in the midst of it, I didn’t really want to. I resented it. Doing the work was hard and I didn’t want to do it.

Conversely, during the decade before that, I thought I was happy. I thought I was a real human. I thought I had it all figured out. What an idiot I was. What a ridiculous, sweet little idiot.

I had a boyfriend and a job and a flat. I looked like such a grown-up.

I thought we were happy. I thought we were growing together. It didn’t occur to me that we might be holding each other back. We were both artists. We were so supportive of each other… weren’t we?

I was one of those stupid people who always claimed loudly that I knew I'd be fine on my own. That my relationship worked because I didn't actually 'need' the other person. I was with that other person from the age of 22 until 33. Of course I didn't have a fucking clue what 'being on my own' even meant. I didn't have a fucking clue about anything.

After we broke up, in an ugly battle of recriminations, false accusations, and secrets that we’ve never even spoken about, the spectre of our relationship haunted me for a long time. Longer than I ever realised. Until quite recently, in fact. For a long time, I was not remotely fine.

A subtle but insidious whiff of what-ifs, might-have-beens and the sick sort-of feeling that maybe we made a mistake. I wasn’t aware of it all the time, but it never went away.

Until earlier this year.

I saw my ex and I knew it would be the last time we ever crossed paths. I let myself get angry for the first time. I felt the universe shift and I realised it was because a massive, heavy fucking door had slammed. I was on the other side of it.

I cried like I had never cried before. Then I sent him an angry text message in which I told him so, after which I took four Valium and slept the best sleep of my life.

The next day I was fine.

Since then, life has got better in literal leaps and bounds. A month later I went on a holiday that set me on a new course. The day I got back, I sold a book, which is both terrifyingly personal and, by far, the best thing I have ever written.

I’ve got a new phone and changed my number.

I think of my ex today because, since then, everything has got better for him too. My social media feed has been flooded recently with news of how well his new band are doing – he is doing the thing he should always have been doing.

His new single, which incidentally and fucking coolly is currently charting in Japan and Spain, was described thus, in an article I happened to read this morning:
“It’s the sound of broken relationships that linger in the dust once the decision to break up becomes reality. It’s the emptiness of making that tough decision, the upside-down, gut-wrenching feeling of walking away from something that clearly doesn’t work anymore. Those urges that still pull heart strings when you see your ex-partner… and you realise they are still thinking about you even though they broke your heart.”

I don’t need to listen to the song. I’m sure it’s nothing to do with me and I couldn’t care less if it is or not. I won’t be listening to it or reading any more about it.

I couldn’t be happier for him. I feel lately, for the first time in a long time, that everything is as it should be. I wish him everything good in the world, that talented man who I spent a significant chunk of my life with, the first person I ever loved who loved me back, and who I never want to see again.

Thank you, universe.

mardi 27 novembre 2018

In Bruges, and also in my head.

Yesterday I came back from the loveliest long weekend in Bruges. I ate waffles, drank hot wine, walked around all day, slept with a person I really like at night, and generally had a great time.

I’m terrible at taking photographs (I like to be so totally authentic and in the moment and shit, you see) but I like having them to look at when I get back. Fortunately, my boyfriend likes to take a lot of holiday photos.

As I sat at work yesterday, laughing delightedly as I watched the edited highlights come up on my screen as he sent them to me via Whatsapp, it struck me that my younger self would have deleted all of the photos that had me in them. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee I would have cried and also asked him to destroy all evidence.

I don’t look skinny or sexy in a single photo. I’m not doing any poses to make my arms look thinner or to make sure I don’t have a double chin. I look very, very happy in all of them. Especially the one where I am pretending that the guide rope going up the bell tower is a penis. Long story.

Conversely, there are a lot of very old holiday photographs in which I look pretty ‘ideal’. Not that I realised it at the time. I was young and skinny. I was all angles and eyes. I was also fucking miserable. There was the holiday in Spain where I refused to drink even a glass of wine because it was ‘empty calories’. The incredible opportunity of working in Hong Kong for the summer, where I painstakingly wrote my weight in my diary every single morning and it set the tone for my whole day. All the beautiful meals I said ‘no’ to. The days at the beach when I could have been swimming in the sea, drinking a beer and eating crisps, that instead I spent worrying about what I looked like.

I feel so sad for that girl. I felt a bit sad for all the girls I saw over the weekend, standing with one leg cocked and their head poised at an unnatural angle, Instagraming pictures of themselves with waffles on sticks that they looked a bit frightened of. I don’t blame them. I don’t want to be judgemental. I understand the feeling; I have been those girls. I’m not implying that I’m less vain than them and as such somehow morally superior. I’m not. I haven’t had some kind of transcendental spiritual epiphany.

I am also very aware that I am a pretty average-sized white woman and that posting ‘normal’ photos of myself on Instagram is hardly the most fucking radical move.

However, I do think that ‘normal’ is something we don’t see enough of any more. It does feel just a tiny bit radical. I believe that only seeing images in which we all do the same ‘flattering’ poses and fake faces and filter the shit out of everything is damaging. It does us all a disservice. Not only that, but it’s fucking boring. I am bored of it.

I don’t want to look like a model in my holiday photographs. Thankfully, that’s not my job. When I look at photos of myself now, I am delighted when I look a bit like myself as a tiny child – same face, same fringe, same joy, before all the bullshit. I am funny and nice, and I have a face that suits me.

I’d like to say my younger self would be impressed with how cool I am now. Sadly, she was so fucked up and so conditioned to care about things that don’t matter, I think she’d just be appalled by how old and fat I am. In the past year, I have gained weight. I have also written a book, had another published, started a relationship I could never previously have imagined, given up smoking, spent time with people I love, worked on myself in therapy, let go of some shit, been on some great holidays and had a fuck-ton of fun. I think I’m the happiest I have ever been. I genuinely give very few fucks at this point in my life.

However, I’m aware I might be adding to the pressure. I worry I’m neurotic about not being neurotic. Sometimes trying so hard not to care all the time is fucking exhausting. We are constantly told to be mutually exclusive things: to embrace ‘body positivity’ while also looking flawless. As so often, still – fucking still – the ‘cool girl’ monologue from Gone Girl springs to mind.

So I guess all I can say is, just do the things that make you as happy as me when I’m in a beautiful, historic landmark on a romantic weekend away with my hot boyfriend, slightly drunk and pretending that a rope is a giant penis.

vendredi 9 novembre 2018

This week.

  • I went to Harrogate.
  • I went to see wrestling. Really. I had a great time.
  • I also saw some fireworks.
  • I fell over and ripped the knee of my jeans. It's annoying as they were the perfect black jeans and I can't even buy a new pair as I am currently boycotting Topshop. I usually fall over once a year. I'm a moron.
  • The wonderful Nina LaCour has started a writing podcast and you should definitely listen to it.
  • I've booked a trip to Paris and a holiday to Italy. I very much like having things to look forward to.
  • I'm planning to buy firewood and make soup this weekend.
  • I like winter. I like boots and tights and boys in coats.
  • I got so tired I ordered a Thai takeaway and didn't even have the energy to eat it.
  • I'm a bit emotional.
  • A scary lady in Pret made me want to cry this morning.
  • I remembered that time when I met Boy George and he sang 'Lady Eleanor' to me. Twice.
  • I once watched all of Match of the Day and did not fall asleep.
  • I need some good books to read.
  • I was reminded of how much I truly love Bright Eyes.

jeudi 25 octobre 2018

Some disparate thoughts.

I just heard the most brilliantly illuminating phrase for the first time: STRAIGHT MEN UNDERSTAND CONSENT WHEN THEY GO TO A GAY BAR.

Fuck, man. That has just blown my mind, Seriously.

When I was in my late teens and early twenties, and I almost exclusively associated with gay men, I had a few shit boyfriends who had slightly problematic attitudes towards my social circle.

'I don't mind hanging out with them as long as nobody tries to touch me,' said my most basic bitch boyfriend, who I feel slightly ashamed to have gone out with in retrospect.

As if anybody would have tried. Did I mention he was fucking gross?

This all comes back to the theory that *some* men are automatically frightened of gay men, because they assume gay men will view them in the way that they themselves view women.

Something to think about.

In other news, Halloween is coming up. I am having a little early Halloween party tomorrow night, which I am very excited about. An excuse to dress up, listen to stupid music, eat ridiculous themed snacks, and celebrate how much life has moved on since last Halloween. Full disclosure: last Halloween I was tying myself into knots over a man who couldn't care less, I couldn't sleep at night due to my collapsing rotten kitchen floor, and I had no idea if I would be able to write another book again. So... Thanks, universe. Expect pictures of me and my ludicrously costumed friends on Instagram soon.

I've also just read WHY I'M NO LONGER TALKING TO WHITE PEOPLE ABOUT RACE by Reni Eddo-Lodge. Obviously I already like to think I'm on the woke side, but I was still surprised by how much there is to learn. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to all.

After that, I read Lily Allen's memoir, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY. I've always liked her. I didn't think it was a perfect book, but it was compelling and I liked it and I still like her.

I went to see A Star Is Born. I was expecting to love it. I was expecting a jolly Sunday date afternoon. I was wrong. The less said about this the better, probably, as I know I'm in the minority. Sometimes I'm forced to wonder if the problem is me, quite frankly. Fortunately - and it was a small saving grace - my viewing companion felt the same. Statistically unlikely and all the more pleasing for it...

As a Halloween treat for all, I will also mention here that my cinema date has written a song to commemorate possibly the best death in horror movie history (side note: he should know as we have been watching the Friday the 13th series in its entirety - currently up to Part VII, which is quite the undertaking). It is marvellously funny.

mercredi 17 octobre 2018

Reasons why it's OK to change your mind

  • I used to be a basic feminist who thought Caitlin Moran and Lena Dunham were great. I didn't understand what intersectionality meant.
  • I had a teenage boyfriend who used to play 'Under The Bridge' on an acoustic guitar and for that reason alone I thought the Red Hot Chilli Peppers were not awful.
  • Until relatively recently I had terrible taste in men and no boundaries.
  • I was scared to speak up.
  • Therapy helps.
  • I have been to see the Foo Fighters live on more than one occasion.
  • I pretended to like things I didn't so as not to offend people.
  • I found it hard to get through 'The Golden Notebook' the first time I read it because at that time I didn't really understand it.
  • I spent nearly two decades being embarrassed by my former love of Alanis Morissette before I realised that 'Jagged Little Pill' is genuinely a sublime album.
  • I forgive people too easily.
  • I still love PJ Harvey but she peaked for me with 'Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea' (and to a lesser extent 'Uh Huh Her') and her refusal to identify as a feminist is fucking annoying.
  • I didn't like my friend Neil when I first met him.
  • In fact, my first instincts about people are not always to be trusted.
  • I can see now that Vincent Gallo is problematic and my poor taste in men was linked to my low self-worth. But still...
  • I might try watching 'Fleabag' again. I didn't take to it on the first episode and didn't persevere.
  • When I was a tiny child I genuinely thought I was going to marry either Dogtanian or Boy George.
  • The idea of marriage used to fill me with horror.
  • I once thought very short hair might turn me into Winona Ryder.
  • I used to want to take up less space.
  • I was snobby about 'Love Island' until I watched it.
  • Because we're always learning and that's as it should be.

vendredi 12 octobre 2018

I see you.

Most days, I take the train from Brighton to London. I don’t get on at Brighton mainline station, but a small satellite station a stop away. On a good day, it reminds me of the charming Paris suburbs. On a bad day, La Haine.

It’s not a big enough station to have a café. There’s a man with a coffee cart who sets up on the pavement outside on weekday mornings. Sometimes I buy a latte from him. Usually I don’t have the time, or the cash on me, or I forget. So I don’t talk to him that often.

He’s nice. He’s called Gary. His coffee cart is strung with fairy lights and he is usually playing jazz on a little radio.

This morning, I got up early and decided to treat myself.

‘It’s a latte, isn’t it?’ he says.

He recognised me. He remembered. It has made my morning.

We all want to be seen. We all want to be recognised.

In a text exchange with my boyfriend yesterday, I made a slightly lame throwaway joke without even thinking about it.

He replied instantly: ‘Haha. That’s such a you thing to say.

This was also a throwaway comment, but I don’t think any thought-through extravagant compliment could have made me happier. I found myself thinking about it all day, feeling a little surge of joy every time. It made me feel special, and unique.

I say things that are just ‘so me’! Not only that, but another human sees those things that make me ‘so me’ and actually still wants to spend time with me and go to bed with me at night. That’s quite magical, when you really think about it.

When I finished sixth form, they did an awards ceremony with comedy categories. I won the ‘Clairol Award for Most Hair Colours In Two Years’. It had been long and short and in-between; it had been brown, black, red, blonde, purple, blue and for a while I had an undercut with green stripes at the front. I had also had several piercings and a tattoo. I wore band T-shirts and a charity shop fur coat and baggy skater jeans.

I was trying so hard to find my Signature Look. I thought it would give me a purpose. A defined personality, I suppose. Something to hang on to, anyway. A way to be seen and recognised.

I wanted to be a writer and I had no idea how. I wanted a nice boyfriend but I didn’t know how to make somebody like me. I assumed I would have to try quite hard to make someone like me.

My personality was Nirvana and Placebo and PJ Harvey, Sylvia Plath and JD Salinger. Going to G-A-Y every Saturday night with my friend Neil, and Popstarz every Friday with Russell. Piling on eyeliner to hide my hangover in my waitress job on Saturdays, where I gave my friends free hot chocolate.

I would borrow my cool friend Sheryl’s clothes and hope that not only would they make me look like her, but they would also make me be good at art and have a nice boyfriend like hers. I hoarded other people’s things. I was over 30 before I began to just leave my hair alone.

I’m 37 now. I have a fringe. I have good friends. I have seven tattoos. I like stupid puns. I like singing in the kitchen when I’m cooking. I cry easily. I’m neurotic, and when I let myself, I get into a terrible feedback loop of being neurotic about being neurotic. I’m funny and nice.

I got on the train this morning with my latte, with my sunglasses on and my headphones and my Yoga With Adriene T-shirt with the sleeves cut off. And then I spilled my coffee all over myself.

lundi 24 septembre 2018

A weekend in Barcelona.

I spent the most delightful weekend in Barcelona. Totally worth the delayed Sunday night flights (when will I learn?) and today’s ensuing weariness.

Despite all of the tapas and Cava and beautiful sights and sunshine, the best part by far was bonding with the two small daughters of the wonderful friends-of-friends we were staying with, in their beautiful flat in Gracia with panoramic views of the city and a quick walk up the hill to Park Guell.

The whole family were an inspiration. Hashtag future life-goals all over the place. The girls and I bonded over early morning cartoons and potato cakes for breakfast, then we all spent the weekend playing and reading and chatting and running around.

I am still stupidly pleased that they love all the same things my sister and I did at their age, so long ago now – The Worst Witch, Flower Fairies, Roald Dahl, playing endless games where we all pretend to be sisters/mermaids/genies/pirates/superheroes and making up dances.

The age difference between them is almost the same as my sister and me. Like us, the eldest is bookish and a bit sassy and more independent; the youngest is cuddlier and endlessly good-natured. They are both delightful and exactly how I would like my own children to be.

When we were tired out from playing, the youngest snuggled into my lap and chatted to me, sleepily. She’s only three and a half.

‘What does that word say on your necklace?’ she asked, playing with it absent-mindedly.

‘It says Lily.’

‘Who’s Lily?’

‘She was my dog. This was the tag from her collar.’

‘Did she die?’


‘Like Mimi?’

‘Yes, like Mimi.’

‘I didn’t know Lily. I missed her. Did you know Mimi?’

‘Yes, I met her at your old house. She was lovely. I really liked Mimi.’

‘Mimi lives in a box now, up there on the shelf.’

Mimi only died less than two months ago. She was a beloved old family cat, older than the two girls. She was old and raggedy and yowly and lovely.

Variations of this conversation happened several times over the course of the weekend. Sometimes quite tenuously. A way of talking about Mimi.

We looked together at pictures of Lily on my phone.

‘I like her. She’s so cute.’

She straightened up my necklace very carefully.

‘There. Now you can remember Lily.’

Oh my heart, dear reader. I have come home with enough love to last me through the winter, at least. I got home late last night – much later than I was supposed to. I was tired and grumpy, but there was someone to meet me at the station when I arrived, even though it was nearly midnight, which made my heart glow with joy.

This reminded me of an interview I read recently with My Favourite Living Writer, Emma Forrest. She was talking about her debut film, which she wrote and directed, and which I am extremely excited about. She made the film with her now ex-husband; the script was inspired by their falling in love, and they had agreed to separate when the filming finished.

On the challenge of working together at this time, she said:

‘This is a guy I married, who never said anything about how I slept with the urn of my dead cat in the bed.’

Yes, I thought. Yes. That.

mardi 11 septembre 2018

Strawberry Fields Whatever

I have alluded here before to how much I adore this blog, but I don't think I have ever directly posted about it. Which I must rectify immediately. It's important.

I think I can say with genuine confidence that Strawberry Fields Whatever is (probably) my favourite blog on all of the Internet. That's a pretty big swing, I know. Just like I can say The Future is my favourite Leonard Cohen song. Except occasionally, when it's I'm Your Man.

Elizabeth Barker is one of my favourite living writers. Yep, she's up there with Emma Forrest and Esther Freud, basically. I love her in the same way I love LA and tacos and Weetzie Bat and crystals and wearing kaftans around the house. I am desperate to go back to LA and her writing makes me feel like I am there.

In fact, it makes me feel very specifically like I am back on that trip there the summer I was 17. When I was kind-of anorexic and totally in love with a boy who was gay, but I was actually pretty happy for those two weeks. We drove from LA to San Francisco. We stayed at the Hollywood Roosevelt and I insisted on going to a place called The Black Magic Voodoo Lounge. I bought a skirt from Rodeo Drive, a dress from Goodwill and a Shonen Knife CD - all of which I still have. I had short hair with an undercut and chipped blue nails. I decided I would live in California one day. I still never have.

Anyway, I think I came to Elizabeth through Evan. It's funny the number of sort-of remote acquaintances who came about that way. It's nice, actually. One of the many reasons I always feel fondly towards him. Elizabeth has the same sort of optimistic/melancholy nostalgic voice that he does. It's my favourite sort of a voice.

(Also, have you noticed how everyone I've name-checked in this little missive has the same first initial? It makes me feel cosy, like going out with another Gemini INFP or something.)

I highly recommend signing up to her mailing list, as it gives me a little surge of joy every time I see that a new, glorious post has landed in my inbox.

Take the opening paragraph of this week's, for instance:

I think an ideal relationship dynamic would be where you're like Iggy Pop and David Bowie on the Dinah Shore Show in 1977 - goofy and a little shy and so sweet with each other, but also categorically wild and aware of your wildness without being all impressed with yourself about it. I mean, you can just feel Iggy and Bowie adoring the hell out of each other, and being slightly amused by the whole situation but never giving off some kind of boring you're-not-in-on-the-joke vibe, like a lot of other assholes would. They're so above that! They're so generous about being the wildest thing in the world.

I mean???!!! Come on. PERFECT.

She goes on to talk about McDonalds and Parker Posey and Kristin Hersh and zines and perfect black jeans, and by now I am literally that emoji of a cat with hearts for eyes.

If you are remotely interested in teenage summers, Desperately Seeking Susan, listening to music while driving, never growing out of having ridiculous crushes and always wanting to wear the perfect pair of just-right black jeans, I suggest you sign up immediately.

In recent days, I have also read Ariel Levy's memoir, which left me in pieces and awestruck all at once. I went to a nice party in the countryside. My new favourite restaurant in Brighton is Cin Cin (thanks to a lovely dinner date with Katherine).

I've been thoroughly enjoying running again now that the weather has turned a bit more autumnal. I'm still wearing sandals and my grandmother's old Laura Ashley sundresses, but I'm looking forward to fires and red wine and baked potatoes and blankets. I love the autumn, as well as writing that makes me feel like summer. Still, tonight I'm making vegan tacos for dinner and pretending I'm in LA.

jeudi 30 août 2018

Not In Front Of Family

  • I have been listening to this repeatedly and weeping for a multitude of reasons. It is utterly perfect. Especially the song Not In Front Of Family.
  • I have been making my own homemade vegan Nutella (I am not a vegan) and it is very satisfying, because it’s much greater than the sum of its parts or the effort made in putting them together.
  • Over the years, I have been conflicted in my feelings about the Smashing Pumpkins. However, I must concede that I have recently been educated in how listening to Siamese Dream first thing in the morning gets the day off to an excellent start. Preferably with coffee and crumpets.*
  • Anyway, I am as obsessed as everyone else is with To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. It is sweet and lovely and I love it and Peter Kavinsky with all of my haggard but perpetually teenage heart.
  • I read Motherhood by Sheila Heti and I think we probably all should because it has made me feel better about myself and other people and the whole world.
  • I have been to see the Picasso 1932 exhibition at Tate Modern twice now and it is awe-inspiring. On a very basic level, just that he managed to get that much done in the space of one tumultuous year, quite frankly.

*Incidentally, this also prompted a weird realisation that boys seem to use Smashing Pumpkins as a definite wooing tactic. The first time I heard them, it was when an older boy called Jago (dream holiday romance when I was 15) played me Disarm on his Walkman. I carried on listening to the song on repeat long after I went home and went off him.

Then, on my seventeenth birthday, a boy called Futoshi gave me Adore on CD. Futoshi was from Tokyo and played drums in my boyfriend Nico’s band. He confessed his secret crush on me with that present, announcing ‘if you like me, you can kiss me’. I declined and ended up giving the CD to my friend Tommy, as it had also soundtracked his much more grown-up New York holiday romance. Circular, no? I can now see that I was an idiot. That Smashing Pumpkins CD was a sweeter and far more thoughtful gift than Nico ever gave me. He was handsome but flaky (in retrospect I realise: mostly because he didn’t like me that much).

mercredi 22 août 2018

Potential names for a feminist play you wrote with your best friend*

Tissues and Issues
X and Why
I Solemnly F*cking Swear
Til Death Do Us Part
Lawfully Wedded Spinsters
What Would Emmeline Pankhurst Do?
What Would Emmeline Pankhurst NOT Do?
The Fempire Strikes Back
Dearly Beloved
Queerly Beloved
10 Things I Hate About Men
That's What She Said
Commitment Fears And Male Tears
Man-Hating Lesbians
That's What She Didn't Say
Men Are Shit
Ms. Angry
Fucking Autocorrect
Ms. Andry
Dying Alone
7 Things To Do With A Penis (That Aren't Sexy)
Fun Things To Fuck When You're Single
Single And Ready To Die Alone
Single-ty Pleasures
To Hate And To Hold
To Hate And Two Holes
You, Me And The Cat
Single Girls At Weddings
I Feel Like These Are Getting Worse The Drunker I Get
Men Are Shit And I'm Going To Die Alone: A Love Story
Bi The Numbers
Hits And Mrs
I Hate Yourself And Want To Cry: A Comedy
His And Hurls
It's Not Me, It's You
Girls Rule! A Sci-Fi Story
You Say 'Misandry' Like It's A Bad Thing
The Girls You've Read About On Bathroom Doors
Splitting The Bill: A Romantic Comedy

*as suggested by the boy you are going out with, late at night while he is drunk at Edinburgh Fringe (although, full disclosure, I wish I could take credit as these are fucking genius and I am definitely nicking at least one of them for this play and possibly future ones as well...)

mardi 7 août 2018

Swiss Cheese

I highly recommend going on an impromptu holiday to Zurich with a handsome man you barely know, if ever you get the chance. Especially if you take a 6am flight the morning after your dog has just died. Sometimes it turns out that a change of scene and unexpectedly kind company are exactly what you need.

Zurich is lovely. It’s a city perfect for people who don’t like cities. We went hiking up a mountain and swimming in the lake, all within view of skyscrapers and highways. We also took a train to Vaduz in Liechtenstein for the day, because why not go to two different countries if you can? This means you can also take very Instagrammable pictures of each other on the bridge that straddles the border between the two countries, a foot in each one. It’s fun.

We played travel Scrabble and enjoyed the very Heidi-esque train views and tried to decide which mountain cottage we would live in and whether we would ever get bored. We then spent a very pleasant day out in Vaduz, which involved excellent pizza, Shakespearean gangster rap, oversharing conversations, and the Postal Museum (which really delivered a first-class experience, obvs).

We stayed in west Zurich, which for shorthand purposes we just called ‘Brooklyn’. We stayed in a high-up flat with a balcony and a tall twisting staircase and a skylight that reminded me of being at the Chelsea Hotel. Behind our building, there were art studios under railway arches, expensive coffee places, outdoor flea markets and pop-up bars with live jazz and many, many fairy lights, not to mention excellent sweet potato chips.

We walked into downtown Zurich most days, where we looked around old churches and graveyards and botanical gardens, saw Marc Chagall stained glass windows that made me think of Jandy Nelson books, ate a lot more pizza. We drank wine on our balcony while listening to the Tom Waits version of Sea of Love. We ate Frosties for breakfast every day, like children who had been allowed to go on holiday by themselves with no parents, and watched stupid horror films every night under our blankets on the floor.

We missed the World Cup final, and were quietly bemused by the sound of car horns and cheering below our balcony. We ate sandwiches in the park and also drank quite a lot of beers in the park, which seemed like an entirely OK thing to do in Switzerland.

We felt very at home at the Brockenhaus (basically a Swiss version of Snoopers Paradise). We ate chips at the top of a mountain. We sat and looked at views a lot. We talked about a lot of things. We ate noodles in an empty restaurant that played early 90s soft rock.

The very best place in Zurich is the China Garden. It is unimaginably peaceful, whatever else is happening in the world. There are koi carp (you too might want to give them names), and there are pagodas and you can make a wish on a friendly dragon statue as you go in, as long as you step in with the correct foot first. You can spend the whole afternoon lying around half-asleep by the lake, feeling dreamy and with David Bowie songs running through your head. You know, if you want. (Actually, you can't: we did but eventually a security guard woke us up and told us off for lying on the grass).

When it’s time to leave for the airport, you can sit on deck chairs on a terrace overlooking the runway. There you can drink glasses of white wine bought with the last of your Swiss Francs. If you don’t want to go home, maybe you can be secretly relieved when your flight is delayed and you get to stay longer, even if you have an early breakfast meeting with a publisher the next day. You can be sad when it’s all over and you have to go home. But maybe you can decide you will go on holiday together again.