jeudi 15 septembre 2011

I hate students

Before I begin with this, let me just clarify that I mean English ones. I will move onto the French ones at a later point.

Now, those of you who know me will know how much I hate them. I think it all started when the government (don't worry I'll keep this old chestnut short and sweet cos I know the last thing anyone wants to read is a POLITICAL rant - angst will do just fine, thankyou) introduced the whole '50% of school-leavers should go to university' bullshit. Oh, hold on a minute, there aren't enough universities to cater for that many people.. Quick! Polytechnic colleges, you are now nearly all offically universities and and allowed to award degrees! Wonderful! What the government (sorry - I'll finish this bit soon I promise) somehow failed to realise is that the country does not NEED 50% of this generation to have academic qualifications! Allow me to turn to a recent statement of mine:

"A-level results. Whatevs. If it were up to me, 75% of UK university places would be reserved for international students; the remaining 25% given to only the best British students. Those who don't make the grade would then be forced to do normal, respectable jobs that were good enough for their parents, such as builders, electricians and dental nurses. Problems would be solved across the board: less unemployment, less debt, more money coming into the country".

As an aside, do you know how much overseas students pay for the chance to have a British education and be introduced to the concept of a pub crawl? Well, it's a lot of £. They take university seriously because they, for the most part, come from places where a university education is a privilege, not a commodity. So, once they've finished their Master's degrees in Mass Communications, they mostly return to China or wherever they've come from, and put that degree to good use like figuring out a way for the Chinese population to be able to access Facebook, or something.

But I digress. Back to the lecture at hand: Right now, our universities are, I would estimate, something like 95% British students, 90% at the very least. I maintain that right now only 20% of THESE students should to be in university i.e. dedicating their time to the pursuit of knowledge, and not getting drunk every night, making a lot of noise during antisocial hours and "facebook raping*" each other.

Oh and don't even get me started on the Student Loans Company. To potential students, the loan is advertised as a great deal: it's ONLY charged at 1% interest and you don't have to start paying it back until you're earning a certain amount per year (can't remember the exact figure but it's around 15k). So, this 1% that everyone who takes a loan pays (I estimate around 85% of students) from the moment they take the loan (i.e. all the way through their degree course) is PROFIT for the company. Who owns the SLC? Why, the government of course. Need I say more? I won't.

Now, when I was in primary school (not the private one), my teacher once told my parents that she thought I'd be one of the only pupils in the class to go to university. Now, I'm not saying this to boast (although I was one smart kid - pity I discovered alcohol), but to explain that, back in 1995 or whenever this was, people had a more realistic view on things. In no way did she mean that the rest of the class were to fail in life, only that they were more cut out for different career paths, ones that would not involve over £25k of debt and a degree that was not worth the paper on which it was written (sorry for the tired old cliche but you know it's right).

In short, what I mean to say is that it is really rather cruel to goad weaker, less academically-inclined pupils into thinking that university is for them, when it is quite simply not. I remember in school, in the final year, filling in university applications and writing a personal statement (wtf?) was part of the curriculum. This was a big school that had over 400 pupils per year group, and of course they did not all go to university, but those who did not, or did but did not really want to should have been given alternative options at this stage so as not to lead them in the wrong direction.

As university fees continue to rise (an undergraduate degree will cost over £9000 per year from next academic year onwards), the only change that might possibly take place is that potential students from poorer backgrounds might think twice about whether they really want to let themselves for this. Will the system become like that of the United States, where higher ranking universities charge as much as possible because they can? God help us all if this were to happen. Until our society shakes off this intellectual/academic snobbery we will not be able to advance, only dig ourselves deeper into the mess that has been created.

P.s. I realise that this reads like a GCSE English Language essay, albeit a very high level one.

P.p.s. I dare someone to use this as their Personal Statement.

*I wish this expression were dead.

vendredi 9 septembre 2011

Alice Needham's Guide to the 26 Things that aren't Shriv

There are some things, nay, MANY things in life, especially modern life, that are shriv. For those of you who are not familiar with this word, allow me to explain: It is short for shrivel. And imagine, if you will, how a person would look if they were to shrivel. Not completely, mind you, I mean not like a vegetable shrivelling up but like a reversible shrivel, more like an exaggerated cringe. It's the sort of movement you'd make if someone did something really gauche, or something.

Here are some examples of things that I find shriv:

a. Offensive significant others e.g. "Oh she's cool but her bf's a nob. Shriv".

b. Bad clothing e.g. "I went to this lesbian bar and I saw so many pairs of shrvvy badly-fitting jeans"

c. Things that are overdone e.g. "omg how shriv that e4 is still showing Friends!"

d. General twattiness e.g. "My parents are total shrivs"

e. Inappropriateness e.g. "I fancy my friend's chick. I'm shriv"

f. "Immaturity e.g. "MySpace style photos are shriv to the max"

g. Social ineptitude e.g. "The girl just stood there gawping incredulously. What a shrivver"

h. Rudeness e.g. "The bouncers at Mission are shriv as fuck, they never crack a smile!"

Ok, more will probably come to me but for now there you have, the words "shriv" and variations thereof have wide usage. I will now attempt to explain what, in my book, constitutes not being shriv.

1. Having a nice drink in your own company.

2. Avoiding taking taxis unless absolutely necessary.

3. Shaking hands when you meet new people.

4. Not being a "headfuck".

5. Coronation Street.

6. Having a foreign significant other.

7. France.

8. Being indiscriminate in your hatred.

9. Showing emotion.

10. Gay dating sites.

11. Avoiding the majority of gay stereotypes.

12. Shorts.

13. The female moustache.

14. Grinning like a Cheshire cat whenever necessary or not particularly necessary.

15. Always appearing online on Facebook chat.

16. The 80s.

17. Watering down whole milk to make it semi-skimmed and save £.

18. Crying to get out of things e.g. missing your train.

19. Running for public transport.

20. Using a bit of your hair as a comedy moustache from time to time and to break awkward silences.

21. Appreciating fash and using particularly good magazine advertisments as wallpaper / wrapping paper.

22. Adidas sportswear.

23. Talking openly about who you fancy to everyone who'll listen / withstand.

24. Automatically disliking things that people you hate like.

25. Making fun of people who deserve it.

26. CHALLENGING people's expectations.

So folks, if you can hand-on-heart say that you conform to 16 or more of these, I'd say you're probably not shriv.

Any thoughts feel free to bang 'em on the commentz.


samedi 19 mars 2011

Cruising the Metro

Now, I have resisted posting this update for almost five weeks now, as I just couldn’t help but feel that it wasn’t in the best taste. Now, however, I just think get a grip, neither is “The Babes of Paris”! So here goes.

The night that I documented in the last entry did not end there. When I parted ways with my friends and went off to get the last metro home, I made an astounding breakthrough. I was fucked, really truly trashed thanks to that rum baba and the copious amounts of other booze I consumed during the night. But it was in that way where you know you’re drunk, but you don’t realise the true extent of it because you’re in public and constantly talking and socialising so you just think you’re being normal. And it’s only when you get home and go to bed that everything starts to spin because you’ve finally stopped moving. Anyway so I got on the metro and I’m not sure when exactly but a girl got on and sat in a seat diagonally facing me about four metres away. And this girl, she was a dyke. It was not glaringly obvious, but to me it was. She was cute: about the same stature as myself, scruffily dressed, dirty blonde hair (not something I usually go for but I made an exception), nose ring (that’s definitely hot) and harem trousers. I figured what better time than now to try my hand at a bit of my favourite public transport game (with the possible exception of Travel Scrabble). Stared at her, and I find that the more you concentrate on the desired outcome while you’re staring at someone (even from behind them), the more likely and quickly they are to subconsciously notice you and react. Like when you fancy someone sitting somewhere in front of you in a lecture, so you stare at the back of their head and they always turn round within a couple of minutes! Insane. So that’s what I did. And sure enough, our eyes met within less than 30 seconds. I held her gaze for approximately two moments, then she turned to look out of the window into the darkness of the tunnel we were in. I did not move neither eyes nor body. Shortly afterwards her eyes returned to mine. She giggled, exclaimed “Putain!*” and I winked to uphold the momentum and intensity of the situation. For a while longer we were looking directly at each other. I grinned like a Cheshire Cat and it was around this point that I became fully aware that the guys sitting by me had noticed what was going on. This only served to enhance the drama of the affair, and if I had not been so very drunk I probably would have felt my heart beating and my pulse in my eardrums in the way that you do when you know shit’s about to go down. Well at the next stop a bunch of people got on and we were temporarily obscured from each other’s view. We managed to re-establish the eye contact through the throng and it was at this moment that she beckoned me over to the empty seat next to her. I stood up and the men next to me shifted to allow me to pass. I did not once look at them, or indeed anybody else in the carriage. I traversed it and sat down next to her and started talking to her. Can’t remember much of what I said but I gleaned that her name was Ines and she was the same age as myself. I also asked her whether she had a girlfriend. She said she did but it was “pas grave”. For the dullards amongst you this means “not serious” as in “doesn’t matter” and it is what the guy who came onto me in Le Truskel said when I told him I was gay. As I rambled, it dawned on me that, contrary to the previous observation of being socially acceptably drunk, I was in fact far beyond the point of “being drunk enhances my foreign language skills” and into the realm of being unintelligible in English, let alone French, a bit like the dyke in “Gay as in Shit Creperie Musicale”. Speaking of alcoholic dykes, Ines was carrying a flask of white rum. She offered me some and I gratefully accepted. Just before we arrived at my stop to get off, I asked her for her number. We exchanged numbers. I have texted her twice, and both times she replied immediately. The first was that night when I got home and the second was two weeks later when I returned to Paris after the February break. That time she said that she was at her parents’ house in the countryside and would ring me when she got back in a couple of days. She never did. No big deal and here’s why: the French have a verb “draguer”, which means literally to flirt or to cruise or pick up. Needless to say, in the latter context it is virtually always something that men do. It is by no means an unusual thing to see in France! But I did it with success and that proves that I can do it again! QED “Cruising the Metro” IS possible for a dyke.

*Means “whore” but used as the equivalent of “fuck!”

dimanche 13 février 2011

I'm Back

Hi fellows, sorry I’ve been away for a while; I put it down to a general lack of vitriol rather than anything else!

Now the following entry is actually generally positive and really rather complimentary. So if that’s not your thing you might wanna close this window and maybe read this instead!
So last night a couple of friends came to Paris. We started off by drinking gin in their hotel room. Gin! Gin, the only lesbian who drinks gin is this one. Ok and possibly this one. Yeah, actually, I can deffo see her drinking gin. With Giles Coren in the bar of The Dorchester after filming an episode of What the Victorians did for Us, or something.

And then we went out for dinner. And if the slating review of the Creperie de Merde was a rare example of a bad French dining establishment, then here is a rather less rare example of an exquisite one. It’s called Le Relais d’Entrecôte (for the dullards amongst you that means literally The Steak Restaurant) and there are several in Paris, as well as a couple in London. The one we went to is in the 8th arrondisement, just off the Champs-Elysées. Suffice to say, fancy as fuck. It’s standard to queue for 20 minutes or so before a table becomes available. And if you spend that time smoking and bitching about everyone else in the queue it passes really rather quickly. So the place and definitely the staff were about as French as Jean-Paul Belmondo eating a croissant whilst sipping an espresso, chatting up Edith Piaf in a small café on the corner of Rue des Fleurus, or somewhere. The clientele, on the other hand, had more of an international vibe. Most memorable were the rabbi with his boyfriend, and two women who looked kind of like a tranny version of Tyra Banks and Lady Gaga from the back. It’s a steak restaurant. That’s all they serve! You just choose how you want it cooked. Best steak ever, quite simply. And the rum baba for dessert was the most alcoholic thing in the world, with the possible exception of Ke$ha. It was as though it had been sitting in a vat of rum for a long time, and when it came time to serve it, they plucked it out with a pair of tongs, dripping wet onto the plate, with a bit more rum sloshed over it for good measure. Truly fabulous. Note to self: start making rum babas! The staff were charming too, none of this let’s speak English at you shit. Like the place was so crammed and popular that the waitress needed to shift the tables to let us out to go to the bathroom. It was a bit like real-life Tetris. No-one around us cared, it’s a nice place that knows it’s brilliant and doesn’t need to be all stuck-up and posh just to prove a point. Class speaks for itself!

After that we went to a gay (male) bar called Open Café, in the 3rd arrondisement. I was one of about 5 girls there in total, but I didn’t give a shit, it’s a cool place. Shortly after arriving there I remarked to my friend Jack that I was the only girl there and he said "Yeah, but I bet you're not the only one wearing knickers". LOL.  So, at one point we decided to go for a smoke and headed to the smoking bit. Now, somehow, they had managed to get around the law and actually have a small, entirely unventilated room dedicated to this pursuit. It was about the size of a university halls of residence room (but not a massive Devonshire one). The stench was truly unbearable. I mean, I can remember going to my dad’s betting shop back when smoking was still allowed indoors. I didn’t go many times because I daresay he feared it wasn’t entirely appropriate place for a nice young lady. But the few times I went, I remember entering it and almost being able to see the smoke that clung to the air. The smell was horrendous and I wondered how anyone could spend all day in such a place. So anyway it kind of reminded me of that, only this was more concentrated. We were only there for a short while whilst my friends had a quick fag, and then returned to the main “arena”. And Reader, never in all my long, social-smoking days of party chic hedonism has the scent of a nightclub ever greeted me so sweetly! I felt positively replenished, like the feeling you get when you wake up in the morning wishing you were dead cos you drank so much last night, and it’s pretty early cos the excess alcohol in your system kind of ruined your sleep, and then you stick your head out the window and take a big deep breath of sweet morning air. And it doesn’t matter where you are; on the deck of a ship or at a street café in Paris or Bangkok, doing it in a capital city where the air is dirty still feels like heaven. So anyway that’s what it felt like. Great place though, really packed with all different types of guys, hardly any of whom were gross! And it was then that I thought to myself this thing, upon which I am wont to muse from time to time: why can’t a place like this exist for girls*? Oh, wait, we’re in Paris, where the gay scene is notoriously and unashamedly about 95% male-centric BUT there just so happens to be an awesome bar-club that is just for chicks. Its name? Why, Le Troisième Lieu, of course. For the dullards amongst you, that means The Third Place. I read somewhere – I think it was the club’s MySpace, actually, that it is so called because you have home, and then you have work, and then you have the third place. And it opens fairly early in the evening too, so I can imagine it being a nice place to go after work for a cheeky half pint with loads of head as is customary in France and maybe some bread and cheese with perhaps some salami for the non-vegetarian lesbians. But I digress. I can’t tell you how happy I was when I found out about this place, back in the lovely spring of 2009, when I was young, innocent, carefree and fresh-faced, without the weight of the world bearing down upon my shoulders. I used to go there alone in the evenings sometimes when I had nothing else to do, which was most evenings actually. Sometimes I didn’t even buy a drink (told you I was cheap) or sometimes I’d buy a can of Kronenbourg or Heineken for 1,50euro from an epicerie round the corner and down that before going in. I used to go there mainly to remind myself how much fitter the French dykes are than their British counterparts, including, but not limited to, the staff. The only problem is that gay clubbing for girls here is just not like how it is in the UK. In the latter, the MAJORITY (not all!) of people who go gay clubbing are there to “pull”. It’s true, whether you care to admit it or not. This is not the case in France, at all. Here it’s all about hangin’ out with your mates and nursing 7euro pints. I think the French (dykes) would go so far as to say that hookin’ up with someone in a club is pretty fucking trashy. You don’t go to clubs to meet people; that’s what the metro is for. But yeah, I mean, I’d never seen so many hot dykes under one roof before. And darling, I’ve been to my fair share of Tegan and Sara concerts. That’s not actually true, as I’ve only been to one but I can imagine they’re all the same. And by that I mean THE BEST NIGHT OF MY LIFE. So yeah, if you like going to designer clothes shops with absolutely no money, this is pretty much the same concept: you can look, you can even touch (although it’s not advisable) but you most definitely can’t have. That said, it’s deffo one of my fave places to hang out in Gay Paree. There’s nowhere I’d rather spend 4euros on a glass of wine that came straight out of a big box. One day I’ll get over the prices in Paris. That’s not today though!

All in all, a bloody good night! This afternoon I’m going on a road-trip back to the UK. If it’s eventful enough, I will recount it here.

*that isn’t called Vanilla. Candy Bar’s good though.

mardi 18 janvier 2011

The babes of Paris

So, Paris is crammed full of mega-hot babes right. And I'd not been in Paris for long before I developed a game that I can play with myself (well, not in public--) Well, actually yes, in public, (that was just an unintentional pun that I didn't want to delete) cos its most prime location is the Metro, hence its name: Cruising the Metro.

The rules of the game are thus:

You're like in the metro or whatever. The RER is also good cos the stops aren't as frequent but I fear there aren't as many honeyz headin' in the direction of the banlieue. So anyway, I've not done this for a while, because until recently I've been in a happy, loving relationship. Now, don't worry, this blog is not about to deteriorate into some ranting bullshit about how I just got dumped. Cos, I like totally didn't anyway?
ANYWAY, one of my most priceless memories was in early October, and it was early in the morning, well, commuting time. I'm fairly sure I was hungover and it was a Thursday. A couple of stops into my journey,
a chick who looked like a dude got on. "Cool," I thought to myself, "now to make exaggerated and repeated eye contact as I am wont to do, for I am, after all, a Raving Insatiable Dyke". So I did this a few times, and to my delight, she seemed to be yielding to my seduction, looking back at me with that unmistakable longing in her eyes that is so very much more than simply a "gay gaze". By this point I had become so excited that I had to stop listening to my iPod, for the distraction was quite too much to handle. She was 18, or 20, and had hair in the style of Robert Smith c.1984, i.e. before it went too crazy and he got too fat. Suffice to say, sexy as fuck. Now, a bit further on, the person sitting next to me alighted. Chick moved towards the empty seat. I could hardly contain myself. Literally. I didn't. But. Alas. To my abject despair, SOME FUCKING MORON BOY SAT THERE FIRST. And Reader, I can honestly say that never in all my long, lonely years of raving insatiable dykedom, have I ever so passionately wished for somebody else's untimely passing. Chick shifted back to her original position, clinging to one of the poles in front of me. I took a few more forlorn glances at her, before she left me a few more stops later and disappeared into the throng! At length I heaved a sigh, stuck my 'Pod back on, and continued on my trajet de tragedie towards work of doom.

So I mean like it happened again today. This time it was actually at the RER station. Saw this proper buff babe. She kinda looked like a more attractive version of myself, if I'm honest. A more French version of myself. Her hair was more controlled, more sleek and her face was so angular, so androgynous. God, I mean, I really dig that shit. So natch I followed her up the platform, stealing conspicuous glances every few moments. Didn't look at me once until she turned to face me full on, she was a comfortable distance away so it wasn't too alarming, more like quite exciting. I followed her onto the train like some fucking psychopathic stalker from hell. And nothing else worthy of note took place. And it was at that moment that I thought this thing, that I think every now and again: What if dykes were more like fags? I mean, if I were a fag, and if she'd been a fellow fag, there's like, a 50% chance we'd have been banging the shit out of each other in the bathroom of the nearest bar at the next station, right? But alas, no of course that didn't happen cos she was a fucking nobhead arrogant dyke who didn't want to know! So now I'm here talking shit about my feelings instead of what I'd be writing if I were this fag character I created:
"Totally gay gazed this fag on the RER today. We looked at each other then we got off the train at the next stop in the middle of the banlieue, and went to this proper old man bar. I gave him some poppers (I always carry poppers cos I like, get laid so often) and then I banged the shit out of him in the bathroom. It was fucking awesome. Hope something similar happens tomorrow". That's litch what it'd be like, I think.

mardi 11 janvier 2011

Gay as in Shit Creperie Musicale

It was back in November that I visited this place when my friend Emily came to visit me. It's right near where I live and I walk past it several times every day. It didn't take me long to notice the handmade gay rainbow flag stuck to the door and I became intrigued, trying to look inside and suss out the clientele. It certainly did not seem like the sort of place you'd go alone, unless you were perhaps dating or fucking one of the staff. Not that I'd go there alone anyway cos I'm far too cheap. Suffice to say, we were pretty excited about going, I mean a gay Creperie that's also a bar and often has live music, what could possibly be bad? Erm, let me count the ways:

When we got there I asked the waitress/owner/twat that we wanted to eat something, wasn't sure if we'd get shown to a table or what. She said yeah and waved her arm in the general direction of the seats as if to say "Well what are you waiting for, you cretins, sit down!" Whatever. To drink we asked for a bottle of cider. Now, everyone knows that you can get a 75cl of cider in any big French supermarket for just over a euro, in the same way that you can also buy a carton of table wine for this price, and even in the smallest epicerie in the poshest bit of Paris you'd never pay more than 4 euros, if they sold it at all. So to charge nearly 10 euros for this seemed to be fouting on our gueule somewhat. But I mean we knew that's what it'd be and is our own fault for ordering it but it adds to the shitness of the place in any case. I also asked for a glass of water that never came. I ate a salad, it was fine as far as I remember. Emily asked for steak. Natch, we asked in French, since we were in France and it's not exactly hard to ask for stuff that's written in front of you. It was then that the waitress did that twatty thing that is responding to us in English. Now, don't get me wrong, if your English is really good then I guess it's acceptable cos sometimes it really is just easier. But oh my goodness, no word of a lie this was the SHITTEST ENGLISH I HAVE EVER HEARD. I am a primary school teacher. I teach French kids how to speak English. This was the shittest English I have ever heard. She was barely even intelligible, and spoke as though she hadn't put down the hash pipe (or the bottle of cheap cider) for more than five minutes in the last twenty years. We carried on speaking in French and eventually got the point across that we wanted a medium rare steak with a side of potatoes. Or so we thought. What arrived was a very well-done steak served with spinach. Now normally I'd take great pleasure in bitching that it was wrong, but for some reason that I can't quite place, I just didn't feel like it was worth it.

Atmos: atrocious.
Value for money: shite.
Babe factor: minus a million. I wouldn't bang anyone in there with a ten-foot strap-on, pet!

Verdict: Hopefully soon it'll close down and get turned into something a little more pleasant, like a home for rabid dogs.