Here are some things I’ve got up to in France since I arrived last year, in no particular order. Bonne année, happy new year etc.
I broke the mirror in my new apartment the day I arrived in Paris.
I’ve bought designer children’s socks – for me – at a chic left-bank boutique.
I’ve sunbathed topless on a deck-chair in the garden of the Musée Bourdelle while waiting for my clothes to dry at the laundromat.
I’ve had my hair cut standing upright in the street at Porte-de-Clignancourt in the company of two goats.
I’ve stomped grapes accompanied by ritual flute music in a medieval winery in Bourgogne.
I’ve been asked by a perfect stranger to star in a play, to be premiered at a theatre in Abbesses, called Nietzsche’s Pizzas (the sequel to Aristotle’s Bottles).
I provided the skull used in Shakespeare & Co’s shortened version of Hamlet performed for the Bard’s 400th birthday, but didn’t watch the performance because I knew it would be shit.
I’ve crawled through corridors lined with human femurs in the illegal catacombs.
I’ve been the only astronaut at a Great Gatsby-themed party.
I’ve been the only astronaut at a belly-button themed party.
I’ve fallen down a waterfall while kayaking because I was distracted by three Belgians who were singing in the boat behind me and who subsequently retrieved my capsized canoe.
I lost my favourite opera binoculars at the Théâtre de Trianon.
I once had to say to someone, ‘N’oublie pas ton fouet.’
I received the sexiest SMS of my life: ‘Tu crois au Père Noël?:)’
I’ve had my heart casually broken via SMS at the airport.
I had my second-worst bike accident outside a lesbian bar where 20 women rushed out to help me, one of whom, Carole, worked for the Red Cross, paid for my taxi home and checked the next day that I wasn’t concussed.
I’ve been lost after sundown in the Ardèche with no map, telephone or torch, and had to knock on an elderly farmer’s door to be returned to my lodgings.
I promised the above savior a postcard from my next adventure and still haven’t sent it.
I wrote a love postcard to my extremely talented stride jazz-playing pianist neighbour and slipped it under his door after listening for many hours without having ever seen him, or knowing ‘he’ was a ‘him’.
I have received my first book of tickets resto after longing for them for months, and spent most of them at Marks & Spencer on Boulevard St-Michel and the one bakery I know that gives change back.
I’ve had my fortune told by a French clairvoyant and secretly recorded her findings.
I had a really interesting conversation with the girl who did my bikini wax at Yves Rocher.
I’ve stopped telling French people that white bread is bad for them.
I’ve been through a chestnut phase.
I’ve lied about my age to get into several exhibitions for free.
I’ve passed from the period where people guessed I was five years younger than I actually was, to the period where they usually correctly guess my age.
I’ve sung ‘Douce Nuit’ at the Madeleine on Christmas eve.
I’ve sung ‘Purple Rain’ with Connan Mockasin at 3am.
I’ve climbed my favourite tree in Paris.
I’ve dumpster-dived for the last cherries of the season.
I’ve accepted a non-sleazy shoulder massage from a pirate who goes by the name Rouge.
I’ve been bitten by a French poodle that drew blood, and I now have to start my morning runs a half-hour later to avoid the same dog.
I’ve said ‘tel chien, tel maître’ about 600 times.
I ruined my recorded time in the 16km Paris-Versailles race by stopping to take photos of the accordion bands along the track.
I’ve babysat for a divorcée who works at Hermès and whose 10-year-old daughter told me regularly that my clothes were ugly.
I’ve run with the firemen up the stairs of Montmartre and high-fived them during laps of the Jardin du Luxembourg.
I was seated by chance next to an Australian metal band called I Killed the Prom Queen at a vegan restaurant in Paris, where the heavily-tattooed members ordered only desserts.
I’ve told a flic trying to issue me a fine that I didn’t want to go anywhere with him because I’d just read about a Canadian tourist being gang-raped by Paris police officers.
In a separate incident, I’ve been fingerprinted and had a panic attack at Gare du Nord.
I auditioned for the Musiciens du Métro.
I told someone to go fuck their trombone (for personal, not musical, reasons).
I compared tats with Johnny Marr.
I’ve been on John Zorn’s personal guest list.
I’ve translated for sad clowns on Rue Quincompoix.
I lost my glasses at the tomb of Serge Gainsbourg and amazingly they were still there and intact when I went to retrieve them after an overnight storm.
I downed my first glass of rikiki, and then downed some more.
I tried celery-flavoured sorbet.
I’ve shown up at the Palais de Tokyo for an evening of experimental electro with Jean-Michel Jarre, and crashed instead, for three hours without realising, the Crédit Agricole Christmas party held concurrently in the same venue.
I’ve rang my bicycle bell for pigeons on the cycleway at Barbès.
I’ve intentionally almost mowed down lovers kissing on the bike path at Boulevard Magenta.
I’ve blown a kiss at the guy on a unicycle ahead of me.
I’ve rode past my ex’s house at 2am and had a way more handsome drunken French guy give me a rose without asking for anything in return.
I’ve cried because I made my bath too hot and had to hover over it waiting to enter, shivering, with water dripping down my ankles.
I cried after witnessing a scooter accident at Concorde.
I’ve cried in front of the Odilon Redon paintings at the Musée d’Orsay.
I won a round of darts at a bar in Batignolles by hitting the ‘1’ on first attempt.