Life in London

Life in London for a not-quite-middle-aged gay Australian guy. Oh, the glamour of it all!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Here comes the water

The Evening Standard is never one to overstate a crisis......

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A brace of birthdays

So this is about 2 weeks too late, but I suppose late blogging is bettter than no blogging. We had the lovely Matthew's birthday dinner at Tamesa the other night, then we went roller skating. Tres retro. I am not sure, but I think Matthew might be gay. Paul certainly hopes so.

Then the Saturday before last (yep, get your Kylie/Aussie Rules footballers calendars out to figure out which Saturday), we had Don's birthday - complete with Brazilian waiting staff. I thought they melded into the crowd quite well in their roman slave outfits. Not that I noticed them.

We've also seen some films! And they were both French (see - I can do highbrow, too!). The first was 'Tell No One (Ne le dis à person)', which I really enjoyed. It was different to see a non-hollywood action/thriller. It must have been good because Paul attempted to exceed his 3-question quota ('Why is he doing that?' etc etc). I wasn't having any of it though. If you let them exceed it once, they'll only try to raise to four and before you know it, you'll find yourself with a 7-question limit at movies. I gave it 8.5/10.

The very next night (two films in two nights, imgaine how much we spent on popcorn, enough to buy a small flat in Melbourne!), we saw 'La Vie en Rose' (apparently so good, it doesn't need to an English translation for it's title). I didn't really rate it, (6.5/10,purely for the acting of Marion Cottilard), but it was worth it for 'Non, je ne regrette rien'. It's a song that unfortunately will forever be associated with a Nescafe ad in Australia for me, but it's still fantastic. I remember studying the lyrics in my short-lived french classes. Here they are (thanks to this) and apologies for the apalling layout. Heres a clip of Edith Piaf singing it live:

Non, je ne regrette rien

Non, rien de rien
Non, je ne regrette rien
Ni le bien qu'on m'a fait, ni le mal
Tout ca m'est bien egal

Non, rien de rien
Non, je ne regrette rien
C'est paye, balaye, oublie

Je me fous du passe

Avec mes souvenirs
J'ai allume le feu
Mes chagrins, mes plaisirs

Je n'ai plus besoin d'eux

Balayes les amours
Et tous leurs tremolos
Balayes pour toujours
Je repars a zero

Non, rien de rien
Non, je ne regrette rien
Ni le bien, qu'on m'a fait, ni le mal
Tout ca m'est bien egal

Non, rien de rien
Non, je ne regrette rien
Car ma vie, car mes joies
Aujourd'hui, ca commence avec toi

No, nothing.
No, I regret nothing.
Neither the good done to me, nor the bad;
to me, they're all the same.

No, nothing at all.
No, I regret nothing.
It's all paid for, swept away, forgotten;
I don't care about the past.

With my memories,
I've lit a fire.
My sorrows, my pleasures,

I need them no more.

Swept away are my loves
and all their tremors.
Swept away forever.
I start from scratch.

No, nothing really.
No, I have no regrets.
Neither the good done to me, nor the bad;
to me, they're all the same.

No, nothing.
No, I regret nothing.
Because my life, because my joys,
today, begin with you.

And then this Saturday we saw Shrek 3 - it managed to keep my attention for the length of the film, and the kids seemed to like it. I'd give it a 7/10. We saw it in Ipswich, which provided possibly the best argument I've seen so far against first cousins marrying.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Too busy to blog, but

Stuie's birthday goes off with a bang.

But Gay Pride was a damp squib.

Paris Comes to London Business School (or was it Collins St, Melbourne?)

And London's gone smokefree!!! But as the Guardian points out (and we found out Friday night), aren't people a bit whiffy.....

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

I prefer to holiday in Spain, not Switzerland

Go Rafa!

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

It all kicks off (The Summer of Food, that is)

The Thursday before last, the first official event of The Summer of food (tm reg) started, so it was only fitting that the weather was about 19C, cloudy and showering for the vast majority of it. Damien, Paul and I met at London’s Waterloo International (soon to be replaced by St Pancras International) to catch the 20:15 Eurosta to Paris. In ‘leisure select’ class, no less. Having travelling by business class recently, the only differences between the two iare the name, the dulcet tones of American tourists (’Hey! Where are you from? We’re from Missouri!!’) and a much higher proportion of manmade fibre.

I love the Eurostar. It eliminates the long trip to the airport, the waiting around and the buying of aftershave you don’t particularly need. The trip itself is so much more civilised, and you don't get off at the other end feeling everything you’ve drunk in the last week is being sucked out of your pores by the airconditioning.

By the time we had finished out complimentary champagne(!), we were speeding towards Paris. The section of track from Waterloo to somewhere in the middle of Kent is so embarrassingly slow though. It’s the European rail equivalent of training wheels. That will all change when the high speed line is finished in a few months. (And it’s only taken 13 years to build). Call me a socialist if you like, but I’m a great believer in government investment in infrastructure, and don’t see why lower taxes for for high-income earners or for private equity funds in the city (5% they pay!!) should be a priority, while a worthwhile project like this takes years to complete.

So we were in Paris by 11pm, and in our rented Marais apartment by 11:30. And out for a drink by 12:30. (Someone wanted to unpack). What’s not to like about that?

Friday morning I went on the croissant and pain au chocolate run while the two sleeping beauties lay in bed. After the coffee, orange juice and pastries, we were off to the Hotel Balzac. For a very long lunch at the 3 Michelin-starred Pierre Gagniare. I am not quite sure what makes a 3-star restaurant, but the service was exemplary and the food was excellent. We had (amongst other things) the most gorgeous bottle of burgundy. Burgundy is the new Jacob’s Creek. You read it here first. We were slightly worried about the fate of the waitress who poured some red into Damien’s white wine glass. We didn’t lay eyes on her after that and we think she may have been guillotined.

The rest of our time was spent wandering around the Marais. Most of my time was spent watching Paul and Damien shop. I also spent a great deal of my time making coffee and buying pastries for breakfast. But I’m not bitter at all. I quite enjoyed going out and trying to find a better boulangerie every day. Paris is so beautiful that just walking around is pleasure enough.

Our apartment was a little 'Moulin Rougue'-esque garret in the the Marais - it was up six flights of stairs (125 of them!). And did we know it a couple of times. But it did have a lovely terrace with views over to Montmatre in one direction and the Pompidou Centre in the other. It also had quite detailed instructions on everything, even down to expected toilet etiquette. I kid you not. And I thought my boyfriend was anal.

Saturday we met up with some French boys we know for dinner and then a bit of a dance – as you do. It was fun. So much fun that we met them again on Sunday night for something to eat and a walk around Pigalle, where we were abused in French for being gay. Nice.

Monday morning there was just enought time to fit in another lunch, this time of fillet steaka nd sauteed potatoes for us all, washed down witha 7-y-o bottle of St Emilion. The Bordeaux cost what we'd normally pay for a bottle of plonk in London. So unfair!

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