Friday, September 19, 2008

Goodbye Mumblers

Our band said its final goodbye last weekend, at a rather chilly but very friendly and enjoyable wedding in Poland. Krakow is a beautiful town, relatively unspoilt by the WWII destruction that went on in Warsaw and many other places. It has beautiful sculpted rooftops and shady squares with fountains...

Of course we didn't see any of that because we went straight from the airport to Nowy Sosz, which is neither sculpted nor fountainous.

The weekend began with a rather dramatic event. Our lead guitarist turned up at the airport with only an out-dated ID card; outdated by 6 years! Of course, not even Transavia, the budget airline we used, would allow him to travel with that, so he had to go back to the city and take a train, chuffing through Europe by way of Cologne and Warsaw. It wasn't a disaster in the end, because he arrived ten minutes into the wedding ceremony and managed to play the song he'd been supposed to play. Still, we were all a bit fraught and worried that he might not make it at all, and our repertoire really relies on his playing to sound anything at all like how it's supposed to.

Why he thought he could travel with an ID card that expired in 2002 is beyond me, but all credit to him, he braved the Eastern European train network and managed to get there in time, so that's the main thing. Of course he had to take the train on the way back too, so he spent 40 hours out of his weekend sitting on a train. I think he started to understand why there was a murder on the Orient Express.

So now it's time to hang up our microphones, stay in one more night a week, and leave the world of rock'n'roll behind us. Well, for now anyway. All bands have their life cycle, and this is the end of ours for the moment.

This weekend is a lot calmer, too. I'm in Chablis today and it's nice and quiet. I'm working on my website for my translation business, but it's much harder than I expected. I have new respect for designers.

Next trip, Boston...

Monday, September 08, 2008


As my only and very right commenter put it, yes, I'm off to Krakow this weekend to sing for my band's final gig - my friend S's brother's wedding. So my journeys are not at an end just yet. In fact it'll be followed rather closely by a trip to the States for yet another wedding in Boston in mid-October then hopefully the last trip of the year will be to London for, yes, another wedding.

It seems to be all change at the moment. I have one friend getting promoted to the dizzy heights of business in Hong Kong, another leaving Dubai for Hanoi, another getting knocked up with twins no less, and yet others getting married left right and centre. With childish moans I'm crouched in the corner whining "when is it my turn?"

Paris is lurching back to life after the August population penury, which I have to say I always love. We missed most of it because we were busy cleaning up and decorating the tower in Chablis, but I caught the last week and it was so nice to not have to share your metro seat with a flabby thigh or laptop corner. People occasionally half-smiled at each other instead of the grumpy, "come near me and I'll bite you" looks that are usually so generously shared among Parisien metro-users. But now we're all back and even grumpier than ever because we're no longer on holiday and it's a good eight weeks before the toussaint holiday on November 1st.

One rather spritely metro driver came on the PA the other day while I was on the line 13 at 8am and said "Right ladies and gentlemen, we're off again, next stop, Tahiti. Not really, but you can always dream...". It wasn't particularly funny, but I smiled up at whoever was there and I swear no-one else even blinked an eyelid. If he had said that in any other place on earth I'm sure people would at least have smiled, but in Paris we're so engrossed in not socialising that I think sometimes we forget to live.

Anyway, the train didn't end up in Tahiti or anywhere remotely similar. It regurgitated me in Clichy which is somewhat less enthralling, but at least I didn't get sunburnt.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

...and before you know it, it's back to school

My month of frenetic jet-setting around Europe is at its end now; I got back from Stockholm yesterday night and now it's back to the grindstone again (well before a trip to the States in October...but that's for a wedding).
I'm realising that the reason I feel so frazzled when I'm working is that I'm trying to squeeze in a full month's worth of work into just a few weeks, all the time.
Stockholm was fantastic, I loved the city, the people and most of all, the way you say "hej" - pronounced like "hey" - whenever you go into a shop or get on a bus. It just feels so cool and laid back. I was ready for a bit of Parisian sun though, but looking out my window this morning there doesn't seem to be an optimistic outlook; grey and heavy clouds ready to drop their loads.
So after a summer of Chablis, Warsaw and Stockholm I'm feeling very European and also very guilty about my huge carbon footprint. No more European flights in 2008.