Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Miss V’s Halo Slips

On Friday several things happened: the battery on my music playing doobery went flat, there was the mother of all storms and I went to the African evening at UNESCO.

Let me tell you about the mother of all storms first. There I was probably reading all your blog posts and the sky which had been an ominous grey all afternoon turned a bruised yellow before dark black clouds rolled in. It was like sitting in a world with all the lights turned off and it made me smile because I knew something spectacular was to follow. A crash here and a flash there and the heavens opened pouring sheets of liquid onto the dry pavements. It was like my own personal light and sound show taking place around my head. Of course, I then had to reassess what I was going to wear to the African evening but the lesser rain gods seemed to know my schedule because the downpour eased off a little just before I had to peg it down to the metro in my bright red raincoat.

Anyway after getting into the UNESCO building and going up to the 2nd floor, the 7th floor and back to the ground floor we found the event. We had kind of missed a good part of it but the thing that impressed me the most was a troupe from Uganda (I think – I have a terrible memory). They played this giant xylophone type drum and they had had to construct a stand for it out of a banana tree. They came from some tiny village in the middle of the boo hoos and had never left their village let alone got on a plane and flown to Paris, yet when they got on the stage they were born to be there. The 13 year old singer dancer absolutely stole the show as his voice filled every corner of the auditorium and he jiggled his hips like crazy. They were fantastic...

But meanwhile the storm was dying down and things had been going on at home... or so I thought when I put two and two together and came up with five.

On Tuesday I grabbed my music playing doobery and pressed play and nothing happened. Did it get fried while I was charging the battery on Friday?

This morning I woke up with a list going through my head: The Doves, ELVIS COSTELLO! Badly Drawn Boy... zzz... Tom Waits... zzz... Leonard Cohen, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones... zzz... The Smiths... Rufus Wainwright... Joy Division (but that’s alright because I bought Unknown Pleasures)... The Buzzcocks... The Jam. Then I went to water my new basil plant and discovered it had taken an almighty battering on Friday night (and Sunday, and Monday). Oh man! I thought, my plant got battered and the doobery got fried.

But you know you have to have hope. So I took all the various bits into work and after the Server Guy and the Server Guy’s Boss had stopped running around like Blue Arsed Flies and had had a wee breather I sidled in waving the poor sad blue doobery thing at them. “It’s dead. Is there anyway you can get all the music off even though it’s dead?”

To cheer myself up I went and dropped my ticket off at Colleen’s for the concert I’m too whacked to go to via the pet shop. I walked up the hill even though I’m shattered just to get a glimpse of two dozing Siamese kittens and a sleeping Labrador puppy and the bunch of Yorkies and Scotties that were using him as a pillow. On the way down the hill I realised I had missed a call. So I called back. “Yeah, your doobery is fixed.”


“It was stuck.” Even the kittens woke up and started leaping around with joy.

So why has my halo slipped even though I’m no angel? Well... you figure it out.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Not such a bad thing after all

It turns out the break from writing wasn't such a bad thing after all. Every other time I've had a break of this length of time I've just completely lost the story or the characters have also run away for an extended holiday and never come back, but not this time.

In the interim I did flick through the notebook and decide that I needed to develop certain characters a bit more and that the beginning was kind of weak. So when I finally got back to it that's where I started; at the beginning with a wee bit of character development.

Next I was planning on carrying on where I had last stopped writing, but to do that I had to re-read the six chapters I had already written. My conclusions after this read through was: OH MY GOD! How confusing is this? What the hell is going on? So that's good, right, because if I had just happily kept on writing it would have just kept on getting more confusing.

There was a wee moment there on Sunday night as I was making a cheese sandwich when I had that 30,000 word 'Oh my this is crap' feeling, but that quickly passed as I came up with a completely alternative plot. As I brushed my teeth I realised that the alternative plot line would mean that I needed a new notebook and to start all over again. As the tooth paste dripped from my aghast mouth a completely different beginning popped into my head and I quickly finished brushing so that I could go and scribble it down.

So yesterday after almost paying the entire Tax bill for my arrondissement (I got a bit carried away with filling in figures in boxes and it was only after I was estimated a 14,000€ tax bill that I went back and realised I was claiming I had a double income!) I wrote the new beginning. It's something like the 7th beginning, the 1st one now being somewhere far past the middle! Anyway, the important thing is it cuts to the chase and means that I've been able to cut (and will be able to cut) a lot of unnecessary telling later on and eh... I like it.

The other thing I realised over this weekend is that research is fun, but then you don't have to put it ALL in. I had more or less realised that before when I had stopped myself writing a long description about a sledge, but I definitely realised it this weekend as I mercilessly chopped paragraphs here and there.

So I'm now up to 22,000 words ish although that will probably go down rather than up as I edit the first bit to fit in with the new beginning.

Monday, May 28, 2007


From the beginning I decided that some of Shameless’s lions were female. I actually chose her name last Tuesday, but I didn’t really have time to fully research it and do some variations until today. I knew that I wanted her name to mean fire, but according to my in depth research it actually means fire soul. The name is apparently Gaelic, but I could only find details of a Cornish saint who somehow become all embroiled with King Arthur and had the power to bring people and her cow back to life!

So the name began as Endellion, sometimes spelt Endillyon, the Saint is Endelienta, but I liked the Cornish variant. So please welcome to my blog:


The fire within burns vibrant on her skin,
tattooing vague patterns of blazing dragons
across her flank.

Wild imaginings bursting forth,
swirling to indefinite
beginnings, middles and endings.
Prowling forth into uncertainty,

her radiance undiminished,

her force yet unrealised,
her soul a rich muse
of consciousness.

Copyright, 2007. Verilion

And please click here to go and say hello to some of her other pals, and here if you would like to adopt a lion. They're very good really. I have to admit that mine takes up a little more space on the sofa then I would like, but she's very amiable to snuggling and she's got a purr like you wouldn't believe!


Super quick update to say that The Pimple Continued has been updated again. I have added:

My goal for today is to fill in my tax return (which is a bit scary because I have to delve into the Cupboard of Crap to find two specific pieces of paper!), name and rightfully claim my lion, add yet another bit to the beginning of the book and maybe do a bit more of the middle, eat.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Not a moan (really)

This post is not going to be a moan. I started moaning on Thursday and it just grew and grew until it became a Woolly Mammoth that threatened to stamp on me. And then I went to Castorama and calm was restored momentarily as I wandered down the small hand tools aisle more times than was strictly necessary. In keeping with Saturday being eye-candy day, I may make this particular aisle a regular part of my Saturday routine.

So I decided not to moan, which is a bit difficult because all these things happened this week:

  • I had a headache all week
  • My back was threatening to join in with the headache
  • My idea of buying a wreck in Brittany and rebuilding it was nixed by the MEN (and Jane, who jumped up and down all over my poor trampled idea the next day just in case I was thinking of reviving it!) (But after the trip to Casto yesterday I did momentarily consider it again... ‘All those Saturdays in the power tools aisle’ I thought then realised ‘All those Saturdays not writing’ and forgot it again)
  • I’ve already neglected my poor adopted lion by not naming or writing it a poem, but I’m working on it.
  • Some of my colleagues really let me down this week in a week when I really needed their help
  • Liverpool lost the Champion’s League Final
  • I wore a stripy green and yellow top the next day to cheer myself up and people took the piss all day:
  • I left my jacket on the bus
  • My red notebook hasn’t been out of my bag for weeks

And it’s that last one that’s really getting me down. So instead of writing this post that’s what I should really be doing.

And my Tax Return; mustn’t forget to do that!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Who am I?

I’ve been a wandering, a wondering and a dreaming this weekend. The dream was stepped on, crushed and ground away as the MEN stood around and spoke FACTS to me this afternoon, so I came home and uploaded my photos and wondered some more.

This weekend I tagged after my folks to visit family and then we went to Brittany to meet a woman who shares a passion with my mother. They are both into genealogy and through this they have discovered that way back when they share a common ancestor. As they both became animated by names and dates, ancestors, national archives and the rather bizarre Latter Day Saints database[1] I suppose it became clear that not everyone shared their enthusiasm. “Aren’t you interested?” I was asked as I was about to sneak out for a fag. Well it’s true that I’ve not really paid much attention to that which puts a sparkle in my Mum’s eye and it’s taken a stranger to reveal this to me.

I’ve always looked at my family at this bizarre bunch spread far and wide around the globe, some of whom I share a birthday with and others that I have never met at all. My immediate family was shaped by a culture that was so alien to me that I spent my childhood shouting loud and clear: THIS IS ME. But in the end who am I? On a microscopic level my journal continues to explore this question everyday. Then there is my family, my friends, my colleagues, my students. And then complete strangers; who am I to Monsieur J. Blogue the everyday Parisian on the streets?

It is a question I have posed since I left England. You see in England I was just another person who made up the multi ethnic melting pot that is London. In Mexico I was told by my hairdresser that if I kept my mouth shut I could pass for a Mexican. In Spain, the same thing, people spoke to me in Spanish first and then when the blinking became impossible to ignore they would finally venture to ask: “¿No entiendes?” The last time I visited my island of origin I was told that I couldn’t be from there because I was too pale!

It’s weird, everybody is from somewhere, but where am I from? South west London or a tiny little island that is a barely a dot on the map? And in the end up until the 1600’s the only inhabitants of that tiny little volcanic dot were Dodos; everybody there came from somewhere else. And somewhere else is kind of all mixed up in me: the British and French settlers, the African slaves, the Indian and Chinese indentured labour; they are all in there somewhere.

I’m not sure that I am interested in the dates and the lines joining me to her and him to them, but I do like the stories. What made John Edward leave England and travel all those miles on the East India trade route to that island? Who were his lovers? Give me the juicy details. Which of his children stayed and who left and where and why did they go? And an interesting question is what happened to the women? In all these lines, where did their stories lead when they lost the name that binds us all?

The picture is of the Moulin arrangement of Megaliths in St. Just where I was this weekend. I thought it was kind of appropriate. Also check out the lucky Liverpool Sweet William piccie in the side bar, I’m pulling out all the stops for Wednesday!

[1] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints apparently has the largest collection of Family Tree history in the WORLD. Why? Now that’s another really interesting story.

Monday, May 14, 2007


I just clicked on site meter to have a wee mosey at my visitors today. My eyes flicked down yesterdays visitors, last hour, todays and almost popped out of my head: 108. "Shurely some mistake," I said to myself in my best Sean Connery accent. Eh, but no. Out of the 100, 8 of you are my usual bunch, 11 of you actually hung around to see what the hell I was going on about and then scooted off thinking: "Mad cow!" (although maybe I shouldn't count the 3 Brazilians who probably took that long to realise they were in the wrong place.) The rest took a quick look and thought: "Uh?!"

Take a look at the piccie in the post below. Whoops! Apologies to all of you who come here thinking this may be some shrine to the crawling one, but then again I guess you're not going to read this, so what the hell, but if you do, no offence, but please go away. This is where you are meant to be.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Warning! May contain spoilers, maybe, I dunno really...

On Monday I went to see Spider-Man 3. I was kind of excited about it and I wanted to go and see it as a special occasion (not just in a rush because it came out here before anywhere else in the world), so it was planned that we would go Monday as a way of welcoming in our day off on Tuesday.

Now I tend to go for the same type of Superhero: tortured personality, walking a fine line between the dark side and the right side - Batman, Wolverine, Sandman (as in Neil Gaiman’s creation), just about any superhero that was in the Vertigo imprint of DC way back when, preferably DC superheroes as opposed to Marvel and under no circumstances do I like Superman. No! He is just too squeaky clean.

Now Spider-Man is kind of in the middle, he’s also squeaky clean, but he’s just so sarcastic and an out and out nerd, which makes the whole crawling up walls and swinging about, defeating baddies thing kind of cool. Let’s face it, that’s every nerd’s fantasy totally captured there, isn’t it?

And then Spider-Man 3 promised something more; Peter Parker’s dark side. So why, when Spider-Man / Peter Parker wiped those tears away from his eyes and told the Sandman (not the cool one) that he forgave him, did I feel like choking on my M&M? By Tuesday I was apoplectic with rage. What the hell was the feel good fuzzy factor there? And why when Peter Parker turned bad did he start acting like some white boy pimp? And what was this whole forgiveness thing?

Forgiveness, smorgiveness, why is this word in my face at the moment? And why won’t it go away? So I confronted it. I fought an internal battle better than any Spidey and New Green Goblin (aka oh let’s put in a super cool skater boy) fight and this is what I decided:

  • Forgiveness is a catholic concept even if the Collin’s English Dictionary doesn’t define it as such.
  • Can I forgive that person? Well, the answer is a resounding no, louder than the bell that knocks the badness out of Spidey.
  • Does that leave a ball of dark, evil, cancerous badness inside of me? Ehm, let me think about that. No, not really because I can’t see the point of getting angry any more, my energies are directed elsewhere.

So with that sorted I got on with the rest of the week.

But then this morning a line from Spider-Man came back to me: “First you have to forgive yourself,” Aunt May advised.


And if you can face more Spider-Man stories try this one, it’s very interesting!

Thursday, May 10, 2007


After the discussions of whether Haiku's should have titles or not, or whether they should even be written I decided to NOT write another one. I also overcame my fear of Poetry Thursday and tootled over. They have something called a randomizer. So this was my word...


By the time the first frayed thread
snagged on your nail,
that sweater fell over your angles like
a reassuring comfort moulded to your form.

There it lay,
twisted at the back of your drawer,
ready to cosset you,
do your will.

But forced to see
by the pinch of the thread;
to become aware;
the holes materialised,
here and there.

You could have mended
those unraveling gashes.
But were you tired, unhappy,
with its uncompromising yarn;
its unwillingness to fit your changing self?

And as the fibre sliced into flesh,
numbing feeling,
you pulled and pulled,
until the fabric of your life,
slowly became unwoven.

copyright, 2007.Verilion

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Training Day

"There are three writer's in this group and look at you all!" Jane burst out exasperated.

We all kind of stopped and took stock of what we were not doing. We were supposed to be doing something about text forms. What we were doing was this: I was trying to do a yoga movement called the Frog, well that's what Floppy Moo told me as she flipped through a book on Japan and Anne was trying to decide what type of text form a 'dialouge' was exactly.

Despite the fact that we all went a bit ADD in the afternoon, I did find a page that described several different types of poetry. I scribbled a wee note to myself while the other writers weren't looking and this morning I visited Inspire me Thursday. Great things seem to happen on Thursdays, (I've also noted in the past that there's a site called Poetry Thursday) anyway it's broken and I'm wondering now how many years it's been broken and whether I'll be writing poems about foliage FOREVER.

Anyway here is a wee Haiku:

The Curtain Twitcher Watches

The path to learning
through voices of oral foliage;
autumn long ago.

copyright, 2007. Verilion

Sunday, May 06, 2007


I’ve now written 17,510 words (in order) of my YA book. I have also added some more bits in the middle and towards the end because you know you just can’t forget that great line. Probably, when I get there again I’ll cut it out, but no matter.

Other things I decided this week were that I think I’m heading for about 60,000 words total. But that was kind of based on last week’s figures and then I kind of estimated how much I thought I had written and I was well off; I’ve written more.

I also decided that it was time to do a bit of research. I’ve read all about Karate, Norse creation myths, gods, Asgard and enemies. I’ve also found out about some Finnish and Slavic myths and last night I read a book about Eskimos. Yes you did read right, I wrote Eskimos. It’s from 1979 and aimed at Primary school kids. I was actually in Primary school in 1979. I have to admit that I was a bit dubious about this book because a) it was called Eskimos, b) it’s from 1979.

Still, I hope Derek Fordham won’t mind me sharing this with you guys from page 46:

We have many things such as railways, TV and big cities, which many Exkimos [in 1979] have never seen. But as well as all these advantages we have war and crime. We pollute our seas and rivers. Side by side with wealth we have great poverty.

...Eskimos made their living from the natural things around them. Because of this they caused no pollution, and their methods of hunting did not threathen to kill all of the animals.

...A long time ago the Eskimos thought they were the only people on earth and called themselves inuit: the people or the men. Their way of life required courage: it also required patience, fellow feeling and understanding. Can we claim to have these virtues too?

I’m not saying that I want to go and live in Greenland and hunt seals. It just made me think that people have been telling us for a long time to look out for our planet and the people on it. When are we going to start listening?

Saturday, May 05, 2007

What does Embrèvement mean?

Over someone’s shoulder this week I saw a picture of this (see video below) and thought to myself: ‘Boulevard de Clichy, must check that out!’

Anyway, last night as we were heading off to ‘dance’ enthusiastically (well the girls were enthusiastic, I was moaning about having to pay 10€ to get in and the music would be shite and there would be lots of young whippersnappers about) I spotted it on the other side of the road. ‘Cool!’ I finally whipped up some enthusiasm and was beaten into it by Colleen, but a swift bum bump knocked her out of the way and I flung some poses for my friends below... until I realised I was elevated and visible to all passers by and not just my grinning mates below.

So what’s the story here? Well according to Philippe Langlois (who was the only person I could find who seems to be talking about this and whom I apologise to for any mistranslations – his English seems pretty good), it’s called Embrèvement numéro 3, Installation illicite d'oeuvre en milieu urbain (???[1] number 3, illicit installation in an urban environment). It’s sitting on top of the empty pedestal of Charles Fourier which has been empty since the German occupation of France during World War II. The purpose of the installation is to underline the fact that the statue is missing and to bring this issue back into the public eye. It was put up secretly in the middle of the night (I think I’ve got that right), which is pretty amazing considering it weighs 1.2 tonnes.

But who is Charles Fourier? Well according to the experts he was a French utopian socialist and philosopher who coined the term feminism. He believed that care and concern would lead to the success of society. He also had this crazy idea for communes – which he called Phalange[2]- where people would do the jobs they wanted because they wanted to and the less savoury jobs would be paid better. Can you imagine that?

His ideas seem to have influenced the Paris Commune, many cults in the US and contemporary writers. He sounds like a guy I’d like to find out a bit more about.

[1] My crappy French/English dictionary doesn’t even have this word and it’s been internetty translated as joggle or dimpling. Both are English words that I have learnt the meaning of today.

[2] Incidentally phalange in Spanish is falange; I’m a bit confused about this.

Friday, May 04, 2007


In the autumn of 2005 I discovered brown big time. My wardrobe morphed into brown so much that I would go shopping with Claire (whom I had met mere weeks before) and she would say: “Oh V! It’s brown, you’ll like this then.” I remember listening to a Radio 4 programme that explored all the various meanings of brown; it was by a journalist called Brown. Basically while other colours represented new life and light and generally nice things, brown equals brown noser, browned off. In fact I even remember my brother asking me if I was browned off one day. One of the things that I remember the programme saying is that brown symbolised stability and a wish to keep the status quo.

In what seems like a sudden unconnected jump, I will now tell you about my bank appointment on Wednesday. In France you pay bank charges! Yeah, do a double take at that; I did. Every six months or so you get called in to the bank for a wee chat; given that I’m paying for this, I go, reluctantly, but I go.

The appointment went something like this.

Banker: So Miss V, I’ve been looking after your account for almost two years now.

V: Mmm.

Banker: And well now that you have moved and things have settled down it’s time for you to start thinking about your money.

V: Mmm.

Banker: What are you going to do with it?

V: Uh?

Banker: Well I gave you some options last time?

V: Mmm.

Banker: So what are you going to do?

V: Uh?

Banker: (Blinks)

V: Uhmmmm... Uh... Ehm... I’m going to talk to my Dad.

Banker: You said that last time.

V: (Shit!) Uhm... He’s coming to visit soon. (Grins manically.)

Banker: When?

V: (Blinks) 10th.

Banker: So I’ll see you after the 10th then?

V: Can I have a new cheque book? (Smiles most charming disarming smile.)

I talked to my colleagues the next day. Julie - the annoying one that you never really want to say anything to, but you end up somehow disclosing your most intimate details to – got all excited. “Buy a flat. Oh I love flat hunting.”

“Do you?” I replied weakly.

Apparently so. I found a magazine in my pigeon hole today with a number of flats circled. As I crossed them off one by one Kieran peered over my shoulder. “Oh you’re looking for a flat.”

“No!” I snapped back.

Later he caught me at the photocopier. “So you’re going to buy a flat?”

“Well, there are a lot of things I have to think about. It’s a big commitment. What if I want to change jobs?”

I’d said the same thing to Claire earlier and she had asked me how many jobs I had applied for.

“You ask for relocation allowance.”

Suddenly in a blinding flash (or maybe that was the photocopier), I foresaw how the conversation with my Dad was going to go.

Orange – that’s what I’m wearing today. Apparently orange is a good colour for change. Maybe I overestimated my readiness for orange. I think I’ll go back to brown now.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Pimple Updated

OK I was writing a very long post, but basically all I want to say is that: THE PIMPLE CONTINUED has been updated. I am a neglectful host to this poor fiction and poetry blog and never do anything to promote it. It's mainly all the flash fiction and poetry from this blog, in no particular order, but there we go.

Also I did this quiz thing ages ago (when I was wasting time) about what kind of shoes I am. Barefoot apparently, and I agree, but... I currently have the last of my toenail about to fall off, a nail that cut my toe and I couldn't work out which toe was bleeding, a verruca and kids keep stepping on my foot as well as bloody stupid people on the metro. So will life please stop abusing my feet so that I can continue my barefoot lifestyle. Do you think this is The Pimple sending out retribution?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

five hundred and twenty five thousand and six hundred minutes


The Cow Parade came to town, I started blogging and I met Shameless, Minx, Marie, Debi and Skint for the first time.

I completely fucked up booking my ticket to Bali and decided that this was my favourite Eiffel Tower pic. Funny that’s not the one that’s printed and put on my wall.

I found a new flat, got attacked by moths, washing powder and various other things. France got to the final of the World Cup and lost (I didn't post about that) and I tootled off on holiday.
I returned from holiday with fantastic toes and discovered as I moved that I had a lot of STUFF.

I reminisced about KECAK.
I fell in love with Julian Barnes and was cruelly silenced.
I remained cruelly silenced as my modem lights continued to NOT blink, my phone continued to NOT have a dial tone and France Telecom tried to lead me to an early grave.
The Fifty Word Challenge was issued. Glad it wasn't a competition because I still can't decide on my favourite
I came 4th in The Clarity of Night's Silent Grey short fiction competition. How many times did I mention that one?
I went to Berlin and fell in love with this little guy below. And THIS post is the one that draws more new visitors to my site than any other. I won't write the title again because frankly I'm in shock at the amount of people searching for this and I don't want to repeat the incident again!

Matt at Turbo Art interpreted me and that little Minx in Cornwall outed me. Bloody cheesy photo.

I went to Lyon and saw Shameless's play (well the one he did the music for) and Tacky Rover where I belly danced (not) and got mad at tourists and Sego and Sarko got through to 2nd round of the presidential elections (see below).

May 1st
122 posts later A Wanderer in Paris celebrates one year today.
In the past year I’ve made some bloggy mates, learnt not to do the horrendously long posts I did at the beginning, written poetry again (I’m not saying it’s any good, but I’m gonna keep on doing it), written loads and seem to have cut down on swearing in the blog posts (so I thought I'd catch up today!). It’s been great. Hope to carry on seeing you guys

Happy ONEIVERSARY to me!


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