The answer to life, the universe and everything…

Hey Campers,

It’s been a few weeks since the forty-second anniversary of the world becoming Jimified, but the celebrations continue with the random arrivals of belated birthday gifts – my POP figure collection is starting to become hoarder-like.

Oddly enough though, nothing much appears to have changed. Foolishly, I’d hoped that with another year’s passage, perhaps I might have also miraculously managed to become a tad wiser, especially since my age now corresponds to the answer to life, the universe and everything – according to Douglas Adams, at any rate. Sadly, this does not appear to be the case, and I appear to still be very much a kidult.

theanswertolifetheuniverseandeverything

Admittedly, fatherhood has aided in my growing up a smidge. For instance, my big nights out where I come home at some ungodly hour are few and far between, mostly because I know that however little time I leave myself to sleep won’t have the slightest effect on what time my son will demand my attention the following morning. My husband maintains the astonishing ability of being able to sleep through our child’s plaintive demands, no doubt reassured by the fact that I’ll be the one roused from my slumber more easily…until I shake him awake and inform him it’s damn well his turn! But I digress.

To be fair, I don’t really feel that much older, apart from that odd cracking sound my left knee makes and those malicious silverish hairs that make an appearance from time to time…before they are swiftly removed. As everyone knows the secret to looking youthful is a healthy lifestyle and positive attitude…of course, the flawless handiwork of my ‘beautician’ may have a hand in keeping my complexion preternaturally smooth.

Anyways, I had a most lovely birthday day, kicking off with my habitual champagne pancake breakfast, which my son shared in this year – the pancakes not the champagne, although he’s French…so probably next year? After our delightful nanny came to take the beast off my hands, I retreated off to the Bois de Vincennes for a spot of sunning myself, whilst working on my latest literary project. Then it was prancing off back home, in order to primp and preen, before heading off again to the Carrousel Français for wine and nibbles with friends. This was finished off with a scrumptious banana cheesecake from my beloved – the man is truly an artist in the kitchen.

Must away, I hear the wonderchild awakening from his nap, no rest for the wicked and all that.

Tchao! Tchao!!!

Spring in my step…

Hey Campers,

After a few false starts it appears that the springtime is finally upon us. As the temperature soars into the high twenties I’ve been taking full advantage of the lovely warmth and sunshine. The wonderchild and I have resumed our daily promenades throughout the city and enjoying the beautiful vistas of the Buttes Chaumont. Bonus exercise for me and a bonus nap for Nate – win/win for all.

I do so love this time of year. Having the windows open and letting all the fresh pollution into the apartment. Hopefully, my recently replenished jardinières and the newly leaved trees outside will negate some of that. It’s also time for the annual cleansing of the apartment, as I desperately try to declutter our increasingly full living quarters. Why do children need so much stuff??? I swear he has more possessions that my beloved husband and I combined.

CARROUSEL FRANÇAIS

Who doesn’t love a good wine bar? Personally, my tawdry love affair with wine has been well documented throughout the years and, despite numerous interventions, I continue to enjoy sipping this refreshing beverage in stylish environs.

So, you can imagine my delight, when one of my dear friends decided to open such a place. Not your traditional bar, the centrally located Carrousel Français employs a most marvellous concept, where a wide selection of cheese, charcuterie and desserts just coasts by your table waiting for you to snatch up whatever takes your fancy. A most civilised means of service, indeed.

The ambiance is charming, the wine is very, very drinkable and the food is absolutely delicious…especially the rosette à la truffe! The only danger is that you’ll be tempted to overindulge in pretty much everything really, leaving you to waddle home in shame. Trust me, I’ve learned from experience, although self-control has admittedly never been one of my virtues.

The Play’s The Thing…

Hey Campers,

First, I must apologize for the extended absence of my musings – to those of you who noticed at any rate. It has been a hectic past couple of months with a great deal of my time being consumed by my ever-growing duties with The Big Funk Company – not that I’m complaining…well, maybe just a little.

I’ve written before about this marvellous group of people and their successful efforts to put on bilingual theatre events in gay Paris – namely staged play readings and delicious brunch/theatre combos. Over the past year, they have allowed me to dive back into the wonderful world of theatrics and given me room to explore all the different facets of production.

In this vein, there have been several exciting new developments of late. Perhaps the most important one of these being the fact that tomorrow evening shall see the WORLD PREMIER of the first play I’ve ever written – The Evil Queen and the Precocious Princess. Trust me, I’m just as shocked and surprised as the rest of you.

The play is based on a short story I wrote a few years back and is a rollicking romp through a rather dysfunctional fairytale kingdom. Granted, it is only being put on as one of the aforementioned staged readings but we are discussing the logistics of transforming it into a full production. As excited as I am for the event, there is still the pressure to succeed, coupled with my lingering doubt that my friends are simply humouring me and that the general public won’t find it as funny as I tend to think it is.

The Unfriendly Skies.

Hell hath no fury like a Jimi scorned! I’d like to start my rant today with a very big FUCK YOU to Vueling Airlines, whom we would happily never fly with again apart from the fact we are booked to go home with them…may the gods have mercy on their souls if they screw us around again on Saturday, let me tell you.

What should have been a most lovely start to our summer holidays turned into one of the most frustrating travel experiences that I’ve ever had the misfortune to encounter. Granted, the plane didn’t crash and there was no loss of life – although it looked like some of the passengers were keen to hold a lynching near the end of our ordeal – but it was still enormously annoying nevertheless.

So, dear reader, it all started off simply enough with my beloved and I arriving at the airport an hour before our flight, as you do, only to be told that instead of the original departure time of 8.10pm it would now be 2am. This news was delivered with a goofy ‘what can you do’ kind of smile and not even a hint of an apology or vague attempt to explain why our flight was suddenly six hours behind schedule. This was a theme that continued through the evening with no real effort ever being made to justify the situation.

THE BIG ONE: PART 2 – PARISIAN PYJAMA PARTY

Hey Kids,

Well, I did it! I crossed the threshold of 40 and somehow managed not to have a complete nervous breakdown. In fact, I ended up having a most wonderful day, doing the things I love –mainly pampering myself and lapping up any hint of attention being thrown in my direction.

The day started well enough, with a champagne breakfast, complete with French Toast and a side of white chocolate Oreos, while I perused social media and bathed in the waves of virtual love from all around the world. Even though my husband was asleep – the poor man so needs his rest after a long working week – I can proudly say that I wasn’t drinking alone; my cats were in attendance…that counts right?  Speaking of shameless drinking, I made a somewhat heavy-duty Planter Punch for the party that was nearly strong enough to strip the colour right off of my sparkly-blue nails. Unsurprisingly, it did prove quite popular, with many a guest partaking of the dangerously alcoholic, golden liquid.

THE BIG ONE: PART 1 – MERRY OLD LONDON TOWN

Hey Campers,

That’s right, dear friends, the festivities to commemorate/commiserate my entering a new decade of life are well and truly underway. For those I haven’t already bored senseless with my plan to properly celebrate my 40th, I have gone slightly overboard and organised four parties in four cities – London, Paris, Berlin and Barcelona – all of which coinciding with gay pride events to maximise the campness, of course.

Well, we’ve just gotten back from the first leg of the Jimivities in Londonia and what a lovely weekend it was! If I’m to be totally honest, the celebrations actually started last Thursday night whilst still in Paris, as two visiting friends dragged me out – kicking and screaming, I might add – to have cocktails. But I digress.

First off, I must say a big thank you to the wonderfully generous Azeem and Erik for hosting us in their altogether stylish and handily situated apartment – smack bang in the heart of the action for the weekend. Unfortunately, a late arrival into Kings Cross – personally, I blame Brexit – meant that we ended up having a quiet evening in with our hosts, instead of painting the town pink straight away. That being said, it was more sensible to rest up for the days of fun ahead…dear gods, I’m already sounding like an old man!

Skippy-Sous-Seine.

Praise the Gods! The sun has returned to our fair city. I can’t tell you the joy I feel, as the sunshine streams in through my apartment windows after what certainly feels like months of endless grey skies and gloom. Granted the constant rain did manage to cleanse the urine-soaked streets of Paris – the city has never smelt cleaner – but the excess water has caused any number of problems.

According to Parisian tradition, one can assess the risk of flooding by simply regarding whereabouts the water level reaches in relation to a particular statue – Le Zouave – under the Pont de l’Alma. So, when Le Zouave a les pieds dans l’eau (He has his feet in the water) you know that it’s already getting pretty bad. This year, not only did his toes get wet, but, by the time the Seine peaked at just over six metres, he was enjoying a proper soaking. Indeed, I dare say that a good many Parisians are breathing easier now that the waters have slowly begun to recede back down his stony form.

Thankfully, Paris appears to have escaped somewhat unscathed this time, although the same can’t be said for a good many other French and German cities, who have felt the brunt of Mother Nature’s fickle disposition over the past week, losing not just property and business but, in some tragic cases, human life itself.

All The World’s A Stage…

Hey Campers,

It should come as no surprise to many of you that I can sometimes be prone to bursts of high emotion and a barely-contained, frightening, all-consuming need to be the centre of attention. In my defence, I am a certified Drama Queen – thanks to my University degree where I majored in the dramatic arts.

Recently, I decided to go back to my theatrical roots and have consequently become involved with a theatre troupe here in gay Paris. The Big Funk Company is made up of a lovely bunch of wonderfully, talented people, who’ve been ever so welcoming and happily brought me into their fold.  For some strange reason, they seem to actually like me, although given their profession it could all be just one thoroughly elaborate act – who can say? They currently entertain the masses with two fabulous regular monthly events. The American Fridays offer up a play reading with wine and nibblies, while the American Sundays feature four new plays fresh from New York, accompanied by a delicious brunch.

Zen Master Jimi.

Hey Campers,

In a shocking turn of events, it turns out that, despite all overwhelming evidence to the contrary, I’m seen as something of a calming influence nowadays. I do realise it may take several minutes before you can stop laughing and resume reading this email, so I’ll wait patiently while you compose yourselves.

Ready? OK, then. More than a few people of late have informed me that I’m comforting to be around and tend to project a nice, soothing energy. Naturally, this comes as quite a surprise to me – and a great many others – as I have been called several things in my time – drama queen, morally bankrupt, shameless whore…sorry, where was I? Oh yes, I’ve been labelled many things, but being laid back and calming have not been among them.

I’ve been struggling to understand what may have brought about this change, assuming of course, that it’s not some form of rampant mass hysteria. My first thought was that people have simply been mistaking my general, lazy aura of apathy for a more spiritual, Zen-like attitude. A thoroughly easy mistake to make, I’m sure.