Paris made me feel compelled to take up smoking. It seemed that everyone was at it. In dark corners of bars fag-wielding folk played games of cat-and-mouse with the sharp-suited bouncers who scurried after them and urged them to throw their addiction sticks to the floor. Amusing to watch, but I stank the next day.
I was in Paris for fashion week because Louis Vuitton had invited me to watch their show. I was presented with a pair of severe skyscraper heels for the event which I smugly paraded about atop of until the cobbled streets outside of the Louvre betrayed me. Quite embarrassing, but then again completely expected, given my aggravatingly clumsy nature and penchant for flats. However much I try, it's impossible to fake grace.
Inside was a busy muddle of important faces. The people left out in the not-so-cold smeared their noses up against the glass panes in order to get a glimpse of Marc Jacobs' latest collection for the Paris fashion house which, I only remembered halfway through, I was supposed to be reviewing. I resorted to pouring my jumbled, frenzied thoughts into my Blackberry notepad at a pace. I managed to type in "strong shoulders", "kick your ass" and "amazing accessories". Needless to say, I'll have to pad it out a little.
The night before the show, I was booked to DJ a Fendi party. It was quite the spectacle, an abundance of drink and beauty made it seem rather surreal, almost like a scene from Zoolander. My hands trembled as my sweaty palms grappled with mix CDs I had previously compiled for a variety of DJ gigs, but not necessarily this one. My computer crashed hours before I was due at the party, so they were my only hope. None of the tracks seemed to fit. And the more I thought about this, the more I panicked.
In an effort to help me out, the house DJ scratched his way over the top of a particularly pedestrian Shirelles track I was playing; I never knew a mix like that could happen, I'm not sure it should again. But I was grateful for his help. Thankfully, the decadent party wasn't just relying on my own musical efforts for their entertainment, The Gossip were also booked to wow the crowds.
Beth Ditto killed it (in a good way). She was uh-may-zing. When I had managed to shut my gawping mouth, I went over to gush to her about how brilliant I thought her performance was. It had culminated in her ending up half-naked on the floor, the nucleus of a fray, being pawed at by an army of sweaty men. When I asked her how she thought it went, she humbly replied that she was nervous beforehand. It's hard to imagine somebody so confident ever feeling intimidated. Then again, we both knew that Karl Lagerfield was there, which in fashion terms is basically like being asked to entertain God.
I told her I loved her outfit and she simply said: "I didn't know whether I was supposed to treat it like it cost a million dollars or not" the "it" she was referring to was, of course, her custom-made black sequined Fendi dress/bra/skirt combination. I told her I had seen a lady on her knees collecting the sequins that had fallen in the wake of her lively performance. Beth giggled nervously, and so did I.
When I finally arrived home in London, via several long train journeys in which I didn't read a thing, a night out in Liverpool and a fleeting visit to Sheffield, I was greeted by an only mildly sunny day (i.e. there were fewer clouds than usual). Even so, girls along Brick Lane floated about in bikini tops hoping to sun their ghostly limbs.
I wondered around aimlessly for a while pondering what to do, until I happened upon the bowling alley. Considering the amount of time I dedicate to throwing heavy balls down alleys, you'd have thought my game would have improved somewhat since the Eighties, when a bowling party was basically mandatory for any child wishing to celebrate their birthday in style. Alas, this is not the case. And as I lost yet another game to my friend Thom, who in no way looks more coordinated than I do, it occurred to me that bowling was a skill I would never master. How depressing.