Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Grumpy In Provence

More or less... oh fucking hell I can't get rid of the bold and italicised. Anyway, this will be more or less my next Grumpy column in Tsunami Mag. Much more has happened involving little tiny street sweepers, little awful hamburgers, attacking hedgehogs and oh so much more, most of which you can read about on facebook in my photo album. Had a great time last weekend. I love everyone involved. Especially the little tiny street sweepers.

Grumpy in Provence

Friends were driving from Madrid to pick us up in Barcelona for the drive to Arles in Southern France. We thought the address of the hotel would be enough. We thought wrong. They didn't have GPS and assumed they would be able to drive straight to the hotel without a local map. Barcelona is reasonably big, so while they drove in circles with us on the phone trying to describe various local landmarks, we waited outside while night fell. Suddenly it felt like this was going to a loooooong drive.

The friends made the same assumption about heading to a little town called Arles, knowing that it was near Avignon, near Nimes, near Montpellier, near...

Fortunately we had GPS on The Dreaded One's new phone. Unfortunately The Dreaded One's new phone turned out to be almost out of juice. A loooong drive indeed.

Fortunately our friend Danny LeopardTron did an impressive job of marathon driving and we made it and went to a party full of mostly nice, non English-speaking French people. At a random point a fight broke out between two guys who didn't know each other. Broken glass, blood everywhere, much fighting and screaming. And because all the shouting was in French, I still didn't know what started it until much later. Apparently one guy called the other guy gay and that's about the worst insult you can give a French man. I'm happy to say that everyone else was mildly traumatised and it took a while to get the party going again. I am glad this is not normal behaviour.

There was another party the following night. Police were called to this one but not because of violence. A random guest barely known to anyone else wasn't enjoying the style of music being played (everyone else was loving it) so he called the police claiming to be a neighbour with a noise complaint. The music was turned off for a while and the sound system and decks moved inside. Bloody odd thing to do. Needless to say, the guy was not exactly popular after that.

It was a good party other than that. Sprawling and messy. There was dancing to awesome music, talking, people having sex outside, the usual. The French who did speak English were very nice people. At some point while The Dreaded One slept I was hanging out with my crazy French Moroccan partner in crime and a bunch of her French friends. It was cold so we went inside. We found an empty room with a mattress on the floor and we all snuggled up under the duvet, just like a bunch of girlfriends. My friend even said she felt like we were having a pyjama party. My partner in crime translated at times and when she said they were talking about how often they had sex, I thought I should go, but they said no no no and made me stay. I probably heard all sorts of lurid confessions because there was much giggling. I don't know whether it's a good thing or a bad thing that I don't understand French. It wouldn't have surprised me if a pillow fight had broken out because girls just wanna have fun.

Although the room was tucked away upstairs in a building next to where the music was playing, The Dreaded One walked in, still looking sleepy. She didn't look at all surprised to see me under the covers with my sistas, knowing that it was all innocent enough. And I certainly didn't feel guilty, just mildly girly. I later asked her how she found us and she said she had wandered about and someone told her, “Your uzband, he eez upstairs wiz zee women.”

Am I enjoying myself in France? Merde oui.

Grumpy is Monsieur Lee Bemrose. He is a freelance writer now miming his way through France. Contact him at


Guyana-Gyal said...

This gave me good giggle: And I certainly didn't feel guilty, just mildly girly.

And yes, it's a bad thing you don't know French, now we'll never know what zee women waz talkeen about.

Lee said...

I know what they were talking about, I just don't know what they said :)