Saturday, 8 December 2007

Saturday 08/12/07 Part Two

Right, so this is what we call Thursday aka the last day in Paris.

On Thursday we have to check out of the hotel at midday and our train is at 1713, so there are a few hours to kill.  And as you well know, when there are a few hours to kill, they are best killed in a gym. 

At this point let me remind you the descriptions of the potential gyms that a reader very kindly sent last week: 

1) L'Usine if you want to drop major euros to see majorly hot gay guys working out 

(which I didn’t want to go to) 

2) Club Med near Louvre for gay guys who think they're hot shit, only some of whom actually are 

(which I did) 

So I text Mean and ask him to look up the address of the gym I want to go to and send it to me and then he does and then Andrews and I head there.  Of course at this point we are also carrying our bags around and also it’s raining. 

When we get to this address it turns out that it’s the first gym, so once we get past the guys in the suits at the entrance (come on!) and get told that it costs 45 euros for a day’s workout , we turn around and head straight back out, because this is actually more than I pay in London per month. 

Then I text Mean and we have a go at each other for a bit (“you set me up” / “you ungrateful cunt”) and then I go online on my phone (which I hadn’t thought of doing before) and find the address for the second gym.  The second gym “only” costs 25 euros so we go in. 

This is a pretty average gym, I suppose the equivalent of my London one, but it does have the added benefit that there is no piss everywhere in the toilets.  

In terms of clientele there is the usual mix of: 

-       younger gay immigrants with questionable career orientation (but instead of being South American they are mostly North African in Paris) 

-       cruisy old gay locals with close-shaved grey hair wearing tight tanktops in bright colours and less interest in actually doing any exercise / more interest in staring at the group above 

-       the very occasional hot straight guy who gets a kick out of being admired by “homos” otherwise he wouldn’t be there flexing his muscles in the mirror 

Anyway, it’s quite uneventful as far as workouts go and the only thing of interest to me is one of the straight guys who is in fact very hot and I would have no problem sleeping with and he’s very muscled and is wearing a vest that is too wide and too loose and doesn’t hide ANYTHING and I would even be willing to overlook the really odd thing he does with his mouth when he’s lifting heavy weights even though I suspect he would probably pull it during moments of sexual ecstasy and it looks like an ancient theatre drama mask (see pictures below).

Now if anyone reading this goes to Club Med gym on Rue St Honore in Paris and knows who I’m talking about I will literally get a ticket to Paris next weekend and come give you a big hug.  And this is a promise, I’m not just saying it.  After the hug we can sit in a cafĂ© and talk about the mask guy, maybe even stalk him a bit. 

Right, after the gym then we go to the train station and as we walk through Passport Control the guy who checks my passport is really hot and I think that maybe I should be an Immigration Officer so I get to hang out with him (and the job might be mind numbingly boring but at least it doesn’t involve all the business client crap that my current job involves) so I go online and research this, but I quickly change my mind because I find out that they get paid less than me, plus there is shift work and I can’t handle that. 

On the Eurostar back I am sitting next to some office guy who must have gone to Paris for the day for work (early 40’s, regular family guy I guess) and I’m write my blog (the piece I posted on Friday about the Greek vs. Roman statues) and he’s actually looking sideways and reading everything as I type and looking at the pictures, so I get quite embarrassed and shut Word down and start watching the Simpons instead, even though I would actually love to be brave enough instead and start typing messages to him to see if he will react. 

And this is the end of Paris I guess.  Here are some final pictures. 

The view from the Eiffel Tower


Working out the Photo Booth feature on my laptop.  A sequence of emotions: “What’s happening?” / “I still don’t get it” / “Look Andrews it’s taking my picture” / “Happy again”


LP vs. ML


Now then, the comment that I promised a couple of days ago.  It doesn’t matter who wrote this, so I won’t mention name, as I want to focus on the message.  This comment was left on Friday last week to the post where I was talking about the books I’m currently reading.  

Firstly, here is the comment full, unedited in all its glory: 

“More pedantry, but the Nobel Prize isn't given for a particular novel, it's given to a writer for all their work, so to avoid seeming ignorant don't say .... even though it was funny. 

So we agree about Slaves of NY, and I don't think your other books are for reading pleasure, or for beginners. I gave you a good tip about Jean Rhys - at least pick up a Jean Rhys novel in the shop and read the first page! 

One book I've had great success with, in recommending books to young people who haven't read much, is "As I Lay Dying" by William Faulkner (another Nobel Prize winner). It's very short, very short - - but really powerful.” 

And here are the points that jump out for me (well, jump out, grab me by the throat and slap me around a bit too) and why I find them mildly irritating: 

a) “…so to avoid seeming ignorant don’t say…” 

Patronising rate: 9/10.  Condescending rate: 3/10. Missing the point rate: 10/10 

I presume this refers to the part of the post where I wrote:  As you all know this book won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954, but I suppose those were early days and it wasn’t that hard to win.” 

My comments: I don’t know.  Does this sentence above seem like I wrote it seriously?  Do I actually think that everyone knows who won the Nobel Prize when?  Do I REALLY think it wasn’t hard to win in the early days?  In fact, am I under the illusion that 1954 WAS early days for the Nobel Prize?  More importantly, do I really care about “appearing ignorant”?  The whole London Preppy persona is set up to describe the experiences and thoughts of a guy who eats toilet paper to avoid getting fat and doesn’t know what currency they use in Iceland even after spending a week there.  Has “avoiding to seem ignorant” been one of my top priorities so far?  I would have guessed not.  But just in case, I do apologise to anyone out there who takes this blog as a factual source of information.  It’s not really meant to be.  Sorry if you have failed exams through me. 

b) “I don't think your other books are for reading pleasure, or for beginners” 

Patronising rate: 8/10.  Condescending rate: 10/10. Missing the point rate: 5/10 

My comments:  Beginners.  Right.  I don’t know what to say here, apart from I did go to primary school and it’s actually my 22nd anniversary this year since I started learning how to read!  It’s quite good, isn’t it?  It wasn’t like swimming which I learnt at 20 (I appreciate there might be some confusion here) – unfortunately I didn’t manage to avoid organised education, they got their claws on me when I was 5.  But it’s good to know I’m coming across as somebody who started reading last year. 

Like I woke up one day when I was 26, opened my diary, couldn’t read what day it was, realised I’m fed up with missing work because I wasn’t sure if it was Wednesday or Sunday and decided to take evening reading classes.  Now one year later, having mustered Spot The Dog and most of the nursery rhymes, I decided to make the big leap to Kafka and Nietzsche.  Because I may be an idiot, but at least I have ambition. 

c) “One book I've had great success with, in recommending books to young people who haven't read much is…” 

Patronising rate: 10/10.  Condescending rate: 10/10. Missing the point rate: 7/10 

My comments: Oh my God.  Is this what people think?  Is this who I come across as?  “Young people who haven’t read much”? I am actually holding my face in my hands right now.  Well I actually just let go to type this, but you know what I mean.  After a wasted childhood and adolescence spent with my head buried in books (or listening to music) and not having any outdoor activities AND being bullied at school for being a geek AND having studied 6 foreign languages over different points in my life out of pure interest AND two degrees AND a literary tattoo for God’s sake, is this how people perceive me? 

Fucking hell if I haven’t read much, I must be a fucking genius writing this blog day after day and getting people to read it.  It must be a miracle producing this with no influences.  I am Bob Dylan going electric and inventing modern rock’n’roll and I am Mary conceiving Jesus with my virginity spared.  Well done me eh?

Well, maybe I completely misunderstood this whole thing and it was actually very helpful and flattering but it was fun writing these comments anyway.


Rafa said...

Maybe he figured in his infinite wisdom that as an English as a Second Language reader, you'd be more inclined to such literary greats as:

Dora the Explorer: Dora's Storytime Collection


The Poky Little Puppy

Now, I personally guarantee that, having worked your way through these two volumes, you will be able to tackle bigger and better works of English literature. Among them, "The Little Engine That Could"

And don't diss the Poky Little Puppy, I think it was up for a Caldecott Award back in 1962! But sadly it didn't win. Those Caldecott judges had no vision!

On a serious note... wow six languages huh? Which ones did you study? I'm really curious! :) (I'm big into languages myself)

Neil said...

'a literary tattoo'.....did i miss something here????? :)

Cooper said...

Haha, you were right to be irritated by that ignorant comment (of questionable grammar). Thank you for dissecting it.

London Preppy said...

rafa: Ha ha, I actually laughed out loud when I saw the recommendations. I am going straight to amazon to buy everything Dora the Explorer has ever written

As for languages: Well English is one of them. I also learnt French for 3 years (ages 11-13 I guess) and German for 5 years (15-19). I have forgotten most of this of course because I haven't spoken for years but I have some very basic understanding. I also learnt Italian but only for about a year when I was at school and I tried to learn Dutch on the side while I was doing German (it only confused matters more). That's 5. Oops, not 6 then. All these languages and no good with numbers eh!

neil: I thought my tattoo was infamous - I have Bret Easton Ellis on my left arm

cooper: I do like to dissect things, I must say. And share them. It makes it more fun for everyone.

kim said...

is it me, or are your 'red boxes' becoming more revealing these days?

also, for a complete literary feast, can I recommend completing the full set of:

Spot The Dog: Barking for Love
Spot the Dog: The Beginning
Spot The Dog: The Pound Years

Jim said...

I enjoy a good angry rant post.

Should we all try to piss you off a little more often?

Rafa said...

Dora the Explorer is sheer genius, I think you'll agree!

Impressive with the languages; I've studied all of those myself, I currently am finishing two minors in French and Italian at uni. The Romance languages are all really easy for me, but I love the Germanic ones... Dutch in particular. Greek (modern) or Russian is on my list to tackle next. I have way too much fun with it. Interestingly enough for some reason all the people I know who are really into languages are either female or not straight. I don't know if there's a connection here or what, but just a keen observation of mine...

London Preppy said...

jim: I guess rage is very inspirational. Do your best!

rafa: I like the Germanic languages a lot more too. I wish I was actually fluent in German but it's difficult when you don't hear it anywhere. English has always been around when I was growing up so whether you want it or not you pick it up.

Christopher said...

Dora the Explorer is a smug, shrill cunt.

I make the little snots watch 'In the night Garden...' instead, which is genius.

Neil said...


Neil said...


London Preppy said...


God I'm an idiot - I thought that Bret Easton Ellis produced literature. Obviously only "Shakespear" counts as literature though.

Got that people? Shakespear.

chabang said...

You can only call yourself a true literary scolar when you've studied the fine classic texts of "Janet and John" stories :-p

Andre said...

ahahahaha you are amazing (referring to the "Shakespear" comment). and I'm drunk.

kim said...

I can only guess that should you have had the tattoo set in a serif typeface, you'd have greater literary credentials.

Ben said...

Yikes. It's gotten a little unpleasant here in the comments area. So, when in Rome (or should I say Athens?)...

Is it me, or does 'Rafa' come across like the latest creation of the person formerly known as Tyler? I think we should all keep a close eye on his contributions.

How funny would a tattoo that read: "Shakespear" be, by the way? Maybe get that on your other arm?

george said... reading that important? why? if reading is important then it shouldn't matter what you read.

i read comics instead of books so what is the big deal. the last book i read was the leatherman's handbook 2 and the one before that jeffrey dahmer. that was 2 years do i care what people!!!!!

your great LP and i get your blog that's why it is so funny. well almost all the time....... george

Neil said...

caps lock issues, but by the time i looked up i couldnt be bother to go back and re-write.

why would i be angry???

and yeah - shakespear, notre dam. All the same innit?

i still hold that having the Authors NAME (caps lock intended) tattoed on your arm (B.E.E. or even Shakespear), still doesnt count as 'literary'

London Preppy said...

george: I don't know why it appears to be so important what you read. It just seems that some people has a chip on their shoulder about something and they pounce on that when they see a mention. This reader has an issue with books. I guess.

Rafa said...

Who is/was Tyler? That's kind of saddening for me because if I come across as the latest incarnation of anyone that means I'm not a very special snowflake.

Or should I be flattered for being associated with whomever Tyler was? lol

In any case, I'm all the more honored that my contributions will be monitored so closely by you, Ben. Though I warn you, I really don't think what I say is that interesting! ;)

London Preppy said...

rafa: For Tyler's story, read this blog:

Rafa said...

Ahh he was contestant number 2. That's what I thought, but I wasn't sure.

Well, Ben, considering I was one of the people that exposed #2 as having used Daniel Erthal's pics... that'd be a little weird if I was Tyler.

I understand the paranoia though; you run into a lot of weirdos on the internet... like the Librarian.