A Night at Boiler Room

This was my first time at Boiler Room.

If it wasn’t clear enough I asked the person who invited me:

“Where is this Boiler Room event then?”

“At Boiler Room Studios?”

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It’s off a street in East London full of warehouses- a building you’d never clock. When we rocked up at 12 there was a big queue of people, something that would usually give me anxiety. Luckily, I had had half a bottle of rum before arriving. #ZuluWarrior!!!

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Didn’t spot any familiar faces. Unless I’m counting that “Gully Guy Leo” character on Instagram who I barely recognised. The poor love looked like he’d aged 10 years! Guess that’s what social media does to you, kids!

Was surprised as I stepped inside and went up the steps. It felt… almost like student halls. There was a small, clinical kitchen with those red (let’s pretend we’re at a frat party) cups and empty bottles of booze.

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“Let’s get a drink at the bar.” I suggested.

Then there was another room with a snooker table, with more red cups and more empty fucking bottles of booze and then it hit me. There was no bar.

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Clientele looked like they all had 10.k followers or something and were a little gassed about it. Fair enough- I probably would be too!! Girls were done up in baked up makeup and tight colourful clothes. Guys… well I saw a lot of vests and faux bullet proof vests and small sunglasses.  Guess I didn’t get the memo!

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What I’m assuming was the official Boiler “ROOM” was small but not overwhelmingly so, with a bright red “BOILER ROOM” light and a DJ deck and dark walls. Baka Not Nice came on and I got a bit too animated to the lyrics:

“She said I look like Usher when I’m trappin’ in the rain….trap trap…trappin in the rain.”

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I think I even mimicked rain falling with my fingers. Currently trying to etch it out my memory.

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For some fresh air and a cheeky puff of a cig/Juul, they provided a spacious roof. I stood and listened to a girl talk about her ex boyfriend, and how he cheated on her and was “clapped and ginger.” Was shown a picture that confirmed her statement was true. Yikes.

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Meeting boys in Paris

Last month my good friend came to Paris. We went on three nights out and I have documented all of them. 

Here is what happened on night number 1.

WORDS: Anna Christine

“This has to be the wrong address.” 

Look down at google, then back up at the place.

No, it is right. 

Fabulous.

LE PALACE CLUB

We’re outside an old theatre, with three weird men outside, who all look like ex cons.

Reluctantly we enter the hallway, which looks like it’s seen no action since the 1920s. 

Go down some steps and open two heavy black doors to find…

The provisions of a school disco.

Semi spacious dance floor, blue, pink and red lights, a mediocre, at best, DJ

and of course, a disco ball.

Move to the…

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SMOKING AREA

It’s indoors and on some…staircases.

Bit niche, and also, a bit bloody cheeky!

As paying customers, we deserve better!

Like most indoor smoking areas, it’s balmy and insufferable, almost enough to put you off cigs forever.

Almost.

In walks…

JACQUES

He’s wearing the type of outfit that says: amateur skater, full time raver.

…Baggy grey jeans (that are constantly falling down),  a blue baseball cap and Adidas Samba OGs.

The type of outfit you’ve seen:

1.) Playing snooker at Canavans.

2.) Smoking weed at uni behind the bins.

 From afar he’s good looking -like a young, FRANCOphied,James Franco.

(Ba-dum-tissss)

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He speaks:

“Do you ‘av a ceee-gahr-ret?”

and his voice is deep and raspy.

“Je suis désolée bro.” I reply, double checking my packet.

(Down to my last cigarette).

Notice his teeth-uneven and a yellowish brown, suggesting too many filterless cigarettes/ goes on a crack pipe.

Take back James Franco.

I ask if he has plans for later and he says:

“No. I don’t have af-tehr party….

I go Sann-Trohh-payy in morning.”

Oli… 

Is waving for me to come over.

She’s on the other side of the smoking area, talking up some OAP who looks like a less sexy Willem Dafoe.

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“You look like Willem Dafoe.”

I say.

“No, Dafoe looks like me.”

Steadyyyy on squire, I was just being charitable.

Venue shuts. 

4am.Standing outside. 

Jacques is loitering with his two mates. One is a pretty red head with a standoffish face, standing next to

a bucket hat wearing geezer. They don’t say a word to each other, but apparently they’re going to fuck later.

Jacques’s taken a shine to Oli, and so has Steve, who cornered me on the dance floor to ask:

“What’s your friend’s name?”

Now he’s on about some BBQ.

“Do you want to come to a barbecue tomorrow Olivia?”

“Do you like sausages Olivia?” 

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I roll my eyes because aren’t French men supposed to have game?

Also, I like sausages too, Steve!!

Phone lights up.

It’s an Instagram message from Thomas, a French dude we met back in London.

It reads:

At a party in the Marais.”

“The Marais?” 

Jacques says and his eyes light up, as much as they can (they’re quite dim). 

“I leeve therh!! I can get an Ubair wizz you guys!”

Uber arrives.

We all squeeze together in the back. Still no word from Thomas-

no “come along”, no address… so you could say this drive is somewhat counterintuitive. 

Finally, phone rings. 

Oli and I shoot up in our seats.

Thomas’s face lights up the screen.

Didn’t realise Instagram even had a video chat feature…blimey!

Jacques grabs the phone and he laughs and

“Ah! C’est vrai?” 

 and

 “d’accord, weee d’accord!”

like they’re long lost friends, and we ask what’s being said but are swatted away, 

like two toddlers interrupting Daddy’s business call.

Sitting in silence, both of us scratch heads, listening out for clues to piece together what the hell they’re saying.

 One thing, we do understand. 

“Bien.. you met Oleeeviah and Annerrr at za club too? 

Phone call finally ends.

So…what’s the deal?” I say, on tenterhooks.

“All the guys at party sleeping, we don’t go thehhhr…”

“Lovely stuff Jacques…just great! 

“Pah deh problemeeeee…I knows a place.”

Now we’re walking past a park, the sky a chalk blue. 

This could be romantic if this scenario was in every way different. 

Somebody emerges out the park gates-

it’s a…a…

corgi, whose stomach is grazing the pavement. I always thought my spirit guide would be a wolf, but

 “Life is a rollercoaster, you just gotta ride it”– Ronan Keating. 

Looming ahead, stands a figure in all black.

Black leather coat, black hair, black mono brow and is blowing on a black flute.

The Pied Piper at a funeral.

(Whoever said dogs resemble their owners must not have met this pair.)

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All that blowing feels like a cry for attention,  a pointless one at that, because the corgi isn’t just ignoring the flute, but going out his way to spite it,  now cradled in the arms of his new found friend,Jacques.  

RRRRRRRemixxxxxxx.

Whistle is now high pitched and quicker.

Swear it’s the tune of Avicii’s “Levels” but I am still drunk, so who’s to say.

Corgi breaks out of Jacques arms, paws hit cement and begin circling- a flash of a fang, a meaningful snarl.

Jacques, taken aback by all this, is crouched down, liaising with the hound, who is now, dangling off his trouser leg. 

yikes
trigger warning

 Time to leave. 

I forgot to mention earlier that I took a tumble down the club’s stairs. 

As a result, my new shoes have broken so I’m scuffling behind Oli and Jacques like a Year 6 kid practising his ‘Crip walk’.

They’re having a whale of a time,  (despite the language barrier), elbowing each other and screaming.

Do I feel left out?

Yeah, but just a bit.

Finally we arrive at.. Place # 1.

A bar that is…  “Ferme.” (closed)

“No no, there’s a plass open 24 ow-ers just down eerhh.” 

He mumbles, pulling his trousers up. I halt, like a kid who’s been promised ice cream, and doesn’t now know if the shop even exists.  

Decide to persevere, opting for a limp jog,because these good-4-nothing shoes won’t stop me from getting in on the banter!!!

Arrive at.. Place #2.

 A blur of high res jackets sit at the bar-builders trying to wake up before their shift.

Their heads turn in slow motion, then back down to their mugs, unamused by the reek of booze and cigarettes that’s just walked in. 

“Shot and bierh Monsieur, Jacque says… vodka.” 

Oli and I look at each other, panicked. 

Not vodka…anything but vodka. 

We whisper to the bartender:

“PRO-s-s-e-c-o in shot glass, s’il voo plate?”

Silence.

“So that’ll be two VODKA shots sir!!”

We shout, giving Jacques a thumbs up.

 Stumble back outside to find…

Thomas

Who is standing on the street, wearing reflective sunglasses, Reggae blaring off his phone.

I can tell he’s going to slot into this shit show instantly.  

He seems surprisingly straight for 6am, even equipped with a brown bag full of pain au chocolats.

Another drink. 

yellow
yum!!

A pint for Oli and me and a disgusting yellow drink that tastes of aniseed for the boys. 

Apparently it’s a French ‘delicacy’.

Jacques disappears and when he comes back the manager stomps on over to us, red faced, shouting something ‘en Francais’.

Thomas, exasperated by the whole ordeal, translates:

 “Your friend has been… kicked out.”

“Why?”

“He… missed the urinal.” 

“Huh?”

“He pissed in the sink.”

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Inside Scotch of St. James

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ARRIVAL
11:00pm

Pull up to Masons yard.
Hop out Uber.
On your right you pass The White Cube and think

Cor, London really does have it all, doesn’t it?

Carry on straight for 1.5 minutes and reach your destination.

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UNDERWHELMED?

Yeah, you could be.
With its black awning and no sign post-
Scotch doesn’t look like much from
the outside.

Nobody’s here yet, unless you count
the two wench bodyguards wearing trilby hats
and the blonde door girl,
and the red rope separating you
from them.

(Don’t sweat!
This is pretty normal for 11pm.)

Door girl gets out walkie talkie.
Feels more Paul Blart Mall Cop than exclusive club,
but just roll with it.
She asks:

“Do you have a reservation?”
Reply:
“No.”
If you’re feeling bold

“Do you know who I am?”

She nods.
Rope? Opened.
World?
Your fucking oyster mate.

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OPEN DOORS

On your right, the cloak room.
2 pounds?
Good joke my guy.

Open another door straight ahead.
You’re now in a small, dimly lit room,
with palm tree wallpaper and a gold ceiling
and a bar with
a “look @ me!!” display of booze,
well lit on a shelf.

It’s empty, and you start to
wonder if Virgil and Kendall were
ever really here.

BAR

Your face sinks.
Barman pouring your Scotch and Soda
is a snake.
Too much soda, not enough
Scotch, (especially for 15 pounds!)
:O

A sea of BooHoo.com dresses arrive,
ones so tight you feel perverted for
even looking in their direction.

They can’t be older
than 18, already messy drunk,
holding hands, letting out squeals
when
Bad and Boujee comes on.
You can’t help but mutter a
“rain drop,
drop top..”
-nobody’s perfect! 😉

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HEAD OUTSIDE

Shoved into the black
shoebox of a smoking area.
It’s packed and Masons Yard is now full of youts.

Gone are the old Rock n Roll “crowd”
that used to frequent
this place
(Jimi Hendrix, Beach Boys, Kate Moss)
and in are the type of begs Time Out magazine would
dub “cool kids”-
wearing cross body
bags and Liam Hodges
and those fucking
“Kurt Cobain” sunglasses.

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drip drip

Conversations can be heard:

Myyyy g.”
Skepta’s actually a really cool guy”.
“Everyone in London is so fucking fake mannnn!”

Someone approaches you for a filter.
You find them fit,
in a city boy kind of way and
also because
it’s pretty slim pickings
out in this shoebox.
Give them a filter
and they dive straight
in:

“I work in finance but
I want to be a photographer.”

You didn’t realise this was a job
interview.

“SHUSH!”
Bodyguard shouts.

“I’ll shush when I want to, mate.”
City boy says,
his
Signet ring glimmering
in the dark.

You say you need the…

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TOILET

“Watch it!” some yat shouts
at you, as the door
swings open.
She looks like a BTEC Jorja Smith.

It’s narrow and stuffy with more palm tree
wallpaper and when
a cubicle finally becomes free you
open the saloon style
doors.

You can see girls touching up their
lipgloss through
the slats.

As your ass hits the seat,
you realise you’re more drunk
than you thought.

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TIME 2 DANCE

You pray to God you don’t break your
ankle down the staircase.

Enter a dark room
with average size dance floor
and reddy pink lights
and a disco
ball.

Surrounding are little cave like
pockets with suede booths and small
circular tables.

You can look, but don’t you
DARE touch!!

These are reserved 4 the “grey goose dons” aka
19 year olds desperate
to relive their Batmitzvahs.

To your left!
Over there!
There’s one!

iPhone flash on, bottle held up,
dub pistol in the air.
The gallys on Snapchat must be creaming
their undies!!!
#Mazeltovh.

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In the corner, stands
a little, fairly pathetic
DJ booth, where “it boy”
Josh Barnes is spinning decks.
(By this I mean
clicking play
on
Travis Scott’s
“Yosemite”.)
Before you can say
“it’s lit!”
the dance floor is
packed.

Told you things
would pop off,
you just need to be
patient.

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Surviving a Shit Show: Pt 2

Cast: Olivia Chaplin, Nina Pezeshkian, Ophelia Lindahn and Hannah Myers

Needless to say I wasn’t killed in a satanic ritual. (read pt 1 here)

Instead, Black Hair and I were kissing on the stairwell outside his grandparent’s flat.
Each kiss left me dizzy and I was waiting for it to get boring but it never did, so I reached for his belt to unbuckle but he swatted me away.

At 6am as I was leaving, he remarked:

“I have blue balls.”

On the Uber ride home I wondered if he was gay, or if he wanted to take things “slow” which is pretty much the same thing.

I checked my phone. 10 texts from my Mom. Anna where are yous? that got more concerned and more aggressive and then I read that I had missed my train back to London.

So I was alone in Paris, one day until New Years Eve,  with no money to get home, and no friends to speak of.

After hours of crying down the phone, O had had enough. She took a bus up from London to be with me, which is when I fully understood the phrase “knight in shining armour.”

I hit up Black Hair to ask what his plans were.  He replied-

“Come round to my place for 11:30pm. X”

So we did …

OUTSIDE THE DOOR

Black hair was slung over the bannister, with a smug look on his face. A silk shirt hung off his rake thin body. Wrapped tightly around his neck, a white silk scarf. If Cap’n Jack Sparrow ever had a “Give 2 Charity” pile, this ensemble would’ve been the first thrown in. His face, a ghoulish green against the dark brown walls, was dotted with light red pimples.

Confused, hurt, and questioning my sanity, I stood there, unable to speak.

How could a 10 become a 3 in 2 days? 🤔

O shot me a look that read:
“Who the fuck is this?”

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TO THE LIVING ROOM

Black hair walked off, blue carpet looked even worse than before, and the familiar feeling of
“why am I here?” hit me like a tonne of bricks.

Suddenly, a group of boys emerged. One was speaking American with flame red hair.
Two boys followed, wearing eyeliner, trilby hats and 5” frames.

A door slammed shut, and they were gone.

Then I …

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SPOTTED SOMETHING STRANGE

It was a figure, small and peculiar, hunched up on the windowsill. He was talking, with air pods in, wearing a suit that only a ventriloquist’s dummy would own.

Feeling both pity and apprehension, we approached with caution.

“What’s your name?” I said, like adult to toddler.

“My name’s Amandelier!” he squeaked and jumped down to floor level. His voice was indecipherable; kind of sounded part Russian, part American.

“Amandelier?? That sounds like a girl’s name!” O chortled.

“Well it’s not! He snarled.

“But what are you doing up there?” I said, motioning to the windowsill.

“I’m just calling all my people, wishing them a happy New Year.”

He tutted, hopped back to the windowsill, and business resumed:

“Hello Johnny? You there? Happy New Years buddy!”

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DESPERATE FOR A DRINK

We made our way to the kitchen. And did something smell rancid!!
I figured there was a sewage leak, or, maybe, a dead rat trapped
under the floor boards. O’s nose curled.

“Anna, the smell!”

“Yeah…it’s godforsaken foul.”

She gasped and pointed to someone.


“It’s HIM!”

My head turned. My heart raced.
There was only one other person in the room.

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Black Hair walked over, only to tower over me in eery silence – a ghost with poor hygiene.
He made a face as if to say “Oh, of course” and limply pointed to some mixers.
Then, as I poured a drink, he spoke.

“Oh, by the way, Anna I-”

“Yeah? What’s up dude??” I said, too eagerly.

“It’s nothing …don’t worry …”

“Nooo, tell me!”

“It’s just …well …um…my…
girlfriend’s coming tonight … hope that’s cool.”

My face sizzled and I stopped it from cracking by smiling but my voice
went high pitched and it was clear I wasn’t ok but I said

“Yeah …yeahh, of course. That’s fine.”

After telling O the news in the toilet, she suggested we leave.

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“No! I’m not leaving a party on New Years Eve because of him!”

So, I took a sip and went into the…

DINING ROOM

Roast chicken and hunks of bread. Salad, with dressing.
All on a long wooden table. Half eaten, but still looking fresh.

Eyes moved from the food to the clientele. One girl and one guy.
Girl was nearly pretty, wearing a bowl cut and a vest and looked like
someone who’d shop at Claire’s Accessories ‘ironically’.
Guy had brown, broccoli shaped hair and wore a hoodie …Superdry I think.
She was waving arms around, eyes closed, a blissed out look on her face.


“Put on a songg!” she moaned, eyes still shut.


I sighed and walked over to the docked iPhone, doing as told.
Chose a song by Bowie. She screamed.

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“Oh my GOD!! I LOVE this MUSIC!!”

Felt a bit much, but given the former blow, I needed a pick me up, even if it was from her.

Eyes on SuperDry. He threw a hunk of bread in his mouth,
with the kind of vigour that inspires boarding school boys to switch
on lights after the warden nods off.
Then he threw up a jazz hand, then another, and then both hands met each other,
at which point I think he’d forgotten that part of his routine.

When I thought it was over, he then jumped in the air,
popping up his legs and throwing his head back like something out of “Oliver Twist”.
I’ve never felt so sick and so happy in my life before.

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HALLWAY

Red hair and his henchman: spotted!
Walking into a room with a gold doorknob. I quickly went to open it when-

“NO!” someone screamed.

It was bowl cut girl.

“What is it?”

“This is the COKE room!?”

And?”

“Well they’re doing lines and having deep chats.”

Lines and deep chats??! Well I’ll be darned!
Ignored her, to enter

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THE COKE ROOM…

Which low and behold was an office. One which had a brown leather sofa, orange walls,
and limited edition books scattered on the floor, as if to say:
“Plenty more of where that came from.”
Office’s desk was a dark oak, and on it a glass paperweight and expensive pens and a line of coke.
One so small, a mouse would’ve struggled to get high off it.
Red hair snorted dramatically.

“Guyssss, I just party too much in New York.”

“You really do, bro!” said one of the Trilbys.

I sniggered.

“What’s so funny?” Red Hair snapped.

“Nothing, just if you think you’re partying too much,
why don’t you stop?”

Trilby boys gasped.

“I hate people who try and control my life.”

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SPAT OUT THE COKE ROOM

And into the living room.

Pacing back and forth, was Black Hair.

“Anna – hi! God, I’m just so stressed.”

I could now taste the body odour, a vibrant medley of musk and
dog shite.

“Why are you stressed?”

You’re here, my girlfriend’s coming, and I’m not even supposed
to be having this party!!”

My eyes rolled back.

“Ugh… it’s just the way you look at me.”

“Huh?”

“I just love the way you look at me… SHIT!” And he bolted out the room.

Two minutes later, he reappeared.

“Sorry, just had a panic attack!”

What?! Are you ok?”

“Yeah yeah, just had to be sick in the toilet!”

He said, as if I was dumb for assuming otherwise.

…“I thought I was puking up blood, but it was just the red wine!”
He laughed and strolled off, a spring in his step.

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NOT DRUNK ENOUGH

Everyone (7 people) were now in the dining room.
Coke room trio sat gloomily, Amandelier was glued to his phone, and I couldn’t see Black Hair, but knew he was there because of the stench.

France’s answer to Macklemore played and I swayed along, half smiling on the outside, whilst on the inside, wondering what I’d done so horribly wrong in my life to deserve this.

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Then, I felt someone shove me.

It was a tall asian girl, wearing a beige bedazzled top and ballet pumps. I didn’t think much of it, it didn’t hurt and if anyone knows what getting carried away on the dance floor looks like, it’s me.

15 MINUTES LATER

Red hair decided we were mates.

“You.” He pointed at me.

“I have something to show you.”
And ushered me into the kitchen with urgency.

He sat me down and poured me a drink.

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“Did I look better then, or now?”

He said, eyes bulging, and held up his phone screen.
A photo of him with a green mohawk.
He then pointed at himself, as if I needed help remembering what he looked like.

Someone shouted.

“Are you two FLIRTING?”

It was the girl who shoved me in ballet pumps.

“Who? Me and him?” I replied, pointing to Red hair.

“No, you and HIM!”

She pushed forward Black Hair, who was sweating profusely.

“No! We’re not flirting!” I said, outraged at the suggestion.

“AH!” She gasped. And that hickey! Someone must really love you.”

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I clapped my hands over the mark on my chest, and shot daggers at Black Hair.

Who even gave hickeys anymore?

True to form, he darted out the room.

OPHELIA IS OUT

She said “I want to go home.”

Not surprising.
She had looked miserable for most the night, and I could hardly blame her.

But, I hadn’t yet said my piece to Black Hair-
how to treat women and social etiquette and a link to my favourite deodorant.

Ophelia left.

LEO

Was the newest edition to the party. Despite the sophisticated central heating,
he sat at the head of the table wearing a woolen hat, scarf and a Canada Goose.
He looked pissy, and I wanted to know what about.

“Take off your coat, stay a while.”
I said, delivered in a slur,
so sticky, that I wish I had just kept my mouth shut.

“I’m fine like this.”
He hissed.

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I walked out into the living room, sniffing around to find Black Hair
before I left, but he was nowhere to be found!

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TWO FINGERS

Tapped me on the back. It was Leo.

(I knew we had shared a moment!!)

He sat down opposite me.

“Where’s your drink?” I said.

“I don’t need one.”

“But you haven’t got one on you.”

“No, he laughed. I don’t drink.”

“Oh. Well, why not?”

“I’m in a relationship. A relationship to God.”

“Oh …that’s …nice?”

It was nice, I guess, just not the answer I had hoped for.

“Most of the guys at this party are too.”

“Are what?”

“Are with God.”

What the fuck? What was this? Some kind of conversion party?

“So, you don’t have …sex?”

“No.”

“What about before this… relationship?”

“I just cried afterward. Every. Single.Time.”

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I wasn’t lucid enough for this.
What could I say?
“I’m sorry?”
“I know the feeling?”
Instead, I panicked and said:

“So, you don’t even kiss people?”

“No. Honestly, God is just better than any of that stuff.”

“Fair enough! Glad you found light through God.”

“Yeah, he’s the best.”

“So, you don’t ever …fancy people?”

“No. Wellllll …”

“What?”

“Well …I do fancy …someone.”

“Who?”

“My sister.”

I sat there for a minute, unable to speak, to move, to process what I had just said. I wanted to believe it was a distasteful joke, but his facial expression made it clear it was not.

Finally I uncrossed my legs, got up off the carpet, ran toward the front door and vowed I would never, ever return to Paris.

————

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After Party / Fat White Family

Fat White Family is a band like no other.
With album “Serfs Up” about to drop, I set out to secure an interview.
I slid into Lead Singers DMs and hopes were raised when I got a swift response. But as the days went by, it was clear I was being ghosted.
Domino Records must have them flat out with promo, but give me a break!
If only there was a way to speak face to face …
Then I saw an event online:

“Club Serf”.

Fat White Family, confirmed, were playing.

Well in!

Here’s what happened on the night.

Me
In the Uber.
Wearing green t-shirt and green trousers.
Diamante belt brings it all together.
Hope green will bring me luck.

Olivia
In Victoria.
She’s been waiting for an hour.
Wearing a beige knitted jumper.
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Nazim
Isn’t playing games.
The streets are congested,
But …
He finds other Waze, giving traffic the middle finger.
Get to Oli in record time.
5 Stars.

Brixton
First Pub?
Stones throw from gig.

First round?
On me 😉
Two double G&Ts.

Check time.
Need to leave.

But first…

Toilet!
Top up lipliner.
Hand dry sweat patches.
Woman cries from cubicle:
“Anyone got a tampon?”
Give her a pad.
Not all heroes wear capes,
innit.

chewing_gum

The Windmill
Outside.
We hear –
Nothing.
It’s radio fucking silence!

Inside.
One group sat at table,
otherwise
this place is empty.

Three minutes later …

Me
I see a red door.
Open it.
I find –
Everyone!
They’re all smoking!
Leather coats, long hair,
long faces.
All they need is a till
and we’d be at Beyond Retro.

Back inside to find…
handsuP

Lead Singer
It’s Adam Sandler in The Wedding Singer!
A weathered version.
With a hint of De Niro.
Wearing
Long tartan coat, beige suit and
fresh out the box,
sparkling white Stan Smiths.

Before you can say “Serfs Up”!
I see

Saxophonist
Are those… hair extensions?!
😲
Wearing
Mom jeans, black turtleneck
and a gold chain.

Me
Head already spinning.
Delve into bag.
Tuck into stash.
Sainsbury’s almonds.
They’re getting stuck in my teeth.
Can I Taste The Difference?
No, I can’t.
Fucking liars.

bratwhite.jpg
Phwwwwooaarrrrrrr

Oli
“It’s time to network.”
Elbow through crowds.
Sandwiched between two dudes.
Dude 1 has long Blonde Hair.
Dude 2 is a 50p Bob Dylan.
“What books you lads reading at the moment?”
She says.
Then disappears, leaving me to pick up the pieces.

Dylan
Struggles to define his band.
Arrives at:
“We’re a cross between Iggy Pop and Prince.”
That nearly chokes …

Me
“Sorry, I have nuts in my teeth.”
Grab his glass and down it.
Eek!
Would Iggy Pop drink sparkling water?🤔

Brian
Take the stage.
No clue who they are.
rsz_southern_freez

Guitarist
Straight out of Bleach London, with
blonde hair in a loose pony.
He wears an
Abba t-shirt and black leather trousers.

Vocals
Brown bouncy hair, brown suit
and brown eyes.
A better looking Vote 4 Pedro.

Holy shit!
Wait a minute-
Aren’t you the keyboardist in Fat White Family,
brother of Lead Singer?

Last time I checked …

Pedro
Wore trackies, stubble
and a beret.
Goldsmiths X BetFred.

Starts to sing.
Voice of an angel,
stage presence of a sprite.
“Feet” plays.
It’s fresher by Brian.
Glance at Lead Singer.
Is little bro a threat?

pedrocloseup
Transformation Tuesday!!

Next up..

Club Serf House Band
(aka Fat White Family)

Lead Singer
Guinness in hand, gravelly voiced,
He belts out
“Bobby’s boyfriend is a prostitute.”

Saxophonist
Chimes in.
Sax wails.
Country Western …
with a twist!
Nice one boyz.
11/10.
Intimi8

Me
Fresh out of almonds.
Buy KP peanuts at bar.
Tip half the pack in my mouth.
The other half spills,
forming a trail behind me.
At least Oli knows my whereabouts.

Lead Singer
Is outside.
Now’s my chance.
He’s deep in convo.
Wedged between a girl
and Saxophonist.

Me
Dive straight in.
“Hi, I sent you a DM about an interview.”

Lead Singer
Is either in a K Hole
or just plain uninterested.

“Oh … right …

(sighs)
we’ve been busy with promo …
message us again?”
Not quite the enthusiasm I’d hoped for,
but at least I have better shoes.

windmill

Oli
Waltzes up to newest Fat White member.
Most understated of the bunch,
Wearing
Ripped jeans and a white t-shirt.
It says “Eastfield” on it.
Plug? Finessed.
He’s hosting the after party!!!

Me
Get us Uber to Peckham.
Magic FM plays.
Blonde Hair and Eastfield talk music.
I chime in.
“My favourite Insecure Men song is Teenage Toy.”
“That wasn’t even written by Insecure Men.”
Heart sinks.

Eastfield’s
gaff is above a chemist.
“This isn’t what you’re used to in West London,”
he says as he opens the door.
What does that mean?
Living room is spacious with
wooden floors, and clothes racks
with “kooky” patterned shirts.

Me
In full Shrek mode.
Pedro’s not very nice, is he?”
“What?” says Eastfield.
“He’s the nicest one in the band!”
Flashback to when we first met.
Pissing in my friend’s garden..
stealing her booze..
calling me ugly…
Before I drink away my PTSD,
someone walks into the flat.

It’s Pedro.

Resilient as ever,
I throw my stick down.
“Let the battle commence.”

raven

“Oi, Pedro.”
“Yeah?”
“Aren’t you bored with journalists saying you’re on drugs?”
“Yeah, it should be about the music, man.”
He turns back around.

Me
I’m not done.
Tap him twice on the back.
“Didn’t you say your version of “Feet”
is better than the one on the album?”
“Yeah, ‘cos it is.”

Abba overhears.
Suddenly, “Feet” blares from the speakers.

step_CORRECT

Pedro‘s version.
It’s stripped bare.
Lead Singers voice, without all the pop, gives me goosebumps.
“Your version is great, but the other one is more accessible.”

Pedro
“That’s fucking bullshit.”

We don’t speak again.

Eastfield
Shows me the band’s rehearsal schedule.
4pm tomorrow.
Early start considering
it’s already 6am.
Rock n roll!!! 

Pedro
Puts on “Dancing in The Dark.”
Everyone sings along.
It’s as if we’re all friends …
or something.

Serfs Up! available now on Domino

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Surviving a Shit Show

The climb

We’re on a cobbled, narrow street in the 6th arrondissement, and either he’s trying to race me, or lose me. 

In any case, he looks like a fucking show off.

He finally clocks I’m not beside him and turns around, only to locate me four feet behind, wedged between a pram and a man with a walking stick.

My signature speed walk is now a full blown sprint and I pant:

“Keep going, I’ll be with you in a minute!!”

Arrive at brasserie

My heart sinks. 

A baby sits high in its chair screaming. I shoot it a look that says 

“Put a sock in it, will you?” 

Only one waiter is working, who swerves from angry customer to angry customer, trying to remain calm.

A glass falls from his tray and shatters. Baby isn’t pleased. More crying. 

Maybe ambience is overrated?

Sat at table

First date nerves are on #fleek, but trying not to show it.

I uncross my arms, light up a cig and say:

“Right, what we having then?” rubbing my palms together.

Feels a bit creepy, but c’est la vie as the French say! 

Black hair, on the other hand, couldn’t look less fucked. 

His ass? Slung off his seat. 

His eyes? They can’t meet mine, and his hands? 

Well… they’re playing with the popcorn that’s sitting in a silver dish. It came free, and it doesn’t take long to clock why. 80% of it is covered in mould. He looks at a piece, looks at me, and then throws it in his mouth, like some kind of sick chirpse.

Baby stops crying. Waiter turns and gasps.

🤮

Conversation 

Once I digest that he probs has salmonella, I start things off with a bang.

“So…what music are you into?”

“I used to like music…not anymore…”

Anymore? WTF did that mean?? I see it unfolding. 

“I did until Uncle Jim broke his back during my Chopin recital.”

In no mood for a sob story so I change the topic.

“How was your weekend?”

“Alright thanks. My step dad was at the house in his boxers all day…”

“Right… what does he do then?” I sigh.

“Not much really. He’s a (insert super famous last name).”

“What?? As if! I’m surprised he’s ever home!” 

He shrugs.

“A year ago he did go away for a month, to some party.”

“A month? What kind of party was this?”

“Oh, just a satanic sex one.”

He’s reaching for another piece of popcorn. Want to kick it out of his hand.

Baby’s popped off again, now an octave higher. Would someone give the poor love a dummy!!

SEX party? SATAN?” I shout.

His eyes lock mine and widen. I now see they’re a chalky blue. 

“Yeah. It’s in this castle just outside Paris. I mean…his voice quietens…we should go some time.”

We?

Lucifer N’ chill? I’m alright bro!

Did I look like the “type”? Is there even a “type”? 

Must be – his bloody step dad for one! 

The liberty!! The sheer cheek!!

So naturally I… blush and smile. It’s the most affectionate thing he’s said to me all evening. 

THANK U, NEXT (BAR)

We’re in an Uber passing by the Louvre, The Grand Palais, and… he’s talking about McDonalds. 

“Did you know they have a limited edition sauce?”

Consider jumping out the Prius, but something tells me not to.

DIVE BAR”

End up at a small, black room of a bar. The Clientele look like they’ve just smoked crack or done poppers. 

At least no screaming baby.

Most fucked of the bunch stumbles over.

“You’re wayy too good looking”. He’s talking to black hair. 

“And you… you look like the girl next door.”

From someone who looks like one of the “Village People”, it’s rich.

Order a cocktail. Choose one called “The Donkey’s Bottom” which feels about right.

After one sip, I’m up by the DJ, who’s got a sleeve of tattoos and is playing Post Punk and Krautrock.

I’m into music, so ask him to play something of a similar ~feel~.

But it never does play.

ON Y VA

Back in Uber. This time to his apartment!!! 

Don’t know how things have escalated this quickly, but you’re only young once.His place is in the boujie part of town and it’s gated and it-it belongs to his grandparents.

The door opens, we step inside and I’m hit with:

“I’ll be five minutes!!” and he bolts out the door. 

Now I’m alone in this huge four bedroom flat, still not sure what I’m doing here.

But one thing is clear- this is an old money situation.

Expensive art is framed in gold, first edition books are on shelves, and there’s a long hallway with blue carpets.The blue shade of the carpet is so gaudy that it makes me feel anxious and suddenly I wonder why he ran out the door. And where the hell he’s run off to.

I think back to the satanic sex party and my heart starts to race.

What if he’s gone off to grab a pentagon?

Maybe this is an initiation ceremony for the “castle”! 

He emerges back into the flat and I say:

“Sorry… I- I’ve just clocked… I’ve got to go!”

But I don’t. I stay for two hours, where (…………)

FIND out what HAPPENS in PART 2!! (CLICK HERE)