• Category Archives Paris
  • Frankie Boyle on empty words and bad ideas after the Paris attacks

    Frankie Boyle the political commentator uses a lot of the skills that made him a hilarious and shocking comedian to good effect. There are a lot of stabs at hypocrisy, inversions of received wisdom and bad taste, but pointed, punchlines. He also comes across as better informed than the people he’s attacking- which isn’t hard in some case, obviously- and presents a more humane assessment of the situation as a result.

    There are too many perfectly quotable lines in his piece on reactions to the Paris attacks. I’m so spoilt for choice that I’m not going to pull a quote, you really need to go and read the whole thing.


  • Another clean page from a dirty comic

    To limber up before starting work on Point of Contact I’ve done a short erotic tale. It’s called An American in Paris, and this is the splash page.

    The tale is a flashback featuring Kerry, one of the characters from my previous naughty comic Shall We Take A Trip?, who’s reminiscing about the time she met her penpal in Paris. Can you guess what happens?

    Looking at it now, it appears Kerry (on the right of the page) is about to fall over backwards. I knew she was leaning a little as I drew it, but I had to look at it from a distance to see the problem. That will be remedied in Photoshop tomorrow.


  • The Battle of Paris

    Notes Very, very rough outline here of what will eventually emerge.

    I’ve never thought I was particularly brave, and I like to think I’m not foolish. But one of those two traits must have been in play when I didn’t get on the last train back to Britain.

    I had just taken one of the photos of the year, and I’m sure that had some effect. The attention that sort of thing gets feels good and can leave you wanting more. So, whilst the other Brits were heading North, I went South.

    Two days earlier I had posted the following-

    The Ghost of the Eiffel

    Hitler ordered that Paris should be levelled when his armies retreated from it, but General von Choltitz refused. So, until yesterday, most of its great cultural landmarks remained unharmed.

    Until yesterday.

    Four days ago the area around the Gare du Nord were on fire. Someone had been killing young men in the predominantly muslim areas around there, and they had finally been found out. Foreign agents- common thought has it they were American, and yesterday’s events give it credence- were operating in France’s capital assassinating suspected terrorists.

    Gangs of young, angry Parisians took to the streets, torching and looting any American symbols they came across. I don’t think there’s a McDonalds left standing in the city. I didn’t go out of my hotel after dark, when the rioting was worst, but I wandered out in the morning. I have uploaded the pictures.

    It was during the second day of rioting that the culprits were flushed out. They were armed, and they fought back when they realised they faced a lynch mob.

    If you’ve been following me on Twitter, or checking the blog regularly you’ll probably have read some of my frightened messages after I found myself driven before the mob as they dragged the assassins to the spot they were to be executed.

    In the crowd at an execution isn’t somewhere I want to be again. As the eight men were lined up to be shot in the back of the head with their own guns I managed to work my way to the edge of the crowd and down an alley. I wasn’t the only one. Scared, angry and disoriented people were drifting out of the crowd, trying to get back to sanity. We didn’t run until we heard the crack of the assault rifles. The gendarmes didn’t stop us as we streamed past them. They were closing in on the heart of the crowd.

    I took pictures that day as well. I haven’t uploaded any of those, none of them were that good.

    Travel out of the city was restricted. The hotel staff had managed to hoard some food and had left bread, pate and wine in my room with a note in stilted English suggesting I didn’t leave the building until it had been declared safe to do so. I settled into my room to watch CNN and see what they were telling the rest of the world about the riots. There was no mention of the rumours that the assassins were believed to be American.

    I was quite safely to the south of the river. The view from my room presented a vista of the north of the city, framing the Eiffel tower. I set my camera up on its tripod, having to wedge it between the window and the bed, and set it off taking pictures on time lapse at one every thirty seconds. I worked out that the memory card would fill with a day’s worth of pictures and I could do a time lapse movie of a day of rioting.

    I was about to nod off when the room lit up with a yellow flash. The roar of the explosion and the shockwave hit a long half a second later. The windows were open, but they rattled against the walls. One of the curtains was ripped from its rail and whipped across the room.

    When I picked myself up off the floor the room dust was filtering in through the window. I crawled over to the window. The tripod was still standing where I had wedged it, the camera still taking pictures of the devastation.

    From the near bank of the Seine, where the Eiffel Tower had been, a mushroom cloud rose. All the buildings halfway from the epicentre to my hotel were on fire. The camera took another picture.
    I don’t think the bomb was a nuke. I don’t think it was powerful enough. But it was huge. Sirens were going off everywhere. There was commotion in the corridor outside my room. But, it took me a while to realise, the television was still on. We still had power.

    That was yesterday. I’ve been told not to leave the hotel, but the staff have been around with more food and water and the electricity stays on. I even found an open wireless network this afternoon, which is why I can send this out. I’ve been through the photos on the memory card and I think I’ve found one taken right at the moment the bomb went off. I fact, I think the bomb went off when the picture was already half exposed. The ghost of the Eiffel Tower is in the centre of the image, directly under the bright white burst of the explosion. CNN says the explosion was a terrorist device set off under the Eiffel, but this picture says otherwise.

    I will upload as many pictures as bandwidth allows, and sit here waiting for a way out of the city.

    The bomb, it turned out, was a MOAB, a Mother of all Bombs or, to give it its proper name, a Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb. The full story has yet to be revealed of how it came to be dropped on Paris. The insanity in Germay kicked off at the same time, so it had to be part of the whole madness in the States. Maybe they’ll be able to dig something out of the ashes of Washington that’ll explain how the President was allowed to go so far and why so many went along with the war for so long.

    Two days later they arranged an evacuation of Paris fearing further bombing since war had been declared. Britain was claiming neutrality, offering safe haven for any US servicemen who wanted help getting home. There were trains back to the UK, but the borders were going to be closed soon. I’d been offered ridiculously large amounts for my Paris explosion pictures. I could head back and live off my one momentary brush with history, safe and sound.

    But there was news of an American army group fighting its way out of Germany and a fleet patrolling the Mediterannean. There were going to be lots of chances for further brushes with history. I tagged my suitcase and sent it home and walked out of the station with a backpack filled with one change of clothes, a laptop and a camera.


  • Thoughts from Paris

    It would have been nice to have someone to share Paris with, but I love the freedom to just head off in a direction because it looks interesting and chase down whims. My feet didn’t appreciate it, but the blisters will go down.

    Every time I visit another city or country- and I’ve visited more in the last year than the previous decade- I seek out hidden corners and interesting museums. And then I vow that I should do the same when I get back to Manchester. I’m making the vow again, let’s see if I can keep to it.

    Comparing Manchester to three capitals- London, Paris and Budapest- and New York is to risk diminishing it. It doesn’t have the scale, and it certainly doesn’t have the grand boulevards, of Paris, Budapest and NYC. As the first industrial city it is one of the most important places of the last two centuries, but it’s a sort of geek history, lacking the populist narratives of bombardment, occupation, liberation and unrest. Nonetheless, it punches above its weight, and it’s home. Certainly, if someone were to fund it, I’d move to Paris or Manhattan. But that’s not going to happen so I’m staying put and seeing if a few of the better foreign ideas make it to the dirty old town.

    The first thing we need to do, which may come about because of the congestion charge, is sort out public transport. Even London is doing a better job of it than we are. Budapest probably did it best- one ticket for bus, tram, RER and Metro. Oxford Road may be the busiest bus route in Europe, but only because there are so many different companies competing for business on it. Stagecoach charges twice as much as Finglands for the same service with vehicles that are only slightly better. Meanwhile, radial routes suffer. It’s not impossible to get from Withington to Chorlton, but it’s not exactly easy either. Let’s re-regulate the buses and/or subsidise the secondary routes.

    Budapest and Paris were both more bike friendly than Manchester. The proliferation of Velib bike stands in Paris meant that even people British non-cyclists might label as “normal” could be seen pottering around on two wheels. Next time I visit I’m packing jeans and a backpack and braving the mad French drivers. In Manchester we’re tolerated at best. One only has to read the comments on any Manchester Evening News story about bikes to gauge the low opinion too many drivers have of us I’m sure some of the commenters have chosen to pick on cyclists because it’s no longer acceptable to be openly racist. Few of the suggestions arising from these discussions would be much practical use. The only way to make cyclists safer, for themselves and others, is to get more of them onto the streets.

    I’ll do my part, promoting cycling wherever possible and just getting out there as much as possible. I’ll also see what I can find out about the cycling part of the council’s pre congestion charge plans and report on them over at Two Wheels Good.


  • Tweets today

    22:24 Blog: Tweets today tinyurl.com/3fxr8s #

    09:28 Blog: JOE108 tinyurl.com/3ensyc #

    11:10 I keep crossing paths with a bunch of american teenagers on a historic Paris treasure hunt. #

    13:26 Blog: JOE097 tinyurl.com/3j4zar #

    14:39 Catching an earlier eurostar back so I don’t miss my connection. #

    18:02 Back in England and it’s raining. #

    18:52 That was embarrassing. Four days navigating Paris no problems, then I nearly get lost on the Underground. #

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  • Tweets today

    22:25 Blog: Tweets today tinyurl.com/3u7noq #

    08:32 Day 2 in Paris. I have a map but no plan. Which is how it should be. So long as I don’t end up where they filmed La Haine. #

    09:20 I’m having problems getting my camera to shoot in RAW because of a script it keeps trying to run. #

    10:14 There’ll be "Irish" pubs on the moon withing a year of anyone setting up a permanent base. #

    11:24 Blog: I’ve found another space invader tinyurl.com/4sm5qs #

    12:28 Blog: Ike and I are at the Pompidou tinyurl.com/4mn2m8 #

    14:52 There’s a wifi zone in Parc Monceau. But I haven’t brought the minibook and it probably wouldn’t connect anyway. #

    15:32 Blog: JOE099 tinyurl.com/4h35yj #

    15:32 Blog: The museum of erotic art inspired me tinyurl.com/5xxbt4 #

    15:32 Blog: JOE105 tinyurl.com/4md7ap #

    21:26 Blog: JOE094 tinyurl.com/4q9mnt #

    21:45 My feet hurt. I’ve walked a lot of miles in the last two days. Tomorrow I may sit and watch Paris in by. #

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  • Ike takes Manhattan?


    Ike takes Manhattan?, originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

    No, really, this is not a left over picture from the New York trip. There are two statues of Liberty in Paris. This one is on an island in the Seine. I’d have taken this photo from the front, but there were a bunch of teenagers hanging out at the base of the statue and I got all self conscious about whipping my rat out with them around.


  • L'Enfer

    Time to brush up on your French and pop over to Paris. The Bibliotheque Nationale is opening its collection of porn and erotica to the public.

    The “Enfer” section of the Bibliotheque Nationale – books and prints and photographs purchased, confiscated or donated over almost two centuries – is believed to be one of the largest and richest collections of pornographic and erotic materials in the world. The Vatican’s secret stash is said to be even larger but that, presumably, will never be opened to the public.


  • tiger1-01 revisited


    tiger1-01a, originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

    A second attempt at the first page of Tiger. After spending a few days last week experimenting with Poser and its comic materials, I decided I didn’t like the results. I’ll go back to them again, but for the moment I’m going to go old school.

    I took the original rough layout sketch, laid tracing paper over it and added a load of detail. Other roughs on the same page needed a lot less work, but this is the establishing shot and needed to convey place a bit better than just having “Paris” laid on top of it (though it’ll get that as well). I’m particularly happy with the scooters, less happy with the hotel on the left of the picture.

    After scanning in I went over the line art and then laid down layer after layer of flat colours. I’ll work shadows and highlights into future frames as I become happy with my technique.

    The idea is to clean up the picture every time I go over it, but I fear that having to redraw completely because of the “noise” of pencil smudges I may have taken steps back with the line art. I think I’ll break out the Rotrings and do inked line art pages in the future.


  • New York, London, Paris, Munich

    Get up…
    Get down…

    Radio, video
    Boogie with a suitcase
    Your livin’ in a disco
    Forget about the rat race
    Let’s do the milkshake, sellin’ like a hotcake
    Try some buy some fee-fi-fo-fum

    Talk about, pop musik
    Talk about, pop musik

    Shoobie doobie do wop
    I wanna dedicate this
    Pop pop shoo wop
    Everybody made it
    Shoobie doobie do wop
    Infiltrate it
    Pop pop shoo wop
    Activate it

    New York, London, Paris, Munich
    Everybody talk about pop musik
    Talk about, pop musik
    Talk about, pop musik
    Pop pop pop pop musik

    Singing in the subway
    Shuffle with a shoe shine
    Fix me a molotov
    I’m on the headline

    Wanna be a gun slinger
    Don’t be a rock singer
    Eenie meenie mynie moe
    Tell me where you wanna go

    Talk about, pop musik
    Talk about, pop musik

    Shoobie doobie do wop
    Lyin’ in the tree (?)
    Pop pop shoo wop
    Eenee meenie
    Shoobie doobie do wop

    Pop pop shoo wop
    You know what I mean

    Hit it…

    Now you know what to say…

    Talk about, pop musik
    Pop pop pop pop musik

    All around the world
    wherever you are
    dance in the street anything you like
    do it in your car in the middle of the night
    La la la la la la la la la
    La la la la la la la

    Dance in the supermart
    Dig it in the fastlane
    Listen to the countdown
    They’re playin’ our song again

    I can’t get jumping jack
    I wanna hold – get back
    Moonlight muzak
    Knick knack patty whack

    Talk about, pop musik
    Talk about, pop musik

    Shoobie doobie do wop
    It’s all around you
    Pop pop shoo wop
    Gonna suround you
    Shoobie doobie do wop
    It’s all around
    Pop pop shoo wop

    Hit it…
    New York, London, Paris, Munich
    Everybody talk about pop musik
    Talk about, pop musik
    Talk about, pop musik
    Pop pop pop pop musik

    Now… listen…
    Talk about,
    Pop pop pop pop musik…

    M – Pop Musik


  • Fiction – How Deep Is Your Love?

    Neil and I have started bar billiards sessions after work on Tuesdays, whilst he’s waiting for a booty call and I’m not because Sue has to work late. We play for Minstrels. The only problem is that I keep eating my winnings.

    Things aren’t perfect with the doggy shrink, it seems. I’ve only been getting laid again for a couple of weeks and everyone’s talking at me about relationships.

    The problem is Neil’s ex, Ursula. They’ve managed to become friends, after an initial rough patch. In fact they might be talking more now than in the last few months of their relationship. This is freaking Helen, the pet psychologist, out. “She thinks that me and Ursula might get back together. She says she’s intimidated by our history.”

    “You and Ursula were together for, what, three years?”

    “Nearly.”

    “And you’ve only been going out for a couple of months. It takes a while to build up a bank of memories.”

    “That’s what I told her.”

    “Maybe you should suggest doing something neither of you’s done before. Create your own unique memories.”

    “Like anal sex?” He times these things, I just know it. I knocked over the black pin and lost all my points. That’s twenty Minstrels gone.

    “I was thinking of a weekend in Paris, but there is that.” I waited until he’d lined up his shot before adding, “I guess it’s too early for you to suggest a threesome with her best friend.”

    My timing’s not so good. He stopped the shot, looked up and gave a little grin. “You didn’t?” The boy should be an actor, I really don’t know if he was taking the piss or not.

    More Than Words

    More Than Words, by Extreme, is the “If you loved me you’d swallow” song.
    But everyone looks at me strangely when I suggest that. Is it possible I’ve misinterpreted the lyrics?
    Posted by Jim at 21:53

    Sue has a half day most Wednesdays, to compensate for the length of Tuesday. I got out of work as early as possible and went round to her flat.

    We’ve christened the living room and bedroom of the flat, several times over, and we’re going to start on the rooms in my house as soon as her period’s over. (Except the kitchens. By mutual consent we’ve decided that may be unsanitary.)

    People are complaining they don’t see me any more. I don’t care. But just to appease them I’m going to put in an appearance at the big get together on Saturday. “Can I come?” was Sue’s first question when I mentioned this.

    “Of course. I think the main reason they’re on at me about it is that everyone wants to meet you.”

    “To see if I’m good enough for you?”

    “To tell you terrible stories about my past antics, more like. Some of them aren’t true.”

    “I bet.” She had curled up on the sofa, using my lap as a pillow.

    She’s awfully skinny, when she’s undressed I can see her ribs. But she eats everything I put in front of her. I think it’s partly a metabolism thing, but I have noticed that she seems to underestimate serving sizes. As I always overestimate them perhaps we’ll meet in the middle- I’ll lose a little weight and she’ll put some on.

    “Oh.” Sue stirred. “It’s my works Christmas do on Friday. I’ll still come out on Saturday, but it’s a free bar, so I might be a bit delicate.” I stroked, her ear. She made a happy little noise. “Do that again.”

    I moved her hair aside and stroked her neck and jawline and what I could get at of her collarbone and she just lay there with the loveliest little smile. She seems to be sensitive all over to gentle stroking, and we’ve been finding the particularly sensitive bits over the last few days whilst we can’t go penetrative. I told her about my conversation with Neil. She was amused by the different interpretations of doing something new. “Have you ever done it?” she asked.

    “Been to Paris?”

    “You know what I mean. Hold on a sec.” She sat up and pulled her top off, then rearranged herself across the sofa.

    “I’ve thought about it. I’ve mentioned it. Don’t think I’ve ever suggested it. I’ve never done it.”

    “I’ve thought about it. Hell, I’ve fantasised about it. Just there. No, down a little. There, yes, that’s nice. But I’ve never done it.”

    The obvious question nearly didn’t make it out of my mouth. “Would you like to?”

    She didn’t answer, just smiled and flushed, bit her lip and went tense. After a while, when she’d come down, she pulled me down to kiss, then shifted, unzipped my trousers and reached in. I didn’t care whether that was a yes or a no.

    – – – – – – – –

    At two in the morning I woke to a blue glow. Sue was sat up in bed, wearing my dressing gown for warmth, tapping the stylus against the screen of the PDA/phone thing she has. “Whussup?” she jumped.

    “I thought you were asleep. You were snoring. I just thought of something. I had to email myself it so I won’t forget.”

    Bless her little cotton panties, she’s a geek. She’ll fit into the Friendborg with no worries.

    Brown Paper Parcel

    Whilst checking my Amazon affiliate reports I found that some of you have been ordering very naughty products. I have my suspicions, but discretion is my middle name. You’ll be pleased to know it’s been despatched and you should get it tomorrow.
    Posted by Jim at 12:35pm

    Mostly, my friends forget to go through my blog when ordering stuff from Amazon. So it’s probably a stranger who clicked through and ordered The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women.

    It just seems like such a coincidence after Neil brought the subject up. Helen and he are coming out on Saturday, and I’m not going to be able to look at them without wondering if they’ll be getting all Last Tango In Paris at some point.

    Friday night in

    It seems everyone else is having their work’s Christmas party tonight. So I’m all alone with nothing to do.
    It’s wrong to get drunk on your own isn’t it?
    Posted by Jim at 20:57

    I got a phone call at about half past ten. A little voice, slightly slurred, with music in the background. “Can I come back to your place tonight?”

    “Of course you can. You know the address?”

    “I think so. Hold on. Tell me anyway and I’ll write it down.”

    I gave her the address, and the name of the street it’s off. And the name of the street that’s off. “It won’t be until late.” she warned, “Maybe after one.”

    “It’s okay. I’ve got films to watch.”

    So I watched Ronin, with the director’s commentary so I could hear John Frankenheimer’s opinion of the car chases. Then I set about losing a Command and Conquer skirmish.

    The doorbell rang at half past one. I bounced down the stairs, struggled with the locks and flung the door open.

    The woman on the doorstep was not Sue. She was the same height, but twice as wide and probably twice the age. “Are you James?”

    “Yes.”

    She reached behind the bush by the door and pulled a little figure out of hiding. “Does this belong to you?”

    Sue’s drunken smile was infectious. She tumbled forward and wrapped herself around me. “I guess it does. Do I have to sign for it?”

    Sue was talking into my chest. “Pardon?”

    She looked up. “I told her to say that. Did you like the joke?”

    “Very
    funny.”

    “Free bar.” her chauffeur explained as Sue let me go to give her a hug. “Last year I had to put her to bed.”

    “Thanks for the lift Mary. I’ll see you on Monday. I’ll be sober then. I hope.” I grasped her coat collar as she let go and tried to stand up straight.

    “Lots of water.” Mary suggested to me.

    “And paracetamol in the morning.” I steered Sue into the house. “Let’s get you to bed.” I waved a goodbye and kicked the door closed.

    “I don’t like Christmas.” Sue announced halfway up the stairs. She tried to turn and give me another hug. “But I do like you. Can I keep you?”

    “Of course you can. But first you can come upstairs to bed.”

    For such a little thing she’s awfully hard to steer. She veered off into the bathroom and headed for the toilet. I decided to close the door on that and hope she could cope without me. I went for the promised water.

    I filled a pint glass, then had visions of it tipping all over the floor. There was a sports bottle by the sink that seemed a more prudent choice.

    She was in the bedroom, struggling with the buttons on her blouse. “Did you flush?”

    “Yellow is mellow. Remember?”

    “Oh, yeah. Here, you take this and I’ll help you with that. No, no. You drink the water, I’ll undress you.” That raised a giggle, but she did as she was told. The cap on the bottle befuddled her for a moment until she realised how to pull it open.

    She was wearing a bra, which was something I hadn’t seen before. I helped her juggle bottle, bra and blouse until she was topless, then sat her down and went to work on her shoes and jeans. Undressing a giggling drunk girl was turning me on more than I’d have expected. Sue noticed this when I stood up. “Oooh, a present for me to unwrap.” She grabbed my belt and pulled herself into a kneel before me.

    “I thought you didn’t like Christmas.” Somehow her co-ordination was back now she was unfastening me.

    “But I do like you. I told you. This is a present for waiting up for me.” With my pants around my ankles and her lips around me it would have been uncouth to refuse such a gift.

    “I like the way you go all trembly just before you come.” she told me afterwards, stroking my thighs whilst I still stood over her. I loved the way she swallowed and then licked me clean so no dribble escaped. “I’ve got another present for you tomorrow. Cold now.” She pulled the covers about herself and grinned as she watched me strip.

    Sue didn’t want to sleep, poking my shoulder and playing with my chest hair. Maybe my semen had sobered her up. “Why don’t you like Christmas?” I asked to distract her.

    “My family.”

    “You don’t get on with them?”

    “The rest of the time, yes. Well, apart from my step-sister. It’s just that it gets competitive at Christmas. Mum and her new husband want me to spend it with them, Dad and his new wife with them. So I spend it on my own. I don’t want to be part of their game.”

    I considered this for a moment, stopped the roaming finger by grabbing it and kissing it. “Why not spend this Christmas with me and my family?”

    – – – – – – – – –

    It seems I’m too hot. I cuddle up to Sue during the night, but my body heat’s too much for her. More often than not she sneaks away from me to cool down. Usually, though, a little hand will find its way back to hold mine.

    But on Saturday morning I woke to find her wrapped around me, all sweet and cuddly. I found her arm and kissed the inside of her wrist. She liked that, so I kissed up her arm to the inside of her elbow. She liked that even more.

    “Make me tea.” she demanded now she was awake.

    “Did I give you a blow job last night?”

    “You did.”

    “Yucky taste in my mouth.” Sue made spitting noises until I started pouring some tea.

    “That’s more likely the free beer.”

    “Go away. Anyway, they didn’t have any decent beer. I was on rum and stuff all night.” She struggled with the cap on the paracetamol, gave up and handed it to me.

    “That would explain all the talking like a pirate. Here.”

    She washed the painkillers down with tea. “Did I mention my family?”

    “You explained why you don’t like Christmas, yes.”

    “You asked me to spend it with you?”

    “I did.”

    “Did I say yes?”

    “You didn’t say anything. You started telling me why your step-sister is a complete bitch and then you fell asleep halfway through a sentence.”

    “Oh.”

    “Then you started talking in your sleep. I thought you’d woken up until I realised you weren’t using real words.”

    “I do that, so I’m told.”

    “Allegedly I snore.”

    “Allegedly my arse. You probably wake people five doors down.” Sue studied her blouse, deciding whether to wear it again. “I’ve spent Christmas by myself since my last year of Uni. I’ve got sort of traditions. I roast a chicken, drink a bottle of wine and heckle the Queen.”

    “Sounds like a normal Christmas. Though we don’t watch Queenie any more.”

    “Won’t your parents mind? It’s a bit late in the year to land them with a Christmas guest.”

    “Oh they won’t mind really.” We have a family history of taking in waifs and strays. The shock might be landing on them with a girlfriend. I’ve told my mother I’m ‘seeing’ someone. I think she understands the euphemism.

    Sue still didn’t look convinced. I selected a T-shirt from the clean pile and handed it to her. “It’s just an idea. It’s okay if you don’t want to.”

    “Thanks. I’ll think about it.”

    “Breakfast?”

    “I’ll grab a banana and head home. I need to sort some stuff out for tonight.”

    “Okay.”

    – – – – – – – –

    We met in Rain. Sue had insisted we make our own ways there. Neil, Helen and Ursula were already there. That didn’t seem like a good combination. I decided to arm myself with Moonraker and try to mediate.

    Moonraker’s an odd beer. I can understand how so many people don’t like it, but I’m fond of its thick, sickly taste. It’s also over 8%, so when you order your first of the night the bar staff always give you a look and say “You do know it’s over eight percent don’t you.”

    “Of course I do. That’s why I drink it.”

    “Okay.”

    Reinforcements arrived whilst my beer was being pulled. Steve’s always fancied Ursula, I didn’t even need to engineer a reason for him to join the conversation. Bert joined in just to confound him.

    Before I’d finished my first pint there were fifteen of us. No Sue, though. I was beginning to worry that I’d been stood up. But she was just waiting to make an entrance.

    I admit, I didn’t recognise her at first. I didn’t even know she possessed any dresses. It was dark blue and came to just below her knees. She sort of slinked out of her long coat and draped it over her arm as she approached.

    I admit it, I stared. People seemed to notice this and one by one turn to follow my gaze, because I swear the room went silent as she approached. She dropped the coat at my feet, wrapped both arms around my neck and pulled me down to kiss her.

    There might have been applause. There was definitely a cry of “Get a room!” When we came up for air she was the most flushed I’ve seen her outside the bedroom. She pulled my head down to whisper in my ear, “I wanted to make a good impression.”

    “I think you did that.” I kissed her neck, then her ear, then the top of her head. I wanted to kiss her all over, but I wasn’t going to get the chance. “You’re about to get the inquisition.”

    “Oh dear. Oh, and I would love to spend Christmas with you.”

    I didn’t know what to say, but Ursula arrived before it became obvious. “You must be Sue. I’m Ursula. I’ve heard so much about you.”

    “No she hasn’t. Deny everything. Unless it makes me look good, of course.” My glass was empty. I wagged it at Sue and she nodded, mouthing the words “non-alcoholic”.

    I’m a bad man. After handing over her J2O I abandoned her. Helen was looking lost. Neil had drifted into a conversation about processor speeds with Bert and she wasn’t deeply enough assimilated to join in the inquisition of Sue. I wandered over. “Hey. How are you?”

    “I’m okay.” she gestured at Sue “It’s scary, all those people wanting to know about you.”

    “I guess it is.” Helen had first met the FriendBorg whilst drinking in the Students’ Union. I’m not sure she’s fully recovered.

    She remembered something that made her smile. “Thanks, by the way.”

    “What for?”

    “You suggested to Neil that we should do something special. What was it? Create our own history.”

    I managed not to drop my pint. “Really?”

    “Yeah. He’s taking me to Paris next month.”

    I just nodded and took a gulp of beer. I didn’t know what to say just yet, because ‘take me to Paris’ sounds like rhyming slang for ‘take me up the arse’, which is what I’d been thinking.

    “She looks….. gorgeous.” Helen indicated Sue, rescuing me.

    “Yes, she does, doesn’t she. I’ve never seen her in a dress before.” Two things were beginning to dawn on me. That Sue really wanted to impress my friends and that I was in love with her. I caught her eye and smiled at her. “I have to go and hug her now.”

    – – – – – – – – –

    It wasn’t one of our heavier nights, but it was still gone eleven when we sneaked away. We managed to grab a taxi after walking a wee way in the right direction and away from the crowds, and tried not to get too steamy on the back seat. We didn’t crash, so I guess we weren’t doing anything the driver wanted to watch.

    “I have another present for you.” Sue announced as I locked the door. “Time to unwrap it.”

    I turned to find her pushing her knickers down her legs. She stepped out of them and lifted the front of her dress. Her grin was all the more sexy because she seemed on the edge of uncontrollable laughter. She backed toward the bean bag as I approached. “I went to the doctor and had him put me on the Pill. Your present is me- any time, any place, anywhere. Starting right here, on the bean bag.”

    – – – – – – – – – –

    I never did find out who bought The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women. I don’t really care.

    Notes Another jumping off point for the first draft of Post & Publish. Yes there’s a lot of gratuitous sex, but that’s the best type and they’re at the beginning of a relationship when that sort of thing goes on a lot.

    Links to all products mentioned have been included because Tim tells me off if I don’t do that sort of thing.

    Other fiction- check out So Much To Answer For, or Heavensent Download Another Education/Ruby Red or Ten Years Asleep.

    Donate Now I’ve started writing again I’m unlikely to stop, but it would be nice if I could eat during my breaks. So please feel free to donate some money to my starving author fund by clicking on the PayPal button below.


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  • Le Tour

    A proper sport returns on the 1st of July when the 2006 Tour de France kicks off in Strasbourg. A prologue, 20 stages and 3,600 kilometres later it ends in Paris.

    I haven’t a clue who the top contenders are, because the race gets no coverage over here. (It gets no coverage because, allegedly, there’s not enough interest, but there’s not enough interest because there’s no coverage.) However, I have found a Tour de France blog and Le Tour in Google Earth.

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