#10 - The Clown Diaries - Second Term, First Year, Fresh Start…

You would find it hard to believe that christmas has ended here in Paris, because the french have a very ‘laissez-faire’ attitude to Christmas decorations. They can’t really be bothered to take them down. Despite it being the 24th of January there is still a Polar Bear standing awkwardly in our pharmacy shop window and Notre Dame in still has it’s Nativity scene set up outside the Cathedral entrance, with Joseph Mary and Lil J shivering in the January winds.

Although January is meant to be the most depressing time of year, there is no more beautiful place than Paris in January. The leaveless trees stand long, waiflike and elegant in the Jardin des Tuileries, their black silhouettes spread out against the sky like a cigarette smoker’s bronchi. The whole city is a soft charcoal grey, as if the whole place has been rubbed out with a dirty eraser and as the sun moves across the sky the Seine transforms from spruce to stone with flashes of indigo. On Saturday evening whilst walking across the Passerelle de Solferino at dusk - with the old lamps lit up and fog resting over the city eating up the tops of the buildings - the city looked hauntingly gothic.

It feels good to return to this city... however, I return to the city a different woman in comparison to the woman I was when I left. Crucially sober. No more Bordeauxs and carafes of Cote-du-Rhone for me. I’ve given up alcohol for 2016 and I’ve become vegetarian. This means I‘ve turned into what the french people call ‘boring’. On top of that, I’ve got my ‘work hat’ on - my new show is previewing at the Leicester Comedy Festival in Feb and I’m in the midst of perfecting the first draft. It’s about Mother Daughter relationships so in research for the show my bookshelf is full of academics such as Adrienne Rich, Simone de Beauvoir and Nancy Friday. So, I am also what the French people could call ‘pretentious’ or definitely ‘someone who shops at Shakespeare & Co’.

But anyway, as much as I try to come across as a ‘Parisian city girl’, the fact of the matter is, I live in Etampes... Paris’s dumpy little sister. And although she’s not at all as exciting, I have missed the quiet boring streets of the town and her unique character traits.

Since the end of first term I’ve moved out of the old house which homed Greg, Tom and Ryan and into a new one where the rent is cheaper, the rooms are more angular and where when the trains pass through Etampes Station the house vibrates and the beds sway. By chance I’ve moved in with three men again - all as odd as the last lot.

The three men are the following: Oliver, Viggo and Luke. Oliver looks like a cartoon of a good looking man (Imagine Gaston but ginger). He naturally walks like a marionette and is constantly eating eggs. I love him dearly. Viggo is a 2nd year student, from Norway and looks like John Travolta but if his head was a rectangle and with a nicer nose. He sleeps in the kitchen and has hung up only pictures of himself on the wall which means if you didn’t know it was his own room you would think Robin WIlliams’s character from ‘One Hour Photo’ was sleeping there. He is a babe. Finally there is Luke, who is what the gay community would describe as an ‘otter’*, he is heavilly moustached, only wears vests and enjoys lip-syncing to pop anthems. They are all wonderful.

We’re all back for the second term of Ecole Philippe Gaulier. On Monday it was evident that our first year class has shrunk considerably since the days of Le Jeu. There are only 30 in our class and thus we are all taught together rather than split into two groups. From 1pm until 6pm we dedicate our time between our movement teacher Rene Bazinet and our demon headmaster Philippe. The great positive is that we all are able to share in our failures and successes as we try our hardest to not be ‘fucking fucking awful’.