#15 The Clown Diaries - How to Stay Sane


It's Sunday. The weather is blissful. And my flat is empty. Due to a three hour cleaning session I am now removed of almost any bacteria I once owned. A girl's best friend in a house full of men? Bleach. Due to what I've done to our bathroom in the last hour I can conclude that if comedy doesn't go well I can get a job similar to Winston Wolf's in Pulp Fiction.

Part of the reason I am doing manic cleaning is because I am turning insane. Why? I am trying to cut down on coffee. From 10 cups a day to 1. This foolish decision has resulted in headaches equivalent to Johnny Smith's in Stephen King's The Dead Zone and means my temper sways to and fro like Jack Torrence's in The Shining.

I have started developing lots of mini ways to keep myself from killing someone. I've gotten a Spiralizer - so when I'm stressed I now attack every vegetable in sight - cackling manically. I've found a secret spot on the hill behind the castle of Etampes, where, when I'm feeling particularly melancholy I go and sit and read solidly for several hours - undisturbed and happily. I've downloaded Tinder, which means I'm making lots of exciting new friends, so my french is improving. And I've started going running. The running is the best. However, the moment I am in the deepest part of the park my mind naturally starts to think of every Stephen King novel I've read on the hill, then I panic I am getting chased, work myself into a frenzy and nearly cause myself to have a heart attack as I sprint away from the hoard of zombies I've imagined. At least it helps me run faster, but my throat does hurt from all the screaming.

PARIS

Outside of Etampes Paris in the summer is the perfect cure for a short temper. I spent all of yesterday reading in Bautes Chaumont by the river, feeding the ducks and eating icecreams, people watching. Then, to celebrate fellow classmate Patterned Tom's 20th birthday, a gang of us drank on the Seine as the sun set. The sky was the colour of a melted Mister Blobby and the river looked like a shimmering golden cobra. The bank was flooded with parisians - either in groups or on more romantic endeavours drinking boxes of wine from plastic cups and eating baguettes and cheese. Every two minutes a huge boat filled with tourists or a wedding party would bobble buy - everyone both on boat and bank waving and cheering at one another.

Would you believe it, there aren't that many gay bars in Etampes, so in the evening if you want a dance, the Marais in Paris is the best place to go. Last Saturday we discovered Les Souffleurs which is an incredible gay bar if you ever visit Paris. It is filled with the most gorgeous, friendly men you've ever seen. It's a slender rectangular space with a small bar at the back staffed by a very polite barman in a netted vest. The walls are covered in lovely black and white canvas prints of men holding their erect penises - and the drinkers are a mixture of Abecrombie & Fitch models, hipsters and drag queens.

There is always a great late night bar to find in Paris, however the city does start to lose it's beauty in the early hours. After dancing late I walked across the Rue Faubourg St Denis in order to return home. During the day this particular street is like a carnival with families buying baguettes, children on scooters, couples sitting outdoors on round tables smoking cigarettes and loud queues of people waiting for a rotisserie chicken. However, at 4am it is a very different sight. No longer beautiful and bubbling with bohemian families and artists, it's haunting, derelict and scary. As I walked through the street, now littered, I spotted homeless bodies curled up in the corners, their bodies camouflaged by cardboard, only given away by the sudden stir of a foot. Every few yards you'd jump a little as you'd spot the almost invisible silhouette of a prostitute standing in a doorway, leaning exhausted in leather boots and winter parkas for their next client. Soliciting is illegal in Paris. About 10 ft away from each women you could spot the shadow of a man loitering, hood up, face concealed - either a pimp or a shy customer, waiting for you to pass.

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