Wednesday, May 16, 2012

New adventures in lo-fi

I have been having a pleasant few days, without resulting in anything particularly interesting in blog terms. (So, um, you've been warned?)

Quiet Saturday night, I headed over to Laura's for an apéro dinatoire. I felt really bad because her text invite said "anytime after 8" but when I turned up at 9.30 there were only three people there and they were waiting for me to eat! Oops! But yeah, be more precise with your invitation maybe? I didn't mean to be quite that late, but I'm still having to wrangle Liz's cat on a daily basis plus there has been a bus strike for about a week so I had to walk all the way to Tours Nord.

On Sunday I watched the F1, pretty good race as with all of them this season, although I wasn't happy with the result. Tell you one thing, McLaren need to start aiming their (wheel) guns somewhere other than their own feet, because they should be leading both championships by all rights. Annoying. Then I had to clean the house ahead of Greg's arrival at 9 pm.

We spent Sunday evening just chatting and catching up. As mentioned, it's been 5 years since we last saw each other, but he kindly informed me I look the same and not like someone else he just caught up with in Paris who now looks like he's been fashioned out of a deformed leather bag. Score! Sunblock every day, no smoking and a healthy layer of face fat if you want to know my secrets ladies ;) Plus good genes I think, my mum has always looked young too. I do need to sort out the growing number of grey hairs I've got going on though!!

Greg is a Very Special Boy and I imagine he takes some getting used to for some people, but he's awesome. I was chatting with his mum on Skype last night (who is lovely, and not just because she said I was pretty and wonderful and I can come stay with them in Plano any time, but take note: it helps) and she told me just to stop him if he starts going off on a tangent (sample tangents so far: about how his parents abandoned him as a child to fly around the world in a dirigible or about how he was molested by a skeleton/Liverpudlian man in the Paris catacombs). I did very much enjoy his (I think true) story about how he hitched a ride off some Italian sailors who asked him if he'd ever been with a man, before driving him to an isolated Italian motel, where Our Hero thought he might be about to be raped by a pack of Italian sailors. (The story had a happy ending - the motel only cost 15 euros for the night. Oh, and no-one raped him.)

Going out with him can be somewhat frustrating at times, as it's like dealing with an errant toddler or a herd of cats. I pissed myself laughing in the park, when, having failed to open the gate by pushing it, instead of trying to pull it, he lifted it off its hinges. We soon attracted a small crowd of people trying to get through the gate as he attempted to repair it, and I had to explain that he was an American and this was his first time dealing with gate technology... On another occasion, I was trying to run some errands, but we had to stop so that he could climb down one of the boat ladders on the side of the Loire and run around on its banks while I looked at him exasperatedly. On the other hand, his exploratory spirit has already led to me discovering some Roman ruins just next to Place Plum which I never knew existed though! (They're going to be on the new edition of the Super Best Tour of Tours if so required though!)

Last night was awesome though, I said I'd cook him dinner on condition that he serenaded me while I did so. Greg's a fantastically talented guitarist and he wowed me by playing classical pieces like bits of the Four Seasons by Vivaldi or the Flight of the Bumblebee on guitar - I've never heard classical music played on the guitar, and it was pretty special! Also, can you imagine how good you have to be to play Flight of the Bumblebee on the guitar? I was just staring at his fingers in awe. I took guitar lessons for a bit as a kid, but it was the only class I ever wagged (skipped, cut) because the strings really hurt my wee little fingers. My mum always said I would regret it if I couldn't play a musical instrument (hence I was forced to try about 5 different ones, all of which I was bad at), which is normally not true, but I must admit I was a bit jealous last night. After dinner I made him play some songs I could sing along to (he seems to know pretty much every song you can think of, perhaps because he's fresh from a stint working in a band on a cruise ship) and we had a bit of a jam together until it got too late and I didn't want to bug the neighbours any more. It was really cool, like having a concert in my living room.

I'm sure Greg won't mind me sharing some of his music. Here's a cover of Eleanor Put Your Boots On by Franz Ferdinand, which is not actually one I know, but I like his version:


 Here's one of his original songs, Happiness Machine.


And another one, which shows something of his sense of humour and political bent. To quote from his introduction to the song, "If the good lord hadn't intended for us to pave the entire continent, then he'd have given the indians kalashnikovs." He's a very proud Texan... (whoops, naughty naughty swear word in the freeze frame there)

If you like what you hear, you can buy his album! Get in before he's famous, that's why I'm keeping him on anyway ;)


  1. apero dinatoire? Is this the french equivalent of a t-rex?

  2. @ Anonymous - Ha! The bones of extinct apero dinatoires may be found all over France. Paleontologists say that their bones resemble empty wine bottles!

    Which reminds me, Gwan, I've been introducing lots of people in the USA to wine from Tours. I found a rose, which made me think of your delicious Chinon, and a white in the wine store. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten to try any of them because the recipients haven't opened the bottles in my presence.

    Thanks for including Greg's videos. I would have loved to have seen him play "Flight of the Bumblebee".

  3. Ha, yeah, what MK said.

    D'oh, you need to choose your wine-giving moments more carefully so you get to sample them ;) Glad you enjoyed the Chinon!

    I will pass that on to Greg and see if he'll record the Flight of the Bumblebee for you :)

  4. If not, he'll be passing through Paris this weekend and at some point in the future, so keep an eye out if you see a busker!


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