It’s in the Languedoc region in the south of France near the Spanish border. I thought this would mean it will be warm but the weather forecasts aren't looking too clever at the moment. But it's not all bad - the Languedoc is famous for delicious red wines and cassoulet full of beans and tasty duck all mopped up with crusty bread. I can’t wait.
Of course, that’s not how the conversation has gone every time I get asked about this trip at work.
“Where are you off to on holiday?”
“Where’s that? I’ve never heard of it.”
I’ve learned after a couple of hopeless attempts to explain where the Languedoc is just to say this – it just saves a lot of time.
“Have you ever seen Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves? The bits set in Nottingham were filmed there.”
Maybe I should just tell people I’ve invented a time machine and I’m off to Nottingham for three nights.
Not only that but Carcassonne is also the name of a moderately fun boardgame. A quick search on Flickr for decent photos suggests that some people have found ways of combining the two in photographs. Nobody wants to see a bunch of nerds playing Carcassonne in Carcassonne but I did quite like this one:
I love going abroad and this is the first time I’ll have left the country this year. Last year it was Budapest (not an experience I care to recall – one day I will post about the terrible food in Hungary, when the nightmares stop coming) and a magical week in Paris but I don’t think I realised it would take quite this long to get on a plane again. So I plan to make the most of it.
I will be packing a couple of novels, one highbrow one with plot twists and pathos and classical allusions, one trashy with embossed letters on the cover and hopefully shitloads of kinky sex in it. I will be packing a couple of cameras, a digital one so I can stick things on FB and my blog and my beautiful Leica to take proper black and white photos of French life (at least, that’s the theory). And I will be taking two lots of my cholesterol busting medication throughout the entire trip so I can actually eat the occasional croissant without breaking into a cold sweat. But no shorts, because that would totally jinx the weather. There was this one time I went on holiday and forgot to pack any pants. Remind me to tell you about it some time.
The song of the holiday – before it’s even started – is this one. Kelly and I have taken to singing it whenever we get round to talking about the holiday. Just substitute “Carcassonne” for “Galveston” and you’re there.
The Ladybug Transistor - Galveston
Anyway, as a result I’m going to take a week off blogging to rest my arms, body and soul. And I will have lots to potentially talk about when I get back. Possibly some whimsical stories of French life and lovely tales of me sitting in the old town square with a café au lait and a pain au chocolat watching the world go by. Possibly some nice photos. Or, at the very least, a lengthy rant entitled “Carcassonne – Even Shitter Than Budapest, And With Rain Of Biblical Proportions Thrown In For Good Measure”. I mean, you’ve got to come back just to read that, right?
[If you can sense desperation in that last question it’s because I am kind of worried that I will come back after a week to find everyone has dispersed. That’s silly though isn’t it.]
By the time I return all sorts of other cool things will have happened too. Eurovision not least. Now then, I love Eurovision with a fervour not generally encountered in the heterosexual male. Even though it’s becoming an increasingly homogenous Dion of ballads (like the new collective noun I just invented?) sung by random Eastern bloc sirens there’s still something about its camper and more disturbing moments that makes me proud to be a fully paid up tat addict.
And while we’re on the subject of invented words I proudly made up a new conflated word at work last week. Gemma, Iain and I were in the kitchen making a cuppa and I proudly told them that not ten minutes previously I had popped to the gents. The smell I inherited in the cubicle I had just visited could only be described as “beefulent”. Like it? And it was true too, you could have cut the acrid atmosphere in there with a plastic teaspoon. I proudly told my new invented word to David later and he could top that, like he always can. He told me they had conflated the words “analyst” and “psychotherapist” and come up with the new word “analrapist”. Kind of makes sense. (Edit: by "they" I mean that David informed me that Dr Tobias Fuenke had coined this phrase. David made no attempt to pass this invention off as his own and I sincerely regret any impression I may have given to the contrary. Disclaimer ends.)
Anyway, back to Eurovision. Did I mention how I love it so? Every year the crack Eurovision squad gathers round at Private Glennjamin and Lucy’s house, drink lots of wine, eat lovely food and hand round the scorecards ready for an evening of top notch entertainment. I mean, a couple of years ago the Bosnian entry was called Granny Bangs The Drum and featured the lead singer’s 80 year old granny getting up on stage and – yes, you kind of know what’s coming by now – banging a drum. Come on, I ask you, what’s not to adore about that?
And yes, before you tell me, I know our entry this year is a fucking dud. Yes, I know Lord Lloyd Webber is a hateful shit. I was there in the TV studio in BBC Centre when the result was announced and I remember being pretty downcast that we couldn’t build on the reeking colossus of cheese that was Flying The Flag by Scooch. I’d rather get nul points with an upbeat dance number with some eye popping innuendoes about testicles and oral sex than wipe the board with some sub Phantom of the Opera bobbins.
But that may just be me.
Anyway, as long as we get some Spanish mental patient channelling Elvis with a tiny toy guitar or a French electro pop genius with a big bushy Unabomber beard scooting onto the stage in a golf buggy all will be well. Both of those things really did happen last year and were worth the price of admission alone. You don’t believe me? Well then you asked for this:
What’s more, before the competition my friend Rebecca told me that Eurovision was all about men in white trousers. “Don’t be ridiculous, nobody wears white trousers any more” I responded. And then on the night, act after act seemed to feature a dazzling-trousered man and gloating text after text appeared in my phone from Rebecca. Thank goodness we didn’t put any money on it.
So hopefully I will return refreshed, re-invigorated and at the very least able to recommend an excellent trashy novel full of kinky sex. But while I’m away I’d really appreciate a bit of feedback. I did this a while ago, and it’s just very useful to know who’s reading this. So if you are reading this, do comment. You don’t have to say wonderful things about my deathless prose (though that’s always nice) but if you have any questions or anything you’d like me to write about or just to say hi please do. I do always wonder who on here is commenting as “Anonymous”, for a start…
Have a lovely week and don’t miss me too terribly will you? Oh all right, you can if you want to.