Okay, well hello and shit.

I left for St. Pancras at about 1 PM, after making sure Biggie had enough food and water. I also bought him two more toy mice that can be filled with Dreamies. I know from experience that he can cope without me, but I saw a cat mom on TikTok being slated for leaving her cat alone for 36 hours.

Biggie will be alone for four days, if you don’t count Dave and Sabrina checking in on him.

Anyway, I did the last of my housework and then left. I was going to stop for an overpriced beer at St. Pancras, but they told me if I took a seat they’d serve me, and then 20 minutes later, check-in opened and so I just left them to it. Reminder to self to leave a bad review.





je ne parle pas

la langue

et je veux voir

des chatons.

Je m’en fiche,

donc je sais

que tu sais

que tu devrais

gouter mon porc,

mais je suis


J’ai un amie

avec les bras,

mais je ne veux pas

les toucher.

Je suis


comme ma



The Eurostar wasn’t too bad. I read about a hundred pages of Harry Potter in French along the way and shared my USB charger with the lady who was sitting next to me. He was very stressed about not being able to get online but she was nice. She also smelled like corporate fear.

Not that I can talk.

By the time I arrived in Paris, I was desperate for a wee. Most people just pissed against the wall, but I held up hope for a pissoir that never materialised. I ended up buying a pint in a random bar and pissing there, but at least I practiced my French.

Eventually, I made it to my hotel.

I’m staying in a bit of a shithole, but I’ve seen worse. It’s a room above a bar, but there’s an on-site black panther and so I need to get some Dreamies for him. I forgot to pay for my Stella and they chased me down for it. I’m just so used to paying before the transaction instead of after it.

From tghere, I went to where I am now, an Irish bar called the Guinness Bar. It’s less than a mile from my hotel and has some free live music. The Google reviews say you’ll spend up to 10 EUR per pint, but mine was 6.50. Plus all the other live music I found was 30 EUR plus just to get in.

It remains to be seen if it’s any good. Here’s a conversation I had:

ME: Parlez-vous Anglais?

THEM: Non.

ME: De rien, est-ce que vous saved a quelle heure la musique commence?

THEM: Half ten.




I was kicked out, and from what I understood, c’etait parce que je n’ai pas beaucoup de femmes.

I also got kicked out of a private party, where a bunch of pissed British people were singing Hey Jude. Fortunately, I made it back to the hotel, where they didn’t refuse to serve me and didn’t care if I wrote in my notebook.



My last entry is even harder to read than the rest of my handwriting, but de rien.

Basically, I was kicked out of the bar before the music started. No reason was given, but they’d been watching me suspiciously while I was writing and didn’t seem keen to let me in in the first place. Sorry for two ins. I think it was also because I was a male by himself and they wanted more groups of young women in there.

On the way back, I heard a bunch of drunk English people singing Hey Jude and went into another bar, but I was immediately escorted out because it was a private party. So I just went back to the hotel and had another pint there. I wrote my last untidy entry while standing up outside.

Anyway, I slept okay, although I was woken up at about nine ish by people moving about. I also couldn’t have a lie in because of how loud it was.

I left at about ten, too late to go to the flea market that I intended to visit because I had tickets for the Louvre at noon. I tried to buy a vegan panini on my way, but after I’d waited for ten minutes or so after placing my order, they told me it would be another half an hour, so I gave up and went for a coffee instead. Unfortunately, it sent my heart rate through the roof.


Panic Attacks at the Louvre

My doctor says

I should stop drinking


Picture the scene,

33 years young

and one step closer

to death,

I’m about

to break.

Used my rudimentary French

to order magic bean juice,

une café noir Americano

s’il-vous plait,

and the guy with moustache

understood me.

I guess I drank it

too fast.

Paid up quickly

and tried to walk it off,

made it to the Louvre

beneath the blazing sun,

my beating heart

@ 170 BPM,

the queue to get in

stretching 300 metres,

and that’s if

they’d booked in


All alone

in a foreign country,

able to speak the lingo

but not to stop shaking.

Back to the hotel

to sweat and shiver,

left arm tingling

while the right writes,

bon anniversaire

and go fuck yourself.

Putain de merde

et je crois

que je suis

en train de mourir,

surrounded by skulls

in Parisien catacombs.

I can’t help wishing

this was Amsterdam.


So yeah, I had a god-awful panic attack that went on for four hours or so. I also didn’t actually go into the Louvre because even though I’d bought my ticket in advance, the advance queue had about 300 people in it. I was super hot and sweaty and so I didn’t want to queue, especially with bad anxiety.

Instead, I walked back to the hotel and lay on my bed for a while. I put Red Dwarf on my laptop and fell asleep for a little while.

I felt a little better when I woke up, but I still wasn’t at 100%. I’d say it took a good 12 hours to get back to normal.

I had entry to the Catacombs booked for 6:30, but I wasn’t sure whether to actually go. Fortunately, Jo talked me down and convinced me to give it a shot, so I squeezed into the metro and headed across town. It was busy as the London Underground at its busiest.

I got there a little early and so I was going to sit in the park for a while with my book. Then a homeless man came and sat next to me and he smelled so bad that I had to get away. It was like sour milk.

And so I joined the queue and made my way into the Catacombs. They were fascinating enough to begin with because of the fact that they were once a working mine, and then we got to the bones/ My goodness, there were a lot of them. Weirdly, considering my death anxiety, I felt okay once I was there.

I got some postcards and some fridge magnets from the gift shop, as well as a copy of Pet Semetary in French.

After that, I crowded onto the metro again to go back to the hotel. I put my feet up for another episode of Red Dwarf and then popped out for some food from the vegan Thai restaurant around the corner. It was so delicious that I might go back.

And that’s me officially up-to-date, at least for now. I’ll try to get some sleep soon. In the meantime, I guess I’m going to write a few postcards.


Selfies in the Graveyard

They’re taking selfies

in the graveyard,

they’re taking selfies

while I sit on the bench

by Jean Paul Sartre

and Simone de Beauvoir.

It seems it’s tradition

to leave metro tickets,

snapped cigarettes for smokers

and Susan Sontag had

a pen and a pencil.

I’ve got nothing to give

except an Ilk badge,

and somehow

I don’t think

that’s appropriate.

I’ve got my blood

because I bit

my fingernails.

I spoke in French

to a friendly lady,

she was sleeping leaves

from the family mausoleum,

gave me directions to Baudelaire

and I told her I’d already seen

Guy de Maupassant,

talk about déjà vu.

I’ve found

people are kinder

in the presence of death,

it gives us some sort

of false perspective.

They’re taking selfies

in the graveyard,

46.2 acres,

twelve hundred trees

and 42,000 burial sites.

They’re taking selfies

in the graveyard,

and I only filmed

for TikTok.



I didn’t get much sleep last night because the people in the room next to me were being super loud, but I did manage to grab a shower this morning. The only downside is that the hotel doesn’t provide towels and I hadn’t brought any, so I had to dry myself off with my used clothes.

As it’s a Sunday, it seemed like a good time to visit the graveyards. I did both Père-Lachaise and Montparnasse, and I saw Guy de Maupassant, Baudelaire, Samuel Beckett, Serge Gainsbourg, Susan Sontag, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, Honore de Balzac, Marcel Proust, Apollinaire, Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein, Edith Piaf, Moliere, Jim Morrison and Frederic Chopin.

I also stopped on a bench next to Sartre and de Beauvoir and wrote a poem.

From there, I headed back to the hotel to put my feet up for a while. It’s getting towards food time now and so I’m going to head off to a vegan burger bar.


Eiffel Haiku

I can’t help thinking

that Gustave Eiffel is dead;

the sun is shining.



The food from the burger bar was great, although I had to take it away because they weren’t open for dining in. I demolished the food (nachos, fries, a burger, a drink and a cookie for 20 EUR) back in my room, then went for a wander to find a bar. I got myself a drink (for 10.50 EUR) and read my book for a while, but I felt super uncomfortable and so I went back after that. And then the internet wasn’t working and so I just got an early night.

I slept for twelve hours and so I must have needed it. By then, I’d got a pretty good morning routine sorted and so I had an energy drink, gathered my stuff and headed out. First stop, Le Tour Eiffel.

There was a pretty big queue, followed by another one to get into the lift, but it was worth it. There were some stunning views, even though I didn’t go to the top. That floor was closed when I got there, and even though it was open by the time I got my tickets, I was already prepared just to go to the second floor. It was still more than worth doing, and something I can finally tick off after three visits to the city (that I remember). Apparently I also came here while I was in my mother’s womb.

Afterwards, I went to the gift shop for magnets and a colouring sheet of the city that can be framed once it’s done. I sat by some Russians who were repeatedly practicing the phrase “je veux des billets”. And the beer was cheaper halfway up the tower than it was in the bar I went to the night before.

I also got asked to leave two more places. The first was a post office, because they’re the only place in the city where masks are mandatory, apparently. The second was a bookshop, because I had a coffee due to the vegan coffee shop finally being open. Luckily, there was a used bookshop just around the corner, where I found two Asterix BDs and four Isaac Asimov books that are on my wish list in English.

I’m currently back at the hotel, drinking a beer and charging my phone. I learned that the hotel cat is called Kiki (Gigi en francais) after Kiki the Sorcerer. I’m planning on trying the Louvre again, where I’d have around two hours to get in and look around before closing time. But I’d have time to (hopefully) see the Mona Lisa and check out the antiquities, which is the main thing I want to do. And at least I could say that I’d been.


Further observations on Paris:

  • There are more sex shops there than there are in Amsterdam.
  • Homelessness is rife.
  • Graffiti is a problem, but not as much as it is in Milan.
  • People openly piss in the street.
  • More people should wear bras. There are nipples protruding through t-shirts everywhere you look.


Update: I made it back to the Louvre and there were maybe 10% as many people there as before, but they were only letting people in if they had pre-booked tickets. I had one, but for Saturday, so I was shit out of luck.

And so I decided to go to the National Library, via the post office so I could send my postcards. Unfortunately, the library was closed, either shut up early for that day or in general. So I just walked back to the hotel for another beer. I haven’t checked the internet yet. I’ll probably go back to the vegan burger place in a bit because that was both tasty and around the corner.


It’s True What They Say

It’s true what they say

about the French,

they’ll break your heart

and make you think

the world is ending,

and then a man will eat a monkey

and the world will end.

Or maybe

that’s just what happened

to me.

They’ll piss in the streets,

they’ll wear no bra

and a tight shirt,

they’ll take your eye out

with a nipple

and charge £10 for a beer,

blowing smoke in your face

while you count cinquante-six

missing millilitres.

They will not appreciate

those seven years you spent

learning the language.

If you’re lucky,

they’ll sell you things,

if they think you’re their kind

of customer.

They’ll say “sante”

when they bring you a beer

if they deign to serve you.

It’s true,

they’re not all bad,

there’s a lady at Montparnasse Cemetary

giving directions to Baudelaire,

and Zaid at the Hotel du Globe

is a legend,

they called their cat Gigi

because of Studio Ghibli.

A child on the metro

almost smiled at me,

and even Noemie

wouldn’t watch the planet die,

she cared about seasonal vegetables

more than she cared about me.

The British tourists are obnoxious,

Americans less so but more obvious;

the Germans are nice

and love their families.

The Russians are embarrassed,

they must know what we think of them,

I don’t mean to get political

but I can understand the rise of the right

in French politics,

I’m more conservative than I’d like to admit,

my government is my only reflection,

but at least I’m not a Russian man

afraid to say,

“Je veux des billets.”

It’s true what they say

about the Germans

and the Russians

and the Americans.

I’ve just never fallen in love

with one.



Last day in Paris: complete.

I went to the vegan burger place again and so that was good, and then I had one last beer at the bar before trying to get some sleep. I had to sleep with my headphones on because of how noisy it was.

I got up at about ten this morning and had a quick shower, then packed the last of my stuff and went to the vegan coffee shop. I also went back to the second-hand bookshop, where I picked up a few more books for myself and a couple of gifts for Virginie and CJ.

We went to Les Deux Magots, which I think translates to “The Two Mages” instead of “The Two Maggots”. It’s one of the places that Hemingway used to go to, back in the day. The food was pretty expensive (20 EUR for a salad, the only vegan option), but it was also tasty and Virginie picked up the bill, and so I can’t complain. Thanks, Virginie! It was good to meet those guys in the flesh after working together for six months.

From there, we said our goodbyes and I headed off to Le Pont Neuf, which is actually the oldest bridge in the city, despite its name. I picked up a French copy of Death on the Nile from one of the street booksellers and then went to board the Seine cruise.

It was an awesome little tour of the city and the host was great, but there were also a lot of people there and so I couldn’t see much. On the plus side, the guide spoke in French first before translating it into English, and I could pretty much follow along without the translations.

After that, for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to walk the three kilometres to the Gare du Nord. It’s about 26 degrees today and I still haven’t cooled down. I’m through check-in and customs though, so now I’m just waiting to board the Eurostar.

I also had a foot-in-mouth moment. Up to this point, the most embarrassing thing that I’d said was “yes” after someone told me to have a nice day. But at the Gare du Nord, I ordered a café noir and the guy said, “It’s as black as me.” I replied, “And strong and delicious.”

But at least I got to practice my French.

There’s not really anything else for me to add. The rest of the trip is just a formality, with another three or four hours on trains before I arrive home and beg my cat for forgiveness. I’ll spend most of the journey finishing Harry Potter.

And then tomorrow, I’m going to meet Soobie in Leamington Spa so that I can deliver an off-the-cuff presentation on self-publishing to a writer’s group.

Ah, la vie d’ecrivain.