“Is that even their car?!”

I believe a month ago today, I first arrived in Strasbourg. A month which has been exciting and terrifying and painful and thrilling in equal measure. The systems of administration and the hoops we have had to jump through have been atrocious but the city itself is gorgeous and makes up for the lack of clarity in these situations and the lack of toilet seats in France in general. Concerning, I know.

I will not be pretentious and say that ‘I discovered myself and who I REALLY am on my year abroad’ because let’s be honest a) I have been here only a month and b) no one likes that kid. But I have found some of the most excellent friends I could possibly imagine and in my book that’s even better.

The following was written when I got in from a night out this morning at around 6am and I think perfectly demonstrates the fun that has been had with these exceptional people so far in Strasbourg. Sorry if this is one of those ‘you had to be there, man, it was hilarious!!!’ moments. Spell-check can wait another couple of hours. Read on, dear friend, read on!


The time is 05:42. I have been awake for 23 hours. I have only just returned from a night out. My limbs are like ice poles and I can’t feel my fingers; typing is a struggle and the coldest setting on my tap feels pleasantly tepid.

Everything about the night I just experienced just seems completely absurd looking back on it now…yes! That’s it, it all seems absurd!

The night started innocently enough: I was my standard half an hour late for pre-drinks because that’s generally who I am (sorry) and after several minutes, me and the other excellent attendees were passing around a large bottle of grass flavoured vodka…not drinking it…just smelling it. The smells registered ranged from “cinnamon” to “pain”. There was also a large blade of grass in the bottle…what’s up with that?!

After many jokes and laughs, we had found the ideal balance between being raucous and having a laugh while still being able to walk in a reasonably straight line.

We found the bar easily and ‘bon soir’ed and smiled dopily at the bouncer while he checked our ID and walked in…only to find the room dark and loud but almost totally devoid of patrons. But as the enterprising students we are, we immediately marched across to the bar and ordered a round of jagerbombs.

In the UK, jagerbombs (a shot of jager in about half a can of Red Bull so it’s the perfect volume for downing all in one swift action) are a staple of every night out because they’re so cheap. You can often buy 4 for £10 which pleases me and many other penniless students greatly. In France however, we have discovered that they are too big, too cold and too expensive. If you can drink a French jagerbomb in one go, you are a champ.

The bar filled up and our night continued. We danced, we got lost on the way to the loo, we laughed, we tried to understand what the French people were saying to us and we somehow gained lots of glowsticks.

Eventually it was time to leave and due to the fact that I live so far out from the centre of town, we needed kill time before the trams (which don’t run between 00:30 and 04:00). We walked our very drunk friend home and probably woke up all her flatmates as we sat in her room and stole all her food while she almost fell asleep on her bed.

She’d bought the most disgusting flavoured Pringles you could imagine and we ate them all. If you ever see the emmental ones for the LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY do not buy them. They taste of socks and get progressively worse with every bite. They were just completely awful.

We ate them all, raided her fridge and made our exit. On the way to the tram, we encountered a group of boys and the most bizarre situation. They were standing around a silver Renault Clio which was at 45 degrees to the parking space it was meant to be in which piqued our curiosity. They gave a cry of “un, deux, trois!” and heaved the rear end of the car back towards the space. But this was not enough and my two male friends were enlisted to haul again, the rear of the car into the space.

Why the car was sticking out of its original space by 45 degrees at 4 in the morning is beyond me. Why they felt the need to move it baffles me. I just don’t understand it and it confuses me still as I remember doubling over in hysterical laughter at the expressions on my mates’ faces as they gathered around the car.

We had a fantastic night and all of these events of the night may not seem funny at all when I wake up, but the words of my friend Phil of “is that even their car?!” just contributed the excellence of the night and provided a well-deserved break from reality. I can’t wait to see what the following months bring us here in Strasbourg.

Now playing: Jamie xx – Loud Places

An open letter to boys with no tact

openletter

Dear boys,

I’m going to persist with calling you ‘boys’ because until you prove yourself to be anything other, you don’t perhaps warrant the title of ‘man’. You may think you’re a stud and a big hit with all the girls you croon ‘babe’ to, but do you want to know something? Hold onto your hats while I drop a massive truth bomb: you’re actually kind of creepy and there are several reasons why. I think that my sister and I have had several downright hilarious experiences with boys who think they’re the next Ryan Gosling, so I think I’m qualified enough to address you all; please allow me to be the spokesperson for all women who are put off by your advances and completely turned off by your ‘game’ or lack thereof. Listen up, you there in the front!

When you have as much game as Ryan Gosling. then you can use lines like this.

When you have as much game as Ryan Gosling. then you can use lines like this.

Firstly, and probably the most important thing to remember is that being too sexually explicit can have the complete opposite effect to your original intentions and can leave a girl shocked and uncomfortable. We live in a society where sex has turned into a commodity. This is glaringly obvious with the popularity of dating apps such as Tinder, where all you need to do is send an incredibly forward message and BOOM, sex for all! But if you get a message like that over Facebook from a guy friend you talk to fairly regularly? Oh god NO, make it stop! It’s both surprising and if you’re not feeling it, incredibly awkward! Please take this in, being too forward is not always sexy; you can’t talk sexy to her until she eventually gives in! Especially if the unsuspecting girl is just that…unsuspecting! This isn’t to say that you can’t compliment a girl or her features, but telling her how juicy her rack may be? Perhaps not, yeah?

That said, we can link nicely to point nombre deux: a bit of subtlety can go a long way. Make a girl laugh with what you’re saying, make her think about you and what you’re like, be at least a bit interesting and thoughtful. Be kind and be comfortable enough with a girl you’re interested in to, heaven forbid, show a bit of your own personality! Don’t just launch into all the reasons you think she’s gorgeous and perfect and how much you love her…especially if you’ve only just met her! There’s no need to go in all guns blazing all the time! Subtlety = tact and a bucket-load of ‘good game’ points. Y’know, if that’s what you want.

Finally, a key ingredient to not being THAT tactless guy – you must listen and read the signals she’s giving you. My sister has had this before with a boy who had no clue what he was on about. He was the definition of creepy and was guilty of all of the things we’ve discussed above. She tried telling him nicely, she tried telling him she needed space away from him, she tried everything but he did not get it. Don’t be that guy, please! Can you not see that listening is important? Not only in a these kinds of scenarios, but if you cannot listen and read people’s body language in the real life too, you may have trouble developing any kinds of relationships.

Now before you raise your hackles and start snapping at me, yes I know these antigentlemen (as I shall call them) are in the minority and, yes of course girls can be just as bad. Perhaps this is a lesson that everyone can learn to some extent? But hey, these are my opinions, it’s a blog! You know me well enough by now to know to take everything with a little bit of salt!

So hopefully with my handy points compiled from numerous girly chats and personal experiences, if you think you might fall into the category of hopelessly tactless with a touch of disturbingly cringey, you now know that it’s time to reassess and I wish you luck.

Love from, Lizzie

Now playing: A Day To Remember – Heartless

*WHISTLE WHISTLE WHISTLE* LIFEGUARD GOING IN!

For the last almost 4 years of my life, I have been a lifeguard at my local swimming pool, a job which I both love and find slightly dull. My mum always says it’s better to be bored rather than having to leap into action every 10 minutes, a sentiment with which I heartily agree.

I love this job mainly because of the people I work with every single day. They are hilarious, friendly, occasionally moany and full of some great stories. They welcome me back after a tough term at uni with the same enthusiasm and questions as they would if I‘d just had a week off. Going to work is comfortable and on more than one occasion I’ve fleetingly considered sacking in university life for the comfort and ease of this environment. But then I remember y’know, I quite like education.

I have spent nearly 4 years with these people and at times you forget why you’re there. It’s not exactly a thrilling job most of the time and often the swimmers are the worst thing about it. There are numerous signs around the pool baring the standard ‘no diving’ and ‘no running’ commandments but the amount of people who have deemed themselves too clever and important to follow these common sense rules is BAFFLING! If you are such a person, let me enlighten you. The side of the pool is very wet and slippery; if you run, you will probably slip and could either end up with a nasty bruise, a chipped tooth or a broken limb. So if you fancy dicing with a poolside injury, go forth and run, but expect to be yelled at to stop. If you dive in, the chances that you will end up with a head injury of some kind or even a spinal injury is relatively high. Are you going to risk it? I wouldn’t, so be sensible, yeah? If not for yourself, then for the sake of us poor lifeguards who will have to deal with the consequences of your stupid mistake because you couldn’t be bothered to follow the rules.

That said, my friends make fun of me regularly when I say that I’m going to work. I get jokes like “Oh cool, so you’re going to go and have a sit for a couple hours, yeah?”, or “don’t exert yourself too much will you, getting out of that high chair is quite tricky sometimes!” You get the gist, they think all we lifeguards do is sit around and blow a whistle every now and again, but I am here to tell you that this is not the case. Yesterday I actually had to do some work. I had to get in and perform a rescue.

In all of my 20 years on this planet, I haven’t experienced adrenaline like it. I honestly had no idea that I could move so fast and react to something so quickly! A little boy of about 5 was in a swimming lesson, got out of his depth and lost his float. I remember noticing him struggling to keep his head above the water. I remember my heart stopping and a distinct ‘oh shit’ train of thought running through my mind. But, err, I don’t quite remember how I got out of the chair and into the water, but I remember the tunnel vision as my instincts kicked in and all that mattered at the moment was getting to the boy. Unfortunately this meant that some of my training went out of the window and I may have forgotten to blow my whistle, but hopefully this is excusable. I remember people staring and the code blue alarm blaring, which indicates to everyone in the centre that there is an emergency in the pool. That sound is enough to make everyone’s heart skip a beat and would’ve done the same for mine except for the fact that I think mine had already stopped. I carried the lad to the side and I remember emerging from the water completely drenched and shaking like a leaf and remained in this state for a good 15 minutes after. But it was done and I am now a proper real-life lifeguard. I have fulfilled the purpose I was trained for and that feels pretty good.

One thing I will learn from this experience is the need to take spare underwear to work with me from now on, because in the words of our amazing receptionist Mandy, I had to sit for the rest of my shift with wet boobs. Banter!

Now playing: Escape the Fate – Situations

HOOVERGATE

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Mad as a Hatter.”

‘Mad as a Hatter’ was the writing prompt for today and this incident immediately sprung to my mind. It’s something of a legend in our friendship group. Allow me to share it with you. But be warned, Lizzie + rage = swearing, if you’re overly sensitive to that kind of stuff maybe this post isn’t for you!

Now, if you know me even a little, you will know that I’m not an angry person – you can find me in the easy-going, ditheringly cheerful category. The sort that needs supervision in the kitchen when handling knives; on my second ever day at university I sliced my thumb on a tin of beans. Blood everywhere. No beans for Lizzie that day :(

There’s some background to why rage is particularly out of character for me, now to the event.

Last year, I was living in university halls with my brand new and awesome friends aka, my Canterbury family (LOVE YOU GUYS!). Any of you jolly splendid people reading this who have ever lived in halls know that they’re not the most soundproof of places to stay. You have to be pretty tolerant when your neighbours make noise as chances are, a skype session with your family of what seems like a decent volume to you, could be torturously loud for the poor soul living next door. As a student, you are wary of your volume, so you turn down your music slightly, but not too much because your mate next door likes to play guitar at half 11 at night and you CAN HEAR ALL OF IT.

On the night of the incident in question, I was already tired, I had a couple of assignments due soon and so had been working on them all evening, so when it was a reasonable time to call it a night (so after the thought process of ‘is 9:30 too early to go to bed? …maybe. I’lll leave it a bit longer’) sleep came on stealthy wings and transported me to dreamland where I was perfectly happy and comfortable.

And then it happened.

3am rolled around. My flatmates got back from an evening ‘working’ in the library…they keep strange hours, I know. They made noise and a helluva lot of it. They ruthlessly dragged me back to reality with their jeering and it disrupted my snuggles. I was not a happy bunny. Not at all. Bitches don’t interrupt my sleep!

But this was fine, I’d certainly made my fair share of noise late at night after a couple of drinks and they hadn’t flown into a frenzy then.

A couple minutes passed and I thought the drama had subsided and was drifting back to the land of unicorns and Channing Tatums but oh no, this was premature.

A certain house mate of mine by the name of ‘Louis’ had been locked out of his room by our dear friends ‘Joe’ (from a couple of posts back, remember?) and ‘Carl’ and decided that the only thing he could do to remove them from his room was to TURN THE HOOVER ON.

fuck-meme_00370790

I know!! I don’t understand! Did he think he could use the suction of the machine to suck them out?! I have no idea! Clearly it was the stupidest idea that anyone has ever had, so needless to say I flew into a rage and exploded from my room like an arrow loosed from a bow and poor Louis was about to feel my wrath.

“What the FUCK are you doing?!?!” I screeched mercilessly in his poor unsuspecting face. “It’s 3 in the morning and you’ve TURNED THE HOOVER ON TO GET THEM OUT OF YOUR ROOM?? WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?!?!”

Needless to say, Louis shat himself and Joe and Carl emerged from his room looking pretty sheepish. They all mumbled apologies and left me to stalk back into my room in a fit of rage with a cartoon storm cloud above my head.

In the morning, Joe and Carl thought the whole fracas was hilarious and Louis appeared terrified of me for about a week afterwards. But it all turned out for the better and the four of us are thick as thieves now and they do the washing up whenever I ask them to, for fear of a repeat of Hoovergate.

So concludes my tale of anger and hoovers and lack of sleep. It may seem like an irrational thing to rage about, but anyone gets in the way of me and a good night’s sleep without good reason runs the risk of my own personal Hulk coming out and scaring you witless. You have been warned.

Now playing: Shinedown – Devour

McBusted! Oh my goodness! 6/5/14

My name is Lizzie and I am a Busted fan.

Not just a fan, I’m a fan fan. Like other similarly inflicted late teens, I have all their albums (and by that I mean all two and the live CD and DVD). I know all the words…and the harmonies…and use different voices for Matt, Charlie and James. The James singing voice is BRILLIANT, isn’t it!

I saw them live in 2004 and I cried when they broke up in 2005…

Don’t lie, you cried when they broke up too, didn’t you?

I have met very few people in my nearly 20 years on this Earth who didn’t like Busted. They were the spark that started my, and probably many other teens’ love for music in later life and I am not ashamed to admit that. When they broke up, I had to latch on to something else and McFly were there in all their bad haired, bright t-shirted glory. I love them rather a lot too.

So understandably when the news of McBusted came out in 2013 I immediately shelled out some of my student loan on a precious ticket…I didn’t eat that week but I don’t mind because this Tuesday just gone (6th May), I went to Cardiff and experienced something indescribable.

It would always be a tough task for any support act at such an event, but the few bands supporting McBusted did surprisingly well with a restless audience who cared about nothing but the headline act. I have no idea who the first band we saw were – the frontman hadn’t quite grown into his role yet and perhaps wasn’t used to addressing such a large crowd, but as a result nobody caught the name…if anyone can work out what he was saying, let me know! But they were good, catchy, energetic and a good warm-up for the brilliance to follow.

The next support though…I tell you what, everyone go and look up EofE. Right now. They took to the stage with a blistering mash-up of Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and Michael Jackson’s ‘Billie Jean’ which doesn’t sound like it should work but it did! Utterly brilliant, a slap in the face, as a collective, our ears pricked up. We gave them our attention and although they never topped that opening song, the rest of their short set was on par with that incredible opener. They were sharp musically, energetic and had some pretty smooth moves, including an Avenged Sevenfold style Synyster Gates/Zacky Vengeance side by side by side rock out. It should also be noted that this singer had a phenomenal voice; clear, sharp, and my god what a range! If these guys don’t make it I’ll be very surprised – watch out for them.

The next band however…meh. I wasn’t feeling too hopeful when I saw the name on their drum kit – 3 Dudes. Right. And they lived up to my expectations completely. To give them their dues, they were good musically for their age (which I’m estimating is about 12) and were bursting with confidence that would make Jared Leto proud…but they’re those kids. If they were in your class at school, they would be the kid that you’d want to hit in the face every day. If you worked in an office with them, they’d be the guy that comes in on a skateboard and doesn’t do any work because he’s chatting up all the girls  while wearing chinos. They weren’t my cup of tea. Moving on!

The main event kept us waiting until 9pm but I don’t even care because what happened was truly incredible.

When the lights went out for the final time, the room was buzzing with excitement. Everybody was aware of the fact that we were about to witness something very special indeed. When the curtain dropped, the elaborate stage set up was revealed and we were shown a short Back To The Future style film which ended with an actual time machine/car being added to the stage! Such fun!

How familiar you are with the opening of ‘Air Hostess’? Do you always sing along with the ‘Let’s go! Yeaaaaaaahhh! Alrightttttt!’? Well the whole of the Motorpoint Arena did when the band exploded onto the stage. The place was jumping, and looking in front of me, I couldn’t see a single person standing still. It was such a magical moment; I never thought this would happen and I found it surprisingly emotional…I hope that wasn’t just me. I was such a great moment that I don’t even care that they’ve stolen the famous Don Broco ‘walk’.

For me, the evening was made up of 3 components: brilliant songs (some of the classics as well as one or two surprises), brilliant on stage banter and brilliant audience interaction (which included impromptu renditions of both ‘Barbie Girl’ and ‘My Heart Will Go On’…I’m not even joking).

One of the musical highlights was Busted’s ‘Sleeping With The Light On’, which really emphasised the benefits of having so many talented musicians on the stage which was perhaps one of my initial concerns for the super group. The harmonies produced during this song, and certainly in the whole show, were dazzling. The song started with James Bourne in a single spotlight and an acoustic guitar which then lead into a group performance. Together they rendered the song more powerful than it could ever have been on the album through the soaring harmonies and audience reaction – it seems as though this is a bit of a fan favourite…though really, every song played was a fan favourite as everything was both well performed and elevated to new heights and as a result, incredibly well received by us. I was unsure how they’d construct the set list given the amount of songs to consider and the fact that most people were drawn there by Busted. However they came up with a set that could please the both the Busted and McFly fans. Songs like ‘Star Girl’ and ‘Crashed The Wedding’ seem to have been made to have been performed together.

To be honest, the whole evening was built on the positive reaction from the crowd during the songs and it was easy to tell that the band were feeding off this energy too: the more excitable we became, the more the joking and banter continued and the more they appeared to enjoy it too.  So many penis jokes!

But it did genuinely seem as though this was something special: I was looking at Matt during one of the many sing alongs and he looked utterly bewildered and elated at the same time – like us, I don’t he ever thought this could happen. It was utterly brilliant to see these long-forgotten Busted classics given a new life in such a fantastic celebration with so many fans around to see it. They even played ‘Thunderbirds Are Go’ for crying out loud! And they had a t-shirt gun!

Theatrical and brilliant, a night full of memories and not to be missed. If you were ever a Busted fan, you’d be stupid to miss this, even if you’re too cool to like McFly.

McBusted

Now playing: Busted – You Said No