The complexion of our block has changed, the respectful locataires replaced with younger, more annoying trolls who have the temerity to enjoy themselves at hours when they should be in bed. Before it was all tidy gay men you never heard a peep out of but for their yappy dogs, now it’s full of young kids on acid clattering around, and musicians having sex to Don Cherry records; Christ I hate musicians. I’ve managed to silence two of the apartments – next door and upstairs – but like a game of Whac-a-Mole at the arcade, the buggers keep popping up everywhere.
Last night I put on my dressing gown and addressed the sloppy young man playing a stylophone through a Marshall stack adjacent to our open window (it’s hot in the city right now). I share this with you because the three fractious interactions with the three neighbours indicates development in my slow progress as a French speaker. The first flat I shamefully just shouted at them in English so angry was I, the second I tried to shout at them in French but they kindly said “are you English?” and we continued en Anglais, whereas this time I said my piece calmly in French and he understood me I think. What he said back I’m not entirely sure of, but he seemed respectful and he shut his windows as I suggested. Our landlady me Julie said noise pollution is taken quite seriously in Paris, which is very handy because when I used to make a racket in London a decade ago, I’d completely ignore my neighbours when they complained and that would be that. My neighbours might all hate me but it’s blissfully quiet now.
Buoyed by my new communication skills, I went and got my haircut all on my own without Claire this morning, by Davy, the handsome Jean Dujardin lookalike in the hairdresser’s across the road. My last hairdresser was fluent in English though he wasn’t anywhere as proficient when it came to cutting hair unfortunately, whereas Davy doesn’t speak a single word but behaves like a man who has picked up a pair of scissors before. I know how to say ‘short’ and ‘long’ in French, though the subtle nuances of language required when conveying what style you’d prefer were not forthcoming today – this is a blessing in disguise though because it doesn’t matter what you tell a hairdresser – they’re going to cut it the way they want to anyway. I told Davy what I required in pidgin French while his modus operandi must have been “make clients look like Hitler”. Thankfully I’d shaved off my toothbrush moustache this morning in the nick of time.
Scotland could be leaving us. Well I say us, I’m a Frenchman these days, but today is the day when the country could (and should) leave the Union. This is my opinion, stop reading now if you want to. Not being Scottish, I should probably shut my mouth, but I’m really excited at the prospect that constitutions will have to be rewritten and England will need to take a long, hard look at itself thanks to the laissez faire governance of a bunch of conceited Etonian dickwads who didn’t believe the ‘Yes’ campaign had a prayer. It really really really could happen. David Cameron said the other day that he hoped people wouldn’t vote yes just because they were fed up with the “effing Tories”, but the point is, if effing Labour gets in at the next election then nothing will change. Nothing. We’re fed up with fucking Westminster, none of this ‘effing’ bullshit. Politics is bust. It’s corrupt and beholden to big business and the disparate wealth gap in Britain has never been more unfair. It stinks and something has to give.
The political classes’ prerogative to ignore all areas of the country that aren’t London is being challenged for the first time in a dozen generations, and a ‘yes’ would be a truly momentous act of defiance and self respect from a nation that’s been fobbed off with piecemeal and patronising concessions for too long. As a Cornishman, I’d like to see lots more decentralisation in England too, but we’ll come to that later. Hanging on to Scotland is a hangover from Empire (why do we need to spoon feed Scotland and help it put its trousers on every day anyway?). An independent Scotland has very little to do with nationalism as far as I can see, and lots more to do with moving away from our shameful imperialist past. We’ll still be friends, things will just be a bit more on an equal footing that’s all. Real friendship in other words.Follow @jeres