Saturday, 28 January 2012

I want to live in a nice magazine

I like nice things to look at on a Saturday. I miss the proper, British Saturday papers, back in the day when I could read them without my simple pleasure being faintly but consistently undermined by career envy. Here in Belgium, I read 'Victoire', the lifestyle and fashion magazine which comes with Le Soir. It is a pleasing, if utterly eccentric read. Last week was pubic hair themed. This week it is all about Japanese sexuality (and an unrelated bonus feature discussing the etymology of euphemisms for blow job). I wish I could write for Victoire, but quite apart from being ten years too old and not having a waxed moustache and a fixed gear bike, I don't think I am comfortable enough with FILTH.

I could, of course, go to Waterstones or similar and buy the proper British Saturday papers, but that feels a bit shameful, somehow. Like 'I embrace your culture wholeheartedly, Belgium, oh yes, just as soon as I have picked up this Guardian, four Crème Eggs, some overpriced paperback middlebrow fiction and 90 Yorkshire Teabags'. Oh, hang on, that is exactly like me, as you were.

Anyway. This is my lifestyle edit (ahahahhahahahhahaahaha "lifestyle edit". Going up: bruxism (so chic!), accountant's bills, frowning and extra chins. Going down: cerebral capacity, time management, personal grooming) for the weekend, since I do not have a magazine to do it for me and I am too lazy to go to Waterstones, and even if I did, I would end up lusting after things that are not even in the right country for me.


I have just discovered My Table in Rue de l'Aqueduc, a sort of kitchen and fripperies shop. It ticks several of my pervy, lizard brain shop boxes. Esoteric cake decorations: yes. Good, large tea cups: yes. Bizarre household items that look like animals: yes. Same sex Barbie and Ken couples in catering sized boxes of Quality Street: yes.

Pleasing. Also: lovely man running it.

It is opposite Moss & Bross in front of which I often linger, admiring the gorgeous array of Porselli ballet flats. Yes, yes, ballet pumps, so fucking boring but these ones are so pretty and so soft. I think I love the violet best, but the real delight is seeing them all together - racing green and hot pink and sunflower yellow and silver and leopard. It reminds me of the agony of buying Converse for the first time, some time in the mid '80s. How can you choose just ONE colour?

I actually went in there today, which was probably a mistake because the lady made me stroke some kind of ultra luxe goat tummy stole of catastrophic softness, in actual goat hair colour with the prettiest deep green border. It was entirely without function, cost something hilarious like €390 and the moths would have devoured it in less time than it takes to say "filing for personal bankruptcy". Nevertheless, I aspire to a life with cashmere stoles and jewel coloured ballet slippers of many colours and NO MOTHS. Also, she had a good line in telling me how very rarely they get the good colours of Porselli in, and how if I see a colour I love, I should snatch it up. And that they wear them at Le Scala, vous savez. I am the ideal candidate for this kind of flannel.


I finally bought myself the Heeley Menthe Fraîche scent I have lusted after since the summer, with my leftover Senteurs d'Ailleurs birthday voucher. I love Senteurs d'Ailleurs but Senteurs d'Ailleurs does not love me back: I am always stared at with undisguised suspicion, as if I might start stuffing testers down my pants.

This is my new scent, which as I explained recently on Facegoop, is supposed to make me smell like "Patrick Bateman in Psycho" or, possibly worse, "young, sexy fashion models". Hmmm.

I aspire mainly for it to take off the edge of fox shit and rancid towel that is my natural perfume. I am sitting on the sofa next to the dog, and he absolutely reeks. Also, he is sleeping with his eyes in Full Zombie:

.. which is convivial.

I am also wearing Essie Clambake on my nails, but I cannot show you, because even with 2 coats you can still see the frankly revolting state of my claws beneath. However it is a nice hot coral, and takes me at least three days to bugger up. Approved.


Christine Ferber rhubarb and mint jam and a quart Poîlane for breakfast.

Ah, Christine Ferber. Why are you so delicious and so expensive when your raw materials must cost pennies? Perhaps it is because handling hot sugar is dangerous? Is that it? Do you have to pay your staff - presumably all apple cheeked grandmothers of great kindness - danger money? Are there jam maimings? I do not even care. You taste good. Send the rosy cheeked old ladies back down the jam mines to boil MORE RHUBARB.


The Most Talkative Cobbler in Europe, who I love to distraction even though he is foully disapproving of my shoe-knackering ways, has found a way to fix my dog eaten Anya Hindmarch shoes. Look!

That heel was the same crackle effect silver leather as the rest of the shoe until El Stupido decided to chew them to a slobbery mess of €300 leather. This was a mistake he did not make twice, happily (that sounds like I beat him senseless, or dominated him in a Cesar Milan mind melding fashion. In reality I do not even have any memory of when this happened - it was several years ago - or how he went off shoe chewing, btu I am certain it was nothing to do with my powers of persuasion. His brain probably just short-circuited). Anyway, "we" (he) has constructed me a contrasting heel, and now I can wear the least comfortable shoes I own again. Welcome back to the fold, Tory shoes! You fit so perfectly with my lifestyle, with your 5 inch spike heel and your disco colouring! This is what my fleece/tracksuit botttoms/grey jumper with holes in combo has been missing.

(My cobbler: Rue de Livourne 27. Quite slow. Hates cruelty to shoes. Talkative. Genius.)


This week I have read:

An appallingly written, dreary book about the 17ème arrondissement that I found on the shelf, for 'research'. It has a couple of ace pictures of Communards with cool facial hair standing nonchalantly around Batignolles considering what to shoot to fuck next, but apart from that, no redeeming features whatsoever. Called something inspiring like "L'histoire du 17ème Arrondissement". I told you.

Wigs on the Green - I thought I would love this, Nancy Mitford's light, frothy fascist satire (oh yes) re-released a couple of years ago, but it is failing to engage me. It feels a bit Wodehouse by numbers but without the simmering menace of Roderick Spode. Perhaps it will perk up.

Also, in retro-reading corner (tonight we're going to read like it's mid 2010), I have just finished both The Hare With Amber Eyes (oh, so beautiful, so vivid, so luxuriously indulgent, but wonderfully so. In places, it quite undid me. Seems unfair that De Waal can be brilliant at writing books AND making pots) and Freedom (I was expecting it to be Hard Work. It was not remotely Hard Work, though I skipped several pages of environmental longeurs in the middle).

Dan Lepard's Short and Sweet - What should I try to make out of this, my Christmas present? I have limited attention span and skill and require a very favourable effort/reward ratio, but also, I am wary of baking something that only I actually like, because then I will get monstrously fat again, and I am only just starting to slough off the monstrous skiing fatness. Maybe bread. I have an excellent track record with bread. Do you remember my last attempt?

Yes, of COURSE it was supposed to look like a medieval gargoyle. Tsk.

Oh, also highly recommended in my imaginary magazine are my friend's beautiful baby quilts which you can buy here.

And if you want a bit of fiery online op-ed with your Saturday trivia, can I recommend you go and read Peter's post-slash-rant, here on lame ass commercialisation of online food writing.

Travel section? Here's M's very very funny guide to surviving Cambodian spiders. "Don't come crying to me when one of your eyeballs hatches spider babies".

God, it is exhausting half-heartedly pretending to write a lifestyle supplement. I am going to go and load the disher (red hot for Feb) and grind my teeth a little (so chic!) with my fox-scented companion and try and forget that my eldest son told me at length tonight how Richard Hammond is his favourite person in the world, and that my younger son has developed some interesting form of toe leprosy.


the crabbit man speaks said...

thank you for brightening up what would have have a dreary morning in Derry

Anonymous said...

Gosh you are on cracking good form! Very entertaining and the only possible improvement would be smell-o-vision where we could really know what that lovely perfume / revolting dog smelt like.
Heather (in NZ)

wf is prexonde (possibly what fox shit odour is called?)

fd said...

where do you get the jam? I want I want. And since I know exactly all the other businesses you namechecked today I feel the wonderjam must be somewhere in my vicinity too. wishing you a lifestylemagazinelike day. Also, I guess you know that Candide on Place Brugmann has the Saturday/Sunday papers?

Patience_Crabstick said...

I too am attracted to ballet flats in rainbow hues. And cashmere sweaters.

Waffle said...

FD - If you had to guess where I found it, I bet you would guess Mmmm. And you would be right. However if I told you the price, I would need you to be sitting down first.

It has not really been a lifestylemagazineday. It has been a dogshitparkimperativeverbsfoxshitpokemonday. But none the worse for that.

Johnners said...

I thought you said 'poke Monday' for a moment there... It's been a long day. On the plus side we found The English Resturant, just round the corner from Liverpool Street, when on a rare trip to the big smoke last night, and it was just lovely. Can that go in your lifestyle mag? "People who hardly ever go anywhere review bar/restaurants"? Fox-shitty dogs optional.

Pueblo girl said...

Whilst my life has immeasurably been enhanced by a whippet and Heeley perfume, I do wish you'd stop introducing me to these expensive objects of desire that I would never find out about in the normal course of things in my backwoods village. I also blame you for my Brora addiction (I'm sure it was here I first heard about them).

Alison Cross said...

Well, that was a LOT more interesting than the Mail on Sunday supplement - not a trace of Liz Jones to be found. Really, why oh why does she have a rock star boyfriend and STILL think that it's a Good Thing to write about lusting after some married man on a far flung continent?!

Ballet flats are only for those of the long and lithe of limb. I look like a rugby player in ballet flats. Even jewel coloured ones.

The perfume.....I really must get a sniff at these. Am wondering what a young Cardinal smells like and hoping that it's not Choirboys.

Ali x

Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes said...

I like your lifestyle section a lot better. And also where do you get that jam?

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