Monday, 28 March 2011

I am Dragon...hear me whimper

Being a Welsh football fan in New York is a pretty exclusive club.

It's even more exclusive than being a NY Bluebird (current membership: six). On Saturday there are just four of us in Nevada Smiths at 11a.m. We might be small, but we've got passion, heart and all those Taffy cliches so we have a bash at the anthem:

"Eggy wogian or vreeeeeeeeee?"

The England fans are silent. I don't blame them, who wants to Save The Queen? So they've got 3 lions, but we've got a Dragon. Y Ddraig. It's a mythical creature that doesn't exist but if it did it would be harder than 3 lions, yeah?

Actually who would win a fight between a Dragon and 3 Lions? As I'm pondering this the game kicks off. "Would the Lions use their obvious advantage of numbers to overpower the Dragon?" Bellamy is having a scrap with Rooney one minute in. "Or would the Dragon pull out it's trump card of Fire breath?" Hmmm. England score. 6 mins in. My Stella is empty.

If the rest of the day was a film, this would be the bit where they do a sped up montage with screaming Indie music to imply the hedonistic abandonment. There would be pints spilling, bar tricks, shirt swapping, fags smoked, an onslaught of Nordics and me having a tantrum when the bar runs out of Salt & Vinegar Walkers. The montage would end up with me and Laura on the pavement at 6 p.m and me remembering I have to be in a cocktail dress and at The Comedy Awards in an hour.

Then as the music is fading I would arrive home pissed to a pissed off Teenger, who isn't any less pissed off when I tell her she's being a Saffy and then Facebook and Tweet as such.

I manage to turn myself around with the help of some Red bull, a stern talking to myself in the mirror and light reflecting primer. Then we are in a cab on our way to The Hammerstein Ballroom.

Cue another montage with blurry celeb faces: Alec Bladwin, Tina Fey, Eddie Murphy, Will Farrell, the blokes from Hot Tub Time Machine.

After The Awards I inhale pizza from a place over the road and the cabs all appear to have fallen into a rabbit hole. It is cold. Really cold. I am not having fun anymore.

Sometime past midnight... it is rumoured that I fall over into a pothole outside Penn Station while hailing a cab.

No. That absolutely didn't happen. What also did not happen was that I cut my knee open through my tights and impaled a piece of gravel in my hand and that The Teenager had to pick me up and push me and my bleeding knee into a taxi.

Never. Happened.

Considering the fact these things never happened it is most strange that The Teenager is still barely speaking to me today.


Monday, 21 March 2011

Springasm, Brooklyn

Last Thursday four separate strangers smiled at me in the street.

The only time this happens in New York is on the first day of spring. When it's suddenly pushing 70 degrees in mid March everyone leaves their cynicism at home and hits the streets with those smiles. Mother nature sprinkling a taste of sweet spring sugar into our open and ready mouths.

It came just in time-after an endless winter where I believed I may actually be living in Russia. I was spiralling head long into a chronic and debilitating case of S.A.D. the main symptom of which was watching illegally downloaded award season movies with a fleece blanket over my head while wearing pajamas with polar bears on.

On the day when spring prematurely sprung I was in Brooklyn, so it's hard to tell if I would have got less stranger smiles if I had been in Manhattan.  I was there to meet The Teenager, who's doing a once weekly internship at an independent jewelery maker in Williamsburg. It's an area I hadn't made it to until now and when I arrive I am kicking myself for not coming sooner.  I get off the L train at Bedford Avenue and step out of the station. It's instant: I'm in love. Love, love, love.  At first sight.

"Well hello there." I say.
The streets smile back too and we're flirt with each other straight off the bat.

I know. Williamsburg. It sounds like a bit of a New York cliche. I'm years late with this one. Does that matter?  I don't think so. Don't we find people and places at the exact time we're supposed to?

I meet The Teen for lunch and we eat in the garden of Aurora. The sun comes through the trees and throws a dappled light on the courtyard. It's a bit blissful say what.

Afterwards I stroll around, get lost, people watch for a while on a stoop, get even more lost and then sit on a bench watch some locals playing basketball in the park and coo over loads of cute doggies.

I feel the sun on my cheeks, warm. This is a place I could call home. I can see myself slotting into life there and being happy. It's likely no co-incidence that the day I come here the place is bathed in it's most flattering light.

I get up to take some more pictures and have a massive Springasm.


Sunday, 13 March 2011

Let *them* eat cake

You might imagine that living in New York you could escape the frenzied, vomit inducing, Daily Mail sponsored build up to the Royal wedding.

Will Kate be donning a British made Wonderbra for her wedding night? What will Diana be wearing on her cloud in heaven? Will the cake be fashioned from Charles' Dutchy Organics biscuits?

I was forgetting the fact The Americans-even jaded New Yorkers-really love the Royal Family. They are shocked when you express your hatred of them. It's like saying you want to incinerate puppies and kittens and babies and eat their charred remains.

My favourite NY pooch Tiger. I shan't be eating him.
When you're a Welsh Alien in New York it means you are constantly being asked about Diana, "The Princess of Wales". Questions like: Did I know her?/Was she a relative?/Where was she from in Wales?

To which I reply: "She was a posh London Sloane. She had nothing to do with Wales."
American: "But she was married to the Prince of Wales!"
Me: "He has nothing to do with Wales either."
American: *bemused face*
Me: "What do want me to tell you? That the pair of them like a pie and a pint at Ninian Park?"
American: *utterly lost face*

Probably not.

And we're back to The Daily Mail. Only ever a guilty click away. The internet version of Crystal Meth: you know it's bad for you, will make you ugly and knarled, but it's easy to get hold of and highly addictive.

Today they had an article about Kate Middleton buying Haribo Sweets, specifically Tangfastic and Starmix. "...which contain 906 calories per 275g bag." (makes me think twice about hoofing 2 packets when I'm hormonal). Shopkeeper Hash Shingadia told the paper that groom William loves a mint Vienetta. "...and Doritos crisps and Tropicana orange juice."

(Miraculously The Daily Fail just managed to write about an Asian without connecting them to a terrorist bombing or immigration quotas.)

Kate's big day is only weeks away and at least being in the U.S. I will escape the patronising indignity of being given the day off work. The Royal aides with their assumption that the entire country thinks of this as their big day too and wants to line the streets and wave our pauper rags in deference.

However, if you are a Royal loving expat, then two NY Brit organisations here in New York have just announced their big whopping Royal wedding celebrations. Big Apple Brits, my blogging partners are teaming up with the event at the Brooklyn Bridge where the day's kicking off at 5a.m. Then the newly formed George are holding a fundraising ball near Times Square.

I love a good bash, so I will be throwing my own: a principle party for all of the expats who hate The Windsors too. It will cost you nothing, unlike your tax paying non optional support of The Royals.

I may even throw in some Haribo.


Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Taxi for Smith

I'm in a cab heading for new British bff's birthday meal.

On the seat next to me is a beautifully boxed but crap present. I am going for the theory that when cash is low, creativity or humour should prevail. Being as my latest job sucked all the energy and creativity out of me- I went for the laughs and bought her a plastic cow that shits sweets. And Moos.

The cabbie is belting down 23rd street like he's in Grand Theft Auto.

"Moooooooooo." says the cow from inside the box.

The driver looks at me suspiciously in the rear view mirror.

"Moooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo." says the cow.
"It's a present!" I say.
"Excuse me?"
"A present, the moo. It's a cow."
"It's coming from the box. It's a plastic cow. It's moo-ing a lot. It wasn't supposed to start moo-ing until I took the tab out, but is it."

He narrows his eyes at me in the rear view mirror.

"It's PreMOOture ejaculation."

The joke falls flat on the floor, along with the rest of my oft misunderstood humour here. Is it any wonder I keep making friends with my own people?

I launch into a huge explanation. About lack of cash. About it being a joke. About it shitting sweets. Except I say "Poops Candy" so he at least gets that bit.

"I don't understand?" he says "Why a lady like you would buy such a present?"
"It's a joke."
"I still don't understand." he says
"I know you don't. It's o.k."

The taxi jerks violently as it dodges another, accelerating past the Flatiron building and swerving a kamikaze left onto 5th Avenue.

"Mooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo." says the cow.

I couldn't agree more.



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