06 October 2009

Paris and How To Be Topp

Earhart and I had the most wonderful time in Paris, being cultural etc. I am not really allowed to speak French when I am with my sister. She rolls her eyes and looks pained whenever I open my mouth. Apparently all my phrases are seriously dated- I tend to say the equivalent of "That's so nifty!" instead of "Cool!" and I am more likely to ask how the time is feeling instead of the more useful (yet so predictable) "What is the time?"

The most ridiculous thing that happened to me over our French weekend occurred in a bistro on Sunday afternoon. Having excused myself to go to the bathroom I came back to the table and sat down, feeling a bit bemused.

"I haven't used a squat toilet since Japan." I said, giggling slightly. "It was a bit tricky."
One of the other girls we were with looked at me strangely. "It's just a normal toilet." she protested, confused.
We went up to investigate and... I now know what a french urinal looks like.

Which is why Shakespeare and Co is such a haven for me. Any bookshop is a joy to be in, but an English bookshop surrounded by a sea of mostly incomprehensible conversations is truly an oasis of calm. The bookshop opposite Notre Dame was our first stop when we arrived in Paris and we wandered around for a good long while, soaking in the ink and paper (pretentious but true). I considered purchasing many things (it seems I am ridiculously uneducated when it comes to Orwell- he didn't just write three books! Who knew?) Ultimately, however, I parted with only a small denomination of euros for a book I have heard much about but never read: How To Be Topp: A guide to Sukcess for tiny pupils, including all there is to kno about SPACE.

I had been told by a very reputable source in Bath that this book was brilliant and hilarious and thus I opened it with excitement. 45 minutes later (it is not long) I closed it, a fixed smile on my face. I had laughed out loud in several chapters and a chuckle was kept ever ready. However, I confess I was DETERMINED to find the book funny and charming and thus forced the laughter out of myself.

I do not blame the book nor the source. I feel that the book is much more relevant for a boy who went to private school about 40 years ago. I'm sure said boy (now a man) would be clutching his sides in stitches of laughter, gasping for a glass of water. Thus, I shall send this book to my father. I am certain he will find it most amusing. If not, I shall at least get some brownie points for sending him something. He will be touched that I purchased naught for myself in Shakespeare and Co but thought immediately of my darling pater and how much he would enjoy this book.

I only hope his assurance that he reads the blog every day is a fib.

Rating: 7-9/10, depending on reader demographic.
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