Monthly Archives: August 2010

On… Paris

It’s Sunday, and I’m in Paris. And almost everything is closed (bless you, European cities! Defying the modern-day 24-7 culture of ON!).

We could go to the Marais district, which is hopping on Sundays, but our hotel is in St Germain and we’re lazy. So after sleeping in, we went for a walk, had some coffee, I smashed my face into a nutella crepe from the crepe street in the Latin Quarter (why are there 45 crepe places in a one-block radius? Is it where crepes ran to escape persecution hundreds of years ago?) and then it started to rain. So we came back to the hotel and started a French moofie marathon. C’est fantastique.

Now, I’m not going to try and be cool and pretend I know places no one else does, because I don’t, and I won’t tell you things that any guidebook could, because that would be silly. But here are the things I love the most about Paris.
1. Contrex water, yes, seriously. I love it.
2. French fashion magazines. Especially ELLE and L’OFFICIEL. You can buy them in London but it is way more fun to read them in Paris.
3. Carambars. It is impossible to be in a bad mood and chew a Carambar.
4. The bridges – the best bridges, with the best views, in the world (sorry, Albert Bridge in London, you know I love you very much, but as a group, Parisian bridges are the best).
5. Harry’s Bar on Rue Daunou. I wish you could still smoke inside in Paris.
6. Pharmacies. I could, and do, spend hours in French pharmacies. (I always buy Crealine Bioderma Crealine, Embryolisse creme, Noxeme Alphacid lotion and Oscillococcinum homeopathic pills for colds and flu.)
7. Walking, walking, walking. All the best cities are made for walking and Paris is one of them.


Dudes, I just got the typeset proofs for A GIRL LIKE YOU. It’s nearly cooked!

Nope, I STILL don’t have a cover. I haven’t an inkling of what it’ll be like. As you know, I’m not a big fan of hearts-n-flowers-n-shoes-n-cartoons, but I don’t like ponchos either. That’s just my taste. In HarperCollins we trust. Anyway as soon as I see it, I’ll post it here.

Now, I need your help. I’m choosing an excerpt from THE DATING DETOX to include at the end of A GIRL LIKE YOU. The publisher always includes an extra ‘bit’, and I wrote that silly little guide to dating at the end of THE DATING DETOX and I’m not sure if I like it, it’s pretty much just me wittering on about things and I can’t even bear to reread it as I’m sure I’ll cringe, so I thought an excerpt might be better – anyway. So. Yeah. The excerpt. What do you think it should be? If you had to get a friend to read a bit of THE DATING DETOX that you thought would make her fall in love with it, which bit would it be?

I asked Twitter and the general consensus was Chapter 4 or 5. A lot of people liked the pantry scenes and the running in the rain scenes, too – I loved writing those bits, but they do give the game away un peu, non? What do you think? Let me know.

On… things I wish I’d known at 18.

1. Don’t dye your hair. Seriously, GemGem, trust me on this one.

2. White wine is not for drinking without food.

3. Hummus is not food.

4. Stop fighting your parents about university. They are right. You need a real degree. And you’ll learn the important art of bullshitting when you’re writing English and History essays. This will give you a huge advantage when you start working as a copywriter in advertising.

5. Read over everything you write four times, then read something else or sleep or walk to clear your mind. Then read it again.

6. Then read it again.

7. Sometimes formerly nice people become fuckwits. This isn’t your fault.

8. Every James that ever comes into your life will be a fuckwit from the start. This isn’t your fault either.

9. You are right: there is more to life than writing copy to sell people shit they don’t need. But it is fun. And fun goes a long way.

10. The answer to ‘how many sequins is too many?’ is ‘any’.

11. You will live with a succession of crazy people in various shareflats around South West London. This will be very stressful at the time but make for funny stories later on, so hang in there.

12. There is no such thing as witty jewellery.

13. Relax. Everything will turn out fine.

Any more to add, my people?

EDIT: By the way, this wasn’t meant to be a Back To The Future 2 Sports Almanac ‘Ooh La La!’ post (um, if you’ve seen BTTF2 you’ll know what I mean). I mean, that created Bad Biff. I wouldn’t want to create Bad Gem, even if I did end up with my very own self-themed casino. But I do wish I hadn’t fucked with my hair. It was a really nice dark honey blonde and I’ve spent the past decade trying to get it back. And I wish I hadn’t underestimated myself as much as I did, as I worried about so many things that weren’t worth worrying about… Though maybe I had to, in order to become moi. Gah! We could talk about this forever! You know, this is kind of a stupid post. Sorry.

On…. 13,000 trailer hits

The Dating Detox trailer – made by me and a cast of friends over the Easter weekend for a budget of pretty close to nil – has reached 13,000 hits.

I hate to keep blowing the same mucky old trumpet, but just in case you’re new here (sit down! can I get you a drink?), you might like to check it out.

It’s kind of like a (very, very, very) short film: a scene from the book that I hope is both amusing / compelling / a perfect sneak peek at a few of the characters. Let me know if you like it. (Not if you hate it. It’s too late for me to change it now.) I’m in it, by the way. I’m the crying girl. We had to stick about a pound of tear gas, or whatever it was, in my eyes, before I looked even mildly upset. Apparently my tearducts are tough as nails.

Read more about the making of the trailer, and the answers to FAQs.

In other news, I sent the final copyedited version of A GIRL LIKE YOU to Harper Collins this week. I promptly collapsed with relief. (I didnt really: I’ve got a little freelance job writing about angels for an ad agency in Marylebone, which is pretty time-consuming, but at least I am very near the world’s best Topshop. Angels are the new vampires by the way. Totally.)

On… The Dating Detox, The Musical

Imagine if life was like Glee – not for the daily faux-climax (the club is threatened! Oh, the club’s okay. The club is threatened AGAIN! Oh, what do you know, the club’s okay. Scooby Doo plots had more dramatic variation. If it wasn’t for those pesky kids, etc) but because of the spirit, humour and of course the songs.

These are the songs I’d put in The Dating Detox, The Musical.

Some are in this list because I listened to them a lot when I was writing it, and a few of them slipped in to the copy. Some, I just think are ace songs. And some are featured in the trailer. (Haven’t seen the trailer? Dude! You are missing out. Click here.) I’ve had all of them in a special Detox playlist for awhile, and it’s high time I shared them with you.

The Dating Detox Playlist

Lisztomania – Phoenix
Get Over It – Ok Go
Here I Go Again – Whitesnake
I Get Around – Dragonette
Dancing With Myself Nouvelle Vague (the Billy Idol version is great too)
Short Skirt/Long Jacket – Cake
That’s Not My Name – The Ting Tings
99 Problems – Jay-Z
Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns N’ Roses
Bad Reputation – Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
Don`t Ask Me – Ok Go
Only the Good Die Young – Billy Joel
Kung Fu Fighting – Carl Douglas
Our Lips Are Sealed – The Go-Go’s
My Delirium – Ladyhawke
You’re So Damn Hot – Ok Go
All Night Long – Lionel Richie
Love Is a Battlefield – Pat Benatar
If You Leave – OMD
Here Comes Your Man – The Pixies
Happy Together – The Turtles*

It’s a pretty standard Gemma playlist: a bit of angry rock-pop, a bit of new wave and hair metal, a bit of OK Go. I am nothing if not predictable, as my mother always says.

By the way – whoever recommended The Like on the last iPod post, thank you very much. I The Love them. (Sigh.) So bring it on, my people. Any more Detox-y songs to recommend?

*By the way, this was one of my wedding songs in April. Everyone sang it during the ceremony. It is impossible to not feel joyful when singing this (admittedly mildly ridiculous) song at the top of your voice – try it.