Friday, 30 July 2010

Why I Phantom


to disappear without notice from a party; to go  'phantom

Phantoming is the largely misunderstood art of leaving a social gathering without saying goodbye. Recently I have taken a bit of heat for phantomimg. Let me explain my rational and effective method.

My phantoming almost always follows a very heavy bout of drinking. Yachting is a small, somewhat backwards and at times backstabbing industry. People are watching, words get around.

I know from documenting the super shit highway that saying good bye is only going to encourage more drinking and I might never leave.

I also have certain warning thresholds set inside my brain.

Head nodding to sleep snaps
Over agreeableness
A desire to smoke
Bouts of silence

After a combination of these I simply gather my things and phantom. No words are spoken I simply slip away into the night. My auto pilot kicks in. I return to my bed pausing only to get some drinking water. I then arise refreshed from my bed ready for anything and discover things like....

My crew mates asleep in the crew mess
My crew mates asleep in the guest cabins with other boats crew mates
My crew mate fell asleep on the dock before he fell asleep in the crew mess
My crew mates have large black outs from the night before

The reasons for phantoming are plain to read.

Monday, 26 July 2010

A Sunday in Cannes

With creative juices starved and a week of mishaps I was looking forward to having a good walk this Sunday morning and taking a few photos. The first surprise of the morning was finding out one of our Crew had bought a Lamborghini home last night like a stray cat. More about that later.

The walk from Port Canto to Cannes city is a pleasant one. A very feisty mistral breeze had blown away all of the haze that hangs above this stretch of coast allowing for good photos. A day light sober walk of Cannes is slightly more illuminating than a drunken swagger during the film festival.

With out sounding like a complete nonce, Cannes is probably more beauty focussed than Monaco. The film festival leaves a collagen injected pall year round. Even the tourists make a concerted effort to look star worthy.

This walkway straddles a very rocky garden of sorts and the port.

To reinforce my earlier points a collection of art work demonstrating the Cannes photo festival adorned the  promenade.

There was

a recurring theme

I think
do you see it?

Anyway I did have a secondary mission. It was the crew member who bought the Lamborghini homes birthday. Sundays in France are slim pickings if you are shopping. The French, bless them that do turn up to work on a Sunday are usually not impressed to be there and they will hang around till Lunchtime if you are lucky. I did find a birthday card which handily had no French on it. I also found a suitably large bottle of Brut Champagne.

On my return to my boat I found out the Lambo needed to be returned to a hotel. Naturally I calmly leapt out of my skin at the chance to do this.

Hell yeah. If you want to drive a car which throws you into the back of your seat and breaks peoples necks as you pass by the Lamborghini Gallardo for you.

Not a bad Sunday eh?

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

A couple of real Mondays

It is not all croissants and salmon here on the Riviera. After a very relaxing weekend of not much I have had two very tragic Mondays in a row. Typically a yacht season is a never ending succession of Mondays as you do not get any days off. Therefore I have been feeling quite chuffed with my weekends off and other such luxuries. These feelings have taken a battering in the Last 48 hours.

Yesterday we left Monaco on our way to Cannes. I as always followed in the tender with tunes playing. Perrier in the chilly bin and what I thought was quarter of a tank of gas. About half way through our journey both engines spluttered and died and i was left adrift cursing fuel gauge  manufacturers and embarrassingly asking for assistance from my mother vessel.

This on it's own could have been written off as a well learned lesson but then I suffered the debilitating discovery that I write like Dan Brown

I write like
Dan Brown
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Nothing against Dan Brown but I do not fancy reading his writing. I decided I would cheat and submit other writing until I found someone more to my liking.

I write like
Cory Doctorow
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I did not know who this guy is but after a few minutes of submitting posts he is the best I could do. Google him. I did.

With Monday safely in the pocket I thought I could start enjoying the rest of the week.

I could not.

Yesterday I had an spontaneous liquid appreciation session. I fell into the water. I was leaping onto our Tender and I slipped and went into shock, I whacked my shin, drowned my French phone and felt very stupid. Luckily no one was watching. Luckily the water here is very nice. Needless to say I did not feel burdened with going for a swim last night and retreated to my cabin very early.

I now sit wondering what Wednesday or Monday will bring.

Monday, 19 July 2010

The Driver

One of the more interesting propositions in the last year parked at my feet this afternoon. My Chief stewardess is in negotiations for starting on a new boat in Ibiza next year. The potential owner drove down from Italy to Monaco and wanted a Ferrari waiting for him. The Ferrari was found and a rental car now needs to be returned to Italy. Naturally I leapt at the opportunity to return to Italy. I will also be delivering a car for a billionaire. That is a story in the braking!

Friday, 16 July 2010

A whirlwind week or so

If you have been wondering of my whereabouts please continue reading.

We began our Charter last Wednesday and finished up on Saturday. Our charter guests were eight largely lovely American ladies from New York. I did a lot of tender driving following the yacht. This was actually quite cool. I had a full chilly bin, auxiliary input on the very loud stereo and I even had auto pilot.

If you look at my hastily modified map you can see; I drove from Nice, to St Tropez to Cannes and then to our final resting place, Monaco. More about that later.

One of the funnier things to happen during our charter happened at St Tropez when our guests were ashore. We have two very powerful jet-skis and our Captain has been itching to ride one for as long as he has been aboard. Our guests were to ride one when they got back and the Captain wanted to make sure it was working properly, and to show off. What followed was a very scary demonstration on how not to ride a jetski. He neglected to wear a kill cord, fell off and our jet ski went off to terrorise other boats unmanned like a yellow and black surface missile. Our tender was hurriedly manned and set off to recover the jet ski. Thankfully no stupidly wealthy people were harmed in the making of this story.

The rest of the charter was largely uneventful and we spent our last night in Monaco. With the guests safely ashore dining in a far away restaurant the fine city of Monaco put on a fantastic fireworks display worthy of a dragon. So captivated by the fireworks, I recorded a three minute long video which is far to large to put up on the internet (75 megabytes). Please enjoy this smaller version (3 megabyte). The larger version shall reside on my computer until I put out a DVD or movie.

We have spent the rest of the week in Monaco and I freely admit still having an affinity for the place. From the immaculate cars, to the silly white pants and the walks of shame by large breasted women. Monaco is hardly dull. It is however still stupidly expensive. My fellow crew members managed to blow their tips on one night out. Luckily my finely honed homing system kicked in well before I went broke in a bar. The summer sales are on you see.

I got to see my Wife last night which was a bonus. I received comments pertaining to the whereabouts of my blog updates. Obviously these comments had the desired affect.

Tonight I will be attending the Rivera comedy club with my crew. Well versed in the mechanisations of laughing aloud. I think it shall be rather neat. 

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Melodrama, Worryingly Italian and Mad Tender Skills

Now I am safely away from the place that has been named enough, I think I can say yesterdays writing was a tad melodramatic. Melodrama is a by product of an uneasy mind. My mind has been anything but easy over the last few months. I feel restless and the place that has been named enough was not an easy bed fellow.

On the sliding scale of Italian I have been named worryingly Italian my new temporary family. My new crew are nearly all English. The boat is based out of France. They are not likely to break out into Italiano. I bumble my way through Italian all of the time. I seem to be a magnet for Italians and Italian things. As we pulled into Nice this afternoon I could sense Italians all around me.

Pulling into Nice was an experience. I got to drive our monster tender from Beaulieu. Our tender is a beast. It is 33 feet long. It has two large engines, crazy sound system and goes like snot. Luckily for me, I got my licence at the Riviera Sea School. I felt very comfortable moving the very considerable tender around the narrow pontoons and dock. I soon found my berth and noticed someone had stolen it. Luckily the offenders were other yachties and were only too happy to help me park my tender. I had to park the tender in reverse. At some point I may have pushed the sail yacht near me out of my way with my hands. It is what my Dad would do. I soon was tied up. A very angry French lady came out to ask me if I had hit her yacht. Biting back my choicest Italiano I mimed pushing her yacht with my hands. By this time another sail yacht was yelling French at me. A port guy translated.

"She wants to know when you are leaving"

Plainly this put my nose out of joint, I had only just arrived.

Maybe she thought I was Italian?

Or am I being melodramatic? 

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Leaving Las Toulon

It was a good feeling leaving Toulon this morning. I know I have spoken about the direness that is Toulon a lot but there is something overwhelmingly off about it. I wiki'd Toulon about three minutes ago. In three minutes you can learn a lot about Toulon. More than I have in the past week. I have been busy.

My new home has been a industrious place. We will start a series of charters in the next few weeks. Our first one will...

I signed quite a comprehensive non disclosure agreement last Tuesday. This is quite boring and quite necessary.

Our First Mate had his birthday on Friday. The Captain left the boat about about 5pm, we started drinking soon after. I have picked up a worrying contagion since I turned 30. I appear to be allergic to beer and in particular Heineken. If I drink a lot of Heineken my nose goes bright red and the skin becomes very agitated . This can last for days and is made worse by sun light.

This is shit.

I of course have stopped drinking beer regularly. But birthdays are very important events. The First Mate and Stewardess went off to see some French covers band conveniently playing across from the port. I set about setting up my mixer/laptop and started bedroom DJ'ing in the crew mess. The crew mess has a very loud sound system. I had the place positively jerking when they came back. The Stewardess (who had seemed very mild mannered) started to heckle me and was only about three beers away from spitting on my keyboard (maybe). Where am I going with this?

The very next morning I awoke to a scintillating head ache. I could not wait to try my new Axe(Lynx) Anti-hangover shower gel. Sadly this does not work as labelled and it should be labelled as green nice smelling stuff.

There was a huge problem discovered during the weekend. We had run out of beer. Suffering a very red and agitated nose I offered to help the heckling Stewardess collect some beer and groceries from the nearest super market in return for an abbreviated tour of Toulon.  

Photo of the glamorous marina.

There was a very retarded market of sorts happening on the way to the super market. Imagine some of the worst garage sales you have ever been to, vomiting all over perfectly good pavement. It smelt bad and looked worse.

Appalled we made it to the super market. I set about looking interested and making polite chit chat. I was laughed and pointed at by three young youths. I do not think they get many celebrities here. It was nice to return to the relative normality of the boat.

This is one of the most depressing posts I have ever done. I hope I never have to go to Toulon again.

This post is dedicated to lost friends and boring places.

Things can only get better.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

The Plan? Déjà vu and Hell on Earth

Despite my best efforts, my plan to discover Spain and hold it's people captive with my wit and charm has been delayed. I have given this and other attempts to write my own future some thought. My only conclusion is that whilst all of my writing comes true. The timing can sometimes be out. Given current commitments, the soonest I shall be in Spain will be September. This is actually impeccable timing. More about that at a later date.

For the mean time, I am on a relaxed boat in the middle of the Med Summer that is for sale. Life is pretty good. The only problem is that I am in Hell aka Toulon. Previous dissertations on Toulon have proven worryingly accurate. With careful interviewing of the crew I have discovered the following about Toulon.

There is no real place to socialise.
The places were people socialise are usually frequented by about 3 French men who aggressively smoke outside.
There is nothing to write home about.

That does not mean that I will not try. I hope to get some time this weekend to discover Toulon. It might be ok if you are not trying to leave it. Kind of like a maze of mirrors and you have had too much to drink hic.

The good news is that my new boat has some charters booked. We will be moving to Cannes or Nice in the next week. Both ok in my book, or blog. Or whatever you call this thing.

Which reminds me....