I got my loan so I partied with models in Paris
Now I’m enjoying an amber weather warning in Cardiff
Ask your average undergrad about key events in British history and they might say things like “Magna Carta”, “D-Day” or “Wembley ’66”.
One thing, however, will be on every respondent’s lips. A fabled date in the academic calendar, an abstract concept often lost in the hazey mental quagmire of freshers, El Dorado – loan day.
This loan day was special – myself and two other malnourished, and now mal-financed, Brummies flew from our respective unis to Paris.
There are some typical statements you can expect to overhear on loan day:
Eg 1.“Damn it, why do UNiDAYS always email me about 48 hour flash sales in January, I’ve just spunked £378 on ripped jeans and camisoles in ASOS. The sneaky bastards.”
Eg 2. “Let’s go and get 100 buccas in the union, just for the fucking YOLOs.”
“Sod that, let’s buy the whole joint, it can’t be worth that much.”
Eg 3. “Boys, you won’t believe how much I just bet on black at the Billy Hill online casino. Anyway, it’s going to be a pot noodle and special brew kind of semester.”
But instead we found ourselves saying: “Sound, I get in at Charles de Gaulle just after 9pm, so we’ll come straight from l’aéroport and meet you once you’ve finished your catwalk. Oh we’re going to the Berluti after party? Sweet.”
The Berluti after party was at Maxim’s, a Parisian institution with international renown for it’s Art Nouveau interior, oh how it held such promise.
According to Wikipedia Maxim’s was always filled with beautiful women, so much so that the third act of an operetta was set in the venue’s front window.
If that sort of thing interests you I suggest you stop reading this article now and head over to the relevant wiki, because the most cultured thing about our trip was a transgender David Bowie lookalike DJ playing “Anaconda” by Nicki Minaj to a gyrating sea of sweaty fashionistas.
There were no beautiful women, and when three vodka tonics cost €72 it’s hard to drink enough to make the men resemble beautiful women.
With drinking and making eye contact with catwalk models across the room like a 90s school disco out of the window, the last resort was talking to our fellow party goers.
Supposedly they don’t speak English in France, so to break the ice we fell back on the cornerstone of any healthy male/male conversation – fingering.
Or dans Français, en culé, apparently.
The next step, find out the French for “bring back fingering”, proved a little more difficult. Not least because every single person we asked bizarrely responded with the exact same phrase: “Fingering never left Paris.”
Dazed and confused we headed back to our apartment in Chinatown. Half the loan down.
I woke up groggy and with an odd itch. Conversation floated in from the adjoining kitchen, which I gratefully deciphered as: “Boys, lets do something for fucking free today.”
We ended up strolling along la promenade plantée, a very quaint and old disused railway line that runs elevated through east Paris.
It was a great little jaunt, but Strokey Joe felt that we had lost sight of why we were in Paris.
“I need a pint and a Maccys.”
Not one to often leave Blighty, Strokey missed his home comforts and found his first foray into Parisian culture intimidating.
We soon found ourselves negotiating a maze of empty red wine bottles on the way out of our shoebox flat and en route to somewhere we hadn’t yet decided.
That somewhere turned out to be Culture 90.
Through the doors and you’re greeted by a crowd 5,000 strong screaming out the lyrics to a soundtrack of the 90s, we were in paradise. It was the school disco setting we had longed for.
After a stage invasion and countless attempts at pretending to know the words and choreography to the French equivalents of S-Club and Five, we stumbled out those same doors at 6am.
The weekend was over. Paris had our loans and our souls.
It was quite poetic that the festivities ended as we watched the sunset over Paris from the Sacré-Cœur, smoking a spliff stolen from some casting agents.
And now it’s going to be a pot noodle and special brew kind of semester.
And if you hadn’t figured out which of the above individuals is the model, you can find him on Twitter and Instagram with the handle @harvjam.