Tales of catastophe, sex and squalor from the Alpine Underbelly...

Belle de Neige

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Who's afraid of my big bad cunt?

My dears, as you may or may not have gathered, cunt is one of my favourite words.

I realise, of course, that most people don’t think it’s very nice for a young lady to go around throwing her see you next Tuesdays around in such a flagrant way. I realise that by using it so often (along with all the other profanities I indulge in) I leave myself open to the criticism of having a limited vocabulary. I also realise that it’s pretty much the most offensive word my mother tongue has to proffer. But that’s the point.

When I was a kid, my parents argued. A lot. They would have wild, catastrophic, screaming and slanging matches, where my mother would pursue my father around the house, practically at gunpoint, shrieking and swearing. If my Dad really wanted to upset my mother, that’s what he’d call her – cunt - and it worked. It used to really, really offend and destroy her when he used that word. In one utterance he could take her dignity and erase any respect that hung between them.

It terrified me.

Cunt.

I’ll tell you what I find offensive. That there is a word of such power, of which some people – mainly women – are actually frightened. It really ruffles the feathers. Some people actually physically recoil from it. Why? Why should it be that the most unpleasant thing you can call another person is another word for lady-garden?

Twat’s not so bad of course. But how come there isn’t a worse word for penis than cock? If you call someone a penis/cock/wanker, etc, it’s mostly just funny. But cunt? That’s untouchable. It twists your mouth into a certain shape doesn’t it? You bark it, like a dog. You cough it out, like a demon. It’s been given some kind of bitter, dirty and aggressive connotation that it never used to have.

People –mostly women – feel they must fear it and are therefore, in my opinion, are essentially afraid of their own bits.

Look at it this way. When a man goes for a pee he touches his penis without even thinking about it. But women are not supposed to touch their fannies. We have to sit down and hope that the wee doesn’t go all over the flaps and down our legs – which happens sometimes. Why aren’t we taught to have a little rearrange of ourselves down there before we go? It would make more sense. But no. Women are taught it’s unhygienic, even indecorous, to do so.

Well, I decided many years ago, that I refuse to be offended by that word any more. What’s to fear? It’s a marvelous word. It has such presence...

Cunt. What a cunt!

You sir, are a cunt!

I called him a cunt, and now I'm calling you one. CUNT!

It has such impact when a woman uses it. No one expects it. It shuts people up, I can tell you. Because it makes you seem fearless.

I started using it a lot and really enjoying the response.

I reclaimed it for women-kind. If anyone’s going to use our pussies to insult people, it ought to be us, after all.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Playing House

Schedule for the day:

8.15 Breakfast
9 am Check arse for poo
10am Nap
11am Check arse for poo. Change into day clothes. Have snack.
12pm Play time
12.30pm Lunch
1pm Check arse for poo.
2pm Nap

Etc...

This is not my timetable you understand. I do not have Amoebic dysentery. Or narcolepsy.

It is my nine month old niece's timetable. Or to be more precise, her mother's.

Christ alive.

SbH has toddled off down to Antibes to look for work on a boat where he will no doubt develop a revolting tan and possibly fall in love with someone else, although he assures me not.

Meanwhile, once again, it is that limbo time between seasons. The dead-end job search to fill the empty weeks has begun. To save me from the certain insanity of returning, sans SbH, to the sticks, my Dad and wrinkly lady friend, I have moved in and am lodging with BB2.1, The Sister in Law and Baby. They have a lovely new house and are the very picture of modern contentment and family bliss.

I watched them going about their lives yesterday evening. Cooking. Doing DIY. Checking the baby's arse for poo. They were always a harmonious couple and now they have developed a family rhythm. It's very soothing to be around. Sort of comforting and reassuring.

After the tumult of last year; the grief, the injury, the lost in spaceness of it all, living here, I get the overwhelming sense that everything is going to be alright.

But, as delightful as it all is (particularly looking after my niece after not seeing her for most of her young life) the thought of creating such a set up for myself just doesn't seem plausible.

When you choose a seasonal lifestyle, you choose uncertainty. Upheaval every six months. Or, as I like to call it, a fresh start. You eschew the safe option and as a result you spend quite a lot of your time telling people what you intend to be doing soon, rather than what you actually are doing. Which makes you sound like a dreamer, or sometimes even a no-hoper. At the very least, to your friends, who all have steady jobs and homes, you seem like you can't stick at anything.

I have caught up with various old school chums since I got home, and I must conclude it gets harder as you get older. Because your friends, who have chosen the steady, non-black-sheep option are now starting to get established and be able to afford stuff. Like nice clothes and dinners out and theatre tickets. And they want you to come along. But you're always the skint one who's either between jobs or out of the country.

One friend of mine is training to be a surveyor and dating an army Captain. She's really quite formidable. Doesn't take any shit, wears a lot of pencil skirts and makes acid remarks when she encounters an idiot. When I asked her to explain her job to me I didn't understand a single word she said.

Another friend has transformed from willowy-limbed, school-girl space cadet into shrewd, fashionista business-woman with her own jewellery company.

Then there's the stock broker one, and the training-to-be-a-lawyer one and the got-married-now-pregnant one.

A few of them are getting married actually.

What am I doing? Dating a toy boy and doing a dead-end temping job. Clearly making the most of my hard-earned degree. Well, for now... ;oP Coming back from a ski season, it’s amazing how long you can exist between the pages of society. Cobbling together cash from here there and everywhere. Having no fixed abode. Flat sitting. Cat sitting.

It's easy to feel inadequate. Or in some way inferior. But then I remember, it's not as if I couldn't have had that life if I'd wanted it. I was already there, in fact. No one understood a single word I said when I explained my job either. Their eyes would glaze over.

But I had an itch and I had to scratch it. A wanderlust that still burns strong and hasn't been close to satisfied yet. I want to see the world.

I can't help it. Variety is my little vice. Along with chocolate. And a cigarette after dinner....and coke....and sex... and (as BB2.1 puts it) being a slag.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Why not to fuck with your Chalet Bitch's day off...

The season may be starting to wind down. But the guests never do.

Oh family who were staying with us last week, let me count the ways I loathe you. You basically gave a masterclass in how not to behave on a chalet holiday....

Let this be a lesson to you all...

The Massive Wanker’s Guide to Being a Chalet Bitch’s Nightmare

1. On arrival, prove penis is size of dried apricot by shaking host’s hand with finger-crushing grip that could bend titanium and throw a couple of fifties at him with the words: ‘You’d better make sure we have a good holiday, son’.
2. Bustle into chalet with shouty voice and social etiquette of a giant black rubber dildo, demanding things the minute you arrive. Demand boorishly to be escorted to a restaurant. Complain loudly at Chalet Bitch in accusatory fashion about size, shape, location, colour, smell, aura and planetary alignment of chalet.
3. Snobbishly tell Chalet Bitch he doesn’t look like the ‘type’ who’d know a five star restaurant if he saw one.
4. Introduce bat-shit crazy spouse who requests that cleaning be done using only washing up liquid throughout. Assure host this is nothing to do with allergies - merely personal preference, thereby confirming that indeed you are a prick who likes being a pain in the nuts and not merely someone with sensitive skin.
5. Complain that company didn’t notify guests of radioactive cloud on its way over from Japan and ask why measures to protect them from contamination have not been put in place. (Like what? Standard issue tin foil hats for all guests? Lead jackets?)
6. Lecture Chalet Bitch who has degree in Biomedical Science on the ‘proven scientific fact that cancer is not a disease’
7. Decide that smell of sewage (which is no one’s fault and no one can do anything about despite obvious and repeated efforts) coming from the road outside makes the chalet a bio-hazard. Phone up resort manager and scream down phone at her to ‘Get here now and sort it out – this place stinks of SHIT. It’s pollution. It’s already giving me a sore throat’
8. Fuck with Chalet Bitch’s day off by demanding to be transferred into another chalet, thereby sentencing poor bastard to two consecutive 12 hour days of cleaning, bed making and fetching and carrying.
9. Phone resort manager at least once a day every day with a rudely, condescendingly expressed inane complaint because you are bored and want attention.
10. Pompously tell Chalet Bitch off for pouring water from the mop bucket down the sink. Utterly absurd.
11. Lose the plot and scream at Resort Manager to ‘Fuck off and get over herself’ when she tries to explain it’s unreasonable to expect the chalet staff to clean on their mid-week day off.
12. Phone up CEO of company in a rage and scream at her to ‘Go Fuck Herself’
13. Trash chalet. Steal all light bulbs, pour coffee everywhere, put croissants and orange slices in cupboards, soak towels and throw around rooms, steal door knobs, wine and all the condiments.

‘What a ball ache’ said Bill, looking crestfallen when I told him he was going to have to prepare one of our empty chalets and move the entire family into it on his much coveted, golden fleece of an extra day off.

‘Well,’ I said, patting him on the back and smiling, ‘What better way to start the week than with a rigorous cleaning of several chalet toilets using a certain person’s toothbrush…?’

‘Yeeaaaah’ he said, smiling evilly. ‘Have that, bitches. You fuck with my day off. I fuck with your toothbrush.’

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Email newsletters: Some home truths

Why is it that nowadays every single thing you buy on the web saddles you with a fucking weekly email newsletter? I get thousands. They lurk in my inbox disguised as something interesting and exciting from someone I like, until I read the subject line and my heart sinks.

Delete!

People who send me newsletters: How can I phrase this?

I am soooo not interested. Do I look interested? Does any part of my face look interested?

Companies think that the hallowed e-shot sends out a message to their punters that they are valued customers. ‘We care, as a company, for your needs’ they think it says. ‘We want to build a relationship with you. You are amazing. Here, had, you considered this blue scarf? It’ll look great with your eyes. Ooh, I see you like leather horse whips… would you be interested in buying this lubricant and bridle as an accompaniment? 20% off!’

Really, the message these e-shots send out is ‘MWAAHAHAHAHAHA! You have bought from us. Now you shall never escape our tyranny. You shall never forget us. Forget the others. They are the evil ones. We will remind you of our existence every week on a Thursday, for all eternity (or until you find the ‘unsubscribe’ link we have sneakily concealed amongst the other detritus in our footer.) We will follow you to the ends of the earth in a desperate stalker kind of way just in case you need curtain hooks. We must tend to your curtain hook purchasing needs!! ’

I fucking hate them. And here I come to my point. I used to design, write and send e-shots for a living. I used to spend hours poring over the figures, trying to work out why more people weren’t opening them. Why our instant delete rate was so high. And deep in my brain I knew the truth to be that e-shots are just plain annoying. You didn’t need stats to tell you that. Most people, including myself, are not interested in them – on the contrary in fact, view them as a curse, a nuisance, a blight on their very existence. Go away Marks and Spencers. I will tell you when I want new pants. Not the other way around!

I thank my lucky stars that I no longer have to sit in an office pretending that I care deeply about doing something I knew at the bottom of my heart was utterly futile. I mean, my job now is equally as futile, but no one is debating that. And I get to see the top of the world every day.

Kids, find a job you believe in, if you possibly can. It eases the sting.

Anyhoodle, I thought I’d take this opportunity to write some of my own messages to the pesky botherers that litter my inbox:

Easy Jet: Sending me emails about flights will not make me go on holiday more. I can’t afford holidays. I will tell you when I want a flight. By the way you are thieving crooks.

Tesco and Sainsbury’s: When I need food I’ll buy food from whichever one of you is nearest my house. Carrots is carrots.

Healthspan: OK! I bought some St John’s Wort once because I was having a low. Can you stop reminding me? That is SO insensitive.

Luxury Hair Care: I know when I need shampoo. Don’t call me, I’ll call you.

ASOS and Topshop: Please stop tempting me you bastards. I can’t afford it. You have no souls and no shame.

Curtains Direct: Yes. I bought some curtain hooks five years ago and returned them because they were the wrong shape. Get over it. Losers.

Apollo Premium Sex Toys: I have no need of a butt plug right at this moment. But I have your number.

Hitched.com: I am not getting married any more. Thank dear-non-existent-God. The idea of marriage fills me with horror and nausea. I gave the ring back. It was a lucky escape. And the fact that I was using a wedding planning website to co-ordinate the big day speaks volumes about my tormented and misguided state of mind at the time. Please go away.

O2 : Sod off. Please just sod off.

Ahhhh. That was cathartic.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

How to steal your doppleganger's boyfriend...

Don’t think I’ve been neglecting you, dears. Quite the contrary in fact. I think of you constantly. The truth is I have been a little distracted of late by something which I am indisposed to divulge…no I am not pregnant. I have not discovered the link between Quantum and Newtonian physics…it’s far more exciting than that. I shall keep you posted on ‘The Thing’…

…but until then, yes, there are a few things I really should fill you in on, I mean, it’s practically bloody summer.

First of all -don’t come here. Not if you want to ski anyway. It’s very green, the birds are tweeting, and unless you fancy sweating your tits off in your best North Face jacket on a muddy hillside in eighteen degree heat for a week, having spent 250 Euros on a ski pass you can’t really use, then I can think of better holiday opportunities. Not that it isn’t beautiful…




It is the lot of the resort manager to do a mid-week chalet visit. That’s where you potter around all the chalets asking guests (who are not interested in talking to you whatsoever and wish you’d bugger off and leave them alone) how there holiday has been. (I like to schedule my visits around canapé time, in the hope of a free glass of champagne… but of course.) Anyway I went to visit some guests yesterday evening – a rather miserable bunch of Welsh tossers, to be honest. When I asked if there was anything I could do for them the mother actually turned round in her chair, looked at me accusingly and said:

‘Well, we could do with a bit more snow’

I thought she was joking, but she wasn’t and continued to look at me expectantly while I stood there in my cheap company jacket trying to think of something less rude to say than:

‘Oh here we go…that old chestnut. Do I look like Thor to you? Or Geoff The God of Precipitation? And if I could control the fucking weather, do you think I’d be standing here like a knob talking to you? No love. I’d be a billionaire. I’d be lying on a bed of rose petals in a palace made of chocolate, full of naked Christian Bale look-alikes, while they peel me grapes, and pleasure me on demand with their enormous spam javelins. Now fuck off and if you want snow book your holiday during winter instead of spring. ’

Due to the social unacceptability of sunglasses, most of the seasonaires have a ridiculous tan that stops halfway up their face. They have also all developed season psychosis. All the pistes are closing and hot on their heels are the bars, leaving them with not much to do but work, complain about work and then flit from closing party to closing party wearing ridiculous fancy dress outfits and emergency shagging each other.

There is one bar, the closing of which always seems to produce the most alarming behaviour in everyone – mainly because it is the hub of the resort and signifies the beginning of the end. Invariably it descends into a borderline orgy with a crap DJ, where every last seasonaire in the resort is crammed into a tiny space, rubbing themselves against each other and pouring spirits down their throats straight from the bottle. It is a time to break the glass on your emergency shag candidate, or if you’ve been mooning over someone all winter, take the bull by the horns, so to speak, and ram your tongue down their eighteen-year-old throat.

It could also be because the managers publicise it as a ‘drink the bar dry’ challenge and also because it is preceded during the day time by the Three Valley Rally.

The 3VR is a scavenger hunt and a spectacle to behold. While punters and the French look on in utter horror and disbelief, British seasonaires dress up in things like cow costumes and ski to various checkpoints where other seasonaires make them do hideous things like perform unmentionable sex acts and drink each other’s piss. I was on one of these check points. Our victims were made to strip off and run around in their underpants in the snow while being pelted with snow balls force-fed chartreuse. Fairly tame really. If one wanted to do a decent forfeit one would simply take a silver tray, a rolled up fifty and a large bag of ketamine up the mountain and make them all do a line each. Fifty seasonaires flying around with planks of wood nailed to their feet on horse tranquilizer. That would fuck shit up. But not everyone’s as forward thinking as me…

Anyhoodle. Suffice to say, as we lay, groaning in bed the following morning the events of the evening gradually came back to us. SbH woke up with a mysterious black eye and a bruised sternum, having thrown a kebab across the road, cried, asked my ex boss if we could borrow his Land Rover to drive home and then told him to fuck off when he said no. He also got chased by the police. He was feeling a little jaded.

I, in turn, slowly remembered with shame that I had…

…been girlishly and shamefully impressed by Mini SbH’s ability to pick me up as if I was a dried leaf
…done a pill
…snogged Calamity
…buckaroo’d Bill
…put my hands down the Vagabond's pants
…smooched my doppleganger’s boyfriend
…been chased by the police

In closing, I must say that my doppelganger turned out to be a disappointment. All season people have been telling me that there is some bird wondering around with my face, and when I finally met her at said party I was really quite excited. She was leaning on the bar with her back to me.

‘Look!’ said H, ‘It’s HER! It’s your doppleganger’, and we proceeded to try to get a sneaky snap of her with me behind doing a thumbs up.

I decided to try to chat to her, ‘Hey,’ I said, ‘This is amazing – everyone thinks we look like twins’

She was clearly wankered and looked at my sidelong with acute displeasure, before slurring something about taking a piss and stumbling off through the crowd. What a miserable cow. I am quite insulted that she has had the chutzpah to steal my face and then wander about being a cunt with it and having the personality of a nun’s fart. How dare she give me the brush off? Do you know who I am?

I did however get my own back when I turned to the quite handsome chap next to me afterwards and said, ‘Well, she’s a bit of a cow. Apparently I look like her’.

‘Yes you do,’ he said. ‘She’s my girlfriend’

‘Ah. Ooops’

He put his hands on my waist and planted a drunken, slobbery kiss on my mouth…

‘Actually, you’re much fitter’

He then tried to kiss me again. I politely declined his advances, of course. But couldn’t help feeling smug. Even if he was off his tits.


The smugness was somewhat allayed the next morning when I told SbH the story...

‘Doppleganger!?’ he said,‘Why didn’t you tell me? We could have had a threesome!’

I do actually quite like this idea. I'd essentially be shagging my boyfriend and myself. Which appeals to my narcissistic nature. According to Wikipedia, the font of all bollocks, a doppelganger is ‘a tangible double of a living person … that typically represents evil’ …so question:

Is she my evil twin. Or am I hers?

Hm.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Pissed off and nearly thirty. A rant.

A wise woman once told me that had she been able to choose an age and simply remain that age for the remainder of her days, that age would have been thirty.

I've heard it said by others too. Thirty is a great age. A fabled age. A coming of age. An age where you can cast off the shackles of your twenties and just be you.

Your twenties are a stressful time when you are hungry to please, earnestly trying to succeed, looking for your place in the world and concerned about what others think of you. Uncertainty, instability and inexperience all seem to conspire to trip you over all the time.

I’m hoping when I hit thirty I can simply stop giving a fuck and start enjoying life.

I am now three years off thirty, and to me the idea that there is a time, just around the corner, when I will be able to call a cunt a cunt without worrying is enormously comforting.

The best thing is I can actually feel myself growing into my thirty-year-old's shoes already.

These days, for example, I have been fed enough crap advice from enough ill-informed arrogant bastards, that I can indeed smell incompetent bull-shit from two hundred yards and have no problem saying so. Actually I’ve always been fairly good at sniffing out bullshit, it’s just in the past I would have kept my mouth shut, whereas now I’m the first to blow the ‘wanker whistle’. It doesn’t always make me popular. But I do find far fewer people attempt to trifle with me nowadays.

How ironic then, with my new-found self confidence and finely tuned Crapometer, to find myself in a job where it’s actually in my remit to pander to and sympathise with every vulgar half wit who crosses my path.
Like for instance the Brazilian family of clearly delicate sensibility who this week complained they couldn’t sleep because their beds were too ‘squeaky’. My gut reaction was to buy them ear plugs and a massive vat of Man-The-Fuck-Up, but what I in fact had to do was apologise and get the chalet host to struggle around and somehow tighten up the bed springs.

Then there was the frankly barking mad Dutch woman, quivering with neuroses, who pulled me on one side yesterday to complain that her chalet host didn’t know how to cook. This guy has been running a chalet all season.

She is one of those people that stands way to close to you and invades your personal space when they speak to you. Since she hadn’t yet actually had the opportunity of eating a meal prepared by the host I enquired as to how she had come to this conclusion.

‘Well…he was touching the food with his hands’ she replied.

Right.

‘Erm’ I said, ‘Isn’t it quite normal prepare food with your hands?’

‘He was mixing something with his fingers. It’s just I have my grandchildren with me’ she explained, ‘and their parents get very worried about this kind of thing.’

Fucksake - I’m pretty sure I’ve seen Gordon Ramsay touch some food once on telly. Yeah. I’m pretty sure every motherfucking Michelin star chef on the planet touches food with their hands. Unless you're a Jedi it's quite hard to do anything practical without the use of your hands.

I wanted to say:

‘So am I to understand it that you want to protect your snotty little brood from catching some sort of foul disease from my staff by asking the chalet host to cook your dinner using exclusively the power of the Force, you insane old bag?’

But what I actually said was:

‘Right, yes of course, I understand your concerns. I’ll talk to him about it and if you’d prefer to cook your own meals I can just send him in to do the washing up, if you like.’

Oh the agony of duplicity and insincerity.

I particularly enjoyed today being lectured in the ‘art of management’ by socially inept twerp who couldn’t manage a fart in a space suit. All it requires is the relaxing of one’s sphincter at the appropriate moment, after all, and this person spends so much time speaking out of their anus that one would have imagined they’d have fart management down pat. But no. Their inability to manage not to insult and infuriate everyone in the near vicinity every time they open their mouth is utterly fascinating. Unfortunately this person is in a position of authority and it could be counterproductive to let rip with an enraged speech involving the words ‘Pot, kettle, black, talking and sphincter’, so instead I shall have to opt for a more insidious form of revenge, which will be served extremely cold...

Here endeth the rant.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Disease

Seasonaires have an incredible ability to deny, or ignore illness and injury: To medicate tonsillitis with spirits: To ignore that increasingly painful purple whelt developing on the shin: To invoke the practise of keymotherapy (destruction of all cells, both healthy and parasitic in their bodies with the cunning use of booze and fags): To see how far it’s possible to ski on a compound fracture (that’s when the bone is actually sticking through the skin).

SbH boarded down to the pub and had a pint and a burger after he broke his back. It took him a good hour to twig that a visit to the doctor might be in order. I have another friend, A, who skis with no ligaments in either of his knees, and several acquaintances who have had in excess of ten operations, yet still spend most days hurling themselves down icy precipices at speed.

Disease is the other killer. It spreads with the power of an epidemic every season. And it’s not surprising.

Think about it. You’ve got a village’s worth of randy teenagers suddenly set free from the parental nest, banjaxed to the eyeballs every night on toffee vodka, snogging and shagging their way through the equivalent of six months of fresher’s weeks. Word has it that the entire staff body of one tour operator in this resort have managed to plough each other over the course of the season. They may as well all have got together naked in one room and economised on effort.

This doesn’t exactly surprise me to be honest, considering my own staff seem to have spent the entire season taking it in turns to lick or fiddle with each other’s private parts every night with gay abandon ...yes, and then they go to work and cook your dinner without washing their mitts...

Add to this toxic mixture a healthy dollop of your basic cynical serial mountain worker on their 15th season, carrying every STD under the sun and up for poking anything with a hole that breathes (Skater Boy is like a kid in a sweet shop, my dears.) Then there’s the network of sex pest French chefs and waiters to contend with, adding a whole new dimension of potential for lurgie to spread like margarine. A Petri dish of filth.

Around this time of the season it all starts to get a little bit incestuous. Pretty much every one of my minions has come down with the same mysterious ailment this week and this without doubt is because most of them have locked either lips or genitals, or lips with genitals at some point. Calamity, I hear, after a quick dip from the Vagabond, went onto lock lips with The Man of Leisure. Bangers banged Mini SbH, who then had a knee trembler with Brain Damaged Pig who in turn had an interesting evening with her ubiquitous sidekick, The Furtive Ginger, Bill (of Bill and Ted), and Calamity’s older ski-bum brother, involving a lot of giggling and mid-shag man-swap. Their mothers would be so proud.

Seasonaires are uniformly horny. A friend of mine –we shall call her Shower-Shave-Shag, announced to all who would listen in the pub this evening (swaying and grinning, vin chaud in hand), that she was just popping home to have a quick freshen up and shave her faff, and then coming back out to get laid. Nice.

When the Tit-Gypsy asked for time off this week because her face was swollen and her throat and lips had become afflicted with a vile blistering condition I couldn’t help but ask whether she’d been sucking one too many cocks. Or at least sucking The Man of Leisure’s cock once too often. She didn’t look too impressed.

Mini SbH is suffering with flu, The Vagabond has been struck down in his prime with some kind of stomach complaint, and pretty much all of them have some sort of deep, hacking cough to contend with – the result of months of living off vitamin-free table scraps and turbo drinking. Let alone sticking their tongues in every available orifice of every available chalet slag in the vicinity.

Not that SbH and I can criticise. We seem to have been passing ailments back and forth between us for months. Whenever I’m well he’s ill. And vice versa.

If I was a responsible, upstanding individual I would introduce some kind of Shag Box and collect monetary fines for indiscretions lest my entire team develop AIDS and have to be laid off. But since SbH and I are currently working overtime to cultivate a friendship with a really fit couple we quite fancy a foursome with, I don’t really feel I’ve got the moral highground.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Another fine product from the fuck-up factory

This morning I got an unexpected phone call from Mini SbH, who had just finished deep cleaning his entire kitchen.

‘I’ve had a catastrophe’ he said balefully, ‘I’m just standing in the middle of it now’

‘Oh god. What is it?’

‘A bottle of wine.’

‘Ah’

‘It fell out of the cupboard when I was putting something away. It’s red.’

‘Ah’

‘It’s all over my white shirt, all over the floor, the fridge, the cooker, the kettle – everything I’ve just cleaned’ he wailed.

‘Oh dear’ I said, ‘Well don’t worry, a bit of hot soapy water should do the trick’

‘Yeah.....I think I’m just going to open another bottle of wine now’ he said sadly, ‘And slowly drink it as I work.’

‘I think that sounds like a fine idea’ I said. ‘Never mind, darling’

It’s mid-season deep clean week. Or, in seasonaire lingo ‘Another excuse to get completely shitfaced’. Oh the horror. That familiar feeling after 1 hour’s sleep, when you know only a bottle of vodka is going to get you through breakfast service.

The Minions are being forced to do some real, actual work in the form of cleaning every last inch of their chalets, every speck of dust. They must defrost the freezer and disinfect the fridge, scrape burnt grime from the inside of the oven, de-scale the kettle, pull hunks of slimy human hair, skin and refuse from plug holes, scrub between bathroom tiles with a toothbrush and polish every surface to a mirror shine and (threat of terrifying threats) will have their ski passes confiscated if it ain’t done proper.

Of course, the law according to St Bastard ensured it was Bill’s (of Bill and Ted) birthday yesterday. Right smack in the middle of the toughest week of the season. The week where the HO-Bots will be visiting and poking their nose into every nook and cranny of every property.

I could really do without him being in a permanent state of banjax to be honest, but sometimes one just has to give in to the inevitable and manage things tactically.

By the time I spoke to him about his guests ski passes at 9am yesterday morning he had already been plied with a timely bottle of champagne (swiped from the store room by Ted, no doubt) and a round of breakfast shots and was barely able to complete sentences. Well not linear ones anyway:

‘Passes. Passes for zzze ski. Refund...’

‘Ummm, Bill? Are you ok? You sound a bit spangled’

‘I’ss....fine....REFUND! They want REFUND!’

‘Are you serving breakfast to your guests in this state?’

‘S’Fine... their Danish’

‘Bill I can’t do refunds. You’ll have to tell them no’

‘Shissss’

The next time I saw Bill it was 4 am and he was crowd surfing.

I couldn’t quite deal with the thought of this grinning, booze-soaked buffoon serving breakfast to a family of six in barely three hours’ time, so I did what any responsible manager would do ...I shut him down.

I bought him a seasonaire’s nightmare.

That is a very special birthday pint of anything the barman cares to combine, into a cocktail so putrid and heinous it is guaranteed to render the drinker unconscious, if not brain-damaged.

This one contained gin, sambucca, coke, wine, beer and some kind of toffee cordial. Bill gave new meaning to the words 'blind drunk.'

Call this damage limitation.

You see, after drinking that I know without a shadow of a doubt, without even checking, Bill didn’t make breakfast service this morning. And quite frankly, that is fine by me.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Some Other Mountain Creatures

This season the main protagonists in this little story remain very much in situ. I am still in the company of crackpots. There is of course the strange mountain dwelling thing - E...sans dreadlocks (turns out he’s quite handsome under all that hair, though still unhinged), F-the-Chef, H and of course, the ubiquitous Skater Boy.

But what of the others? The support cast?...well, let me attempt to sketch a few characters and types for you:


The Managers

So we know that Chalet Bitches are in the most part clueless, drunken, louts who can’t cook chicken. But what about these slightly older, more responsible twenty-somethings they employ, to oversee the whole shebang? Are they any better?

To be frank, all you have to do is remember Scruffy-But-Handsome is one of them and your question is answered.

He is a complete maniac who skis around in a stripy red and white Willyfinder onesie looking like a criminal version of Where’s Wally? - and he is not alone.

When I met my colleagues for the first time, they all seemed like reserved, upstanding individuals. But after a week or two of being pushed to boiling point thanks to 15-hour days it all spilled over. I mean what do you expect?

There was Guinea-Fowl – a quietly spoken, affable chap, who had earned his nickname by pressing his naked genitals up against restaurant windows and yelling ‘GUINEA FOOOOOOWL’ at perturbed diners.

Goldilocks and Sasquatch – a blonde bombshell and her enormous, lovable Kiwi boyfriend, who spent most of their time ploughing through most of the store room’s supply of chalet wine and spirits on the sly.

The Geordie Ninja – aforementioned chain- smoking driver with an uncanny ability to disappear under the radar. Usually pops up somewhere the next day looking furtive and hungover....You ain’t seen him, right?

Then there was Rowy, who got so shit faced one night that he genuinely couldn’t remember who he was when he woke up. Although he did vaguely recall some fisty-cuffs with one of his female staff. He spent an entire training day with his eyelids at half mast and a look of apologetic triumph on his face - repeatedly claiming that the only explanation was date rape. Now, I’ve been to some Rohypnol parties but that takes the cake...



Head Office Bots

Tour Operators: there are few that one would topple over oneself to work for - each have their strengths and foibles. This isn’t a well-paid career choice. Until, that is, you sell your soul to the devil. Aka Head Office.

The thing that mystifies me about these HO-Bots is that in the most part they’ve all done seasons at some point. They must, surely, know the score. They must, surely, be feigning shock when they hear one of the Chalet Bitches has been throwing after-parties and ransacked one of their flag ship properties, or has chundered all over a guest.

But as soon as they make it to the towering heights of HO they seem to become nodding, accountancy lapdogs. I suppose it’s because they’ve all got mortgages and live in the real world. Hmm. Sensible people. But in that case why are they so unrealistic?

After almost three months of listening to the same verbal tick at five second intervals over the phone, from one particular HO-Bot it’s a miracle I’m not actually clinically insane. ‘Rightyho’ he says....

‘Rightyho. Glad to hear you’re doing things by the book. Rightyho’.

I can’t help musing as to whether he uses this phrase in the sack.

‘Rightyho. Now if you could just pop down there suck my left ball, that would be super. Rightyho....yes that’s the spot...Rightyho! Ooooh, RIGHTYHO!’


Bar Staff

Pick three:

Deranged
Drunk
Hot
Female


The Man of Leisure

You may remember I mentioned him once before. I met The Man of Leisure last season when I gave his multisquillionaire Dad a lift to the airport.

He has a Lloyd Grossman accent – the confused and ambiguous upshot of an international education. He is 19 and has his own apartment in Regent’s Park. He works a maximum of 8 hours a week, mainly to give him something to do. The rest of the time he is either hammered or skiing.

Mostly we all just tell this obnoxious fellow to ‘shut up’ a lot. All of his tall tales (of which there are many, mainly involving bat-shit crazy bunny boilers who want to kill him, for whom I can’t decide whether he is a magnet or a catalyst) start with the phrase ‘I was HAMMERED’. By all accounts the Man of Leisure should be a total cunt.

But, as I was reminded when he came bouncing into the pub last night dressed as a frog, he’s awesome, and I love him.


French Ski Instructors

The old ones look like farmers. The young are minted, achingly steezey, perpetually drunk and potentially dangerous. There is one in particular I’m thinking of who prowls the resort in search of prey which he then dribbles all over until it runs off in terror. He’s quirkily handsome, in a goofy, French kind of way, with long floppy limbs and a slightly lopsided gait. He is absolutely adorable, until he gets some Mutzig in him.

Well, he’s currently sporting a restraining bolt, put it that way.


European Snow Bunny

They wear coats that are essentially frighteningly expensive, stuffed bin liners trimmed with feathers from big bird’s arse. And continuing on this ornithological theme, have sharp, terrifying talons to boot. Their faces often look like they’ve been pumped full of KY jelly while sitting on a roller coaster. They top this with a blonde bouffant and enormous sunglasses. They tail it with a pair of (fur lined) vertiginous heels that make pretty fucking useless alpine footwear but look like they’d be rather handy if you fancied braining somebody or poking out their eyes. They are all emaciated - none of them could stop a pig in a passage. And their make-up seems always to have been applied with a trowel.

Ok... they look hideous, but at least they are groomed and neat. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of myself in a glittering boutique window as I’m galumphing past in my grubby boots and ill fitting corporate jacket, bobble hat rammed down over my eyes and held in place with ubiquitous WESCs and my heart sinks. I feel a bit frumpy, in truth...

A demain...

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

The Minions

In the spirit of SbH (and with some helpful contributions from his good self –these days he peers over my shoulder and tries to back seat write many of my posts) I have come up with a list of nicknames for some of the more idiosyncratic of our respective teams of minions:

Thick-but-Happy (TbH): A grinning fool. No word of advice or nurturing guidance seems to penetrate his skull or skin and the fact that he’s good-looking in the same way a Labrador puppy is only adds to his charm resulting in a frustrating lack of urgency.

Bangers: What can I say? She has lovely breasts. As our friend the nimble-fingered physiotherapist 'Magic Hands' (who is currently banging Bangers) repeatedly reminds us.

The Professional: Chef extraordinaire. He doesn’t need your help. He works alone. No women, no kids.

The Artiste: Virtuoso pianist fresh from Oxbridge. Rather charming, innocent looking and a great cook, but cleaning bogs is beneath artistes, you know.

The Furtive Ginger: Great craic but collars don’t match cuffs, as she freely admits.

Mini SbH: At the start of the season thought I was some kind of cooking consultancy hotline and terrified me with questions (in the middle of service) like ‘How to you cook chicken’ and ‘what do you put in basic bolognaise sauce’. Since then has turned out to be fairly competent and a right little charmer where both guests and women are concerned. Picked up snow-boarding quicker than a Lindsay Lohan picks up STDs and was doing back flips within a week. Has 200 Euro tips coming out of his ears and a number of chalet girls already under his belt. One could start to resent this little sod, if he didn’t keep his chalet so immaculate, hand his accounts in on time and have that disarmingly innocent twinkle in his eye.

Calamity: Had asthma and no muscles in her body when she first arrived. I asked her to pick up a packet of crisps and she practically fell over. I feared she might wither away or die of hypothermia. In classic newbie 18-year-old chalet girl style, didn’t seem to understand that a singlet and ballet flats don’t quite suffice on the arctic tundra either. But it turns out she’s an absolute little trooper and reminds me a bit of Shazzer circa 2002 actually.

Bill and Ted: Joined at the hip and having a(nother) most excellent adventure - complete with guitars. Rufus. Didn’t need to be taught any seasonaire lingo. Actually invented some of their own and have nicknamed me The Lashmonster. Not sure how I feel about this. Guaranteed to be back next season as long as they survive this one intact.

The Vagabond: Clumps around a lot in big jumpers and boots, tells awful jokes and muffs up the punchlines and quotes randomly from films. Floppy hair. Drainpipe jeans. Adorably geeky but really quite handsome if you get a glimpse under the emo fringe. If I was ten years younger...

The Tit-Gypsy: Appears to live in a complete fairy land where she is the Queen of Fucking Everything and everyone is in love with her. In reality is a bit of a Tit-Gypsy.

Monday, 31 January 2011

Seasonal Faux-Pas

These usually fall into two categories: Cliché or Total Fuck Up


Cliché: Newbie Mountain Workers Over 29 in Existential Crisis

I have noticed that newbie mountain workers over the age of about 29 seem to fall into a pattern. The pattern is this: Arrive, thinking you have found the ‘thing’ you’ve been searching for all these years. Work way too hard. Exhaust self. Have crisis about how young all the other mountain workers are and how old you are. Lack impetus to ski and therefore spend too much time sitting in shoe-box bunk room flat. Decide you ought to grow up, go home and get a mortgage. Throw toys out of pram because being arseraped by employer. Quit....

.........Immediately start having more fun than you’ve ever had in your grey little life, as now no longer give a shit about job. Enjoy a surprise bluebird powder day and end up dancing until 7am in your ski boots in another ski resort round the corner with your mates. Regret quitting. Realise job was piece of piss and you were just being feeble. Man The Fuck Up. Meekly request job back. Come back again next season.

If you are a newbie mountain worker over the age of about 29, please do not be this predictable. It really is so dull for the rest of us.


Total Fuck Up: Manager’s Nightmare (Part 1) – The Text Message Minefield

Right at the start of the season I was revelling in my own managerial genius. I was on fire! Managing the shit out of everyone and everything in the near vicinity with the efficiency of a BMW Technician on speed.

...And then I got severely drunk on my day off and had to deal with a 7am text message from a client requesting a lift for his young family from their chalet to the piste.

I was experiencing a bastard behind the eyes.

Rolling over in bed, I blearily composed a text message to our driver, who we fondly call the Geordie Ninja, due to him being a Geordie and having a Ninja-like ability to mysteriously disappear and reappear in the blink of an eye.

‘Alright ya Geordie cunt. Guests need bus at 9. Soz luv. Wankstain.’

And then I sent it. To the guest.

It was Tourettes-esque in its irony. I was so hanging out my arse that my brain couldn’t cope with two thoughts at once. So it short circuited and fucked me over.

The thing that astonished me most was that I was actually thinking to myself, as I scrolled through the numbers in my phone to send it, ‘Fuck me, imagine how bad it would be if I mistakenly sent this to the client’.



Total Fuck Up: Manager’s Nightmare (Part 2) Caught in the Act By Minion

This ‘Being a Responsible Manager that People Can Look Up To’ malarkey is a new one on me and it’s taken some adapting to, I can tell you. I have one particular minion of whom I’m rather fond because he reminds me ever-so-slightly of SbH. Mini-SbH always hands his accounts in on time and has a chalet that’s always as neat as a pin. But he’s also a right little tinker and doesn’t let you forget anything. To my detriment he has so far seen me drunk and disorderly in the snow more times than I care to remember and has also seen me dancing in my bra. It’s very hard, also, to maintain a level of dignified managerial authority when one of your minions has also walked in on you being given a naked massage by your other half. The poor boy got the shock of his life. Lesson learned – never tell your minions the code to your flat.


Cliché : Snowboarders vs Skiers – Don’t Mention the War


For God’s sake, don’t bring it up. Everyone out here is so bored of it. We all now live at peace. It’s only the punters that can’t ride in harmony and that’s because they can’t ride worth a fart full stop. Yes. It’s true. Without skiers to tow them on the flat, the slopes would be littered with the frozen over, skeletal corpses of boarders with one foot clipped out, who got stranded and didn’t have enough energy to punt home.

Someone needs to invent some kind of snowboarder’s extendable pole thing that pings out from the sleeve or glove like a Wolverine Claw. But until they do, just shut the fuck up and give the poor bastards a tow.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Chalet Bitch

Although I now languish in the lofty echelons of middle management, and have a team of minions of my very own to torture, let me not forget the very thing that inspired this blog in the first place: I too was once a Chalet Bitch.

Like many a naive young sprig before me, I had a pre-season punter-ignorant notion of what life as a Chalet Girl would be... I had visions of my fox fur hat clad self sashaying down a mountain in the sun, sipping champagne in hotel bars with mysterious ski instructor types and being bonked by rich clients in front of log fires in high altitude ski huts. Yes, in fact, somewhere in my brain it looked very like the film Chalet Girl.

In reality I spent several months up to my armpits in soap-suds, left overs and pubic hair. Was barked at by rude, demanding clients, goosed by pervy, middle aged businessmen, chained to the hoover or the kichen sink and bonked on a Tabasco-soaked mattress by several stoned, smelly, skint teenagers in a crack den like one-room apartment. Sadly, there were no mysterious, exotic ski instructor types. All the ski instructors are in-bred locals and / or alcoholics. When not cleaning, my time was not spent sashaying, but careering down a mountain at colossal balls-out speed, usually stoned also, or blind drunk on vin chaud and Mutzig. This, in reality, is what being a Chalet Bitch is all about. Living the dream.

While SbH and I now sit naked in bed together, doing our accounts sheets and making ski passes in between shags, sadly, Skater boy is still trapped in the eternal cycle of cake-baking-bed-making-dish-washing-toilet-scrubbing-hard-drinking-hangover-hell from which we’ve escaped. He has, as is his custom, been consoling himself with not one, not two, but three irksome blonde 19-year-olds this season. All of whom are dizzy and all of whom have been causing him no end of stress. It’s a wonder that boy is still alive, the sheer variety of pussy he dabbles in. He’s been a Chalet Bitch more times than he can even tell you about. The boy should write his own blog really...


Being a chalet Bitch – the rules according to Skater Boy

Do – have you arse and boxers hanging out of your jeans, dirty nails, cigarette-stained fingers and greasy long hair under a mouldy bobble hat that hasn’t been washed since 1992 at all times.

Do – just enough work to avoid (by a hair’s breadth) getting complaints about the cleanliness of your chalet, and therefore somehow always manage to start work last and finish first.

Do – arrive to work pissed as a fart still in your ski gear from last night, but somehow manage to ‘pull it off’ riding solely on your ability to charm and flirt, despite putting salt on your guests’ cornflakes and getting caught wanking in the toilet on changeover day.

Do – ski back to your chalet to do service pissed to the eyeballs in the dark, hoon into a steel tow wire attached to a piste basher coming up the mountain and almost behead yourself.
Do – puke in the street at least once a week.

Do - be in a constant state of crisis due to either smoking too much weed or not having enough weed or rizlas.

Do – always somehow seem to end up with a gaggle of fit young rich birds for clients. Woo said clients into letting you off dinner with your on-ski and après-ski performances.

Don’t – Ever get caught doing something you shouldn’t...



....actually that last one should be the 11th commandment for any newbie Chalet Bitch. You can miss as many services as you like, nick enough chalet wine to drown Bridget Jones, serve dinner cold, shag any number of dirty stop outs in the chalet hot-tub and use the company vehicle to give your mate Simon a lift to the airport while stoned. Just don’t get caught.

Yes. These are the people, or should I say buffoons, making your bed, cooking your food, rifling through your personal belongings and stealing packs of silk cut out of that carton you left in your bedroom. These are the fuckwits trying on your fur coats, giggling at your grey knickers and reading your magazines on the toilet while you’re out skiing. These are the wingnuts finding that used condom in your bin and sniggering about your toilet habits down the pub.

From the moment they climb off the Tour Operator’s staff bus in early December training week, bleary eyed and clueless, some of these kids will stun you with their utter incompetence and inability to deal with life, let alone the concept of doing their jobs properly.

Their naivety can be both endearing and infuriating.

‘Maybe a rich Russian will fall in love with me and take me out for a posh dinner’ one of my minions said to me. I couldn’t help but give a fond little chuckle at this - I remember thinking the exact same thing. I arrived with three little black dresses in my bag and a fur coat, thinking perhaps some Oligarch might whisk me off my feet. I never put any of these dresses on once. I wore leggings, a massive baggy jumper and clumpy boots at all times. I soon realised I was more likely to be whisked off at gun point and conscripted into a prostitution ring than whisked off for dinner - and that if I wore fur I would be socially excluded and mocked as the worst of all things – a punter. Shortly thereafter I went out and bought myself some steezed out, multi coloured gear and by season end was never caught dead without my bobble hat.

All in all, as it turns out, I am quite fond of my minions. Rather like a proud mother hen. I have managed to disarm the little urchins into doing my bidding by being fun and reasonable, and disappointed rather than angry when they fuck up. I’m more big sis that cross school ma’am. They are all fairly efficient, co-operative and professional individuals, and good friends.

Other managers are not always so lucky. You literally would not believe the array of vacant, lazy, limp, socially and mentally inept public school fuckups some of my colleagues have ended up having to deal with. ...Spoons....Youngsters for whom the word ‘initiative’ has absolutely no meaning whatsoever and who think a hard day’s work is something Daddy does when they want more ponies/Abercrombie and Fitch jumpers / ski equipment. I mean, what are the repercussions to losing your job, when you know Daddy will just rent you an apartment and a buy you a season pass anyway, to cheer you up after the trauma of being sacked? Silly job.

A colleague of mine has been having a particular struggle with one, quite young member of staff. This individual has no more than three quarters of an inch of brain. They asked my colleague, last week, in absolute seriousness, after two months of living in this ski resort, whether we were in France or Switzerland.

They also asked if you spell ‘chalet’ with an ‘S’.
Despite having recently been put through a 5K cooking course by Mummy they did not know that you need to store pastry in the fridge, wondered whether shallots should be put into a stew whole...unpeeled, (and actually before that mistook said bag of shallots for prunes). They threw away an entire bag of fresh beef after mistakenly thinking the butcher had delivered a bag of ‘guts’ and lastly wanted to know whether potatoes were dairy or vegetable.
Yes, as I said. These are the fuckbuckets cooking your food.

When asked why they were wearing a tracksuit to work, this individual replied that their guests always ate dinner in pyjamas so they thought it must be ok. ‘Really?’ replied my colleague, ‘Your guests can eat dinner dressed in full leather gimp suits as far as I’m concerned. Now go and put your fucking uniform on’

My colleague has taken to calling this member of their staff ‘The BdP’ (Brain Damaged Pig), because if someone took a retarded swine and taught it to stand upright and bake yoghurt cakes, you would probably end up with a more co-operative and effective employee...

In some ways, I miss being a Chalet Bitch. The camaraderie, the lack of culpability, the diet of raw frankfurters, croissants and vodka.

I don't miss the skid marks....

Maybe some day I'll go back. But for now, I will put this message out there:

Chalet Bitch-dom is no Cinderella story. It's about sex, drugs, toilet cleaning and skiing. And if you can't even get that right in life, then you're a fucking moron.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Activities for cripples

SbH has broken his back, thereby completing the cycle of you-couldn’t-make-it-up adversity that has characterised this season so far. Having snapped the dorsal off five vertebrae the French doctors tell us he must wear a back brace and cannot sit down for 3 months. ‘Non! You may either lie down, or stand up!’... This is what happens when you launch yourself into the air with your feet tied together and no wings, so think on. It has led to some quite amusing dinners out with friends, and SbH standing in the corner like a manikin, eating his dinner at arms length.

I reckon French doctors like to take the piss out of injured British skiers by making stupid recommendations like this. Not sit down for 3 months? That’s just French. And, while we’re at it, have you ever tried shagging someone who is encased in plastic? It’s pretty interesting. I spend most evenings repeatedly bashing my forehead against what he has proudly taken to calling his ‘shell’. It’s like snuggling up to iron-man's crap cousin Bernard.

So, SbH has broken his back. My knee continues to be too gammy to ski. And yet here we remain. Why do we stay in the mountains? Well, when something is so magnificent and huge and beautiful you don’t know which bit to look at first it’s hard to leave it behind. And even if I can’t ski, surely this is a pleasant view to have from one’s office window of an evening:




Once again, however, I am faced with the burning question: What do you do in a ski resort when you can’t ski? So far I’ve got, sex, drinking and....

Knitting
Well, SbH’s idea actually. I know I know. He is not the man I knew. To be fair to him, I think it’s all part of some hare-brained scheme to get-rich-quick by knitting piles and piles of oddly coloured beanies and scarves and flogging them to wannabe seasonaires for 20 Euros a pop. He wants to start what he calls ‘Stitch and Bitch’ sessions where the injured of the Alps (of which, let me tell you, there are an alarming number this year thanks to shit snow and too much ice) sit around crocheting and swearing about people who can ski. 50 quid says the whole thing turns into a complete fiasco; he gets bored and goes back down the pub.

Snow shoeing
Once you get over the feeling that you look like a total dick head it’s actually quite fun. Although slightly disheartening when you find yourself marching down what you feel is a very steep incline in a hidden wooded valley, legs akimbo and some ancient crone comes hobbling cheerfully up the hill towards you in trainers and gives you a jovial ‘Bonjour’ before casting a slightly amused glance at your feet. One can’t help think ‘Why the fuck am I wearing these stupid things any way?’ It’s also a bit lonely. If one wants company one’s only real option is to venture out with one of the local groups – no doubt full of creaky septuagenarians – as although many of my friends, including the Man of Leisure, have cheerfully offered to join me on a jaunt (after one too many Mutzigs) so far, no one has pulled their thumb out their arse and actually joined me.

Eat Raclette
You start off enthusiastically tucking into that first scrape of delicious melty goo. Mmmmm it’s so morish.... so...so cheesy!

..................Ten minutes later you’ve lost the will to live. Cheese sweats. The fear. A horrible sense of self loathing starts to creep in. What have i done? I hate myself! Then you make the mistake of drinking a cold glass of water, causing the cheese to solidify in your stomach and sit there for the next three days like a rock, mocking you and your greed. I actually passed out from cheese once. I mean, it could also have been linked to the red wine and anticoagulant injections I was having, but I reckon it was definitely the cheese.

Do your job
Which, for managers Alpwide, basically entails turning up at various chalets with a clip board, wearing a company jacket and sauntering about looking, cross, harassed and important. Criticizing everything your staff do down to the last speck of dust, complaining to all and sundry about how much harder your job is than theirs and yapping aggressively into a mobile phone. One must also be incredibly two faced and good at saying things like ‘Yes sir, I understand the snow ploughs are waking you up too early in the morning, I’ll have a word with the mayor’, while thinking things like ‘Yes, you demanding, finickity, wanker, would you like me to stuff this snowboard up your arse before I drive the snow plough over your testicles or after?’

Insult people who can ski
Dear punters who are shit at skiing and snowboarding. Please fuck off. You do not deserve to be on those beautiful planks, while I languish on the sidelines watching you in jealous agony. Furthermore, why are you wearing racing gear when you clearly learnt to ski yesterday and are flailing your poles around like a terrified Daddy Longlegs? You look a cunt. Get off the piste. And, while we’re at it, YOU are going at speed. Therefore if you see me struggling, nay, limping across the piste with an enormous bag of laundry it falls on you, pas moi, to get out the fricking way! I am neither impressed nor amused by your poorly executed emergency stop, nor the slushy shit that you spray up my legs. Nor your lack of apology. Nor your rubbish, hideous jacket. Oh, and please learn to carry your skiis without beheading me. Oh yes. And please fuck off.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Russians

Despite a catalogue of disasters, injuries, swine flu, limp-wristed chalet girls and lack of snow, life ticks on in this strange, wintery place.

‘Tis a land populated by a bizarre conglomeration of cultures and weirdos. The Russians, of course, are a spectacle to be marvelled at. An entire nation of Katie Prices, tottering around on sheet ice in stilettos with their David Guest lookalike Mafioso husbands (well, employers, more like) bringing up the rear, complete with giant cigar, plastic flasher mac and narky-looking, diamante-collared Rotweiler . Or to put it another way, chavs with zip taste, who have suddenly won the lottery and think if it’s shiny or made of a dead animal it’s worth having.

Nowhere else will you find such a pile of hideously expensive hideous crap. Shops pedal things like red and white rhinestone-encrusted headphones and white skiis inlayed with diamonds that cost hundreds of thousands of Euros. They say this is one of the only places on earth the rich can actually make a dent in their wallets. And considering a small, forlorn and puny hotdog, with a dribble of ketchup in a stale baguette costs 15 Euros out here, it's hardly a surprise. In fact, everything is lined with either white fluff or diamonds. There are women who quite literally look as if Liza Minnelli threw up on them, carrying Chihuahuas in pink earmuffs (yes, that's the dog in the earmuffs) and wearing enormous fur coats made from the corpses of a thousand squirrels. Most of them don't ski...they are the worst kind of snowbunnies.

Why do rich people look so fucking miserable? I’ve lost count of the number of stricken-faced coat-racks I’ve seen wondering around this place in the last month with their lower lips on their foreheads, towing a Romanian nanny and three small, evil, children also dressed in fur. Usually pink. Those pelts must weigh heavy on those knobbly little shoulders.

Russians. They have a reputation all of their own out here. There’s practically a chapter in every tour operator’s manual on ‘what to do in case of Russians’. Or if there isn’t there should be. Because they are not like any other people on earth... they are bizarre.

The culture clash between Brits and Russians is quite something. The politest wouldn’t-say-boo-to-a-goose nation is shocked and appalled by the sheer front of them. ‘I mean, don’t they have words like please, thank you and sorry in their language?’ is a question I hear asked frequently.

It’s an irony to watch these ‘ghastly new moneyed peasants’ (not my words, I’m paraphrasing) being waited on hand and foot by the cream of the British upper-middle class and aristocracy’s children. This whole place functions on the slave labour of unsuspecting British teenagers and (typically) it’s the French who get the last laugh. Although one can’t help snigger with them. Ripped from Daddy’s arms. Tearful and missing their ponies. Stolen away from the womb of King’s School Canterbury and Cheltenham Lady’s College and dumped in a chalet to give them some life experience before university. Up to the armpits in the cum-stains, poo, pubic hairs and vodka-vomit of some erstwhile serfs who’ve struck gold.

A recent set of Russian guests marched straight past the outstretched, welcoming palm of their mortified young chalet host (a lovely, polite, hard-working young woman), dumped their luggage at her feet and barked at her to make them tea immediately before ransacking the place, puking on the sofa cushions and leaving them next to the radiator over night to crisp over. They then ordered her to clean the mess up. ‘Well that’s your job, isn’t it?’ they muttered. It would be nice to think that the revenge taken by the chalet girl in question (charging them triple the dry cleaning bill and pocketing the difference) made a dent in their enormous wallets. But of course, it didn’t. Afterall, these are the people who can afford to have an entire bubble lift turned off for a week because it ‘sounded too noisy next to their chalet’.

...But remember that little trick next time a chalet girl asks you for the dry cleaning bill....

My mind is cast back to the wad of food-budget cash ‘stolen’ from a chalet along with a Rolex watch and various other bits and pieces, last season. The pit-bull faced owner of the watch in question tried to put the finger on the chalet host but seemed oddly unwilling to talk to the police and disappeared from resort in a cloud of mystery shortly thereafter. A lot goes missing from both chalets and staff accommodation during Russian New Year.

There is shortly a revolting looking film coming out called ‘Chalet Girl’, which from first glimpse of the trailer is basically Cinderella on skiis. Yeuch! I shall reserve comment until I’ve seen it (2.5 hours of my life I shall no doubt regret sacrificing) but I’ve noticed several totally implausible plot themes already. I mean, a chalet girl would never shack up with a punter, for a start. But anyhoodle, I digress....

....Because of this film, some Sunday Times journalists were sniffing around the resort last week doing an expose on Russian bad-behaviour in Alp-wide ski resorts, and a friend pointed them in my direction as a source of illicit gossip. What could I tell him about? The drunken routs? Piles of cocaine? The bar girl last season who had the fortune to witness an inebriated thug eating a glass until his mouth bled? (He actually crunched through the shards and swallowed them, presumably to show off to his friends.) The mysterious, bottle-blondes who drift from hotel to hotel from hour to hour, ‘visiting friends’? The gruff, lascivious old men who won’t allow ski technicians to touch their ‘wife’s’ feet, but have no problem complaining loudly when the silly tart’s toes start hurting? (It’s a bit difficult to fit someone’s boots when you can’t touch their feet, surely? )

The upshot, of course, of this mixture is the strange sort of inverted snobbery which has developed among the seasonaires. They look down their noses at us, because we mooch around in baggy ski pants, sorrels and beanies, or mud-soaked fake Ugg boots from Primark, with chalet hands and we all stink of onions.

We look down our noses at them because they look fucking ridiculous, leave skid marks in the toilet and behave like football hooligans.

...But then they tip us a big $100 note at the end of the week, tell us to keep quiet about the wife swapping and the gun in the bedside drawer and are gone in a whiff of overpowering perfume....until the next bunch of wankers arrive....

...you know, working in a ski resort would be fantastic if it wasn't for the punters...

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Woes of the Manager

‘Manager– isssssssk!’

....and I quote from an email from Shazzer dated October 2009 which I stumbled across today. We had been discussing the possible ski-related job roles that one could conceivably apply for post apocalyptic break-up. Is she speaking to me from beyond the grave?

‘Mate. I know the word ‘manager’ is rather beguiling, but seriously - imagine the worst organised place you have ever worked – times it by 1000 and then insert the phrase 'piss-up in brewery' and you are not even close to how these skin-flints will be trying to, with laughable organisation, bum-fuck their staff for blood, sweat and tears and con their clients into a budget holiday dressed up as luxury. Plus your staff will be wanting to come to work every day off their heads / skive work (as they are getting paid 50c a day - see reference to bum-fucking earlier)and have only come here to ski not clean toilets for 9hrs a day and if you are the person in charge of telling them to go to work you end up pretty isolated. Our hotel in Les Arc ended up pretty much Lord of the Flies style. I would recommend steering clear of all managerial roles – the money is not there to justify it. Could be fine. Could be disaster’

Hmn.... Could be fine. Could be a disaster....

What a pithy and concise précis of the life of the Manager. Particularly the bit about bum-fucking. We are the great unloved. Shat on by clients, shovelled up by Head Office and beset from all angles by staff – or minions as I like to call them – who seem to think that their manager is either a maid, mother, school teacher, psychiatrist or personal assistant. Who seem to think ‘I was skiing’ is an acceptable excuse for not handing their accounts in on time, and that it’s ok to leave a rotting mound of poultry next to a birthday cake in the fridge or skid-marks on the underside of all the toilet seats in their chalet.

‘Gosh – you’re popular’ said a minion to SbH the other day, when his mobile phone rang sixteen times during a ten minute meeting.

Yes. Popular. We are both very popular. If by popular you mean in the same way a wildebeest is popular with a ravenous pride of lions.

Thank fuck for tea.

If everything else has well and truly gone up the shitter – or to put it another way – tits up - in true . British form, one can always sit down and have a nice cuppa, can’t one?

Never fuck with tea. This is a personal slogan of BB2.1 and a truism I hold dear. Never rape tea with other substances, such as booze – or as I once tried at 7am after a 36 hour bender – Ketamine. Bad idea. Drink K-T when you already can’t tell your arse from your elbow and you know you’ve reached the final and most remote outpost of Spangladesh, and now have no compass to get you home.

The minute you fuck with tea. Everything is fucked.

So it’s a good thing Wiley Miss G brought me a nice pack of Yorkshire tea bags when she came to visit a few weeks ago. Because the Lipton Yellow Leaf crap the Frogs try to palm off on you is like drinking stewed gnat’s piss and out here packet of Tetley’s finest Cigarette Ash Bags costs the princely sum of an arm, a leg and a quicky up the bum round the back of Sherpa.
Man, I have needed tea in the last few weeks. Being Manager in a ski resort is like spinning 50 plates while writing Shakespeare in calligraphy on a blackboard with a quill held between your butt-cheeks. Really quite difficult. And if you stop concentrating for more than about 0.5 seconds, the whole shebang comes crashing down around your ears.

And woe-betide you if you contract Gastric Flu, as I also did last week. I spent five days catherine wheeling, spewing gunk from every orifice, and sweating like a paedophile in a crèche while being squawked at down the phone by various disgruntled clientele, angry because their limp-wristed arse-hanging –out-of-jeans chalet host cannot perform the simplest most menial of tasks without fucking it up beyond recognition.

‘Can you absolutely guarantee it will snow this week?’ one client had the stupidity to ask me.‘Well, I don’t know. I ‘ll have a chat with God, he’s generally quite clued up on these matters’, I said.

These people are supposed to be on holiday. But you wouldn’t know it, they’re all so fucking miserable.

Incidents worth mentioning have included the crazed Chihuahua that managed to escape from its fur-bedecked, maniacal owner for a few precious minutes and was so beside itself with joy that it crapped all over the next door neighbour’s chalet.

Then there was the well-known circus troupe that rocked up in town to perform at a well-publicised event with 4 pallettes of industrial sewing machines and used one of chalets as a factory production line to make their costumes. They blew all the electrical circuits and then complained the Jacuzzi didn’t work. They then left a week later spiriting away mysteriously with them two of our stand alone heaters, a set of towels, two mops, the remains of SbH’s sanity and a hoover.

There were the Russian guests who repeatedly called us at 6am complaining that the toilets in their chalet are too small and are therefore were ‘bruising their (no doubt emaciated, scrawny, anorexic) elbows’ .

Oh yes, and the neurotic housewife who threw a wobbly when I refused to send a bus boy round to the restaurant she was dining in with a high chair for her child. ‘I am not accustomed to this poor level of service’, she complained. ‘Really? Well I’m not accustomed to shoving high chairs up people’s arses, but I’m quite up for trying it to be honest.’

But all of this pales into insignificance against the backdrop of the near apocalyptic catastrophe that befell me last week. However, since apparently the previous TO I worked for has now put a clause in its employment contract banning employees from writing bare-all blogs, I shall go no further with the details than to say it involved a naked, steaming drunk Eastern European, a small child, an unlocked door and some very outraged parents, who won’t be holidaying with us again.

I could round this all off by saying that working through Chistmas week and New Year with Gastric Flu would have been impossible without the love and support of dearly beloved SbH, but if you call dancing around the room waving his ‘love pole’ at me and asking for blow jobs every five minutes love and support, you need your head checking, you honestly do...Okay, fine so maybe he pretty much did my job for me, took shit from various clients on my behalf and showered me with sympathy all week, but I think you'll agree blow jobs are out of the question when your nose is blocked and you need the toilet every thirty seconds...