We escape lockdown corona crisis in France

And so we enter the event I am calling ‘The Second Fucking Time I’ve Had To Flee A Country On The Year Abroad.’ (TSFTIHTFACOTYA for short?). It’s all happened pretty quickly. On Friday I sent an e-mail to the company I was supposed to work for in Beaune, in which I (oh, innocence) wondered whether […]

Corona-vacances : she may be small, but she’s shut down France

You’ve probably noticed by now how it’s all gone a bit Exodus, that the newspapers have become great harbingers of doom, and that the world’s generally on an off-day. Coronavirus (for it is she) has spread to France, which is now the 2nd most infected country in Europe, and the ENS has closed. Plus no […]

The holidays, and halfway through.

(n.b. I wrote this while I was quite tired, so some of it might sound like I was smoking something fruity. I wasn’t.) For Part 1 at Cambridge, we studied the nouvelle vague classic, Agnès Varda’s Cléo de 5 à 7h. This film, which follows Cléo through her day, represents time as an elastic quantity, […]

Visiting Romans in Vienne

When in Gaul, do as the Gauls do. Something like that. Last weekend we found an opportunity to prance around like it was 47BC, in the little town of Vienne. After some confusion over where we were meeting, how to get from the ENS to the station, then how to get from the metro to […]

A day in Grenoble

I decided to go to the Alps. Although I have been in Lyon for just over a month, my life here so far has been steadily horizontal – far from the breathless climbs that pushed through every day in La Paz. Skiing was pretty much out of the question; despite my parents paying for private […]

The Twelve Labours of Hercules, updated for the 21st century by French administrative staff

According to internet sites of varying reliability, it was Napoléon Bonaparte who first said ‘If you want a thing done well, do it yourself’. Though presumably he said it in French. Such a statement makes sense within the context of French administration, a vast and knotted series of systems designed to never let anyone into […]

Santiago, Chile

The flight from Heathrow was as smooth and relaxing as any 15hr long-haul flight could be. Having renounced the patriarchal authority of my father at Terminal 5, I was as buoyant as a space hopper as I bought an overpriced neck cushion, and only cried for 120 seconds. My first point of contact with the […]

An interview with Michael Frayn

(I wrote this for an essay competition with the Telegraph. Although I didn’t get a prize or a place, it was such a great pleasure to interview my writing hero, and a useful journalistic experience in learning how to interview someone. An edited version of this article was published in Varsity here: https://www.varsity.co.uk/arts/17603) What was […]

How I got into Cambridge

(More specifically: Clare College, to study Modern and Medieval Languages) During the application process for these Hallowed Grounds, I would scour the internet for every Oxbridge tip possible, so thought I would write down my own experience here. Original, no. I hope you find it useful; I’ll keep towering-spires based waffling to a minimum. GCSEs […]