Sex Worker Open University in Glasgow

Sex Worker Open University Co-operative invites you to Scotland’s first ever Sex Workers’ Rights and Community Building Festival in Glasgow 5 – 10 April!
 
Scotland is one of the most recent countries to consider change in sex work laws. This has led to an uprise of anti-sex work groups campaigning for the introduction of an “End Demand” approach. This is the time for us to stand together and say NO to further criminalisation of our work and our clients. This is a unique opportunity to make our voices heard and to organise as a community for our rights and we hope you can join us! Please spread the word about our events and we will make sure to develop and distribute many resources (videos, press releases, etc) following the festival that can be used in our ongoing fight for access to the rights we deserve.
 
The programme includes films, cultural events, debates, international speakers, skill-sharing workshops and much more! Some events are open to public, others are sex worker-only spaces. 
 
We are very grateful and excited to welcome guest speakers both from around the UK (Scot-PEP, X:Talk Project and ECP) and from more distant places (STRASS (France) and Scarlet Alliance (Australia)).
 
With love, rage and solidarity, 
 
Sex Worker Open University Coop

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Sex Worker Open University in partnership with Scot-PEP presents

SEX WORKERS’ RIGHTS & COMMUNITY BUILDING FESTIVAL

Glasgow Fri 5 April – Wed 10 April 2013

April 5, Friday

♥ Sex Workers’ Rights Film Night! (PUBLIC EVENT)

7pm – 10pm, The Cinema, CCA (Centre for Contemporary Arts) 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G2 3JD

Suggested donation: £5

SWOU Collective is proud to invite you to an evening of short films and documentaries produced by sex workersor about sex work. The videos will be introduced by sex workers and allies and will cover themes such as sex workers’ self-organisation, resistance to criminalisation, sex work and migration and effects of anti-trafficking policies on sex workers’ communities. The films include

  • Sex Worker Open University 2011, by Stoo Ireson, 2012 (UK). The second edition of SWOU brought together activists from a dozen different countries and included a Sex Worker Art Show, demonstration and many workshops!
  • Streets in Red, by Clare Havell, 2010 (UK). Short documentary on the subject of street based sex workers in the UK.
  • Normal, by Nic Mai (UK). Combined interviews with four young migrants impersonated by actors. The similarities and differences between the characters’ life trajectories are explored by focusing on their contradictory aspirations to lead a normal life. The four characters explain how they came to see their involvement in the sex industry as normal and how their notion of normality evolved with their life experiences. At the same time, their life trajectories do not conform to the victim/villain stereotypical opposition which dominates current debates about sex work.
  • The Honey Bringer, by Clare Havell and SWOU Collective, 2012 (UK). A documentary on the 2012 Sex Workers Freedom Festival that happened in Kolkata, India as an alternative conference and protest to International AIDS Conference in Washington from which sex workers were banned. Interviews and images from the biggest international sex worker gathering of all times!
  • Last Rescue in Siam, by Empower, 2012 (Thailand). This is the first film ever made by sex workers in Thailand. It is a short black and white movie inspired by the tradition of the old silent movies. The film accompanies the Empower research report Hit & Run on the impact of anti-trafficking raids on sex workers’ human rights.

 April 6, Saturday

♥ Laws and Policies that Impact Sex Workers, and Strategies for Resistance and Change (PUBLIC EVENT)

11am – 4pm, STUC (Scottish Trades Union Congress) 333 Woodlands Road, Glasgow G3 6NG

The day will open with introductions to the event by members of SWOU and delegate of Comic Relief and Red Umbrella Fund.

FIRST PANEL (11am – 1pm): The Push to Criminalise Clients and the Roll Out Effects on Sex Workers.

  • Jay Levy, University of Cambridge: Swedish Abolitionism as Violence Against Women
  • Scot-PEP: The Scottish Context: Organising Against the Push to Criminalise Clients
  • X:Talk: The Case for a Moratorium: Sex Workers Organising in the Shadow of the Olympic Games. Lesson for the Commonwealth Games?
  • Morgane Merteuil, Strass: The French Union of Sex Workers’ Approach to Fighting the Criminalisation of Clients

[Discussion between panelists and audience]

SECOND PANEL (2pm – 4pm): An Alternative Approach: Decriminalisation

  • Anastacia Ryan, NSWP and SWOU: Introducing Decriminalisation as an Alternative Model
  • English Collective of Prostitutes: Sex Work and the Law: Organising to Win Decriminalisation, Safety and Rights
  • Film: New Zealand Fight to Pass the Prostitution Reform Act (2003)
  • Anastacia Ryan, University of Glasgow/NZPC: Exploring and Comparing Sex Workers’ Experiences in Scotland and New Zealand
  • Zhara Stardust, Scarlet Alliance: Decriminalisation in New South Wales, Australia: The Successes and Challenges Faced by Sex Workers
  • Film: Australian Sex Workers Fight for Decriminalisation

[Discussion amongst everyone and sharing strategies for the fight for decriminalisation]

April 7, Sunday

♥ Skills Sharing and Discussion Day (SEX WORKERS ONLY)

12pm – 6pm: Email us at glasgow.swou@gmail.com for venue details.

This is a day for sex workers to gather to share skills and experiences. Workshops will include professional skills and discussions. It is a sex worker only event and all workshops are delivered by sex workers themselves. This is a safe and confidential space.

April 8, Monday

♥ SWOU Taboo (SEX WORKERS ONLY)

1pm – 5pm: Email us at Glasgow.swou@gmail.com for venue details.

1 pm: Taboo. Another sex worker only space, SWOU Taboo is a chance for sex workers to discuss issues that are quite personal and often used against our self-determination. We will create a safe space to discuss issues such as sexual violence, mental health and addiction, our relationship to money or our clients.

3pm: Sex Work as a Helping Profession. As sex workers we often provide our clients with important and invaluable services that support their physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual wellbeing. We will create a space for us to collect our stories and share our experiences of ‘helping’.

♥ Building Alliances (PUBLIC EVENT)

7.30pm – 9pm Mac Lecture Theatre, Glasgow School of Art, 167 Renfrew Street, Glasgow G3 6RQ

Viewing of extract of Proudly Trans in Turkey from Gabrielle Le Roux about trans activists and sex workers in Turkey, followed by discussion and presentation from members of sex worker, LGBT, HIV+ and migrant communities, feminist groups and trade unionists on the intersection between sex work and other criminalised or stigmatised communities and how we can build alliances for social justice and human rights.

April 9-10, Tue-Wed

♥ Reducing Stigma and Building Our Capacity (SEX WORKERS ONLY)

Email us at glasgow.swou@gmail.com for venue/time details and to register.

A public education workshop for sex workers by Maria Nengeh Mensah (Stella and Université du Québec à Montréal) and Chris Bruckert (POWER and University of Ottawa). This two-day workshop is a unique opportunity for sex workers to develop their knowledge as an educator, reinforce their capacity to confront whore-stigma, learn about the principles of public education, and share knowledge, skills and ideas around diverse trainings about sex work. Registration by email necessary.

April 9, Tuesday

♥ Sex Work, Stigma and Criminalisation (PUBLIC EVENT)

6pm – 8pm, CCA5, 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G2 3JD

This interactive public education workshop open to all is led by members of Sex Worker Open University and aims to look at the root causes of whore-phobia and the effect of stigma and criminalisation on the lives of sex workers.

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PDF version of this programme available to download here. Please help us promote this festival!

SEX WORKER OPEN UNIVERSITY: www.swou.org (possible issues depending on your browser)

SCOT-PEP: www.scot-pep.org.uk

FACEBOOK EVENT: Sex Workers’ Rights Festival and Community Building Glasgow www.facebook.com/events/347770968675060/?fref=ts

Farewell, August

Please excuse the 2 weeks of silence. There were good political reasons for that. No, the political reasons were actually bad, but they make for a good excuse.

The poll results

The festival poll was nowhere as popular as the weather one. Oh, the britishness of it! They’d rather talk about the weather than about the things that are fun. There were 13 votes altogether, exactly half of the weather poll results.

In case you forgot (as it’s been over 2 weeks now), the question was You and the festival time in Edinburgh are like…

  • Fish and water – you may try living without it, but you’ll fail. 0 votes. Pity.
  • Fish and fins – you can live without it but who wants such a life? 3 votes. One of them mine.
  • Fish and chips – you often go together but it doesn’t make your life longer. 1 voteI guess some people are just born enthusiasm-free.
  • Fish and the shore – you know it exists but you’re not remotely interested in it. 2 votes. Spoilsports!
  • Fish and umbrella – some find it useful but not you. 0 votes. I’m glad it was 0!
  • Fish and the critical period hypothesis in linguistics – what? where? 1 vote. The Fringe HQ need to invest more in their advertising campaign.
  • Why am I always the fish? 1 vote. A fair question which I don’t have a ready answer to. It just happened this way. Could have been anything really, from prostaglandin to an ingot, a fish just has more idioms and connections already available.

And the 5 “other” replies which are the real fun (in order of appearance): 

  1. Love the atmosphere, but trying to go anywhere on foot… Tourist Rage! Funny. I thought it was driving that gave people the tourist rage during the festival, as tram works on their own are bad enough, add the increase of traffic and… I went (as I always do) everywhere (work unrelated) on foot and didn’t have any problems, only fun. I mean, isn’t it fun when out of the blue you’ve got 10 people rubbing against you at the same time? And for free!
  2. Fish and strawberry sauce. We don’t mix well. Pity to hear this but great to see that the fish caught on.
  3. A fish who loves the festival but dislikes the shoal. Beautiful. Just beautiful.
  4. No! I don’t want one of your fucking flyers – and relax… Very cathartic, thanks. How often does it happen nowadays that a SMILING person comes up to you and GIVES you something? For FREE? In Edinburgh it’s only one month a year. I find it refreshing. 
  5. Fish and the bicycle – I’m in the USA so I miss the festival. You poor fish! Now you know where to spend next August.

And other news. Jewel’s news:

  • I’ve arranged a new photoshoot in October so new photos are coming! Probably not till early November, but you can start salivating right now: I don’t charge for anticipation.
  • Another big tour, not just a night in London, details here
Blog news:
  • I’ve shuffled and updated my Blogroll a little and as a result there are now 5 categories there, feel free to explore. Oh, and Blogroll is the thing in the column on the right, where I have links to other blogs and sites which I find either useful or amusing.
  • In view of the political changes mentioned above, there is a new page coming on this blog very-very soon. The sooner the better so I’m working hard in this direction.
  • And a new blog entry (dedicated to touring) out of sequence here.
Client news:
  • Do you remember my first Belgian experience? He was back to Edinburgh for the festival this year and although I didn’t get to see him again, he gave me his ticket for the show he couldn’t attend. How sweet is that! Thank you so much!
  • The ex-old nutter texted to apologise for his behaviour. “Diffidence in the presence of a beautiful woman comes easily”, apparently.

The sex talk

If you’re in Edinburgh (and even if you’re not), you may be aware of Belinda Brooks-Gordon‘s talk on sex work as part of Edinburgh Sceptics: on the Fringe of Reason. While personally I like her works a lot (most probably because they make sense and don’t tell me I need to be saved), I felt little inclined to go to the event. Who would you expect to see there? That’s right, those who are curious about prostitution and prostitutes. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but I’d like to avoid it in public.

I had a booking on the day, and I really don’t know how it happened but when I arrived to the client’s place, I suddenly thought: “Damn, Belinda’s in Edinburgh and I’m not even making an effort to see her! When is the next time I’ll have a chance?” Funny how I only started thinking about it the last minute. So there I am, asking my client to go to the talk with me.

Did he agree? Of course he didn’t, most probably for the reason I gave above. But he let me leave earlier and I was just in time for the talk and even had a spare minute to sexually harass a poor Edinburgh Sceptic who was giving out leaflets to the people queueing for the show (no drama, by the way, just a little chat which he himself initiated, but he looked slightly red in the face and a lady of fixed-rate virtue from Glasgow, who was queueing with me, said I got him flustered). There’s no way I could be a spy: I’ll blow my cover within the first 15 minutes. Just the day before the talk I pinched a bum on a performer in Royal Mile. As in really pinched. In public. It was a fine piece of arse and I wanted to show my appreciation of it in a way a man should understand.

Anyway, we got inside and I was so glad I came! It was one of the most informative and comprehensive talks about the political side of my profession, well-structured, well-presented and, of course, well received by the audience. At the end there was time for questions, and a woman in one of the front rows raised a hand. She started her question with “I’m a sex worker in…” and I have no clue what her question was about because I didn’t hear any of it, I was too stunned. It was the second time I saw a woman publicly announcing she was a prostitute; and each time they make me question myself: would I be able to do it? If I were, how would it feel? It’s all good telling myself and clients that I’m proud of my job, but would I say the same in a large room full of strangers? Well, I’d do it if I had to, but would I do it if I didn’t? And more importantly, would I still feel proud? I know the stigma is there, but just how much influence does it have over me? Magdalene survivors are still ashamed of their past and they did nothing wrong. So how would I feel if I were to come out of my closet in public?

Belinda agreed to meet Scot-PEP afterwards so the Glasgow lady and I stayed and joined the 2 men from Scot-PEP. So did the young woman who stunned me so. I told her about it and she just shrugged her shoulders.

I will never understand the British habit of pubbing. When civilised people in civilised countries want to discuss something in informal settings, they’ll meet at a bar, or a cafe, or a restaurant, sit down, get a drink and chat. When the Brits have something to talk about, they stand in a busy pub (right under the speaker blaring out Alice Cooper and Rammstein) and shout at each other with an occasional spitspray. They seem to enjoy it though: an hour with Belinda passed very quickly and it was time for Scot-PEP gentlemen to leave.

As soon as our male companions were gone, an interesting thing happened: men lined up behind Belinda’s back. Here’s how it looked: there’s Belinda the Blonde Bombshell who’s just given a talk on harlotry, there’s the self-proclaimed sex worker standing right next to her, and 2 more “gals” (me and the Glasgow lady). We’ve been standing there for over an hour and no-one seemed interested, and only now, like flies on honey, they surrounded Belinda asking her sex work questions that even the bartender could answer. All across their faces was stamped “I want a closer look at them hookers”. We left straight away. Want to have a closer look at a hooker? Call, come and pay her.

The lovely video below shows why it’s not always pleasant to have prostitution-curious people around you.

Update

  1. See August offers before I forget to mention them again.
  2. The new poll is here. Every vote counts (literally) and is very appreciated. Have fun.
  3. As you may have noticed by now, I’m not into social networks, but now that I’ve played with Twitter for a while, it turns out to be if not fun, then at least useful. So feel free to follow my tweets (or click the blue thingy in the bottom right corner of the blog header) but don’t expect much: they are neither personal nor sexual. My tweets are there to let you know that a new blog entry was published, not much else.
  4. A new blog entry was published (check out my tweets!) out of sequence. And there will be a few more after that. In June and July my “get-up-and-go” has got up and gone, mostly thanks to the seasonal depression, but now that the festival is on, the inspiration is back so I’m working on my blog again and, as always, I’ve a few things to say on how the world should be run.

Farewell, July!

And welcome August, my favourite time of the Edinburgh year! You aren’t likely to be sunnier, but the festivals make you a far happier time. I’m so excited I’m not even trying to hide it! And today (1st August) I’ve already seen my first show!

The weather poll is now closed (together with any hopes for summer this year) and the results can be viewed here. The 5 “other” replies that you can’t see in the results table are:

1. I’m in the USA. The big problems are the high temperatures and the wildfires. Hands up everyone who’d rather be there than in Scotland!

2. A spotted blue sky today. This makes me happy but still need to see Jewel. I have a strong feeling this must be John and he has my e-mail address so what’s the problem? But if I’m wrong and this is a john’s comment, not John’s, my contact details are here.

3. In Edinburgh, Tuesday morning, I could see my breath at 8.45 am. In JULY! I KNOW! <gone to inflict self-harm >

4. I’m NOT Jewel, and I’ve also been taking the weather personally since 17th May. We should found a club (MI – Meteorologically Insulted. Or FFS – Fight For the Sun) and file a class action, People of Scotland vs The Weather.

5. I’m a duck. Rain is 

Edinburgh Escorts Jewelundervalued. Great comment, yet I have a feeling that if we were to get a real duck’s point of view on the subject, most Mallards, Mandarins and Buffleheads out there would agree that this year is rather uncomfortably wet even for them. I discovered a mouldy patch in my left underarm yesterday morning. Surely even ducks are getting fed up with it by now.

Many thanks to everyone who took part in the poll. And there were lots of voters too, compared to previous polls! The weather is obviously on everybody’s mind. The August poll will deal with the festival – what else? It’ll be on the poll page in a couple of days when everyone’s had a look at the weather poll results.

There have been a few posts published under the sticky “Current Poll” entry (which is now deleted), feel free to enjoy them if you haven’t done so yet. And while you’re at it, enjoy this miserable duck, too.

Edinburgh Escorts Gallery

Old “friend” – Part 1

This week brought back two old “friends”. Let’s start with the first one, Colin, whom I’ve seen a few times. In fact, quite a few times. But not in the settings that you as a reader are used to imagine.

Up until 2 years ago I visited Edinburgh from time to time – for the Fringe and, of course, while looking for a place to live when I decided to move to Edinburgh. During these trips I advertised in Daily Sport – the fastest (even if not the easiest) way to generate a few clients a day to cover the expenses of your trip, festival tickets and the real estate agent’s fee.

If you don’t know what Daily Sport was 3 years ago (it’s changed now, I hear, but not necessarily for the better) – it’s a highly unpleasant newspaper with about 400-500 ads for “services” all over the UK. An ad consists of a lady’s name, her location and her phone number – nothing else. This ad cost £30 a day (and this is when pimping is illegal in the UK). As you can guess, this newspaper does not provide you with upscale clientele. The average client it gives you is looking for a quick fix at 60 quid for 30 minutes. So this was what I offered.

If right now you’re thinking “why should I be paying her £200 for what other people get for £60!” – think again. Having been “on the game” for 6 years now, I worked in all possible modes and at all possible rates and believe me – there is a difference. Different rates provide you with different experiences. None of them is better or worse, it all depends on what you are looking for. From the point of view of a sex worker, what client are you more likely to give more attention to? The one who pays £60 or the one who pays £200? That’s right. One of them you will want to come back for more. The other one is easily expendable. One pays enough to make sure he’s the only one for the day. The other one has to queue. Here is how an ordinary £60 booking goes:

4pm. Will never skip lunch because of work again (promised religiously to self every day)! I really need to have something to eat when this one is gone. If he leaves by 4.15, I’ll have just enough time for a quick shower and a super quick snack before the next one at 4.30. Hope the next one is a little late – an apple is not going to be enough for me right now. I should have bought some chocolate last night. I wonder if this new bar I saw is as good as it looks! Jesus, will he finish at all today?! I should probably suggest changing the position. Sh!t, what did he say his name was?

– Honey, would you like to go on top now?

4.15 (smoothing out the bed sheets while the client is getting dressed) Was it Monday or Tuesday I changed the sheets last? Ah, who cares, it looks ok, I’ll give it another day.

4.20 (closing the door) Sod the shower, I MUST have something to eat NOW!

And pretty much any post on this blog tells you how an average £200+ date goes so I won’t repeat that but I’ll say this again – neither way is better or worse. It’s up to each sex worker what they feel comfortable providing (not everyone wants/ has the ability to connect with the client and not all sex workers want a long-term relationship with clients as it can be very demanding and difficult emotionally) and it’s up to each client what they want to pay for (good sex is different things to different people).

And now back to Colin. Daily Sport was how I saw him first and after several bookings I even started recognising him. Mentally I referred to him as “hairy bloke no 2” (mind you, it was 3 years ago and he has moved down to no 4 since. The first position is still occupied by the Geordie, the second place now belongs to the Italian virgin and the third is reserved for Mr French – not that there is a competition of any sorts going on) and had a lot of fun taunting him with it.

With Daily Sport days long gone as I settled in one place, you can imagine my surprise when the person who showed up at the time and location agreed for a date turned out to be my hairy bloke number 2! It is not too hard to find me if you want it – I’ve always worked with the same name and phone number, whatever city, rate or affiliation; but it’s the first time when someone I saw for £60 decided that the “new and improved” deal is worth it. Personally, I totally think it is, but of course I’m curious as to what made him think this way.

– Dunno. You were so sensual and intimidating. Remember the last time when…

Colin goes on to describe what I did last time I saw him and I nod like I remember. What I’m really thinking about is “intimidating”. It’s not the first time I’m told I am and for the life of me I don’t know what they mean or how I manage to give this impression. You’d think that people will want to avoid things that intimidate them but men keep coming back: I guess there’s intimidating and intimidating. So I take Colin to the bedroom and intimidate the hell out of him.

Part 2 to follow.

Twice the fun

This is one of those very rare posts where Jewel meets a couple. Let’s call them Heidi and Dieter.

First time Dieter got in touch with me in June. He told me they’ve already had experience of involving other people into their sex life (while visiting Amsterdam. Classic!) and he was thinking of a repeat because Heidi seemed to enjoy herself that first time. He went on to describe Heidi as this gorgeous woman (always makes me smile. If Heidi exists, she’s gorgeous simply because he’s her husband. What husband would dare to describe her otherwise if he still hoped for sex now and then? And if she doesn’t exist, every Dieter has to go into details of her beauty for the sole purpose of self-gratification. So Heidi has no choice but to be a head-turner) and himself as “a grizzly bear”. I replied saying that a call from Heidi was what it takes for me to say yes. Strangely enough, the next e-mail was to cancel the previous arrangements as “their” trip had to be postponed. But of course!

Still, in August I get another e-mail from Dieter saying that they might be in Edinburgh for the festival. I ask for a call from Heidi. No call comes, but an e-mail saying that this didn’t work out either. Surprise!

And then in October out of the blue I get a call from a lady who says her name is Heidi! Would you believe that? Everything is arranged and shaky in the knees I set off for their hotel.

We meet at the bar. Turns out, Heidi really is gorgeous. And Dieter really is a grizzly bear, but who cares? Heidi is gorgeous and she doesn’t seem to like me that much! She offers me a chocolate and, full of hope, I move closer but it looks like she didn’t notice. No, we didn’t get to share the chocolate. My high hopes and spirits hit the bar floor with a crash.

You see, I love women. Stating the obvious, I know. Who doesn’t? It’s logical, isn’t it? Women are so much more attractive to look at, so much more pleasant to touch! They are smooth, soft, graceful and smell nice (as opposed to men who are hairy, rough, awkward and, errm, manly). They fill you with desire to kiss and caress and pleasure (so yep, I totally understand how a man feels when looking at me). But I don’t get to do it (them?) often enough. So here is my chance in a very long while and Heidi doesn’t seem to fancy me!

We move on to their room where I try to initiate a kiss but it doesn’t seem to help. She prefers to stay in a chair and watch me and Dieter. Oh well. He helps me undress, things take the usual route from there until suddenly Heidi joins in! Oh, the joy of touching a woman! She’s tentative at first, but not for long, and soon we’re all busy.

Being with a woman is so different. First of all, she asks questions that are different from the usual routine men go through. She’s obviously curious about my job, wants to know how it works, what it involves. Do I have any tricks up my sleeve, any particular moves? How difficult is it to please every man? What am I asked for most often? How do I feel about it?

Secondly, I realise I need to be slightly more self-conscious than I usually am – simply because there’s someone here who can see and feel through my eyes and skin. Like when Heidi says she likes the look of Dieter’s face in my bum and I laugh. She turns to me: “That was a knowing laugh, wasn’t it?” No man would ever figure this out!

As I’m getting dressed, I watch them cuddled up on the bed in the soft light of table lamp. They look so cute and touching together – the sight that was worth working for.

The Recipe for a Good Date, Part 2

Continued from Part 1. Again, published with permission, personal information cut out.

Monday (A+5)th, afternoon

Ring-ring.

Jewel: I found 2 plays, and one of them I’d really like to see. How much time will you have on Zth?

Mr French: A couple of hours is not a problem.

Jewel: Sure. It’s just that the play is a little longer than they usually come, so it starts earlier.

Mr. French: Good, we can spend an afternoon together for a change.

Jewel: There’s only one way to say it so I’ll just do. It lasts 6 hours. Well, 5 and a half. It comes in 2 parts.

Mr French: <silence>

Jewel: The first part is 2 till 5, then there’s a break for 2 hours and the second part is 7 till around 9.40.

Mr French: <expressive silence>

Jewel: It’s One Thousand and One Nights. They obviously couldn’t squeeze all the nights into an hour and a half, so it’s a little longer…

Mr French: 6 hours?

Jewel: A little less. And we really don’t have to see both parts. In the programme it says you can choose to see only one part. And it’s all done in Arabic, French and English with English supertitles.

Mr French: French and English?

Jewel: Yes, and Arabic. It’s about Shehrazade who doesn’t want to get killed by her husband so she tells him all these tales to put it off. I’ve been told it’s worth seeing.

Mr French: Well, if you really want to see it… Just book the tickets and keep the receipt. I’ll leave work early on Zth to get to Edinburgh on time.

Click.

Jewel: (to herself) I have just talked a French man into 6 hours of pays maghrebins‘ folklore. Am I convincing or what?

Wednesday (A+7)th, evening

Mr. French: Bonsoir. Have you got the tickets? Getting myself ready for it. X

Jewel: Not yet. Decided to put it off till (Z-2) in case you change your mind or your work plans change. Besides, I’m still contemplating the possibility of tying you to a chair and making you watch me knit for an hour or so as a form of entertainment – you did suggest I should do it all myself.

Mr. French: As long as it’s a comfy chair and you wear very little! Not planning to change plans for Zth so go ahead with the tickets, I’ll be all yours. X

Jewel: You will be all mine? Just wanted to double check. Will also keep the text as a proof in case you want to go back on your word. You might regret having said it, you know. *Off to sharpen her nails.

Mr French: Always taking advantage, are you? Good night.

Jewel: I can’t not take advantage when it’s offered. Sweet dreams.

The final recipe (in case it is still not obvious) is in The Good Date entry.

Farewell, August – updated

The festival period is almost over. This is the first time I’m in Edinburgh to witness it. To be honest, it’s rather sad. This year August was the only month when I felt that I knew why I’m still in Scotland.

The results of the August poll

All the answers can be roughly divided into “yes” and “no” (these included “No, thank you” and “Not sure”) and they were equal: 9 votes for both yes and no. The only “other” reply, which, I’m afraid, was not visible to voters but to me only and read “Very unsure. I like the privacy. That’s what’s special” was pretty much a “no” vote, and so no it is. No entries by clients. I hope everyone realises that it means you have to take my word for it and believe me no matter what I say as there’s no-one else to tell you how exactly things went.  Many thanks to everyone who took a minute to vote – it was very sweet of you and means a lot to me.

The current poll

Initially I had another question in mind, but the origin issue popped up so many times in August, I thought I might deal with it straight away. There will be an origin post coming to the cinema near you soon. As for the poll, it lists the countries that are suggested more often than others as my place of birth in alphabetic order. Hint: the real answer is there. Everyone is welcome to add their voice, not only those who have met me personally. Just use your imagination and the little information you got about me from the blog. After all, the poll is there for fun, not to establish the universal truth. As always, one vote per IP address and the poll closes on Sept 30th. As with the previous poll, I’ll leave it there for a couple of days after that so that everyone who’s curious could see the final distribution of votes.

All the August posts are now in place. Enjoy.

Update: with Walter at my back, I toyed with the idea of Act 2 of the Most Bizarre Date again and guess what! The trashed draft can’t be restored! I mean it’s just not there to be restored. WordPress only saves trashed comments, not trashed drafts. I wasn’t particularly keen on publishing it, but now that I’m told I can’t, I’m upset about it.

On minds, mistresses and beanies

And we’re back to K the Aussie. Last time you heard about him, he brought me a present. I saw him again after that, which was when he asked me to make a beanie for him: Scottish summer being colder than Australian winter, he’s not feeling at home in Edinburgh.This time he’s taking me to a show. Well, not quite. I’m taking him to my favourite show and he pays for it. After that we walk to our usual place for dinner.

In the restaurant, we talk about this and that and somehow all the talk leads to my asking: “What do you mean you can’t control it? Who’s the master of your mind?” K doesn’t even need to think it over. “My mind doesn’t have a master. Or a mistress”. For a few seconds he’s silent, as if listening to his mind deep within. “But it does have kids playing in the backyard”.

I am not qualified to comment on such a bend of consciousness, but in K’s defence I should add that there’s also an uncle who, not living on the premises, passes by from time to time and checks on the kids.

Dinner over, we go to mine. K is (again!) not in shape to stay, but the beanie needs to be tried on. If I could just film his face when he sees the beanie and put this short video on my website under the title “A client looking at me”, I wouldn’t have to advertise myself at all for years to come, or display any photos.

Most of the time K’s face is not very expressive. He has a permanent half-smile stuck on his mouth and an all-over user-friendly disposition (when I say “Sit! and point at the sofa, he replies “Woof!” and sits down where told. If he had a tail, he’d wag it every time he sees me). But the simple beanie did something I don’t think I’ve ever done to his face. It all lights up, eyes sparkling in disbelief, skin shining, all his face a smile. Fifty years ago he’d jump for joy and clap his hands. He takes the beanie carefully in his hands, turning it this way and that, and says: “Oh I’ll look snappy!”

For years I’ve been making stuff for friends and family. The most I ever get in return is “It’s so nice! What an intricate pattern! Thank you. By the way, did you see XYZ recently? I ran into her last week and she said…” K’s beanie is one of the simplest things I ever had to knit. I mean, it’s a men’s beanie, how complicated do they come? But he, a client, shows more appreciation than all my “loved ones” together. Looks like I need to re-evaluate my relationship with my family.

Unfortunately, K doesn’t get to look snappy straight away: the beanie is too tight (some brainy kids he’s got in the backyard) and I’d need to re-make it. He leaves. He’s ordered to spend the next day in bed (by his doctor, not by me) so I wish him a good lie-in and express my regret that, unlike me, he’s not paid for being horizontal.

– I’ve never seen you horizontal. You’re so active I’m envious.

And he leaves and leaves me wondering. Really?