Le Désespoir de La France #2

France. La France. O France. Comment tu es belle la France. Go fuck yourself in the arse, La France! It's too late to start again now. I loved you once and then I arrived. In quick succession you ravaged my heart and ruined my health, made me too fat for my shirts and left me with just a single, sodden shoe. Va te faire enculer, La France! I had to walk home in the wet and, for the next nine months, tramp about like a clown wearing odd shoes and no socks. That winter of pneumonia and bronchitis when your dealers robbed me of everything but that which I didn't have. You laughed at me in the cafes and mocked me in the unemployment offices. You sent me back and forth between despicable civil servants, all asking for different papers that they knew I didn't have; didn't need; some of which didn't even exist. O with what joy did you run me around town? Send me to places on the very outskirts which no longer resembled Europe. O fuck You La Belle France. I thought such thoughts and worse as you had me suffer entire days of remedial classes, listening to a government trained retard lecture on how to formulate the perfect CV. Curriculum Vitae. Mon dieu! Did you not see us? How the fuck could a CV have helped any? O La belle France. What have you done? You deserve everything that comes your way in these wicked times. You drag it all down upon yourself. Every shot; every bullet; every exploding belt. It's all done beneath the shadows of your actions. The right-wing uprising and retaliation too. The bubbling conflicts in the suburbs. Peck out a man's eyes and watch him go crazy to defend what's left of him. A whirring, crazed, waltzer of indiscriminate violence. France, you pecked out my eyes. You harpy fucking scavenger!

France! My beautiful prison of diluted and overpriced joys. I weep desperately within your borders. I go to your marches and observe the left, divided up into a hundred factions, blowing whistles and lighting flares, beating drums and chanting and laughing to serious matters. Your squares bordered by the armoured ignorance of the Police Nationale. Their black, ruthless boots ready to stomp over anyone not draped in the tricolor. France, you told me, swore to me, lied to me that only the Arabs and Africans get ID checked. Go away with your falsehoods and propaganda. Pink skin doesn't save one here. Five fucking hours I spent on my back in your rotten custody cell. Mary, half junk sick, having to journey out into the middle-of-nowhere to produce my ragged passport. Then, last autumn, in the Perrache train station, being marched off and strip-searched for standing too close behind three armed officers on the escalator. A bottle of unscripted methadone discovered in my bag . It's a stupifiant! they kept shouting. I told them I wished it fucking were, that I'd love to be as stupidfied as them. I should have left you to rot without me then, but the prospect of dire poverty and heartache, a few years of dying in your third largest city wooed me. Lyon! Only Lyon! You were beautiful for a summer; the lap of your twin rivers calm and serene; the mist and fragrances rolling down your hills early morning; the spirit of European summer and fiesta wafting through your narrow streets. O France, is that your ruse: to beguile? You promise everything and deliver nothing but tax demands, obscure charges and rent increases. Then you close your banks on Monday and snip the electricity at its root. France, I never used your fucking electricity! How could I have? I only had one lightbulb and a mobile phone. Though, soon enough, you took them too. 

France. I lost my teeth in your streets, marinated them in your methadone and coughed and spat them out in disgust through your lonesome nights. I spent years suffering from your toothache, woke in pain to each new day with my face swollen and the nerves in my temple raging away. France your toothbrushes are useless! Four for one euro sixty seven centimes. Red, blue, green and purple. The handles snap in half and the bristles fall out. Fuck you Carrefour® and the Part-dieu Commercial Centre. Fuck the whole rotten lot of you. Your doctors too. Kneading my liver each month as though it were pizza dough; the young interne with his specs and stethoscope so eager to diagnose his first death, asking: Is it swollen? Foie gras, Monsieur. Foie gras! The doctor giving an indifferent shake of his head, telling me to get dressed and, begrudgingly, giving me another month to live. Halle-fuckin'-lu-jah! How adept you are at presenting bad news! Stop the drugs, you said. Get off the needle! Quit the cigarettes! Do some exercise! Lower your cholesterol intake! What kind of a fucking doctor would ever levy such a miserable tariff on a dying man? O, fuck You Dr Denis! Fuck you L'hôpital de la Croix Rousse! You gave me so little you didn't even charge for it. 

France. Monsieur the Mayor of the 3rd arrondissement: fuck fuck you! Your crooked, corporate socialism twists my stomach. Of the left? Sure you're of the left. You're so far too the left you're on the fucking right! What with all the scandalous discrimination you lord over in your own house. Call it what you like, celebrate the PS coming into power after 18 years, I saw the same happen in Britain, the exact same idiots singing with joy and heralding in the new bandits and gangsters, clinking glasses and slurping down  oysters together. Power is power and it always sounds like that. I moseyed around your office, listening, Monsieur The Mayor. I watched your advisers cutting out the day's press clippings and political news; your personal assistant mailing off the video footage of your latest speech to Le Progrès. I saw you lumber around with your trousers unbuckled and your shirt hanging out, raging on about how cheap and acidic the wine was. I watched you, Monsieur the Mayor, heave on your heavy felt coat, have your sash pinned in place, clear your throat like a tenor and gob a lump of vile phlegm into your handkerchief, ready to lead the war veterans' D-Day parade. O Sir, I eyed your staff, and the town hall gardians, sweeping before you as you walked and wafting away at your behind as you went, fanning your wind to either side of the red carpet and scooping up your droppings as they came to bear. Monsieur the Mayor of the 3rd arrondissement. I had to clean your bureau every second evening, empty your bins and dust your plants. O, you should know better than to ever employ such a scoundrel. I pissed in your fire grate and masturbated in your leather chair. O Monsieur Thierry Philip, if only you could have seen how wildly I came, shooting sperm across your desk, over your diary and bullseying a picture of your wife and kids. I cleaned and polished your desk that evening, Sir! The next morning, first thing, to my horror, I was summoned by my immediate manager. Wearing a grave look he asked if it was I who had cleaned your office the previous evening. Guilty, I pleaded. Whereupon the wild reprobate took up an email and read me of your surprise and thanks, broke into a salacious smile as he disclosed 'my desk and leather chair have never shone so splendidly'. Ha! How influence and importance garners special treatment. Don't trust the silent ones, Monsieur the Mayor of the 3rd arrondisement. Don't trust anyone your country has pecked at so much. 

Mademoiselle La France. You contemptible beast of formations and concours and adjoints. How you sat glaring at me each time, blank and motionless, like there was nothing which could be done. I cleaned your toilets, Mademoiselle, and in return you shook your head in dismay. You told me that I had not undergone the required training needed to handle such cleaning products. I waved you away and you proceeded to grill me over my knowledge of glass polish and disinfectant cleaner, demanded that I state the dilute ratio of neat bleach to water when using it to disinfect public washrooms. I was set to say 10 to 1 part bleach but finally never bothered. Any answer would have been the wrong one. I apologised and swore to never scrub your crap again. Mademoiselle! I slogged out my soul for your pubic services and your minimum wage. For three years I worked myself too exhausted to write. You shoved me in a hole of a room, round the corner from the bins, and five years later hit me with a four thousand euro bill for unpaid residence tax! Four thousand euros. If I had four thousand fucking euros I'd be a resident some place else. Some place that functions. Mademoiselle La France, you do not function! You are 'hors de service': legs closed for business. Daily life is a succession of disasters and frustrations. Tobacconist closed. Pharmacy closed. Boulangerie sold out of everything but stale salmon baguettes. Fast food places shut until 7. Restaurants refusing to serve food. Supermarket closed for an impromptu stock check. Transport staff on strike. The corner store without change of a twenty euro note. The concierge on permanent sick leave. Mademoiselle, you insist on such a tiresome way of operating and then harp on about low foreign investment. Fuck you Mademoiselle La France. Fuck your 35 hr week. Fuck your Unions who have become just another cog in the political machine. The supposedly hardline CGT, agreeing that I was illegally dismissed yet telling me that they have a policy of fighting common rather than individual struggles. They gave me the number of a lawyer they said would work for free, who though, unfortunately, was also three months deceased. When I called back to give news of the poor man's medical status they abstained from answering the phone and ignored my various messages. Fuck You La République Française, I saw through you completely in that moment. 

France. I know your whores and they suck. Too clean; too classy; too unwhorelike. You keep your own upstanding and legal, but what of the eastern European girls along the river, putting it out for all of 20 euros a trick? Not a single pin prick or crack pipe between them, a fact which bespeaks a real social tragedy. Oh, you know how to treat them. Drag them in for soliciting once a month or so, disturb their lives for a night while adding to the misery. First thing Monday morning, trot them out and stand them in the defence box, half naked and cuffed, their sordid misdemeanors and acts slowly read out to the judge and procureur. O madame La France, you sure as hell know how to look after your own alright, keep them from dribbling away at home! Your court rooms are full of criminals, La France, and most of them are being paid by the State. 

France. The great romance you peddle is a myth. Romance never thrives under such hardship and drudgery. No-one kills themselves for love after that. All that happens is that people get worn down and out, and youth and beauty fades into early retirement. I've read your poets and I've watched your films. I crossed your bridges and I dreamed! I dreamed of fire-eaters and jugglers, street artists and musicians. I dreamed of song and death and fuck and absinthe, of opium and Gauloise cigarettes, sailors and show- girls. France, I stood on your terrain and I had hope, but even then I was looking way over yonder to God knows where beyond. Through your warm, subdued evenings I traipsed around with the poet prickling away inside of me. I saw all the wonder of life in your pink skies and said 'La France, La France' over and over, like I was on the cusp of something great. O I tried my best. I sought out wild, psychotic affairs, fantasized about death pacts and leaving a bloody mess for your civil servants to clean up. I went to your parties and took part in your theatre. I stripped naked and danced my birth and death in the Beaujolais valleys. I responded truthfully to the director when he asked:

Can You dance? 

Can you sing?

Can you act?

No, I replied each time.

Perfect, he said, you're exactly what I'm looking for! 

Madame, Mademoiselle, La belle France, L'hexegone, La République: You have ruined me all you can. With minus 883 euros to my name there is no more you can take. Go ahead, sling me into jail for a month, recuperate my debts that way, deal me your last remaining blow. I will take it, La France. I will suck it up and enjoy it, thrive of the stinging pain and spit the blood back at you in defiance. I will eat your porridge and your mashed carrots and I will shit it out down your fucking u-bends. France, your bidets are broken and your eau de toilette is wearing thin. Down South the stench of your filthy cunt is overpowering. Madame de la République, I will fuck you no more! You've no disease worth having. With nothing left to protect or defend my integrity is way out of your bounds. It's true, you took all that which I entered with, but that is hardly a victory. What? A broken suitcase? A pittance of cash? My final stay of youth and a mouthful of teeth? Come come La France, the spoils of war are not what they used to be. But me, O La France, me I leave with such words in my head – words so beautiful and vulgar and mine. And even on the journey out, on the last bus back home or for wherever it is destined, your nights will still sizzle and smell of fire and smoke and I will cry for all you are and all you were and all you still could be. France, from the Fourvière hill, looking down, on a day like today, I still shiver with life and love and passion. I become giddy and whimsical as the coming evening paddles your dark rivers towards the sea; inebriated by the lights from your harbours and river boats. France your skies still excite me like the first night of the first night of the first night. France, La France, O France. Comment tu es belle la France. Go fuck yourself in the arse La France. So impossible and hopeless, my France, La France.

- - -

Thanks as ever for reading, Shane. X

Lines for Joe M 


_Black_Acrylic said...

Beautiful, poetic, howlingly funny, and if it means you're back in the disUnited Kingdom anytime soon, then Scotland would welcome you.

Cash.Nexus said...

Been following your blog a while and always wondered what the fuck you were doing in France. I mean, London's got to be one of the easiest cities in Europe to score smack & crack...but off you go to Lyon, for years. You must be a masochist, bro.

So they treated you like shit. Everyone knows they don't like Africans but I gather the English aren't too popular either. And may I say as an Anglophile Scot, you strike me as quintessentially & wonderfully English. Maybe if you were a 21 year-old English rose in a Laura Ashley dress, they'd be more cordial. But as a skint rosbif drug-fiend...?

Yeah fuck that. I've lived abroad junking for decades, I know burn-out. Come home, my man. As _Black_Acrylic says, Scotland would welcome you. Especially if you brought physeptone, it's rare here. The political Left are still strong, although I hate those cunts myself.

Yup, I'd love to see what you write after being left ripped-off in the rain at Saracen Cross, picking wine-bottle chips out your skull. Nah hope not; not to sound too gushy but you're the best drug blogger on the webz. However, it's the bad shit that provides inspiration, right?

I write a bit myself, if you don't mind me pimping my blog on your corner...


Jump on the Eurostar, get a decent cup of tea and a decent blaze of drugs! Regards.

Eyelick said...


It's unfortunate, the dreams and ideas we have of a new city- which all crumble & decay... And yet, some nights it all still seems attainable. That isn't reality though. This place has eaten away at me, yet "home" is no good either, it doesn't seem like and wouldn't be that way anymore, not with life and myself as we are now, and my friends as well. Didn't live my whole previous life there anyway. Need to get out, already know where, as well as a rough outline of a plan. But how to get from here to there, and when? No clue. It's my next big hope though.

Do you know when you are going back to London? Do you have a plan set up for once you're there - where to live, transferring your prescription, etc?

Unknown said...

Hi Shane, 3rd Scot to comment. It would be good to see how coming back to the UK would colour your writing. So much easier to find stuff also, to hell with jumping through hoops as we live through our forties. Come over, at least for a while?

Absolut Ruiness said...

WOW. Such beautiful prose, I felt like singing it!
You made me yearn for for a visit to Paris and despise it at the same time.
I'm sure a 10 day visit wont reveal all of the horrors or miracles of the place but still I want to give it a go. Now more than ever.
Thank you Shane!

Shane Levene said...

Hey Ben... well I keep talking of coming home but never arrive. When I eventually do Scotland could be the place... I'm sure Mr Mills would put me up! Hope you're doing well, Ben... X

Shane Levene said...

Hey Cash... O, you can pimp your writing on here any time. Never a problem. France. Well, that was a mistake. Let's call it blackmail: "Either come with me and get clean or stay here alone!" And so I lied, told her what she wanted to hear and then thoroughly disappointed her. As soon as I could speak enough to score I went back to my good old ways. As I say, often people force you to lie. I'm not gonna tell the truth if there'll be hell to pay for it! Now I'm stuck here. But it's good for the writing. I doubt I'd have ever got things together enough to write if I'd have stayed in London.

More than an Englishman I think of myself as a Londoner and after that as British. My mother was from Northern Ireland, my father from Motherwell and I was born half way between both places. I've the worst of everywhere within me!

Physeptone are the old methadone pills? I used them years ago (before I'd ever tried smack). They stopped prescribing them in England because you could bang them up and from what I know here, in France, they're not prescribed either. We've methadone pills here but they contain gelatine which makes them impossible to inject. X

Shane Levene said...

Hey Ya Eyelick... X No definite date as yet, though it will be some time this year. For my script I'll have to do a little bit of research to see how possible it is and what they'll need from my doctor here. But I think it'll be OK. Thanks again, Darling and stay good and well... XxX

Shane Levene said...

Hi Ed... The Scots are loved and welcome round here, just wish there were even more. Concerning the writing I feel I'll write some wonderful stuff on my return. Though how great it'll be once a new crack habit kicks in, I'm not sure. France as been great for the writing though. I doubt I'd ever have written seriously if I'd not have left England. X

PS: got your email and will reply first chance I get.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps get as much methadone to bring to England as possible then as soon as you get to England apply for a new script.

Shane Levene said...

Hey Ruhi...X

Sing it!!! Go on... That'll be a first.

Oh, Paris is beautiful. You must go there if ever you get the chance. A short holiday is the best way to visit France without discovering it. Hope you're well. All My Thoughts, Shane. X

lucky said...

..RE pills i get a privatre srcipt of 5mg phyceptone which cabn be shot - but i sell for a quid each which in turn get exchanged for smack tokens..:/

JoeM said...

All these Scots, and not all junkies.

And of course there is the serial killer connection. You have every reason to hate us!

Funny, I've never had any wish to visit France. Rome yes - always had a thing for the history/look of the place. Berlin too - for the Cabaret/Bowie links.

Never France, though I read a lot of it when younger - Genet, Sartre, DeBeauvior, Camus.

Loved all that but it was always a bit too cold in the end.

'You sent me back and forth between despicable civil servants, all asking for different papers that they knew I didn't have'.

Of course a lot of your complaints happen in other countries. But I hear the bureaucracy is worst in France.

being marched off and strip-searched for standing too close behind three armed officers on the escalator

Oh tres Americain!

Though even in the 60s/70s we heard that the French cops were brutal.

Lines! None of three this time. But as usual I could have added yours.

I saw the same happen in Britain, the exact same idiots singing with joy and heralding in the new bandits and gangsters, clinking glasses and slurping down oysters together. Power is power and it always sounds like that.

You gave me so little you didn't even charge for it.

That winter of pneumonia and bronchitis when your dealers robbed me of everything but that which I didn't have.

Anonymous said...

Have checking your blog for a few years now and your writing style was always pretty good but the last couple of posts have been outstanding , cheers from Tony in Aus .

Anonymous said...

Come to Oz. We have loadsa room.

In defence of the French, you're English, not their problem. I don't mean that in a negative way, but assuming that you don't speak French the way you write English who would know what a clever man you really are?

In extremis, head home. Or at least to somewhere that you can express yourself and be understood.

Set up paypal.I'd help out a bit.

Anonymous said...

You don't like France: you get the fuck out. Stop playing the victim you delusional shit, you brought bankruptcy on yourself.
I admired how the Heroinhead tried to analyze his (human) condition, now he's just blaming others... What are you, a fucking kid ?

Shane Levene said...

Damn if the anonymous(e) Jim Jones isn't jealous. That'll eat right thru ya Jim ol' boy... looks like it already has. Thanks for reading five pages of delusional shit and admiring it enough to log out of your account and comment. you've spent more time on my site, raping my words, than anyone this year. Whether you hate or love it, all I care is that you are here. Silence is the only real terrible criticism any writer can have. XxX

Shane Levene said...

Joe M... excuse me for not replying (thought I had). X

None of three this time! Will have to do better next time.

Will reply in full a little later Joe... nipped across to quickly deal with anonymous (and he's not worth more than 30secs typing time. X

Shane Levene said...

Anon (as much methadone)... I'll do that and arrange something for when I arrive if I can't trabnsfer my script across. X

Shane Levene said...

Tony (Aussie)... Thank you, man... that's appreciated. You take care over/down there X

Shane Levene said...

Anonymous Oz... Oh, the offer of a little help is appreciated but it's my mess and I'll somehow get through it without that. I left some more in-depth comments on Facebook (under the post) explaining a little² more about the gripes and how many were not valid but came through pure frustration at a system I cannot corrupt. Will try and paste the comments over here when i have the chance. X

Unknown said...

Heya cant wait for another story or poem. If shit gets too much come to Germany, I live directly on the border to France (Rheinland Pfalz), even have an extra tent you could live in haha. During the night theres Internet and all the Heroin/Speed/Meth/Benzos you want, during the day well, the woods are an interesting place xD

Unknown said...

Such true words are to be re-read
35 years of the toothless existence
53 lived and dead for 35

Shane Levene said...

Hey Jamz...

I may have to take you up on that offer... Plus, I've always loved Germany and need to someday get over there and kill my ex-girlfriend! X

Shane Levene said...

Hey Matty...

Even in death you probably lived more life than most. It's a hard, beautiful and ugly world and I hope you at least have some romance within it. All My Best, Shane. X

Naomi said...

La France t'aime aussi mon chou.
In all seriousness, France is not that bad of a country to live in for drug users. There are some pretty good structures (good harm reduction, free and medical grade gear to get high) some pretty good parties, hot chicks and men, depending on your liking, and some good drugs flowing if you know where to look. But there is an inherent unattainable feeling to it sometimes, which may be part of the charm, she plays hard to get, la France.

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Anonymous said...

Hi there.
I just randomly stumbled across your blog and I must say this is all quite fascinating to me.
Loved every sentence of this billet d'humeur,
I must admit I've never even tried to imagine what it must be like for a guy like you you to live and go through your struggles in this country, and you managed to take me right there inside your mind for a few minutes.

The grass is rarely greener...
Here's a word of wisdom for you: Don't fucking die!

Oh yeah and also, fuck you!
France doesn't owe you shit!

Keep it up

French expatriate

Unknown said...

great writing my friend

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