Been meaning to publish this guest post for about a month, but many things got in the way, including some sad news that needed blogging about. Now that the weather seems to be clearing, here goes…

It was a sunny Wednesday morning in June, in Newcastle. A producer from Montreal had just landed to give us a hand to close and ship Driver San Francisco for the holiday period of 2010. However…

Nine months later, things have evolved quite a bit. lightspeedchick is cooking dinner while I am checking her blog from the Gym/Gameroom of our tiny apartment in downtown Newcastle, hoping that she might have updated it during a fit of insomnia I would still be unaware of. But still no news since the last July post where she was mentioning the difficulties of settling in somewhere that is definitely not home. I have since been pushing her to start posting again, but it seems our relationship, Driver San Francisco and her life as an expat have sucked up any energy she could have used to write. She is busy slicing onions when I start to push her once again:

Quand est-ce que tu postes sur ton blog ?
Ché pas. Trop à raconter.
C’est le moment là, tout est en place.
Pourquoi tu le ferais pas toi ?
Moi ?
Oui, des fois j’ai des guests, ça s’fait.
Tu veux que moi je raconte ta vie ?
Ben oui !
Et parler du boulot, de nous, de nos conflits, du reste…
C’est ben correct.
T’es sérieuse là ? Parce que moi là écrire ça me démange.
Mets-en.

But who am I? I am pikoti, an arrogant little fucker from Paris. I have been designing games for quite a while now. Prior to that I was a film and game reporter and a wannabe screenwriter. I have a five-year-old son, living with his mother in the 15th arrondissement of Paris in an apartment I called home for seven years, before a very unlikely chain of events transported me to Newcastle a few weeks before Christmas 2009…

So, back to that sunny Wednesday in June when the producer from Montreal landed. She called a meeting at her desk to be updated on the recent design changes operated on Driver San Francisco. We spoke in Franglish as her French and mine were not really in synch. She referred to “chars” all the time and I soon realized that I didn’t follow. For me a “char” is a military tank or chariot like the one driven by Charlton Heston in Ben-Hur. For her, it is what I would call a “voiture”, an “automobile” or a “caisse”, a car in English. And during that meeting I had the feeling that she was checking me out. It was subtler than what I could express with my written English skills, but I think she was definitely checking me out.

Later during that day, some colleagues I was not really close to proposed to take her out for a welcome meal. I had been added to the mailing list as a French speaking expat who could help her blend in with the studio more quickly. Without consciously realizing it, I felt motivated to join in. It’s not exactly my kind of thing to join in a crowd that I hardly know. I prefer the tranquillity of my apartment and the company of movies and video games rather than superficial discussions that often end up in drunken nights, especially in Newcastle. But this time the Montreal producer was to attend, and some mysterious magnetism was pulling me toward her.

And so we found ourselves side-by-side at Wagamama on Eldon Square, chatting politely about our respective careers and the games we worked on previously. Then the meal was over and the group split. I was surprisingly disappointed by the lack of final drinks during which I could have talked to her a little more…

At the end of the week, the two workaholics that we are found ourselves together at the office on Sunday, while the rest of Newcastle watched England be booted out of the World Cup. Late in the afternoon, I offered her to go on the quayside for a pint… There, we chatted for hours about movies, religion, video games, books, politics and evoked the complicated relationships we were both in. I think she had me when she said that she loved The Untouchables and had done a thesis on James Cameron focused on Aliens.

The rest would be some very good material for a Franco-Canadian romcom, where a Montreal girl and a Parisian boy, both tangled in some serious shit back home, find themselves working together in Newcastle – the British capital of Stag Nights – and fall for each other…