Fall In Love With The Museum of Broken Relationships

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From a singular smelly sneaker, to a half-completed Sodoku puzzle book, my fictional characters would have gladly donated their break-up debris to the Museum of Broken Relationships. But when I first wrote the first draft of ‘Break Up Club’, there was no such thing. So the Club had to make do with building a bonfire that led to the fire brigade being called out, and almost being thrown in jail.

Luckily, now there’s a real place you can send your break-up detritus (date-tritus, anyone?). I was lucky enough to go to the sneak preview ahead of its opening today, June 4th, at 6751 Hollywood Boulevard.*

#BrokenshipsLA is a cathedral of catharsis, where only the brave have shed their most intimate, sentimental memories, and laid their broken dreams to rest. Reading the plaques, the relief is palpable. You get a real sense of these people having finally attained peace in themselves, having finally let go.

Being a geek about break-ups (an occupational hazard), I’ve been to the museum twice before over the years. But this time, I was struck dumb by the quality of the writing in all the stories. I feel disloyal saying this, but I don’t remember the plaques in London all being as impeccably written. Perhaps there has been a more shrewd editing process this time, but they are all brilliantly balanced – both as pieces in themselves, and in relation to each other. Sensitively curated, some stories are brutally short; a real power in their brevity. Others are as long and meandering as the lifetimes they span.

The artefacts range from the funny (a mirror weighed down with the memory of a break-up), the freaky (curled up contacts collected in a baggy), the frightening (belly button fluff)… to the heartbreaking (the teddy who no longer has music in his fingertips)… and the adorably mundane:

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At this point I can’t not mention another similarity to ‘Break Up Club’ – which has its own fluoride motif, first mentioned here:

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But back to the museum. Below are some of my all time favourites.

Yard 2
Heavy baggage
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Free in every sense of the word
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Nobody’s hero
The butterfly effect
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When a butterfly flaps its wings… all the way to the rubbish dump
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Bear of little heart
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No picnic
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Uncomfortable silence

After an hour in the Museum, you are bowled over by the universality of break-ups. A sense that Love is the best feeling in the world, whereas break-ups are worse than death. But most of all you come away realising that it’s only by sharing our hoarding with others that we can declutter our emotional attics and finally move on. A break-up shared really is a break-up halved.

In the spirit of sharing, then – if I was ever going to donate an object, it would be one red high-heeled shoe. A symbol of one particularly significant love story I lived through. I won’t bore you with the details, but it began with a romantic Cinderella-esque meet-cute, and ended when the relationship turned into a pumpkin 10 months later. Sadly, I can’t donate the original shoe because the ‘real life Break Up Club’ and I burned it in a bonfire. This was back in 2009, before Zagreb’s first Brokenships had opened. So like my characters, we had to improvise.

I had to laugh when the invite came into my inbox with one red high-heeled shoe on it. 

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*Incidentally, ‘Break-Up Club’ itself has also finally just opened its doors, thanks to Harper Collins. You can join here, or find out more at breakupclub.co.uk

 

 

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Break-Up Club – now open for business for the Summer!

Which is code for, my novel is out today in e-book and print on-demand! Thanks to the lovely team at Avon/Maze Books for making it all happen ! Here I am having a nice wheat beer in Venice to celebrate (a day early because of the time difference)

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I’ll be jumping in my blog-tour bus again very soon, so I’ll see you in a corner of the interweb very soon, but until then, here’s a sneak preview of PAGE ONE if you’ve not seen it before…

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And here’s the trailer!

What becomes of the broken-hearted? They get drunk a form a slightly pathetic club and fall head over heels, that’s wot.

Thanks for watching, reading and if you liked any of it, click here to buy it – either in old-skool paperback mode, or new-fangled ebook…

Thank you!

Lorelei 

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8 PLACES TO TAKE REFUGE FROM SMUG MARRIEDS THIS V-DAY

Forget fifty romantic places to woo your lover, this is an indispensable guide to the places to drown your sorrows in London town, either in solitude or with other members of your #Break-UpClub… especially on this most bleak and pointless of days.

Readers, if you’re single on Sunday or worse, newly single, take comfort. London is a city full of heart – even when yours is broken. As someone who has just written a book that takes a merry dance through the darkest and cosiest nook and crannies of our city, I would love to be your tour guide. So, here we go.

(1) One Tree Hill, Honor Oak Park, SE23

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Literally, the flip-side to the view from the top of Primrose Hill. Swap smug marrieds and sprogs for the birdsong and casual dog-walkers of One Tree Hill. It may sound like a half-baked American teen drama, but it’s actually a lovely spot flanked by cemeteries, to remind you of the fragility of life and shove everything into perspective. Watch the sun set on your relationship in peace in this well-kept secret in South East London. Makes Parliament Hill look cheesy, and is far enough away from everything to give you the distance you need to heal.

(2)The Breakfast Club Angel, N1

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Take a slow brunch at the cosiest little food-nest, and an 80’s time-warp in all the right ways. Fuck Disneyland: this is the happiest place on earth. You cannot be depressed about having had your heart ripped through your bum – in here, while surrounded by all the warm Eightees nostalgia and pancakes with bacon, banana and maple syrup.

(3) Theobalds Park Camping & Caravanning, Waltham Cross, EN7

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Go on holiday by mistake, at this eerie campsite in Waltham Cross, barely twenty minutes from Liverpool Street. An excellent place to dance in the rain next to some trees, static caravans and a stagnant canal called The New River, that is ‘neither new, nor a river’, according to its plaque.

At Theobalds Park, incomparable vistas vy for your attention – a dual carriage way here, a Slough-esque trading estate there. And if you’re lucky you’ll be able to jump around on an old abandoned fence like it’s a trampoline. ‘The Real #Break-UpClub’ spent a few days there in a badly-equipped tent from Lidl. It turned out to be one of the best weekends of our lives, and inspired a whole chapter in Reader, I Dumped Him. There may have been copious booze consumed though. So don’t attempt to go there without at least a crate’s worth.

(4) The Big Red – Holloway N7 

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The pub where nobody knows your name. Lower your expectations as low as they can get, and you shan’t be disappointed. The Real BUC also go there in the book, but they renamed it The Big Blue, which seemed more apt.

(5) Feeling Gloomy, N1 and WC1

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Club Night in Soho, WC1 and Angel, N1 – Lose yourself to New Romantic classics, from the 80s and 90s, to songs which sound happy, but they are LYING. This is unsung club night spins tunes which are euphoric and melancholic in equal parts. From The Cure to The Smiths, you’ll be able to cry and jump around at the same time, and ‘reclaim’ any songs lost in the break-up vortex. (if you don’t know what a reclaim is, you’ll need to read the book I’m afraid)

Not open on actual Valentine’s Day but they did a Speed-Hating event which sounds amazing – look out for it next year! Their next club night is Saturday 5th March at The Phoenix in Soho.

(6) Swing Patrol, Lindy Hop dance lessons, all over London

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Swinging out is the best way to get over a break-up. You simply cannot be depressed about your failed relationship when you’re being twirled around to Ella Fitzgerald by a sweaty stranger, in a room full of other sweaty but ecstatic strangers, led by two even-more-perky Australians in headsets.

(7) The British Film Institute, SE1

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Not only is it right on the beautiful South Bank, so you can walk over the bridge and stare moodily out at the river before you get there, but the BFI boasts a best-kept secret called The Mediatheque, where you can binge-watch movies old and new, for free, from the privacy of your own booth. Look, even the Queen’s cottoned on!

If you’re lucky you’ll be able to watch some of the old movies and TV shows featured in this montage of break-ups. Bargain! Don’t miss out.

(8) The Serpentine Lido

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For evening booze picnics, followed by a sudden bracing dip in the 7 degree waters, clothed or otherwise. Nothing like a short, sharp shock to the system to wash away the old memories of your once-perfect-but-now-laid-to-rest relationship. And it’s a cold hard medicinal fact that wild-swimming cures melancholia. But more on that another day.

(9) Scrap all that. Hide indoors with friends, and have a Palentine’s Party.

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You could also do none of the above on Sunday. Another very sensible option is to batten down the hatches, stock up on booze and cheese, and hide out with your mates ’til it’s the 15th. Friends are the best – especially when you’re fresh from a conscious un-coupling. This is going to sound pathetic but ‘The Real BUC’ and I once played a game of ‘Secret Cupid’ where we each composed anonymous poems and wrote them in Valentine’s cards, then had to guess who wrote them. Like Secret Santa, only sillier, and with much more vodka. One of them began ‘Love is a funny thing… it sometimes ends up, in the bin.’

With that in mind I’d like to wish you all a very #HappyPalentinesDay

Relationships come and go, but good friends are for life!