scribbles tagged ‘Paris’

international humanitarian crisis

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010 | tags: , , , , ,  |

I hate French men, they’re all animals

puddingSpoken by anyone other than Jane this might not have seemed so suprising. Jane adored France. Studying business studies in French, recently returned from a year’s work experience in Paris. I listened, hoping my silence would draw out answers to the whirlwind of questions running through my mind.

Jane is one of the most beautiful young girls I know, palest china skin, amber glowing eyes, natural ring-curls, high cheekbones and a ski-jump nose. Even in this anger she maintailed a doll-like beauty. Our silence continued. Jane clearly had something to say about French men, but didn’t know how to continue

Do you want to talk about it?

Tears fell. Even for the most skilled coordinating crying, breathing, nose-blowing and conversation, is a tricky operation. Jane was skilled.  I listened.

I was raped

it wasn’t my fault

he was an animal

I didn’t report it

I’d invited him into my flat for a coffee

who’d believe the foriegn girl

french police are men too

they’re all animals

The only real suprise to me was her bounding this experience to focus on French men. Alas, she’ll learn that rape’s internationalised without me pointing it out.

international humanitarian crisis
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crackling air

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010 | tags: , ,  |

door 27The orchestra emerges from door 27

The crash barriers help stop the rather untamed orchestra from rushing out and hurting any unsuspecting passing pedestrians.

The orchestra is normally kept underground, in a bunker, they are let out for fresh air on national holidays. One day I noticed a lot of people gathering around this door, waiting for a glympse of the orchestra. The atmosphere was electric and slightly damp. Crackling air

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mobilising immobilisation

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010 | tags: , ,  |

My journey to Paris today was all a bit exciting

electronic checkin:  we cannot check you in please go to an Air France Desk

Air France desk: are you on one of the plane’s that’s been cancelled?

Apparantly I was. Luckily they got me on another flight in the emergency exit seat with more leg room than I could reasonably justify even when waggling my skinny legs around enthusiastically.

only big trains from now onAt Charles De Gaulle airport the first train wasn’t going exactly where I wanted to go.  What the heck,  I got on with the intention of changing when the routes differed. This tactic got me where I needed to be in time.

I did notice the signs on some platform,  information signs, saying no trains….   …I managed to get where I needed to be without realising that Paris had been immobilised by industrial action

mobilising immobilisation
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Sunday, September 12th, 2010 | tags: , ,  |

LouvreOn the way to an evening of BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall, walking along Kensington High Street,  we passed two Police people carring large guns.

Walking through the Louvre in Paris, we passed several people in army uniform carrying large guns.
Royal Albert Hall

I feel no more safe than before armed services patroling. I feel more scared, scared that I may be mistaken for a potential terrorist. As if we all lost freedom when governing powers felt the need to increase the arms on the streets and laws to control people who might be a threat.

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barrel of love

Saturday, September 11th, 2010 | tags: , ,  |

Locks of love on a bridge over the SieneA bridge over the river Siene is decorated with messages of love.


On the barrel of each padlock is a message of love, some in black pen, some in red varnish.

Beautiful art emerging in one place, bought by so many lovers.

It’s visual, community poetry, in action. Sculpture. Very moving

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crowning glory

Saturday, September 4th, 2010 | tags: , ,  |

David captures a fictionalisation of the moment when the French Emperor Napolean crowns Josephine Empress of France. It’s a BIG picture. This version hangs in a room at the end of the Versailles Hall of Mirrors.

I rather liked that a tourist in the foreground is wearing a triangular crown made from newspaper. Very versataille: read or wear as oppose to ready to wear..

Napolean crowns Josephine Emperess

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ex terminate!

Friday, September 3rd, 2010 | tags: , , ,  |

only big trains from now onThis is the end of short trains,

they will be terminated,

only long trains from now on.

Those French are both assertive and sizist.

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walking amongst the homeless

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010 | tags: ,  |

Arch De Triumph

The homeless slept on the streets by the monuments. Belongings stocked in supermarket trolleys. The open-top sightseeing tourist bus roll by as the rain clouds gather and the homeless sleep in the warmth of the daylight.

I saw several cardboard cities around the inner Paris suburbs, groups of homeless helping each other. Hiding from the weather, not from the public.

At pedestrian crossings the homeless sat silently on the floor holding out used paper cups containing a few coins.

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city of love

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010 | tags: , , ,  |

Tour EiffelEarly evening In Paris, in the company of a recently married couple, leaving our hotel in search of the Tour Eiffel. Will we walk? Will we ride bus 63 then 24? Will we take the metro? Do we want to get there quickly or have a beer first?

The map with the metro and bus routes rustles she checks routes and numbers. The map never leaves her hands yet the decision making is clearly mutual. I chip in ‘Hoorah’ when having a beer is thrown into the mix then comment that I don’t mind how or when we get there.

The discussion takes minutes, it’s like an elegant dance. If alone I would already be sat in that bar drinking a beer, watching the world go by, listening to people and relaxing. In their company I am happiest to be stood on the street corner listening to the uncovering of each others values, finding out what works best for both of them,  together.  It’s sensible, practical, sometimes funny, time consuming. It’s love. I am watching love happen and glad to be temporarily touched by it’s closeness.

My understanding of a couples’ love has been changed by not having lived in it for over a decade.  I’m not speaking of the love of family, friends, my recently departed Matrix or her remaining companion. I’m speaking of the sharing and merging of selves. In my last decade there was the too-sluggish death of a rejected love, skirmishes into sexual relationships, the love of close friends and cats.  My view on the love between a couple is now mainly drawn from strong memories of my 4 very different loves from the last century, watching and listening to others, and the stories told in books, films, blogs and newspapers.

Tour EiffelThe loves that I see shining brightest is in sharing the detail of living. Things like shopping for food, preparing a meal, deciding how to spend the evening. All show love. Maybe those of you who are living in love find this odd when the passion and joy in the laughter, warmth, smiles, praise, sex, and scents can be so wonderfully intense and engulfing.  I can find laughter, warmth, smiles, praise, sex and scents in my life. When I’m with friends and family there is also the mutual knowledge of sharing the detail of life with someone who has gradually built an understanding of what works.  When the passion and the detail meet with another single person, this is the couples love. Not part of my life.

We stopped for some golden beers before taking the Metro to the Tour Eiffel. We danced through the park basking in the glory of the tower’s golden night-time plumage.

This post is dedicated to Paris, the traveler, her first love, her husband, and the memory of Matrix.

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Paris mourning

Thursday, August 5th, 2010 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

New year really started in the bathroom of a 3 star hotel 45 minutes walk from Notre Dame. Not midnight amongst the Europeans singing, hugging, kissing and drinking. A houseparty of strangers. A strange flavour of tonic water.

It wasn’t raining, but the clouds seemed to crowd right into the bathroom mixing with the steam where the taps ran water into the bath as quickly as it ran out the plug hole.  I’d tired of scrubbing. Red and wrinkled skin from hours of soaking, foaming.  Sometimes if was difficult to tell if this was real or a dream.

The effects of the spiked gin and salty tears were gradually wearing off, being replaced by a profound silence and a kind of numbness I’d never known before or since. I drank more water. Sometime I would have to leave this room, through the one door back to the bedroom. Have to look into his eyes and see all that had happened the night before reflected there. All his questions and apologies, all his needs and regrets had to be faced.  There wasn’t enough room for me to run with the water down the plug hole.  Watching the water spiral down I wished as hard as I could to either wake from this dream or slide out with the water.

Slowly, precisely and with the conviction normally reserved for reprimanding criminals I turned the taps off, rose, dried and dressed myself. Blew my nose. Drank more water.  Closed the window. Composed, upright, dry faced.  In the privacy of my mind I could hear the applause and cheering for a well excecuted restoration job.

 I walked out of the bathroom


Paris mourning
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