Monday, June 19, 2006


** Any mistakes in this weeks post’s are due to the joys of using 'free' wi-fi (or, as its pronounced in French - whiffy) in café’s. This actually means that you rock up to a café and order a ridiculous amount of food so they don’t think you’re taking advantage. Then you wait half an hour for your free pass, during which time your battery dies. Having eaten all your food you are then obliged to order 3000 cups of coffee whereupon your free pass runs out - which no one bothered to tell you about, and you get disconnected just before you press ‘publish’.

“And that’s why I love Paris” lodged on the end of my previous post like a panacea for all my bitching. Why do I never remember that it takes precisely two days for me to acclimatise to this city?
Now I’ve remembered that if I raise my voice by a few octaves when I mangle the French language my accent stops sounding German. I’ve stopped looking in mirrors every time someone passes me and looks at me as if I have something disgusting – (perhaps a large turd?) on my face.
There is nothing on my face.

So many treats I don’t know where to start. The Canal Saint Martin was a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Tranquille is the word that comes to mind. I wandered all the way up the canal from the end nearest Republique. It’s a great place to relax, you can watch boats trying to negotiate the locks, dip your toes in the water or go for a drink at one of many little bars. I’d go for the Hotel du Nord especially if you’ve seen the film of the same name.

At the top of the canal and the beginning of the next I find the MK2 cinema at Quai de Loire. Although it’s a warm, sunny day the thought of an air conditioned cinema and Marie-Antoinette is too much to resist. Yes, it was amazing. Yes, I spotted the lilac Converse Chuck T’s nestled amongst the Blahniks in the Manolo/Laduree/Champagne fest. I loved this film from the beginning of the kick arse soundtrack, to the lavish costumes juxtaposed with subtle Sofia trademark shots of light filtering through trees or of wildflower meadows. The little moments; like when M.A signs the wedding register, splodges ink at the end of her signature and almost inaudibly goes ‘oop’. I loved Rose Byrne as the Duchesse de Polignac – I keep wanting to call her Pompougnac. Her role and his as Costes DJ are not that dissimilar after all - they both get the party started! Rose Byrne should win an award for her portrayal of the Duchesse as a 17th c version of a lovably scatty Notting Hill trustafarian. Lots of the film reminded me of my clubbing days. Debauchery! Staying up partying all night, watching the sun rise. Who would ever have thought I’d be able to relate to a film about Marie Antoinette? And Jamie Dornan as smouldering Count Fersten - the best casting of guy candy ever. And the part at Le Petit Trianon!
I’ll stop. I don’t want to spoil it.
I can see why The French weren’t so keen but I couldn’t really care less about being true to the story of M.A. I went in with no expectation. I left seeing things (visually) from a slightly different angle - actually framing things I saw as if through a lens.

As if that weren’t enough of a treat I got to hear Geoff Dyer read from my favourite book of his; ‘Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered To Do It’. I’m sure I heard a collective female sigh from the audience when he mentioned his lovely wife –twice!
I’d love to be able to tell you how after the reading, Geoff – my new best friend/writing mentor and I whiled away the evening drinking Lillet and discussing life on the road. But I was happy to listen to him read his work and then scurry away clutching my signed book.
Some of the points raised in the travel writing weekend made me look differently at writing in general. I always feel bad when I portray an experience negatively.
I stopped buying travel guides for just this reason. “Don’t bother going to the church of such and such, it’s boring and ghastly”. Then you’d happen upon a charming little church and realise it’s the very one you’d not bothered to visit. So I suppose now I realise that it’s all down to personal experience and the very real need to be truthful to that. Ie: if I bitch about Paris, don't just take my word for it!

1 comment:

eurobrat said...

Well now I really have to see MA.