Archive for May, 2011
23 May, 2010, Paris, France
France again. Arrived yesterday, on a short early flight from Manchester, as if in a dream. Paris seemed surreal. Dropped our bags in the cozy, yet utilitarian “Hotel Picard” near Republique, right across from the old Temple square. Wandered into the Marais in the weekend heat, stirred awake by rush and bustle. Paris is a marketplace of savory delights this afternoon. Lots of people in the city. While charming streets and a view of Notre-Dame from Ile St. Louis elevated the spirit, there is a noticeably dulled tone to my mood and reaction to the city. Perhaps in conscious disharmony with all the overzealous tourists. Or, perhaps, as all of life these days, it feels like I’ve done it before. There is an eerie sense of déja vu. An anhedonic pall hangs over my wanderings. Still, the courtyard leading to the pyramid of the Louvre reminds me of my first visit, and it’s all passably vivid.
Sat in a shady corner of the Tuileries before showing C the treasures at l’Orangerie. There was a special exhibit of work by Paul Klee, whose later oeuvre took on a kind of distinctive stylized primitivism I rather like. Klee’s last days were plagued by illness and Nazis, but it didn’t stem the creative flow. In 1939, the year before he died, he produced 1,200 works! If I had only a shadow of this productivity. My mind boggles at the sense of urgency that must have overtaken him.
Today was just aimless wandering — down to Bastille, the Jardin des Plantes, the river and Shakespeare & co., then Saint-Sulpice, the 7ieme and its chic stores and on to the Musee Rodin. Line was too damn long and we moved on. Area around Alexandre III and the Grand Palais was absolutely packed. City was just too busy this weekend. But sunny, warm and, as always, full of lovely little surprises…
A possibly sporadic return to this blog by way of a travelogue entry…Two years ago:
10 May, 2009, Paris, France
Sitting in Corcoran’s — a nouveau Irish pub on Faubourg St. Antoine. Feel at home in places like this…Even in Paris.
Had a good day at the BnF yesterday. Primarily secondary sources. They all tend to mention the standard trope that associates vitalism with fascism. This view, I’m more and more aware, is rooted in a misunderstanding of a fundamental element of vitalism — the embrace of complexity, skepticism, etc…Realize that some of my work may be perceived with suspicion. Good. Why would I want to recycle neo-liberal or crypto-Marxist triteness? Trying to entertain a little more diversity of opinion. Some trouble-making neo-Nietzschean anarchy. Or dada. Puppies for president, I say!
Off-kilter sleeping patterns these days. Making me a little delusional at the moment. Paris, man.
Up late but went out with purpose. To the Tuileries to read Lucretius in the sun again, and then to l’Orangerie. Amazing space. Monet’s waterlilies are just stunning — they leave you dumbfounded. The permanent collection in the basement is almost equally impressive. Some beautiful stuff by Renoir, Soutine and other late impressionists I’d never heard of. You think you know art history until you come to Paris.
Walked home along Rue St. Honore and through the Marais — Rue des Rosiers. Had a sandwich of delectable mystery meat at “L’As du Fallafel” — scrumptious. Perhaps not surprising that the place has been written up in the New York Times. Ended the day with a chance to talk to my lovely C, who always makes me smile and buoys me. I feel her love even from afar, and miss her dearly…
N.B. A fellow blogonaut, Tim Boucher (a.k.a “Pop Occulture”), has just set off on a true journey himself and is sharing his “experiences”. Do tune in.