Archive for the ‘France’ Category

Thoughts of Her

May 20, 2013

Why so many thoughts of her? Do I still love her? Or do I want to be her? The whole glossy fashion magazine life – the right brands, the right places. Somewhere between lululemon and YSL is Nirvana. There was – is – a regal grace about the woman that’s really sexy. The pinnacle of a plug for United Colors of Benetton extolling the virtue of temperance.

I imagine her also in a luxuriance only dreamed of in some Arabian legend of gold and wishes granted. Delighting in massage after massage at the hands of big strong men while little Asian ladies give the eternal pedicure – a kind of state of permanent blissful grooming.

In my thoughts, her Adidas tennis skirt is always hitched up revealingly, instantly recalling the après game, set and match. Her soul served in a chilled vodka (Absolut?) and cranberry cocktail, sitting on a mosaic-covered table overlooking the town of Santorini – bathed in sun and the snazziest French produit de soleil. She is certainly a tart du tropique.

Then there is the innate mastery of arts gastronomique. She will always be rosy and smiling, filled with Paris, fine wine and enough chocolate mousse to choke une cheval. Her lovely long blonde hair forever bathed in the candlelight of a bustling Parisian restaurant. Dinner at Chez Janou, for the rest of time.

Well, anyway, cheers to you madame. On avait l’amour, si meme pas pour longtemps.

Young Moses (Gustave Moreau)

December 26, 2012



June 14, 2012

The sixth (+1 day) anniversary of my first post with this project. An image that captures what I hope to keep producing…Doorways to mysterious places…


September 11, 2011

Paris, Encore

May 23, 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…

Two Years…

May 10, 2011

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…

Le sigh.

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.


September 23, 2010

Gnostic Ephemera

July 19, 2010

This is a bizarre experiment. I’ve transcribed some old notes taken while reading an esoteric text of some minor fame: Tobias Churton’s The Gnostics. Reading the book led to an odd revelation of sorts, also included. I’m not sure what to make of it all…I leave that to you:

Initial description of the burial of non-canonical, unorthodox texts in 367 AD.

Valentinus; greatest of the Roman Gnostics. Ca. 160 AD. Possible author of Gospel of Truth. (??)

Apuleius; Platonic. Distinction between the sensible and the intelligible (the nous). An intuitive faculty: A higher reason.

Description of “intellect”. (35)

Hans Jonas; Gnostic scholar…worked with Heidegger.

Gnosticism; split between man and nature. “Otherness” of man. “Proto”-humanism (?). Concept of alienation.

Immanentist nature of modern world. Determinism (science; cause & effect). Value-free origin (Evolution) — starts one on a path to nihilism… (??)

Contrast between Gnosis and the mystery religions (naturalistic). Is Hermetic an intermediary — “naturo-spiritualism”? Wings on feet and head.

Hermetic; Hermes (earth & heaven). Inspiration to the philosophers. (Thoth) God of writing and magic. Knowledge. Quick wit.

Valentinus; Born ca. 110 AD. Poet, philosopher, theologian.

Origin of “the world.” (54-5) Manichean duality.

Catharism; link to Gnosis.

Similarity in principles of Catharism & Gnosticism; Duality, evil/corrupted world, criticism of orthodoxy.

Montségur; final stronghold of the Cathars.

Renaissance Hermeticism; Platonism (neo-), Spiritual humanism, microcosm-macrocosm, Hermes — mediator between spirit & matter, Seeking the “one”; classical revival (magic).

Discussion of Hermes in St. Augustine and Lactantius.

Ficino; translation of the Corpus Hermeticum (Pymander) for Medici (1464).

From Cosimo to Lorenzo. Pico Della Mirandola (1463-94). Dignity of Man. 900 Theses. 13 Found heretical. Responds with apologia. Oratio; Oration on the Dignity of Man. “Hermetic man…” (111).

Man’s potential. (113)

Giordano Bruno (1548-1600). Hermeticism. Living. “Anima Mundi.” “Thus everything…” (125). A divine and living universe.

Deism; “mechanistic” God.

Hermetic/Gnostic; little known to Newton. (?)

“Anti-rationalist.” “Anti-materialist.”

The warning of Frankenstein.

William Blake; criticism of mediocrity and materialism. “Mind-forged manacles.” Criticism of industrial mechanism. Reason & reductionism.


Connection between Rosicrucians and science. Division regarding the future purposes of science ca. 1650.

Saint-Martin, Charcot, Constant, Steiner, Jung…

Hylic, psychic, pneumatic. Body, mind, spirit.

We moderns understand knowledge to be knowledge only of an objective form. This is to say that real meaning and value are ascribed only to objective knowledge. Experience, perception and feeling are sources of knowledge, but not forms of knowledge itself. People, places and ideas only become knowable through a mediated “lens” of imagery and language. If people aren’t Africans, Canadians, miners, old, impoverished, short, tired, rich, starving, blind, religious, or even non-descript, who are they? If you’re not somewhere, where are you? Nowhere? Are not the powerful and constant experiences of everyone everywhere a kind of knowledge? What is the meaning? How does one understand?


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