Saturday, January 21, 2006

To Boldly Stumble where others have flanned before.....

I read some cryptic bitchiness in a comments box...and so I tought my paranoid snarling ripose might be a suitable way to start this post.

why do I call myself a flaneur?

In english, FLAN sounds like a type of frilly tart.

After my 10Euro splurge at the Sympa Sales on Wednesday, believe me; I have earned the right to such a title. More frilly lacy tacky vinyl shit that you can poke a Moulin Rouge at. Mother in Law quite appalled.

The word Flaneur is masculine. the anglophone cognoscetti conntotations are of the Baudelierian Dandy, strollign arround in beau brummel gear, or even a sartrean skivvy, reading a bit of proust while puffing on a Gauloise in some poncy cafe in St. Germain. Or Melbourne.

Calling yourself a flaneur in the 21C instantly screams out POSER! YOU PONCY WANKER!!!

There seems to be a nice gender neutrality to such insults..... but there is a seminal smear of recongition of the type, Morissey at Best, or at worst Rick Mayall's Character in the young ones. Fuck I'm showing my age.......

But how does a girl get to do this shit?

Point is, we don't. At least not beyond some slinky Black and white soft porn suited up slouching in a Robert Doisneau style alley. Pin Striped suit, low cut silk blouse, loose over taut tiny limbs. POsing again. Flaneuse sounds like a floozy. Back to the vinyl micro minis. My arse hung out the bottom. Fucking Fetchy eh?

Then there is the average argot of Flanning. La Balarde, the stroll. Walking the dog, which I should be doing now. The quick stride to the next suburb buried in a doudoune. My breath freezes in front of me. the doudoune is not sexy at all. Its what people wear though, when they go a flanning.

the other night we mised the last metro, and the last RER and the last train to the brubs. We were stranded at 1am on the champs ELysees. It's frenhc for ELysean Fields whihc were some ancient idea of purgatory (forgot if its greek or Roman sorry). A damn fine name for the state we were in. Do we go clockwise or anti clockwise around the Arch de Triumphe?

Eventually we found the right grande Boulevarde to start our long haul to La Defence. We trudged up Avenue Charles de gaule in the rain, through Neuilly, named on some magazine cover as "the village that supports sarkozy 83%". Its hell on wheels. Dead at night, hideous faceless shopfronts with the occasional window display of pyjamas. Like the grande bourgeouise burbs of Sydney (think of Neutral bay) leading to the portal to hell that is La Defense.

Fortunately, at about 2am, we crosed the seine and I found a side ways staircase just before concrete hell that led us up to Puteaux. People strolling at night, houses wiht the lights on, and nitingales singing. Unfortunately, my boots were leading water and my feet were fucking sore.

So this is a long winded way of saying that I am a flaneur. or a trudger, or a staggerer, a fumbler, a bumbler. Maybe bumbler is closer to the truth.

I insist on the perogative of describing what I do in daily life, in terms of social curiosity, and critical inquiry. I think its a good thing to do. Despite the gaps and failings. But is it any worse than the Australian students I've met at uni who get funded to go and do long and wanky researhc on the 19th century Parisian flaneur? Why do they bother? who do they think they are? do they even speak french? have they got any idea of Paris that's notlisted on the free Lafayettte Turist map?

the title of Artist is equally abused and romanticised as that of flaneur. and it incites just as much pretension and resentment. but if you make art, then what the hell are you meant to call yourself?

shit. I'd better walk the dog before sunset.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Cold Fingers

Today I got up with grand dreams of writing a scintillating travelogue.

But then I spnet 2 hours wandering in La Defense, trying to spend the rewuired duty free minimum of 180Euros during the January Sales. I got up to 160 but thenI faltered. I have enough crap - and the 45 euro bag saying WARNING: I COME FROM THE SUBURBS (wiht flales on it to re,ind people of the riots) looked like an overporiced cheesy ripoff of what I could find at the fle,arkets in the same suburbs.

Anywya after Le Defense, I struggled past the cheesy shopping mall food, back to the brubs for a 5 eruoe feast of couscous & veggies. sitting net to lme was the lest eligible bacherlor of Paris. Single men take note/ YOU MUST LEARN TO EAT QUIETLY AND NOT SLURP NOISILY. No woman, however desperate, can ever put up ziht such slurpy gross shit.

So now..... mind blank, surounded by garcons giggling in Arabic. Amazed to read english on my browser and trying to type fster so my fingers donùt feel the cold.

This week anna & I have been hanging out with Lee, our neighbour whose been in Paris for the holidayof a lifetime. She's staying in a hotal near montmartre and was disspointed to discover that the Moulin rouge is a sleazy strip joint in a sleazy tourist strip..... (pigalle)

But she's forced us to get out and enjoy Paris for the pretty place it is. Lest night we went to an intimate concert of some guy from PAris Combo, doing Django Reinhardt covers with his mates. the whole cafe started singing along and one chick did a flamenco dance. tres noice.

The night before Anna & I had a brief foray into dykerama, shoing Lee the Unity Bar, where we met, whihc was........ full of butch dykes singing cheesy 80's songs in little girl voices. I felt human for a change.Also felt like a veteran.....

Highglihgt of the week was Lee collapsing on the Champs ELysee. I'd like to say she was shocked by the queue outside the grande Palais (imagine waiting 2hrs in 4 degrees for an art exhibition). but its was more like scary septicaemia. So we got a ride in the Pompiers (fire brigade who also act as the parisian ambulance) and got to hang out in a hospital for 3 hours. My dormant micropbiology degree kiccked in at the same time as my french which was lucky cowz anna & I had to be the translaters.

Lee's OK now. thank god for penicillin.she's gone off today to piss on Jim ?Orrisons grave.

I've been transcribing the interivews i did for my PhD and also tryign to arrange an interview here in PAris wiht the life drawing teachers at the Ecole Nacionale Beaux Artes; Negotiating bitch faced secretaries over the phone in my dodgy french is a bit of an adrenaline rush........ thank god for Chutzpah.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


dunno if anyone is reading this coz it probably seems like I droppe doff the face of the planet.

right now I'm typing this from an internet/ international phone booth shop in the suburbs of Paris.

I walked here from anna's house in one of those desperate states of near tears. We don't cuddle in bed, barely kiss. LBD has taken hold. She's cold, I'm cold, she spends her entire days translating subtitles on a film she made and the only time we talk is in front of her parents. Right now its lunch time and I'm missing the four course 2 hour extravganza that is the daily repaste.

The weather is cold. I'm wearing a doudoune which is a great name for a full lenght parka that feels like a doona. I'm more fleunt in frenhc than I've ever been - even following the news and anna's parents tlaking over the top of it and reading the canard enchainee and getting the jokes.

I bleached my hair blond and with my anglophone accent still am quite etranger. this time I probably aml enjouying Paris moire than before. love the cold, the lack of sports news, love the architecture, and I'm diong lots of drawingds becqause I'm afraid its my last time here. There's a big fat lacuna and its in my love life this time. What a cheesy line. but it's true; shit.