Thursday, February 02, 2006

Travelog:Slumming it in the Sezieme

I've been housebound lately, trying to save money and not splurge on metro tickets out of the burbs and takeaway lunches in the centre of town. its also been so cold that outdoor life is reduced to a frantic scurry between cafes. I think my lips turned blue yesterday. Advantage is that I found a fucking amazing hot chocolate on the boulevarde St. Germain. BouleGerm is the home of scary fucking $10 coffees and loud american tourists tyring to be Simone De Beauvoir, but this place had this fucking amazing melted concotion that was like hot chocolate mousse. and it was only two euros.

Anyway we got a bit stir crazy yesterday so we grabbed the car and drove across the bois de Boulogne. It s big forest where prostitutes do tehir trade. Apparently brothels were made illegal here in the 1970's, and stuck between the bourgie banleiu of St. cloud and the extremeley bourgie 16th arrondissment, it sa great place for Brazilian trannies to score trade. the better sex workers have big trucks in winter parked on the kerb, but I still find it fucking odd.

OK, so we crossed the seine, crossed the forest and found ourselves in the 16th. Most of PAris is pretty much a social mixture, but the sprawling being marble facades of the 16th are a screaming exception. I'm not sure if there's anywhere in Australia that can compare with it, maybe Pymble and Prahan mixed together? All the buildings are the same 5 stoery high topped terraces, but many of them have gates aorund them. There are no sleazy corner shops, and no dodgy cafe/ tabacs. All retail is located on the Grand boulevards. I think everyone is meant to drive 5 minutes to get their brad, but the rest of PAris is made for 80 year old pedestrians who walk their dog and buy their bread each day. In the 16th, the only Africans are pushing prams, wiht white babies in them. I think the pram pushers have uniforms, but its hard to tell under their parkas.

We thoguth we'd go chekc out the musee marmottan, coz there's a clamilla claudle show and I wanted to see her drawings. Unfortunatley Clamille claudel was made famous from the plays and books produced by her right wing brother Paul. And that movie from the type. Outside the museum there was a gaggle of dead animals and helmet hairsprays. Fear. We pushed past the stench of purfume to the tickets, located near the freezing outdoors, and refusing concessions to students over 25, the une,mployed, the elderley, but allowing tteachers, curators and groups over 20 to get in for 4.5 Eruos. We paid more. Inside, more dead animals and helmets hairdos, and big jewelry and scary makeup. all touching and pushing and cackling absolute shite. Paris seemed so much more sophisticated when I didn't speak the language. Now I know that Spanish touists are just as fatuous as amriecan tourists and french art patrons are just as banal as Australians. frightening. And the scarey fur coat brigade also push up and rub agianst smelly prols like me. I thought I'd arm myself by not washing for a week and carrying some used tampons in my pockets, but helas! didn't work.

So after 2 hours of teeth clenching irritation I went downstaris to the non heated room with Monets Giverney paitnings. There's one view of the Japanse bridge from 1918-1919 thqt I think is my favrouite panting in the entire world. Unlike Monet Slide test example No. 57, the colours are DARK, and the strokes aren't knitted toghether into the characteristic mesh that gives that impresisonist shimmer. The whole thing is covered in a series of abstract gestures, that look like Cy Twombly on a bad hair day,Its not jsut the colours, its not the contours, its not just the shapes. I think its the best example of what oil paint IS. Pure plastic light. but fuck oh fuck they resonate. And they shimmer on the borderline between abstraction and a landscape composition. Elizabeth cummings in Australia skates on the same turf, so does Aida tomescue ON a good day, and there are moments when Craig Waddell (chekc out his Wynn piece from 05) also hits the mark. Extreme sports paint. I'm haunted by the possibilities........ which is why I then spent 6 hours on a jigsaw puzzle.

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