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.
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