Ten things I remember from a trip to Paris
6th December 2013
Ten things I remember about Paris (whilst still in Paris in the cafe of the Pompidou) where they won’t take card for under fifteen euros; I am not buying anything.
1. Le Corbusier did not build the Pompidou.
2. My French is bad and so the way to remember the famous grave yard in Paris is to think of a father on a chair. Or a large chair which is the father of the smaller chairs. Comme ca:
3. Theatre maker Robert Wilson with a painted white face surrounded by scrawled cardboard signs making John Cage’s ‘Lecture on Nothing’ seem really terrible.
4. Homeless people in Paris are not looked after or/and have nowhere better to go than the subways; a man shooting up and one lying in his own shit.
5. Piere ‘Hugh’ has a name like my friend Hugh but with a Y in it somewhere. I am bad at remembering names and at speaking French.
6. Piere HuYghe IS very good or perhaps I stumbled upon the sometimes of him being really very good.
7. The sometimes:
A large black room, music playing and two rectangular lumps of concrete hovering over each other- between them green red and white lights shining through smoke. I read later that the music was by Erik Satie. Strong sensation that this thing was acutely artificial, in material and construction, and yet tacitly evocative of the opposite. I cried for the first time in a gallery. I thought I was alone until a man in a large bird mask and jeans stood up in the dark and walked slowly out of the room. Either I am unhinged or this was very beautiful.
8. There is an area in which there is a restaurant which is named after a song about cherries. ( I will cheat and find the name in a text message: ‘Le Temps Des Cerises in Butte Aux Cailles’. ) Deborah and I became regulars and we met a waiter who comes a lot to Camden.
9. Theatre producer Jim Haynes thinks I look like Joan of Arc; I think Jim Haynes looks like Father Christmas. He told me his ex wife did not come to his 80th birthday party. He wears a red apron which says ‘Jimmy’.
10. Oscar Wilde’s grave is now clean. A notice says any subsequent cleaning costs will be charged to his family. There are now only a few lipstick marks and the pale trace of old graffiti. Someone has stolen the cock from the naked angel. Jacob Epstein designed the grave. There is a quote which reads: ‘outsiders always mourn.’ Someone has put a copy of Swann’s Way on Proust’s grave, the pages are wet and turning yellow.