Sunday, October 02, 2005

Have just gotten back from a lovely young family style tea at Petite Anglaise. We had yummy homemade scones, to die for crumble, courtesy of PA, and finger sandwiches, courtesy of moi, as Miss Piggy would say. Laughs, lot of mumbo-jumbo Mia talk, good fun even though Stephan was missing. You poor thing, we missed you!

It has been a rather sweet series of days, from Friday onwards. I’m feeling much perkier, as evidenced by my ability to now trade shy smiles with complete strangers on the street, as we watch white cars pass us by. Smiles that have everything to do with finding serendipity in a traffic conundrum. I like those kinds of stranger’s smiles.

Last night, I had a rather silly time with Annabelle, Helene, Henrik, Cecile, Thibault, Benoit and Esty. We did something with our Nuit Blanche.* Between automobile disasters, drinking lots of beer, watching the 120 geeky guitarists on the Sacre Coeur hill riffing in unison, then flying all the way down to Versailles for contemporary art and Alain Ducasse, I found myself laughing the most at those who couldn’t stay awake. While munching on a Boudin Burger, Ducasse style, at the L'Orangerie, we couldn’t stop goggling at a young family: a father and his two young children. He was sunk deep into his seafoam-eggplant-black ski jacket, drooping precariously off the chair. His younger child was completely off as well, face first into his father’s sleeve. The third child was sitting, quietly and self-contentedly, playing with his father’s pocket organizer.

That’s the thing about the Nuit Blanche: people who aren’t normally awake at this hour, pushing themselves to the limit to have some culture. Culture Culture Culture… you just couldn’t get away from it, the power it wields, after witnessing Versailles. Versailles is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in France. Power relations, the fallacy of the French notion of democracy, the weight of culture, are visible in all its unadorned no-bullshit glory. Punk my ass. The real punk of Versailles is that it’s the expression of one man’s vision upon all of his nation… a giant fuck-you to everyone he was supposed to be benevolent about. I always marvel at how the French love their dictators.

But art is never democratic. Nor should it be.

The art: Markus Hansen’s piece was the most beautiful elegant thing I saw that night. Two sentry posts, screaming through their CBs about the king, while giant rectangular lights lit up the small field: a space of glorious absolutism where light and darkness played out the invisibility of the powerless. Stricken and struck by beauty. Do you want more?

Yes, I also saw the Grand Palais earlier that day… The immense Coronelli globes, one of the earth, one of the sky, the giant cranes holding them up were themselves suspended 6 inches off the ground, the mirrors that reflected people contemplating the globes in infinity… mystic beauty. The funniest thing was that it wasn’t even intended as an art piece. It was just a way of showing off the 17th century globes. Thierry Dreyfus, Frédéric Sanchez and Patrick Bouchain have my vote as best accidental artists of the year. Popular art that appeals to the senses and the soul at its finest.

What did I miss: the sound piece at the Parti Communiste Headquarters and the Andrea Crews catwalk thing at Couronnes. Both were scheduled for later in the night, but satisfaction is a good weapon against over-indulgence. Plus, I think I’m looking these days for a way back into my soul, and a moderation of my nihilistic/narcissistic tendencies. Anyways, a populist idea is not necessarily a profound one, and I’m nobody’s sycophant.

Driving home, I caught a glimpse of a lion-headed man, lit from behind by a spot next to the catwalk. Tricks of light and fatigue. When I was a child, I was convinced a wasp, crushed on our windshield, was the corpse of a dead fairy. Until we stopped and I could move forward to examine it closely, I was filled with dread excitement. Even then I was not prudent with chimeras.


Today's word of the day was "nadir." I say fuck you word of the day. You can't be my horoscope.


La Nuit Blanche is Parisian mayor Bertrand Delanoe's great annual invention to reawaken the city's bright cultural heritage. Certain key institutions, like Versailles, open their doors till 7am, hosting various contemporary art projects. The only drawback are the ridiculous queues for each event, a glorious testimonial of French devotion towards both art and bureaucracy.

A most wonderful and warm thank you to my great true friend, Cecile, who conducted us on our voyage to Versailles, even while "supporting" the last vestiges of her grape cure.... some weird french thing where you eat grapes for a week to clean out something....