Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Did Sarkozy convince the Irish?

Not really sure he was bothered to convince them. But to hold Brian Cowen's head down the toilet in a bid to persuade him to hold a second referendum some time next year, I am quite sure. It's in English, and you can watch it here

Thursday, July 17, 2008

When characters die, can we really feel grief?

A question which I've had an extensive muse over. On Guardian Unlimited. Ici

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Guillotine Love Poem

Last night I helped Laurent climb the traffic sign on Boulevard St Martin, a bit like celui -la
that sends the eternal flow of Paris cars south towards St. Germain, westwards to Opéra and Etoile.

It's about twenty feet up under the linden trees. Linden leaves are shaped like hearts, if you must know.

Then I grabbed a barstool, placed it underneath the traffic sign, clambered up on top, as it trembled beneath me, and handed Laurent a glass of vodka mixed with champagne. Perched on the last of the signs that direct you towards the city limits, he drank the vodka in one, leaning further and further back as the glass got emptier and emptier. Then he dropped the glass which, with outstretched hands, I failed to catch, and finally he recited this poem, the cause of this adventure.

"Lola, with your white dress
And dirty teeth
Your neck is so lovely
I'd like to chop it off"

That was Tuesday night. Laurent really comes out of himself at the weekend.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

St Martin of the Canal

Saint Martin's wide patronship - he supposedly looks over tailors, beggars, innkeepers, the city of Mainz (not recommended), purveyors of wine, sausage manufacturers, also geese, and horses - cannot prevent one from suspecting that his non-martyrdom - he wasn't stoned, boiled, eaten, or nailed to a cross - makes his miracles suspicious, and even obscure. On the canal in the Xéme arrondissement in Paris which is named after him, I saw a black man in rags admire a brown-eyed woman in a red bondage dress as she crossed the footbridge which rises above the water and lands perfectly on the opposite bank. "Elle est belle," he said, the black man in rags, his bare feet grey with dust, while the girl whose lively step was as much a delight as the vivid scrape scrape of her heel along the bridge's wooden planks went brown-eyed and busily along, humming, I'm sure, a Jacques Dutronc song. The lime trees columned along the canal bank were approximately sixty feet high that morning as the black man sang "elle est belle elle est belle" to the scrapes of the woman's shoes. Beneath massed green branches the tramp sang out, then scratched his head with the neck of his plastic wine bottle, grimacing and sighing as the scrape scrape of the neck soothed the itch, an inch of red sloshing about at the bottom. "Elle est belle, comme une poubelle," he sang. Then, gaining confidence, he sang it again, "Elle est belle, belle, comme une poubelle," scraping all the itch away. She is beautiful, like a dustbin. Meanwhile, the woman went into a distance packed with French poubelles, fat and green with hungry yellow mouths ajar, out of which the sure slow sound of fermenting rubbish climbed. I saw other sights too - A red man galloping beneath a plastic tree. Canals slowly filling with tap water and red wine. A crow standing at traffic lights, saying despicable, outrageous things. The black man in a tattered suit slowly turning grey as a plastic bag in lime-tree dust.