Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Earring

Paris is a romantic city only on surface. One just looks out the
window and falls for its charm. The entire city wants so hard to be
seen and enjoyed. There is so much ma's tu vue in its locals but it
is not the same self obsessed snobbery one finds in Milan, London or
any other big city. I mean there is plenty of that as well but there
is a plus laking elswere. In Paris people like to watch as well. It
becomes an elegant dialogue instead of solipsistic and narcissistic
monologues. Were else are all the wicker chairs on terraces turned
theater like towards the street? Being seen and watched is part of
the game. So, women are naturally coquette regardless of their age
and beauty. Men are charmers and politeness often turns into flattery
and what French call draguee. Here everybody does it. Even the
emigrant North African kid with his bright white trainers or the East
European semi-thug with his gold chain over his turtleneck. Here
also snobbery gets a certain panache. Maybe it is just me that is
more generous with a city were everybody speaks French and were women
wear tightly wrapped and short raincoats over legs in slick black
stockings and high heels. And were else on a casual Friday night
drinking in a bar one should not the least be surprised at having the
place (Mathi's Bar) taken over by a merry group of women and men in
pompadour period costumes and matching manners. It is a tough city
were no one should venture without a bit of frenzy, insanity or
accompanied by a willing partner. Solitude in Paris must be hard.
Love and passion are not the city's real currency but lust and
enjoyment. Joie de vivre! Love and passion are private matters for
witch Paris and most Parisians have little curiosity and interest.
Exploring life's finer things from food to sex is the code they abide
to. And who could blame them. What can be wrong in this ultimately
decadent world (ours not just Paris) in drinking champagne on top of
the bed at 4:00 in the morning. Paris is a city where not only
reality is better then the clishe it represents but where one can
enjoy the clishes without any feeling of guilt. In Paris it not in
bad taste to fell good. In Paris one should not mix politics and
pleasure and hence even extreme leftists can write books about the
true democracy of the orgasm or the haute cuisine. Or maybe it is
just not a good idea for someone to read Michele Onfray and drink
expensive champagne or have breakfast at 12:00 at Cafe de Flore in
Saint Germain. Ok, I admit a general strike hitting the Paris metro
on a freezing weekend and a bit of high life may confuse my personal
political outlook temporarily as it may influence my social morals.
But this is in Paris were I am a mere traveller. From biblical times
the traveller is forgiven in his traspasses. Paris is the city were
the true pleasure of life and the art of looking are exercised with
gusto. Hence the French obsession with photography. Their love affair
with the camera is greater then with any other art. It serves this
frenesie and forces contact and simultaneity like no other art form.
It is a truly perverse art were one can be both participant and
creator. This year's edition of Paris Photo was even bigger and
better then the previous ones. I got lost in the kilometers of its
cimaises and booths of hundreds of galleries. On the Quay Branley the
omonimous Museum shows a number of great young photographers form
around the world. I dare to say that as an exhibition it was even
better then the mixtum compositum of Paris Photo. Under the dual
influence of ecstatic Paris and tons of great photography I did not
resist the temptation ... Or is all it that champagne?