The Lost Generation II (inspired by Woody Allen)

“I feel sorry for you”, said the man and disappeared in the bowels of the metro. Walking around Paris with a crutch was indeed not easy. I was against bringing it in the first place. It´s so diminishing for a man. But after a lot of insisting on the part of my girlfriend I gave in.  

It was a warm and sunny September day. We met my aunt for lunch and then walked all the way to the right bank to have a coffee and a cake in an outdoor café. We sipped our drinks looking at the hustle and bustle of the Parisian life. I told my aunt Paris was great but it was not what it used to be. We laughed over it and she punched me in the mouth.

In the evening we went to see a theatre show and then grabbed a late-night dinner in Brasserie Lipp in Boulevard Saint Germain. Simone de Beauvoir was not there. Instead, we ran into Woody Allen. He was in town shooting his latest film. We told him his latest films were good but not great. We laughed over it. Then he punched us in the mouth.

We left after midnight. Our hotel near Gare de l´est was smelly but comfy. We fell asleep just as the first flickers of the new dawn appeared in the east. I had a dream in which my girlfriend had a Dali-like moustache. She was drawing giraffes in aquarelle. I woke up and hit my head on the reading lamp. It was time to leave Paris.

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Toile blanche, Paris, 6 octobre

It was a rainy night. We were a little tired and not really willing to go out but in the end we were very happy we did, if it were only for a single performance that we saw: GUILLAUME BRUÈRE RENDRE AUX ÉGYPTIENS L’OBÉLISQUE. It took place in a huge tent by the Jardin des Tuileries. In the middle of the tent there was a huge, twenty-metre long table. Behind the table, a man, Guillaume Bruère with his ever present helper, a woman in a leather jacket who listened to and fulfilled all his wishes including bringing clean water to dip his brushes in, sharpening the pencils, moving a tray with all his tools along the table… The most fascinating thing was his frantic manner of drawing – as if he were running against the time, he drew shapes, hieroglyphs, strange outlines, first of all drawing them with the pencil (often holding a pencil in each hand and drawing simultaneously), then filling the shapes with colour in a very rushed, impatient way, moving along the table in all directions.. It was fascinating to see the shapes emerge from the white paper. It was exciting to see the creative process unfolding. We stood by his table for good twenty minutes but he never stopped, just moved on and on, filling the white void with images from his imagination. As we were leaving, dead tired, looking forward to bed, we realised that he was to be there the whole night, standing behind the table, drawing… Hats off to you Mr Bruère!


photos by Lucia Supova

artist’s website: http://www.guillaumebruere.com/

Our weeks in Montmartre

Having decided to take an unpaid leave from work and try doing something else, it was Paris that we settled upon with my fiancee as our new place of residence for at least a year. After spending a month in clean and well-organised Japan, moving to Paris was a bit of a shock. We rented a small studio in Montmartre with a leaking toilet that was actually placed in the room, being only cordoned off by a thin partition. It was on the ground floor and the window was so low that if a bigger dog wanted to, he could have peed straight into our room. The wooden shutters were cool, though, and I always liked the moment in the morning when one of us undid the metal latch and pushed the folded shutters to the sides of the window. The first thing we could usually see in the morning were the legs or the hind parts of a pair of tourists strolling down our street in the direction of the Sacre Coeur. “Aber ja, Mathilde, es ist hier, kuk mal nach links!” 

There was a Greek “traiteur” on the other side of the street who used to sit outside the shop in the evenings with his notebook and one could almost imagine the scene taking place somewhere in the Peloponese and not in rue Andre Barsacq in Paris. We got to know each other after a while and exchanged friendly nods. In the warm May evenings we sometimes went for a walk along the curvy lanes of the hill, discovering quiet, scenic squares, where the local inhabitants would descend to smoke a cigarette on the bench while their dogs would roam around sniffing the warm evening air. 

Aaah Montmartre! Living there had its charm but when an opportunity knocked three weeks later, we did not hesitate and moved to a slightly bigger apartment with a proper toilet in the 15th near Parc George Brassens. It’s the small things that matter the most, don’t you think?

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(photos (c) Lucia Supova)

A man with a match in his hair

He got on the tram. A man of African origin, dressed in an immaculate dark suit. Middle-aged, bespectacled. He sat on the only free seat left. A man like any other, especially in a big city like this. Then we looked at him again. There was something odd about him… A match was half buried in his thick hair! I looked at my fiancee. We winked at each other, smiled, hypothesised. It could have been his naughty grandchildren playing a prank on him…. The tram rattled on but I could not shake off this strange feeling of déjà vu. Then it struck me! Of course! The cult Polish band The Elektryczne Gitary (The Electric Guitars) have a similar song! The Man with a Leaf on His Head.

Wikipedia

These are the lyrics, I hope I translated them correctly
(if not, feel free to propose corrections):

Man with a Leaf on His Head

A man with a leaf on his head got on the bus
No one wants to help him, no one tells him anything
Everyone just stares, everybody just stares
and nobody does anything

A man with a leaf on his head is sitting in the bus
It’ll take some time before he learns about the leaf in his thin hair
He just stares out of the window, he just stares out of the window
and he does not do anything

Watch out! These are not clouds, it’s the Palace of Culture
Leaves are flying from the trees, leaves are flying from the trees

That man with the leaf on his head is sitting in the bus
No one wants to help him, no one tells him anything
Everyone just stares, everybody just stares
and does nothing

Another man, just like the first one, got on the bus
Compassionate, he told him all about it
The first one patted his head and took out the leaf
Because, he says, I’m from the woods, because I’m from the woods

Watch out! These are not clouds, it’s the Palace of Culture
Leaves are flying from the trees, leaves are flying from the trees

(http://teksty.org/elektryczne-gitary,czlowiek-z-lisciem-na-glowie,tekst-piosenki)

And this is the song. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pt3g8HPwDSc