Sunday, 22 November 2009

Sunday Music Therapy

The song is C'est moi by Rupa & the April Fishes.

For my friend Seasonn, who is moving to Paris.

I imagine your first weekend out, closing the door of your flat and stepping into the busy street. Immediately the waft of warm baguette sweeps past you like a wind-up cliché and you laugh, drawing the stare and smile from the moustachioed man who is sweeping a nearby stoop.

When you walk your hips seem to have little springs in them, like at any moment you will start to dance. You move through the city like it was a giant pop-up sketch, the life and sounds around you the manifestations of newly enchanted scribbles that are erased and redrawn with each passing moment.

I wonder if Paris is one of those cities you can just take from or whether it demands something from those who live there, like New York or London. A sacrifice of privilege, the centuries-old friction of all those subversive thoughts and grand ideologies reaching out from the stones and bubbling up from the latte foam.

There will always be an element of circus pageantry to Paris, the ribbon that is forever unfurling, the flash of red that distracts the viewer while the trick is played. It is still the place of sly grins and slight-of-hand, where strangely dressed men with lopsided faces open unnumbered doors to those who hold the right ticket, the cost of entry being the little squeeze of consciousness that will be wrung out of them in the darkness.

After too many sips at the fountain of sweet depravity, early morning in Paris becomes the tonic to the hangover of history. Each and every dawn the city is born anew, the bulging scents of pounded yeast and roasting coffee erupting from the kitchens and cafes and scrubbing us down until we can’t remember anything but the colliding dominos of simple pleasures.

I wish you long evening shadows and perfect yellow mornings. I wish for your mouth to move around the words of your second language like they are canapés. I wish you a pair of delicate, long-stemmed, round-bellied wine glasses that look perfect no matter where you set them down. I wish you feelings gratitude and relief, wrapped around you as thick as a blanket. Because every time you look out your window or step out your door, you will know that you are finally, at long last, in Paris.

14 comments:

Marcheline said...

I think this is where we part ways, figuratively...

I spent an hour in Paris, on my way to Scotland. During that time I was spit at (yes, literally - by people in business suits), sold a $100 Chunnel ticket and not given directions to the station, blatantly ignored while I tried to ask assistance, misdirected up and down the same flight of stairs four times, and they sold me a cup of coffee in a tiny paper cup that was more than half milk and charged five American dollars for the privilege.

Getting out of Paris was almost as heavenly as arriving in Scotland.

- M

Ruth said...

Wow, that was terrific reading, I loved it. You made me think about Paris in new ways.

It's sad to read Marcheline's Paris experiences. I feel none of us knows a city from a few visits. I love the city based on mine, but to live there, what would that be like? And that is different than being born there, of course.

But yes, the place where so many ideas began and developed and has been haven to artists who wanted to live out their days in solitude - it is something very special.

Phoenix said...

That was a wonderful description... along the way, I started imagining myself in Paris.

Jeanne said...

And now I want to visit Paris again. I've had that under control for a few years, because it hasn't looked like a possibility, and now it's back.

And that's okay. It was worth it to read your prose.

Carol Anne Strange said...

You now have me swooning about all things Parisian. x

PurestGreen said...

Oh Marcheline - what a terrible experience. I won't ever make you go back. You can come to Scotland instead.

Ruth - I think the best way to know a city is to live there at least a month. That way you start to feel the rhythm of the place.

Phoenix - thanks for visiting me! I have a list of cities I yearn to visit and re-visit. Sigh.

Jeanne - the great thing is that I have recently been in touch with an old high school friend who is living...you guessed it...in Paris. So I will have two people to visit!

Carol Ann - what you need to do is buy yourself some lovely Parisian Cafe music from Itunes. Then wander around your house pretending you are in Paris. :)

Renee said...

Dear friend you have written the nicest and most upbeat post to someone staring anew.

Love Renee xoxo

Rikkij said...

you really wrote this well. It was delightful. I've always had a desire for Paris..maybe some day...I think my steps would be like that. Thanks. ~rick

Julie said...

I return to Paris this time next year for my third visit.

Thank you for your comment on my latest post.

Please tell: what is a "wielder of tartan"?

Lena said...

I've never been to Paris but always admired it, and you're description sounds idyllic. I might put it on my 'places to still to see' list after Holland - as long as they don't gob on me....lol

PurestGreen said...

Thanks Renee and Rick.

Hello Julie! A wielder of tartan: someone who sells tartan tat and other fine merchandise. It just sounds better than "I work in a shop."

Lena said...

I forgot to add - I liked the sample music of the song. The guitar ribbing and rhythm is jaunty. Put little springs in my hips....!

PurestGreen said...

Thanks Lena!

I love this song and my friend has listened to it now as well. I don't think they'll gob on you in Holland. Unless you still their cheese, then you might be in trouble.

Anonymous said...

Oh Paris sings to me a memory from a time long ago and whispers to me secrets put away, newly remembered, Across the ocean I long to fly only once to find my way home.

My heart is full of anticipation to once again know the sentiments of the markets and buildings and streets and FOOD, oh the food.
Men waiting across the street at the boulangerie to hold the door open. Bonjour Mademoiselle.

The sight of the Eiffel Tower lit up as I skate under it on rollerblades with five hundred other people. My dates for a Friday night. Firemen on the side of the road saying Woaaaaa and bowing kisses to me, as I pass on roller blades with said group.
Husbands trying to buy my baguette as I make my way home on a holiday, they know they will be in big trouble if they come home without their daily bread.

Market vendors enticing me with blood red tomatoes, succulent figs bursting with flavour just for me ,and tart little baskets of fraise du bois waiting to be discovered. And Macarons, oh food and sex ARE the same passion.
North African clothing vendors holding you captive with conversation so you buy something you neither want or need, practically reaching in my pocket for payment One needs not be TOO polite in Paris.

American tourists hugging me bacause I speak english and can give them directions they can understand. Being asked by Parisiens for directions, thinking I AM french. Going home from pastry school stack of boxes of the days recipes in hand, what do you have in that box mademoiselle, are you going to share it with me? Says the door man at a posh hotel on Rue de Rivoli.

Hearing the music being played on the metro on the other platform, realizing it is the same music that wafts through the courtyard where I live, a neighbor known but never met.

Paris, yes Paris my love I am yours and will be home soon, keep that light in the window for me, for I am only a moment away...

Seasonn