Iron, Arcades & Canadian Geese in the Bois du Bologne

Feeling melancholic and joyful, go figure. Being over here has helped me to understand  the little hunchback that haunted WB and who haunts me as well. This guy is always there to take charge when things don’t go my way or I get thrown a curve ball. But, over the last numerous months (before, during and probably, after this trip), we’re getting a better handle of what we require from each other. I am making it much clearer exactly who is calling the shots.

That said, it has been a time of learning and reflection—in the best way possible. I’m having these moments of absolute clarity (do you get them, too?) as I’m racing down an icy hill in Vermont with ‘Ray of Light’ booming in my ears in the Jardin du Tuileries or the Bois du Bologne with Gaga blaring. I am present here. There are these moments after making the top of a hill in Montmartre, when the evening is coming; when a long running path stretches out, beautifully, ahead of me; when I see Canadian geese (we’re everywhere!) digging by the lakes here. The smell is different than Berlin (flowers and dog poop, often), Los Angeles (sage and jasmine, often), Vermont (manure and air so pure it singes the lungs) and now Paris (a definitely consistent floral scent). I’m not sure what it is but it is not sage.

Two days ago, I discovered by chance the Passage de Panorama and Vivienne. These are two of the Arcades whose structure and organization (architecturally & socially) gave WB an insight into the 19th c. and, so, the rise of facism in the 20th. For WB, technological innovation follows forms that’ve already been introduced organically. So, for instance, a wagon has two or four wheels and railroad tracks have two rails just like horses have two hooves. Also, this is vintage WB, iron architecture is montage (iron for construction is a mixture of ingredients). Look at the pics of the Eiffel Tour (WB said it was the best example we have of montage) and see its very form and material are completely montage. One can see here how Impressionism begins to mix with the rise of synthesized construction material to fracture what we know as the material (and so spiritual) world. The seeds of Futurism, Cubism can be seen here. Add the Great War and and German Expressionism becomes almost necessary. Both technological innovation and architecture begin in dreams. I hung out in the Gare du Nord, the Gare d’Est and the Musee d’Orsay (a former train station) to see what sort of dreams their iron beams, rafters and layout might have inspired them.

Desert, jungles, jardins des fleurs, space travel (the Gare du Nord is so light! It seems ready to launch.)—exoticism all around. I see the same form used in railroad tracks, used as beams in the ceiling. The Arcades are pillars of consumerism from the mid-19th c. but still hopping today. Many shops are, sadly, vacant. But there are lots of stamp collectors, high tech folks and cafes/restos. Up above you can see the windows where the sex workers worked; WB cited someone who said the iron pillars in the hallways are the pimps.

Today, a great long run, this time in the Bois du Bologne. The paths are long and soft to land on. The park is bigger than Central Park and a lot more wooded and uncoifed. The paths criss-cross and circle and I never did get a bead on which way I was going. Just as I thought I did, I would check the iphone and would be in a completely different area of the park. But part of the adventure is getting lost. I hid my jumper behind a tree and fence just past strewn condom wrappers but when I came back somebody had appropriated it.

Carrying on out to Avenue Foch when I saw the Arc de Triomphe at the end and a dirt path all the way up to it, I added that to the run. Such a joy and privilege to be able to run to the Arc de Triomphe. Don’t be scared, but I gave directions twice! today en francais. That said, au matin, I talked to my pal et mere temporaire (vers 2002) Mme. Aledo in Dijon for ten minutes en francais aussi before I understood that it was her and not Florina (her daughter) I was talking to!!! It was so so great to hear her voice. Maybe I’ll get to see her before I head home.

Saw Tomboy tonight in Studio 28, a gem of a neighbourhood cinema.

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~ by Thom on June 8, 2011.

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