Monday, 14 February 2011


I am ready to pass out. I managed to get back to the flat this morning at about 9am, surprisingly to my housemates who weren't expecting me back today- let alone so early. I had been travelling since 5am french time and sadly there was no chance to stop off for a croissant and coffee, because nothing was open. I also felt horrendously sick on the train, so even if there had been- I'm sure i wouldn't have been able to manage it.

We left for Paris on Saturday morning. We woke up at around 5.30am to Nick's phone ringing, it was the Taxi waiting to pick us up. After getting ready to leave in 5 minutes (Yes, just 5 minutes- impressive huh?) we rushed to the cab man who politely reminded us about 15 times that we were late. We laughed along as you do without realising he would stick £10 on the bill due to him having to wait that extra 5 minutes. A good start to an expensive weekend- although, to be fair i wasn't paying for anything, so the expense should not really be such a concern. During the day on Saturday we mainly explored the city. Nick wanted to avoid the touristy places and we took our time finding a very french restaurant for lunch. The waiters were the complete stereotype of what you would imagine a rude french waiter to be. Forcing you to sit with strangers and huffing because you have requested something unusual from the menu. Being a veggie, there wasn't much for me- however it did result in a total indulgence of cheeses so i didn't mind. The waiter wasn't pleased that i only had cheese. I think he thought i was wasting his time, either that or he was looking down on Nick for not feeding me properly. The restaurant- 'Chartier' was really fantastic inside- high ceilings and 20's train/ station design throughout. The tables each stood by a large brass over shelf for you to put your bags and coats and the lights were like a classier version of those from Cannon Street or Liverpool Street station. The waiter threw our meals down and hovered around us until we had nearly finished. I had to practically growl at him so he didn't prematurely take my cheese. The chips went though, as soon as nick placed his knife on the plate. Fantastic food though, and the waiter was worth the trip inside. We ploughed the streets a little more that day. Nick wanted to take some photos and got some amazing shots of odd Parisian moments and pigeons. I couldn't help but notice the amount of fancy dress shops everywhere.  wish i had more money- there were some amazing clown shoes with my name on them- 40 euros though. They can wait until the exchange rate drops i think.

The fancy dress shops were amazing- much better than the niche ones you find in Covent Garden. People were actually shopping in these, seriously considering what outfit to buy, as if it was a weekly routine such as going to the grocers. I must have counted about 5 or 6 massive shops on Saturday and a couple more on Sunday. my idea of Heaven.

We popped into one bar on Saturday night where we ended up staying most of the evening. It was actually a Beatles themed bar although that was only really the music. It was a Bar/ Tabac ran by one man and had a really relaxed atmosphere. They served Ricard in Ricard glasses, with Ricard water jugs. Which is pretty much what kept us there.

Sunday was a little more planned, although i didn't think that the shops would all be closed, I missed out big time on buying food for the next couple of weeks- I did manage to get Charlotte's 'I Love Paris' T shirt though, cheesy gift shops are always open wherever you are in the world. It was a shame though, i think living in London you loose a sense of what real life is and everything becomes '24 hours'.
We went over to the Pompadu centre to see what was showing Art wise. I didn't realise how big it was, and the views over Paris were astounding, i took lots of photos- not that you could recognise anything in them. I saw a large group gathering around a street performer and remembered a conversation i had with someone about whether or not making performative work in some contexts was just 'street performance' I decided from that conversation that i would love to be a street performer (and anyone who says 'street performer in a derogatory sense has no soul) - but actually that will always be a dream- my work isn't as entertaining and it takes a special type of person to be able to hold a crowd.

Going back to Art- The permanent collection was extensive and probably too big for me to comprehend in one day. To be honest i rushed through a lot of it just so i could 'look' at everything. I really need to go back to Paris again, just to spend a whole day with the permanents, if only it wasn't in a different country. European galleries have such a more interesting way of hanging work- it seems crisper and easier to look at, in Britain i feel curation always a little to overcrowded or sparse (one extreme to the other).

The real thing that  i enjoyed about the Pompadu though was the feminist exhibition which had just been installed. This shocked me. Usually i find feminism a little samey, but this collection again was extensive- from Annette Messenger to Pippilotti Rist to Lucy Gunning and the Guerrilla Girls, everything was so different together and all the works were addressing different issues about culture, race, identity, anything. I must say also, that the video room was amazing- so many classic video pieces that i have seen in other exhibitions but just escalated to a new platform being surrounded by each other. I ended up writing obsessive notes walking around- not something that i have done since A-level, and also taking photos of work to show other people specifically, to help their work. I really wish i had bought the catalogue for the show now because i know i will want to reference it in the future a lot, perhaps i can find it on Amazon...?

Our Sunday evening ended with Omlette and Chips. Fantastic french cuisine. Nick insisted that he wanted to order in French, but the fact that we ordered classic English, French food meant that the waiter only spoke in English. I was happy, as my French is terrible- I can't even prenounce Orangina correctly!

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