(Gare Montparnasse, Paris 2007)
“Paris is sufficiently compact that you can cross it with ease, in a few hours, and it has no grid, forestalling monotony. It virtually demands that you walk its length and breadth; once you get started it’s hard to stop. As you stride along you are not merely a pedestrian in a city – you are a reader negotiating a vast text spanning centuries and the traces of a billion hands, and like a narrative it pulls you along, continually luring you with the mystery of the next corner.” (Luc Sante, The other Paris, 2015)
I remember an early morning when I crossed from gare du Nord to Montparnasse, as the shops were setting out their stalls, on foot.
That in turn makes me think of when my talented guitarist friend and I (a negligeable bassist) put up an advert for a singer and a drummer. A woman telephoned and explained about her sense of rhythm and willingness to invest in her equipment.
– Why are you telling me this? We’re looking for a singer.
-I want to be the drummer, of course.
Apart from my sexism – she was a great drummer, who sadly had to move to Alicante after a while – I like this because it I feel the same way about writing. My friends who write write fiction, mostly. I want to be a travel writer, of course. The job I would apply for – but I’m glad it isn’t vacant, and his last couple of books, on Africa and on the South, are as good as anything he has written – is being Paul Theroux.
(Prenez vos désirs pour des réalités, Paris 2007)