On Paris, Luc Sante and travel writing

man Paris Montparnasse 1007.JPG(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.

public writing PRENEZ VOS DESIRS POUR DES REALITES Paris 807.JPG(Prenez vos désirs pour des réalités, Paris 2007)

Published by

Paul Hodson

Head of Unit "EnergyEfficiency" at European Commission, Directorate-General for Energy

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