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Lecher free event - but for how long?

Hosting I V Y Paris' Meet Up Group at my home was an interesting experience. The group now has 73 members and they all seemed very keen to get to know each other last night. And drink. And drink. It's fun but a strange feeling to open your door to 30 people, some of whom you've never met before.

The group provides a way for international artists to meet in Paris to share ideas, socialise, organise shows, mate, what you will. I wished there was something similar when I arrived here so I set this up when I closed the gallery. I was determined the network for creative types had to be kept going somehow. The Meet Up is great because it's somewhat manageable and I can organise the events easily online.

When I checked the growing members list I had to note we are a damn fine looking bunch. I hope this doesn't attract the wrong crowd. Lechers that is. They are a staple on the Paris Salon circuit.

While I was preparing radishes some Beaux Arts students arrived. Then Matt Rose came with a cake mix and made a banana liquid cake, burnt banans on top and runny on the inside. Grace Teshima turned up with bags of ice, everyone brought snacks and wine of varying calibre and soon the house was packed. Lucky it's still warm enough to use the terrace for the smokers. Indispensible for entertaining in this city.

One of the amusing themes of Paris art scene is that a lot of people use Craigslist for work, ideas, selling stuff, buying stuff, dating, just mooching around. "Hey! Didn't we meet when I came to look at a Cow Skin rug you were selling?" "Hell yes!" I'd love to compile a book of stories romantic and otherwise.

Chat ou Chatte?

Walking home late and an ado in a hooded top shouts, "Hey! Show us your pussy!" Charming. I flipped him the bird (our American cousins would say) - no need to reply and have them hear my French-with-an-English/Scottish accent - always makes the situation worse.

What left me speechless was when he turned to his friends aghast - "Would you look at that? Terrible! In the month of Ramadan too"

Word to the wise when we're on the subject - always remember to pronounce "Chat" as "Chaaaa" (silent t) when you are talking about the four-legged animal. "Chatte" - noun fem. (pronounced hard "T") is slang for the female genitalia here in France.

Where those bottles went?

I never tire of the Jardins du Luxembourg and it's here I finally get to meet Toby Brothers who runs the Alesian Literary Salon.

When I get more time, definitely a goal for 2006, I am going to sign up for "Ulysees" and test my intellectual mettle because I have never been able to handle Joyce.

She helps me understand something that's been puzzling me for a while. The bottles at La Fontaine Médicis - according to La Dauphine the most Romantic spot in Paris - (mine is Père Lachaise).

"a still moment in a swirling world- that also contain slow change (they are growing cloudy, moss is growing inside of them) they contain the water and the air but are not of the water and air...every person who wanders by interupts their own rhythm to stop and gaze at those bottles..."

But they've been taken away hence the pictureless post.

I say.......Take me out!

Met a friend who is part of the Paris based rock band Panico. I casually asked if they had any gigs coming up thinking they would be playing a small venue and it would be fun to go along. Perhaps I could maybe help them with some contacts in London as they might want to get some gigs there. I don't think they are going to need it. They are going to be supporting Scotland's Finest, Franz Ferdinand, at Le Zenith on 28th October.

Come upstairs and see my art

Most innovative gallery space award for October goes to - Cafe au Lit. What a solution - a gallery which pays for itself by doubling as a boutique hotel. Slick design by Didier Fiuza Faustino means you'll live alongside the art.

Rent is the one thing that often stifles young galleries, (I'm talking from bitter experience). The bright-eyed young upstarts want to show experimental art or unknown artists but are often forced to show more commercial/sellable work. The number one priority being to keep the doors open. Then it gets so damn boring.

I have to say that I find the jeux de mots of the name a little pretentious but it taught me a new French expression:

"café au lit combines the three basic elements of experiencing contemporary art: temporality, sociability and intimacy. The name of the project is a play on the familiar "café au lait" and the colloquial French phrase "qu'a fait au lit?" - who wet the bed? Hence, the project name recalls the first association of the self with the object, recognized since Freud's Psychoanalysis as the fundamental experience of creative work: "I did it! I made that!"

The rental price for itinerant art-lovers price compares well with a traditional hotel at 250 euros for a weekend or 500 euros a week (for a couple). You can live with the art and enjoy the delights of Quartier Mouzaia in 19eme near Parc Buttes Chaumont.

Currently showing Swiss artist Corina Bezzola, "Spaces". I loved what she had done with adhesive tape drawing attention to parts of the apartment you would normally ignore. Using "gaffer tape" seems to be pretty trendy in the art world these days but no one does it like fellow swiss artist Thomas Hirschorn. Swiss Swiss Democracy at the Centre Culturel Suisse earlier this year was one of the best exhibitions I've ever seen.

Bum a l'Orange

I heard on the QT about a new anti-cellulite product Cellagon being supplied to Claudia Schiffer, Liz Hurley, Kate Beckinsale, Jade Jagger and other worthless celebs. So it must be good. Right? Apparently it contains probiotics from the source of mare's milk. Yum.

French Women might not get Fat but they sure as hell get cellulite (high-fat cheeses).

The Good Fairy

Bertrand Delanoë has got his ass in gear at last and has called on police to lay off the Paris squatters. Interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy had ordered the eviction operations after two fires in August in rundown buildings killed 24 people, most of them children of African immigrant families. Surprise surprise he has made a bee-line for political squats.

New I V Y paris logo

Illustrator and Bonapart Consulting client Kustaa Saksi has finished the new I V Y paris logo. Next step is the website overhaul, already in progress thanks to Metroline Design.

Vintage YSL a go-go

Fashion week was almost over, but a private party in 8eme for "Gentlemen's Style Journal", Fantastic Men Magazine was to be the final fling. I was lured out on a Sunday night by the promise of a glamourous crowd evoking the heyday Le Palace (Paris' Studio 54), of the men in Vintage Yves Saint Laurent and....... D.I.S.C.O - that did it. On went the 80's Mugler, the wind blown hair look and the shiny lipstick.

"Club Sandwich" was the name of the event and it was a refreshingly fun and frothy evening by Paris standards. Not too much posing and plenty of silly dancing. Don't ask me where the best clubs to go with your gay best friend are. This is the first I've been too and it's not a regular affair. The Marais joints seem to be strictly for boys.

Not tonight. Men wearing gothic capes? Tick. Giant afros? Tick. Simulated sex on the dancefloor? Tick.

The finale was a energetic transvestite strip tease on the bar of the club to the sounds of Marylin Manson's cover of "Tainted Love". My camera ran out of batteries at the last minute so I can only bring you a rear view.

Most romantic spot in Paris?

I've always loved cemetries, (ok, I was a goth for a period), and a stroll in Père Lachaise is a "must-do" with visiting friends. There is only so many times you can sight-see some of the major monuments but I'll never grow tired of wandering through the "streets" which make up the biggest burial site in Paris. The only grave we looked for was that of tragic lovers Abélard and Héloïse which was moved here in 1817. The rest of the time there is no need to search, just walking around is bliss. We didn't go to see Jim but we sung a bit of "The End" and "The Crystal Ship" in his honour on the way home.

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