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Life was so simple when............

London was calling

And blew my mind with paper tiger burning credit card plastic overload fast food pret a manger hokey cokey hackney hockney hoxton charidee shop FUN!

It feels like coming out of the post-war austerity years when one arrives in La Big Smoke.  Paris is catching up on the globo-meter but has some way to go to get within a whisker of the European Zenith of consumerism where shopping is both sport and religion.

Big Brother fills the Bread and Circus cravings - straighten your hair, St Tropez your belly, pubic region and hip bones and stick 'em out over your big brown Indian disc belt and hipsters. Your in Laaaaandaaannn.


One of the best moments was outside EXIT bar on Brick Lane - finding thrash granny Jane had set up crazy boutique using some nails on the wall. See AMA here bagging some swag - a leopardskin cape and gold lamé evening tank was the order of the night. 

Next stop the best Indian meal in the area recently re-chistened "BanglaTown". They don't make them anything like this in GayP. Bring yer own Heineken. Nice 'ere, innit?
Shalimar, 70 Brick Lane, E1


Finally Out of Africa Festival in Haggerston Park - multi talented and down-right bawdy African acrobats blew us away.

Les bouquinistes

Yikes, two months off from blogging but my list of essential reading on Paris and France is finally complete after polling learned Paris friends and visitors to I V Y paris:

Henry Miller - Tropic of Cancer
I like this more for the portrait of Paris in a certain era than it's portraits of women. As Anne Marie Audet puts it, "Tropic of Cancer is a typical Miller book; scathing. It gets a lot of press because of the bannned status but it lacks plot and is mostly anecedotes and philosophizing."

I still like it.

Edmund White - Le Flaneur
It turned my love of visiting Paris to a need to live here. A beautifully explored stroll through the city and the Parisian's quirks.  I was happy to be able to thank Edmund in person last year.

Simone de Beauvoir - The Mandarins

A facinating insider's view of intellectual life in Paris after the Liberation. A true roman a clef   (SdeB gives starring roles to Camus, Sartre and her lover Nelson Algren,writer of The Man with the Golden Arm). The translation stutters but disgracefully I'm not patient enough to read literature in French.  I could read 5 english books in the time it would take.

Colette - start with Claudine series

And take it from there. Personally, for me, it has to be "Chéri" - first for it's intimate take on the demi-monde . And growing older. And a mature woman's love for a younger man.  Even spicier when one consider's Colette's scandalous relationship with her young stepson, Bertrand de Jouvenel.

A Moveable Feast - Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway lives on $5 a day (La Closerie des Lilas was a bit cheaper then) and romps through a series of encounters with eccentric and wonderful people that reminds me that Paris always has and always will be a great place for odd balls.

The Sun King - Nancy Mitford
The best book I've read on life at Versailles under Louis XIV - and especially the fate of the women who literally were under him. Nancy Mitford is so the perfect person to have written this book being the Queen of the British snobbery - she dissects the life at Court with gusto.

More recommendations:
Anaïs Nin
Anne-Marie again - I began reading Anais Nin, at just about the same age she started writing them. At that time it was hard to find copies of the uncensored diaries published after her death by her second husband Rupert Pole. Later, in my 20's an edition was released and read them along with many of Nin's erotica novels, which for her time were explicit.

I coulda been a contenda:
Celine- Journey to the End of the Night
Camus - The Stranger
Flaubert - Madame Bovary
Stendhal - The Red and the Black
Zola - L'Assommoir
Dumas - The Counte of Monte Cristo
Moliere - Tartuffe
Candide - Voltaire 
Andre Breton - Nadja
Paul Gallico - Flowers for Mrs Harris
Glassco - Memoirs of Montparnasse
Lucinda Holdforth - True Pleasures: A Memoir Of Women In Paris
George Orwell's - Down and Out in Paris and London

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