Tonight I attempted to go back to a restaurant on Rue de Faubourg Montmartre that I first visited in 1993 but it was not possible. There was a queue longer than I could wait and I turned back to a café called Dédé on the Rue de Montmartre where young trendy beautiful people drink young trendy beautiful beer. This morning as I arrived in Paris the aeroplanes had drawn their paths across the sky. Their trails mirroring the maps of boulevards beneath. Turning left and right above the busy roads and zig zagging around the clouds. On my way to meet Laurent at La Comedie Francaise tonight, I saw a street devoted entirely to selling antique stamps. Philatelists. When I last came to Paris I did not look. I did not open my eyes like I have time to now. I looked at the pavement not at the sky, the gutter not the stars. Now wherever I go I see signs. A shop called ‘Freelance’ when I’ve just explained the word to someone. A roll of gaffer tape on the polished floor of the acceuil at La Comedie Francaise. Wherever you go, however posh the theatre, they will always need gaffer tape. It’s like cigarettes in prison. Laurent was telling me that they have built a theatre to house their programme while La Comedie Francaise is refurbished. It was supposed to open next week but now there is a strike as all the technicians demand more pay. They have downed their tools. Or their gaffer tape. So the theatre stands waiting to open. Earlier on tonight I was drawn to its wooden structure. It’s unfinished surface. I filmed it. The city is speaking to me in different ways today. I have been here at least ten times before. Once with parents. Once with college. Once with a theatre company. Once with an ex. Once on a business trip. Once to learn French for a month. Actually that’s eight times. But I have never been here. And I have never stayed near the station in the dirty, beating heart of Montmartre. And I have never visited the suburbs which I will do on Sunday. And I have never been to Montfort L’Amaury which I will do tomorrow. I’ve been reading the map I was sent and it seems that there’s a house near Ravel’s house where the playwright Jean Aanouilh lived in the 20th Century. It’s just around the corner and I sonder if that’s an angle. If Aanouilh and Ravel met. If they talked while he was writing Bolero. The Literary Manager I met tonight pointed out that Ravel lived through the First World War and wrote a piano concerto for a one handed pianist who lost an arm in the war. I wonder how it marked him. Laurent also said that Ravel lived a modest life and, by all accounts, a life of celibacy and left his fortune to his chauffeur or gardener. For a while now, I have been thinking about what I could do that would be an appropriate gesture to mark the journey I am making. I was thinking about leaving a red rose everywhere I go. A red rose on the stage. A red rose on the grave etc. And now I know Ravel left his money to his gardener it feels even more appropriate. These are the signs I have been seeing and hearing. The signposts I have been following so far. This is the logic in coincidence which marks disparate coordinates on the map into some kind of constellation. This is the logic that means throwing roses across Europe might make some kind of sense. Might have some kind of meaning. If I can’t always buy a rose. I might use the same rose. If I can’t always leave the same rose. I might leave a petal behind. Then perhaps the rose will unravel as I make my journey with Ravel and by the end of the journey I will have scattered petals across a continent to the music.


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