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I am on the train to London. I am in the first class carriage. There are people here with suits and ties. The tickets were cheap and the free coffee and wifi are fuelling the journey. The man opposite is talking on his mobile phone saying things like ‘Moving forward…’ and abbreviating months to Jan. and Feb. and other ways of saying months that save time and money and telling people that their voicemail message needs updating but with a smile on his face, when he is actually obviously telling them off, and asking them things like ‘How is your biz looking?’. So I put my headphones on and pressed play on Bolero for the first time on my journey to Paris. This is my destination. The Hotel Mauberge Gare du Nord. I booked somewhere modest, somewhere functional, somewhere Ravel might have stayed. I was looking at a garret in Montmartre but felt that was more associated with artists like Toulouse La Trec, Dali etc. I wanted somewhere near the Gare du Nord and the Gare de l’Est so I could make my journeys to Monfort L’Armaury and Levallois-Perret. I wanted somewhere that would give me space to think and to write but not to distract me too much from the journey I am making. It looks good from the outside. The rooms have retro furniture and bright decor. There are photos of all the rooms on the website here and I requested a room with a writing desk and an old leather armchair. There was a picture above the bed that looked like a seascape. I thought that would make a good view to write to. An alternative window. I get to Paris at 3pm and aim to check in and write about the room – maybe posting a photo of the old leather armchair if I have one – before meeting a literary advisor at La Comedie Francaise. There is a text by Georges Perec in Species of Spaces and Other Pieces where he writes an inventory of all the objects in the room around him as he is writing, finally arriving at a table and a chair and a pen and a piece of paper. Today is about getting my bearings. Writing an inventory of writing. Orientating myself around the story. When I get to the hotel I will take out all the equipment I have brought and arrange it on the desk like a detective investigating an unsolved crime. A camera. A dictaphone. A laptop. A guide book. A map of Paris with relevant sites highlighted. I seem to have brought more technology than clothes. You can’t wear wires. But I wanted to document my journey in more ways than words. To take pictures and video as well as writing to the music as much as possible. I have noticed a different way of writing to the music of Bolero today. Maybe because the rhythm of the train moves my body as the rhythm of the music moves my thoughts. The crescendo takes me by surprise and I have to turn the music down in case anyone complains. The music is my score. The story is my unsolved mystery. The journey has begun.

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