Wednesday, 29 August 2007
And isn't the role of the arresting policeman slightly compromised? I would have thought that to react to the senatorial tootsie's advances, as this officer so clearly did, seated and on the alert in the adjacent booth, was an act of, well, provocation. What was his state of dress? Did the senator, married and father of two adopted children, get a glimpse of the policeman's naked calf, or was he lured on by the promise of a sock, a trouser leg?
And who designs these booths? I've never seen European booth partitions with space enough for hands and feet to ramble willy-nilly from one cubicle to the next. I thought such things were the prerogative of pornographic fantasy, along with ever-willing plumbers and car mechanics. How wrong I was.
Hot stuff, right? Want to know who Craig is? Click here for the full story. Then come back here and we can talk about hypocrisy.
The undercover officer was monitoring the restroom on June 11. A few minutes after noon, Craig entered and sat in the stall next to him. Craig began tapping his right foot, touched his right foot to the left foot of the officer and brushed his hand beneath the partition between them. He was then arrested.
Monday, 27 August 2007
Not really the work of writers at all (and maybe the term isn't intended to cover this type of urban artist), but of illustrators, and looking as though they were all produced, in any case, by a single person (presumably M. Jef Aerosol), these three pieces of street art were seen within a hundred metres of one another in the rue Mouffetard area. Presumably stencils were used, which takes the spontaneity out of the whole business, but it's hard not to enjoy them all the same, particularly the cheeky mooner at the top.
I've just done a little research, something I should have done earlier, and discovered that Jef Aerosol is actually a well-known artist with a CV as long as rue Mouffetard itself. If you're as ignorant as I was until a few moments ago, you can find out more by going to his site. You'll feel as ashamed as I did. I wonder if he's as rich as Banksy. More to the point, I wonder who came first.
And if you have any ideas as to the significance of the rather disturbing image in the bottom photograph, I'd be interested to hear them.
Saturday, 25 August 2007
And here's the synopsis:
When I was thirteen my father killed my mother.
How do you recover from something like that? Carol never quite does. She's sent to live with her aunt, who barely tolerates her presence, much less makes her welcome. Grief-stricken, and all too aware she's not wanted, Carol is prickly and awkward. Desperate for love, but unable to ask for it, she nonetheless - and almost despite herself - finds it, perhaps where she least expected: her Uncle Joey is the only one to notice her when she's a teenager; years later, when she knows him as Jozef and he's sacrificed more for her than she can really comprehend, he's also the man with whom she builds a home and a life. But when Carol helps to rescue a young refugee from the sea, that life suddenly threatens to unravel, just as surely as it did when she was thirteen. Written in tight, spare prose, "Little Monsters" is a novel of creation, redemption and obsession; it's also the story of what it's like to experience the unthinkable - and what happens next.
The Ministry of Truth now has a fascinating post about his latest efforts to impose his loopy agenda on the world, as is usual with revealed truth cranks by trying to shut other people up. Thanks to Mr Oktar and his gang of lawyers, all Wordpress blogs are now banned in Turkey. If you're Turkish and want to carry on reading this or any other Blogspot blog, don't breathe a word to Oktar...
One of the things I've noticed most often when I've mentioned my own doubts about the official version, in passing, to friends (because I try not to let my natural scepticism towards government slip over into a farcical over-estimation of its ability - there lies crankdom) is how few people know about the collapse of the third tower, some nine hours later than the other two and without apparent external assistance.
But – here we go. I am increasingly troubled at the inconsistencies in the official narrative of 9/11. It's not just the obvious non sequiturs: where are the aircraft parts (engines, etc) from the attack on the Pentagon? Why have the officials involved in the United 93 flight (which crashed in Pennsylvania) been muzzled? Why did flight 93's debris spread over miles when it was supposed to have crashed in one piece in a field? Again, I'm not talking about the crazed "research" of David Icke's Alice in Wonderland and the World Trade Center Disaster – which should send any sane man back to reading the telephone directory.
I am talking about scientific issues.
In the meantime I came across this sign in Paris, which rings horribly true after a summer of northern European rain and too much good food.
Friday, 24 August 2007
Sometimes, though, a song comes from nowhere and stays. I loved this one when I first heard it, and I've been remembering and then half-remembering it ever since. A few days ago a neighbour was playing it and I've fallen again. This video comes from the festival itself (there's a much slicker and less compelling later version of it on Lisa's website). It's great because it has the dreadful moments that precede all Sanremo performances, when you're convinced that something is about to go - or has already gone - irremediably wrong. She's obviously shitting herself. No one had really heard of her; she was among the Giovani, a heterogeneous and often not particularly talented melange of hopefuls and raccommandati. You can watch her gaining power over the song and the situation, until she hits her stride in the obligatory Sanremese crescendo. The lyrics are compulsively awful, a paean to being shat on by a man, worthy of Billie Holiday. I love it.
Thursday, 23 August 2007
The Musee Delacroix was poky, dangerously overheated and chock-full of second-rate stuff by M. D himself and others. Even the atelier, which you feel ought to be revealing, was dull. The garden though, in its small way, was very pleasant. I'm a sucker for formal gardens and it was fun to see the degree of formality achieved here, in what's really no more than a tiny courtyard squeezed in between buildings. I swear I didn't move the chairs.
And there were some nice postcards of sketches from Delacroix's Moroccan travels in the little shop.
It's what we don't see as we snap away that can often give the image resonance.
She's described as a freelance writer and part-time model. She lives with friends in Leiceste (sic) and is still a virgin. Not a mention of her other activity as press officer for SRT. It also says, rather oddly, that 'from the age of consent she has not had sex for eleven years', suggesting that before the age of consent she was a bit of a slapper.
Wednesday, 22 August 2007
'Gays Too Precious To Risk In Combat,' Says General
Tuesday, 21 August 2007
One of the hardest things about travelling is that you often have to leave your pets behind. This is particularly the case if the journey touches Britain, whose irrationally draconian anti-rabies measures make it impossible to take your dog: because, I admit it, I'm thinking dog here. Even more, I'm thinking Toffee.
We left Toffee in her own house (which we share), with Daniela and then Renata, people she knows and loves, so she was fine. We were the ones who suffered. Suffering takes many forms. Giuseppe phoned home every day for detailed bulletins on her health and general well being. Toffee licks the mouthpiece if she hears her name, which is unhygienic but endearing (to us), and this ritual was duly performed each afternoon.
I'm more grown up about it (I also think the phone thing might upset her at some deep level, the way time travel or full face transplants might upset me). I take photographs of other people’s dogs. Paris is a very good city indeed for this; it's hard to cross a street without seeing half a dozen small perfectly coiffured tykes being taken out by their owners. Jack Russell terriers are definitely this season's flavour; the animaleries along the Seine around Pont Neuf are full of them, with their prices pitilessly falling as they move out of puppyhood; although bulledogues (the French kind, hence the spelling) are hanging in by their oddly arranged teeth and look set to weather the canine fashion storm.
Then there are the much larger mixed-breed dogs that lope around with, and protect, the thousands of clochards in the city. The psychology's pretty basic. People like me, who go soft at the sight of most animals, tend to give more, telling ourselves that our money will be spent on biscuits. One guy who turned out to be from Manchester, strategically placed on his rucksack outside a place that sold the most delicious bread, told me he'd just bought something to stop his bitch - Sensy (because she’s sensitive) - going on heat. This information made me even more generous than I'd intended. He said that he could sleep more easily, knowing that Sensy was there beside him. We must have had similar circuits because I noticed Sensy and her life-partner half a dozen times, walking, sleeping outside the Monoprix on rue de Reynes. A man came out of the store and gave the Mancunian a bag with bread, cheese, tabouleh, screw-topped wine, two bottles of water and a sizeable bag of dog food. I wonder how often this happens, if it’s a frequent gesture or if I was lucky enough to see something exceptional. I hope the former.
Then, one afternoon, a big golden Labrador flopped across to us and put his front paws round my waist and his cold wet nose against my stomach. Begging for love, I thought, so I was half right. His owner, who rolled up seconds later with his hand out and a friendly smile, must have trained him to trawl for cash. But hey! everyone's happy. (Except for people who 'don't like dogs'.)
They don't even have to be real. I took these two photographs of toy dogs in the window of a shop that was closed for August. I had one not that different when I was small, with small wheels on each paw and a handle at the back like a trolley case; I don't know what happened to it.