Thursday, May 30, 2002

Just back from Paris.It has changed. No longer the ultra chic place it used to be. General dumbing down. Asked my French cousin if this was her impression too.
"Yes. Everyone wants to dress like teenagers."
And that means casual grungewear.

Did the usual cultural circuit- Louvre -Musee d' Orsay, Musee Rodin and,of course, the Pompidou Centre.
Some surprises. First sculpture I see when I walk into the sculpture court of the Lourve is the original bronze of a lion with a serpent by Antoine-Louis Barye (1795 . Paris). Spent one week of my first year at Glasgow School of Art drawing a plaster cast of that sculpture -life size in pastel .
As for the Pompei Centre there were so many works there that were clearly the inspiration for so many well known artists in England and Scotland that I dont know where to start... at least I will be charitable and say inspiration though some may say they were a straight pinch of ideas.
Oh well ,as Picasso said:minor artists borrow great artists steal"

Even works from last year's Degree Show....surely it was not a coincidence?

Got robbed on the Metro. It was so innocently down that I never suspected until the three little girls aged around 10-12, who asked me the time, rushed off the train just as the doors were closing. I looked down. Yes, my bag previouslsy closed , even turned towards me, was open and my purse gone.
Fortuantely there was little in it but the purse was of sentimental value, given to me many years ago as a present by a former student in Hong Kong.
Now I saw another side of modern French life. Reported it to the metro police. They shook their heads :"Czechosloviakn...a group of 15 we know them well..there's nothing we can do."
It is the wave of immigrants flooding France . The children are too young to be charged and even if they were what happens? they get a small fine and are back on the streets again.
Noticvs everywhere warn you of pickpockets. Somehow I had envisaged these minor criminals as streetwise young men. It never occurred to me that today they would be children - and girls at that.

On a lighter note we get taken to the Lido, one of Paris most famous nightclubs and a tourist honeypot on the Champs Elysees, by my French cousins who are somewhat horrified that we want to go there.
Those who expect titallating nude dancing are in for a shock. iIts so squeaky clean that you could take your great grandmother there. In fact at the table next to us a 90 year old woman was celebrating her birthday! We know because they brought in lighted candles.with the age written in large letters. She was proud to be 90. The woman behind me had a similar birthday. She looked less pleased to have her age - 56 -emblazed on a cardboard cake in front of her.