Telling tales on two
You hate it at first, the filth, the
rudeness, the overcrowding..
Rather more subtle than Paris, that seduces you with beauty and romance, and hopes to collude with you in arrogance and superciliousness. I lived there for six months.
At first I wandered round looking up at the wonderful architecture, breathing in the atmosphere. I glided past countless treasures in endless museums, famous places helpfully materialised as I meandered round unpromising corners and the whole city revolved in unison round the inspirational spire of the Eiffel Tower. Alas the spell was broken by my hatred of coffee and snippets of Test matches overheard on the BBC World service. In the final interminable days before my departure, I stomped through the streets my eyes on the filthy pavements, wary of strategically laid dogshit, breathing in the ubiquitous cigarette smoke.
The Big Smoke
If the average glass of London tap-water is drunk six times over. Then average lungful of Paris air is smoked thrice and passive smoked occasionally by freakish non-smoking outsiders.
A tacky plastic Eiffel souvenir,
inexpertly sprayed gold and already coming unstuck from
its garish pink marble-effect plinth was a perfect
memento mori. If ever I escape from London, I shall take
a handful of prostitutes cards, I can phone them up and
be reminded that I will never go back.
Noday, 31st June 1998