Some vicious cleaning will ensue tonight here in postcard Paris, and I will be rolling up my sleeves. Tomorrow some flat-pack furniture is being put together over on the edgier east side by a strong woman we’re getting in, and I will stand and watch and offer to hold screws, my voice trembling with inadequacy. My stay in the fifth arrondissement has been a short and pleasant one, but we’re off to pastures new, over on the 11th. I’ve made myself sound like a seasoned expat, though having only lived in Paris for four days, words like “arrondissement” are fairly new to me. I’ve actually spent a lot of time here over the last few years, but it was only recently that I actually worked out what arrondissements actually are. I’d just smile and nod previously, assuming it was something to do with longitude. It wasn’t. Districts, that’s what they actually are (“What a dimwad,” you’re probably already thinking, “that’s entry level elementary shit right there sunbeam, this clown has got heaps to learn”. And if you are thinking that, then go easy tiger.)
Claire’s been promising to take me on a writer’s walk around this area for a while but we’ve been too busy. Obviously I’ve visited before, but we’ve not quite had the chance yet. Maybe tonight’s the night, once we’ve got the cleaning out of the way. I feel a bit of a cliché residing in Hemmingway’s Paris tm, and actually, while there’s little to fault in his prose, I can’t help thinking that what he really needed was a big hug; I just can’t quite get past his pomposity and his barely-concealed desperation for you to think he’s one motherfucking fly dude. I wish I had examples to hand.
These were probably some of the reasons I didn’t watch Midnight In Paris. I love all Woody Allen films – even the rubbish ones – but even by my low standards I thought the first twenty minutes were excruciating (or did it touch a nerve what with the hackneyed writer wanting to move to Paris thing?) Having abandoned it on a long-haul flight, I did give it another go recently at the behest of my girlfriend, and it was fine. And the house where we are right now appears in the film and just around the corner is the Church of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont where Owen Wilson gets picked up every night at midnight. Maybe tonight I’ll await the witching hour there myself, and if Hemmingway comes around the corner to pick me up in a Peugeot Type184 Landaulet, then I’m going to give him a big motherfucking hug.