The breath penalty

We’ve found a lot of things in Paris recently that were sous les nez as it were, and they’ve made life infinitely more bearable knowing we can visit them any time and fritter away all our spare cash on hunks of plastic and black-and-white projections in charming little picturehouses (astral ones maybe, but more of that in a bit). It’s quite remarkable that I never knew about Fargo – the world famous French record store I knew nothing about – which is about as close to my house as the imprint of Jim Morrison’s four decade-diminished arsecheeks (about two blocks away in other words). I’m already on first name terms with the owner. Actually I’ve forgotten his name, but if I remember it again then we’ll be back on first name terms. Or at least I’ll know his.

We’ve found cinemas that show old films (we knew about them already, but hadn’t actually stepped into them until recently) and perhaps the golden ticket is me finding myself on le sécurité social thanks to some persistence from Claire. I may even get my Carte Vitale in a couple of months, which I’m sure I’ll use for more than chopping up lines of gak like Gilou (I just started watching Engrenages again for anyone wondering what the hell I’m going on about).
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Maybe a little more odd was something that happened yesterday. I’ve been saying for ages that I’d like to find somewhere to meditate in Paris, though the only places I’m aware of charge €30 a session, and I’m not giving that sort of money to a fat man with some scented candles so I can essentially breath in and out for half an hour. Anyway, Claire was looking on the internet, and she said she’d found somewhere that did guided meditation in English that was free and started in about an hour. She called them up and they told us to come on down, just like that.

When we arrived we were met by some friendly, though essentially starry people who gave us some nice nettle tea and told us all about their own division of Buddhism; led by a charismatic Scandinavian, the Tibetan breakaway movement has a moniker that sounds more like a Ponzi scheme than a denomination. Singing bowls pealed and alarm bells rang. We thought we’d stop and have a go anyway – it may not be mindfulness, but breathing is breathing and the discipline of sitting in a room with other people and practising meditation is an enjoyable one and will probably achieve similar results, and besides, sitting on a Buddhist prayer mat and listening to some people ommming is far less challenging than making small talk with religious fanatics you don’t know. Come on, we’re not interested in what each other does, let’s cut to the money shot shall we?

Had I taken the trouble to see what Claire had found on the internet then we probably wouldn’t have gone there (not her fault, she’s new to all this), and some investigation afterwards makes me uneasy and suspicious, and yet I have to say that afterwards I felt truly quite terrific. We smiled, shook hands, put our trainers back on, stuffed literature into our back pockets and wandered back out into the evening sunshine. I have no idea why imagining having blue light firing out of your chest and red light coming into your throat will energise you, but I actually felt better than I have in weeks and found myself bounding along the Seine. Who knows if we’ll return there, but I do need to find somewhere to meditate in Paris. Right now there is LITERALLY – and when I say LITERALLY I mean FIGURATIVELY – a bad moon rising (although LITERALLY as well if you’re being euphemistic), and I can’t be any less cryptic than that at this stage. Not for the first time one is croisant les doigts.

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