Charles in charge

This was a week so dark it put the cul into crepuscular (cul is French for ass in case you were wondering), but today was a celebration of freedom, one of my favourite things. I’d perhaps forgotten how much I enjoy my freedoms. It’s like losing use of your sphincter or having someone impound your passport so you can’t get back to your adopted home country – a couple of things that have happened to me in the last year bizarrely enough, but those stories are for another time. Let’s get back to freedoms shall we? Freedoms eh? Marvellous aren’t they?

And ideas. Brilliant they are, and I wouldn’t want somebody telling me I couldn’t have them. It’s not like I have much control over them anyway, and I wouldn’t mind if the buggers fucked off for a bit when I was trying to meditate, but up they keep popping, poking me with a sharp pencil. The other night I had to write a piece for the next day, but could I sleep on it? Like fuck could I. I jumped out of bed at 5am and finished it off just to shut my head up.
Anyway, it’s been a difficult week and my brain could definitely do with shutting down now, after being part of a magnificent march and apparently the biggest gathering ever in central Paris. Today we followed leaders, but didn’t have to watch parking meters, as they came and took away all the parked cars in the middle of the night. An astonishing undertaking really. I’ve not always been the most vociferous and vocal supporter of the police, but they do a difficult job (blah blah blah) and this last week they deserve some kudos. Today they managed to fend off the terrorists and they also had a much easier job than usual arresting the drug dealers, as they were the ones in the ‘J’ai charlie’ t-shirts.

After 7/7 in London it took a while before I stopped wondering if every bus I boarded was going to blow itself to smithereens. The odds are always slight, but you can’t help but imagine the worst when terror is fresh and seemingly everywhere, shouting “boo!” from every news stand. In Paris this week I was looking for gunmen on every corner, even though I knew they wouldn’t be there. Sometimes you have to just keep your cheveux on, get back on the cheval, and dance like Hugo Chavez (I’m running out of che words now). I think as well as sending a message to the world, for a lot of people today was a gentle way to allay fears and return to some kind of normality. It was safety in (massive) numbers. It was like the time I got put in hospital in a street fight one Saturday night, and the next evening I went straight to the pub after I left hospital in order to prove to myself that I wasn’t frightened. And because I was an alcoholic who was gagging for a pint.

It was a terrific march but I hope I don’t have to go on another for a while. There was a real sense of unity, and I almost felt like a Parisian. And long may both of those sensations remain.

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