14th of July: In Praise of France

paris-destination unknown-2008

Salut! To those of you tuning in from France. Currently my 5th ranking country (according to the stats anyway). And long may that continue!

I have been very fortunate to visit France on no less than 6 occasions, the last of which (to Paris) was coincidently 6 years ago in the autumn of 2008; shooting pictures that I hoped would arouse the interest of Lonely Planet (nothing happened in the end). It was however the first time I shot Paris with a digital camera. The magic wasn’t quite the same as I knew it was merely a day visit, but Paris is always magical in some way. Aside the capital, I’ve also journeyed to Cherbourg, Nice, Menton and one of my personal faves, Villefranche-sur-Mer.

Culturally (and some might say ironically) most of my flirtations with France come via other international artists as taken with it as I am. Yes, Cock Robin again but also Seamus Heaney’s ‘Night Drive Through France’ poem and the film Paris Je T’aime. This does not mean I exclude French genius altogether. Need I mention Jean Michel Jarre? Rene Jacques and Willy Ronis? I probably already have somewhere.

Part of my second book ‘Notate’ was written in Paris and in 2000 I tried to forge a life there by staying at the legendary writers retreat Shakespeare & Co. Without a kitchen and shower, I lasted a week, all documented in another book ‘Voyage of Nomad.’ I still dream of living there but it slips further away with each passing year. Perhaps that was my one chance to make it. Who knows. Now at yet another crossroads, there seemed only one image to choose. Whatever, I wish all of you the best.




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