Monday, June 25, 2007

Stinky Green and Paris in the Sprung

It’s been far too long since I scribbled on this, my patch of virtual virality but here I am now so back in yer box, as they say.

Back to Blighty and back to a veritable downpour of deluges: the oft-dreamed of drizzle has started to become almost as tedious as the perpetual sunshine and when I’m beginning to feel like it might be my fault that this summer has yet to materialise. I apologise, just in case, but would like to point out that upper-atmospheric goings on are outside my remit.

The garland of partisanship that dangles round the Great British public’s neck for the proper noun that is The Wimbledon Fortnight (for which non-capitalisation is, ironically, a capital offence and punishable by hanging) already looks bedraggled: paper flowers don’t do well in the rain - they just go limp and lose their colour, much like the hopes of the nation especially now Mr Murray has had to pull out. Wouldn’t it be hilarious if Tiger Tim (hear him roar ... ) pulled one out the bag and actually won: an instant knighthood, methinks, bestowed on court and almost certainly an instant fatwa care of the losing finalist’s countrymen.

Two-n-a-bit weeks into my return to green and pleasantness and it doesn’t actually feel like I ever went away ... little has changed but so much has. The uncertainty that stalked my pre-departure days has been replaced by a cynicism that has taken me a little by surprise although not anyone else it would seem! I don’t think I was deluded when I went out but perhaps I was self-deluded in my delusion that I wasn’t deluded.

With the benefit of a brain and body that have been chilled to a more sensible temperature and with the benefit of x thousand miles between me and there, as well as the chance to air my thoughts and feelings past people who aren’t so close to the woods as to have the bark pattern imprinted on their faces and squirrels taking up residence in their nostrils, I sometimes feel like I’m missing something.

“Anything can be made better by rubbing money on it”; thus spake if not the prophet then someone with a fairly astute take on the human condition. Money: the great panacea that salves our collective conscience and makes the patient feel like we’re on their side. Is it just me or is there something wrong there? Is it wrong that I disagree with the kind of development that involves throwing money at something and hoping it’ll sort itself out? I could rant and rave til I’m bluer than I already am ... if you want to discuss further, let me know and I’ll save the ranting for then.

Talking of Paris (and reminded of Milan) and comparing both with Edinburgh I have noticed, with some disappointment, quite how sterile the centre of the capital of Scottish culture is: how immaculately clean the streets are and how undaubed the walls. I know that in the less salubrious areas, where children are weaned onto a diet of saturated fats, nicotine and aerosol spray, graffiti is what gives the concrete its character but there does seem to be a distinct lack of what I like to call the Rrrr factor. Street art has its place and without it it's almost too quiet.

Compare, if you will, Paris:


I don’t know what it means, but Edinburgh feels like a show home whereas Paris feels lived in. Edinburgh still smells of paint and varnish and the bed is too tidily made to have been slept in. Paris smells of last night’s pizza and the bed is barely discernible from the detritus of life that is scattered around it.

Some would say I had too much time on my hands ... and they’re probably right.

It’s time to go and light the barbecue. If it starts to rain, I take full responsibility.


  1. I found the answer to the question you didn't pose regarding the sterility of Edinburgh last time I was up there:
    A Photo

  2. Explains a lot! Will be scrutinising el grando fumo for more evidence!


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