Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Paris: bars not clubs

From Chris Car, parisblog.org

"Bars replacing the Night Club scene?
Is it possible? Red Light would probably say 'no'. But Figaro magazine has recently suggested that the Paris night life is changing thanks to the 'portable' and the fact that nightlife people have decided that they want to sit in a corner and talk - rather than be deafened by ultra decibles [sic].
The fact is - it's hard to pick someone up if you can't even talk therefore the night crowd is spending more times in bars (like Le Baron) The cell phone or portable is making for a much for [sic] nomadic evening. Finally, bars don't have humbling door men that exclude people from entering if you're not wearing the right pair of shoes."

It makes a LOT of sense and one wonders that it took so long for people to realise the obvious advantages.

Not so sure about this:

"The bottom line is spending less money..." another very good reason

"... and going places with your 'tribe' meaning the people that do the same things you do or are interested in the same things. Hmm sounds like conformity to me - i.e. boring."

Well that depends on how interesting and varied your friends are, and being with them doesn't rule out meeting new people. But we shouldn't underestimate how important friends are:

"Zaretsky's new study is further demonstration that social interaction and social networks affect people's health and longevity more than the genes they inherit. He found, as did previous Scandinavian studies, that longevity has a heritability of only 20-30 percent. This means that genetics contributes little to how long we live - our social environment and general lifestyle are much more important."


Sunday, January 15, 2006

French culture and British camaraderie

Jason Burke, The Observer's European correspondent:

Why do my friends despise me?

"... I have spent much of the last six months in Paris writing a book. It was pretty much as you would imagine. I have got up late, read over the previous day's efforts, strolled by the Seine with proofs under my arm and sat in the sun on benches gnawing the end of my red pen. Jean-Pierre at the bistro 100 metres from my front door knows I'll be in around 10am looking for Le Figaro, a creme and a tartine with jam; Jimmy (actually Jamal, but no matter) in the cafe opposite will expect me around 4pm for a final espresso. When inspiration lacked (often), I took myself off to one of the smaller galleries or the lively bars along the rue Oberkampf."

Not surprisingly this generated some envy amongst friends and colleagues and some typically British acerbity:

"Sadly, I have now sent in the manuscript, so these halcyon days are over. But I want to thank my friends and colleagues, often appraised of my daily routine by email, who have been so supportive. I am sure, having read thus far, you would share their generous sentiments, and I want to say how grateful I am for the constant reminders I have had of the fluidity and infinite variety of the Anglo-Saxon language. Of those messages of encouragement that are printable, perhaps my favourite is: 'Have I ever told you how much I despise you?' You have now."