The strange phenomenon that is branding. Walked past Louis Vuitton on the Champs Elysees on saturday and the masses had gathered, yet again to see, buy, touch the apparel, handbags that are LV. Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall – it is alway the same. A perfectly executed and managed brand LV, screams of luxury and conspicuous consumption, suggestive of celebrity and exclusivity. Or is it?
We started out early – well, past midday and the weather was beautiful. There were already throngs of people at the marché, simply strolling along, sampling the hot wine – of which there were many stalls, having their snacks on the sidewalk food courts. It had a strangely commercial feel to it though- it is after all the Champs Elysées though- for authenticity I have been told that there is no other than the Strasbourg Market
Armed with my ticket from yesterday, I set out early for the Matisse, Cézanne, Picasso: The Steins Collect at the Grand Palais – only to be rudely told to come back at 13h30. What!? Turns out the jumele ticket I bought restricts one’s visits to certain hours only. Now, if only that kind gentleman at the ticket counter had explained this time restriction…best I get that french up to speed sooner than later, to avoid such vital communication being lost in translation. Irony is I missed the exhibit because I had a French class.
It is grey outside. Gone are the long, balmy evenings; a far memory the Indian summer that drew itself out to the end of October. It is now grey. Even the crowds outside the famed Louis Vuitton store on Avenue Champs Elysées are no more – Ladurée looked stark and empty, I guess nothing was drawing the crowds out into the cold for their delightful macarons.
Title: Lyrics Alley
Author: Leila Aboulela
I am going to come across sounding unimaginative I know, but Lyrics Alley is lyrical. A slow-paced introduction to the extended dynastic Abuzeid family leads one to identifying with the characters almost immediately. Slow-paced as the introduction is, the turn of events as the plot gives way is anything but. Lyrics Alley reads both like historical fiction – which it is not, and a dramatic work of fiction you want to sink your teeth into.
The plot centres around Mahmoud Abuzeid, a Sudanese whose life is a mélange of cultures, traditional Sudanese and modern Egyptian. Torn between the two worlds, he remains unavoidably and staunchly tied to his origins and his family in Sudan yet socially ambitious and yearning for acceptance in his new world. It is a story of families, love and heartbreak.
Tributes extolling the genius of Steve Jobs have been and will continue to be written following his death yesterday, and every one of them will not be enough. But one recent one put it more aptly than most…”he was the closest friend you’ve never met”. I couldn’t agree more. Genius knows no bounds and this was…
It’s called Sleepless Night and is meant to be an all-nighter; from 7pm to 7am. We tried last night. We went- we saw- and we were back home by midnight. Considering the company, aged 5 and 11 – we did not do too badly.
Nuit Blanche is in its 10th year and is an all-night art exhibition and festival in the Hôtel de Ville, Montmartre, Pigalle and the St. Georges areas. Contemporary art installations, sculptures, exhibits can be viewed all night. The Pompidou Centre opened to the crowds free of charge from 9pm until 1am. Stands were set up where we picked up maps and followed our own course. The metro, lines 11 and 12 were open for the entire night between certain stops.
Lounge music, I guess I am just a sucker for lounge music. Evokes images of chilled out cocktails on friday nights, lazy saturday afternoon barbecues and late sunday lunches. The association is always with food.
Writers, artists, designers, foodies and your average francophile are drawn to Paris by one thing- Inspiration. There is something about the city that is deemed a mecca of inspiration for the creatives, and it has always been the case. In some cases , destination Paris was a result of political and social circumstances forcing people to seek out refuge in a democratic, liberal country that not only allowed but encouraged their creativity. Chinese artists made their way to Paris in the early 1900s, with the formation of the Franco-Chinese Education Society in 1915 and establishment of the Franco-Chinese Institute in Lyon in 1921, encouraging further influx.