Thursday, February 05, 2004

Merci les musiciens

With the Evening Time's most promising young photographer, Kieran Dodds, in tow (actually, it should really be the other way round) I went off to Paris two weekends ago to work on a feature about musicians in Metro stations. Kieran came up with the idea, booked cheap flights, and organised an interview with the man who auditions and looks after all the accredited Metro performers. His photos are fantastic. What a star.
Our friend Simon acted as translator at the interview, which was just as well, as I only got a C for Higher French. And that was about 7 years ago.
So we've got some pics, an interview with the main man, contact numbers for musicians and an invite to the auditions in March, where I can do my reportage thang. We're pitching it to the Herald magazine, so let's hope they like it and pay for our next trip (ha ha!).
I managed to fit trips to the Pompidou Centre and Musee D'Orsay in. And I'm really glad I did. The Pompidou is an incredible place, with its inside-out structure and colour coded pipes winding around. The modern art gallery inside is quite simply the best of its kind I've been to. It's shamelessly intellectual but playful too. If you want a crash course in 20th century art it's peerless. You can see how Cubism evolved, with Picasso and Braque breaking down form and using multiple perspectives, or how abstract art developed through Kadinsky to Pollock.
And there's all manner of playful recent stuff: a room lined with rolls of grey carpet and a solitary grand piano in the corner; a short film called Lasoe where a girl watches an oblivious boy practicing his rope tricks; a canopy of amber glass lampshades; right back to Duchamp's readymades, urinal and all.
Orsay was almost too much - even the most casual art lover would recognise at least one painting per room. Monet, oodles of Degas, Van Goch, Renoir (dance at rue Gallette with the handsome boy getting all the attention from the girls and his geeky mates trying to look like they're part of the conversation) and Whistler's Mother, which really is wonderful.
As you can tell, I'm no art expert, but, hey, I had fun.

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