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Les Hot Links

lehotdog.jpg

The real deal - American hot dogs Sue Rynski spotted
when we were in the Marais.

One of my cool new Paris friends, Susie Hollands, blogs about the rock venues in Paris my rock 'n roll photographer friend Sue Rynski told her about. The photo Susie thumbnails on the rock venues link above is from Sue's book, just published in Japan, of her photos of the punk group "Destroy All Monsters."

I was reminded of Sue's punk era photos by a mention, by Simon Doonan, in The New York Times, in an article about the surging popularity of Warhol. Ruth La Ferla writes:

“There is a longing for that era in Manhattan of self-invention and discovery, of cultural questioning,” said Simon Doonan, the creative director of Barneys, who is orchestrating the store’s many-pronged Warhol holiday marketing.

Likewise, Sue's photos, even though they're of an era of sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll (with plenty of all of that) have a certain innocence to them. They're of the days art school kids started a band, because, well, what else do you do?...not because their whole lives were planned out, down to the marketing campaigns, at age 10.

Finally, here's a link to a slideshow of the photos from Sue Rynski's "Destroy All Monsters" book. Niagara is the girl with the legs. I love Niagara's anthem, "I'm bored." Could Iggy Pop have...borrowed from that? Hmmm.

Through Susie's blog, I found another link that interested me -- with photos of last year's better campaign to improve public manners in Paris:

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They've got a very good point, huh?

And finally, note to Sue and Susie, you have to meet my friend Elliott Hester, a flight attendant turned hilarious travel writer who's just settled down in Paris, and is, at least for November, taking over from the LAT Paris Postcards travel blogger Susan Spano...she of years of lame entries and glaring errors.

In her last entry, she tells people to be kind to Elliott. Wrong. My take on this, posted in the comments on an earlier entry on my blog:

We shouldn't have to be kind to anybody writing for media. They should do their jobs, then we'll read them without ripping them.

And finally, Elliott's first blog entry, which mentions the reputation Parisians have for rudeness:

Before relocating to Paris in July of this year, I was told, repeatedly, that Parisians are “rude.” The warnings came from friends and acquaintances in Australia, Spain, Iceland, the United States, England and more than 10 other countries, including France. But in the four months since arriving in the City of Light, I have been treated with nothing but kindness.

I’m not sure why the cashier smiled so warmly when I entered the tabac. Perhaps she was amused when I sheepishly said, “Par-don ma-dame, je ne parle pas Français.” (Pardon me madam, I don’t speak French). Perhaps the waitress at L’An Vert Du Decor kissed me goodbye because I kissed her first. At the Monoprix across the street from my apartment, maybe the middle-age shopper so eagerly helped me choose the right cheese because, drum roll please … I smiled, looked him in the eye and asked if he would help me choose the right cheese.

Rude people live everywhere. So do amiable ones. In order to distinguish the latter from the former you often have to make the first move. Especially in Paris.

Elliott's experience is similar to mine. I don't expect people to be rude, and I do make the first move. People are generally very nice, and very helpful to me. Generally. And then there's the comment I left below Elliott's entry:

I think it's important to realize that French people who are rude to you as an American are, perhaps, rude to everyone. Just like rude Americans. I had this happen a few days ago at a Paris café I frequent. The short waiter, who'd been, well...short...with me before, was not only short with me this time, he'd cleared away the supplementary chocolates my very "sympa" waiter Didier had given me. The contrast between nice and nasty almost had me in tears.

Shorty Waiter seemed much nicer to a man I see often there, so I went over and asked him, en Français, "Is this guy angry with me, or with the universe?" He told me he'd seen the guy being very unpleasant with a bunch of French people the other day. I told him the story of the chocolates. Well, it seems the story was overheard by the couple next to me, another couple I see often, with a couple of Yorkies always in tow. Not long afterward, Shorty Waiter came over with a new attitude -- smiled, and left me chocolates. Of course, he didn't apologize or anything! But, it was nice he finally cleared the air.

...And a good thing he did, since I'll be back in Paris with my boyfriend at the end of November, enroute to a noir festival in Italy he needs to attend. My boyfriend's response, upon hearing my story:

Tell this little fucker that if he doesn’t behave himself I’m going to duct-tape him to a skateboard and roll him against traffic down Boulevard St. Germain.

It's so nice to be with a man who so obviously forgot to pick up a copy of the metrosexual dictionary.

Posted by aalkon at November 2, 2006 11:12 AM

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Comments

Shit should never be depicted in advertising. Not even comically, not even ironically. It's part of the problem.

Also, children should never be depicted in advertising, either.

Posted by: Crid at November 2, 2006 4:25 AM

I think I'm with you on both counts.

Slightly related, II saw a hilarious commercial on French TV today with a giant walking thumb in it. Their advertising is much funnier, and doesn't take itself so fucking boringly seriously.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 2, 2006 5:21 AM

Destroy All Monsters released "Bored" the same year that Pop released "I'm Bored" (1979), so hard to say which predated the other. Also note that Destroy's Ron Asheton (who cowrote "Bored" with Niagra) helped found The Stooges back in the late 60s, and evidently was the only former Stooge who didn't work on Pop's '79 release that contained "I'm Bored."

Posted by: Charly in SJ at November 2, 2006 12:29 PM

Destroy All Monsters released "Bored" the same year that Pop released "I'm Bored" (1979), so hard to say which predated the other. Also note that Destroy's Ron Asheton (who cowrote "Bored" with Niagra) helped found The Stooges back in the late 60s, and evidently was the only former Stooge who didn't work on Pop's '79 release that contained "I'm Bored."

Posted by: Charly in SJ at November 2, 2006 3:01 PM

I like Gregg's approach, anyway. I now have this image in mind of someone mummified in duct-tape to a skateboard, being rolled down a steep highway incline into oncoming traffic. Thankfully, my visual stops at the inevitable conclusion. So, if you're imagining a bloody smear being scraped off the highway, it's not my visual you've latched onto.

Posted by: Patrick at November 3, 2006 1:19 AM

I've always been baffled by this reputation of the French, particularly Parisians, for being rude. I've traveled and vacationed extensively in France, speak passable but quite imperfect French, and have had nearly exclusively positive experiences in all these years.

For example, I've always noticed how shopkeepers, market sellers and waitstaff lean almost imperceptibly forward and listen intently to understand my flawed French. I have no idea where they got this reputation for dismissing anyone who doesn't speak the language perfectly.

Maybe I'm too thick to get it when I'm being snubbed. Or maybe I don't go looking for it, either.

In small towns, I've even had waitstaff sit down at my table for a moment to recommend little-known sights or obscure events.

Or this is also typical. I love those anise aperitivs. So recently as I was passing through Limoges, I ordered "un pastis" and asked whether they had my favorite kind, "HB". The very charming waiter smiled slightly and said that if I liked pastis, he wanted me to try the local variety. That's what the French do when they're being really friendly -- they recommend something special or particular, especially from the region.

Maybe it's just a different stripe of friendliness that, unfortunately, is overlooked or perhaps even taken for granted. I for one prefer it any day over "Hi! I'm Jean-Paul and I'll be your waiter today!"

Posted by: Marie at November 3, 2006 1:57 AM

Hi Amy !

/*/Slightly related, II saw a hilarious commercial on French TV today with a giant walking thumb in it. Their advertising is much funnier, and doesn't take itself so fucking boringly seriously. /*/

?!? Amy means the commercial for the bank ? The Société Générale ? (grin)

It's pretentious in the extreme, in Amerloque's view. The thumb is a reference to the French locution "donner un coup de pouce", which an English/American speaker might render as "to give a hand to".

The SG is promising everything and anything, to everyone. (grin) An impossible task.

It uses the song "Winchester Catherdral" as a soundtrack. Strange, strange …

The ad doesn't play too well with oldsters, or with anyone with a recent knowledge of French history, either, since the colors adopted by the SG are those of the Nazis and the Third Reich: red, black and white.

Really.

Best,
L'Amerloque

Posted by: L'Amerloque at November 3, 2006 10:09 AM

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