3 BOOKS TO DO WITH FRANCE:
1. Bonjour Tristesse - Francois Sagan
- Sagan wrote the book in her late teens after failing the entrance exam to study Law at the Sorbonne, Paris. It has one of my favourite opening lines of all time: A strange melancholy pervades me to which I hesitate to give the grave and beautiful name of sadness.
From memory Sagan died in a car crash - speaking of which, if you haven’t read “How to drive fast on drugs while getting your wing-wang squeezed and not spill your drink” by P.J.O’Rourke then do yourself a favour.
2. A Moveable Feast - Ernest Hemingway
- Basically the memoirs of a drunk ex-pat living in Paris. Pretty surreal visiting the cafes/bars/gardens Hemingway describes and seeing how little they’ve changed since the 1920s.
3. Down and Out In Paris and London - George Orwell
- Orwell’s first published work. It’s an autobiographical tale that - as the title suggests - recounts Orwell’s penniless time in Paris. Though it describes vermin-filled lodgings, slave-like working conditions and a working class on the cusp of starvation, it does so in a peculiarly romantic way.
10 LITERARY CITIES AND THEIR BOOKS:
Good books can come from anywhere, right? But when you think ‘great literary city’, what comes to mind? … Paris? Flavorwire have compiled their Top 10 Essential Reads from “The World’s Top Literary Cities”. Pretty interesting, save the exclusions of Vienna, Dublin and perhaps somewhere in Russia?
If you like books and coffee, or even just history, give this book a go - it’s a compilation of the “Grand Literary Cafes of Europe”. More of a coffee-table book than a guide, these joints are good to keep in mind when you’re travelling. Some of the great novels of all-time have been written in these cafes in Amsterdam, Budapest, Vienna and, obviously, Paris. It also features Deux Magots which, according to my sister, was where Dora Maar and Picasso met. Apparently Maar had become infatuated with Picasso and his work, saw him from a distance and stabbed her hand with a butter knife until she bled and he came to her aid. However, Wikipedia suggests that she was plainly introduced to Picasso by poet, Paul Eluard who, co-incidentally, wrote the poem that inspired the title for Sagan’s Bonjour Tristesse.
He once ate an entire lemon. His beard is as lush as any European pubic hair. His voice could melt the sweat off the penis of Mischa Barton’s billionaire boyfriend. You guessed it - Melbourne boy, Chet Faker.
Have a listen to Jeans & Wallet - contains more sexual innuendo than a comic called Soap and Locker Rooms. Lyrics: ”lips were parted / before the engine started” - genius!
Anyhow, while he’s sorting out his EP, you can buy a few of his tracks HERE.