Tuesday, 11 November 2008

flâneurs unite

Mussy, Mauricio and Claus! Many thanks for your encouragement! I went to bed as sick as a parrot, thinking I'd failed to convey the essence of the flâneur. I wake to your messages, and feel accompanied in the world!
There are many wonderful websites on the 'flâneur'. Here they are mostly blocked, which is very interesting. Innocent enough fellow the flâneur, you think, strolling around minding his (and possibly her) own business. But of course he is the archetypal loner, individual, spectator and commentator, and clearly seen as subversive. Enough. I don't want to push my luck, or push the boat out too far, and certainly not stick my head my head above the parapet (idioms for Oiuna) or you may not hear from me again. Mum's the word........I passed a very strange building on my walk yesterday. It claimed to be the Chinese Philatelic Society. It was VAST, filling a whole city block, faceless, and a guard stood outside...........

ps Baudelaire coined the term, and Walter Benjamin wrote extensively on shopping arcades and the flâneur. Benjamin, who is still read in art schools today, was a Berlin Jew who fled to France and in 1940 found himself at the little fishing village of Port Bou on the Mediterranean, just on the border with Spain. Thinking his papers to cross over to Spain and safety were not going to come, he committed suicide. His pass came the following day.