It was Shakespeare night last Monday (23 April) and we were treated to soliloquies from Henry V, Julius Ceasar, Twelfth Night and Hamlet, several sonnets, a song or two and a tour de force of witches from MacBeth, even if I do say so myself, being one of the witches. It always amazes me - you don't read any Shakespeare for months and then, damn it all, you are reminded just how brilliant he is/was.
Oh, and my Lady MacBeth went down rather well too.
If ever there was a case of less is more needing to be applied to a photography exhibition, then this is it. Having waited for over two hours to get in, in the freezing cold I might add, I was hugely disappointed.
Yes, there are some wonderful photographs, about a dozen or so really brilliant portraits, but the curatorial decision to pack in as many pictures as possible of Les Halles diluted their impact. Why the prints were so small and hung so close together beats me. Any photograph that needs me to wear my reading glasses is a failure I'm afraid. Not a credit to the work of Doisneau.
A morning not well spent and a catalogue for 30 Euros was not tempting. Luckily it's in its last week, so if you missed it, don't bother to rush. At least it was free.
Zoe Skoulding, editor of Wales' foremost poetry journal, brought together Welsh poets and one Luxemburger in Paris on Wednesday this week to read their work in the cellar at Carr's Irish pub in the first. Why are poetry readings in Paris always in damp cellars? Don't answer that.
The cast list was Zoe herself and Jean-Paul Tante reading their own and translations of each others' work, Stephen Hitchens and his inventive mobile phone ring-tone poems, Lindon Davies poems that he once shouted through a mega-phone in a damp Welsh wood, and the very wonderful Rhys Trimble, bi-lingual performance poet.
Please come to the launch of the Seren anthology, Tokens for the Foundlings, in support of the Foundling Hospital Museum in London. The reading starts at 2pm at 40, Brunswich Square, WC1N and there will be some huge poetry names on the bill, and me. See you there!
Fashion photography that is nothing like fashion photography according to Newton's theory on these matters.
Excellent show of magazine work, the big nudes series, celebs and shoes, especially shoes. Interestingly the big nudes were inspired by looking at photographs of German terrorists - strange, the influences on art. Popular show - there was a long queue - and probably not for young children as there's rather a lot of 'soft' semi-S&M and it's better to avoid the kinds of questions kids ask. Icons worth seeing again though were Charlotte Rampling, Elizabeth Taylor, Catherine Deneuve and a very young Karl Lagerfeld, yes, he was once young.
If, like me, you have always wanted to touch Pompon's Ours Blanc, then now's your chance. The real thing is, of course, in the Musee D'Orsay in almost a room of it's own; the full size plaster model is in the current exhibition at the Grand Palais celebrating Animal Beauty in art, along with the fondle-it-as-much-as-you-like marquette. Joy!
The rest of the show is equally joyful. For our second day of all things Gothic, we were taken with Picasso's Toad, Van Gogh's Bat, Baldaccini's Bat, cats by Manet, Giacometti and Bonard, Louis Bourgeois' Spider (pretty in pink) and Chapelain-Midy's Megacurus jason (that's a large menacing looking beetle to you). We totally hated Jeff Koon's kitsch resin poodle by the way.
For all fans of his movies, this is THE exhibition to see this year. In Paris at Le Cinematheque until 5 August you will find acres of artwork, poems, shorts, marquettes, movie costumes, props and sculptures, some made specially for the show. We loved the ultra-violet sculptures and the short films featuring Stain Boy.
No need to find a child to take, this is one for old and young alike. All you need is a sense of the macabre and a penchant for Vincent Price. Enjoy, we did, hugely. Opens at 12pm, but buy tickets in advance as the billetterie staff are slow to the point of...
Gibert Jeune at 10, Place St Michel ( in the 5th) is the place to go if you want the classics, are studying English literature or want a dictionary and don't want contemporary poetry or anything too interesting. In other words the first floor, which is devoted to English Language books, is no better than a UK branch of WH Smiths and probably a lot worse. That said I did pick up a second hand copy (they have some used books, probably acquired from students) of the collected Elizabeth Bishop for 6 Euros, which I call a result.
The Abbey Bookshop (29 rue de la Parcheminerie in the 5th), run by an affable Canadian who moved from Toronto in 1994, is one of the most stock filled spaces I have ever been in. There is hardly any room to move without knocking over piles of new and used books. Good news for lovers of the word and especially the Canadian word.
The poetry selection was comprehensive with classics and current volumes, but as ever the mark up on new books is high. The second hand books however were reasonably priced and I picked up a couple of things I have missed in recent years.
Unbelievably the bookshop holds occasional events. When I asked a friend later where and how, he explained that that was what the summer streets are for - ah Paris!