Hitting the art (before Disneyland…)

Paris!

Ah, Paris. In the endless internal debate over whether I feel more American or European, there’s nothing like a quick trip to Paris to remind me that actually I mostly feel like a Londoner: a big city lover who respects anywhere else that has a kick-ass underground system. And really, there is something truly magical about walking to Willesden Green station and then not leaving either a train or a station building until you emerge in the middle of another country. Of course, not speaking the language might have been a bit of an issue – scroll to around 2.27 for more – but luckily I was expertly guided around by Tash and Beth (thanks guys). And speaking of Tash – it was just really, really nice to hang out with her again – and I’m totally looking forward to visiting Manchester already

More photos on Facebook, but here’s a taster:

Hitting the art (before Disneyland…)

Hitting the art (before Disneyland…)

Enjoying cocktails

Enjoying cocktails

(I love the fact that there’s an actual man or woman here we’ll never see)

(I love the fact that there’s an actual man or woman here we’ll never see)

Yeah. We totally met him.

Yeah. We totally met him.

At the top of the rollercoaster, just before the plunge

At the top of the rollercoaster, just before the plunge

One final thing about Paris: as much as the ‘world city culture’ was very much in evidence – albeit with admittedly more beautiful surroundings – one thing that really struck me as different from Britain was the presence of the army. I’m sure it’s just what you grow up with, but as a Brit, I still find it a little odd when you see our own police officers armed with guns. Much as it may be sometimes necessary, I can’t help but feel glad that we still don’t consider it necessary for our police to be armed as a matter of course. Yet in France, not only were the police armed but so too were on-duty soldiers: most incongruously, just outside Disneyland, where they could so easily have been costumes and props but were, of course, real soldiers with real weapons. I’m not saying any of this really matters much: obviously, the British state could call in the army to its own streets if it wanted to, and has done so in the past. It’s just a feeling, and maybe a romantic one, that most of the time we don’t want or need such an obvious show of force to live in peace.

On a more prosaic note, yesterday was dad’s birthday and so – back in London – the family went out for a really nice dinner and then, as a surprise, News Revue. (See, told you I’d mention it again…) Which now means their song parodies are ever more firmly lodged in my head!

And finally – you might want to check out Regimented, a new site set up by Alex Trafford to host a series of debates on a variety of topics. I’ve kicked off the proposition for the opening debate on digital piracy, which – I should point out – is a position that was arbitrarily assigned, as it will be for everyone. Nothing on the site necessarily represents what any of us actually personally believe. But if you are interested, give it a read…

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