French Letter

As expected, the Boy King Macronapoleon is to impose nationwide Lockdown here beginning next Tuesday. We’ll be back to how far citizens can travel from their homes without winding up on the Naughty Step with a fat fine to keep them company. This looks like being one trip a day to the shops and vital journeys only to workplaces.

In an absolutely classic piece of top-down blamestorming, President Macron hinted that the measures were necessary because some people have been irresponsible, and also “we are at war”…..both of which are engorged fantasies.

He omitted to mention the fact that France had one of the toughest lockdown régimes in Europe, but it failed. So his solution now is to order another one. At 550 deaths per million, France has almost exactly the same death rate as Sweden, which has never pursued lockdown.

And so the madness continues. I’ve nothing further to say.

I took the train up to Bordeaux yesterday to see a close chum who is not in the best of health. Even before Lockdown2, each and every passenger is scrutinised for correct mask apparel. No mask, no entry to train. In Bordeaux itself, I would put 24/7 mask wearing in the street at around 95%.

Only a poster for the new Borat movie lightened the atmosphere. I have always thought Sacha Baron-Cohen one of the truly brave funny-men on Planet Earth, and in these outdoor ads, it seems to me he too is valuably (and volubly) ridiculing the human willingness to follow orders when scared enough by risible propaganda.

It’s been some time since I was in Bordeaux. Like most contemporary suburban-metro mixtures, the City is something of a curate’s egg. Increasingly, it reminds me of South London in the 1980s: a chequer-board of dreary delapidated onions alongside petunias of restored glory – where the window-fittings betray the clandestine presence of bourgeois bohemians (‘Bobos’) within.

As one heads south-west from the Gare St Jean, there’s a wide street (not quite a boulevard) that heads from south-east to west-north-west called Rue Furtado. It always sticks in my occasionally scatalogical mind, because by swapping a few letters, it becomes the Rue Farturdo. As this led almost directly to our luncheon rendezvous, I had little or no chance of becoming lost. So being early for the appointment with Richard, I meandered about.

I love architecture that betrays the move from one art fashion to another. In the chique Dormoy coin, you can see delicious art deco exterior stonework just a few steps from the Second Empire stuff at the heart of the gentrification. In the latter enclave, apartments change hands for half a million Pounds or more. While contemporary interior decor trends worship the clean lines of minimalism, there is something about genuinely classic frontage that radiates property value like nothing else.

Realising I would have to kill yet more time before lunch, I bought a copy of the New York Times, and settled down with a beer at a bar that was bohemian but in no way bourgeois. Both the ambience and the demi of Stella on draught were very much to my taste.

I couldn’t say the same for the NYT. My God, but it continues to be a bloody awful newspaper in which any grain of Truth has been vapourised beneath a jack-hammer of dumbed-down liberal propaganda.

‘Dumbed-down’ I measure on the basis of sixteen pages that took me a mere twenty minutes to read…..’propaganda’ as a definition requiring nothing more than an examination of the nine articles therein that were obsessed with ‘Trump’.

In NYTland, Trump earns no President or Mister or Donald. In NYTland, he earns only vitriolic condemnation. I offer you the headlines to seven articles as de jure evidence:

‘Thousands at Trump rallies, but little truth’

‘Trump campaign a font of misinformation’

‘Trump casts rivals as radicals’ ‘End Trump’s minority rule’

‘King Kong Trump losing his grip’

‘Trump talks big on jobs, but facts disappoint’

‘Embedding conservativism in Supreme Court comes at steep cost’

Just one piece on Black Holes intrigued me. It was well written in approachable prose, and covered the current ‘big’ space physics story of an enormous star in a nearby constellation being rapidly swallowed up by unimaginable density.

As unspeakable density of thought had dominated the paper’s issue (perhaps written by brains stranded on the fifth moon of Zog) the article struck me as entirely apt….albeit a rare mirage in a desert of shifting sands. I couldn’t help remembering Barack Obama to have been something of a political black hole.

Outside the restaurant, various locals were sitting at pavement tables, lowering their “protective” masks in order to suck on tubes long ago proven to be a blatant cause of deadly cancer….in between sipping brews of fully established addictive forms of liver damage.

My chum was in remarkably good form, and as only true friends can, we discussed his options, the meaning of life, subjects that make us laugh, and what the hierarchy of responsibility for Contrick19 might be. Our meeting place – L’Artre Active – is a delightful and unprentious eaterie on the Cours de l’Argonne where the paté is fait-maison, and the owners retain the secret of how to make a mockery of other nations’ salad dressings.

Sadly, it is places like this one that are being destroyed by whoever and whatever is behind the health hysteria that has gripped the world. In my own nearest town of Villeneuve-sur-Lot, it is the independent health food shops, small cheese specialists, niche wine cellars and bicycle repair shops that are no more. Only the pharmacies are thriving in this bottomless ocean of hypochondriasis.

On a personal note – having wandered several miles to and from our eaterie on foot – I must confirm yet again that I am 72, not 32. I woke up this morning with the very strong conviction that 007’s infamous adversary Oddjob had been jumping up and down on my legs during the night, while very possibly the hadron thing had been colliding with my hips in a concerted attempt to discover wave-particles beyond the Higgs Bosun homosexual electron dilemma.

But that said, a mild autumn is hugely restorative….and so local chumette Marian and I drifted over to an English bookshop this afternoon in search of gems – which were, I’m happy to say, in abundance.

The owner informed us that he is to close for Lockdown2, as selling books offering potentially minority opinions has been designated by the Fifth Republic as ‘non-essential’ retailing.

Alexandre Dumas in the Chateau D’If, eat your heart out.