Monday, 22 December 2008

December in New York

I hear people speaking French next to me. The airport speakers are playing Christmas songs. I marvel at how arrangers can still find something original to do with these exhausted songs. I passed earlier on a group of tourists all of them wearing a Santa hat with blinking stars on it. I wonder what the atmosphere will be in Paris. I wish I were cunning enough to be away from all this jingle jungle as I have been last year.
I was in Saigon. My cousin had prepared a Christmas meal Vietnamese style, which means that there was absolutely nothing Christmasy about the food. The evening ended at a trendy lounge bar near the opera house, in the company of a couple of friends and some uproarious high class hookers who had had their whole face and boobs redone and who were telling hilarious stories about some of their clients.

There‘s this slight sense of frustration when I think about this week in New York. I imagined a perfect week with a couple nights out at the theatre, nice dinners and drinks with friends, afternoons spent  walking on the streets and taking pictures, maybe a few exhibitions. Kristin Scott-Thomas was said to be fantastic in The Seagull and I could not wait to see that, David Bowie was having an exhibition at the MoMA. I imagined some wild nights at the club, fantasized about hot encounters with handsome strangers. All I managed was The Day the Earth stood still, a dull and uninvolving remake of the Robert Wise classic. How Keanu Reeves chose to play in this film is a mystery. How I ended watching this film instead of Slumdog Millionaire or Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche is another mystery…
It’s quite strange to see how more and more remote Reeves looks on screen as the years pass by; the same quality I find in Gene Tierney, as if some deep wounds are swallowing him inward. It was already quite obvious in A Scanner Darkly, now it’s even alarming.
That film  wouldn‘t be a good candidate to save the week. I did steal a couple of hours here and there from my friends. All of them were busy or did not even get back to me. The friend who hosted me was nice but high maintenance. When I expected a quiet person with a good sense of self confidence, I met a delicate spirit much too eager to please and constantly asking for attention. It’s strange trap to be invited to stay at someone’s place and have to walk on eggs all the time even if everyone tells me to make myself at home. There was a big dichotomy between the words and what I actually felt. Add the Christmas frenzy and this week in New York was more like a strange nightmare. But the sight of the impressive architecture was enough to make me happy.  I was stunned to see all the changes since my last time here! They must have some warlocks working for them.

The other highlight was to see Kristina and Beppe again. Kristina is going through a tough and confusing time at the moment. She has left her long time companion Philippe - I shall miss the giant he was and the bon vivant who would come to Paris with his excellent wines... Work but nothing that exciting. How come such a beautiful dancer doesn't find a Pygmalion to create works worthy of her??? She has to teach monkeys and grab whatever she can. Ah, la vie d'artiste!
Her new beau is a Greek hunk who seems as confused as she is.
In spite of all that, we all remained confident about the future. We are doing what we love. We are travelling around the world and manage to see each other wherever it is. Isn’t it a wonderful life? The difficulties we encounter we meet amount to nothing much when we see what we have achieved.
And the new year will be even better, and certainly filled with many surprises.
Where will I be? Whom will I meet? Whom will I love? What will the next projects be? To what destinations will I travel? And will I finally settle somewhere out of France as I feel I must do?
I don’t know and I’m happy not to.  Hurrah!

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