2014 ? 2017 ? 2021 ? You make the call.

Columns on Continental Riffs and Counterpunch come in the immediate aftermath of manifs (demonstrations) in Paris.

This one comes before.

Before a demonstration that is, as of this moment, officially banned by tribunal administratif at the request of the Macron government.

So it isn’t going to happen.

It will, most likely. In one form or another.

It will likely be violent. Unnecessarily so. Or not violent at all. Although politicians have done their level best to assure that it will be.

Quite effective for the evening news.

Police cars burned, store fronts wrecked and most importantly, Muslim and Palestinian heads…


Nous on veut continuer à danser encore

Voir nos pensées enlacer nos corps

Passer nos vies sur une grille d’accords

°

From your car to the metro to your job and coffee break

You’d better justify every move you make

All this nonsense about where you can’t go

Woe to anyone who gives it a thought

Anyone who dances will be caught

If we’re talking about revolt, disturbance, uprisings, where does music come in ? Is it the stage set or the scene stealer ? Is it enough to set things in motion or does it satisfy rebels that they’ve…


Tom Player is an English musician living outside what used to be called the Star Making Machine. He hangs his hat in Budapest now that the the Brexit nightmare is walking around in broad daylight in the home counties.

He’s done something surprising. Something most of us didn’t think anyone was up to. He’s built a small world and a big one simultaneously. His site Try The Wine, name taken from a scene in the film version of Clockwork Orange, is a wager. Anybody can make a website and sell their gear. But to try to build a community out…


Voyage has many synonyms in French, delightful, tricky words like baguenaude (stroll), croisière (cruise), randonnée (ramble), trimard (meander), vadrouille (jaunt) but one of its definitions is être transporté, as they say of wine. Traversée is a crossing.

The title here is a riff on the 1956 film, Traversée de Paris, in which two men ferry suitcases full of contraband meat across town during the Occupation. Not only a great black and white film but an excellent introduction to mid-period Jean Gabin, as well as actors Bourvil and Louis de Funès. …


Impasse Florimond in the years after WWII.

The song goes by in 3 minutes and 9 seconds but feels much faster. Imagine that this was your first time hearing the singer or song, it seems impossible to conceptualize the piece as any kind of protest. You’re racing to catch up with the lyrics, the gentle boum ba boum of the guitar leading you along in an insistant rhythm that resembles a man pacing or in a hurry to get somewhere. He’s talking quickly and quietly in plainsong, a stranger passing on a street. The whole thing is lighter than air…


Place de la République, Paris June 2020. photo jg

The Fire Non-Stop

In early June this year there weren’t any takers at magazines in the U.S. for an article about Black Lives Matters in France. Nor for that matter on the Medium pages edited by black Americans. (The ones I found and contacted at any rate.) Americans tend to obsess about their affairs while keeping the rest of the world at a safe distance.

Adama Traoré, from a large immigrant family of Malian origin, was born in Paris in 1992. In 2016 he died in the Persan (Val d’Oise) police station north of Paris. Forensics filed their report and…


André Kertész, Place Concorde, 1930.

Hungarian-born, Parisian during les années folles followed by the upsidedown cocktail glass of the Depression and finally a New Yorker with a bird’s eye view of Greenwich Village, André Kertész donated — entrusted is better — some 100,000 of his negatives to France before he died. We know an artist through his or her instinctual preferences among their work and the vagaries of popular taste. Kertesz is no different and indeed, an extreme example of the latter, since it’s the nomenclatura of the art world that do the taste-making. Kertesz’s gift now belongs to the Mediathèque d’Architecture et du Patrimoine…


Crosstown Traffic in Paris

James Graham

They march, they roll, they talk it over : first arrivals at Place d’Italie 16 January 2020. Photo JG.

Coming from the south on Avenue d’Italie on foot or bike things were obviously out of the ordinary, impossible as it may be to define ordinary in France at this moment. Long lines of cars pressed together, red and white tape strung everywhere it wasn’t five minutes before, sidewalks lined with gargantuan tour buses, their windows dark, no riders, no one at the wheel, enormous docile circus animals their eyes pitch black. Something was up. I stopped to talk to two RATP workers lounging in a tiny electric bus front wheels on the curb.


La Trés Grande Affaire Cahuzac

Cahuzac at a press conference, The Battle against Financial Fraud, November 2012 (F.GUILLOT/AFP)

“It bothers me that I still have an account at UBS…I can only close it if I go there? With that account I’m fucked, since UBS is not necessarily the most hidden of banks. It stinks. Is any sort of proxy possible? So that the holdings somehow stay at UBS but are managed from here. A word game pure and simple.” — The Confessions of Jérôme Cahuzac

This is the tale of an amoral minister. Heard that one before ? All right this one is about the tale of an amoral minister who kept his…


Care to try your luck ? Place Republique, January 2019 /JGpix

We sat on the steps of the Madeleine while the sirens shrieked and the scene unfolded like a ritual with no humans, like one of those creepy films about the future where everything moves in choreographed, hypnotic motion, the narrative pulsing to a high pitch of danger and fear. You would have thought that Paris was on high terror alert or some European director with an endless bankroll was restaging the Nazi ballet for the umpteenth time. Meanwhile, Alex and myself, the two most unlikely characters ever seen near the entrance to this dowdy tomb, were penned in behind the…

James Graham

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