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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…


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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

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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

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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…


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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…


La politique, c’est l’art de déguiser la realité

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Nicholas Hulot / AFP-de Sakutin.

A few quotes from the orchestra seats at the latest political scandal in Paris :

‘Nicholas Hulot has in some way sabotaged Emmanuel Macron’s autumn return, which ought to have emphasized action and reform. I think we could say that Hulot has knocked Macron out,’ said Moreau-Chevrolet, a professor at Sciences Po.

‘Proof that the route of negotiation and reform is a dead end,’ Le Monde intoned in their first edito.

‘Hulot’s thunder storm,’ said the magazine l’Observateur while another wondered out loud, ‘Is this Hulot’s Last Stand ?’

Riveting in its…

James Graham

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