Sunday, 24 October 2010

J'aime Paris

Fantasy Bob has returned safely from a pleasant week in strike and demonstration torn Paris. 

On his itinerary were visits to a number of the great cultural venues of the world including the Louvre and Musee d'Orsay.  FB was shocked to discover no pictures in either venue of any cricketing importance.  In FB's eyes these venues are therefore seriously overrated, and unsuspecting visitors to these so called museums should be clearly warned of the absence of cricketing content. 

FB had looked forward to his visit to the Louvre and viewing the works of Leonardo da Vinci who he believed to be one of the great originators of the game.  Apparently reference can be found in his sketch books to the doosra, although it is commonly misinterpreted as a helicopter.  The doosra was not considered technically possible during the Renaissance and so was lost to cricket until rediscovered by Murali. That's how far ahead of everyone Leonardo was.
Come on Leonardo - hit out or get out

But you would never know that from this museum. 

Leonardo is represented in the Louvre by  the Mona Lisa.  It is hugely small - the picture right is in fact life size - and a permanent scrum of visitors taking photos of it does not make it easy to view.  FB does not really understand why hordes of people go into a museum to take a picture of a painting rather than look at it properly, but he accepts that he might be old fashioned in this respect.

The Mona Lisa's enigmatic smile has been the subject of much speculation over the centuries.   FB is confident he has found the answer.   A study using  emotional recognition software (yes there is such a thing)  has apparently suggested that the Mona Lisa's emotions were 83 percent happy, 9 percent disgusted, 6 percent fearful, and 2 percent angry.   This is exactly the emotional blend in a batsman surviving a huge  LBW appeal.   Obviously the Mona Lisa was watching Leonardo get through a sticky patch in one of his longer innings.  She is happy because he wa given not out, she is disgusted because he played all round the delivery, she is fearful because she thinks he might be in the nervous nineties and she is angry because she really wanted to go shopping rather than sit on the boundary for another Saturday. Yet FB found no reference to LBW in the museum guide.  A major oversight.

Who's for salad?

Similarly the absence of cricketing works in the justly celebrated Musee d'Orsay must limit its appeal to visitors.   One of its most iconic masterpieces is Dejeuner sur l'Herbe by Eduard Manet.  Apparently this was a hugely controversial picture when it was first shown.

 Not much wonder, thinks FB.  Its title translates as 'lunch on the grass'.  For goodness sake, everyone knows that lunch is taken in the pavilion, not on the grass.   And the woman in the foreground is deshabille, ie in the scud - no tea lady in FB's experience has been so lightly garbed.  These lazy oversights by the artist are just not good enough, in FB's opinion.

Despite these regretable faults these are fantastic museums.

Not much wonder then that the French are taking to the streets in protest.  FB actually encountered a real live demonstration.

What do we want?

It was clear from the chant of the crowd how frustrated they were - loosely translated it ran

What do we want?
When do we want it?

Apparently there is a French batter called Sarkozy (whose stats do not feature in Cric Info) - the crowd evidently think he is scoring too slowly and want him dismissed - out, out, out in fact.

No visit to Paris would be complete without a climb up the Eiffel Tower, or a boat trip down the Siene and  these were provided for in FB's programme.  The Eiffel Tower is known for being tall - in fact it is the tallest Eiffel Tower in the world.  There was also a visit to the Stade De France.  Apparently this was built in under 3 years for a cost of 360 million Euros.  No one associated with the Edinburgh Tram project was involved in that project - more's the pity. 

FB was also humbled in the relatively new museum to the Shoah and took a tour of that over the top building that is the Opera House.  Otherwise he just walked about taking things in.

Where to start?
Every 100 yards or so in Paris there is a patisserie.  FB greatly approves of this.  In each patisserie window there is a display of cakes and pastries that competes with the tea table at Carlton.

Finally - at last you think -  walking around the fashion district and just across the road from the main Chanel store, FB found a very special shop.  Although it was closed at the time, so FB could not establish what manner of treasures it sells, its historic and cultural importance must be clear to all FB's readers. 

Is it a fantasy?

So there is a part of Paris that is forever Fantasy Bob's.

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