Club ’89 – Give Paris another chance! by Francis Delacroix

Disneyland Paris / The coming revolution

by Saul Adamczewski

My coach from Vienna to Paris pulls up to Disneyland at 6:30am on an icy November morning two bleary eyed Americans waddle off the Flixbus rubbing sleep from their eyes as they take in their surroundings in the freezing wind and rain. 

A solitary two. The only early morning customers to this crumbling dream world of plastic entertainment that once upon a time way back in 1992 was opened by non other than Jacque Chirac himself and promised to bring in millions of yearly goons, pockets bulging with cash ready to spend on near death experiences and soft toys. 

The Americans were greeted by an undoubtably impoverished human dressed as a large mouse who ushered them into some kind of plastic bus shelter to avoid the pelting rain. 

Both look decidedly unhappy and confused. Disneyland itself looked dirty and old and uncared for. I’ve lived in paris for 7 years and this is the first time I’ve seen it and a sorry sight it was. A tiny American island outpost somewhere in the liminal space between paris, the Parisian suburbs and what most of the world calls Paris. 

And this is what i want to talk about. What most of the world calls Paris. 

That is the inner city where the rich and almost exclusively white Parisians live. Parisians that have barely ever dared venture into the suburbs. Not even to marvel at the incredible architecture or mix with the working class of their own city. No no no. It’s dangerous outside of the ring. No preposterous sandstone buildings that the writer Jonathan Meades once described as structures that look as if they are vomiting up their own guts, no men trying to sell roses and no 18 year old gendarmes walking around bored to death wielding automatic weapons to keep everyone safe from those people in the suburbs and beyond. 

Yes, Paris is a segregated city. 

On the inside are the haves. Young people working in fashion, models, photographers, stylists and all that other useless crap people invented to give the unintelligent children of the bourgeoisie something to do. Aspiring young artists with trust funds and your usual mixture of international business men and women, homeless people and other faceless clean looking people that pass by me unnoticed every day. On the outside of the ring is the normal working world. About as dangerous as any London borough on a Monday morning.

And its this segregation of class, that and the over inflation of the world of fashion that has landed Paris in a cultural gulag. High art events with free champagne, art world playboys and yacht owners they may be. But the revolutionary Paris of yesteryear is dead and gone. And so in some miraculous abstract way inner city Paris has become a Disneyland, a theme park.

Yes as we move closer to the Apocalypse it becomes harder and harder to break taboos and push the boundaries of art and I certainly lay no claim to having done much myself to throw off the chains but I’ve found that compared to other European cities (I’ll include London in this) there’s very little for people to hold to. Those of us looking for a deeper meaning and that certainly doesn’t mean sitting there stroking my chin at kali malones latest long winded flute piece recital or some hip hop street opera/ballet that has a middle aged middle class audience in raptures. I want something visceral and libidinal and most importantly something dangerous. Something that stinks up the streets and causes shock waves. Something to wake up the docile pretty girls and boys blowing smoke up arses at Chez Francis or wherever the next spot is… Everything is an impression of something here or a ghost of something else. Skateboarders are canonised (that’s right Dustin look it up in a dictionary) into the pantheon of cultural gods. 2nd rate Rock & Rollers come here to die. Me being one of them. So what is to be done?

I propose a 2nd French Revolution or a 3rd if there was already a 2nd or a 4th if there’s already been a 3rd. Either way i call on you all not to simply appear to be counter cultural hipsters but actually throw something into the mix. Burn your leather trousers! Nick Cave is a charlatan! And Paris could one day have something to offer creatively. Not just for the rich. Like Vienna does or Porto or Berlin. 

Paris is post gentrification. 

Its soul almost completely evaporated. 

Is there hope for a boundary pushing Paris? Seems highly unlikely to me. Unless we come to together in resistance to falsity tastelessness and the Disneyland within.

Hail the 2nd/3rd or 4th french revolution.