I had an exposé this week on the subject of F. Scott Fitzgerald. I'm unabashedly in love with all that he is: A romantic, a dreamer, a misery-keeper. He's my favorite author, and the only one whose works I have read many of. And so to prepare for this expose, I read Babylon Revisited as well as A New Leaf. The beauty of all of this is that I always relate to the stories and the feelings described, more-so than in most other literary pieces. I don't exactly know why this is. But I digress. The main point here is, for this presentation I was supposed to describe Fitzgerald's experience in Paris and take a more in-depth glance at one of his works.
Babylon Revisited explores many themes relating to the abundance and grandeur of the Jazz Age. One of the lines that stuck out to me is a memory that the main character has of stealing a tricycle and then riding in tandem all over Etoile at night. These are the types of memories I want to have from this year. And I read this last Sunday, and ever since I have been trying to operate under what I will call the "Jazz Age modus operandi". So I'm going to explain two ways in which I've attempted this in one week here. [Edit: I also randomly went to an exhibit on Tuesday about the painter Foujita from Les Années Folles - same time period - so I'm really doing well so far]
First, on that Sunday, I went a bit crazy for a hot second. With my two best friends for dinner, I climbed out the window and in the most cliché way possible stood with one leg bent high, threw my arms out and yelled across the Parisian rooftops. I chatted to passersby on the streets. And then we had a dance party to Chuck Berry and The Chords, just the three of us, me in my Easter Egg velvet skirt, and some (many) glasses of wine. It was one of my favorite moments from the year so far.
Last night my college friends and I went to a club. Now, in Paris, it really is not necessary to go to clubs. It's fun every once in a while, sure, but largely exhausting, considering that living in Paris is, in and of itself, the most tiring... ever. But anyway, the club we went to had multiple levels and literally felt like an old fun house: random mirrors, poorly lit, red plush velvet walls, vintage lanterns. We went to the basement which was essentially just a dance floor with many disco balls and colored spinning light contraptions on the ceiling. They played 70s music throughout the night and it was ethereal - going back in time and experiencing that foreign feeling of not having anything else on your mind. And we danced with random people, and we laughed a lot. And then I went upstairs and danced with other people. And I visualize it in my head... the upstairs had a silver tone to it - with silver puff chairs and mirrors all around, plus white strobe lights. They played contemporary house music. I remember laughing a lot, and being swung around the dance floor, and spun, and spun. And I felt like this was certainly another one of those moments. Not because it was just a party, per se, but more because of the cultural aspect of interacting with locals, listening to their music, and letting go of my worries for one moment.
And now I want to figure out, going forward for my last 1.5 months here, how I can incorporate this "Jazz Age Modus Operandi" into my every day life. What does it mean, exactly? Is it truly a bad thing? Can the Jazz Age ever possibly be replicated?
I can certainly keep you updated on my journey to answering these questions. But in a way, I think that living in Paris, while tiring as I said earlier, is a whole new experience of splendor. Just sitting in cafes or running around the streets to catch a bus or a taxi is movie-romantic as it is.