I went to Paris for a long weekend with a friend, a little while back. Nice to be there when the weather was clement and sitting out drinking coffee was the thing to do. I have often found myself there in mid-winter, blue and shivering in finger-snapping cold.
It was Paris fashion week, by coincidence. Great people watching. Lots of grown men in too-small skinny grey jeans. Also, by coincidence, it was Nuit Blanche, an art all-nighter. An emotive showing of Mark Wallinger’s video Threshold to the Kingdom in a huge, atmospheric, dark Saint-Eustache church. And the largest mirror-ball ever hung – over Jardin du Luxembourg. This we didn’t manage to get up close and personal with. There were near riot conditions, with thousands of people vying to get into the park, one by one, at half past midnight. As the police started to take their batons out, it seemed time to leave.
Anyway. I always imagine buying my way around Paris. Coming back with an armful of bulging tasteful carrier bags. But in reality the world has become a smaller place. And brands have become a bigger proposition. So. Many things seem to be sold in many places.
But, in a traditional art shop I fell for a very beautifully formed and functional cardboard tube. Bright red anodised aluminium ends, dark grey card outside, orange card interior. Great graphics, super name: TUBECA.
The shop assistant (in a lovely white lab coat) wanted to know what I was going to put in it? I didn’t have the French to say ‘Nothing. It’s perfect as it is.’