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…not today, but this spring, at least. The students were protesting in Tiananmen square, my favourite teacher was soon to give me a poem saying something like “when I was 18 I knew everything…” and I was going to Paris with three friends for three weeks. (And on the radio, they frequently reminded us that it was twenty years ago that Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band was released. 1969 seemed like another world in 1989. I find it hard to believe that the same amount of time had passed between ‘69 and ’89, as between ‘89 and now. For kids today the same is of course the case: “Ha! You didn’t live in the 80ies!” my boy… eh husband was told when he lectured some kids in the library where he works some facts about that decade. For my son, born two days after the election of the first black American president, the1980ies will in an ancient millennium long time passed.)
I had been to Paris for two days the year before with a language school. Four of us had been allowed to hang around by ourselves, because one of the Swedes had spent a couple of years in Paris with his parents when he was around 5. (His mother, an artist of some kind, actually made a children’s book about him going to an authoritarian and hierarchical French kinder garden.) We went to Jim Morrison’s grave at Père Lachaise, of course (it was 1988), and dined at something which must have been the old existentialist hangout at the left bank, La Coupole.
– Already here in my writing, thus also in my experiences from that city, the hallmark of my relationship with it is present. Paris has always been a bit different for me. I do different things there than I do in other place, because it is different. When I went to London with my mum when I was thirteen, I was crazy about Boy George and English decadent popculture with transvestites, post-punks, drugs, costumes and make-up and discos and parties I could never go to. I looked at the diversity of people in the streets of London with awe and… VÆÆÆ! Enough for today, obviously!
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