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Welcome to The Lotus Position, an intermittent collection of extempore navel gazings, ponderings, whinges, whines, pontifications and diatribes.

Everything is based on a Sample of One: these are my views, my experiences... caveat lector... read the Disclaimer

The Budapest Office - Castro Bisztro, Madach ter

The Budapest Office - Castro Bisztro, Madach ter
Ponder, Scribble, Ponder (Photo Erdotahi Aron)

Guest Nutter/Kindred Soul: Bill Bailey


Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Ah! Les Francais!

I'm rationing myself so this is going to be quick...

Just thought it worth recording a delightful example of why the French are so... well, French...

At Le Louvre you can take photographs of everything - including the Mona Lisa/La Joconde (which has always surprised me, but then I suppose the special glass absorbs all the harmful flash - at least I hope so) - but elsewhere the situation is more naturally Gallic.

At the Musee Picasso (impossible to locate with the aid of the large scale tourist map - ask someone when you get close for specific directions) there are great symbolic signs that say "No Photographs", but since we also had a hi-def video camera with us I thought it worth asking whether videoing was permitted.

Approaching a group of museum employees - one of whom seemed slightly managerial - I said that I understood photography was not allowed, but could I used the camcorder?... and was then gently taken aside by the manager type who whispered Gallically and conspiratorially that on the contrary, of course one could take photographs - one just had to do so discreetly.

So, to the general entertainment of the exhibition itself was added the further fun of playing cat and mouse with the rest of the staff who were either not fully informed as to the (un)official policy on photography or were in fact fully informed (impossible tell either way) and enthusiastically playing the role of "Discretion Enforcers" by announcing loudly "NO PHOTOGRAPHS" if they managed to catch anyone raising a camera in a suggestive manner...

Just remember the same unstateable meta-principles apply in other areas of French life: in business, never try to negotiate with the French - buy them dinner with nice wine and cognac/Armagnac and make friends with them... acquire a little hauteur of your own and throw tantrums if your new friends let you down...

Les Francais... Bof!

PS And speaking of photography I am reminded of that wonderful supposedly three-word review of the film "I am a Camera", which stated succinctly "Me no Leica" (I've got the ref somewhere but I'm sure you can find it for yourself if you are that interested...)