It’s Monday morning, a dull Bank holiday and I am sitting cross-legged on the lounge floor drinking coffee and listening to ‘A Song for Europe’ by Roxy Music. How ironic, since just two days ago we watched the Eurovision Song Contest on TV from Vienna, whose lovely Conchita Wurst had triumphed last year in her black whiskers and long golden frock. Oh Mother of Pearl! And I find myself leafing through ‘The Ambassadors’, Henry James’ epic masterpiece about An American in Paris…such long, elaborate sentences and densely-packed ideas, moving at once in a straightforward but distorted narrative realm.
“She told me you had gone to Paris
In search of purple shadows; it was
Raining softly when I left the station, with
No idea of who to ask or where to look.
The enemy turned out to be quite nothing
Of the sort, both languid and alert
The crowded bars performed seduction on my
Hungry soul as once again along that street I walked.
Eighteen or forty or a hundred times I made my way
Trying to locate the doorway where you had last been seen.
She could be lying, I suppose; but no two times
Did that street look the same to me.
Empty-handed on my return I didn’t let her know
That we had met. What use would be another shot of pain
Into a trusting heart? And anyway, the man I met
Is not the one who left five years ago.”