21 May 2021

Accounting For Taste

Louis Chevalier
The Assassination of Paris (1977)
trans. David P. Jordan (1994)
In October 1957 six government ministers along with the cream of Paris society (as was correct) rode the metro to inaugurate the Franklin Roosevelt station which, according to an official speech, "was one of the most luxurious in the world, with its windows depicting famous paintings with cut-glass replicas." Less enthusiastically, some malcontents commented that the uglier things got above ground the more refined they became below. As the Champs-Elysées, with its shrunken sidewalks, began to resemble a used-car lot, the metro, in contrast, was made beautiful. They even considered having music in the station. It would have been installed if those responsible had been able to choose between classical music and pop, a serious problem that remains unresolved as I write these lines.

No comments: