Tag Archives: Andre Breton

A flaneur in Paris

Brigitte Bardot, near to my apartment in Montmatre

As someone who abides by the flaneur philosophy, there is no place better to be a flaneur than the city in which the term was coined: Paris. Having moved to Paris two weeks ago I have spent much of my time flaneuring around. For those for whom the term is unfamiliar Ill give you a brief explaination, upon the basis that at some point you promise that you’ll arrive in a city, and allow yourself to get involved. I profoundly believe that there is no better way to experience a place.

Flaneur as a term was coined by Frech philosopher Charles Baudelaire and is derived from the french word ‘flaneur,’ which means, ‘stroller,’ ‘lounger,’ or ‘saunterer,’ in its literal sense. To this word Baudelaire added layers of philosophical theorization that became the composition of a concept for which the English language has no single accurate word of its own. So we too latched onto “flaneur,” and its implied ideology.

Ultimately ‘flaneur’ is a way of thinking. A flanuer is both engaged and unattached at the same time. A flanuer is self aware. It is through this self-awareness that he/she gains an understanding of and partakes in the city. A flanuer is an explorer and turns corners seeking hidden meaning. Surrealist founder Andre Breton and members of the movement were amongst the most notorious followers of the flaneur philosophy, but there are flaneurs that exist today in ever city, in every country, even if they don’t quite know it.

A Concise guide to being a flaneur:

Firstly and most importantly ditch the Map. Some of you may find this tremendously difficult. Your map is your lifeline, without it you would get lost blah blah blah…A flaneur casts these woes aside. Repeat to yourself…BEING LOST IS NOT A BAD THING, Like 50 times (or more depending on how into maps you are.)

When you are lost you come across paths untold, you follow un-forecasted routes, you exist as a unique being and are endowed with the power to find your own unique urban fate.

Secondly forget your agenda. Forget Time Out’s list of top ten things to see. Forget where you have to be at 11.30. Forget the gallery that closes at 4 and forget your dinner reservation at 9. Don’t let time confine you. This is about the individuality of your existence. This is about you and wherever your feet will take you.

And that’s it pretty much. It’s fairly simple. Just remember that the path of a flanuer is wonderful and rare so appreciate it and enjoy !

Unlike us, the surrealists did not have the benefit of ipods to listen to whist flanuering. I have found mine to be a great enhancement to my experience as a flanuer…

My day as a flanuer in music :

Morning: Wake up to Arcade Fire’s latest album Suburbs

With lyrics that focus on the way that we live our lives, the Arcade Fire weave profound statements and observations into superb melodies.  Listen out for : the title track “Suburbs,”as well as” Modern Man” & “Month of May,” all guaranteed to put a spring in your morning step.

For elevenses: I turned back the musical clock a bit and listened to Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow. Appropriate because am I in my flaneurship, these guys were evidently inspired by surrealism.

Listen out for: Bizzare lyrics and general psychedelia. Very atmospheric but always California cool.

For lunch : A bit of People Under The Stair’s Or Stay Tuned

An album packed full with fresh party jams and reflective rhymes. Listen out for : “La Song (Sensitive Mix)”…its bigger than Hip Hop

Followed by a little bit of Mount Kimbie’s Crooks and Lovers

A fine example of what is going on musically “post-dubstep.” Dub/dance/ trip-hop/folktronic, Mount Kimbe are all of these, and none of these at once. This vibrant album is testament to limit- pushing electronic creativity. The U.K duo mish-mash musical genre and somehow manage to make it work like an audible dream.

And for Sundowners:  Extrawelt – Schone Neue Extrawelt

Alluring in its lack of light, Schone Neue Extrawelt suggests darkness but never plunges us too far into its depths. Instead its conjures an eerie mysticism equatable to that which can be felt at twilight. Listen out for “Lost in Willaura,”a fine example of techno music’s capacity to enchant.

And at night time : Claude Von Stroke’s Bird Brain,

With a sound that is definitively deep and down-tempo, this album will satisfy your evening ears with heavy bass lines, freaky layers and crisp beats. As it was so accurately put when publicized it’s “chock full of dirty, slutty, dank, funny and giggling cuts,” http://www.residentadvisor.net/news.aspx?id=11001 mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

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