Saturday, April 25
Boulevard de Magenta, Paris, 11:45
Albert and I both woke up about 9:00. Albert had a quick shower. I had a long bath. We both had muesli and toast for breakfast with coffee. We both prepared for the afternoon sessions.
I decided to look up a route to the Gaité Lyrique arts centre, where the meeting is; and Albert decided that this was the moment to bring out a harmonica and start playing it.
Now we are walking to the centre, which seems very simple. I am stopping every now and then to check our progress with CityMapper, an app Luke introduced me to in London. We are passing a church, which Albert declares to be “very French”.
When we get there Matthew and Kevin will meet us, show us around and then take us to lunch at Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers. In honour of Denis Papin, whose statue stands at the entrance and who invented the steam digester in 1679, all the food on the menu is steam cooked. I will have lieu, a white fish which I will later discover to be coley, or something very like it.
The afternoon session will prove very interesting. I can say this because my presentation will be very well received. This will be especially good news for me, because it was deliberately intended as a dress rehearsal for the presentation I will make at my doctoral defence in June or August. The fact that nobody will look completely blank or ask what on earth I was talking about will fill me with equal parts relief and glee.
The other presentations will be interesting, especially the one from Access Space in Sheffield: a dramatised way of looking at issues of technology without using any technology. In part this is achieved by taking technological metaphors literally.
The session will stop sometime before 19:00 and we will move to the bar next door for a beer. From there we will walk to a restaurant. Apparently Albert and I have been housed in one of the coolest areas in Paris because the restaurant will be 300 metres from our apartment.
I will spend the meal in conversation with Jake from Access Space, who used to be in the band Chakk which, to his surprise, I remembered.
We will move to a bar even nearer to the apartment, where a Spanish artist who works in Bergen will explain to me at great and increasingly heated length why the Catalonian independence movement is a sham fronted by right wing capitalists who all supported Franco and are thus directly complicit in the oppression they are now allegedly fighting against.
She will then lead a dwindling gang of party lovers to the harbour where she has reason to believe that a legendary club-on-a-boat will be in full swing. Since Albert and I are about 100 metres from home, where there is cheese and wine in the fridge, and a cat on the sofa, neither of us will be persuaded by this.
We will watch the two persuadees get into a taxi and then start walking.