Written in Paris when
I went last time.
Paris! Paree! What pictures of gaiety those two cities conjour up, down and sideways, Paris, city of Napoleon, the Revolution, the Mob, the blood, the head rolling. Alas, those happy days are gone, yet, Paris, the Queen of cities calls us all. Last week it called me, "Cooee!" it said and I responded. Travel allowance being only £50, I saved by taking sandwiches and a Thermos of Tomato Sauce. I saved further on the air fair by travelling second class non-return tourist night flight, all you had to do was sign a Secret Enoch Powell form saying you were an undesirable coloured alien with uncurable bed-wetting. At the airport there was the carefully disguised panic rush to get the back seats in the plane. On take-off I fastened my safety belt, read 'How to inflate Life Belt', swallowed a boiled sweet, made the sign of the cross and read the Times. One hour later coming in to Orly I fastened my copy of the Times, made the sign of the seat belt, swallowed my boiled life belt and inflated myself for landing. Through to Customs and out! At the airport my taxi drew up in a cloud of Garlic, and the driver leapt out and gesticulated in a corner.
Arriving at the Hotel, the porter raise his hat and lowered his trousers. Real French hospitality! The Hotel had been builty in 1803 -- in 1804 they added a west wing and in 1819 it flew away. Next morning I was up at the crack of noon shouting "Apres moi le deluge" and whistling Toulouse Lautrec, I hurriedly swallowed a breakfast of porridge and frogs and a steaming bidet of coffee. I next joined a crowd of impoverished British tourists on the 30 centimes all-in English punishment Tour. A great herd of us assembled at the Place du Concord, from there we were force-marched to the Notre Dame, beaten with sticks and made to climb the great Bell Tower. Sheer physical agony! On the way up we passed many who had perished in the attempt and never made it. Fancy! 600 steps! No wonder Quasi Modo had a hump on his back when he got to the top! From the top I took several lovely photos of the Eiffel Tower. At Midday, we were led to a Cafe 'Le Gogo Plastique', the establishment bore the indelible stamp of the British tourists --
'Escargots and mash'
'Bisque d'Homard, bread and butter'
'Pate de Fois Gras and Chips'
'Lobster Thermidor, 2 Veg., Boiled Pots. etc.'
'Crepe Suzette Flambe and Custard'
The lady next to me had Frogs' legs, her friend's weren't much better. It's all that walking, I suppose. I was served by a waiter who had it perfectly clear he held me personally responsible for a) The loss of Algeria b) Waterloo c) Edith Piaff. Just so they didn't think I was an oaf, I ordered the whole meal in French -- I was brought a hip-bath, a silk tie, a coloured pencil and a small clockwork Virgin Mary that whistled Ave Maria every hour, made in Hong Kong. I spent the rest of the afternoon sketching the beautiful Eiffel Tower. There's always something to do in Paris! Carefully following my Baedecker's Paris I walked up the hill to the Cemetery of Pierre Lachaze, I saw the very spot where Moulin Rouge lay buried, and above me gleaming white was the Sacred Cur, now used as a church. I had been walking some three hours and as a quick calculation showed me that I was exactly six miles from the lovely Eiffel Tower, I took a taxi back to the Pension; to my horrow he asked for 13 francs, I was about to have a show down with him, but, rather than ruin the evening, I paid him. It ruined the evening. I freshened up in my room, taking a shower and a foot-bath in a very low basin with a rather dangerous water jet that took me completely by surprise. The evening would be dedicated to Art, I always wanted to see the French Impressionists so I booked for the Folie Bergere where a man was doing imitations of Maurice Chevalier, Josephine Baker, and many others. What a show! Women uncovered from the waist up, and yet there was a cover charge! Watching women with naked bosoms is unsettling, but eventually they grow on you. If they grew on me I'd go to the pictures alone. The Grand Finale was called 'Salute les Anglais', the band played a Pop version of God Save the Queen while a French queer wearing a Prince Philip mask juggled with three Plastic Busts of the heir presumptive. It was good to see that we were still a country to be respected. If only we had their Eiffel Tower there'd be no stopping us.
From Spike Milligan's The Bedside Milligan, reproduced with his often eratic capitalisation in tact. The puns are actually funny, in a tongue in cheek way. This was all printed long before the era of political correctness.