Sunday, 4 May 2008

day 36

this was taken at square villemin and I went in to take this shot because I've got a theory about culture. and, being australian, I quite like to state my opinions as fact. which are in the comments section...

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Blogger clare in paris said...

in my many years of visiting paris I've often wondered at the reasons behind the 'don't walk on the grass' culture of the french. my friends here say that's it's because the french appreciate beauty and people only mess up the green vista. but today, the first sunday of sunshine since 2007, every parisian and their dogs were out - not on the champs élysées or in coffee shops, but in the parks that allow you to sit on the grass – radical in france. as such, it was more packed than an ACDC concert.
and what, with my keen eye, did I notice? not the amount of wine, cheese or high spirits? no, I noticed the patchy grass. what kind of picnic is it if you have to sit half your friends on dirt? where is the lushness of a Sir Walter or the hardiness of a Wintergreen Couch?

so back to my limited theories espoused as fact: I now think that the french stop you walking, sitting or having fun on the their grass because they don't have an entire arm of CSIRO dedicated to developing a grass that will tolerate not only a leisurely picnic but a riotous BBQ under the influence.

which then leads to my next assumption: while we may feel that white Australia is a cultural desert and the culture cringe is something to be admitted to and in fact nurtured, we should look back at the humble grass and realise that our culture is alive and kicking: we have a government (on both sides) that has funded our national scientific organisation to develop the most lush and hardy grass on the planet. gordon thinks this is to help with our livestock industry! but after looking at the parks today, and the damage that having fun outdoors has done to parisian parks, I know better. our culture prioritises the bbq, the picnic and drinking in public and we need a sturdy grass to withstand the action.

and we, as australians, should all be proud of that.
finally something we do better than the french: grass.

4 May 2008 21:46  
Anonymous meg said...


(Don't forget the much maligned Kikuyu...)

5 May 2008 02:09  
Anonymous Andrew said...

So wrong.. so bad in fact, so really really terribly misguided. Clare!!
First.. there are well grassed AND badly grassed parks in Paris. The difference is really a class issue.. in rich areas grass is perfect in poor areas grass is bad-- reason TRAFFIC!! There are 10 million people in Paris, in dense areas, traffic is huge, and grass and traffic are bad friends.Go to some of the working class suburbs in Melbourne (eg Broadie, Sunshine and you will see bad grass parks.
But more importantly Grass is such a huge mistake in Australia, its only there because of the absolute denial of the European eye to accept the dusty as beauty. Its a disaster that there is so much green grass should be parks of twigs and leaves.. grasshumbug.. Don't even mention LAWN!!!!
Apart from that, love the blog.
Gee this font makes me look articulate.

5 May 2008 13:59  
Blogger clare in paris said...

now it's true andrew, our european-trained eyes still don't accept the tangle of australian flora as beautiful, nor is that aesthetic sympathetic to what is toxic to the indigenous ecosystem. but while I miss our messiness that is now part of my warped aesthetic, it's no fun having a bbq unless you have a patch of grass to stick your picnic glass-holder into. frankly a crisp chardonnay doesn't go down as well when there are ants crawling up your leg.
so, very good point, but we must give some credit to our cultural strengths, and presently I see them centred around outdoor congregations on a patch of comfy grass with drink and prawn in hand...

but to press home your point, this morning I was sent a very telling url about the introduction of fake grass in public spaces...

5 May 2008 16:27  
Anonymous Claudia Alessi said...

Fake grass Oh my god yes I was at my accountants the other day and i her front yard was this shining, perfectly manicured, too perfect low to no maintenance grass..... eek. I walked out there took off my shoes and squealed. I am sorry but I find the smell of cut grass and the feel of a good soft grass under the feet most pleasant and nostalgic. On Rue de Napoleon there is a park and the grass is pristine and is for looking at and not sitting on or walking over. I however rolled on it and sprinted on it jumping over the flower beds just to spite the security guard standing on his post asleep. I was applauded by a few local Parisians and took my bow with shoes in hand. oh wata feeling jump (Toyota jump) to finish and was off like lightning.
Break the rules in Paris Clare and walk on that grass.........

12 May 2008 10:59  
Blogger eyefordetail said...

I was listening to Tim Winton on the radio yesterday and he was saying that culture is not our draw card, wilderness is. Nowhere in Europe are there such vast horizons and clear skies. We need to celebrate and protect our environment and retrain our eyes to see the beauty in the outback.

Clare, I think he's been reading your blog...

14 May 2008 08:30  

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