Diaries

THIRTY YEARS ON, MONTH BY MONTH, SELECTED PAGES FROM MY DIARIES > About

April 1991

Friday April 5, Paris             Seven and a half hours teaching non-stop today. I start with l’ENA* where all I had to do was enthuse about London and suggest some not-so-obvious excursions to two civil servants who are going to spend three weeks there. Then raced to the bank and got one of my executives talkingContinue reading “April 1991”

March 1991

Sunday March 3, Paris           Just been through Amiens on the train going to the hovercraft. It looks like a fine place. There are lakes near it with tall, straight trees, their new buds glistening in the sunshine. My head feels like it’s had too much smoke, making me recall the unpleasant side of my oldContinue reading “March 1991”

February 1991

Friday February 1, Paris           I’m writing this with Emma sitting on my knee arranging her Duplo people around the keyboard. I refer to the notes made this morning in the café La Nouvelle France in the rue La Fayette: it’s sixty-five years since André Breton sat at this same terrace bewitched by Nadja. If he’dContinue reading “February 1991”

January 1991

Tuesday January 8, Paris           There are at last ‘talks’ tomorrow in Geneva between the Americans and the Iraqis but nobody is expecting them to last very long and war looks inevitable. When there is a refusal to talk things over the only outcome can be confrontation. And this is what we are sliding towards withoutContinue reading “January 1991”

December 1990

Monday December 10, Paris           I feel dreadful this morning; have a headache, feel weak and have almost lost my voice. It’s freezing cold and, by the time I get into the classroom, it has started snowing. It snows all day and, by evening, it’s thick on the ground and the cars. It doesn’t excite meContinue reading “December 1990”

November 1990

Friday November 2, Paris           I took the TGV-Atlantique for the first time from Montparnasse: one and a half hours to Angers instead of two and a half. For the first time also, I made my reservation and ordered my ticket via Minitel, then withdrew it from the automatic ticket machine. The transformations to the stationContinue reading “November 1990”

October 1990

Saturday October 13, Paris           How matter-of-fact a diarist can be about the most extraordinary events. Pepys goes to Charing Cross and sees Major-General Harrison, who had been convicted of regicide, hanged, drawn and quartered.* Momentous enough. But that he, at sixteen, should have also witnessed the execution of Charles I, for which the Major wasContinue reading “October 1990”

September 1990

Saturday September 1, Canterbury           I’m in the University library, experiencing once again my love/hate feelings for these places. On arrival, I got myself into an aggressive mood and failed at first to find the book I need, Lucina Gabbard’s The Dream Structures of Pinter’s Plays. Here I sit between the rows of books, the neon humming,Continue reading “September 1990”

August 1990

Saturday August 5, Siorac-de-Ribérac, Dordogne           Walked around the ‘backstreets’ of Ribérac. There are many houses for sale. The drains stink. There’s a nice old, grey-stone theatre but it doesn’t look as if it’s been used as such for a long while. There are notices on the door about dance and judo lessons. In a toyContinue reading “August 1990”

July 1990

Sunday July 1, Paris           For a while there during the Cameroon v England match it looked as if the lithe Lions were going to humiliate the English team. You could see the logic of a Cameroon victory with every loping stride, you were anticipating the slap the children of the colonised were going to inflictContinue reading “July 1990”

June 1990

Monday June 4, Paris           Another public holiday: Ascension. Mitterrand makes his annual ascension of the mount at Solutré accompanied by a coterie of the faithful. Jacques Lang, as usual, is at his side. Why has he consistently been one of the most popular ministers of the two Socialist governments? Because he’s a competent minister? CertainlyContinue reading “June 1990”

May 1990

Wednesday May 16, Paris           In the rue de Provence, from the window of a café, I’ve just read a poster for a festival of the maître occultistes.These people claim they’re not simply clairvoyants but magicians who can actually ‘change and transform your destiny by influencing the present.’ The festival is just around the corner in theContinue reading “May 1990”


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