Living in self-imposed exile in 70s Paris, I found the intellectual revolution I’d been searching for in Colossus of MaroussiIt was winter 1973. I was young and living in Paris – back then a wildly romantic but quite dangerous place. I had fallen for a French girl and run away from a dull job in London. After a few months she had left me, and I was stranded alone in the cold grey heart of Europe.So I shivered in a cold-water flat in Montmartre and spent my time eking out coffee, smoking Gitanes and talking to everyone and anyone in any language we could muster. You could learn bad French or Spanish and live well on just seven hours of teaching English a week.Paris was bone-grey and lonely, and I hated it. But there was no way back – and even if there had been, to what? This was a new life, beyond the social and intellectual straitjacket of parochial England, its tribal politics, drab cities and smothering politeness. After 15 years’ toiling in English educational factories, bunged up with textbooks, manners, literature and theory, I wanted neither work nor authority figures – I was burning for expression, experience, ideas …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books