Wednesday, April 05, 2006
April in Paris - or Nice
It’s an important day in the Brit financial year – the last one, to be exact. April 5 seems an odd day on which to end a fiscal year – especially as most organizations end theirs on December 31. The reason is lost in antiquity – something to do with Pope Gregory and his calendar, as modified by Napoleon. Or was it the other way round? Whatever – this is the day when you have to use up your capital gains allowances and start thinking about your tax return – which you can’t start work on because you have to wait until you get your bank and other statements at the end of April so you’ll know what happened in the first five days of the month. We should change it of course but it’s a Tradition, and anyway it’s more fun to complain.
There’s a Paris web site (www.ParlerParis.com) run by an American lady. She loves Paris, which she claims gives her the right to complain about it, and does, so I have a precedent.
But I’m not complaining today – not even about the French. Especially not about the French, because I’ll be there in a few days and can’t wait to sit on the balcony puffing Monte Cristo No. 4s. The picture by mate Mike (firstname.lastname@example.org) says it all.
There’s a new book out called That Sweet Enemy: a history of Anglo-French relations since Louis XIV. I don’t want it – it’s over 800 pages long, or about 600 pages beyond my boredom threshold. And besides, where would it live? But I’d like to browse it. The thing I’m not looking forward to is television. With the exception of Gibraltar it must be the worst TV on earth. What’s frustrating is that technically it’s good – but who wants fifty million pixels of crap? Because of the economic nationalism I may have mentioned earlier, they have laws to protect the domestic film and music industries, meaning that x% of peak programming has to be local. Thus protected, there’s no incentive to produce quality. In UK we pay a TV licence fee, in return for which our two best channels are ad-free. In France you have to buy a licence, AND you have ads on every channel. But we converse more and it does wonders for our Scrabble.
And as you know I’m not one to complain.