Yesterday our gallant Mayor Bertrand Delanoe threw a bash at the Hotel de Ville for his more political-animal American residents. The lucky multitude lined up hours early in the wind off the Seine, personal invitations in hand, not sure what to expect regarding the Inauguration but keen to experience this downtown palace that subs as city hall from the inside.
Inside glowed in all the pomp- bronze equestrian statues- and glitter- chandeliers big as ski-huts- and casual eroticism- marble and fresco ‘dehanchements’- of the Hotel’s late renaissance roots. (More photos on request.) For the occasion there were three giant screen TVs broadcasting CNN live into three vast parqueted halls. Delanoe gave a nice speech in French, the American Ambassador rambled about countries agreeing to disagree in liberty (he is presumably a Bush appointee) in a butchering accent. Turning back to the screens folks hissed and booed certain has-been actors and cheered the heroes of the day. During Obama’s acceptance speech lots of cameras ( filming film) and some handkerchiefs (dabbing eyes) came out. Finally, those not sent off to sleep by the Inauguration Poem were rewarded with flying champagne corks, canapes served by white-jackets, and the excellent gospel/motown sounds of the Golden Gate Quartet–whose lead singer just turned eighty. Amen, amen.