Sensory Experience of Perception


Paris/worn out shoes

I first travelled to Europe in 1984 to attend an international symposium in Paris on urbanism. My plane landed at dawn. After clearing customs, I took a train of the RER, the light railway system for Paris, to the neighborhood where I would be staying. 

I asked several individuals where rue Joseph Barra was located. Nobody knew, but they helpfully taught me to pronounce the street name correctly. 

Eventually the children of the family with whom I was staying found me and guided me to their apartment. After a brief visit I washed my face and went out to look at Paris. I walked to the Seine. Tears began to run down my cheeks and I could almost see the Montgolfier brothers’ balloon drifting across the October morning sky.

The week I was attending the conference I wore out the soles of my shoes walking around the Left Bank neighborhood of my hosts.

 

Art is Really Important

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Eric Satie

My first hearing, in the spring of 1964, of Aldo Ciccolini's recording of Eric Satie's piano music was transformative. I was aware of Ravel, Debussy, Honegger, and other Impressionist composers. Their music was engaging, and distinct from the Classical music I'd listened to throughout my childhood. Satie's music was an altogether new experience for me.

Despite being pleasant to listen to, it was not burdened by the sweetness characteristic of most of the other French composers who were  his contemporaries. (Honneger was Swiss but lived most of his life in France. He was a member of les Six.) It reminded me of austere West Coast jazz. Satie's music, especially as played by Ciccolini, was Modern.

I enjoy listening to Satie's music more than half a century after I first heard it. I am still spellbound by Debussy's Syrinx, that was, for a while, the theme music for the 1950's era TV program Omnibus. With some exceptions, much of the classical repertoire which I have listened to since childhood seems tired and is not as engaging as it formerly was.

Satie's residence is one of the places to which I go to when I visit Paris. 

Eric Satie's residence


Odette

Odette, a shop selling only round baseball sized creme puffs, is  a few steps from Shakespeare and Company, It is another of the places I go to in Paris. I try to limit my consumption to no more than two per day.

Odette


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