Friday, November 27, 2015

among the bouquinistes

As I am far too high toned for Black Friday, I have been reading instead in the Grauniard of the upcoming auction of Pierre Bergé's personal library; 1,600 books, manuscripts and scores ranging over six centuries with an estimated worth £30 million.

As an added bonus the piece is written in a breathless, affected and frankly hilarious style.
It was literature that gave the young Bergé his lucky break, although this good fortune was at first well disguised. On his first day in Paris, as he was strolling the Champs-Elysées, a Surrealist poet called Jacques Prévert fell from a window and landed on top of him. A winded Bergé chose to see this defenestration as an augury that the French capital had been waiting for him. He embarked on a career in antique books, truffling for overlooked treasures among the bouquinistes, the bookstalls on the banks of the Seine. In the brilliant young tailor Yves Saint Laurent, he recognised another man with an eye for a silver lining. “Christian Dior fired him, and on the same day, he told me we will set up our own business, the house of Yves Saint Laurent.”
That is right, as he was strolling the Champs-Elysées, a Surrealist poet called Jacques Prévert fell from a window and landed on top of him. What more could you ask for? Read the whole thing here.
“The sun sinks. The cafe teems with life.
Ah, Paris!
A clock in the rue Manet strikes six-thirty, and I think of those words of de Gourmont.”
Beachcomber (be the name still running the game).
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