Tuesday, 22 February 2011

WHERE'S BARBRA STREISAND WHEN YOU NEED HER?

It's the Carnival.  Once again.  Funny how February feels like it comes around every six weeks here.


It's rather famous, this extravaganza.  People arrive from all over the world to experience it.  


Bit of a mystery to me as to why.


Floats supporting gigantic fibreglass figures - more grotesque even than the deformed caricature of the thing Carla Bruni tries to pass off as her face - cruise slower than snails along the seafront, their journey culminating in Place Massena - which is surrounded in its entirety by high blue hoardings, so that if you don't hand over an enormous wad of euros to the council you are excluded from the centuries-old festivities. 


Men dressed as women with fake breasts (don't let on to Michael Winner, we'll never hear the end of it), strangers aiming at each other with cans of silly string in bright neon shades (try that with me, Francois, and you won't be in any doubt as to the practical definition of Menopausal Woman), people in silly jesters hats, horrible street music, litter everywhere.


Believe the theme this year is Pickpockets.


Had to go out today (think I stayed in last February).  On my tram were several performers (at least, I hope they were performers), male, dressed in a costume concoction as follows:-


On top of their heads, a Venetian ceramic mask complete with Savaltore Dali moustache, attached to which was an acre of colourful gingham fabric in folds down their backs; their chests were bedecked as if they were Roman Gladiators - a breastplate comprising hundreds of (real) shiny silver coins; whilst from the waist down they resembled those memorable Greek guards outside the Palace in Athens - white mini skirt with under petticoats, white tights, black shoes with large pom poms.

Forget Coco Chanel, this was more Coco the Clown.

But not a hint of embarrassment, standing as they were amongst the rest of us going about our daily chores. Perhaps there is something to be said for living in a place where being badly dressed is de rigueur for the entire population, after all.  


You can't walk anywhere in the centre of town at Carnival time, the trams are unable to make a complete journey from one end of the line to the other, and the prices in the bars and restaurants become doubly exorbitant.


Naturally, the weather obliged with pouring rain and chilly temperatures last weekend, as if NiceEtoile had waved her wand and ordered the perfect accompaniment to such a dismal activity.


But if the Carnival isn't my kind of thing, dear Reader, it has also been raining on my parade.  For quite some time.


A decision has been made.  I'm leaving Nice.  In the next few weeks.  


Still more to write on this blog - there's much I haven't yet told you - but as Barbra Streisand didn't say, the Carnival is Over.  


What Babs did say was:-


At least I didn't fake it.  Hat, sir?  I guess I didn't make it...


So as NiceEtoile gradually morphs into NotNiceEtoile, I hope you stay and continue to read the rest.  But for me, the light is now a faint glimmer at the end of the Channel Tunnel...




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Please be nice, but not funnier than me. Thanks.