Paris in the Rain

“’Out Of The Past’ was the name of the store, and its products consisted of memories: what was prosaic and even vulgar to one generation had been transmuted by the mere passing of years to a status at once magical and also camp.”

Midnight in Paris

What is it with the world’s fascination with the period between the signing of the Treaty of Versailles and Black Tuesday (25 October 1929)? Is it an attempt to regain the fleeting innocence of the flapper age, or simply a regression to what many consider a golden era? Humans have always had a fascination with the past, often believing that what came before was better than what we have now.

The problem with this, of course, is that one can’t ACTUALLY live in the past, no matter how much you wish it to be so. Midnight in Paris shows us exactly what 1920s Paris means in popular culture: expats living in Paris (the Fitzgeralds, Heminway, Dali, Getrude Stein,T.S. Elliot, Picasso, Man Ray, Barnes, etc), a city of creativity, a place where happiness was accomplished with much alcoholic consumption (and unlike in the US, that consumption was legal), and above all else an understanding that war changes people (which Hemingway, Fitzgerald and British author Ford Maddox Ford all wrote about).

It’s ironic that we would think of the 1920s as any kind of ‘Golden Age’, particularly considering what happened next… and we do have the hindsight of history to tell us that the 1920s wasn’t the party after peace, because anyone with half a brain knew that politics no longer stopped at the water’s edge and a second war was all but inevitable. Every single writer of the 1920s alluded to the impact of politics on every day life… no more so than Ford (which is another topic altogether). Instead, the 1920s were a lull; a time when the threat of war was both far behind and far ahead, music and theatre and motion pictures flourished (watch Hugo for that storey), and the world tried to regain the innocence it had lost during four years of hell. France was still recovering, but Paris remained an incredible example of pre-war Europe, all while embracing a post-war world. The problem, of course, is that innocence once lost is lost forever (a lesson taught by J.M. Barrie) and no amount of struggle will bring it back (see Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises). No matter how much Europe attempted to regain the past, it had to move forward… of course forward meant more conflict and a reluctant dragging into the modern era.

What Midnight in Paris teaches us is that, wisely, attempting to find a ‘golden age’ in the past is impossible… as Gil points out to Adriana, wherever we settle we’ll always find a reason to like something else better. Unfortunately, humanity has a fascination with days gone by, and regardless of circumstance, we’ll always imagine ourselves in another time and place, one that we deem better… regardless what common sense, and history, tells us. Midnight in Parismakes you yearn for the days of flappers and cafés and Cole Porter… and Paris in the rain.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 141 other followers

Blog Stats

  • 3,082 hits
First 50 Words - Prompts for Writing Practice

Write the first 50 words of YOUR story in a comment.

A Consummate Confessional

There's only one thing a man can do when he's suffering from a spiritual and existential funk...

Gotta Find a Home

Conversations with Street People

The Stuff They Won't Include in Any Tourist Guide: The Real England

The Real England is a concise, direct, and not-so-gentle window into the depths of the leftovers of the world’s once greatest empire. It is told from the perspective of one lone (or not so lone) long term visitor. It informs one of the dregs of the country and helps to explain quaint British oddities such as the crack addicted chav.

Vegan Chicks Rock

Here Be Dragons!

Chic Vegan

Vegan and Fabulous!

Wellness Mama®

Simple Answers for Healthier Families

The Coconut Mama

Real Food. Natural Living. Coconut Love

Smart Girls love SciFi

science fiction romance books

Daily (w)rite

For lovers of reading, writing, travel, humanity

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Reading, LIstening, and Reviewing LGBTQIA Books!


The mindless witterings of an author at work - and play.

Here Be Dragons!

%d bloggers like this: