Beat Diaspora: Beats, Buses, Bricks

an omnivorous take on music of the beat-based variety and the urban spaces that nurture it

Saturday, January 13, 2007

center --> periph

Just after New Year's, a right-to-housing coalition took over 24, Rue de Banque, the abandonned HQ of some French bank, which lies directly across the street from La Bourse, France's old stock exchange.

Part of an ongoing awareness campaign for SDFs (sans domicile fixe -- aka homeless) and the general problem of rapidly increasing housing costs.

Last Thursday they held a press conference and inaugurated the new "Minister of the Housing Crisis." (which, incidentally, prompted both presidential candidates to offer their own slapdash proposals, so it's had some impact.)

Just a little much-needed subversion en plein centre ville before I fulfill one of many long-neglected promises and circumnavigate Paris, that is to say a 360º view of the banlieue.

Encouragement from the likes of Paris et sa banlieue, a blog kept by a journalist from Le Monde (both en français, natch). But from his latest post, a review of a book on Clichy-sous-Bois, locus of last year's "evénements", translated for your benefit:
"I don't much like the idea of an 'ethnographic' approach to a banlieue of Paris or elsewhere. Clichy, one can go there whether one lives in Paris or the banlieue, it's not far, you don't need a passport, it's not another world. Is it different? Yes and no, as its mayor Claude Dilain writes, Clichy-sous-bois is a 'a city where a majority of the problems facing French society are concentrated', and this concentration perhaps makes it different."
One can go there indeed, and so I will.

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