Sunday, 13 March 2016

Fairground Attraction, unplugged

This blog has been a little abandoned over recent months, but like this funfair, the lights will soon be plugged back in and the big wheel turning again. Over 2015, production on the blog had to take a backseat to the book, but for that project the conclusion is now in sight.

The book has been written and delivered, and is now in the editing stage. Photos and illustrations are being selected and there may even be a definite publication date soon. I hope to be able to give more details shortly! It has been intense and demanding, but also an extremely rewarding and instructive experience.

Anyway, I now find myself with a little more time to explore Paris and think about the blog again, even if I'm not sure whether blogs are really the most effective medium for sharing things today.

Ahead of some more stories from Paris, here is something I stumbled across in the city's suburbs. A year ago I wrote about Vélizy, a place I described as an invisible town, so it seemed entirely suitable to find a funfair without any people.

Celebrating the approach of Spring, it apparently comes alive in the evening and at weekends, curiously the exact opposite of the town itself. There must be a community here though, and I hope they all find much amusement at the Stardust Palace, even if I have no idea what might take place there.

That there are no visitors outside of opening hours is completely normal, but I have no idea where the fairground workers and stallholders were hiding. I spotted one, tightening some essential nuts on the rather terrifying looking Boomerang ride, but he was the only person on site.

A fairground without noise, lights and people quickly becomes an unnerving experience, a glimpse into some post-disaster dystopia. The gaudy and garish paintwork suddenly seems darker, the ghost train far more menacing when empty and boarded up. 

I would have liked to have seen the fair packed with people and bright with sound, but I think the thrill would have still been greater on this bright and chilly afternoon.



Susan said...

So what is the alternative to blogs if you want to write in any detail and include good pictures? I can't think of anything for the writer who is doing it for personal rather than professional reasons.

Adam said...

Hi Susan,

I agree that it is still convenient for writers and those who want to associate a quantity of text with photos. It's just I'm not so sure that the audience is still there. Do people still read blogs as much these days, or have they moved on to other platforms? Anyway, as I don't have any answer at the moment, I'll carry on here for the time being!

What's your experience been as a blogger? Do you find that the audience numbers or the interaction has changed?

Autolycus said...

Can't help noticing the skull and crossbones on the cashier's desk - is that a satirical comment on their part, do you think, or a dire warning?!

I've let my blog slide through sheer inanition and fear of repetitiousness, but I don't think of it as a vehicle for mass communication as much as an occasional journal for myself. There are a few readers who throw in the odd opinion from time to time, but I'm not aiming for much of an audience.

Chanterelle said...

Good to see you back!

Blogs are a little old school, I suppose, but they're great for long-form posts. The trick is attracting a following, if that's what you're after. I get the feeling that RSS readers are losing favor, but I love mine, which I use as a self-curated news aggregator, which combines mainstream news providers, sites/blogs that cover my field, and blogs that I read for enjoyment. I probably wouldn't read you if it weren't for the RSS feed.

The blogosphere had to evolve for a number of reasons. First of all, it's so crowded that it's impossible to keep up. As well, readers do seem to have shorter attention spans, hence the popularity of Tumbler, etc. It's like the difference between meeting someone for coffee, or tapas, and inviting them into your home for dinner.

I work with a long-form site that uses social media to announce new posts; that takes extra work that might be better put into posting. I'm not sure we use best practices, but those will no doubt continue to evolve anyway.

I hope you keep up this blog. If Mme Hidalgo realizes half her plans, old Paris will continue to disappear.

And please do keep us posted when the book is out!

Terry said...

As a long-time reader of Invisible Paris, I hope you won't discontinue the blog format - much as I, a Baby Boomer and decades-long computer / internet user, hate to admit it, I'm kind of losing interest in making the effort to keep up with Every Damn New Thing the internet comes up with. I don't Tweet, I don't Instagram - or Vine, or whatever else is New! Exciting! Must-have! I just love a good long read, especially like your blog with its wealth of pictures and banquet of prose about my favorite city. Just one person's opinion. Congratulations on the book!

Kiki said...

Hi Adam; I'm probably 'old school' myself because I never dared to start a blog - knowing fully well that I couldn't give it the attention I would expect myself to deliver.... but on the other hand, I am subscribed to a (smallish) number of blogs and I DO comment (not always but still far more often than most readers do).
I also have my serious doubts about other social medias as they truly tend to rob people of time which could be employed for better pass-times such a READING, taking photos, gardening, LIVE.... (lol) I am done with FB and like to concentrate on the few blogs which have become sort of virtual friends.
Now to you in particular: your post are always very interesting and I for one would love to keep you on your toes - you have such a way with words, you find the 'odd one out' (see above), you have 'invited' me to follow up your leads and make discoveries or explained stuff I didn't know before... so thank you very much for all your 'done' work and ALL THE BEST for your book - make sure you publicise it everywhere. Congratulations! Let us know... :)
Thanks again for everything you've given us the readers so far and thanks for asking too!
Now I'm wondering what your book is coming up with.....

Maria Calò said...

can y6ou do cheap restuarants in paris near gare du nord and gare du lyon plus others in different areas, this is the best blog on paris

kittiepower said...

i am very selective with the blogs I follow and yours is one of those that I really do look forward to
. Can't wait for your book!

Dwight Doskey said...

I also read very few blogs--but would never miss a posting on this one. To think that there might be nothing more is a horrifying thought. Please don't quit.

Susan said...

I think people still read blogs, but commenting and discussion seems to have moved to other platforms. Personally I'm ignoring that :-) I don't use Facebook, Twitter or any of the newer ones. Our blog page visits have dropped by about a third in the last couple of years, but my suspicion is that it is a reflection of a change in people's reading habits rather than a real drop in readers (they read more blogs but less regularly or frequently). We did lose readers once we stopped writing about renovating the house -- clearly there is an insatiable market for that sort of thing (along with cooking blogs), but we write to please ourselves and if others want to come along that's fine. We were approached last year by the Australian National Library who have a project which archives blogs written by Australians worldwide, so that when platforms, software and hardware changes in the future, the content isn't lost. So we are writing for posterity too :-) Perhaps in the future the idea of going on botany outings or the weird old fashioned way I phrase things will be utterly fascinating to some diligent PhD student in 2050. I like to think so anyway.

Jay Gertz said...

Invisible Paris is the absolute best blog on Paris, period. The author does not try to sell you anything or act as a advertisement for various companies. She displays a passionate love for this City of Lights, that we all adore, through her knowledge and research of hidden jewels, obscure sites and sometimes outre attractions. I literally have dozens of articles from Invisible Paris stored in my bookmarks, so I might refer to them in advance of our next trip.

As Terry said above, I am not enthralled with the various electronic fads and devices. I have a desktop and that's it. No cell, no smart phone, Twitter or whatever else. If Invisible Paris were available in print I would purchase it as a book or a journal subscription in a heartbeat.

Keep up the great work and I'm looking forward to seeing more soon.

Adam said...

Thanks for all your comments. I'm quite touched!
The idea of this blog has always been to share what interests and intrigues me. I'm glad that this at least sometimes interests you too! Although I do have Twitter and Instagram accounts (I've never had any kind of relationship with Facebook), they are both 'instant' formats, and the blog gives me time to reflect and stretch out. I love long-form articles and stories and I think I'd only give up this blog if I could find another format which facilitates this - and so long as I can take you all with me!

Dom Ciancibelli said...

I didn't realize you were a "she!" I.e. above. I've been reading up on your blog for some years now and have actually followed up on many of your points of interest. I especially liked the story you did on the old cast iron Argentinian gallery in the 16th which led me on a crusade to find every passage and gallery in th city. My wife and I visit Pais almost very year and are headed there for a month in mid April. Her aunt lived a block from the old Opera and we visit her old schoolmate who has been a technical writer there for the last 20 years. I've also made friends through Flickr there that we visit when we come over. We don't consider ourselves tourists any longer but part time Parisians who stay in the 12th when we are over. Your blog has sent us on investigations in the city where we find very few tourists and that is the way we love it. I have been a film photographer for over 40 years and consider myself an old school analog guy who doesn't walk around plugged in every second. No attention deficit disorder here . But I do regularly follow your work here and hope you stick with it. But if you do choose to move on know that your blog has been truly enjoyed and appreciated.
Ciao for now!

Adam said...

Thanks Dom. I'm not a "she", but if some readers think this to be the case then the blog has at least partially succeeded! The subject is the invisible city, but I've always tried my hardest to remain invisible too on this blog. And if I'm invisible, then I also have no sex!

My second personal reward is hearing that I've inspired people to visit different parts of the city, and to learn that they didn't see it as a trip wasted. As Jay mentioned above, I've never tried to sell anything, and that includes Paris itself. I write about the places that interest me, but I don't suggest that people should go and visit those places themselves. If people do choose to go there, then I imagine it's because they have similar ways of viewing cities as myself, and despite being invisible, it's always nice to know that you are not alone!

Jay Gertz said...

My humblest apologies! I am not sure why I thought Adam was a "she." Guess my age and inattention are beginning to manifest themselves in more profound ways. Adam's byline in the blog is so diminutive and...and...anyhow...

I do stand by my praise for your column. They are very well written and well researched. One of the first I stumbled across was on the history of Rue Maitre Albert, in the 5th, within spitting distance of Notre Dame. My home was a tiny apartment on the third floor where I stayed for a month when I first fell in love with Paris. This heavily touristed area was more subdued as I went in the off-season, except for the nightly drunken cacophony from the bars nearby.

My personal library contains several excellent histories of Paris that I read before visits, as that knowledge tends to make the city come that much more alive as you stroll the streets and neighborhoods. It seems in my travels that a great many American tourists have little historical understanding of the cultures and histories of the locales they visit. For me, it is integral for the flaneur wannabe.

A blog such as Invisible Paris breathes life into buildings and places that one might otherwise ignore or pass right on by. Keep up the good work and when your book comes out, let us all know.

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