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The party’s over

01/03/2010

 

The King of the Blue Planet and his Queen (carnaval in daytime - it's much more impressive at night)

Le Carnaval de Nice ended last night and we’re now back to normal.  Well, -ish  or as normal as things get in these parts which, I am delighted to report, is not very.  It’s hard not to feel sad. All the more so since our elephant is being threatened with

l'elephant nicois (click on a pic to enlarge)

litigation by the makers of Nantes’ elephant on the grounds of pachyderm plagiarism.  Apparently some if not all of the basis for this is that our elephant’s ears are patchwork, as are the elephant ears nantaises; our elephant’s trunk consists of interlocking articulated components, as does theirs –

but HTF is one supposed to build a gigantic mechanical elephant? The means and methods are clearly limited. And theirs, at 12 m, is a great deal bigger than our more modest 5.5 m model.  Bah!
As for Carnaval itself, I’ll miss the intoxicating fizz and buzz of all

Carnaval procession in Place Massena (all pix of daytime Carnaval from Nice-Matin)

that mass enjoyment. I’ll miss, too, hearing a commotion on a Sunday lunchtime and rushing to the window to see a dozen 10-foot penguins, arms spread wide, standing on plinths borne upon long legs, tottering down the road. Last weekend a kid darted out of the boulangerie as the penguins passed and ran towards one of them. With a series of swift kicks to the box-like plinth, he toppled the penguin. Fancy attacking a penguin: the shame of it, with the theme of this year’s Carnaval being la planète bleue and all things oceanic. I was about to charge to the lift when I saw some adult passers-by down in the street running to the penguin’s aid as he lay in the bus lane, long thin legs kicking like a injured insect. He – a tall, slender black ado’ – emerged shaken and audibly stirred as well he might be. But he was soon put to rights by his small crowd of willing acolytes and wove his way down the road to – I hope – forget his woes in the excitement of the procession and the enthusiasm of the crowds. Drowning his sorrows in un bain de foule so to speak.
It seems well-nigh impossible to sum up that post-party wistfulness, that sense of nostalgia kicking in far too quickly. But I am sure it will be familiar to you all. The party is over. But, this being Nice, that means it is over for now

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