l'he Streets of Paris, by Richard Cobb, with photographs by Nicholas Breach. Duckworth, pp. 160.
"I DON'T like what is happening to Paris and I greatly prefer the Paris of the 1930s or of the 1950s to the Paris of the 1970s" (p.12).
This is not the first time that Richard Cobb has set out in search of a Paris inhabited by the characters of his beloved, muchquoted Raymond Queneau. On this occasion, he is aided by a photographer, and his efforts are directed towards salvaging by image and commentary what remains of the old Paris, long abandoned to a dusty death or (worse still for Cobb) bulldozed to the ground to make way for middle-class intellectuals or highrise blocks.
The book is set out in five sections of unequal length. covering, in turn, the XlVth, Vth, XXth, Xth and XVIllth arrondissements, around which the historian and the photographer trudge, both responding "similarly and simultaneously" to the stimulus of street-life, whether observed in Into or singled out for a factory, a hotel, a Louis Philippe fronted restaurant, a sleepy courtyard (all recurrent images and preoccupations). It must be said that each man has done his work excellently.
Although it is true that the distinctive atmosphere of many Parisian districts has largely been reduced to commonplace drabness, the melancholy this might inspire is not Cobb's ultimate attitude, as he himself insists (p.12). The petites gees are still there, ready to welcome anyone with an interest in their world: for the moment at least, there is some meaning of continuity.
`A slow-moving depression ...'
Stories from the Old Testament (vol. 1) (cassettes) by R. II. Lloyd, pub Routledge & Kegan Paul. £6 plus 90p postage.
THE author of the scripts for "Stories from the Old Testament" is sympathetic to children who are "put off reading the Bible by the impression that it is dull. This series "deliberately sets out to capture the imagination of the child through dramatisation."
You could have fooled me. But it depends, 1 suppose on what you think is suitable material to "capture a child's imagination." The scripts are read badly and sound like the Bible being read from a pulpit: or to be kind, like a weather forecast.
The sentence constructions are tortuous throughout. Although the stories are easy to understand, there is no excitement in them, and the Bible is exciting.
Another good idea bites the dust. Pity.