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MEMOIRES OF A TOURIST

Ron Horsefield

Went to the palace at Fontainebleau today. It was home to Francois 1, Henry II & IV, Louis XIII, XIV, XV, XVI, Chas X, Louis-Philippe, Nap 1 and 3. There was a Louis XVII but he died in jail before he could be crowned, a victim of the Terror. I say Terror since this is the usual bourgeois liberal bollocks designed to provoke disgust in the minds of voters who might go Commie or Labour. There were far more innocents killed by the govt in the reaction to the Paris Commune (20,000 at least) and more have been killed by Renault, Peugeot and Citroen since, and they've not been stigmatised - idolised more like by every piss-head boy racer in France of whom there is no shortage.

And there was a Nap 2, son of Nap 1 who Nap 1 handed over to after the debacle of 1814 - at Fontainebleau as it happens. The table they used for the abdication is the size of one you'd have an espress at in the Bar des Sports. Nap 1 probably thought he'd do a Putin by saying to Wellington and the Czar - "er..no mate I'm not in charge. This is the geezer you need to talk to" - pointin to Nap 2. But the allies weren't takin any of that old shite and they kicked both their arses out of it.

All the above rulers were rich gits as can be seen by the high class decor reminiscent of the top class John Lewis catalogue available only to MPs, yet none of them could have wandered down the road to the Mercure hotel and logged on to find the weather in Singapore or the latest test score or wot some Yank film starlet got up to with a donkey. Of course the internet had not been invented then but even if it had the rulers might have baulked at the price - 10 euros for 3 hours - and said "Fuck the Mercure, I can get free Wifi at MacDonalds - well not quite free since I have to buy a cheeseburger - but I don't have to eat it coz I'm King. I can donate it to the Pope sayin it's the liver of Mary Magdalene who was both a soak and a goer."

One wonders, alluding to MPs, how the lives of our own rulers might mirror that of the Sun King. One imagines John Prescott spending a morning on the croquet lawn, then a few pints in the library (Have you read all them books John? Books? Wot books?) after which some gentle coition with the mistress in his favourite wheelbarrow position - ie on her back on a John Lewis occasional table (none of that Boulle and Chippendale shite) with the deputy PM standing, holding her legs as if he's pushing her over a bump in the lawn. Then a snooze in the adjustable old git armchair, a Parker Knoll Lazeeboy Imperial Mk IV with a lever on one side and a shelf that slides out for your legs. Around noon, his valet de chambre, Braithwaite, approaches, shakes him gently by the shoulder and whispers the magic words "The pies have come your excellency"

These were the ratiocinations wot went through my head as I wandered the corridors replete with gold and ivory and porcelain and fat Japs snappin everythin in sight - being Zen Buddhists and Confusionists your Jap ruler lives in a cardboard box and squats on the floor. No wine just shite green tea. The palace doors don't even have hinges they slide on runners like some cheap Ikea room divider. Poor sods. No wonder they go mad over here. And their girls aren't naked with their tits on display like the wall paintings of the kings of France but geishas swaddled in reinforced concrete cocoons so impenetrable they'd make a 1950's corset look a piece of piss to get into. I glean this from the films of Ackroyd Kowasaki and Ken Mitzigaynor.

Yet rather than these reflections of a cheapskate oik I should have echoed the words of Ozymandias, the top dog in some god-forsaken ancient mid eastern shithole who famously proclaimed "Gaze on my works ye mighty and despair" And where is Ozzie now you ask? He's no more than a pair of stone feet in the desert. So it just goes to show.

Tomorrow I hope to visit the house of the great poet Steve Marmalade. I'm sure there'll be free wifi there since most of his stuff was so short you could send it in a flash or so weird no fucker would think it was French. If the Maitre d in Macdonalds came over and saw Steve plonkin about without buyin owt Steve would just look up and say "No squire - this isn't a communication - just look for yourself" and he'd swivel the laptop round so that the boss could read it and the maitre d'd say "Cor! You're not wrong Steve! That's bleedin gibberish that is! Sure you've not honked into the keyboard? Praps the cat's been walkin on it." Then if Steve finally did want to connect he could have got away with logging on in the bogs, connectin for two seconds, an then dashin out shoutin "Balls to your cheeseburger an stick your king sized fries up your arse!" It may not scan too well but it has a certain je ne sais quoi I like to think.

These'd be the cruxes of poetry and kingship in our time and it is incumbent on us to try and imagine how former geniuses and nobs would have coped with what we have to put up with today.

Ron Horsefield - Fontainbleau - September 2008

Outside toilet of the great poet Steve Marmalade - sans WiFi