Inspired by Ortho at Baudrillard’s Bastard–both by his nicely illustrated report on his spring break and his recent analysis of graffiti in New York City–this post is about one of my favorite spring breaks ever. March 2001 was a great month for me–I had signed a contract to start a new academic job, freeing me from the misery of my first job, and I was off to Paris with a beloved close family member. It rained a lot that week–natch–after all it was Paris in March. But it was memorable in every way, as it was my first trip to Paris. (I wasn’t one of those rich college kids who hung out in Europe all summer long–I had to work to cover my expenses and top up my steeply increasing tuition bill.)
One of the most distinctive features of our visit was the appearance of a cat who went quite sensibly by the name “M. Chat” (Mr. Cat, en Anglais.) I take it now that he’s famous all over the world, and the star of a movie that premiered at the Pompidou Center in 2004. But, we knew M. Chat before he was cool, and it was a pleasure to see where we might find his grinning face (and nearby, occasionally, his purple mouse friend.) There he was again, along the banks of the Seine, or next to the funicular that goes to Sacré Coeur, or on the side of a building in Montmartre.
He’s got a website now, not by his mysterious creator, but by a fan, where you can track his whereabouts worldwide, as well as the locations of other graffiti characters. His creator’s identity was a closely guarded secret until March, 2007, when one Thoma Vuille from Orléans was caught mid-Chat by police.
Have you any M. Chat sightings to report? (Of course, many of us believe that we have seen him before, since he seems to be the bastard lovecat of John Tenniel and Keith Haring.) To paraphrase Alice: What’s the use of a blog, without pictures or conversations?