07 February, 2010

Back-B-Log: 1990: Cannes - Dread And Victory (II To Juan Les Pins)

[From the 2nd and final issue of the Tuesday Express/American Voyeur Paris/Cannes Issue! 1990 ]
Thursday, May 17th: To Juan Les Pins
10 AM, it is 28 hours since I last slept. I spent the last few hours wandering up and down the beach and between the beach and the train station, waiting for the tourist office to open so I can get the numbers of hotels in nearby towns, and a Cannes streetplan. I'm also waiting to talk to Barrett, who said I should call at 10:30. We might have lunch, I'm also holding that small glimmer of a hope that she'll find me a place to crash (a notion not helped by my vague juvenile attraction to her).

It is a pleasantly glaring hot, mediterranean-breeze cooled day. I can't be bothered waiting, I call the SI office, Barrett's not even in yet (I bet she slept). I resist the urge to call vindictively at five minute intervals. I call again at 10:30, not there, at 10:45 she's in, has no time for lunch, and hints that the chances are next to nil of finding me a place, but suggests lunch the next day. Also, there is no chance that she'll be able to get me any kind of press-credentials. I sign off, I need to crash, I go back to the boat. Demonic boss-lady is not present, the captain and one of his crew seem concerned, I chat them up, casually pretending that it's no big deal, I'll sleep eventually. They give me orange juice, which is the only thing I have an appetite for. I pick up my pack, get to the station just in time for the train to Juan Les Pins, the twenty minute ride seems like an hour.

I only picked Juan Les Pins because I already knew I could book there, and because more trains stop there than at the towns closer to Cannes. At the tourist office I get another list of local hotels, I balk at phoning the one I just cancelled with two days ago. I choose something within close walking distance from the train station. After paying for the three nights I intend to stay, I attempt to collapse, its hot I feel grungier than an entire summer camp, I shower, then collapse. It is between noon and one, roughly 30 hours since I woke up early to pack for the trip.

I sleep. An hour later I wake up. I sleep. Again, almost exactly an hour, I wake up. I sleep. Deep, fitful. At three I'm awake again. Alright, I must have trained my body to stay awake, now it rejects sleep. I decide to use the jet-lag cure, stay awake until the normal time, then sleep.

I go back to Cannes. I contact Barrett, arrange a time to meet for lunch the next day. She's been saying there's this American woman working as a publicist, she wants to introduce us, we're both film buffs. I'm game of course. But she won't be available that night. I have a good wander around town, check out the local fast food joint ('Quick'), I track down the locations for the non-official (not in the festival) market and press screenings, at the towns small ordinary cinemas a two and a five plex, one of which is screening the film 'The Plot Against Harry', which I'm interested in seeing, I find out that while some of these screenings are invitation only (like the official selections), you can buy tickets to some of the others. As I'm heading away from the theatres, a young woman approaches me on the street and hands me an invitation to a film that starting shortly, urging me to go see it. I figure if its no good, I can at least get some rest, and maybe the theater will be air-conditioned.

The film is 'Raspad' a Soviet-American co-production about the horrors of Chernobyl. It was pretty grim, with touches of bizarre humour, and surprisingly frank about the way the truth was initially suppressed, about the disaster. And all things considered, I did stay awake through two hours of subtitles. Given my own minor disasters it seems to fit perfectly into the odd logic of my experience here.

Mellowed, more optimistic, dog-tired, sleepy, I trundle to the train, back to JuanLesPins, and to sleep.

[To be continued with III Banana Republic and other guises...]

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