We’re parked on the pavement – very rock n roll. The repercussion is men urinating against the truck half the night, both before and after the show. Little Dick, parked behind me, cordons off the trucks in a fruitless attempt to protect our rapidly yellowing tyres. I’ve always been in this industry for the glamour.
They kick a few tyres, note the odd mileage – ‘yes, that looks all right’ – then I’m free to sneak off to the Louvre. Oh, and spring didn’t last long, by the way.
Now, why is it that I can effortlessly walk twenty miles, yet standing in front of a picture for twenty seconds has me suffering from “museum legs”? I blame school expeditions. Anyway, impressed by Guerin’s use of light and shadow – and breasts – I start to read the accompanying blurb.
Literally the moment I’ve read the painter and year, I’m exhausted. Sculptures are even worse: they never give you sofas to look at them from. So, eschewing the Egyptian Antiquities, I rest in the Rubens Room. Ah, shoes off and a sit down. Lovely.
But, beware. If it’s anything like the National Gallery in London, you have to keep at least one eye open; slouch too far and close both eyes? – security will pounce, badgering you as though a vagabond.
The piece de resistance, for some, is Leonardo di Caprio’s “Mona Lisa”. That was deliberate – I’m just checking you’re paying attention. Painted c.1503-7, and standing only 77cm high, it’s dwarfed by other Italian Renaissance canvases. It’s flanked by four security guards, an extra guard rail, and a glass front which is possibly bullet proof.
Maybe what renders the smile so enigmatic is the incongruous background of a lunar, volcanic landscape, more like Iceland than Italy.
All this pausing and arty-farty musing, though, has turned my legs to lead once more. And the Louvre, opened in 1793, is just far too big a museum to tackle in one day. I’m off.
It was bad enough deciding where to start, but getting out again? Forget it. I take lifts, stairs, doubling back in a vain attempt to reach fresh air, only to be thwarted by another room full of paintings.
Delirious and parched, as though I’d crossed the Sahara for forty days, I finally emerge in a brilliant electronic cloakroom. Outside, a lunatic walks past, pushing a hospital drip on wheels..