From the Streets

‘Flâneuse  [flanne-euhze], noun, from the French. Feminine form of flâneur [flanne-euhr], an idler, a dawdling observer, usually found in cities.’ Lauren Elkin

Flâneuse-ing around London and Bristol

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Bristol

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Christmas, Old Town Square

In one of the decorated wooden huts in Old Town Square, I watch a woman roll out a sheet of dough and wrap it expertly around a metal stick rotating over a fire. The trdelnik, sprinkled with cinnamon and caramelized sugar as they grill, smell divine. Tourists linger near huge vats of halušky, children watch an animation of the nativity on a loop. Tomorrow I will go to the Lennon wall, and watch a couple dance to a street musician’s guitar.

Outside of the baroque church, an old man in a dusty suit restores, for a few moments, one’s faith in heaven. To pause, drawn by the plaintive wail of his saxophone, the rawness of his voice, is to forget the cold and the fact that you are in Prague alone at Christmas. You must live in your lantern, the old man seems to say.  And you see, from the twinkle in his eye that he knows.

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