Does anyone remember MINITEL? Sad news reaches my ears that this game old lady of the pre internet world may be scrapped in September 2011. I think I first came across it when I was holidaying in France in about 1986 when I first went down with an attack of the galloping gallic. Do you remember those days? Thrusting Anglo-Saxon executives clipped pagers to their belts and staggered about under the weight of their dynamic thrusting importance. French executives still sipped a decent Bordeaux over lunch - BUT - they had Minitel. Unwrinkled readers will probably not recall what a revolution it was. It did what the internet does. It was a small TV with a keyboard connected to the phone network. And do you know what? It worked. I used it to book a TGV ticket from Vendôme to Paris. I felt I had arrived in that future that books about Space travel and endless leisure had promised. I was a post modernist neo luddite would be linguist Buddhist with two kids and a sick Renault 5. Minitel confirmed and anointed all my confusions and contradictions. Now the remaining old terminals look monochrome, outdated and somehow sad, like fading roses in a cracked antique jug.
Well, the reason I started on about Minitel was because today I was trying to book tickets on line for a cinema in Saintes to see the New York Met' perform Wagner's "Siegfried". The guy had less trouble writing it. The server in-your-face has a virus. I think that's what the helpline said. Gilles will be home later and he will sigh with his weary pomposity, flick a few keys and voilà. Since I don't have Minitel I went down there on my bike. As a solution it worked fine.
These New York Met shows are something else. It's not like being there because there's a camera guy choosing close ups and angles. Cinema sound is often a bit thin. All the same an eccentric English woman(and romantic novelist blah blah) can sit in a French cinema watching a live performance of a German opera performed by every race on Earth to the highest possible standard. I don't pray for miracles because I live in one. In May I saw the Met' do the Walküre. This work contains possibly the richest love duet of all time between Siegmund and Sieglinde featuring a singer called Jonas Kauffman. Had me blubbing. Check him out here.
Emma thinx: Nostalgia - the talent of creative memory.