Saturday, August 29, 2009

Out of the shadows..

Bleriot crossed the channel in his 'plane 100 years ago. There are exhibits and shows connected with this feat all around France, along with social and cultural addenda.
Although I didn't have time to see very much, I popped into one show for 10 minutes, and was delighted to see that the French had taken the 100 years ago to mean what life was like then, rather than a dull mechanical or photographic record of the flight.
There were wonderful pictures of what I would classify as fast ladies, and some histories of a few of them.
The Grandes Horizontales ( who I suppose were strictly rather before Bleriot) had a code of honour and conduct that we have completely lost. At a time when marriages were not made in heaven so much but rather for dynastic and entrepreneurial reasons, these ladies had a flourishing time.
Of course, a marriage made in heaven may last forever, but its much more likely to remain a fixture for financial and dynastic reasons. We only have to look at the present state of divorce here and in the States to see how things are going on the made in heaven front.
Back then, a lady who took on a man ( remember Colette and Cheri?) was not jealous or possessive. Indeed, she might very well arrange for the man to be passed on to a younger or at least another version of herself, and they would remain good friends.
I've always thought it rather sad that the equivalent ladies in the UK tended to be hidden away in St. John's Wood in discreet little houses, whilst those in Paris were the Belles of the Ball - quite literally.
Bertie did his best to bring them into the limelight, but even he was finally beaten back by the massed ranks of enraged matrons.
And David, of course, lost his throne over it...

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