Paris Scratch

Bart Plantenga describes his new book “Paris Scratch” as “not quite poems, not quite journal entries… meta-factual snapshots of everyday Paris life. With 365 entries or “snaps” this book is like a year of postcards sent from the bohemian Paris of twenty-five years ago. Indeed back in the day (1990 to be exact) Plantenga wrote some amazing stories for the print version of Parisvoice par exemple

“The Unloaded Camera Snapshots.” says Plantenga “commenced in Paris as a documentation exercise to take daily “snapshots” of everyday life.” Imagine he says “WeeGee & Robert Doisneau meet in a Montmartre cafe, & over Pastis, smash their cameras & triumphantly take up pens instead.” Scratch was originally published by Black&White Books in 1993.

One day, bart wakes up wondering why he’s living in Paris; he must now either put up or shut up; it’s either reinvent his relation to his surroundings or get a divorce from Paris. And rather than do the easy thing – taking snapshots – plantenga began recording what the 5 senses registered; scribbling down a “snapshot” per day for a year with the writing-while-walking strategy producing a unique form of dérive as well as countless notepads of barely legible scribbles.

“I spent years” says Plantenga, “wandering the haunted streets of NYC & Paris, cluttered with ghosts & memory, rich in phenomenological detail, friends & foes, encounters & coincidence & the enticing scent of decay, which allows the old to ignite the new…”

Plantenga’s “snapshots” capture Paris with a Proustian eye for detail. Revisiting the gritty side of the city with a succession of film noir like quick takes, Plantenga’s “Paris Scratch” takes up where Henry Miller left off. A great book with a fresh approach to one of the most written about cities in the world.

Bart Plantenga  lives in Amsterdam. He is a writer and pirate radio station disc jockey who has been called “the world’s expert on Yodeling.” Plantenga is also known for his radio show “Wreck this Mess.”

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