For months now the ever expanding and record-breakingly hot Working Day has been trying to apply its pernicious, diurnal HR policies to the darkness. Night’s creatures are having none of it. The acute point is to be found, surprisingly, in moribund France and the streets of Paris. It’s as if we were 200 years in the past, when Paris would sneeze, and the world would catch a cold…
The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright –
And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the night.
The moon was shining sulkily,
Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
After the day was done –
‘It’s very rude of him,’ she said,
‘To come and spoil the fun!’
The confusion is encouraging. We are unsure if the violence of the honourably lazy children of the bourgeoisie is combining with that of raging migrants; we are delighted to see touch-points between organized labour, high school students and those that count for nothing. Communication between vessels long-since thought to have been totally isolated.
The media as usual sees only marginal interest. According to them the impact is largely on the Parisian tourist season, to quote the Tourist Board:
“The scenes of guerrilla-type action in the middle of Paris, beamed around the world, reinforce the feeling of fear and misunderstanding.”
No, no misunderstanding. The frantic, all-caps reports and videos shared on delirious social media groups are enough to attest that the youth of France are for the first time in a generation spending their after-school hours injudiciously.
Slogans are emerging which attest as they always have to the radical ingenuity of the collective wit of the French revolutionary tradition:
“Night is for fucking not working”
“Liberty is our common interest”
“But how can we wait while the world collapses”
“Who sows misery reaps fury”
“Now that we’re together, it’s much better”
“We’re not going home tonight”
“Youth shits on the labour law”
“Type out the revolt on your keyboard and get out onto the streets”
What is it about that “Midnight in Paris” in the Spring? What makes the nights of this tourist-ridden, chintzy Haupstadt periodically renew the rights of dreaming, love, and laziness? It seems that despite Haussmann’s bright boulevards Paris has always been inimical to sunlight. The Place de la République – is it a shamanic gateway to the Dream Time?
We encourage with surprise and pleasure the insomniac revolt of the threatened and the disenfranchised. To young people and the excluded, we hope you continue your uprising against the subtle tyranny of capitalist “flexibility”, “management”, and the after-hours email. We hear cynicism about the big moments, the festivals, and the predicted return to normalcy “the day after”. But the nocturne doesn’t have to end if we stay angry, don’t turn in for the night. The somnambulist fever is spreading as the partisans of Night rise-up across the world. Continue then, as Sade exhorts, to attack the Sun!
-The Mormyrids, June 2016