Urban Running? 28 Jul 2012.


I just finished my morning run in an urban metroplex and it’s got me thinking. As you run — you’re constantly part of the smells around you — a side benefit of running. I remember talking to Julian Schnabel seven years ago — he was reading ‘Das Parfum’ and thinking about making the film. So, I read the book. The writing was super descriptive. What I remember most is Suskind’s description of what the streets of Paris smelled like in 1738. The lack of sanitation that we know today, was really hard to imagine. Cut to: EXT. DOWNTOWN STREETS, BIG CITY – MORNING. The run was ripe with smells — I could say ‘bloomed with smells’, but that ain’t accurate (or descriptive). You could never run fast enough to escape them. A donated urban park that reeked of being the primary repository for the local residents dogs’ dog shit. There were people sitting on the park benches there — but I can’t see how. They must have some internal mechanism that literally let them ‘cut through the shit’. I had to keep running. It seemed totally diametric — this really beautiful and visually pleasing oasis in the middle of this grey, vertical expanse… Until you drew closer. And when you consider the economic value that someone chose to relinquish in favor of a park over more high-rise buildings — you have to think that’s pretty cool. Until you happen on its apparent ‘Highest and Best Use’. Round and round she goes. Where she stops, no one knows… No shit.

Add the above to the consequences of too much to drink — and it all made me think of The streets of Paris, 1738. I don’t think I’m in to that kind of Time Travel. The kind that cloaks you in the modernity of your super luxe high-rise dwelling but you have to circumnavigate a sea of shit to get to it? Now, you’re verging on imagery from the film, The Magic Christian. Having any sense of history can really be a burden…


Published by William Vaughan

filmmaker, artist

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