Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Flaneur

I was in London back in February and was just looking through the Lonely Planet guide and stumbled upon a restaurant named The Flaneur. The restaurant claims to be based on the essence of the Flaneur, who is a rich person that didn't need to work and that spent their time strolling around markets to show off their wealth. "A sign of just how much time you had to idle around used to be sometimes seen by people having a tortoise on a lead! We have brought this concept back by filling our shelves with artisanal & fine foods, so bringing the essence of the "Flâneur" to Farringdon."

The owners wanted to go for a feel where you could come sit in and watch people and enjoy a slow meal. But isn't the whole point of the flaneur so that you DON'T have some restricted framework guiding your actions and thoughts? So then, in wanting to achieve what the flaneur achieves, by walking idle around the city and interacting with everything for only short amounts of time, the restaurant actually fails.

I am by no means trying to critique the restaurant but just found it interesting to our discussions in the course. In a metropolis like London, I don't find it surprising at all that some people want to recreate the feel of the old bourgeoisie class in creating this restaurant, but from what we learned about what a flaneur is and how he lives and interacts with his surrounds, it seems incorrect to call this restaurant The Flaneur. Am I wrong in thinking so? Or could the concept of the Flaneur be changing when applied to a metropolis already full of people walking idle, and having a life full of only brief and rapid interactions with everything along its path? Could we call it a new postmodern flaneur character, one that actually sits and doesn't really interact with anything, if only to watch it from afar and actually not partake in the rapid city life? Instead of walking idle and interacting with the city, like the Flaneur in Paris of the 18th and 19th century, maybe London can bring this character some new definition and into the current century.


Post a Comment

<< Home