Lumière London

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I spent Sunday running pretty much everywhere and trying to tick all the boxes of my to-do list. But the funny and great but also sometimes very annoying thing about to-do lists is that there’s always something new coming on top of everything else, and therefore implies that you’re never faced with a page of things ‘all done’. At least, I know I’m not.

Sometime in the late afternoon, I pulled up my desk chair and sat in front of my laptop, opened a new Word document as I always do each time I start the draft of a new piece of writing – may it be for my blog or university or anything else. I was facing the screen of my Mac, staring at the blank document I had just created and… nothing. Nothing came. At all.

Unbelievable! ‘I know what I want to talk about. I feel inspired. I am inspired.’ But nothing came out of my digital pen. Nothing but messy thoughts that didn’t make any sense.

And so, just like every time I find myself in such a situation, I grabbed my phone, stepped outside, walked to the closest station and decided to go find some inspiration at Lumière London. Because, why not?! It had absolutely nothing to do with what I wanted to write about, but it sort of helped me get my head out of the flat and my university duties.

I say ‘sort of’ because I don’t think I quite felt the whole Lumière London experience, as you’d expect it…

This light festival – in between, more than extremely similar to La Fête des Lumières taking place in Lyon (France) over a 4-day weekend at the beginning of December each year – was taking its first steps in London this January.

Don’t get me wrong though! I thought the diverse installations and artworks were fantastic and all more mesmerising than the others, but I guess the size of London (compared to that of Lyon) didn’t quite give this cosy feeling I have during the Fête des Lumières. The one that makes you feel as if you were at home, inside, sitting in a comfy sofa in front of the fire, a warm hot chocolate in your hands, a soft blanket covering your legs, family and good friends to talk to, and all of the Christmas decorations surrounding you.

Furthermore, I felt quite sceptical about all of this, as the Fête des Lumières didn’t take place this year for security reasons, given the recent attacks, which took place in Paris on 13 November. Even though some people still gathered in Lyon around candles to honour the memory of the numerous victims of the terror attacks – which might have also certainly been a disputable thing to organise (but that’s another topic) – there were not as many people as there could have been if everything had happened the same way it does each year.

And in light of this, I thought it was quite inappropriate from the city of London to organise a very similar event in a capital that – I reckon (correct me if I’m wrong) –isn’t any safer than Paris or anywhere else in France at the moment, or is it?

And to me, from my French perspective – which you’re absolutely free and fine not to agree with – it felt as though we, French people, were told: ‘Listen here. London speaking. We’re clearly better prepared and better at protecting our people than you are, and this therefore allows us to organise such events, appealing to the masses.

In short, it was an overall good but incomplete – and maybe slightly inappropriate – experience to me. I think it’s somehow nicer to have it while everyone’s getting ready and excited for Christmas, although I did appreciate the effort made to beat the ‘January blues’! 

It didn’t help me much get writing though…

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