At the launch party for Hamish Hamilton's FiveDials Paris issue at the mythic Left Bank bookshop Shakespeare & Company (recently given a new lease of life by young owner, Sylvia Beach Whitman), the resident cellist played, we drank some wine and ate some flan and talked 'til it got dark.
Then Steve Toltz, author of A Fraction of the Whole, told us why we all love Paris, and poet Joe Dunthorne gave a hilarious account of how he was refused entry to the Oulipo inner circle for his use of the letter 'y', then read an adrenaline-fuelled rant vowelled only by the letter 'i'.
I've always been intrigued by Oulipo (the lit movement utilising alphabetic games, including the one which restricts the writer to the use of one vowel only) but, never having tried it, had thought it was strictly for crossword-addicts. 'Til I heard Joe, I didn't realise how creatively liberating (and addictive) it is, even in cartoon form.
You should be able to see: Simon Prosser and Anna Kelly of Hamish Hamilton; Craig Tayor of Fivedials; writerss Steve Toltz and Joe Dunthorne, Lauren Elkin; Sylvia Beach Whitman, owner of Shakespeare and Company, and her father, George Whitman - a gathering of lit stars under the star-lit Paris skies.
The issue which features work by Ali Smith, Geoff Dyer and Hugo Vickers as well as archive material by Camus, Sontag and Updike, is readable and downloadable online. Art is free: download it and print it on red paper, on white, on art paper, on toilet paper. Make it your own work of genius.