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Name Simon Kuper
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2018 11 21 Retrieve

[Simon Kuper commits to paper an age-old truism] We in Britain, tend to divide footballers into two classes: one class is ‘British’ and the other ‘Continental’. Tony Adams, David Batty and Tony Cascarino are British players, and Chris Waddle, John Barnes and Eric Cantona are Continental

2016 08 06 Retrieve

[On Dennis Bergkamp] The Bergkamp of the late 1990s, his mature phase, was a ‘footballer of moments’. He would sometimes play a terrible match but do one thing that no footballer had ever done before. There was his instant flick with back to the goal and then full-circle spin around Nikos Dabizas, of Newcastle United; the loblet that placed Fredrik Ljungberg alone in front of Juventus’s goal; or his outside-of-the-foot strike against Argentina. Bergkamp was a master of space. He found openings that even spectators high up hadn’t spotted. It was as if he could see another dimension. Sometimes you had to rewind a move several times to work out what he had done

2020 02 26 Retrieve

[Simon Kuper’s guide to business and social etiquette in Paris] No other city has more complex etiquette than Paris. If you overlay an intellectual capital on an artistic and fashion capital in a former royal capital, all of it in the country that invented how to eat, the number of codes governing behaviour approaches infinity. The only field of Parisian endeavour in which no rules apply is driving

One reason Parisians can appear uptight is that they spend their lives trying to follow these codes, and expecting other people to as well. Worse, almost all the codes are implicit, never explained to outsiders

What follows is a user manual for visitors and new residents. It’s based on my 18 years living in Paris, supplemented by much reading and many interviews with Parisian insiders. These codes broadly apply in the city itself - the Paris of 2.5 million people inside the Périphérique ring road, as opposed to the 10 million people who live in the Parisian suburbs

Rising property prices over the past 20 years mean the main social divide in the city now runs between two well-off social groups: the relatively informal bourgeois bohemians (bobos), or hipsters, who tend to work in the creative industries or academia and congregate in eastern Paris, and the more formal bourgeoisie, or BCBG (‘bon chic bon genre’, meaning ‘good style, good class’), who predominate in western Paris

There is one other large class in the city: 22 per cent of Parisians, most of them not well-off, live in social housing. The harsh truth, however, is that newcomers in professional circles are unlikely to run into them very often

To paraphrase Marx, the codes of Paris are the codes of its ruling class. A large share of the city’s inhabitants are foreigners, suburbanites or provincials who have ‘monté à Paris’, or come up to Paris, and live their lives there feeling like imposters as they try to decode the codes. But most still feel obliged to abide by these codes. You might find the codes of Paris ridiculous, or immoral. On the upside, they help maintain standards of conversation, sensuality, beauty and general elegance.