Episode 2 from the new show “Terrance in Paris”. Meet John Baxter, american writer based in Paris. Author of The Most Beautiful Walks in the World and also one of the greatest book collector in the world. Terrance interviews John about his love for Paris and his passion for ancient books, such as this first edition of The Great Gatsby he keeps on his shelf.
Terrance Gelenter, American journalist, writer, film critic and long time Paris resident, hosting interviews with writers, filmmakers, artists, chefs and food critics of international repute based or working in Paris.
Original Concept by Terrance Gelenter
Produced by Pantone Medias – Julien Cros
Bojo and welcome to Paris I'm on the hood Lodi are in front of number 12 which in 1920s was Sylvia Beach's great book shop Shakespeare and company I wish you can find all about no Riley Fisher's great book Sylvia peeks in The Lost Generation but if you look up at the sign it'll say here in 1922 in this very building Sylvia beech published Ulysses James Joyce's book which was outlawed in the United States for many many years and it was here that Ernest Hemingway was introduced to James Joyce only in Paris every time you look up you find some historical document and we'll go up to meet our good friend John Baxter who lives on the fifth floor on the fourth floor very often Sylvia and at the end would make their signature dish of chicken serve it to F scott Fitzgerald Ernest Hemingway who were generally drunk by the time they walked out the building and tumbled down the stairs I don't believe the carpet has been changed in all of those years so let's go sitting on the deck of John Baxter's apartment in the hood and Odeon in Paris over my shoulder you can see the spires of Milcah Dom John is the true renaissance man in Paris and my oldest friend in Paris not in terms of age but in years of service and who began his career in Australian in the bush as a cinephile a big fan of science fiction and over the years has written biographies of moody Allen Stanley Kubrick Federico Fellini Robert De Niro and it the list goes on not and most recently a revised edition of a monograph he wrote over 30 years ago on Josef von Sternberg and Marlena Dietrich and now perhaps the most beautiful of all his works the most beautiful walk in the world describing the life of a flaner in Paris of which john is eminently qualified to discuss so John the first thing that comes to my mind is a first question I ask all of my subjects interview subjects not subjects in my in my in my reign thank you goodbye opposition is when did you first come to Paris and when did you come back to Paris the state when I first came to Paris was almost when I first came to Europe which would be 1970 so I was here just at the end of the Lisa van there more as the French call it making 16 1968 yes in those days the Latin Quarter was cheap you could live here for next to nothing arm the cinemas were everywhere they showed just the kind of movies I loved it looked like paradise well in your latest book the most beautiful world walk in the world you talk it in depth about kind of going out and meeting the world the serendipity of innocence defining your own Paris which is available to all of us no matter how much we bring to the table when we come by looking up looking down looking around crossing down an alley talk about that in the censors it's something that was an inherent intuitive to you or did it evolve as a result of being here oh it evolved I learned when I first came here I I didn't know nothing I was I was hopeless I couldn't I couldn't sharp I I couldn't speak a word of French but when eating your dinner depends on you communicating with the man in the market you learn fairly quickly so I learned in that way I learned by doing and I noticed that the French just did things differently to the way they did in the other countries where I'd lived the French they dress up to go into the street and they take care of where they go and what they do if there's none of this getting into the car and driving across town to the supermarket and the mall no one drunk jogging gear and rollers there exactly no one would do that here I mean they put on a collar and tie they put on a jack and women put on heels just to go to the supermarket the most beautiful walk in the world the point of it is to say you don't want a guidebook what you want is that guide to yourself you want to guide to what you should be doing as you walk and the best walk can sometimes be just stand still and listening to the music from the band that goes by in the street Viva Mexico what's a demos how would you say that Paris has changed you both professionally and personally over these 28 years I found my subject I've also found a perspective on life I never had a child before but marry Dominique and I have a daughter and that was a great experience I don't know that I would have done that anywhere but Paris and then there's a quality to of repose because Paris is a repose full city I would be remiss doing the rare book like that you are in the bibliophile and not allowing my readers an opportunity to get a look at a first edition of The Great Gatsby can we walk into your library and show it to her bio me was certainly ah I always happy to show off my treasures well I see other duties on the show these are the books that I don't want to let out of my sight I have you don't try you don't trust me well I would not put it that way it's just I don't want to tempt you too much easy I think probably the the cream of my collection are these first editions of scott Fitzgerald as Tender is the night is the last taken the crack-up but probably the gem are is the first edition of the great game well I should you should be wearing white gloves of course this is the first edition in the wrapper with all of the little errors which were corrected in later editions in a way a cover is not the book and the film is not the book the pages are not the book it's it's the man that's in here that's the book that's that's the lesson what scott Fitzgerald was like and what he put of himself into this and to me that's magic it means more than so many other things that other people might value more greatly John to our friends around the world who speak English that we say thank you for joining us in Paris and come and see us very soon