Throw off your winter woolies – spring is here!
Okay, so if you’re in Scandinavia or North America and right now defrosting your frozen hands after cycling in to work this morning, you might be a bit sceptical. But every Irish person will tell you that 1 February is the first day of spring.
Here I am in exile, though, far from my homeland and its change of season. Springtime in Paris officially begins with the equinox on 21 March, which means the French are facing another seven weeks of winter. Tough for them.
But the recent snow and ice has disappeared from here, and this week’s very mild conditions feel spring-like enough for me. So, in my head at least it’s springtime.
This reminds me of a local landmark I pass sometimes when I’m running. My usual eight-mile route takes me by an old house on Rue des Capucins with a commemorative plaque on the front. According to the plaque, this house was where in June 1912 Stravinsky teamed up with Debussy and gave the first private recital of ‘The Rite of Spring’, a year before the ballet version’s uproarious première down the hill in Paris.
With Rodin on one side of town and Stravinsky and Debussy on the other, I certainly live in the midst of great cultural history. And, as a tree-lined hillside town overlooking the Seine and Paris, it’s picturesque too.
If it’s springtime wherever you are, even only in your head, here’s ‘The Rite of Spring’ as performed by the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest under the baton of Jaap van Zweden. Perhaps not one to make the cut of ‘Now That’s What I Call Running’, mind you: