“HOW DID THE BOHEMIANS ENTERTAIN THEMSELVES?

When summer came, the bohemians loved to go swimming at La Grenouillère, on the banks of the Seine. They went every Sunday, but when they arrived and saw the calm waters, they remembered that were not able to swim and returned running to Montmartre. Then, normally they would go dancing, arguing and hanging out at the Moulin de la Galette. Or they went to the Chat Noir to listen to the hypnotic music of Eric Satie, who limited himself to playing a single key from time to time. Sometimes they dated girls, but they were too shy to say or do anything, so girls stopped dating them. That is why they got keen on voyeurism: they spent whole Sunday afternoons squatted, peeking through the keyhole of their own rooms in the hope of seeing a girl pass by the stairwell. That is also the reason why they drank so much absinthe. After a few liters of this drink, the Green Fairy used to appear, all naked from the neck up. Although, sometimes, an imp of the same color appeared instead of the Fairy. This imp forced them to hit the dance floor and turn on themselves like a spinning top. This was quite a spectacle for the clients of the cabarets, who preferred this bohemian spinning top to the usual can-can dancers. When they had been spinning for several hours, the bohemians used to have extra-sensory perceptions that they would capture later in their paintings or in their poems. It was after one of these paranormal experiences that the poet Bernard Puy de Cabannes finally managed, in an outburst of inspiration, to compose the five-thousand-verses poem that he had been incubating for years but had not managed hitherto to give birth. He removed such a weight off his mind that in a single day he lost forty four pounds. Exactly the same weight that gained his friend Renoir when he finished reading the poem.

Another of the favorite entertainments of the bohemians was horse riding at the Bois de Boulogne, although due to their scarcity of resources, they had to settle for riding around on one another’s back. Occasionally one of them would rear up neighing loudly and his rider ended up hitting the ground, but in general the bohemians were as good riders as good horses. In fact, they used to go to the racecourse and on one occasion the team formed by Renoir and Puy de Cabannes finished in first position.


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