That's "Romantic" with a capital "R", by the way. Paris has had its fair share - more than, even - of starving writers and poets living in garrets and subsisting on raw pigeon and the certainty that they are writing Deathless Prose that will Echo Down the Centuries. So much so that the City of Light saw fit to export two of its brightest poetic flames - Rimbaud and Verlaine - to London in 1873. This informative, if infuriating Indy article draws our attention to the poets' drug-addled séjour à Londres, and points out that the house - no. 8 Great College Street as was, now renamed Royal College Street - is at risk from greedy property developers, or other cultural yahoos who may not appreciate the historical resonance of the residence in which Rimbaud wrote Une saison en enfer. Why did we just describe the Indy article as infuriating, we hear you cry? Well, because they just couldn't resist comparing the volatile, booze-and-drug-addicted self destructive genius of les deux poètes damnés to a certain twat de nos jours
. As a French person might say, c'est quoi ce bordel? It's an insult, that's what it is. Not that Rimbaud was an angel, by any means:
He [Verlaine] didn't seem to mind that Rimbaud rarely washed, left turds under one friend's pillow, and put sulphuric acid in the drink of another; not to mention that he hacked at his wrists with a penknife and stabbed him in the thigh.
Now we've heard stories about dodgy roommates in the past, but that's a bit ridiculous.
Tout l'affreux passé saute, piaule, miaule et glapit Dans le brouillard rose et jaune et sale des sohosAvec des indeeds et des all rights et des haôs!(The whole frightful past jumping wailing mewing yelpingIn the rusty fog, yellow and filthy, of SohoWith its "indeeds" and its "all rights" and its "Aohs!"
Well, the fog may have gone, but the rest sounds about right to us.
We reckon it would be brilliant if the property could be turned into a museum to all things Rimbaud and Verlaine - even if their grand amour came to a sticky end - but chances are it'll end up as just another executive home lifestyle solution in the centre of London's vibrant Camden, close to Tube, good bus connections, call now to arrange a viewing. It really deserves better. Quel dommage!
Picture from Poètes.com