Paris Blue

By | 10th April 2013

Authors often say they experience difficulty in deciding on a title for their scribblings. Naming a film, book or poem can pose problems, although sometimes the answer is obvious.

Think about Jane Austen’s eponymous novel Emma! Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey are similar no brainers and even Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice are each about just those things. Jane was clearly switched on!

Perhaps it was easier in those days? Or perhaps not! Woody Allen’s 2008 film Vicky Cristina Barcelona concerns two Americans, Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johanssen) travelling in Spain where they meet and have affairs, largely in Barcelona, with an artist played by Javier Bardem who is still involved with his decidedly loopy wife (Penelope Cruz). Woody cannot have struggled hard with the title!

But, as is so often the case, things are not always so easy. To illustrate the point, I assume that, despite the wall to wall coverage of the death of Margaret Thatcher, you will have heard that a certain Paris Brown was recently nominated as a Youth Crime Commissioner.

My personal view is that, whatever you thought of Margaret Thatcher as a person or as a politician, it is entirely appropriate for the death of the only female Prime Minister of this country to fill the airwaves, twittersphere and any number of column inches. However, Paris Brown probably wishes that this coverage had provided a suitable cover behind which to hide her own tawdry witterings on Twitter. Indeed, I suspect she wishes that her Twitter witters had never entered the ether.

The headline writers had a field day. “Youth Crime Tsar’s sex and drugs rants,” screamed The Mail on Sunday referring to the tweets by the girl who was to be the assistant to the newly elected Police and Crime Commissioner in Kent, Ann Barnes.

Now, this is not the time nor the place to review the concept of Police and Crime Commissioners or the truly ludicrous idea that taxpayers should pay £15,000 per annum to a girl who has just turned 17, for her “advice” on issues to do with youth crime so that the local constabulary can understand better the needs of young people. It is sufficient to say that I will lose no sleep over her subsequent resignation once her earlier indiscreet tweets were made public and it is my fervent hope that the Kent Commissioner thinks at least twice before seeking to appoint another such person to this non post.

The whole sorry episode is yet another example of what can go wrong when we fail to take care when using social networking sites. Musings on such sites have the potential to cause difficulties for the writer, poster, twitterer in a variety of ways, for example in the area of future employment. There is little doubt, in my mind that, where appropriate, such “data” is disclosable in legal proceedings and there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that employers regularly review the Facebook and LinkedIn profiles of job applicants before interview to assess their suitability for the posts for which they have applied. If the message has not yet hit home, care needs to be taken when using this type of communication as its use or misuse can cause (possibly unseen) problems later on.

In this case, Paris must fervently wish that she had been more restrained in the descriptions of her attitudes to life and the people she saw around her. Her earlier indiscretions have cost her her “job”.

The city of Paris has been the inspiration for a number of film titles. While it is safe to say that Miss Paris Brown will not inspire another, most of us remember An American in Paris, Last Tango in Paris and An American Werewolf in Paris.

I confess, however, that I had never before heard of Paris Blues, a feature film filmed on location in Paris starring Sidney Poitier as expatriate jazz musician Eddie Cook, and Paul Newman as trombone-playing Ram Bowen. The two men romance two vacationing American tourists, Connie Lampson (Diahann Carroll) and Lillian Corning (Joanne Woodward) respectively.

Failure to take care when using social networking media can cause huge problems for the perpetrator. Rather than allowing the twitterati an insight into her personal thoughts and feelings, Paris Brown would have been better off watching a re-run of Paris Blue(s). Life would have been less complicated for her and the rest of us would have been saved from her tiresome and occasionally tearful attempts to justify the nonsense she wrote.

There must be a message there, somewhere!