(This is the post that I wrote a couple of months ago but held over until the omens were propitious, and/or the relevant anniversary lurched into view. In fact, that was the post that kickstarted the whole YouTube blogging ennui thing. Crazy days, eh?)
I was born in May, 1968, at the height of the Paris événements, although I should make clear that I was in Exeter at the time, where you don't need to look under the paving stones for the beach - it's a few miles down the river, just before you get to the sea.
Understandably, I don't remember much about the demonstrations, the occupations, the slogans as they were happening, but by the time the 20th anniversary rolled around, I was well up on my Situationist theory and even went through a phase of carrying a lemon around with me, to counteract the inevitable teargas attack from, uh, the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary.
And now we're approaching the 20th anniversary of that 20th anniversary. I've been watching a Channel 4 programme from 1988, which reunited a number of the protagonists, and it seems just as distant, just as weird, as the grainy footage of the occupation of the Sorbonne and all that malarkey. It's not just the technical aspects that date it: the old C4 logo; the wobbly CSO; the obsession that lefty graphic designers had with typewriter fonts. It's the fact that the big players manage to look more old-fashioned than they did in their polo-necks and desert boots as they manned the barricades. Julia Kristeva sports scary blue eye shadow; Daniel Cohn-Bendit, is that a mullet I see? And, bloody hell, somebody's smoking in the studio!
But what really makes the whole thing look old is that Channel 4 was devoting two whole programmes to a freewheeling, intelligent, informed, prickly discussion about history and politics without Vernon Kay or George Lamb or somesuch witless twunt waving his arms around and talking about ringtones.