The Pizza Machine

When I grew up tickets were sold by staff, shops closed way before 8 in the evening and there was only one café open on Sunday selling bread in my neighbourhood. Obviously that was in Bavaria, where shop opening times are some precious thing that need to be protected from erosion by society.

Later on I had to go the video store to lend a movie, and bring it back there, again not on Sunday, god save us.

Well, you get the idea.

Things change, and only a dozen or so years later we live with the idea that most things should be available 24/7. This has given us movie lending machines, shops that are open all night, subject to the daily mood of the Parisian shop owner, offering a 711 like mix of goods.

Although I’m sometimes confused by why I would need to go to a bakery at 4:30 in the morning on a Saturday, I somewhat treasure the possibility to shop simple things around the clock.

Having said that, there is another trend around making goods easily accessible. Wherever there is a predictable need for something, and this particular good is easily storable and of manageable physical dimensions, someone will stack that into a vending machine.

Obvious examples are the drink and peanut vending machines that have been standing around in railway stations for decades (proof me wrong) and have been spreading to mostly every accessible platform around the globe. There is other machines selling travel goods like iPhone chargers, headsets, handheld games from a few cents up to several hundred bucks of value. All of that has its right and value, but I’m meandering around the actual topic.

A few days ago on the way home, somewhere on the Rue de Rochechouart, I noticed something that I mistook for a arty shop window design for a pizza place to be opened. I read something about pizza machine, but didn’t really think much about it.

Now this very Sunday morning, after a few beers and some dancing I walked along this thingie again with some friends. We all were struck by curiosity and our inspection quickly got that this is a full fledged 4 minute wait-time pizza vending machine hidden behind a hand-painted wall with instructions (Money here, Pizza there…). For the surprisingly low price of € 5 we were presented with the offer of home made pizza coming in the flavours of Margarita, 4 Formaggi, Poulet and some more.

Buying works as you would expect: select the pizza of choice (4 Formaggi for us) on the screen, insert money and wait. We’ve been staring at the timer for the next 4 minutes, eagerly awaiting the outcome. After 3 minutes it smelled like pizza, at minute 4, and not a second later” the screen informed us that the pizza was just removed from the oven.

Then finally through the pizza carton shaped hole in the wall a pizza carton was pushed out. Grabbing and opening the the carton, showed – a freshly baked pizza. Still in it’s aluminium pan, which holds a hurtful experience for distracted Englishmen, our 4 Formaggi greeted the night.

The taste was mediocre to OKish, but adding a few more beers beforehand would have made that a really nice one.

The world would not really need that.  But it is really cool to have. The idea, the painted wall as a front to the customer and that it exists at all..

Again, thank you Paris.

A quick tour on the Nuit Blanche 2015

One of the most prestigious and highest acclaimed event in the yearly Paris event calendar is the art focussed Nuit Blanche on the first Saturday in October. It has been running since 2002, featuring a specific topic every year. The 2015 editions theme “Atmosphère ? … Atmosphère !” focusses on climate, climate change and is to be understood as an artistic interpretation of the 21st UN climate conference COP21 taking place 7-8th december.

Of course that did not save me from knowing, but not thinking of the date until the Friday late evening.

Featuring several hundred exhibitions, installations and concerts on the main routes in Paris, the center and the ile de france, visiting all is absolutely not possible. Thankfully there is a few predefined routes within the city, being easily followed with a map and attended by staff on several stations.

The route north starting at Gare du Nord and splitting then into a route to east or west towards Parc Monceau seemed most appealing to me. I was absolutely not alone with this idea.

Walking by Gare de l’Est the first station is the Berlin Wall Art project, which is not actually part of the Nuit Blanche, but an independent exibition featuring painters from the Berlin Wall.

Paris Berlin Wall Project

On the first outside stations people could spread out, but the light installation in the Fire Station at the corner of Rue Phillippe de Girard and Rue de l’Aqueduc had two queues, each over 100m long.

Instead a look on the nearby water / light installation named BIT.FALL of Julius Popp seemed a much nicer idea. It’s also featured on the cover of the  official program and flyer and nicely setted on the bridge of Rue de l’Aqueduct.

The idea to “print” buzzwords and short sentences by using falling water with light is as simple (not meaning the technical execution) as the effect is impressive. Handing out waterproof ponchos known from music festivals people could walk through the installation, or mainly kids dance through it.

Further on towards north before the Centre Sportif Micheline Ostermeyer there was again a queue, this time moving quite fast. Sadly I couldn’t really make a connection with the installation ROSE supposedly showing the relation between humanity and the universe. I was not alone with that feeling, but the lights arranged in stars at least produced a nice visual effect on digital cameras.

Rose - Ann Veronica Janssens

Going on avoiding inside happenings seemed to be the way, but I have to be honest, another 40min queue for the next attraction made me give up and go for a beer someplace else.

Next year with more pre-work and organisation.


Sharing all the fun about moving to the city of love…