A book of two parts; firstly, an account of living in poverty in Paris of working in restaurant kitchens. The second part describes life as a tramp in London, detailing a variety of the characters encountered on the road.
This is book 4 on Duncan Jones’ reading list inspired by his father:
“Its going to be a busy month [April 2018] in the Jones household what with the new baby incoming! Will be a shorter read, & NOT one from dads 100 list.
It will instead be one he had me read & Ive wanted to go back to for a while… George Orwell’s – Down & Out in Paris & London.”
The influence of Orwell is best known through his book 1984 (written in 1949), which Bowie initially hoped to recreate as a musical, and which formed the main focus of his 1974 album Diamond Dogs.
Down and Out in Paris and London was George Orwell’s first published book, and is a piece of exaggerated autobiography describing two episodes of ‘tramping’ by Orwell. The book centres upon the theme of poverty in both cities.
““It is a feeling of relief, almost of pleasure, at knowing yourself at last genuinely down and out. You have talked so often of going to the dogs – and well, here are the dogs, and you have reached them, and you can stand it. It takes off a lot of anxiety.”
“The Paris slums are a gathering-place for eccentric people – people who have fallen into solitary, half-mad grooves of life and given up trying to be normal or decent. Poverty frees them from ordinary standards of behavior, just as money frees people from work.”