A Conversation With Eric: Table Service

Le Cornet à Dés

The following conversation took place at Chez Max, Quimper, between the restaurant’s waiter Eric and four visiting tourism academics from Plymouth University:


Charlie asks: Is there a Chestnut Roasting Fair here in Quimper each year?

[Charlie is thinking of the Max Jacob poem Scene From The Fair]

Eric: No, I’m afraid not. That’s a very good idea, though. That would be great. I am going to show you the documents, though. Here is his [Max Jacob’s] birth certificate. His photo. His mother. It is interesting, I’ll pass it round for you to look at.

[Eric tells of the Friends of Max Jacob, an association with 3050 members]

Charlie: Oui oui.

Eric: When he was young in Quimper he was playing in the garden, if you want, with very old trees and Max Jacob was fond of these trees. One day the city bought this garden and they cut all the trees, yes,  to build the theatre. So of course, today the name of the theatre is Max Jacob. But it’s amazing because …

Charlie: He would’ve really hated the loss of the trees

Eric: Yes, Max Jacob disagree. Ok, so you know the politics yes okay, Max Jacob say no, it’s not a good idea, but too late. That’s the name of the theatre, no problem, for a story it’s good.

[The group laugh in acknowledgement]

Eric: So he has written this book, the most important is La Carne a De, yes, La Carne a De

Charlie: The dice shaker?

Eric: Yes, Bushabelle, I have a list somewhere…

[Eric talks in French as he proceeds to the far side of the restaurant searching for examples of Jacob’s work]

Charlie: Are you guys alright time wise? Do you feel alright to stay a bit?

Zoë/Jen/Andreas: Yes

Charlie: Thank you, Mercí

Zoë: It looks like you’ve got some gems!

Charlie: These moments are really special.

[Eric returns to the table with a bound and printed bibliography of Jacob’s literary works]

Eric: Some explanation …is that right? The word? Yes ..  The list you see, all his books, perhaps you will find the books too. I don’t remember sorry …

Charlie: Perhaps he will have the poem in here, where he is talking about Quimper … Ah! La terrain Bushabelle. It’s the grounds, that bit of land that belongs to the Bushabelle family. That’s where they built the theatre …

Charlie: Oh Jacob was actually against the building of the theatre, the old conservative, a bit of progress … I’ve got to find this poem!

Eric: If you want to have a explanation really I can give you an address. There is an association in France called Association les Amis de Max Jacob. I know the president, is a woman …

I will give you the name of …

There are more than three thousand members .. they work of Max Jacob . The person, the woman who created this association was here last month, she is eighty six years old. She met Max Jacob here (Resto Chez Max, 8 rue de parc, Quimper).

Zoë: Wow!

Charlie: Fantastic!




One thought on “A Conversation With Eric: Table Service

  1. The conversation with Eric here https://bucketandshade.com/2016/03/18/a-conversation-with-eric-table-service/ is what we’ve been looking forward to reading, ever since Tim Hannigan gave us his conversation with the Owl Man on the Totnes Writing Day in June last year. In fact, I discuss the practice of including a local in my blog-post on Patricia Stoughton’s travel writing in Reading Feast
    And blogger, Lucy Abel Smith includes the words of author Miklos Banffy in her post on Budapest to very good effect, here https://realityandbeyond.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/a-glance-at-the-life-and-times-of-miklos-banffy/
    What do you feel about Eric’s conversation? Does it need more context? At first reading I did; I thought it needed a description of the stone walls of the renovation, of the piano, the local wine the party had ordered but then slowly I began to feel it was enough to hear Eric speak and to sense his enthusiasm for the poet whose childhood home he had made into his restaurant business.


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