I first set foot in France on Sunday 4 February 1962. That date of arrival marked me forever. The truth of the matter is that I've always been profoundly infatuated by France and the French, and will surely remain so until my dying day. France, for me (and for countless others), has always occupied the role and the position of the supreme nation and people upon Earth. Another way of putting my essential Francophile nature: If I were to leave France, where else might I go? To my Australian birthplace? Surely not. It's a magnificent but dull country, dominated by mindless adored zombies such as John Howard, where nothing really ever happens. I've often imagined that it would be splendid to migrate to Israel, like a pioneer, but I fear that the nostalgic kibutznik epoch ended long ago... and besides, I'm not Jewish.
French friends are surprised by the fact that I'm not a naturalized French citizen. For a long time, Australia decreed that any citizen who sought to be naturalized would automatically lose his/her Australian nationality. Today, that is no longer the case. I can ask for French nationality while retaining my Australian citizenship. That's the process I set off this afternoon in Saint Marcellin, in requesting an essential tax document... obtained immediately. I'll make it known publicly when things advance... but it's a long process: maybe a year and a half. I'm in no hurry. In any case—as I said jokingly on the phone, the other day, to an employee of the Grenoble préfecture—I've got ample time to learn the words of the Marseillaise... as if I didn't know them perfectly well already.