It was with sadness that my American friend K announced the demise of Gin (the fatter of the two fish pictured above) on facebook. She was not there to witness his final hours. She was in America, but her French partner G communicated the sad news, which reached me in London. When I left Paris nine months ago, I bequeathed the fishes I myself had inherited from an Australian friend S (who was moving back home) to K and G.
As it began with facebook, so it continued. I expressed my condoleances for Gin’s surviving partner Tonic on facebook, and also his former guardians K and G, and S (now resident in Sydney), with a thought for Italians A and D, who had looked after Gin and Tonic several times whilst I was travelling. S informed two other people who had looked after the fishes before me. He may have swum most of his life in a small tank, but the ripples of his death spread to the other side of the world.
I mention all this only because Gin is clearly a very modern, cosmopolitan fish, a child of the metropolis. He led an exciting life, for a fish, with many journeys around Paris that exposed him to the truly global nature of the city. He came to understand at least five languages (that I know of): British, French, Italian, Australian and American. His death brought together on Facebook people who have never met each other, but are connected through having cared for him during his short life. His case should be studied by academics.