Sunday, 31 October 2010

Paris and I ~ 'La Toussaint, Demain (Evidemment)'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ La Toussaint, Tomorrow (obviously) ~

i woke this morning with a start from my bed and a marvellous idea. i know, i said, i'll go to the Montmartre Cemetery to take some pictures, i've been meaning to go for ages.

Yes, but let's go tomorrow, suggested my long-suffering bedfellow, and then i can leave a flower for those who are no longer with us.

Good idea, i replied, about the flower i mean, but, (with just a hint of superiority) i think you're forgetting that tomorrow's a 'jour ferié' here in France, and everything is closed, especially state-run places such as cemeteries! I hoped my indulgent smile showed i loved her more than i pitied her.

She, in turn, smiled sweetly and gently whispered into my ear with infinite tenderness and compassion, that's a very good point, but I think that you're forgetting that the reason it's a 'jour ferié' tomorrow is because it's All Saints' Day', which is the day of the year when more people go to cemeteries in France than all the other days of the year put together...

Luckily, at that point a couldn't hold off going to the bathroom any longer, and closed the door tightly to try and block out the hoots of hysterical laughter coming from the bedroom.

Happy All Saints' Day, tomorrow (obviously).

(A Paris iPhone street photograph by Sab Will for the 'Paris and I' photo blog)

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Paris and I ~ 'You Will Make My Day'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ You Will Make My Day ~

You Will Make My Day, originally uploaded by Paris Set Me Free.

i try to keep myself out of the images i post on Paris and I, but it's not every day you pass your own sepulture in one of your favourite local cemeteries in the foreign city you love most, so i'm going to make an exception.

i mean, what on earth is a 'Will' tomb doing tucked away on the edge of the Cimetière Montmartre, in a district which has become almost a second home to me and my gloaming roaming lenses.

OK, i've hidden the first part of the barrel, which makes it 'Famille Pillet-Will', but that still means a Will was intimately involved somewhere down the line. And to think i believed there weren't any others outside the Aberdeen area of north-eastern Scotland.

Maybe it was written. Maybe it's a sign. Maybe they were poets. Maybe they were swine. Maybe it doesn't change your day, but it sure made mine.

(A Paris iPhone street photograph by Sab Will for the 'Paris and I' photo blog)

Friday, 29 October 2010

Paris and I ~ 'Ride The Rainbow Express'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Ride The Rainbow Express ~

Ah, how many times have a waited for the Big Metro, the Line 15, the 'Eurostar', to whisk me away, from friends and lovers to daughters and mothers...

What? How many? Oh, sorry! Well, lots of times, people, lots of times.

The Eurostar has become synonymous for me with doorways and transitions; reflection and rejection; denial and, ultimately, renewal.

As with all train journeys, sadness and separation travel the same rails as reunion and rejoicing. But in retrospect, whatever the feelings, it's always a rainbow ride.

(A Paris iPhone street photograph by Sab Will for the 'Paris and I' photo blog)

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Paris and I ~ 'Don't Lose Your Head, Doll!'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Don't Lose Your Head, Doll! ~

i'm working with an Australian girl at the moment whose catch phrase is 'Don't lose your head, doll!'

If only she'd been able to pass on her wise advice to this sad couple before it was too late.

Alas, alack, if you're looking for a girl with plenty up top, this lady is definitely off the shopping list. Such is the pressure to look perfect in the Parisian modelling world, she didn't even consider the paper bag option. A sad story indeed.

(A Paris iPhone street photograph by Sab Will for the 'Paris and I' photo blog)

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Paris and I ~ 'Welcome To The Wilderland'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Welcome To The Wilderland ~

An uncertain poetry nervously peeks out from certain industrial architecture, not sure if it dare show its face in the presence of such icons of contemporary elegance and panache as the Louvre Pyramid and the Bibloteque Nationale de France.

Well ok, such as the Louvre Pyramid.

Here we are, drawing into Gare du Nord, and the number of intriguing structures and railscapes is impressive.

So next time you're on the last leg of your journey back into the city centre, whip your equipment out, and start snapping, or at least blinking away. And see what secrets this no man's wilderland of wires and rails has to offer up.

(A Paris iPhone street photograph by Sab Will for the 'Paris and I' photo blog)

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Paris and I ~ 'Coughing Up Cuckoos'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Coughing Up Cuckoos ~

Coughing Up Cuckoos, originally uploaded by Paris Set Me Free.

i haven't mentioned this before here, but i've been fighting a personal battle for some time now. It's a silent one, it's a painful one, and right now i'm losing badly.

The enemy is impassive, imperious and impune. He is impenetrable, implacable and impervious to attack or retaliation of any kind. He is a lot of things beginning with 'imp', in fact, although an 'imp' wouldn't be one of them.

No, the proverbial brick shithouse would be an apter description. OK, so maybe we weren't brought up on the same proverbs, but i assume you're getting my drift. This guy is mean. Real mean.

And His name..? The Gare du Nord automatic coffee machine. Oh yes. He and His brothers have really got it in for me.

Yesterday, just before the train turned up, i popped a nice shiny €2 coin into his greedy mouth, the anticipation of the bitter brown brew already making me look forward to finding my seat on the RER E and settling down for a good half hour's read and reflection. But He wasn't having any of it. Did He accept my €2? You bet He did. Did He give me any change for a €1.20 cuppa? Nope. Did He actually give me any coffee? He did not. Could i do a darned thing about it as my train rolled into the station? I think you've already guessed the answer. And variations on this theme happen again and again.

Call me paranoid if you like, but i'm convinced it's a conspiracy. Either against me, which would be really scary, but more realistically, by the vending company to make sure that a certain number of 'unfortunate malfunctions' occur up to but not exceeding the number which would have us hammering down their door demanding our money back or we'll throw their hot water back in their faces (another of their little tricks - supply you with a cup of boiling H2O, but, oops, forgot to put any friggin' coffee in it - sorry!).

i mean, just ask yourself, how often have you actually called that indecipherable, coffee-stained number (oh, the eye-wateringly beautiful irony of that) to ask for your money back? i've lost track of the number of times i've jotted it down and then done nothing. Or lost the number. And they know this!

i can just imagine it: phoning them, if they actually reply at all, and getting to the bit where you say how much you've actually lost. 'Well, the coffee was €1.20, i put €2 in and it only gave me 60 centimes change...' Out of pocket: the grand total of 20c. What sort of moron are you going to sound actually spending minutes of your life phoning up someone to try and extract 20c from them? That's right: a total one. 'I see sir.' You can almost taste the distain dripping from his no doubt copiously caffeine-coated tongue. But it's not their 20c. It's mine.

Hey, that's easy money for someone, isn't it? Think i'll install a few 'Give-Me-Free-Money machines in every station, saying please put some coins in here sucker, and I won't give you anything for it. OK? Smile. And give the station manager a cut for his efforts.

So tell me if you don't have serious doubts as to the ethical pureness of coffee machine vendors. And if there isn't a special unit in all of these acursed enterprises devoted to calculating just how much they can rip us off with their damned 'malfunctions' before getting caught, then i'll eat my coffee cup! Well, i would...

(A Paris iPhone street photograph by Sab Will for the 'Paris and I' photo blog)

Monday, 25 October 2010

Paris and I ~ 'Well, Blow Me Down!'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Well, Blow Me Down! ~

Well Blow Me Down!, originally uploaded by Paris Set Me Free.

Green and red being very much colour combo of the week, thanks to a recent Amélie posting, this scene would have fitted in rather well to a film where the two hues are reportedly present in every scene.

Perhaps the Windows Phone ads would have been less in the spirit of things (the producers of Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain even imported old phone boxes to Montmartre for the occasion), but in effect...

... but in effect (the last paragraph was getting a bit long), the whole of Place Saint Michel was covered in posters and green balloons on Saturday morning to draw our attention to the latest Apple cruncher.

Indeed, i was even berated by the advertising boys for taking this picture in an *Ph*n*, of all things. Unfortunately for them, their efforts also attracted the attention of the local constabulary, and the last i saw the Windows wags were in earnest discussions so as not to have to uninflate all those bloody green balloons again. Respect to the blower.

(A Paris iPhone street photograph by Sab Will for the 'Paris and I' photo blog)

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Paris and I ~ 'Now You See It'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Now You See It ~

Now You See It, originally uploaded by Paris Set Me Free.

This guy was one of several experts preaching to a not necessarily converted audience of end-of-the-afternoon shoppers in the Les Halles commercial centre in central Paris on Saturday.

The theme was, surprise surprise, respect for the environment, and 'attractions' included a giant roulette wheel, some as-you-watch painting demos, and this portly chap, who seems to be enthralling at least one young visitor in this picture.

The strange thing was, although he seemed not to be speaking very loudly, and the topic of his discourse was somewhat opaque, everyone who walked past and noticed him suddenly stopped in their tracks with their jaws open. Indeed, wherever you were, he seemed to be looking straight at you, and his eyes followed you unnervingly as you moved across the floor. Look at the photo again and imagine he has just looked YOU with his troubling gaze.

The problem is, you see, he isn't actually there, although he's moving and talking just like a real human being... Need to know more?

(A Paris iPhone street photograph by Sab Will for the 'Paris and I' photo blog)

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Paris and I ~ 'Black or White: Wrong or Right?'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Black or White: Wrong or Right? ~

The tableau would be amusing if it weren't darkened by sinister undertones. About 15 guys, quite clearly African and all clutching some form of supposedly tourist-tempting tack, tout their wares between the legs of the France's most famous structure.

The cheap Eiffel Tower key rings and accordion postcards i can understand, and are actually rather good value for money, at three for a euro and 10 for 2 respectively. The flapping paper birds and other assorted UFOs which threaten to take your eye out as you look lasciviously up Lady Eiffel's skirts are less interesting.

In any case, if you wait long enough you'll see a strange ritual taking place. These guys are edgy enough as it is, constantly twitching their heads from side to side like oversized pigeons on coke. But when the inevitable boys and girls in blue show up; boy, you should see those birdies scatter.

It's comical because it's like watching a life-size chess game being acted out before your eyes. Those sneaky bicycled shining knights suddenly appear out of nowhere, causing general pandemonium and a scattering of the threatened pieces to safer squares; but as soon as the uniformed riders move on back come the others to hassle the tourist pawns again. Whose side are you on?

(A Paris iPhone street photograph by Sab Will for the 'Paris and I' photo blog)

Friday, 22 October 2010

Paris and I ~ 'Spirit of Amélie'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Spirit of Amélie ~

Spirit of Amélie, originally uploaded by Paris Set Me Free.

You all remember Amélie, right? Right. The kooky chiquette who lived in Montmartre and had all those wacky adventures? Yeah, that Amélie, and if you don't know her you really should!

Well the grocery store where she bought her hazelnuts and artichokes, i believe it was, is still there and still benefitting from its fortuitous destiny as a bit-player in a phenomenally successful film.

A curiosity just as quirky as the film itself: they say there's a bit of red and green in every single scene. Why don't you check it out for yourself and let me know?! May Amélie be with you.

(A Paris iPhone street photograph by Sab Will for the 'Paris and I' photo blog)

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Paris and I ~ 'And Sometimes I Just Sit'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ And Sometimes I Just Sit ~

It's sometimes best just not even to start to wonder 'Why?' and simply shrug and say 'OK!' when it comes to the sights the average Paris flea Market throws your way.

So people chuck away weird stuff. i understand that. So some people think that some other people might want to buy said thrown away stuff. This seems perfectly normal to me. So some people sit naked black baby dolls on old toilets full of cigarette ends in water inside giant bird cages with their heads between Teletubby Laa-Laa's legs and the odd pitchfork thrown in for good measure next to the Abbesses metro station and think someone's gonna pay good money for the thing. This is less transparent to me.

Whatev, it makes a good photo, and makes me wonder what the weirdest thing you've ever bought at a flea market is. No need to reply, which will save me the embarrassment of asking for comments and not getting any.

i once bought a mirror with a funny face on it saying 'Sometimes i just sit and think, and sometimes i just sit' (a bit like the girl in the picture) and gave it to my mum. That kinda sums me up for today.

(A Paris iPhone street photograph by Sab Will for the 'Paris and I' photo blog)

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Paris and I ~ 'This Is A Stick Up'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ This Is A Stick Up ~

This Is A Stick Up, originally uploaded by Paris Set Me Free.

By all accounts the Paris street artist is a pretty discrete dude. Which is why i was quite surprised to come across these two in one of the city's main tourist areas on a Sunday afternoon.

They were decorating one of Montmartre's favourite fleeting graffiti passages with a quizzical-looking stick-on paper guy, along with his question mark thought processes.

Graffiti isn't really the word for it, as it's not simple name spraying, or 'tagging, as it's called here. Whether this figure qualifies as art and genuinely makes people think, or dare i say 'question', is anybody's guess.

What is unusual is that they are putting it up in broad daylight under the noses of about 50 tourists and other passersby, some of whom even started snapping them in the act (see above). Now if that isn't indiscreet, i don't know what is.

(A Paris iPhone street photograph by Sab Will for the 'Paris and I' photo blog)

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Paris and I ~ 'Sacred Art of Pooch Production'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Sacred Art of Pooch Production ~

There's this guy who sits right outside Sacré Coeur, day in, day out, making little doggy charms by wrapping fluffy stuff around some bendy wire. Over and over again.

He has a microphone hanging around his neck and he commentates the whole operation, over and over again, with a voice that just manages to stay on the right side of robotic.

He's in a wheelchair, and one of his ruses to get people interested (and emotionally invested) is to ask one of the watching kids to pass him some more fluffy stuff.

i wonder how many of those little dopey dogs he's made. Probably enough to fill the whole damn church, i reckon. Although i do feel he's missing a major marketing opportunity and should branch out into little fluffy hearts and label them 'sacred'; i'm sure he'd make a killing, god willing.

(A Paris iPhone street photograph by Sab Will for the 'Paris and I' photo blog)

Monday, 18 October 2010

Paris and I ~ 'This Is A Tower'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ This Is A Tower ~

I've been told tha You said I use too many complica big words in my posts so I'm gonna make it very easy for you to underst type real slow.

This is a Tower. A Big Tower. It is in Eiffel. It really is A Very Big Tower. But not as big as the Very Bi The Very Big Tower in Las Vegas is bigger. This is a Copy.

This photo is Not Very Good. It is Crap. Artistic Crap. It is not very good becaus It is Fuzzy. Fuzzy and Crap.

This photo is Good. Very Good. It is Funny. Not Fuzzy. Only the Cat is Fuzzy! Hahaha. It really is a Very Funny Photo. Hahaha.

And it is Real! Yes, it is Real. I read saw it on a Blog. Incredible, isn't it? Wow! Hahaha.

You should use it on your Blog. Because it is Funny.

The next photos are Not Funny. They are Silly. The men are Tired. Why did you take pictures of Don't take pictures of Tired Men. It is Not Funny and one of the pictures is Dirty.

But they are Not Real.

Proper Blogs do not have Dirty Pictures. Paris is not Dirty. The Dirty Pictures are Not Real.

Do not use Dirty Pictures on your Blog.

Macaroons are Real. I love Macaroons! And Macaroons love Me. Hahaha. Here are some Funny Pictures of Macaroons. They are Very Good.

Look at the Lucky Girl with the Macaroons. She is Very Happy. Happy and Lucky.

Look at the Macaroons. They look like the Eiffe They are Macaroons. They are not the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower is Brown! Hahaha! 

Here is a Fun Game. It's called Guess Who Likes Macaroons! It's Fun.

There are Two Pictures. One person Loves Macaroons. Which person? Click on the picture to see if you ar Click on the Picture.

Did you guess? Well done! It was Fun, wasn't it?

This is the Last Photo. It is Very Good. And Funny. It is Minnie Mouse. Minnie lives with Mickey Mouse. They live Together. They are Married.

Mickey and Minnie are from Disneyland. Paris is in Disneyland. Mickey and Minnie live in Paris in Disneyland.They are really fuc Very Happy. And Real. Disneyland is Real. Paris is in Disneyland.


(All photos © Sab Will 2010 for the 'Paris and I' photo blog, except the Very Good One with the Cat. The Good and Funny One.)

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Paris and I ~ 'France Goes Off The Rails'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ France Goes Off The Rails ~

Another train pic i'm afraid, but my mind's been a bit preoccupied with these strikes recently, and today i was in a worrying situation and need to offload it.

Line E of the RER, which is the newest of the fast lines which cross Paris, isn't always the nicest. The train had finally got going and was nearing its destination, when some jokers decided to start pulling the emergency lever, for 'fun' i believe.

Could they possibly be so stupid as to pull the lever of the train they wanted to continue on..? This wasn't clear, but after the obligatory 10-minute wait we set off again, only for the same thing to happen at the next stop.

The driver had had enough, and terminated the train there, which only raised tensions even more. This is against a background of burning schools and cars and there are those, officially known as 'casseurs' (breakers) who love an excuse to destroy things. The situation is rapidly degenerating, i felt like i was sitting in a powder keg earlier, with sparks all around me, and it's anyone's guess as to what will happen next.

(A Paris iPhone street photograph by Sab Will for the 'Paris and I' photo blog)

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Paris and I ~ 'Turn To Stone'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Turn To Stone ~

Have any of you actually counted the number of times you've seen a head of some sort represented in metal or stone in this chosen city of ours? My guess is that it would be an impressive statistic. Look, this first picture's got at least six in the blink of an eye. Know where it is, by the way? Just a question.

But here's another question. Who are all these faces, looking down on, or sometimes up at the passing human traffic and metal monsters which wouldn't even have existed when most of they them were created. Are they well-known public figures? Figments of a lonely sculptor's imagination? Or perhaps simply based on family and friends because we need a head in this corner here, and it doesn't really matter whose it is.

And then there's a final, perhaps more profound question than all the others put together. Why do we have this obsessive need to plaster endless effigies of our own fleeting existence all over the place in far harder wearing and longer lasting materials than tender flesh and bone?

Could it be that we are trying to kid ourselves on that we are immortal? That if we produce our own images in impassive iron or marble maybe, just perhaps we'll dupe the devil and carry on. Forever. And ever amen. Except that it doesn't quite work that way.

Splendid proud copper figures inevitably turn a lurid fluorescent green; envious pigeons deposit pernicious crappy tears which eat away at even the most stoic stone complexion; and the gentle breeze imperceptably peels away the years from our commutative facades until we crumble...

Have any of you actually counted the number of times you've seen a head of some sort represented in flesh or bone in this chosen city of ours? My guess is that it would be an impressive statistic. Look, this second picture's got at least one way up high. Know who it is, by the way? Just a question.

(A Paris iPhone street photograph by Sab Will for the 'Paris and I' photo blog)

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