Monday, 31 January 2011

Paris and I ~ 'Living On Borrowed Grime'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Living On Borrowed Grime ~

Cider with Rosie? Yes, almost maybe. Except we're not in a little post-WW1 English village but an anachronistic Parisian enclave perched on a pile of rubble accessible by long steep staircases.

OK, it's no longer rubble, but a hundred years ago we were talking a massive gypsum quarry, which was conveniently filled in with the remains of Haussmann's demolitions to create the avenues of the Republic and Gambetta.

Funnily enough, the houses with their little gardens in the now exclusive and highly sought after 'Countryside in Paris' were originally constructed as easily affordable accommodation for modest incomes.

These properties now come on the market so rarely it's a major event in the Paris housing world, with old fortunes and new money alike scrabbling for the opportunity to own a little slice of bucolic heaven in the self-proclaimed City of Light. On top of a rubble heap.

© 2011
Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Paris and I ~ 'Sabiz As Sabduz'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Sabiz As Sabduz ~

Sabiz As Sabduz, originally uploaded by Paris Set Me Free.

There's this guy who lives, or at least operates, from a scruffy caravan parked right next to the Père Lachaise metro station just across from the cemetery.

And what's really amazing, is that from this humble abode he can help you with family problems, heartaches and relationships, not forgetting sexual issues mind you.

He's called Altiz, and his amazing powers don't stop at the affective. According to the panel, he can also address questions of work, studies, housing, business, and... 'diverse subjects, etc.'. Impressive.

He also wears a turban thing on his head.

As detailed in his blurb, Altiz comes from a long line of card-readers hailing from the tradition of the travelling folks, and he is, in fact, the great grandson of a certain Madame Jeanne, who was apparently a famous, and deliciously-titled 'Diseuse de Bonne Aventure', or fortune-teller, from the fairgrounds of the early 20th century.

Altiz uses various methods to call on the otherworldly inspiration which feeds his divinations, including Tarot cards, pendulums and the 'Dark Sciences', which include other mysterious techniques such as candle-burning, palm-reading, crystal balls and special stones of power, and, of course, the planets and their subtle influences on our comportment.

It all sounds a bit complicated if you ask me, but luckily some reassuring explanations are given on Altiz' site itself.

"Each method can be different depending on the individual and the situation, because each human being is different, and all situations are not the same."

"Whether it's for love, work, projects or any other subjects, the occult sciences can intervene, but everything starts by a belief in this domain."

'So if you actually believe it might work, it might work', seems to be the tacit starting point for a paying consultation. Sounds good to me! And there is a surprising number of apparently intelligent people who really do believe in this tripe. Oops, sorry, my objectivity just slipped there.

Let me rectify that tout de suite with this highly empirical description of the functioning of 'the Pendulum', again from Altiz' website:

"The Pendulum is one of the devinatory arts known as dowsing [the impressive-sounding but spurious 'radiesthésie' in French]."

"A Pendulum can react differently depending on the practitioner who uses it, because each human being gives off waves in different ways."

"A Pendulum used well is a neutral connection with our thoughts."

"To be certain of the Pendulum's response, you need to test it for a long time, to really know its reaction."

And so it goes on. My firm and honest prediction is that you'll either love or hate this post. Or perhaps feel somewhat indifferent.

How did I do? Are the great Sabiz' soothsayer-like powers reaching you today..? (That'll be €35 please. Next!)

© 2011
Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Paris and I ~ 'Backs To The Wall'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Backs To The Wall ~

Backs To The Wall, originally uploaded by Paris Set Me Free.

Clinging to the walls of Paris, or trying to break through them?

This bitter-sweet paradox is at the very heart of so many people's relationship with the city, and is mirrored, incidentally but not coincidentally in the name of my first creative website dedicated to the capital: 'Paris Set Me Free'.

Can you hear the Communards crying out, as they were lined up and shot down here, against this very wall, the bullet holes bearing bitter witness?

Or has it become merely another curiosity to be slotted into yet another cute book on the greater curio-city known as Paris?

The walls are still talking around these parts, in any case...

© 2011
Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Paris and I ~ 'Give The Walls The Floor!'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Give The Walls The Floor! ~

I'm very fond of the pasted-on woman, or women, who grace the 'I Love You' wall up high, just behind the Abbesses metro station.

She's seduced me, she's peeled for me, she's made herself brand new for me, over the months and through the falling leaves and budding twigs as the seasons trundle on.

This is not her, obviously, but it bears the same signature, a certain Rue Meurt D'Art, a Paris street artist who wants to 'Give the walls the floor!' (Les murs ont la parole) as it were. Write on!

I like his stuff, a kind of masculine replique to Miss.Tic, with his enigmatic famous personages and poetic speech bubble aphorisms.

I'm always pleased when I discover a new piece. Keep your eyes open for me, and let me know if you hear one!

© 2011
Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Paris and I ~ 'Are You Sitting Comfortably..?'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Are You Sitting Comfortably..? ~

I watched a guy on the platform at St. Michel the other day systematically and deliberately emptying his pockets of an eye-popping array of personal effects and dumping them on the ground. He then proceeded to swear, cuss and scream at them, and at anyone within earshot who cared to listen, for that matter.

Drunks falling down, or struggling to stand, or simply not struggling at all are everywhere. And I should know; I've been there. Everywhere, I mean.

Arguments and mini-dramas are acted out on the station sidewaits day after day for our unwilling consternation. Telephones are wailed at, arms are gesticulated, faces are twisted and chests are backhand-slapped.

Feet are crushed, nipples are sucked, battered instruments are bashed and weary ears are twisted, pockets are plunged and wrong-doers wrung (occasionally)... Need I go on? We all have our stories. These guys have theirs, I have mine. What's yours?

© 2011
Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Paris and I ~ 'Nameless In Necropolis'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Nameless In Necropolis ~

Nameless In Necropolis, originally uploaded by Paris Set Me Free.

At the risk of being mortal. I mean morbid. Funny how we find ourselves stumbling over old stones, and bones and sticks and thoughts and poems as we mete out miles with slender smiles and eyes the size of planets.

I find myself passing more and more often places like this; places which are fusing, imperceptibly but surely, with my flesh and finery.

The year 2000 brought a ton of changes in my life, and somewhere in between them all a little poem called 'Nameless' slipped out, inspired by this particular monument and its neighbours. As usual, I wonder if I'll look back on 2011 one day, and why.

© 2011
Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Paris and I ~ 'Shellfish Serenade'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Shellfish Serenade ~

Shellfish Serenade, originally uploaded by Paris Set Me Free.

Just your average Saturday morning, up in downtown Montmartre, I guess. I really do think, the more I do think about it, that rue Lepic would be a pretty cool place to live.

On this particular day I'd just taken in street artist Miss.Tic's latest exhibition at Galerie W, when I heard the unmistakable rat-ta-ta-tat, and feline torture drones and squeals of a genuine pipe band. And as a true-born Scot, that always raises the hairs on your neck, I can tell you.

Except that it wasn't Scottish, but our Breton cousins, who have added the odd tuba and other twisted noise-makers here and there and were making a splendid racket celebrating, or 'promoting' to be honest' the so-called 'Fête de la Coquille Saint-Jacques'.

The main aim of this event, however worthy at the outset, seems to be to flog vast amounts of shellfish. The coquille Saint-Jacques can be quite tasty in a slightly stomach-unnerving way, but personally I'd just take the pipes and drums and run. Or do the running first if animal cruelty's not you bag.

© 2011
Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Paris and I ~ 'Welcome To My World'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Welcome To My World ~

Welcome To My World, originally uploaded by Paris Set Me Free.

'Abandon hope all ye who enter here?' It's not quite the Catacombes, but Dante could well have passed by these parts I would say.

Can you hear the footsteps of the centuries echoing back and forth across the steep city streets, and sense the faces of yesteryear reaching out to us in one last desperate effort to catch an eye before their traces are erased from the walls of Paris forever?

Look into those empty sockets, if you ever come across them, or put your ear up to that toothless, gaping mouth and see what you can learn about the Paris of Willy Ronis and... Sab Will.

© 2011
Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Paris and I ~ 'Metro Flowers, Bar One'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Metro Flowers, Bar One ~

Metro Flowers, Bar One, originally uploaded by Paris Set Me Free.

Flowers of evil? Nahh, just flowers of metro, creeping up on me, unexpected, blooming marvellous, cheering up a tiring 'trajet', deep beneath the city.

A glove, a fist, bar one; metro flowers, bloom on.

© 2011
Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Paris and I ~ 'Love's Labour's Found'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Love's Labour's Found ~

Love's Labour's Found, originally uploaded by Paris Set Me Free.

Is parting really a mixture of sweetness and sorrow, as Juliet would have us believe, and if so, why?

Wisdom, and also common sense, would tend to suggest that if we actually had our most deeply desired wishes fulfilled, 24/7, they would no longer really qualify as desires, which are generally considered to be things we would like but don't have, at least not nearly as much as in our imagined 'ideal world'.

So my leaving Paris, then, streaming out of Gare de Lyon southbound, past less fortunate souls, whose Parisian 'adventure' caravans have run aground on no-man's land just outside the city lines, stirs mixed feelings.

On the one hand I'm a little sorrowful to think I won't be able to take new pictures of the capital for you, or wander around Paris until the weekend. On the other hand there's a certain sweetness in being reminded just how much I enjoy living where I do, which is easy to forget during winter train strikes, for example.

If I had a third hand it would be shaking the second, because there is also a certain delicious anticipation about looking forward to seeing or being with the object of one's desire after an absence.

Absence is what makes the heart grow fonder, they say. However, they also say that familiarity breeds contempt, which is why I'm always disappointed there isn't another fancy Shakespeare quote along the lines of 'Getting back together is such a monumental anticlimax', but there doesn't seem to be and I'll just have to live with it or invent my own I suppose.

Which brings us to the rather thorny question of what it would actually be like to lack for nothing. Ever. Forever. Owch!

I don't know about you, but that strikes me as one hell of a scary prospect, although it seems to be what millions of people are hopefully waiting or praying or blowing themselves up for on a daily, well, 'lifely', basis. No challenges, no hopes, no surprises, no desires and no feelings of accomplishment for efforts expended (and no thanks for it either). You've got it all: Eternal Boredom. Now there's a thought.

I haven't boiled myself - hah, that should be 'booked' myself, I love a spelling 'corrector' with a sense of humour - on that particular trip, so you can be reasonably certain that I won't be subjecting you to these Parisian perambulations until the end of time.

So get 'em while they're hot and I'll prepare a new batch ready for when I'm back in town. I'm getting excited about it already.

© 2011
Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Paris and I ~ 'Open Or Closed Case'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Open Or Closed Case ~

Open Or Closed Case, originally uploaded by Paris Set Me Free.

Some buildings just seem to have been built to be boring, while others were awaited by another fate.

Doors, many many doors, amongst other things like windows, walls and floors, go to make up this towering 13th arrondissement monstrosity in the foreground.

A door, on the other hand, a gigantic door opening onto some distant raspberry horizon seems to be the raison d'être of the functionally similar structure on the left.

I wonder if those living in the nearest building are envious of their neighbours, living in the second, at the gateway to the hereafter, or if it's the other way round, with residents of the painted pillar wishing they had as inspiring a view as those opposite, whilst also quite sick of being stared at and photographed all the time.

Down here closer to earth we are either happier or less happy than they are, depending on your point of view, and your feelings about the hereafter. And whether you think the door is waiting to be opened... or closed.

© 2011
Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Paris and I ~ 'High Time To Come Down'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ High Time To Come Down ~

High Time To Come Down, originally uploaded by Paris Set Me Free.

This melancholic girl has been part of my life ever since I first visited the city and had my first experience in the world's most wonderful cemetery.

Whilst others are off (their heads ;-) jumping for Jim or lipstick-kissing Oscar's stone, she an' me are quietly passing moments, contemplating the passing of time and the flimsiness of it all.

She's off on the east side, just up from the war memorials; say hi to her from I if you're ever passing by that way.

© 2011
Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Paris and I ~ 'Multifaceted Mindfunk'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Multifaceted Mindfunk ~

Multifaceted Mindfunk, originally uploaded by Paris Set Me Free.

Once again four realities interlace. A portrait of a woman who has chosen to lead a cloistered, white-clad existence, and the person who took it. A picture of a Parisian gallery visitor contemplating the photo, and the guy who took it.

This strange parallelogram of lives and life choices fascinates me always. Were it not for... That could just as easily have been... I'd never in a million years... There but for the grace of God... go I.

But the story doesn't end there by a long chalk, does it? You've just turned my quirky quadrilateral... into a pentagon.

© 2011
Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Paris and I ~ 'Homage On High'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Homage On High ~

Homage On High, originally uploaded by Paris Set Me Free.

All hail the great Eiffel, and his stupendous metallic structure!

And so we did, me and my buddy here, on a wintery day on the Champs de Mars, snow dusting our shoulders, the wind through our fingers aching cold...

When a bird flew between his hands he didn't flinch or try to grasp it; his gaze was for Gustave's lover only, fixed, fanatic, silent stare; I think he's searching still.

© 2011
Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Paris and I ~ 'Shurely Shome Miss.Tic?'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Shurely Shome Miss.Tic? ~

Shurely Some Miss.Tic?, originally uploaded by Paris Set Me Free.

Shurely Shome Miss.Tic?

Meet you on the streets
Whère mystic mavens cloak the walls
In weathered blisters
Barely whisper-thick

'C'est la vie, ça va passer'

The truth is it already has
Not yet begun
She's got à gun

'Mieux que rien, c'est pas assez'

She has à way
With à paint çan spray
A girl with balls and handcuff scars
Like chipped plaster on à pale façade

'L'absence est une drogue dure'

One thing's for sure
Her footsteps rarely ècho now
But tricky traces rest
'I want my words to deafen your eyes'
She wrote, and left it thère
On à virgin wall in Paris
Love, her çountry pure

'A la vie, A l'amor'

© 2011
Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Paris and I ~ 'Re-read It And Weep'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Re-read It And Weep ~

Re-read It And Weep
Re-read It And Weep, originally uploaded by Paris Set Me Free.

Times are tough in the concrete jungle. Although, awaiting patiently next to a neighbourhood 'textiles recycling bin', there may be a second life of sorts, even as pillow stuffing, for this once-magnificent and doubtlessly much-loved creature.

Sad as this image may seem, I suppose it's quite positive really. Where I live, to the south of Paris, we all have four bins, no less, into which we have to categorise our leftovers, remains and unwanted items, if we can remember which bin is for which, and when exactly we have to leave them out.

There's a big green one, for example, called the brown one, for general non-recyclable crap. Then there's a big green yellow-topped one for packaging and cans and tins and the like. There's a small blue-lidded one for paper (we keep it right under the letterbox for supermarket prospectuses to descend straight into without passing GO or picking up €200 - a shocking waste of paper) and another small green one for glass.

A huge spreadsheet is supplied by the local 'mairie' telling us what the collection schedule is. And that's not to mention the special days, arrangements and containers of various shapes and species for garden waste, 'les encombrants' (big stuff like fridges and cupboards), oversized items, batteries and oil, heavy cardboard boxes such as those used when moving - we've got a ton - and the aforementioned old clothes and, of course, unwanted tigers and assorted cuddly wildlife.

Come to think about it, there's even a special place for recycling live animals whose novelty has worn off after Christmas, as an alternative to letting them discover the delights of motorway living whilst on holiday, which seems to be a national pastime here in France, if Society for the Protection of Animals (SPA) posters are to be believed.

Hey, I wonder if there's a place where expat Paris bloggers can deposit their old postings on stuff like 'the city's best hot chocolate' and the Galerie Lafayette's latest Christmas decorations and exciting Eiffel Tower / Notre Dame picture series and O.M.G. to-die-for macaroon outlets, which could then be picked up and endlessly recycled by other Expat Paris bloggers. I bet there is, you know, I bet there is ;-)

© 2010
Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Paris and I ~ 'The Art Of Living'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ The Art Of Living ~

The Art Of Living, originally uploaded by Paris Set Me Free.

Funny this, how sometimes the walls can have mouths, or at least messages, as well as ears.

Just 60 seconds before, and literally around the corner from my first meeting with Miss.Tic, the legendary Parisienne street artist, and wouldn't you say this guy was thinking 'What the hell do you think you're doing, staring at my wall, punk?'

Not the most confidence inspiring of portents, but highly apposite nevertheless, considering I'm about to chat to the highest wall warrioress (and convicted criminal) of them all.

And our rendezvous went roaringly. Maybe I misread this Monsieur's misgivings about my meeting with the mysterious Miss.Tic. Maybe he was saying 'Knock her dead, matey!'

When asked if she lives from her art, she noted that that would be vastly preferable to dying from it. I would have expected nothing less.

© 2010
Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...