Saturday, 12 February 2011

Paris and I ~ 'Up, Up And Away'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Up Up And Away ~

Up, Up and Away, originally uploaded by Paris Set Me Free.

We're living in historic times, did you realise that?

History's a funny thing, isn't it? Do you think people up against this wall facing a firing squad 140 years ago were saying to themselves:

"We'll be remembered one day, maybe in 140 years time, for example, by a bunch of gently socialist poster-stickers and accompanying photographers thinking of us as, oh my goodness, here come the first bullets, wow!, that one was close, and... ohh...! That... one... wasn't..."

Dreams come and go, and we have a tendency to live our lives through others' glories or failures. It's difficult to see now what will be remembered later. The Beatles will, I suppose. Sarkozy? Probably not much (a kind of wannabe Napoleon for modern times?). Johnny Halliday? Only by the French. Obama? Yes, symbolically, for sure, for a handful of centuries. Saddam Hussein and Al Quaida? Yes, and that one might only be beginning. The Parisian artist who drew the five portraits of female prols here who tried to change their little corner of the world for the better as they saw it? For a while in some compendium somewhere, no doubt. The ladies themselves? So far so good. The photographer who took this picture? Perhaps by Angie and Léo for a while...

I was wandering through the Catacombes yesterday, the way you do when you're out and down in Paris, and once you've got through the endless (well, not literally, obviously) twisting tunnels of not very much at all, you finally arrive at the galleries full of bones and skulls and expired tourists and stuff.

One of the most interesting features of the place is the doom-laden inscriptions placed along the walls guaranteed to bring you down if you weren't feeling utterly hopeless already, along the lines of: "Quocumque te vertas mors in insidiis est." Pretty chilling, huh?

What? OH, I'm sorry, I didn't realise your Latin was that rusty. The original French version would be "Dequelque coté que tu tournes la mort est aux aguets", otherwise known as "Whichever way you turn, death'll be waiting for you". Another cup of tea, dear?

But despite that there's one which I really like, although I'm not sure if it's supposed to be upbeat or not. I'll spare you the vernacular: "Croyez que chaque jour est pour vous le dernier" (Think that every day will be your last) ~ Horace.

They knew a thing or two, those Latinos, didn't they? It's probably become today's 'Live each day like it's your last', which I reckon is pretty positive really, inciting you to get the best out of every moment.

My other favourite inscription from the Catacombes is definitely "Chemin conduisant a l'escalier" (Way leading to the stairs), which I find quite sublime, and could only possibly be improved with the replacement of 'escalier' by 'ascenseur' (lift/elevator), but beggars can't be choosers, I suppose.

So anyway, after all this rambling down memory lanes of one sort or another I'm feeling quite refreshed and ready to get on with another epoch-defining day in the life of this little speck of humanity, memorable or not. White with two sugars please.

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

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