Saturday, October 22, 2005

Une Fresque Parisienne No.2

Hi, and welcome back. You made it! So here we are, in a typical Parisian street, with this disenchanted black youth (I think that's the term) huffily passing your everyday Sumo wrestler who happens, as it happens, to be staring fixedly into one of the most beautiful double-glazed windows you've ever seen through, somehow miraculously remaining upright without any visible support (the Sumo and the window) on the side of an otherwise anonymous white van.

An unremarkable scene? Surely. Not worth noticing? Well, what is worth remarking, in this busy life? And did you remark the sickly sweet black couple smilingly reflected in the window of the van? A reflection, of course, but of what? Laughing at his inconsolableness, maybe. A reflection of another life, way way beyond the rest of us because... it doesn't exist. Hope the sumo wins.

Incidental architecture. Happenstance. Word of the week. Serendipity. I see it all around me, as I stroll and scour these slippery streets. A lamppost watches over an anonymous building like his life depended on it. Never wavering, patience never dimming. Stolid. He's chosen his vocation and he lives it. Like a lamppost. There are a lot of lampposts in this life, I pass them daily, on the streets, in the metro, every office glazed, they're there, like lampposts, leading lives ungaily, in their little worlds they try to shine, shine on.

I have a personal relationship with the lampposts of Paris, of all genres, sad as it is to admit it, and I don't want for one minute to denegrate them. I feel for them, static in their unexpressed longing and devoted calling. But hey! Don't you just want him to vomit all over those so-smug self-satisfied little chimneys snuggling huddling into to their adopted edifices like temerarious ticks? Show their mettle for once. From time to time I do.

There is a purity of line, the hint of a subtle curve raising its eyebrow at you, an understated complicity between the architectural elements of a city.

I believe they are watching us.

Or watching over us.

I'm not able to say too much right now.

They are near.

I can feel it.

But it's there. Forget anthropomorphosizing, there is more to it than that, there must be.

Why did we create all these things if it wasn't for them to have a heart and to contribute a soul to this cold city? We were looking for something, and if the designer imagined their brainchild based on purely functional reasoning, then that's a sad form of conception.

Box of Soldiers. that's the name of this little shop. With expectant mothers hurrying by with pushchairs, mummy's little warriers, brandishing moulded guns, looking the other way, I always wonder how this sort of store, so common in Paris can ever make ends meet. Box of Soldiers. Full of brave little role models, guns raised valiant, Tommy doesn't tumble, solid on his plastic pedestal, the greatest enemy a wayward fly, and cluster bombs a world away from their dusty window pane.

Around the corner from the Box of Soldiers, ironically, lies the Villa de Grenelle (for Dev), a dusty little lane I mentioned in part one. Villa de Grenelle, a shiny sign and a broken promise of a better world. But still, the berries are still deep purple, the foliage alluring, signs alluding to a forgotton time. Dream on.

I took another photo of this plaque, showing what was slightly to the right, and you could see a typically busy Parisian street, with a woman hurrying clutching her shopping, and at the end of the road, my unusual local church (more of that later) and the overhead metro line 6, which is an imposing feature in many of the more southerly left-bank districts.

I'm often struck by nature, be it sneaky leaves encroaching on the patch of a stalwart street sign, upstanding citizen as he is, or little shoots poking out of gutters or just the lonesome plants people plonk on their balconies to brighten up their otherwise uniformly grey grey day.

Tune in again shortly, folks, for part three in this riveting series based on a single walk which lasted around an hour and a half in the the 15th arrondissement of Paris. See you shortly.

All images & words copyright © Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2005


dev said...

Thank you for the name of the street.

Anthropomorphizing ? Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep ? (Philip Dick) I think so.

Paris Set Me Free said...

You're welcome, dev! And thanks for the inspiration!

Anonymous said...

Slowly I turned step by step ...


Anonymous said...

Niagara Falls.

Un habitant du fleuve said...

Très agréable promenade dans Paris.
Un regard fort intéressant.

À bientôt.

Paris Set Me Free said...

Merci pour le commentaire, o habitant du fleuve! Moi aussi, je suis un habitant du fleuve, et mes jours sont comptés par ses vicissitudes. Courage!


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