Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Year Paris Photo Quiz - Tie-Breaker!!!

See Part 1 for entry details.

Please DON'T GIVE THE ANSWERS IN THE COMMENTS BOX!!! General comments only here please!

Send your answers to me at:
sab@parissetmefree.com with 'Photo Quiz' in the subject please. And please just send one e-mail summarising your guesses for all six pics, or my in-box will get indigestion ;-)


OK, I couldn't resist... just one more photo to really separate the wheat from the chaff! Let's call it a tie-breaker and you have the added pleasure of seeing your moody Paris chronicler in this shot!!! Orange shirt - enjoy!

Final Photo! OK, just tell me where this not insignificant 'Paris' actually is. That's all!

© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2005
http://www.parissetmefree.com

New Year Paris Photo Quiz - Part 5

See Part 1 for entry details.

Please DON'T GIVE THE ANSWERS IN THE COMMENTS BOX!!! General comments only here please!

Send your answers to me at:
sab@parissetmefree.com with 'Photo Quiz' in the subject please. And please just send one e-mail summarising your guesses for all six pics, or my in-box will get indigestion ;-)


Photo Number 5: There are at least two places, to my knowledge, where you can see peacocks strutting around in the open air in or very near to Paris. Name any one of them for a point, but entries which just give a big list of all the Paris parks etc. won't be permitted - one or two guesses only please.


© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2005
http://www.parissetmefree.com

New Year Paris Photo Quiz - Part 4

See Part 1 for entry details.

Please DON'T GIVE THE ANSWERS IN THE COMMENTS BOX!!! General comments only here please!

Send your answers to me at:
sab@parissetmefree.com with 'Photo Quiz' in the subject please. And please just send one e-mail summarising your guesses for all six pics, or my in-box will get indigestion ;-)





Photo Number 4: I'll accept either the style of the building or where it is. If you get both right I'll be impressed, but no extra points!




© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2005
http://www.parissetmefree.com

New Year Paris Photo Quiz - Part 3

See Part 1 for entry details.

Please DON'T GIVE THE ANSWERS IN THE COMMENTS BOX!!! General comments only here please!

Send your answers to me at:
sab@parissetmefree.com with 'Photo Quiz' in the subject please. And please just send one e-mail summarising your guesses for all six pics, or my in-box will get indigestion ;-)


Photo Number 3: Tell me where this is, what this really is, and what a lot of people think it is, and why!
Got that?! Where, what, what not, and why they think that! P.S. I'm rather proud of these nice blue clouds!!!



© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2005
http://www.parissetmefree.com

New Year Paris Photo Quiz - Part 2

See Part 1 for entry details.

Please DON'T GIVE THE ANSWERS IN THE COMMENTS BOX!!! General comments only here please!

Send your answers to me at:
sab@parissetmefree.com with 'Photo Quiz' in the subject please. And please just send one e-mail summarising your guesses for all six pics, or my in-box will get indigestion ;-)


Photo Number 2: Say what you think it is, and you get an extra half point if you know where it is, roughly!




© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2005
http://www.parissetmefree.com

New Year Paris Photo Quiz - Part 1

OK, Paris Freaks!!! Here's a little quiz for those of you who know... or think you do!!!

I'll be giving you five pictures of more or less obscure Paris places and asking you to tell me something about them.

Send your answers to me at: sab@parissetmefree.com with Photo Quiz in the subject please. And please just send one e-mail summarising your guesses for all six pics, or my in-box will get indigestion ;-)

The idea is NOT TO GIVE THE ANSWER IN THE COMMENTS BOX!!!

But do feel free to comment on the pics or just say 'hi!' as usual, because you know I LOVE hearing from you!

If you are the first one to get them right, I'll send you a photo-related prize! Sound good? OK, then, here we go...

Photo Number 1: Name the bridge, the tower (ha ha!) and the building on the left... AND tell me why all the lights!


© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2005
http://www.parissetmefree.com

Friday, December 30, 2005

Hot Air Balloony

I'd forgotten all about these, a bunch of balloon pics taken in the unorthodox but pleasant Parc André Citroën in the west of Paris, in my arrondissement, the 15th, as it happens.

I was with an American friend of mine, whose French husband, little did I know it at the time, was about to tell her that he didn't want to be with her any more, which was a shame for their beautiful 5 year-old they had tried so hard for, but mine is not to judge, just to observe and listen.

And there's another funny story... on my return from Greece, on midsummer's day, 2003, I looked around for a place to live and eventually ended up, with a little help from my friends, in the pocket-sized apartment where I am now, and with which you might be slightly familiar, the view from the window, at least.

So there I was, coming out of my building, and walking along my street, when I saw a sweet family coming towards me, looking strangely familiar, a little lady, a stocky guy and the cutest curly blond-haired girl...

I thought they were in the States. They thought I was in Greece. Imagine our surprise...!!!

But that's not what this posting is about. No. This posting is about serious stuff. The stuff dreams are made of. The stuff of... balloons.

In the aforementioned parc André Citroën there lives a balloon, and with my American friends I took a few shots, and I now acknowledge her patience, as there's not many more irritating things on earth than going for a walk with a photographer...

So I thought I'd share with you a few of my balloon shots, just to give you an idea of what I saw. It's a great subject - this enormous, incongruous great blob sat in the middle of an ironing board flat lawn, taking people 'high' for about ten minutes to float over a little part of Paris with what must be a pretty spectactular view nevertheless.

The park itself is very unusual, with lots of little secret places to discover around the edges and a lot of inventiveness has been involved. I'll do a piece on it sometime. But not now. Today is balloon day! And it just happens that right next to the park is this amazing mirror building full of angles and sharp turns, and love or loathe modern architecture, you have to admit it's impressive. I like the purety of the forms. I love the canvas it provides for the balloon. I have a love-hate relationship with the possibilities it gives me for cropping and reframing - it frustrates and delights me in equal measure, from an artistic point of view.

And as if you needed a reminder, check out what the French do with trees one more time, and weep! These poor specimens are perfect cylinders, but PERFECT cylinders and it just makes you reflect about man's imperious dominance of nature and everything that flies in her. Or sinks inexorably to the ground as all balloons and jowls and cylindrical trees and dreams must, one day.

I like the last shot. Nature encroaching on man's chilly illusions. Haphazard shoots and fronds seem to make quaver even the steely resolve of all those gleaming panes, so the balloon starts to waver and lose its resolve, and desolve, drawn back to the cauldron from whence it sprung. Gravity will overcome. But in the meantime, dream on!


© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2005
http://www.parissetmefree.com

Still Wet

Exhibit F: arrangement of stones from beaches, S-hooks for pictures never hung, assorted beads unstrung, shells gathered, leaking pens, on a blank sheet of paper, words clinging

Location: a modest studio apartment, rue de la Roquette, La Bastille, Paris, where the revolution began

Time: some hours after she left, late September, 2005

Inscription Reads:

Still Wet

Still wet
From her shower
This morning
The last morning
Morning of silence
Morning of pain
Morning of spaces
Between words unsaid
From her shower
The towel's
Still wet
Still wet
From her shower
The towel's
Still wet


Recording Officer: an adopted Parisian orphan


© Sab Will / Mystic Rhythms 2005
http://www.mysticrhythms.com

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Safe As Houses

Apart from the fact that something has DEFINITELY died in my fridge and I haven't yet plucked up the courage to reach in to the murky depths to find out just what it might be, I'd say I'm pretty darn delighted to be back in Paris after the Christmas break.

Couldn't contain myself... just had to go out shooting even though it was one in the morning, to grab any shots I could find.

The above sentence could also arguably have read: "Couldn't contain myself... just had to go out hunting for a late night source of alcohol even though it was one in the morning, to grab any bottles or cans I could find and just happened to have my camera with me..." but we'll gloss over that little detail... ;-)

The first thing that struck me on my ostensibly mind-numbingly boring walk along the Boulevard de Grenelle was the wry irony of the 'safe' cyclists' lane which the City of Paris have been setting up all over the place, with two of the protective bollards completely flattened by what can only have been a seriously bike-unfriendly monstrosity of some sort. Indeed, just the other day I saw a cyclist in this very corridor smash into a car that had nonchalantly hung a swift right blissfully oblivious to the fact that the poor little cycle lane even existed, much less our unfortunate ecological hero. And there was even quite a storm with the Mayor of the 15th arrondissement getting all het up about the 'imposition' of these cycle lanes by Mr Big Clogs-Mayor of Paris, Bernard Delanoë. His beef was that there was already far too much congestion on the boulevards and a chronic lack of parking spaces, which the space pinched by the cycling lane could only exacerbate. Welllll... you can't have everything, can you..? The image of the bike and the rider stirs up a morbid echo of those outlines they do on the floor in American films where someone has been killed...

I then came across this very strange shop window, with an antique frame, framing a painted security grill, with beyond it... the most charming living room with lots of chairs just waiting for a bunch of roudy revellers to come and stir things up a bit!

And finally, I thought I'd come across a scouts' convention or something, when I saw all the tents pitched on the traffic island squatting over the hot air outlets from the deep dark underground places of Paris. But no, I reckon these were tents given out to the homeless, Paris' less proud claim to fame that doesn't appear in the guidebooks amidst all the majestic Victory Arches and Towering Towers of Irony. The Homeless, wild weathered faces poking out from the temporary reprieve of the harsh grey night and the traffic, always moving...


© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2005
http://www.parissetmefree.com

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Road To Nowhere



Let's pop over, on this Christmas day, 2005, to the most famous cathedral in Paris, in France, and probably the world... Notre Dame de Paris!

Right slap bang in front of Notre Dame (you know the one), as part of the large open area with benches and bins and bushes for tourists to enjoy, you find a strange little chunk of what looks like a paved footpath of yesteryear, with a stone engraved with 'rue de Venise' in the middle of it.

Well hold on to your hats folks! For this is none other than, according to my extremely unreliable sources, the main Paris thoroughfare dating back even to before dear old Notre Dame was nothing more than a twinkle in the Good Lord's eye...

To give you an idea of just how narrow this 'main street' was, my friend and I plonked our mucky boots and scruffy trainers down to show you. Apparently... that was it. It was lined by houses on either side, so we're not exactly talking four-lane motorway proportions here...

From another angle you can see Our Lady in the background, and various and assorted tourist types in the foreground - ya gotta love 'em.

There was another similar little bit of cobbled street which seems to be heading straight for Notre Dame herself, and effectively, it was and it did! Before the cathedral was built there was a road going right through where it now stands. And you can see part of it on the square in front. This is progress!


© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2005
http://www.parissetmefree.com

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Firefly

I've stolen the moon
Well a bit of it
I had a sudden longing
To see how far I could get
A firefly in flight
I flew right up and took a bite
I bit the moon
And now my window shines
With shivery silver light
Reminder of my plight
I'm glowing here
In a lonely bedsit
Thinking of belonging
Bleary in the night
A firefly despite herself
Wondering where in the world
All the fireflies have gone


(the view is from the window of my little Paris studio in the 15th arrondissement)
© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2005
http://www.parissetmefree.com

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Be Not Inhospitable To Strangers...

... Lest They Be Angels In Disguise


Thus runs the citation above a doorless doorway upstairs in the legendary "Shakespeare & Company" Parisian bookstore.

If you go through this archway into the pokey little corridor, you pass an unbelievably small 'office' - just a chair and desk in a cupboard with an aging typewriter (whom I have dubbed 'Fred'), past a sink, a mysterious door, a grimy window giving onto a typically Parisian sinister interior 'hole' in the middle of the building, and into the fabled Shakespeare & Company library. (From what I remember, Fred is severely 'n'-challenged, which can lead to some highly original compositions, to say the least...)

And this mythical setting, where so many famous writers have left their ephemeral mark, is where you can meet me and other Paris photo enthusiasts, every Wednesday (except the one between Christmas and New Year) during our photo evening. We discuss photography in Paris, share our images, comment constructively, and just chat about anything relating to this marvellously photogenic city!

So here are the details: EVERYONE IS WELCOME, even non-photographers who just want to enjoy some beautiful images and interesting discussion in an amazing establishment! But bring your photos if you have some you'd like to share!

"OPEN SHUTTERS" - Photography Evening
Shakespeare & Company (upstairs in the library - be VERY careful on those amazing stairs!)37, rue de la Bûcherie, Paris 5, Metro St.Michel
Every Wednesday (not December 28th), at 20:15, entry free, all welcome
And we'll probably have a drink afterwards!

P.S. I'm the one in the middle...


© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2005

http://www.parissetmefree.com

Harping On The Metro

Last metro, sleep and woozy after the pub, the restaurant, the bar before the restaurant, and the cleaning out of the blocked toilet swimming in, well, you know what, before the bar before the restaurant...




So there I was, on the metro heading back home to La Motte-Picquet Grenelle on good old line 8, Créteil Préfecture to Balard, only 15 minutes to wait sometimes on that line instead of the usual 2 or 3, but never mind...





Get on the metro, standing swaying, and start to hear some people saying - go on! play something!!! And slowly a shy girl unwraps her harp, yes, a man-sized harp and starts to play for us, timid, unassuming, unexpected.

A magic Paris moment... I think that's why I live here...


© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2005
http://www.parissetmefree.com

Section Updated: Transport
http://www.parissetmefree.com/pictures/transport/5/

Monday, December 19, 2005

To Lima, In Limbo

Paris behind bars has been a recurring theme in my photos, ever since I saw that desperately beautiful but doomed tiger behind the grill in that up-market boutique on the rue de Rivoli opposite the Louvre.

Now we have the World behind bars, no less. Is that Chili, Equador, Peru I see peeking out from behind the barriers?

Could it be that we are fettered by our own self-imposed narrow horizons and limited expectations?

I have fallen in love with Paris, not once, not twice, but on at least three separate occasions. I've never fallen out of love with her, but I have become disenchanted for other reasons. But the danger is that security nurtures complacency and stagnation.

I thought I could travel in my mind, limitlessly vicarious, voyaging on lofty ideals and floating on fickle notions like cigarette smoke over croissants and a coffee. I was wrong.

It is not enough.

So I shall go to Peru. To see Paris better. To find out what's been going on. Back home. To get a sense of perspective. To see where I belong.

I'll squeeze through that little opening, that window of opportunity, that fleeting envelope of possibility and land in Lima, in limbo, and let fate take me by the hand. Gently, I hope.


© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2005
http://www.parissetmefree.com

Section Updated: Behind Bars
http://www.parissetmefree.com/pictures/behind/5/

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Scraping Rainbows

Dangerous? Paris streets? Naahhhhhhh! Well actually, yeeaahhhhh!

I know a lot of cities which vie for the accolade of 'World's Biggest Death Trap' in terms of their highways and byways, and Paris is certainly up there.

Chauffard, as opposed to chauffeur (driver) is the official word meaning 'road hog', 'hit and run driver' or basically any dickhead behind a wheel. The suffix 'ard' denotes 'someone related to this characteristic', such as banlieusard, some who lives in the suburbs (banlieue), or connard, someone who is stupid (con). Chauffer means to heat, so maybe chauffard means 'to heat things up', and temperatures and tempers certainly rise often enough on these mean streets.

There was an incident recently, I can't remember exactly, where a couple of kids I think it was, out joy-riding, lost control and smashed into a bus stop somewhere. Problem was, there was a mother and her kids waiting for the bus...

It really sunk in for me how French I'd become one time I went back to the UK. I arrived at a pedestrian crossing, the sort without little red and green men, and I waited. A car approaced and started to slow down. I waited for him to pass. And then for some reasons he stopped just before the black and white lines. I thought he must have an engine problem or be checking a map or something, so I waited. And he waited. Eventually he started waving at me to cross and it struck me with a shock that he had actually slowed down and stopped for me... Rarely in France, mate, where flashing of head lights doesn't mean 'ok, over you go love, I'll let you pass...', it means 'get out of the *$%@!!&? way'! The 'bras d'honneur' is a particularly visceral and heart-felt version of the Brits' V-sign or the Americans' middle finger, involving full two-arm participation to really let the guy who just cut you up know what you think of him. Two hands on the wheel? Mon dieu! Are you crazy? How am I supposed to hold my cell phone, then..?

And I hope this guy or gal was ok, when their lean, mean, pavement-kissing machine bit grim reality, on both sides by the look of it. The rainbow's are still shining for the moment though.


© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2005
http://www.parissetmefree.com

Section Updated: Rainbows
http://www.parissetmefree.com/pictures/rainbows/5/

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The BNP Gets Weezbeed

Famous French film director Luc Besson, who did Subway, Nikita, Le Grand Bleu, Leon (one of my fav films of all time), The Fifth Element, Joan of Arc, etc. is also an author.

He's created this marvelous universe of the very small in beautifully illustrated comic-type books of the kind the French are obsessed with. These little characters are only about two millimetres tall and they live in among the grass roots where we can't even see them but they have all the usual trials and tribulations like the rest of us.

So anyway, this book is being converted into a half-animated, half-real film for next christmas but the publicity for it starts NOW!

And look what they've done to the sponsoring bank, BNP! In fact about three branches have been 'taken over' in this way, with enormous plastercasts reducing the bank and its customers to the size and significance of the mini-characters in the stories.

It's a great sight to see, and certainly cheers up a very chilly December day here in the capital. Check out the letter box in this shot - wouldn't you love to post your mail here?!

Or take your money out of a machine whilst being dwarfed by some sort of giant flower.

I'm not quite sure what part the bloopy kinda characters play - maybe they're animated rocks or mud or something.

But I did read on the sponsor's site that even in this world of the tiny, there are evil ogres otherwise know as property developers who are threatening to build a hyper-lawn by-path or something right over the little creatures' homes, thus threatening to destroy them forever. Anyway, that's all for later next year when I'm sure we'll be seeing even more about what we can't actually see at all - the film is called 'Weezbee' I believe.

© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2005
http://www.parissetmefree.com

Section Updated: Quirks & Curios
http://www.parissetmefree.com/pictures/quirky/5/

Is This Christmassy, Or What?

A huge inflatable snowman swaying slightly outside a restaurant.


A tree with shiny balls and glittery tinsel appearing suddenly next to the lift in my building's lobby.


Lights strung up above the street and illuminated words such as 'Rue de Commerce' and 'Joyeuses Fêtes' brightening up the sky.





Shop windows covered in white powder and Monoprix opening on Sundays.


A nip in the air and wooly hats and scarves everywhere.


Big bright shopping bags taking over the metro.


Whiskey advertisements taking over the walls.





Homeless heaps of human trash sleeping on metal grids in the middle of the street trying to absorb some of the warm air spewing up from the bowels of the city.


People hurrying on by, trying to beat closing time.


Looks like Christmas is upon us again.



© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2005
http://www.parissetmefree.com

Section Updated: Under Bars
http://www.parissetmefree.com/pictures/quirky/5/

Friday, December 16, 2005

Frog & Rosbif Nights


How many nights have I spent in this pub of dreams, this place of snapshots stolen...

How many hugs have these walls witnessed, Little England breaking through...

How many arms have cradled shoulders, clutched at shadows, booze-emboldened...

How many pints of amber beer have hit lined stomachs, silky brew...



How many friends have met, how many Sunday papers fingers flicked...

How many football matches cheered, and heros chided, high on screen...

How many eyes have tripped on angels, smoky visions, gazes tricked...

How many friendly faces, solace offered with a drink between...

© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2005
http://www.parissetmefree.com

Section Updated: Under Bars
http://www.parissetmefree.com/pictures/under/5/

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Show A Bit Of Flair!

A fellow blogger, describing one of his shots, said something like:

"This is one of my favorite photos I've taken of Venice, because I feel that I have captured some of the magic. Technically, I would have liked to avoid the flare, but it doesn't detract too much."

So I thought I'd post a pic where lens flare is an absolutely integral feature of the photo, which would be immeasurably poorer without it.

But as mentioned before in these columns, Again, it's a case of having the effect both obvious and sophisticated enough that the viewer realises you 'meant to do it'

If it's just a case of pointing the camera without judging what the light and composition are doing, then people will just think that you are crap.

© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2005
http://www.parissetmefree.com

Monday, December 12, 2005

The other Lady of Paris

A spooky, spectral vision of Notre Dame. Not quite abstract, not quite real, floating somewhere between the two, a frown and a fickle smile. Which is how I see her. She deserves that, at least, I think. After all she's been through. The linch pin of Paris. Let her lie in peace for a while...

© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2005
http://www.parissetmefree.com

Sunday, December 11, 2005

50 Candles and Counting !

This small click for the blogging world but enormous upload for Paris Set Me Free sees my 50th message being sent out into the blogosphere.

And it occured to me that you might like to see how Paris has been celebrating this not insignificant event for the French capital...

We can see the 'Primtemps' (Springtime) shopping galleries all dressed up nicely in pretty pink.

And of course the store windows are magical, with lots of displays with myriad little characters moving all over the place (it's all done with wires, you know...) in delightful and imaginative creations.

Some sights are very strange, such as this one with the incredible outfit with feathers next to row after row of multicoloured, errr, things.

The shot of the Lafayette Galleries with the Metro sign is totally over-exposed and is actually more along the lines of stained glass windows as seen from inside a church, but who cares?! It gives you an idea of the lengths they go to to attract the late night shoppers.

A discussion has been going on between some of my fellow bloggers about the annual 'orgy of consumerism' and if we photographers and others should actually be celebrating this allegedly unethical excess of spending and over-doing-it when others have nothing.

I often find myself to be a really pathetic fence-sitter, not able to come down with any certitude on one side or the other of any given argument.

My approach, in fact, is to try to stimulate discussion, through my images or words, which can then help me to see where I stand and what I really believe.

It's a tricky question, because in many ways, consumerism and commerce makes the world go round, and wild idealism aside, that ain't gonna change any time soon, so we may as well get on with it. That's not to say that I think we should not try to 'change the world' in our own small ways; I think we should. But people who get desperately upset like happened recently because a fellow photographer-blogger put up an image of an obviously very well-fed black baby crowned with Christmas balls from a Benetton ad may be seeing more to things than are actually there.

We try to capture Paris, in all its many guises, and Christmas is one of the periods where we can see the good, and the bad, the haves and the havenots, of this society most starkly. It is our duty to record these images, and probably not to comment would be the best thing, to allow others to judge for themselves. Irony or pathos is one of my driving forces when out shooting, and I only hope to pass on something of what I see and feel here.

I've cheated, by the way. All these pics came from last Christmas, and I'm glad to have finally used them and injected a bit of season's spirit into the Paris Set Me Free Journal without even leaving my cozy little flat for once! Happy Orgy...

© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2005
http://www.parissetmefree.com

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Routemaster is Dead. Long Live the Routemaster!

Some things you come across in Paris are beautiful. Some are unusual. And some are just weird. I mean, what on earth is a perfectly good classic old 'Routemaster' bus doing painted an amazingly silky jet black and towering over my Lady Eiffel so menacingly?!

These buses are synonymous with London and a rather sad anouncement recently said that they are finally being all but withdrawn from service. Only a couple of lines will be kept going 'for the tourists'. But I'd say for the Londoners too.

There is an indescribable charm to these old beasts. There is just so much character oozing out of every fixture. The nose is irreplacable, with it's little driver's cabin sitting alongside the half-engine bonnet. The grill and headlights are unmistakable. And then there's the trademark open platform at the back with its strurdy pole where so many millions of communters over the decades have either enjoyed the open-air ride with the bicycles and pedestrians whizzing by, or have managed to hop aboard with a run and a leap, just as it was pulling away.

So different to the relatively personality-free red boxes we have today.

And then there is that other great difference: on the Routemasters there are two employees: the driver, and the 'conductor'. This is always funny when teaching English because in French conducteur means driver, so that confuses them. In English, as often happens when there was already a word for the French meaning, the new word has been perverted to mean something else, related, but not the same.

The conductor is the man or woman who has (or had, at least) this cool little machine which a little handle which would be whipped round, magically producing the appropriate ticket, which as a little kid always intrigued me.

Not forgetting the immortal trade mark cry of "Any more fares?! Any more fares?!"

If you look very carefully at these shots, maybe blowing them up by clicking on them, you can see one where Mr. Routemaster's bright red slip is showing - can you spot it?!

It's strange how we can get emotionally attached, and sometimes enslaved, to inanimate objects, if they have come to symbolise an important enough aspect of our lives such as our childhood, or our school days, or our relationship with a particularly place, even if they are technically completely outmoded.

Nostalgia. How many films have we seen the proud and stoic Routemaster featuring in? How many tourists have frissoned and delighted at their first site of the famous red London bus? And how many more will be sad if it brightens up those drab grey streets no more?


© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2005
http://www.parissetmefree.com

Friday, December 09, 2005

The Girl with Sky in Her Eyes

Paris streets are bountiful

Slow ye down, take a look

Look at me

See what I see

Si si

See what eye sea

Bathe in boulevards of bliss


© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2005
http://www.parissetmefree.com

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Manic Santa


Here's a rather sinister and wild-eyed Saint Nick I spotted the other day, on the Boulevard St. Germain I think it was, and who will fit well into my Paris Behind Bars section I think.

He's completely white, which is strange, but then there's an ad campaign where he's dressed in his usual outfit but it's completely blue instead of red. Perhaps this could start a trend, a search for the real Santa. He must be sick of red anyway, after all these years. Ho ho ho! We'll see.


© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2005
http://www.parissetmefree.com

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Japanese Wedding

Frail ghosts are drifting through the trees,

In the foreign Fields of Mars...

Slender ladies, draped in alabaster,

Powdered proud and pampered pure,

All the way from the sun of the sinking land.

And Dame Eiffel just glows benign, demure,

Wanly smiling down

On shrieking laughs,

On wide wide grins,

The five white brides are flying

High tonight. Five wild swans

Are crying silent,

Rainbow wings are clipped,

Adorning shiny bonnets,

Limousine forlornly flits

And fades into

The milling crowd,

Flailing,

Strung out...

Magic moment,

Paris wedding,

Just the five of us;

Five snowy swans,

Soaring through the trees,

In the foreign Fields of Mars.

Once upon a lifetime,

Day of days,

Never to be

Forgotten, like a fallen lotus leaf

The weeping willow shudders,

Winter's settling in

The birds are folding up their wings

And bedding down for night

While empty champagne bottles

Clink against each other

Line the gutter. Autumn's clutter

Ravens, having a field day

Dodging cars and cawing,

Squabbling scraps and clawing

Empty Fields of Mars,

As the mavens hum and haw

About the unlikely return

Of five immaculate fawns,

That miracle sight;

Snowy swans in flight...

Just the five of us

That graced the fickle Fields of Mars

On a fey December night.



© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2005
sab@parissetmefree.com http://www.parissetmefree.com

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