One of those seminal moments again this evening, in terms of sowing the idea for a shot is concerned.
Rounding a corner approaching the platform in one of those seemingly endless soulless corridors, I was suddenly struck, almost physically, by an angel voice. Before I even reached the source I was reaching rapidly for my camera, hoping.
Was it some wayward, wild-haired wench, or a crazy-eyed fanatical easterner... I honestly had no idea but the harmonies were truly hypnotising.
So imagine my surprise when I see this neat little man, smart pullover and definitely unfanatical-looking white shirt and slacks, sitting humbly, singing his heart out, on a bench in the metro at Cluny La Sorbonne.
Because of the echoing nature of underground stations and his totally static appearance, it actually took me a good few seconds to actually spot him. I'd been looking across the tracks, but he was right next to me!
After the singing he picked up his flute and against the clinical serility of an infinite white tile backdrop more heavenly sounds emanated from this modest-wonder. The closest I can get is a kind of Jewish gypsy folk feeling, but I'm probably way off.
I dropped my euro coin into his case, hoping that would buy me some photos of a slightly more intrusive nature than the usual tourist snap. He barely flinched, seeming to be lost in an almost clerical way in his chosen calling.
Finally, and thankfully the train was as slow coming as usual on my Lazy Line 10, he produced the strangest contraption, a sort of pierced baked bean tin with a stick stuck in it and a couple of strings attached. Greatest apologies to officionadoes, but that's as close as my ignorance allows me to get to a decent description of this weird and wonderful instrument from which, yep, you guessed it, more unearthly intonations sallied forth.
A smile from me promted a nod from him as the train eventually drew in, and with the signal sounding I grabbed my bag and jumped between the closing doors, knowing that once again someone had become a much more important part of my life than he could ever imagine, and I bowed my head in sweet regret as we pulled out of Cluny La Sorbonne, knowing that it had to be that way. Some people are meant to touch others without ever realising how much. If his motives were religious then I hope his god blesses him. And if I'm being naive and he was just doing it for the money, then may somebody's else's god bless him anyway.
© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2005
Section Updated: Free Wheeling