Wednesday, April 14, 2010



In the room the woman come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

Im trying to read T.S. Elliot, again.I say trying, because Im slightly distracted and the poems don't rhyme .I'm looking at this very large but beautiful woman. She has placed herself near the pool.There are two of her, courtesy of the pools reflection.Twins! One (the real one) is very still (oil painting still) while the other, dances wobbles and flickers across the water, like one of those dreadful kinetic installations, that seem to infect galleries and museums these days.. She looks naked, but in fact she is wearing this string bikini contraption. It has so many twists and turns,not unlike a hitchcock movie.I study it. I should be reading instead, but my eyes wont let me . I just sip my wine and realize Im enjoying myself . Her bathing costume (?) must have come complete with instructions, written or drawn by some seasoned Japanese sailor, who spent a lifetime mastering the art of knots (the rope ones not the speed) or a gifted boy scout with a taste of the absurd.Getting out of it could result in strangulation or even worse. I want to take my eyes off her, but I dont, or rather, I cant. Im sitting on a friends balcony in Miami.It feels more like an opera box and Im looking down at the cheap seats, only they are not.I want to give a little wave to the oiled baking bodies below, but I bite my chicken sandwich and sip my wine instead (not at the same time) Its a beautiful day.The palm trees are waving to each other and making that straw dress, rubbing sound against there thighs. I struggle with a few more lines of T.S. The large woman looks like a trussed (Botero) turkey.The white string of her suit, if one can call it a suit, cuts into her dark 'oven roasted' flesh.The thin white string dissappears into her body, making rare apeareces last minute,only when it really has to. It could almost look like a white footpath meandering over a range of hills, as seen from a small plane.It could, If one had the mindset to think that way. In complete contrast, her Giocametti style husband, (I think its her husband) is having trouble, with landing his huge white beach towel on the chaise longue next to her. She is oblivious to him. It looks like he is waving surrender to the wind. Maybe he is. Placing the towel down wind might help (just a suggestion) The gust suddenly sends the towel clinging to his torso (Christo- esque style) Im trying to read T.S. Elliot again, but he has too much competition today. I finish my sandwich and realize Prufrock will have to wait. At least for now.


Im doing what I usually do on the metro.Im listening to my music and observing people .A perfect marriage of sound and sight. The truth is Im secretly filming the passengers.This amazing cast of thousands. No lines, No curtain calls, no applause. Just an incredable journey, in one act. I have been filming this stella cast for 3 years now ,with my little still camera that just happens to take 3 minutes of video (So I have to be selective) This is the greatest show in Paris.Its not just a mode of transport to get from one attraction to the next.This is the attraction,and what a show.Well worth the price of admission and never sold out.In fact its been running for years. Come rain or shine.With the exception of strikes (don't get me started)
Im sitting on hard seats that are covered in early 80s looking material. It is supposed to make the seats feel and look soft.It fails on both counts.Im sitting and pretending to be minding my own business , something Im good at, when a man pushes something near my face.Its usually best not to take a look, but I have to, its my profession. At first It was quite shocking, even at second, the shock continued .The man had no arms. No real arms. Just sticks (small painted branches), which were somehow tied or rather taped to his shoulders with dirty duck tape.He had a llttle tray tied to one of his branches or rather twigs (fingers) that said Merci! It should have said Mercy. There were a few encouraging coins in the cup already.I wanted to reach into my pockets for change, but I never carry change, in fact I dont even carry money(a metro mugging story that I will bore you with another time) My hand disappeared into my pockets anyway, to show some attempt ( dont ask me why) This made things worse of course, because the' tree man' is now waiting and waiting. Swaying in the wind.Glaring down at me. I am now commited. An unspoken contract between our eyes has been written. My fellow, hopeful, metro travellers sit there waiting for me to produce some money.There hopes and guilt are on my shoulders now. I feel like Im digging deep, very deep.I suddenly in a total moment of panic, think I should part with my watch, but it would never fit his (wrist?) I apologize with some strange facial expression, that doesn't suit me, and feel guilty for my little fake moment of charity, And guilty for having arms and hands.I think Im blushing.I know Im blushing. I vowed always to carry change on the metro for such occassions. I never did. I vowed to always carry my camera. Usually I do, except this time. Im still wondering who connected his arms.He didnt! I wonder if he takes them off at night. I think about the book 'The Giving Tree'.I keep repeating in my mind 'Im out on a limb Im out on a limb' like some crazed mantra, that I want to find amusing, but don't. The passengers, dissappointed at my lack of funds, do what they do best..NOTHING. Deliberate, nothing. I continue to blush and decide to change carriges, to escape my angry looking jury. Its a fresh crowd. Im saved. I take a huge breath and look up, only to see the tree man working his majic at the other end of my new guiltless carriage.

The begging in the Paris metro is an industry a booming one at that. Everybody has there own little show or sob story or both.The one thing the beggars have in common is the polite way they introduce themselves." Bonjour Messieurs Dames". Then we are treated to a story of hardship and misery.It always sounds like the start of a great play or the introduction to masterpiece theatre(The French version) The stories are quite lengthy, sometimes 2 or 3 merto stations long. The faces of the begging performers are always tinged with a razor sharp sadness .Most passengers often leave before the beggers get to the end of the story or the carriage.Most passengers ignore them.I stay till the end. I have seen most things over the last 3 years of filming in this amazing theatre on wheels. The vampire couple complete with real fangs, holding hands like a sweet (three thousand year) old couple. The retarded lovers(I use the word retarded in its true sense) trying to have sex.Trying being the key word. The Hitler youth group complete with flopped swastika sign and very shiny boots.With lesser versions of German shepherds by there sides.The beautiful French woman, poised like an perfume commercial in a glossy magazine. Poised until the man she was with, calmly points out that she had dropped her beautiful purple thong on the floor. Suddenly her composure crumbled as she grabbed the crumpled panties like her life depended on it, and stuffed them somewhere safer than before.They both made an exit at the next station.She had turned the same colour as her knickers, almost. But some of the most interesting observations have been just ordinary people ( A title nobody wants to claim) What people do when they think nobody is watching could not be scripted. And thats the beauty of the metro,nobody has to do or be anything they dont want. Its a kind of no mans land a free zone.On wheels.

A friend tells me her metro story. A well dressed man introduces himself every morning on the way to work.He said he wasnt looking for money or sympathy He was just looking for a wife.He told the captured audience that he worked really hard (10 hours a day) and made enough money for two. He just didn't have time to go to bars etc looking for a mate. So if any woman between the ages of 25-35 liked the look of him, to introduce themselves as he walked through the carriage. I hear hopeful 55 + woman took a fancy to the well dressed, finacially secure man..I wish I could tell you how the story ends, I cant alas.
I love observing here, deep below the city.Its a place where the light the smell the mood seldom changes, only the people .I am never bored.Its impossible.I am amazed how so many random people can enter and exit a carriage in perfect chaotic order.Most modern dance groups would envy this precession choreography. People try not to touch or look or talk to each other, its become an amazing skill. I cherish the rare moments when it all goes wrong.The train slams on its breaks and everyone lunges forward onto each other, a passenger sunami.Only seconds later to re-group and act as if nothing ever happened.I love the silver sliding curtains, that open without fanfare, just an electronic whoosh. You never know who or what will enter the stage. What a great show.It never ends. I wish the seats were a little more comfortable.I wish I could afford a season ticket.I wish they had a bar at intermission. Except there never is one (an intermission that is, not a bar.One has to supply ones own refreshments. And they do)

MIAMI (part 2)

It is perfume from a dress
that makes me so digress?

The bathing beauty and her husband have removed themselves from the pool.The place seems almost empty now.Its that beautiful time of the day. The white sun cant make up its mind what to do, stay or leave, or just linger.The palms exhausted from a day of waving to each other give up. The show is over.I leave my balcony and I dont turn back. Empty plate, with traces of English mustard and crumbs in one hand, and the Waste Land and other poems in the other.
Later I will try to read Mr Elliot again.
It was a beautiful day, maybe even a perfect. But I miss Paris.
Better theartre.

But on this day, only just. Only just.

Sunday, April 11, 2010