Tag Archives: Sarkozy

Some of my favorite graffiti displays

I like graffiti that sends a message. There’s one wall decoration that I still wish I’d captured, but I never got around to it. I used to go to the Peace Club, a dive bar outside Camp Casey in South Korea– back when we still had troops that far north. In the bathroom, they had a piss-trough instead of urinals. I remember it well. The wall over the trough was littered with graffiti; there was barely room for anything new. After all the time I spent there, removing consumed beer from my body, I read most of it. One “exchange” is still crystal clear.

“I used to believe in the common decency of man”

“I still do”

They were written by two people, the second below the first. After a while, I used to pick the spot at the trough that would put these two lines at eye-level. In some ways, I still miss that wall and these two comments. I doubt it’s there any more. Last I heard, the Peace Club was no more. I do hope that management kept that wall intact.

Ever since then, I’ve been extremely interested in graffiti. The first, up top, is from a small covered walkway in Old Quebec. Yeah, some people still aren’t crazy about being French-speakers in an English-speaking country.

Iceland is such a sanitary country, but they are developing a graffiti problem. This wall just struck me as the antithesis of what one expects to see in Iceland.

Tallin, Estonia had some good material as well. The tagger below, it seems, was hungry. I guess he (or she) likes Italian.

The next one, though, is my favorite from Estonia. It sends a pretty powerful political message, and indicates the importance of open dialogue in a free society.

There was clearly a taggers’ debate going on here. First, someone wrote “Fuck Fascism!” I happen to concur. Next, someone put “anti” in front. Since I’m not a fascist, “Fuck AntiFascism!” doesn’t exactly resonate. But, a third person joined the conversation and crossed out “anti,” and then a fourth person crossed out “Fuck”. So, we wind up with the message, “Fascism!” Of course, I could have the order of events a bit screwed up, but we can see clearly where the discussion ends. Such a shame.

Also political was a bit of graffiti I saw in  Paris metro station. This was during the Sarkozy/Segoline election, which got pretty nasty.

Wow, I guess this guy doesn’t watch Fox News!

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Reflecting on Paris

I just had dinner with a friend of mine who I see a few times a year. The poor bastard spends all year in Paris (boo hoo), where he teaches and is working on an advanced degree. I’m concealing most of the details to protect what little innocence he has. Well, between seeing R and having just gotten back from the road, I’m thinking about trips past, particularly what I saw. I’m not, by any stretch of the imagination, a photographer, but at least you can see the world through my untrained eye.

The last time I was in Paris, I had the good fortune of witnessing the presidential election that thrust Sarkozy into office (a good decision on the part of the French people). I got to go to an election night party (which was awesome) and generally feel the vibe of a world capital on election day. It was beyond exhilirating.

Oh, the poster above translates (as well I as I can) to: “We won’t survive this … and you won’t any more.”

I always have adventures in Paris. Every time I step onto the streets, which is where I feel very much at home, something cool happens. I’ll see something interesting, have a wild experience or just get some great fucking writing done. i wrote my article for Boink magazine, which seems like it was published so long ago (before I hooked up with XBIZ, let alone AVN). I remember the cafe vividly; it was right around the corner from the Intercontinental Hotel in Place de l’Opera, where I was staying (on my first trip).

Here are some shots of the campaign signs from the hotly contested Sarkozy/Segoline (I hope I spelled that correctly) bout. It was insane! The first one? “Together, anything is possible.” (again, to the best of my limited abilities)

The way they scratch the eyes out just shows a level of brutality– and commitment– that we just don’t see here. Some see it as degrading. I call it true democracy in action.

Written over Sarko’s face in the campaign posters to the right is “ETAT NAZI.” That’s a pretty powerful statement. These signs, if I remember correctly, were up in Montmartre. I spent a good week in that part of town and absolutely love it. In a way, it felt like my neighborhood, the Upper West Side. So, the next time I go to Paris, I’ll probably stay in Montmartre again, though not at the same hotel.

Okay, enough of the politics. It’s not really my thing anyway. I want to move to the crazy Parisians I ran into. That’s where I had the most fun. For me, Paris is all about the people. I think I’m the only American who loves Parisians, but that’s fine with me. I think they are nice, open, polite folks, and I have always felt welcome in their hometown. I’ve spent about three weeks in Paris over the past few years, and I can’t wait to get back. I’m still exploring other places, but the pull of Paris remains quite strong. For now, it’ll have to wait, but I do plan to go back soon.

This chick’s deal was pretty straightforward. Her favorite storyteller believed in sharing his intimacy. So, she decided to move her bed into Place des Abesses in Montmartre (where I was staying) to share in the dead guy’s experience. It attracted weirdos. What a shock …

Of course, she wasn’t the only nutjob. I now introduce you to “the fiancee.” A nursing student who is struggling to pay for her honeymoon, she was led around the Quartier Latin by her friends. Those willing to help fund the experience dropped cash into the coffin around her neck.

I guess she wanted to go on a honeymoon pretty damned badly, because this is further than I’d go, and I really don’t have a whole lot of shame. I wore a dress to a movie theater once, though.

This is part of the reason why I dig Paris. The people are nuts, but in the happy way. You can walk the streets and always see something.

I thought this girl’s project was pure genius. It is equal parts clever, pathetic and entertaining. How can you not donate? I threw her a couple of Euros, adn I got to take a few pictures in trade. So, I think it worked out pretty well.

This wasn’t the only picture for which I paid. I liked keeping track of the various beggars around the city, as they seemed particularly organized. On one occasion, I saw about 30 of them gathered outside Gare du Nord (one of the big train stations). It was like they were gathering before their shift.

Hey, even the beggars are unionized!

There was a pretty big concentration of them at the Eiffel Tower, which is the only reason why I found the tower interesting.

The pitch is pretty typical. A girl comes up to you and asks, “Do you speak English?” Regardless of how you reply, she holds a card open. It contains a sob story about being a refugee from Bosnia, the burden of several children, the absence of a husband, etc. Well, I’m not above paying for what I want. For the rich price of EUR2, I was able to get a shot of the card that she uses to pitch. But, when the camera was turned on her face, she became quite upset and tried to hide.