Paris is full of clever or unsettling, cryptic or mysterious street art. Sometimes it lies underfoot on the pavements. Sometimes it finds itself stuck to drainpipes or lampposts. Then, again, it adorns all manner of walls. It may be huge in scope or minuscule. It’s often very good.
Here (in the photograph) is a piece of art that needs at least some decoding. It’s on a wall in one of the oldest parts of Paris. It shows two film-makers who are focussing their attention on what seems to be a tiny figure – perhaps a mouse. The meaning is elusive.
Footnote: The art-work shown in the photograph has been presented for several months in the Rue de La Ville Neuve, Paris 2eme. Sadly, it is now showing some signs of deterioration. I’ve called it ‘Tiny voices‘.
Paris: shelf with old photograph
The evening lamplight warm-glows a romance; herein lies the deception: the old narrow streets, dark, edged in gold, made more romantic still: the broken line of iron-high chandeliers: reassuring, blurring, softening; so – the old streets of Paris as if a painting: but, but by whom? By Georges de la Tour.
It’s the last day of February, 2015. Paris is bright by day, chill by night; you’re chilled to the bone; the lamplight a masquerade. From my window, high up, the chill is imperceptible – but beggars die, quietly, in the silence of the night.
On the last day of February I look through my high-up window across the zinc-grey rooftops – to the west. The sun had set long ago. The street lamps whisper far below.
A window opposite: I notice a silhouette – black; it moves against a glittering white light, framed. The window is cut into the walls of a crumbling apartment block in the Rue Notre-Dame de Recouvrance, Paris 2eme.
The silhouette glides; after a while I realise that a girl is playing the violin. She arches, rises, bows and draws cadences in the night. She shapes a melody. What melody? I open the window to listen – but no sound comes. She plays and plays and suddenly I hear ‘The sounds of silence’ and the lines ‘Hello darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again.’