“Is this legal? Maybe I should fine them all?” Paris, 1977.
I was just out of the Army, 3 weeks away from Grad school. I set out on the streets of Paris with my faithful Asahi Pentax and a few rolls of Ilford film. May have been 400 “ASA”, my ammo of choice then. Would explain the grainy shots.
“Bemvindos ao Carnaval do carnaval! 1977″. (Welcome to the Carnival of carnivals, Paris, 1977)
“A felicidade do pobre parece/ A grande ilusaõ do Carnaval…”
(The poor man’s happiness is like/ The great illusion of Carnival…)
Gilles de Binche. Those characters are called “Gilles”. (One of my cousins’ name is Gilles). Gilles is one of the most famous characters of the Carnival of Binche in Belgium. Though the origin is deemed to go back to popular theatre of the 17th century, or earlier, the first written mention of the Gilles is in 1795 as a protest to the French Directoire’s prohibition of masks… (We might have invaded Belgium a little at that time. Just a little)
Hello from Hellas (?). I think the costume is Greek. City Hall had organized a big parade (in July) of representative costumes of Carnivals with delegations for all over the world. Neat. Of course it nearly rained that day. Paris weather. Not good for light and shutter… Grain again.
More Gilles from Binches. The legend has it that the Gilles are descendants of the Incas, first displayed in 1549 by Mary of Hungary to welcome her brother Charles the 5th, Holy Roman Emperor, King of Spain, the New World and what have you, who just happened to have been born in Gand, in today’s Belgium. I suspect Charles spoke better Flemish than Spanish. Yet he ruled over a good half of Europe and most of Latin America, all the way North to Califor-na-yeah.
Holding hands. (With two guys.) Just couldn’t make her mind up?
Running late. A member of the Greek delegation. (I’m sure it’s Greece. Look at the shoes)
Child labour? This little girl was probably born in 1970. A proud member of a Rio “Escola de Samba”, a Samba school, she was training for the big show in Río de Janeiro.
“A gente trabalha o ano inteiro…” People work all year long…
“Por um momento de sonho…” For a moment of dream…
The poised delegation of Bali, Indonesia. I wondered at the time: “Carnival in Indonesia? Really?” Doesn’t matter, does it? The Balinese representatives were quite elegant. And the costumes beautiful. I regretted my B&W Ilford films…
Not too sure where those guys were from. Not France or England for sure. I would say Germany, Sax? Prussia? Uniforms are from the 1700’s at a glance. A little help from our German friends? Bitte?
To serve and protect. “Officer, can you adjust my hat, please?”. The white hat wears about 6-8 pounds and is made of ostrich feathers. The Paris police officers still wore the traditional képi, which Miterrand banished in the 80’s for reasons unknown. Who can pretend to understand “Mimi”?
“Mommy? Isn’t the Lady gonna be cold?”
“Pra fazer a fantasía…” To do (live) the fantasy…
“De rei ou de pirata ou de jardineira…” Of king or pirate or gardener…
“E tudo se acaba na quarta-feira…” And all ends on Wednesday.
Obrigado, merci, ευχαριστώ, terimah kassi, thank you, viel dank und soweiter, for dancing on Equinoxio Airways. (To be continued…)
And a big round of applause to Tom Jobim for writing one of the most beautiful songs in human history: “Tristeza naõ tem fim.”