Old Orleans – lightly frisked and chilled to the bone


Holed up on a freezing day in a cafe in the centre of Orleans, en-route to the Gary Winogrand exhibition in Paris.  Interesting day in many ways.  I am amazed yet again at the extent the French will put up with extortionate prices.  I have before me a cup of Ceylon tea, for which l’addition is 3.45 euros.  While not an unpleasant brew, it wouldn’t excite attention in a Happy Eater, while the price would irk even tea drinkers at the Ritz.  Wandering round the (very beautiful)  city just now I was also struck by the price charged for hideous items of tat (apparel or bags etc), which would run a max of a tenner in Oxford street – 100-200 euros here.  No wonder they are so disillusioned with M. Hollande. 

But there is no doubt it’s a lovely and well run city.  The photo above is of just one example of the hundreds of Belle Epoque buildings that make up the heart of the city.   My admittedly quite smart cafe looks out on a well proportioned square, with a market (second hand books and choucroute) and a kids carousel.  Loitering around the latter just now, I was struck by the familiar tones of the jolly children’s music issuing from the heart of the machine.  Ian Dury and the Blockheads, singing their well known junior favourite ‘sex and drugs and rock and roll’.  If you don’t know the words I guess it sounds appropriately bouncy and perfect for the little mites as they whirl around.

I took the picture with my newest photo plaything, the Fuji X-T1, a camera of unmatched gorgeousness, that is giving me a deal of pleasure at the moment.  And I am producing the copy you are reading now, on my featherweight little Lenovo tablet, with a Bluetooth keyboard.  Touch wood, it’s all working just tickety-poo, and I am really surprised and gratified at this new ability to produce moderately complex posts with equipment that weighs so little.

A while ago I reported to my chagrin that I was going to have to succumb to the dead hand of Apple, as a bit of photo software I wanted to use was only available on IOS.  With a heavy heart, I ordered a new retina iPad, and it duly arrived.  It’s been sitting, unopened in it’s box, balefully winking at me, as I wrestled with my distaste for the whole Apple schmear – and iTunes in particular, which I loathe as much as say, George Osborne.  Then joy, Adobe announced that the Lightroom mobile app  I needed was available on Android!  So the smelly parcel is going straight on eBay and straight out of ma hoose. 

That is a task that awaits me when I return to the UK.  For now, a few more adventures, and particularly the opportunity to see the work of the late great Winogrand, one of the greatest street photographers that ever lived, in one of the only two showings of this work in Europe.  Can’t wait, and d’you know – I’m almost (but not quite) excited.

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