Presidential Rally, Daniel Johnston & Jad Fair, Phobia and Roadside Message …

With the first round of the French presidential elections happening this coming Sunday (yes, they logically vote on a weekend in France), I headed out to the eastern edge of Paris to Vincennes, where Socialist presidential candidate Francois Hollande held a huge rally of his supporters at the Chateau de Vincennes. Despite how un-presidential looking here appears to me, all opinion polls point to him defeating current President Nicolas Sarkozy and becoming France’s next president.

Francois Hollande - Chateau de Vincennes

These kind of rallies are really fun to shoot. You see an incredible blend of characters all mixed together: ardent believers in the cause, drunks just looking to rub up against a stranger, old-school proper Frenchmen, young kids on unicycles, all races, at least 5 genders, etc. It’s nice to feel the energy of a large group of people at least momentarily all focused on the same thing. It’s powerful.

Supporter - Hollande rally at the Chateau de Vincennes

However, I guess the years of watching American politics have made me more cynical because even while I felt this very positive energy, I couldn’t help but feel like the people attending the rally were really suckers for believing that if their guy gets in office, he’s going to change things for the better. That just doesn’t seem to happen anymore in any big, western country. Small changes, yes, sure. But it seems to me that the political systems have grown into something where a president can’t make that much of a difference anymore; at least a positive difference; we know they can still make a negative one.

To see more images from the Francois Hollande rally (and there are some characters), CLICK HERE.

Had a rare opportunity to photograph a couple of fascinating characters playing together in concert recently at a spiffy new venue in Paris called Gaité Lyrique. The first was Daniel Johnston, a singer/songwriter/musician (kind of)/artist who was the subject of an excellent documentary called “The Devil and Daniel Johnston”. There’s no way to describe Johnston’s style of music but if you’re interested in learning more about this guy, watch the documentary. Thanks to Stevo (I think) for turning me onto this guy.

The other singer/songwriter/musician/artist was Jad Fair, the founder of the “lo-fi alternative” (whatever that means) band “Half Japanese”. He put on a very eclectic almost punk-like performance with a guitar that he can bend at a 90 degree angle at the neck. No shortage of energy.

Evidently there’s a new kind of phobia going around, at least according to Wikipedia. “Nomophobia is the fear of being out of mobile phone contact. The term, an abbreviation for “no-mobile-phone phobia”, was coined during a study by the UK Post Office who commissioned YouGov, a UK-based research organisation to look at anxieties suffered by mobile phone users. The study found that nearly 53% of mobile phone users in Britain tend to be anxious when they “lose their mobile phone, run out of battery or credit, or have no network coverage”.

THIS WEBPAGE is very cool.

You know those signs on the side of the road that tell you how fast you’re going? Like this one:

This panel was installed in a little town called Eaucourt-sur-Somme to slow down speeding drivers. They installed the panel and did a test for one week to make sure it worked. So why am I blogging about this? You see the little message box just below the number 60 that says “-1 Point”? Well some joker who worked at the company who installed the panels made this message box say two words in English if you were going more than 50 kph: “FUCK YOU”. The prank lasted for one week and must have surprised the heck out of many motorists. I only wish I could have seen that myself.

Some photos of the week(s):

Young Hollande supporter

Older Hollande supporters

My nominee for least-inspired Paris fountain - Champ de Mars near Eiffel Tower


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