Inspired unashamedly by a photo book I spotted whilst over in the British capital, the weekend of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, as chance would have it, called 'Shit London', I proudly present my latest délire, as the French would say: Sab's Totally Crap Paris.
It occurred to me, as I flicked through the aforementioned tome of images of run down neighbourhoods, horrendously spelt or imagined shop names, wildly-less-than-desirable eateries, and, yes, turds on the streets, that Paris didn't have much to be ashamed of, in an inverted snobbery kind of way if you see what I mean. Hell, Paris streets can out-shit the best of 'em, that's what I say!
My next challenge was the name of my latest genius idea. 'Shit Paris' was obviously an option, but I quickly crossed it off, for several reasons. First of all, given my inspiration, the existing 'Shit London', it would hardly be original, and may encounter slippy-slidy copyright problems down the line, who knows.
Then there's aesthetics. Prude as I'm not, words like 'shit' don't worry me too much, but having said that they don't always project the image or subtlety I'm after. Naff Paris was an option, but a little too colloquial. Crap Paris seemed to me the ideal compromise between vulgarity, slang and vapidly timid slander. The ´totally´added the personal touch I was after.
So there you have it. Expect blindingly banal boutiques with Anglicised names to weep over, screamingly uninviting ´trottoirs´, weary tourists, endless queues, rainy days, strikes, homeless souls and basically anything and everything that strikes me as crap about Paris, including, no doubt, the odd dose of, you know, that... brown stuff (shh*t)!
Sab's Totally Crap Paris No.10 ~ "Are You There Paris?"
A very good question. At first sight you'd think this question was a bit redundant, with it being scrawled on the side of a decidedly uninviting looking building just around the corner from the Latin Quarter in the 6th. So I'm thinking this is a deeper question. Someone who had a very real idea of what they were looking for when they came to the city and perhaps hasn't found it yet. Or not. That's the way questions are. Often unanswered. More frustrating but sometimes more fun that way.
* Sab Will runsPhoto and Curios Tours in Paris, and also manages a variety of Paris and photography-themed sites and blogs. He writes an illustrated Paris Chronicle every day, runs a Meetup group for Paris lovers, interviews Paris personalities and reviews Paris books (on this blog), and even contributes to the city's street art (shh), so feel free to browse some of the links below and in the right-hand column to find out more about what he gets up to out there...