Sunday, September 13, 2009

Never miss a brocante anymore


Today I passed by a brocante on rue Lecourbe, in the 15th arrondissement. I'm not a big fan of old junk goods, but once in a while I walk through one of these hoping to get a good photo. I'm pretty happy with this one, which shows an old French typewriter (did you notice the keyboard layout?), but I wasn't too happy with the stand owner who started complaining when he saw I was taking a photo.... Anyway, if you're interested in visiting one of these brocantes while you're in Paris, let me give you a tip: visit Spam.fr (it's not a joke!) - They keep an up to date program month after month.

30 comments:

  1. Great shot. I still remember starting to work in Paris and discovering the keyboard is different—oh no! Oh well, I was a terrible typist to start.

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  2. Oh, and sorry the brocante owner gave you a hard time. Isn't that annoying? Did you tell him you were doing it for your faithful fans?

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  3. Well you could have asked him if you could shoot some photos, I'm sure he would have said yes.

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  4. Well when he complained, did you tell him WHO YOU WERE, Eric? I do love this shot and the nice background color adds to the vintage feel. Yes, I saw that %&$# French keyboard! :)
    V

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  5. Beautiful shot. I like the contrast between the typewriter and the velvet display.

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  6. Ah, the dreaded AZERTY keyboard. I agree with Virginia and Andreea the typewriter looks great against the purplish cloth. Gotta love the "bloqueur de majuscules" key. Sounds like a good French rallying cry!

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  7. I have a typewriter very similar to that one (though with a standard English keyboard). It seems rather romantic... I wonder what correspondent took it to what exotic location to write which life-changing tome. Sadly, I don't know a thing about its provenance as I purchased it at a tag sale here in the States. But it doesn't keep me from dreaming... Ciao!

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  8. I used the keyboard in the hotel lobby when I was there in December and it was horrid to use but by then end of my stay, I had gotten good at it and had to relearn mine when I returned home.
    I'm bringing my own next month. Hope it works.

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  9. Unfortunately, I never took enough French to understand what "brocante" means. Can someone please explain?

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  10. I wouldn't mind owning that typewriter. It has style!

    I will never forget on my first visit to Paris the charming gentleman who said to me "good luck with the French keyboard." Truly an understatement!

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  11. traduction, svp, of Majus Cules?

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  12. I really love the round buttons which were so nice to type on. Now they look like little icons on a computer screen.

    @Janella - "brocante" is French for "flea market" or "garage sale" or "boot sale" or "tag sale" depending on where you're coming from.

    @Suzanne - "majuscules" is "CAPITALS" or "SHIFT" if your only reference is a computer keyboard.

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  13. Question for those of you with children...do they even know what a typewriter is? Have you bought an old one with a ribbon for them to discover before they go into the museums?

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  14. Michael -- I think my kids only know what a typewriter is because their grandmother has one!

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  15. And do they know what a "record" is? Yes, I'm talking vinyl, the best sounding recording media ever. I love it. Completely inconvenient, you need special equipment, if you are careless you'll scratch it and it will always carry a 'click' after that, you must keep it in it's own jacket container, which looks perfect on it, and be sure to clean your needle before playing it.

    Yep, that sounds like love to me.

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  16. Michael - yes! I still have my old Petite typewriter from when I was a child lol. Also I have an electric Silver Reed which seems quite antiquated now. Haven't used it in years...
    I've never seen this keyboard layout before. Only ever qwertyuiop. Looking at your photo, Eric, has given me an idea for recycling such machines, since I think few people would use them now. I'll say no more for now..;)

    As for being told off for taking photos, I am so fed up with this. Yes, I suppose it might have been polite to ask, but for goodness' sake, what objection can there be? Apart from taking photos of children, which I completely understand is objectionable, why can we not take photos in public anymore without someone putting up the hand stop sign? Really depressing and there's a lot of legal going on in the UK right now about it. It is still legal to take photos in a public place of people (not minors) but there are many who will say no and try to stop you. I was stopped in a shopping centre in Birmingham recently by two burly security men who backed me up against the wall - not physically; simply by walking towards me - and told me it was prohibited. It is now illegal to photograph the police in the process of their work, but how else to report such things? Whole thing's gone mad. Pah! Pffft! I'm irritated in both languages, as you see... ;)

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  17. I was also stopped recently by Chanel. I wanted to photograph a product as my friend wanted to take it back to Germany to see if she could buy some there (she'd run out of holiday Chanel spends!) but no we were not allowed. Why? No reason given. We wrote down the product, but it was the shape of the bottle she liked. It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world.

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  18. Lynn, I could not agree more. Are people afraid we're going to steal their soul?

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  19. Lyn,
    I agree. I'm tired of it too. I was asked to stop taking a photo in a mall parking lot the other day! I was at a braocante in Paris and was standing outside the lady's booth taking a photo and she gave me a look that would kill. I think asked if I could take a photo and she said trés seriously, "You should have asked beeeeefoorreee!" Pfft's right.

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  20. My solution - feign ignorance! Give a great big friendly innocent smile when you snap. Its disarming. Don't give in to the trend police. (I know it won't work every time, but, make it hard on them!)

    This photo is very warm and charming to me. It evokes a whole room that wasn't even there - sort of a library or writer's den that's very comfy and warm and well-used and where your grandfather used to sit and smoke cigars and tell you fantastic stories of far off places before you nodded off to sleep. Merci, Eric!

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  21. Virginia isn't it annoying.

    he he Eric, yes, steal their soul. That's the look they give us. Incroyable.
    The funniest objection I had was when I was at an event shooting some celebs (er should rephrase but it's funnier to leave it in) and two young things, dressed up to the nines, jumped into my frame, shouting their objections. I explained that at that moment I was in fact photographing a building and hadn't even noticed them (who the hell were they anyway? I was thinking). They carried on though, holding up their hands and saying in loud voices "No pictures today PLEASE! We just wanted a day OFF!" then scooted off hoping to hear my clicks of my frenzied camera in hope of getting a shot of the wonderful couple, but...I was silent ha ha. They were nobodies trying to be somebodies I'm afraid. Drawing attention to themselves, quite successfully though in the crowd, when otherwise they'd have joined the queue of the Z list. Funny.... :)

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  22. Wow, Lynn! I can't wait to see if anyone showed up at the mall and what happened. I'm not usually much of a potstirrer, but at least to this Yank, the regulations, privately imposed or not, seem to unduly limit people's freedom of speech.

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  23. But, I should add, this Yank really doesn't know what the rules and norms are in your countries, so maybe I shouldn't speak!

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  24. Nice find Eric. Any vintage jazz albums nearby? My left hand has enough trouble with the QWERTY to even think about going in the direction of AZERTY. Michael, I've pitched the same question about vinyl albums re: youth. Haven't seen any being used as frisbees yet, so I'm still hopeful. ;-) It's good to be back on this site. I've been away. I see there are new faces....

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  25. And I'm with all of you. Nice to see you, Coltrane!

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  26. There is the same typewriter in the Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris. But your photo made it more attractive :-)

    nomme muit !!

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  27. I didn't know. Thanks for the information

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