Modern Times ! (not by C. Chaplin)
Being a “kind of old-fashioned boy”, I watch with astonishment- nay- I would say rather more “astoundement” the goings-on of our “Modern Life”.
Doesn’t seem too long ago that Mr Ford promised everyone a “Model T”, and from there we went to bigger, better, faster, more comfortable, drive-itself styles, park-itself styles, take the family styles, take the mistress styles, take the whole world styles, in all colours, of all shapes, and all using the same means of locomotion – Fossils!
They were pumped out on the factory band, they were hand made with love and care to detail, they became more popular than wives or mistresses, children didn’t have a chance against them, and neither did the Planet!
Well, we reached the limits of this wonder weapon very quickly! Hardly a century gone since its arrival and we are very close to having no more of that “black gold” stuff – necessary to good functioning articles, which are in turn so necessary to go shopping with the kids and to do other very important things with!
Even if we had lots more of the black stuff, we couldn’t go very far, roads jammed, no parking places within the outer limits of 10 the metres from where we want to go, be it the fitness studio or the hamburger joint, or both together!
Just yesterday, I watched the images of a Capital City gone mad.
Paris, France – in the grips of a sort of General Strike (yet another Public Holiday).
No train, no buses, no taxis, no nothing! Forecasts of endless jamming on the main roads, and with the English Rugby fans coming for their defeat, additional languages to curse and swear in!
None of that at all!
Paris, France has recently “gone greener” and has installed thousands of “bicycles for hire” places. Run by the City Council, the idea is simple. You find one of the many Bicycle storage points (they are all over the place), you pays your money, and you takes your pick of the “jolie bicyclettes” on offer.
The thing is then used to pedal to wherever you want to go, and – once arrived – you look again for the nearest Bicycle Storage point, and you stick your rented bike into it, take your “jeton” and you go off to do what you wanted to do! Now some of these bikes are very attractive to look at, bringing tears to your eyes and thoughts of long ago: (never seen it in my neck of the woods!)
Other bikes are less comfortable to use, and just bring tears to your eyes – and thoughts of Haemorrhoids! (Seemed a good idea at the time)
Of course, certain bike views are far too cheeky for Paris, France streets, even during a strike!
(Very cheeky indeed)
But they all have one thing in common, they work (the bicycles) - even in strikes, and don’t need that black liquid stuff!
Unfortunately, there aren’t enough of them, particularly on strike days, so a “run” was made on them, and in no time at all, there weren’t any left!
Now – the idea is that you can just take a bike to go from point A to point B, park it, and come back later to take another bike to go to point C, and you can pay for the day, or for certain time limits.
How do you do that when there are no more bikes available?
Well – some insolent, “clever”, unsocial burks (they exist everywhere) came up with the idea of putting a combination chain padlock on “their” bicycle, when they put it back into the Bike storage point, meaning, of course, that nobody else – even with a valid “jeton” could use it!
Unlawful, insolent and unsocial, “me first and above all else”- these cunning asocials accepted the one and only risk, that maybe someone from the Paris “librevelo” concern would come around, and immediately use a metal cutter on the lock and chain!
Amazingly the act of chaining up such a bicycle is not punishable by rule or law, although declared illegal, and since the Paris “librevelo” concern is run by the City Council – therefore Public Employees – what risk is there to find one of them wandering around - on a strike day?
There we are – a mixture of modern life, of attitudes, and of the future.
It appears that modern life has advanced so much that we’re all back to pedalling!
China and Japan could re-think their future strategy! Stay with bikes, fellows, or think up a mini-atomic bomb for each vehicle – they must be relatively cheap to produce!
Fred Flintstone had the secret – get everyone, Mother in law included, to “footpower” the thing!
Anyway – that’s life!(What’s life? A Magazine! How much does it cost? 12pence! How much you got? 11pence!.......... That’s life!)
Saturday, 24 November 2007 (iwmpop).
(It’s getting near Christmas, hence the photo!)
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