Postcode: vivez

provence, france – photos and short stories

[o] five flags fly (nice, fr)

‘five flags fly’, nice, fr

originally uploaded by james koch

taken in the reflection of a momentarily stationary bus

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::: nice – a potted history

the name traces back to the greek ‘nikaia’ (city of victory)

nice has been created and shaped by successive waves of foreigners who occupied the eastern end of the bay of angels facing antibes

the romans had their time in nice (as they did in most of europe)

after their decline and fall, the city became part of provence until 1388

then the savoies of switzerland and northern italy took over

in 1860 a long debated deal was finally struck: napolean III repatriated nice to france in exchange for military help for italy in it’s own creation (vs austria)

mussolini’s italians occupied nice from november 1942

they were replaced by german troops in september 1943

allied forces liberated the city on august 28 1944

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[o] the bends (nice, fr)

‘the bends’, nice, fr

originally uploaded by james koch

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[o] up! (nice, fr)

‘up!’, nice, fr

originally uploaded by james koch

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[o] old english (nice, fr)

‘old english’, nice, fr

originally uploaded by james koch

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dream painting (villefranche, provence)

underneath the mountain i took myself. from home to circus; cafe to cabaret.

foreign familiar of a magic bishop – sweating uncontrollably – sat in one corner.

pink squint as beautiful as the crossed glance of premonitions and memories. if you smile at me i will understand, i thought to myself.

i eat more purple berries and climb…

two ladies sit, three steps higher. i recognise them, two. ‘kadji terru timba, flambosa rinkle sin tampu, gaduossa ramo pank’, one. the salon was empty, zero.

circle, till i am quite lost to myself.

indeed – looking over my shoulder, i find the shadow is not mine, but that of a blind man. ‘yes yes, hello boss!’

whilst the guns rumbled, we sang ‘we reclaim the right to see each other! we demand the right to piss in colour!’ as one.

over a corner – wooden ships, silver people (free, easy). through, under and back up again. into the sea.

thank you for reading don’t forget the sun. take care. k x

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looking for love (antibes, provence)

by now i have managed to forget myself. no time, no worries. so i look to recognise a rythym in the world of real things…

hot, i shake the sun from my sweater and tie it around my waste. she sits; spiraling inwards, outwards in his palm. the all in all is yellow and blue for as long as she allows.

i pass an elderly gentleman, a vicar and a boy asleep on the curb, drunk. we all thought there was nothing more, but had always hoped…

further up the hill,  the service was finishing. the congregation pile into the courtyard; lighter, heavier. hugs, smiles and goodbyes; till the families have gone and those left look around, deciding what next. as it is: a game of chance, sheer chance.

we pass each other, maybe twice and we greet. we walk to the water, chasing tails to the sea.

the little boats set sail. the all in all is yellow and blue.

i turn to leave. the deep warm kiss on the mirror of my memory will never be lost, but will always be in the past. new moments are waiting for me now.

thank you for reading don’t forget the sun. take care. k x

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vivez (ventimiglia, italy)

the sun seemed quite low. surrounded as we were by trees, tents and people – hundreds of people – the light barely penetrated in full at all.

but he stood in the full glare of the sun roasting chestnuts, voicing mixed tongues – the perfect hustler. i was nestled in some coats across the way, my path blocked under sheer weight of footfall.

jam, dolls, belts and golden horns. moving slowly, moving slower; bodies swell with opportunity.

so i carried on around the corner and filtered out of this narrow passage, against the flow, into the open conical to where the music played and the light swirled more freely.

i listen to people looking at the music. to that or to the wind, i’m not sure. he never turned around to see me, he never turned around at all; he played and played and played.

finally the sun blasts through, spewing buckets of colour over those who had been hiding in the trees.

back to the edge – there is a road to ancient ruins, over the bridge, sitting a-top horizon hill.

i feel his smile as he turns his head to me with the secret of his youth: he travels fast and light; he keeps on going. and we are all connected somehow.

thank you for reading don’t forget the sun. take care. k x

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on + off (provence)

i am away. left an hour behind: tired routines and darkening days.

wheels are still, cabin flooded with warm salty air. collect bag and short taxi into old town. ah nice la belle, i have missed you!

off to explore.

the tram purrs from stop to stop, softly whispering destinations in my ear. i wait for the doors to open, ready. “nice etoile… shhhhhh”.

gare de nice. double-decker rolls in, rolls out at gathering speed. we are aboard. 

passengers embark, disembark. those that have nowhere to go sit slumped on benches at the station; travellers following the warmth of the sun south as far as they can. 

soon i am where i headed, sick from concentration, which i know will pass.

the markets.

later, fire on the tracks so crowded bus for the (now longer) return.

i hear the screech, thud and screams of female passengers over ‘sunday’s child’. it’s the shock on peoples’ faces that disturbs. 

not interested in gratuitous glances, left, i composed a shot of the red light we were now caught at, right, occupying myself until the bus sheepishly moved on, more viduantly than before.

i am told the man on the motorbike was back on his feet.

finally, it’s good to be back on two feet myself; nothing between me and the early evening sunshine; free to roam.

thank you for reading don’t forget the sun. take care. k x

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