Wednesday, November 10, 2004


Whilst in Paris this summer we were walking around the backstreets near Place De Clichy when we came across a playground filled with children. Our son rushed in and began communicating through play with the French and Arabic speaking children. We sat in the sunshine, looking at the half demolished buildings which were near the playground. Beside one of these in the street was a huge pile of stuff...clothes, kitchen utensils, books, ornaments, furniture, boxes and jars filled with things. Going through the stuff was a small solidly built man dressed in a combination of postal, military and civilian clothes, with a large hand drawn wagon next to him.
I approached, as in my past I have had experience with the gathering of things left over or 'gleaning' as it was once called. We struck up a converstaion. He spoke good English, had been in Australia and had a police badge from the Victorian Police Service to prove it. Whilst in Australia he had also lived as a gleaner, leaving the country after 12 months with 70 kilos of gather objects to resell in Paris where he lived. His name was Titus, he believed the young of today where too materially minded and that why there was so much stuff lying around as the "yups" as he called them just threw stuff away when they wanted something children.
Titus invited me to take several prize items he had in his wagon, a chinese robe, some sandlewood powder, a Balinese mask and this:

It is native American I believe, possible from Canada. On the back is written $47 J.E. It is 20.5cm wide and 26.5cm long. if anyone knows anything about this sort of thing let me know please.

Thanks to Titus, wherever he may be.......

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