Monday, April 2, 2012
At yesterday's annual spring "plowmen's festival" at St-Jean-en-Royans, the atmosphere was so gloomy (in spite of the sunny weather) that I hardly felt inspired enough to take many photos. For the first time in years, the carnival float conveying the festival queen and her two maids of honor was so dull and unattractive that I didn't even bother to point my Nikon in that direction and push the button. One of my shots has a vague Diane Arbus flavor:
They guy at the wheel of the tractor seems to be wondering (like me) what the hell he's doing there, and hoping that the punishment won't last too long. The grim expressions on people's faces, totally devoid of smiles, suggest an absence of joy, bordering on some kind of pervasive anguish. Even the polar bear doesn't seem to be particularly happy.
The participants in this Portuguese folkloric group appear to be totally dispirited, and dancing robotically:
Among the onlookers, there's not a single smiling face. As for the following guy, dragging a stunted Eiffel Tower through the streets of the village, he seems to have fallen asleep with boredom:
I have no idea what was happening to produce such a dismal mood. Is it the economic crisis in Europe? Or maybe the lethargic effects of global warming? Or might it simply be that old-fashioned village festivals of this kind are inevitably winding down in intensity, and dying a natural death? Seriously, if I were the mayor of St-Jean-en-Royans, I would take the initiative of suggesting to my fellow-members of the town council that they abandon the antiquated "plowmen's festival" and ask the young people of the region to invent some new kind of happening...