Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Keep it up

On a precarious pedestal half-way down the steps outside the Sacre Coeur at Montmartre, above the bracelet sellers and portrait artists, there was a man who had achieved total mastery over an art form practised by many little boys: the keepie-uppie. This guy was king of keeping the ball alive - flicking it, kicking it, or, as the photo shows, spinning it on a pen balanced on his foot, all the while moving sinuously in time to the hip hop he played on tiny speakers. A small crowd seemed to forget the February drizzle as they filmed him on their camera phones.

A few steps up, there were at least a hundred people encircling a middle-aged man wearing a black, button-down-collar shirt and saggy blue jeans, with hair that hinted at a frustrating half hour spent in front of a mirror trying to achieve 'Rockabilly'. He had an acoustic guitar and he played La Bamba.

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