Bowsprite: A New York Harbor Sketchbook

a docking in cherbourg

This story is told by Sandy Eames, a tallships sailor, so it must be true:

A schooner came into Cherbourg, France to dock. As it approached the wall, its bowsprit impaled a 2CV. The skipper put her into reverse, but it as the waters would have it, the bow lifted up as it backed out, and the boat took the little car out with it. And as luck would have it, the cafe overlooking the dock was full of diners who could testify that Sandy’s tale is true.

Si vous etiez present lors de cet evenement, merci de nous envoyez votre temoignage pour confirmer sa veracite!

I love the rich colors of Technicolor and Kodachrome! The 1964 film, Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, however, was shot on the unstable Eastman negative stock. The director, Jacques Demy, knowing that the negative would fade quickly, had three color bands shot on black and white negative, and thirty years later, created a new color print that is lavish and rich.  The entire film’s dialog is sung! it takes a bit of getting used to, all composed by the incredibly prolific Michel Legrand, who also helped to digitally remaster the score for the new version. The experience is something else: elegant dresses matching the wallpaper, beautiful old painted numbers on the bows of fishingboats, sailors in their uniforms, umbrellas, cobblestones, a sweeping, teary score… Probably not shown on a tug flatscreen soon, but here is it, because it is beautiful!

Ah! restoration. It ain’t just for ships.

And, in a “of all the gas joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine” moment…

(click on the youtube link, then on “cc” to view subtitles)

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19 Responses

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  1. tugster said, on 2010/01/29 at 08:15

    thx fr the great sandy story. i love the 2CV impaled on the quite substantial bowsprit. and the “parapluies” clip . . . merci millefois!! surreal with its sung lyics (“fill it up”) beautiful homey esso gas station, feather headress, subtle arrival of music, savored cigarette, and palpable emotions . . . viva bowsprit and bowsprite!

  2. Valerie Trucchia said, on 2010/01/29 at 11:32

    Love it all!
    Watching the end of “Les Parapluies de Cherbourg” made me cry again.
    It’s the song, Jacques Demi and Michel Legrand are such romantic guys.
    I too, a long time ago, took screen shots of the movie, too beautiful.
    I hope that the sailor dudes will appreciate this girly post?!!

    My fav. of the drawing, the stoic bartender on the pier who has seen so many things in his life that nothing will surprise him.

    Christina, you are the best, thank you for making us dream and for the great fabrics.
    It could have been the perfect wall paper for Catherine Deneuve’s bedroom in the movie.

  3. Buck said, on 2010/01/29 at 16:04

    I am enriched, yet again.

    Merci beaucoup pour le film, et aussi pour le roman de la chameaux de la quai!

  4. Mage B said, on 2010/01/29 at 21:24

    Buck and I agree. Enriched, better because of you, and applauding the film because you took the time to share it with us cretians here. Hugs………

    • bowsprite said, on 2010/01/31 at 02:34

      merci, Valeria! Buck! Mage! Guillaume!
      isn’t the internet simply amazing? bisoux, c!

  5. Ben said, on 2010/01/30 at 08:17

    Magnifique! The inconsequential remarks are hilarious when sung, ‘Super, ou ordinaire?’ chimes the gasman.

    Nice shots of a citroen DS in the background.

    Another 2cv story; A friend of mine lived on a Chinese junk in Ibiza in the 70’s, he kept a battered canary yellow 2cv on the quay. The car was old and dented and had lost its canvas roof. When my friend flew to Paris for a couple of weeks he left the car on the dock.

    On his return he found that the locals had used the car as a dumpster. It was full of harbour and boat yard junk. He told me that he pulled out enough rubbish to be able to sit behind the driver’s seat and rattled around the island until he found a real dumpster where he unloaded.

    • bowsprite said, on 2010/01/31 at 01:57

      oh, Ben! why do people do that?!? I always come to my bicycle and find my basket with trash in it! But i’m very curious about the junk! I love junks!–the sailing kind, not the dumping kind.

  6. alice 0 said, on 2010/01/31 at 08:07

    merci et mercy bowsprite . . . people are always tossing rocks and dumping dirt into my open baskets aka holds, and when i discharge it, they just do it again and again and again … my real reason for writing though relates to this quote: ““of all the gas joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine” i would mean a lot to me if youse NYC h2Obloggers and any other EAUbloggers would parody more movie lines like the one above. for a “getting-tired” working girl who never has times to see a show, it would provide needed enrichment of my over-routinized existence where people think of me as a “bulk carrier,” not a once-glam complex femme who loves french cinema. for months i’ve been trying to get you-know-who to do a post called “the story of alice 0″ but rebuffed, ignored, … taken for granted!! have a great day today!

    • bowsprite said, on 2010/02/01 at 18:36

      dumped on, getting dumped, I know! makes a girl want to cry into her scow. But I know a fella who would wine you and dine you, show you a good time; he writes sonnets and posts about you. But you play hard to get and turn yer AIS off when he’s stalking…er, pursuing you…’fess up!

  7. Michael said, on 2010/01/31 at 10:33

    Trash in the baskets of glam complex femme bloggeures? Quell horror!

    Which may or may not be preferable to having your car snatched by a bowsprite. In New Yawk we’d say “Couldja put my frickin caw back please? Restaw it to itz place of pawking!”

    • bowsprite said, on 2010/01/31 at 11:12

      Ladieeeez & Gents! I present to you, Michael the Peconic Puffin, certainly the most polite New Yawker we got, for I tell you, those are not quite the woids most of us would use! Ah, Michel, comme tu es charmant!

  8. whalen said, on 2010/02/01 at 17:41

    It’s not just a schooner vs. 2CV problem….sometimes it’s submarine vs. phone booth.
    see: http://www.sid-hill.com/top/ntins/bbs-019.htm

    • bowsprite said, on 2010/02/01 at 18:21

      what a story!!! SO rich, it is pure illustration as is!! however, this one don’t come with subtitles, so…:

      COB – chief of the boat
      QM – quarter master?
      DRT – Data Recording Terminal? Dead Reckoning Tracer?
      7MC – sorry, no clue!
      ATR – attrition reserve?
      GM boat – hmm. General Motors?
      CS1(SS) – don’t want to be her/him
      COMmander, SUBmarine force AtLANTtic

      • whalen said, on 2010/02/01 at 21:30

        COB – chief of the boat………………………………………..right!
        QM – quarter master?…………………………………………..right! Quartermaster was I!
        DRT – Data Recording Terminal? Dead Reckoning Tracer?..ded reckoning tracer
        7MC – sorry, no clue!…………………………………………….Engineering/Bridge comm circuit
        ATR – attrition reserve?…………………………………………after torpedo room
        GM boat – hmm. General Motors?……………………………..right! GM diesels (vice FMs)
        CS1(SS) – don’t want to be her/him………………………….Cook, First class petty officer
        COMmander, SUBmarine force AtLANTtic…………………….right!

  9. whalen said, on 2010/02/01 at 21:33

    Oh yeah…. it is a example of a NTINS.

    Before telling, it’s traditional to say “Now this is no shit….”

    • bowsprite said, on 2010/02/01 at 22:44

      Thank you, Quartermaster, Sir!

      note from said Sir: ” the boats (subs) were built by various shipyards (Electric Boat, Portsmouth, Cramp (Phila.), Manitowoc, etc.) and they used either GM or Fairbanks Morse diesel engines. Most of the crew didn’t care which brand of rock crushers made all the noise back there, but the enginemen were very loyal.”

  10. [...] Keep reading » February 2nd, 2010 | Tags: Art & Artists, Humor & Horror Stories | Category: Art & Artists, Safety and Seamanship | Leave a comment | [...]

  11. alice 0 said, on 2010/02/02 at 06:47

    he sounds so sweet . . except what if i’m not into sweet fellas!?? should i reconsider? is it time to try a new dance to the same ol music? might i even try some new music? my dear sister bowsprite, what if i’m not up to the challenge? will you talk me thru . .?

  12. Vagabonde said, on 2010/02/05 at 20:01

    What a thrill to see Les Parapluies de Cherbourg again. Wasn’t Catherine Deneuve pretty? That was her first important film. She was Vadim’s new pick after his first wife Brigitte (Bardot.) How about her hairstyle? Big do – I used to wear my hair like that for special occasions (like in the clip) – it was hard to do though because my hair came to my waist – usually wore it with with flowers – I lived close to Haigth and Ashbury then (in SF.) Ah que de souvenirs! You made me feel nostalgique. I liked your post. My father bought a 2 CV and he had to sell it because I would get sea sick in it, or whatever you call being sick in a car – it moved too much in the back. Your drawing of the boat with the 2CV is too much – loved it.


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