The town crier

The Sunday morning markets have a summer atmosphere from the month of June. The sun shines, the street musicians move around in the midst of the crowd, people meet, they talk.

And in La Croix Rousse in Lyon, the atmosphere is even warmer thanks to Gérald Rigaud, the town crier.

I am not a bohemian, to write to you this poem
But it remains to me to tell you that I love you.

For two months now at 11 o’clock exactly a crowd assembles in the main square in front of the town hall to hear the latest news in the neighbourhood. Gérald calls messages addressed from neighbours to neighbours, classified advertisements or declarations of love. People make a small contribution to have their message read and already there are some who are hooked. It is not the first time that Romain sends his poems to Laura by the intermediary of the town crier.

Ten years ago, there was a little boy who was here who said “Oh but I know him, Romain, he is my pal. Oh but I know Laura too, she is there”. She was there, so I said “Laura, tell me then, you saw. Do you know Romain?”. “Yes”. “And did you know that he loved you”. “Yes”. Let’s go …

Gérald found his inspiration in a police novel.

Before there were police, there were the rural guards who peddled information, official information, from village to village on the countryside. Personally I have a book by Fred Vargas “Pars vite et reviens tard”, a police novel, a character of a town crier, but it was sentimental, it was fiction and I said to myself that it would be good to bring back this media, in fact, because at the time of mass multimedia, a little local media that is really not bad and in fact it works because we can talk like that and it is the people of the neighbourhood who are speaking to one another and it is on a human scale.

During the sessions, we find all the life of the neighbourhood.

So, in the butcher Candella’s which is in rue Perrot just in front of Chanteclair over there, if you go there and give them the password, then as they are very nice over there at Candella’s, well they have a great offer, a leg of lamb for mother’s day and you only pay 13.50 euros per kilo instead of 15.96 euros.

Nat, if you do not record “The heart of men”, I won’t speak to you any more.

Experienced female house sharer, not a graduate, looks for a house share. Come and see me, I have the number, she is very nice.

I would like to know why my customers don’t leave messages in my mail box. Signed Christophe. He is the one in rue d’Austerlitz when you go down over there; there is no one who leaves him messages. Make him happy!

The wise do not cry; neither do the living nor the dead. There has never been a time when I was not, neither you, nor all the princes of men. We will never cease to be, the unreal not to be, the real never cease to be.

Let’s say that he has an indulgent humour.

Proverb to be shared. Nothing without her has the power to seize what is near. Genuflexion (that’s nice), I revive it. Nothing without her has the power to seize what is near. Twice, that’s a little too often…

Human values are lost because there are so many things which make sure that we do not speak to one another, we fear people, we have our little lives, we stay in our little lives, we do not take chances any more, so consequently because we can take being stabbed, we can take being run down, I know something about it, we are constantly afraid and what’s more we don’t have the money and there is no work and there you are… oh no, bother, we need to loosen up a bit, to talk to one another, to be happy. We have a right to happiness in this life and happiness is what happens when people talk to one another, right!

Vanessa… Vanessa? Where are you? What are you doing? What has become of you? Do you remember? In my sleepless nights you are alive. Wanting to see you again, here or elsewhere. He is not old enough to be adorable. Guy.

Oh gosh, it is huge. This message is for my daughter, so only send it to her when you are sure that she is in the audience. It is from one of your faithful fans. You won’t be able to miss her, you have without doubt seen her in the crowd with her brown curls, her little red eyes and her inimitable smile. So I thank you very much and want you to pass her this little personal message. Elise, I love you and admire you; I am very proud of the person you have become. Your mum Anne-Marie.

The formula works and the crowd never stops growing. Today there are about 300 people who meet at the weekly gathering.

It brings a lot of pleasure coming here, yes; it is a breath of fresh air every Sunday morning.

In this day and age, there are not many things which bring people together and it is a good moment which many people share, and I find that it warms my heart.

It is a moment of happiness. And I don’t know, he has succeeded in doing something… in the end, I don’t know, a real moment when he has many things happen.

A big moment of conviviality and of bringing people together around the public square and then we get back to values which are interesting, I find.

Are these meetings brought about my Gérald going to be taken up elsewhere? And why not in your neighbourhood? Well it is true that in Croix Rousse he is on fertile ground. This old neighbourhood of silk workers is known for the warmth of its community.

On my hillside, life is soft
The air is light
The sky is blue
I love it well
My good hillside
My old plateau of La Croix Rousse
My Croix Rousse is a country
In the heart of a bustling city
It is the town and it is the hill
It is the quiet and the gaiety
It is the most charming place in France
For people young and old
Ah my good friends
What luck, what happiness
To be people of La Croix Rousse.

$Id: 2004_06_soc.htm 35 2021-02-12 12:17:35Z alistair $

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