Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Emperors of the Highways

These faded figures rescued from the obscurity of a distant postcard past represent the true titleholders of the urban highways. They are the people whose economic survival depends upon their detailed mastery of every inch of the city’s road network. Their minds indelibly marked by decades of remunerative navigation through cartographic complexity. Their theatre of dreams is the river of cobblestones that connects every district, faubourg, quartier, whether high or low, rich or poor, elegant or seedy. White vans have taken the place of handcarts in today’s economy and apologise to no one for their domination of the street scene. They are the remote descendants of our humble drawers of handcarts and though their vehicles may increasingly tend to a high-spec silvery hue, they continue to occupy precisely the same position in the economic hierarchy.

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