"The report of my death was an exagerration."

Friday, September 30, 2005

It's been a hard and difficult week. I'd like to apologise to everyone in advance if I caused them undue worry. There were a few who thought I was suicidal. In response to one sensitive contributor: No, I don't need a "flingue." (This guy was one of the dorks responsible for triggering my depression and I gotta tell you, he proves the rule that men only pretend to be sensitive when they want to have sex with you.)

I've rarely been depressed in my life, so that horrible feeling, not being able to leave the bed, the house, do anything besides lie in bed and stare at the ceiling in hopes the ceiling will crash down upon me, leaving a body-size cut out in white, that horrible feeling was something new. That, coupled with indecent amounts of raw anger. I guess it was a good thing I stayed away from people.

Things that have helped me deal with this horrid moment: Curb Your Enthusiasm, Pim's Cookies, red muscat grapes, Kleenexes, turning off ringer on phone, playing the Farfisa, the imaginings of secret lives of potatoes, thinking about what a mexican eskimo taco joint could look like, Monty Python scripts, sleeping a lot, not drinking almost any alcohol, not taking any drugs, smoking a pack a day.

I like traffic lights, but only when they're green.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

"But I tell you, my lord fool, out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety."
-- Katherine Mansfield

"Late at night I think about the love of this whole world"

Sunday, September 25, 2005

That's the second line to Brian Wilson's "This Whole World," on the Beach Boys's Surf's Up/Sunflower album. Y'all know already that I'm down with the Beach Boys. What makes it so special is that, you know, he really does love this whole world. Thanks Brian! I love you man.

Visit his website. He's matching any donation over $100, and he'll call you personally to thank you. It's for the victims of Katrina.

Balance!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

I puked my guts out last night. Given the week I'd had, I was only more than too willing to drive my Lambourghini Countach right off the cliff. (well, at least my hot wheels version right off the kitchen table) The work yin got balanced out with the party yang, right into the toilet bowl. Only eating lunch, then sharing three bottles of wine, two joints and one goblet of champagne was enough to put me right over the edge. Usually, I handle myself with a lot more class but I neglected to remember to eat. Cardinal sin if you're going to party all night.

Anyways, happy birthday boys. I was giving it up for you, all night long.

23 September - Yuri
24 September - Adam Outlaw (The Painfeeler), Stef

The Painfeeler

Friday, September 23, 2005

He lives in Georgia and delivers flowers. I miss him. With tornado hurricane season in full swing, I can't help but remember our once fecund literary relationship...

"....that boyfriend guy...he sported really lank hair...almost parted in the middle...but not quite.....he also wore boat shoes....one time I spied on them...I hid behind a Mangrove tree as they cooched and cooed on the campus green...they dry-fucked...maybe this was what they involved themselves in....him rubbing his hairy..pasty legs on her smooth tan legs....resembled a Dirty Polar Bear....matted fur....eating a sea lion...with no blood...save the blood in my brain....and so I walked to the Student Junk Food Place....got me a Pretzel and two chocolate yoo hoos....I sat outside....smoked some cigarettes at this Junk Food Place...called "The Pub"....for they used to vend alcoholic beverages to students...but not during my time...the time of the future....and this boy....who looked like the narrator in an Eisenhower America Public Service Cautionary Teen Hygiene Reel....very grim....a moralist...but not ugly....Pat Cobb...I called him this...though his real name was Pat Clough....he was an Japanese Woman Fetishist...A Devout Presbreterian....he once came to my room...he sat on my bed...he confessed some things to me...he wept....but this weeping before this Pub...Freshman in College Incident...and so here...Pat Cobb lectured me regarding my smoking....(I don't smoke anymore...though if my mother and stepfather go out of town this weekend...I will maybe buy me a pack...and smoke two of them...outside on the swingchair...late late late at night) ...the yoohoos tasted great with my cigarettes....I then went inside the Video Game Parlor to play Video Games with Pat Cobb, Doc Arcade, and Jimmy Chang...."

Painfeeler, lo Painfeeler, where art thou gone?

sorry.

I know my posts have been as dry as year old skunk lately. What can I say? I've been knee deep in a project I can't seem to shake. As a result, I've been staying at home, like a good girl, surfing the internet, MSNing... everything but really finishing this damn camel's dry dinner. But, shiver me timbers, the light at the end of the tunnel! It's Friday tomorrow and I'm going to go screaming into the night... at which point I might report my shenanigans... or not... depending on how incriminating they are...

Mean Murdering Moses! Did I just admit that I work?

We are the FAMOUS DEAD PEOPLE...

Sometimes, I can be a tourist in my hometown. Don't laugh. I already know this post isn't cool.
________________________


“WE…ARE… THE… famous dead people, we’re the famous dead people.”

I sing this little song I made up, with Benoit, every time I go to the Pere Lachaise cemetery. It’s like a little ritual, a little ritournelle, to prepare us for the bonheur that is always our cemetery walk. I love my quarter in Paris, not the least because it sits right next to the cemetery.

The cemetery is huge, with many winding laneways in the southern portion. It’s easy to confuse which laneway you’re supposed to be on. Of course, if you’re privileged enough to call it your own private garden (and not be dead), then you really take less time to hunt down graves, and more time to enjoy the scenery. I feel, the best time to see the cemetery is right now, in the fall. The leaves are rustling, the crows are feasting on chestnuts and sun slants brightly onto the tombs. The air is mysterious and melancholy, and each weather-beaten stone tablet seems ready to bear another winter of rain and wind.

Located on the side of a hill, the cemetery dates back to 1804, when Bonaparte moved all the cemeteries outside of the Paris. Since it was so far out of the way, for that time, the administrators launched a little marketing strategy by moving the graves of La Fontaine and Moliere into the cemetery. Soon after, they also moved Abelard and Heloise to a joint sepulcher. Soon people were flocking to be buried with these famous people!

There’s a surprising collection of people. There’s kind of a musical corridor, where the famous musicians are grouped. Here, you can find Chopin next to Bellini, whose opera Norma is so notoriously difficult, only a few sopranos have ever been able to do it justice. One of them is Maria Callas, whose ashes are also at the Pere Lachaise Crematorium. Of course, for the bores, there’s always Jim Morrison. Today, there were a bunch of throwback deadheads hovering around his fenced off grave, reeking of cheap liquor. I can’t think of a more pathetic display than this motley crew before a rather plain grave, littered with cigarettes and, today, a rather shabby looking toque. Apparently his body isn’t even buried there.

For the thinking man/woman, Lyotard, Merleau-Ponty, Auguste Comte and Pierre Bourdieu are also buried there. Bourdieu is serendipitously placed next to Brillat-Savarin, the first philosopher of gastronomy. I like to think of Bourdieu having a chuckle being such close neighbours with this superlative representative of the aesthetes.

For the amateurs of film, there are not only bad actors, like Marie Trintingnant, but also good ones like Sarah Bernhardt. There are also major pioneers of cinema, like Melies and Robertson. Robertson is rather a strange man, of the renaissance kind that blends magic, mystery and science. On his grave are the etching of a crowd gazing at awe as a hot air balloon flies away, and on the other side, a crowd recoiling in horror before spectres, skulls and ghosts. Robertson was the first to perfect a kind of magic lantern parlour trick where he projected slides of paintings of ghosts onto the wall. Scary!

Speaking of scary, there's also the Baronness Stroganoff, whose tomb is cursed. Rumour has it that she has offered a large monetary prize to anyone who can spend a night in her tomb. The first man died of fright... the others have simply gone mad. I find her grave, littered with heretical symbols and strange hexes, simply frightening.

On the esoteric side, there's also Kardec and Raymond Roussel. You have to read the notice from the Paris City Hall, on the back of Kardec's tomb, to understand the full limit of his lunacy. It tells you that there are no vibrations coming up from the earth so don't touch the tomb... Kardec was the head of the spiritualists movement... Roussel, well, apparently the inside of his grave is divided into 37 parts... Does that mean he was cut up into 37 bits? In life, he lived on a boat, eating the same extravagant meal everyday, and writing surrealist bits that were to influence the likes of Duchamp.

There’s also Nerval, lying face on to Balzac’s more ostentatious grave. Delacroix, Corot, Paul Eluard, Max Ernst... y’know… famous dead people. Anyways, long story short… it was a nice walk.

And then Benoit said to me: “there's less of a chance of us living here [the 20th arrdt.] for 20 years than there is for us to be famous. But you know Sammie, it’s a bit silly to dream of being buried in the Pere Lachaise.”

__________

and regarding last night, I was grumpy, tired and distracted. not a good party panther. sorry for the lack of humour, but live jazz piano of the hotel kind makes me angry. there is NO reason for that! That, plus taking the metro for over 45 minutes. Ugh. When is he going to get a scooter??

Where did you come from and where are you going?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I remember one sunny day in the summer, in my early twenties, and my friend Shelton asked me where I was going; off-handedly. I imagined he just wanted to know if I was going to meet some friends somewhere but, in a cheeky flash of inspiration I screamed out "straight to the top!"

But where I've come from, this is a question I get asked all the time. Blame it on my face that betrays no clear ethnic origins. I have toyed with taxi drivers, anxious boys, and everyone else in the same way, saying I was a mix of everything: argentina, native american, texan, mexican, filipina, brazil, turkey, spanish, french, tibetan, nepali... everything you can imagine of someone with a vaguely mocha skin and then some. I don't know the value of this question because I have never really identified with what my ethnic origins dictated to me.

For example, I'm part Sri Lankan. But, asked me to tell you something about Sri Lanka and my mind draws a blank. Perhaps Colombo will come out by habit.

I was born in Singapore, a tiny island south of Malaysia. Singapore is about as big as Paris, physically, and violently over-populated. It is a great place to stop if you like shopping and eating. Besides that, I can't really recommend it. There are no sights to see, for me, besides the beautiful Merlion which always leaves me breathless and slightly bored.

I lived in Singapore till the age of seven. My memories are small and concentrated from that time: being yelled at in Primary 1 because I drew stars and hexes all over another girl's math test, being sent to remedial class because I didn't know how to read, locking my grandfather out of his house, slapping my cousin Tym violently over the head because she sat in front of the television blocking my view, being the star of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, throwing ponsetta into the soup because I thought all leaves were vegetables, eating raw fish every morning for breakfast near my HTB home in Telok Blangah, the green tiles in the apartment, and the horrible animated man with no eyes and too many teeth that would come on everytime there was a problem with the TV.

May 1982, I moved to Canada where I was rapidly shown that I was different. Children mocked my accent, mocked my food, called me 'Paki,' called me chicken legs, made fun of my intelligence. I reacted in what I now know to be my patented style. I adapted, fast, disappearing into small passions that were common to my new country. I am a chameleon. My accent became invisible. I became Canadian, whatever the hell that's supposed to mean.

By consequence, I also lost a significant portion of my native roots. I lost the slang, the hokkien words typical to Singlish. I stop eating the food, I stopped worrying about memorising and doing well in school by diligence. I embraced my new type of schooling, which was quite experimental.

At that time, the Toronto Board of Education had a rather impressive and developed system for dealing with "gifted" children. The term "gifted" was used to denote children who displayed unusual intelligence or creative ways of thinking. We had several open-ended projects. Math lessons commenced with a small lesson in the concept we were to learn, then the rest of the class was spent in groups or alone working out rather creative math problems. I loved this way of learning math and excelled. I wrote math competitions for fun. English and History: we acted out Shakespearean plays and made false archaeological sites in the woods. This is all junior high, when I was not more than 13.

I learned that the world was interesting not out of concepts that we were supposed to know for no available reason, but because the concepts led us out into deeper richer strange pastures. I learned to be curious and to do independant research on anything I became passionate about. I loved school, I loved my family, I loved my life. No boyfriends, not many friends, but a rich internal world fuelled by endless energy and passion for everything strange and wonderful the world had to offer.

My father and I used to fight endlessly at the dinner table, over all sorts of subjects. Anything we could chew over. These fights would get so aggressive that the usual outcome would be me storming off from the table to go banging away at the piano in another room. But though he was tough, my father would sometimes award rare prizes. One time, he asked my sister and I what the highest mountain was. My sister duly noted 'Everest.' I clenched my fists in frustration and said that there could never be a tallest mountain because there was always something higher. The point of the question is to draw attention to whether zeniths could be properly identified without any doubt... I think though, that my response was somewhat metaphorical of an awareness that whatever is great and big out there is never enough. How soon is now? How much is enough? My father laughed out loud at my response and smiled out of his eyes. I always remember that moment.

Somewhere along the way, I discovered three things that were to change me forever: literature/poetry, philosophy and sex. One soothed the beast inside my soul, another gave me a way of posing the questions that pierced the dark miasma that was my understanding of the world, and the last gave me ultimate release from anything and everything.

So, that's a very rough detail of my childhood. I could go into my twenties... where I discovered sex, love, drugs, friends, enemies, failure, loneliness, fear and narcissism... but I'll save that for another time.

Where are you going? Straight to the top, or at least off the map. Bye!

DJ for a day

Benoit is fixing the window. He's knocking out glass and applying mastic. The sun is shining bright through the window and I can't work on anything. My brain is flying on an impossible dream. And so I made a soundtrack for the day:

1. Freight Train - Elizabeth Cotten
An 80 year old woman shows us how finger-pickin' is really done.

2. Insensatez - Luis Bonfa, Maria Toledo, Stan Getz
I lied, I know. I still listen to bossa nova. How insensitive.

3. Tonight you belong to me - Patience and Prudence
Children singing to a walking a piano, 'my honey I know, it won't be long before you are gone, but tonight, you belong to me.'

4. Play the Hits - Hal
A song I discovered through Sonic Eric and the DJ Nerds. It's like the perfect mix between Weezer and the Beach Boys. I was sure I had heard the song before, the way the silvery pop hooks carve so perfectly in my buttery soul... but no, it's an original.

5. Love, Love, Love - The Organ
From Canada, her voice is almost Benatar, almost Morrissey... somewhere in-between. The music, pure Brit Pop Cure-style. All girls, all-time. I saw them in the audience to my old band's concert. The lead singer, an adrogynous skinny mod girl with a large handle-bar moustaced taped onto her upper lip.

6. Gracias a la Vida - Violetta Parra
Yuri's CD, which I don't know why I kept because I kind of dislike the rest of the album. Think he got it from his ex-Peruvian girlfriend. Too world music...but this song... a simple rattling tin banjo and her hollow voice, repeating over and over again... haunting.

7. Water Music: Bourée, Handel - Wendy Carlos
I never make any soundtrack without a little touch of Wendy Carlos. I know the story is sensational but beyond that, it is my perfect marriage between pop and classic. You know... like when you suddenly saw an Eames chair and everything seemed right in the world.

8. You Give Me Fever - Peggy Lee
Yes honey, we all suffer for a little love. But let's not think about the messy stuff and get depressed. Let's think about the seduction, girls in short mini-skirts, pale lipstick and dark eye-liner.

9. Honey and the Moon - Joseph Arthur
A surprise addition, thanks to the OC. Yeah, it's back. How they can understand bitter-sweet folk songs while sailing around on daddy's gigantic yacht, those are the real mysteries of life.

10. Bluebirds Over the Mountain - Ronnie Hawkins
I like me some Hawk, Canadian style. The Hawks used to back up Ronnie Hawkins, before they moved to upstate NY, met Bob Dylan, and became The Band. This is a classic, redone by the likes of Ritchie Valens and the Beach Boys no less. But the way the Hawk does it, so slow, like he's been hungover for two years, makes you want to order an extra large beer so you can cry into the empty glass. "Bluebirds over the mountain, seagulls over the sea, bluebirds over the mountain, bring my baby back to me."

11. Bengawan Solo - Rebecca Pan
A sexy old-school Hong Kong crooner song, sang by a little oriental princess. Featured in the film In the Mood for Love, this song makes me think of late evenings, in some expat tropical bar, wearing a cheogsam, a flower behind the ear, and making sad-eyed sailors fall in love with you.

12. Sleepwalk - Ritchie Valens
Ritchie Valens true masterpiece. A song that if it could be transformed physically, would be the world's tightest strung silvery harp string, that could cut with a glance. Notable for it's appearance at the end of La Bamba, when Ritchie's brother screams with remorse and grief.

13. Waltz #2 - Elliott Smith
The XO album is a classic. A dark little waltz across some forgotten town hall by the footlights as the band plays carefully on in wine-coloured shabby velvet suits.

14. I've been near the Sun - The Folks
A young french band I was introduced to thanks to a friend. Instant Nick Drake flashback.

15. Things Behind the Sun - Nick Drake
The original. True beauty rarely exists... true beauty in a voice is as rare as anything. Nick Drake left this last album as his legacy to all that he had to live for. A month later, he was gone.

16. After Hours - The Velvet Underground
The Velvet are one of those legendary bands who have influenced everyone and anyone... you know, the same way now all the dancers are doing riffs on Michael's old moves. I chose this song because it's so quiet inside. Moe Tucker almost never sings, but her voice is so clean and unaffected that it's a shame Lou didn't write more for her.

17. Dance me till the end of Love - Leonard Cohen
My very first concert was at the age of 15. I went to see Leonard Cohen play at the O'Keefe Centre. After the incredible concert, I went to the back alley to wait for his exit. It started to rain. All the other fans, which were much older than me, sagely crept under the eaves of the building. But I stayed stubbornly in my spot, transfixed by expectation. Suddenly, there he was, in person, in his signature black suit. He took one look at me, the lone drowned rat, and came straight. "Oh, you poor thing."

18. Not Going Anywhere - Keren Ann
I'll tell you once and I'll tell you again: I'm bloody fed up with sugary french pop. But that's a lie. I'm no Keren Ann groupie, but I'll tell you that this is one damn sweet song. Bittersweet acoustic chords at their best. You can almost see the sun setting over the lake as her brown hair whips carelessly in the wind.

19. We've never met - The Sadies + Neko Case
I had a big crush on Dallas from the Sadies, but could never say it because I knew it would anger my at-that-time boyfriend, Yuri. They worked together in some music factory. Dallas was a coffee drinking, cigarette smoking legend of underground rock'n'roll. His dark lanky hair covered up a gaunt face, which could crumple into a smile.

But it's Neko Case who steals this show, hands down. "Oh my darlin', oh my darlin', how can you forget, all the love we had between us, now it's like we never met, oh it kills me, when I think I gave you up, you were golden, I was blind, with your poison, in my blood."

20. Harvest Moon - Neil Young
My sweet love, one day, when we're old and grey haired and have earned all the crumples in our faces, I'll throw you a party on a fine summer night, under floating paper lanterns. And we'll dance to this underneath the stars which have always winked at us since the night we first met.

my kind of bar

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Men and their things. Sometimes when I see a bunch of men standing close together, having a laugh, I imagine them naked, slapping each other’s backs, while their penises stay timidly asleep. It’s like the penis is the great asshole, ruining friendships and making things difficult. When it’s sleeping, men are laughing to each other’s crass jokes. That seems just about right.

I like men. And I also like bars. But not just any bar.

I like bars where I can be anonymous. I prefer when the décor is shabby, with ample supplies of cheap lighting. The clientele looks like they’ve been here so long they’re practically painted into the walls. I like men’s bars where all that stands for entertainment is a radio screaming out football results. The type with formica tables, two choices of beer, a phone that never stops ringing, garish fluorescent lighting, and lots of peanuts and pickles with the drinks. You can stay there till two in the morning to watch men stumble proudly out of their carved seats.

I like these bars because nobody will pretend to dance to music, nobody will push anyone else because there’s not enough standing room, nobody will tell you anything you don’t want to know, and nobody will wonder if you're fuckable because you tell the right joke/know the right person/wear the right clothes. They’ll just want to fuck you because you have a vagina and you’re not their wife. The bullshit is kept to a respectable minimum.

I’ve found just such a bar and it’s in the Marais, of all places. A little bar called Chez Raymond, where you can eat pickled celery, spicy carrots, with your beer and nobody will bother you. The phone rings constantly, the conversation is animated. The men are old. You’d seem anachronistic in normal everyday clothes. Here, one has to wear an old-fashioned suit, cream the hair back, and stand with the head further back than the belly.

I was too shy to go to the back room, where I imagine the gaming and betting goes on, but I caught a glimpse of it through the corridor. A nice heavy fug of cigarette smoke in a windowless white walled room. The gestures of slow lorises injected with coffee.

Later on in the night, I went to another kind of bar. This type of bar I’m definitely more familiar with. A rock’n’roll bar. Like all rock’n’roll bars, the space was too small, too smoky, there were butts and bodies pushed in every corner, and the bargirl was surly. I ran out of things to say and I didn’t feel like saying more. When I was in Toronto, this was practically the only kind of bar we went to. The only question left to ask is: why?

*to check out cute rock boys, idiot!*

Diego

Friday, September 16, 2005

An infant with gigantic limbs, who sorted out after giving his mum almost a day of pain... this Diego, he be the new child of Inaki and Delphine. It's rather more beautiful than one could imagine. All the Bordeaux boys collected tonight at Richard's place to have a toast. I was so moved to see grown men reduced to paltry comments on Bourgogne and Bordeaux wines, interspersed with compliments on Diego's unusually big size.

Inaki seemed so growned up, in his suit and shirt, classy, serving us champagne, and looking more sober than I think I've ever seen him. He recounted Delphine's struggles, how she went into labour during the League of Champions Lyon/Real Madrid game. She stayed in labour for 20 hours before Diego made his already late appearance. Inaki later said, "if you ever want hard-core singers, go to the maternity ward. Pure screaming"

We then headed off to Point FMR, where even Katerine came around to congratulate the new father. More baby talk and other comic events ensued, but what counted was that we were there, all a little confused and bemused. I watched this group of boys, who have known each other for over 15 years, look embarassed and proud over an event they were too mystified to comprehend, but recognized as a crossing in their lives.

Diego's going to be huge. Kisses for Delphine.

___________________________

Addendum:
What I didn't mention last night, in my inebriated euphoria, was the incredible raging desire, displayed by every single male in the room, to get instantly drunk and stoned. Perhaps it was a great celebration, or the need to have a great celebration, but hidden behind it was also, I think, anxiety. As if now the fact of having a child in their midst not only solidified their fraternal union, made a family of all of them, but also threw into sharp relief that time is passing.

As Richard said, "When reality becomes reality, it's totally unreal." Of course, he did projectile vomit about a dozen times not long after.

Free Lobotomy Test at the local McDonald's

Thursday, September 15, 2005

You know that Simpsons episode where Lisa asks Bart to stick his finger in the electrical socket, and he does this repeatedly, each time getting a large-sized shock. Sometimes, normal people really do behave like they’ve been lobotomised.

I think of this everytime I drink, smoke, take drugs, get a job, or eat at McDonald’s. I feel lobotomised. The immediate thrill is always outweighed by the pain sometime later. Of course, by the time the decision presents itself again, I’m ready to stick my finger in the socket.

I knew it when we were ordering, and I couldn’t order in French and warbled in my native tongue: cave-girl talk. The girl asked me if I wanted Big Potatoes five times. I had no idea what the hell that was. “Don’t they make the fries with the Big Potatoes,” Voin offered helpfully. I followed this up with a “Big Big Big Potatoes.” The servers started cackling at us, all J-Lo hood style, in Spanish, “those stupid wastoids over there, I bet they don’t even know to eat before smoking.” Fucking right sistah!

Then, once we got all our food, and I was handed five packets of ketchup, we walked to the stairs going up, but in juggling his man bag, cellphone and tray at the same time, Voin’s juice came a tumbling down. We turned around and there were already two managers staring at us. Luckily one dispatched an underpaid underling to wipe up our mess. Then we realized the stairs were closed after walking into the boundary.

This is so lame… I mean, McDonald’s, for fuck’s sakes. The burgers were tepid and rubbery, the meal stale… I hulked down to finish what I could but it was like the stupid GHB incident, where we knew we were getting into a bad thing but just couldn’t stop ourselves. Except, this time there were no midgets dancing on chairs.

Finally, at Point FMR, smoking again to push away the pain, I realized that every month, Voin and I make some ill-advised trip to McDo-land. And every month, it sucks.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

laetitia

standing alone with a time bomb

I have always been a huge fan of Dave Hickey’s writing. His peppery little articles in Arforum always reminded me that one could be deep without being pedantic. The first book I read, The Invisible Dragon: Four Essays on Beauty,” was a book I couldn’t wait to give away to friends. I must have bought maybe 7 copies of this book in total, and I still don’t have one sitting permanently on my shelf. It was that important.

The second book, Air Guitar: Essays on Art and Democracy was found tumbled in one of my twenty-three boxes of books I went through before coming back home, to Paris. That’s right… I was a book-collector in a former life.

Anyways, let me just skip right to the good part… his writing.

Stated so simply in the first paragraph of “Unbreak My Heart, An Overture” the first essay of Air Guitar:

“Two nights ago, I was talking with some local artists about things that used to be cool and weren’t anymore – the things that we missed. These artists were mostly kids, so they missed some really stupid stuff, I thought, like Adam Ant and giant shoulder-pads in women’s clothes. I told them that I missed “standing alone” – the whole idea that “standing alone was an okay thing to do in a democracy. “Like High Noon,”I explained, and one of them said, “oh, you could do that today… (pause for effect)… But first you’d have to form a Stand Alone Support Group!” Everyone laughed at this, and I did too, because she was probably right, but I didn’t laugh that hard, because, at the time, I was proofing this book, which constitutes my own last, tiny fling at standing alone. It’s hardly High Noon, I know, but these essays do represent an honest effort to communicate the idiosyncrasy of my own quotidian cultural experience in the United States in the second half of the twentieth century – to recount some of that experience and, whenever possible, account for it.”

Which he then segues, in the same essay to…

“… that these kids, having a duenna and a lot of structure besides, did not require a wide selection of love songs. Then perversely, it occurred to me that the dogs didn’t need any love songs at all. [the author is watcing two dogs fuck in the road].
That was my answer. We need so many love songs because the imperative rituals of flirtation, courtship, and mate selection that are required to guarantee the perpetuation of the species and the maintenance of social order – that are hardwired in mammals and socially proscribed in traditional cultures – are up for grabs in mercantile democracies. These things need to be done, but we don’t know how to do them, and, being free citizens, we won’t be told how to do them. Out of necessity, we create the institution of love songs… We cannot do without it. Because it’s hard to find someone you love, who loves you – but you can begin, at least, by finding some one who loves your love song.”


It’s nice to have this book back again, in my arms. There so much life and moment tied to this simple tome. I lived with it, with glee and astoundment, screwing up my eyebrows with each leap of fancy. It’s been three years, Dave, since I’ve seen you and you’re looking just as dandy as how I remember.

But, in the back of the book, I found a scrap of paper, tucked deep into the spine. It was a poem, a love song, written from my boyfriend of that time. A most beautiful and wonderful man I have never ceased to care for. It must have been written when I was already in France. I remember him now, as clear as lightning, reading the text, in his own handwriting.

Time and time again
Forever near, close to the end
A faraway place close to my heart
A destination, in waiting with you

A way up high, way down low
Lies a body of water, never disturbed
By it all, by it all
Rejoice in my arms, in my arms

Shadows of paper places, casting on the wall
Flying endlessly
collecting in streams
Shallow streams
That collect what is left.


It looks just like paper but it’s really a time bomb.

are ripped jeans still in?

Are ripped jeans still in? This is the question I keep asking myself. Here in Paris, the rules of the game are a little different.

First of all, you have to ask yourself, what kind of player you are:

1. The chic Rive Gauche girl who changes her shoes every season.
2. The one with the turn in her lip that all the boys stare at so she wears a v-neck plastic dress to show off her boobs.
3. The weird mixed-breed from too many countries who can’t decide if she wants Euro-style or Brooklyn street-chic.
4. Indie rock with a pony tail, long bangs and a face that looks like a baby with collagen stuck through.

Second question:

Are you dressing to remind people where you’re from? If it’s North America, are you dressing with enough rock for your Givenchy? Have you picked your nationality? Remember that an outfit that can work in New York/London might crash and burn in Paris. But who said anyone worth their weight in titanium is wearing ripped jeans in New York. I know in London, that kind of thing still goes on… but so does latex mini-skirts… Homey don’t play that way.

Third question:

Does ripped jeans punk-style still hold, even though the garage rock scene, which never really hit Paris in the first place, is on the wane? Paris is so NOT rock.

Final question:

Do you know how to walk?

Response
I know how to walk. I wear my ripped jeans with a skinny red belt, neon-yellow tank top, 70s clean cut raw silk jacket, Audrey Flats, Chanel spray-painted bag. This isn’t work. This isn’t punk. This is my life. I am mixed-breed.

Hmmmm, Mickey Rourke threw out his jeans fifteen years ago but have you seen his face lately! Dude looks like a Frankenstein.

No matter how hard you try...

I don’t know if I’m built for blog meetings. There’s this Paris Blogue-t-il event coming up on the 21st of September. I’ve been to two other little blogger soirees since I’ve been in Paris, and both times, while I connected with one or two people, I had the impression that I was the red herring. When I feel like I’m out of water, my natural instinct is to flop ungainfully till some liquid is found aka. until a cute boy offers me a drink.

The book that probably best represents me is the House of Mirth. I dread being Lily, being a cog with no wheel, not finding a place to fit herself in this life. But Lily I am in so many ways. Is this the danger of reading novels? To find your doppelganger in a character? There’s an old folk belief that the day you see your doppelganger is the day you start dying.

Right now, I’m listening to Francesca’s Party by Baxter Dury, and there’s this part where he repeats over and over again “No matter how hard you try you fall from grace.”

But I don’t want to sound down. I wouldn’t change a thing… except maybe for that time this rocket scientist proposed to me and I turned him down because he didn’t like to eat vegetables.

____________________

I saw this picture of Fats Domino boarding a boat a couple of days after Hurricane Katrina swept through New Orleans. He hadn’t evacuated because he had sat through other storms. That’s the power of New Orleans. There’s no other place on earth like it. Good ole Fats eventually made his way to the apartment of some Houston NFL player where he crashed while the linebacker was doing water bottle runs. He stayed there for a bit, and now he’s back on the road.

Everything beautiful in the US leads back either to the road, or Blueberry Hill.

About last night...

Sunday, September 11, 2005

I should never write anything when I'm still high and drunk, at a party. It sounds like I sniff glue.

flying on the skin of a tire

It's the second night of staying out late, drinking and talking, all just for the rising of the sun. Who loves the sun, who cares that it makes flowers. The coming times of going out. Last night, after working all day, I went out with drink, new fast friends and stories of women with shrunken arms. Tonight...

Another Employee of the Year Photo

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

ravasson
Brogognoni is the senior partner of the
Dynamic Duo.

Sacre Santae

It was after midnight when the phone rang. I listened in as my husband took the call. He started in french and quickly switched to a strangled breed of english, simplified even by his standards. I wondered who it could be. As the conversation progressed, I picked up from his exclamations and quick response that this was not a friendly call. This was urgent.

As soon as he put down the receiver, he turned to me and said, "do you know who that was? "I shrugged. “It’s Santae.”

Santae…. Scary. A mad irresponsible sexual tourist who covers up his devious persona with alarming levels of ineptitude. A man who could make Columbo look like Condoleeza Rice. He’s rather short, pudgy, very messy teeth, laughing mouth and childish eyes. We met him at our old art school, where he had driven the whole administrative department to distraction with his antics, saying yes to everything so that nothing was sure by contradiction. I like his films, the last one of which was based on Dante’s Inferno. He filmed three naked rugby men in various greek poses, being swarmed by 3D gears and throbbing canyons. It was both awful and hilarious at the same time. Thoroughly Santae.

He had called us from the hospital, where he had just been let out. He wouldn’t tell us what the story was, but he needed to come over and “change.” A few minutes later, I opened the door to check and heard his blundering steps on the floor above me. His face was stitched up on one side, and his tank top and pants were splattered with blood. The white pillowcase he clutched in one hand was soaked with blood. We gave him fresh clothes, a towel, and made a bed.

Bit by bit, the story came out. Apparently, he was supposed to have moved at the beginning of this month. He had been busy, so his stuff was still there. Then the landlady’s friend came over and smashed a bottle in his face. He went to the police station with his story, after which they phoned the aggressor. When Santae got back to his apartment, he was beaten up, again.

And now he was here.

But, I’m not telling the whole story. In fact, Santae is exactly the type of boy who pushes his luck as hard as it will go. When we were still in the north, he stayed over at our place for one week once after a similar altercation involving boys who lived on his street. Somehow, Arab boys always like to punch his face. Sometimes, I just think his gay-dar is off and that the font of his problems is simply his predeliction for groping straight boys.

We showed him to his room and went back to ours. I wanted to lie down and relax, having hooked up my radio to the US Open. Suddenly, Santae was back at the door, and he came over and sat on the bed.

“oh oh oh, I wanted to talk to you… ha ha… haven’t talked to you in a long time.”

There’s a reason for that. When I lived in the north, he once stayed over at my house for over a week. I realized at that point what a miser and a mooch he was. I mean he just wouldn’t pay for anything except frozen pizzas, which nobody else could stomach but him. He never seemed to be able to be left alone, and was always around for dinner-times/tea-times… eating and eating and blathering on, knocking on doors.

He was sitting on my bed, asking about me. I gave in. We tried to talk: I asked him about his summer. He talked for a long time about Tarot cards, which he collects, being touched by God while swimming in the Jordan river, and then sex. And once he was on the subject, he just couldn’t get off.

“I went to Petra. Ha ha… the boys are very beautiful there.”
“Petra, it’s in Jordan right.”
“Yeah. I had sex in the temple.”
“You had sex in the temple.”
“Ha Ha… yeah, sex in the temple. You have to be careful. Everybody is looking for sex at the temple…. I want to tell you something, but it’s a bit shocking. I had sex with ten men.”
“Ten men?”
“Ten men, in the temple.”
“Oh.”
“Ten men, in the temple. I had sex with them.”
“Oh, all at the same time or at different intervals?”
“Ten men, in three days.”
“Three days.”
“Yeah, I had sex for three days, ten different men.”

“But I’m shy… I don’t let them get inside me. They just look at my body and jerk off.”

Right. Anybody who jerks off to Santae’s torso is a sexual deviant. But still. Then he went on and on about rugby men, men in Turkey, how excited he would be to visit the Czech Republic, on and on…

“I am doing research.”
“You certainly like your fieldwork.”
“I am going everywhere where there are gay men and finding out about them. So far, I like Turkish men the best… If they are beautiful, I touch them… If they are not so beautiful but big and long then I….

At some point, I had to cut him off. The husband was sleeping on the bed and Santae was creeping ever closer, staring adoringly down at him. Santae seemed to be working towards some point, or at working himself up. Luckily, he’s good-natured and I threw him out. After which, I stretched lazily down and the husband popped his eyes open and laughed.

“Sacre Santae.”

a quiet weekend

Monday, September 05, 2005

The weekend was quiet. Only Saturday night was of any consequence, and I hardly think it musters up to my usual level of lunacy. The sun was setting in the early evening when we charged through traffic around Republique, screaming at other motorists, while trying to make our way with speed towards Place Concorde. We had a date with a "peniche" (haha, houseboat all you gutterheads!) for 19:00. After several passes around Pont du Concorde, we honed in on the secret exit on the right side of the canal and found our boat.

I was with some friends, well-dressed and extremely suave, but in truth, I was waiting for my gay boyfriend. When fashion matters, a GB must be there. Since Thibault is my current GB of the moment...

But I don’t know if the boy reads my emails. The invitation clearly specified “glamour” and “elegance.” He came attached to two characters: Samko and Denise. The first was a rather skinny adolescent-like Polish boy with an atrocious Cockney accent and a Bros haircut, platinum bleached hair with dusty roots sprayed into a rectangle on top of his head. He was dressed in punk rock t-shirt and extra-ripped jeans. Denise was a gorgeous Mexican Lolita, with puffy red lips, grey-ish kohl-outlined eyes, skinny rock t-shirt, Champion shorts and extra extra high high-heels. A knockout. Thibault came in black t-shirt and black jeans styled like an extra for a G’n’R shoot, minus the hair. It was full-on rock’n’roll.

So they slid onto the boat, oiled by vodka fumes, and proceeded to up-end the whole project. In truth, I loved every second of it. I loved their ne’er do well attitude, the sexiness of their lack of inhibition, the growl hidden in their throats. If anyone was in disguise that night, it was I.

(I was wearing a slinky shiny brown sleeveless jersey dress, styled like the Chloe roman-inspired line from last year. Roman ballerina sandals and tiny silver chain + Chanel spraypainted bag completed the look... blah blah blah... chicos quoi)

But a look is still a look. It was still left up to me to flash my lacy knickers at the passing bateau mouche. Afterwards the boys couldn’t stop flashing their bums too… but I like to think my delicate aristocratic rump is much more preferable as vision to some white hairy rocker ass.

We ran off the boat when we got bored and skidded all the way to a party in the 13th. There, after much sneering at the DJ waving his hands underneath a waterslide, I phoned my husband, who was working, and caught a taxi with him home.

Dynamic Duo

dynamic duo

In their day jobs, they dress in jeans and cords, never wear a tie, and smile quite a bit. But, when push comes to shove, they change into their super-hero costumes. On the right, "not-afraid-to-think." On the left, "I-kill-rats-for-fun." Professional writers of comic office scenarios.

(ok ok.. the left is my husband, the right is his best friend. Some photo gag... don't ask.)

the worm in the apple

Friday, September 02, 2005

I couldn't help looking it up even though I don't like the news. I wanted to write about something else: eating giant african fish, blogshares blahcares, michel houellebecq's new book, how to imitate cheeses. But I can't help it. It scares me.

A couple of days ago, the husband, who unlike me reads more than the sports section, told me that Katrina was aimed at New Orleans. Like every other news story, when the storm got downgraded and we found out that there weren't that many casualties, I slipped it off my mind. Then yesterday, Tim, Eleonore's southern gentleman, filled me in on what was going on in that beautiful broken-down town.

It's going to hell.

As if facing nature's wrath wasn't enough, people are now shooting each other, looting the town bare, and turning what was a disaster area into full scale anarchy. The town has turned over to the savages once born as men. I can't even begin to imagine what it must be like, to know that your own police force cannot protect themselves, no food, no water and all evacuation halted because people are firing at the helicopters meant to ferry people to safety.

In one particularly poignant picture, we see a large man standing outside a convention centre, holding in one arm a child, and in the other a blanket he is using to cover up a man shot dead. Shot dead! Not even killed by fallen trees, or drowned in a mudslide. He must have thought "Hell, the worst was over. Life goes on."

Well, greed, hunger, desperation, they go on too. How wonderfully resourceful the human animal is.

Famous Moustaches - Redux

Thursday, September 01, 2005

In a couple of days I will post the sequel to a series I started almost a year ago: Famous Moustaches. In order to prepare for this earth-shattering event, I am giving you some homework, the very first post in the series: The Moustache of Madness.
Enjoy and get ready for... The Moustache of Sex.