Every bookstore is the result of its clientele

One day I saw an interview of a celeb journalist and TV show presenter, a person I like very much, directing good shows and a pretty good interviewer herself. She was asked why TV was so full of trash. I saw her face changing, she was really upset, then answered something very surprising : TV broadcasts were so bad because “It’s what the audience wants!”.

She continued on this mode, telling something like “If people were watching operas, literature documentaries and great movie classics, all trash TV would broadcast in front of nobody, then would disappear for ever, then we would have great TV everywhere!”.

Her anger was noticeable, and that’s why I remembered it clearly. When smart people complain, you listen. Then, you wonder, right?

Because of course this all seems to be too good to be true, and it’s easy to counterattack. People watch trash TV because it’s prepared and broadcasted to them, etc.

 

So, there’s a balance here to find. After counterattack I have to admit that we all have a responsibility here, nonetheless. It’s like when I hear someone complaining about dense traffic… from a car. I have to answer to this person that he is a brick of it.

In some countries, if you are stuck into a traffic jam, you get a ticket! Which, in a way, is fair : you’re a part of it, it’s your fault!

OK, there’s a balance to find…

 

I work in a bookstore, and I’m confronted with this “structure”. The axiom could be :

“Every bookstore is the result of its clientele”.

You can be appalled, but it’s true. For a part, at least.

Yeah, there are other dials to watch. You need to have serious booksellers on board. And you often have to sell tons of “best sellers” on end displays… to be able to present entire tables of great books (your choice) in the store. Etc.

In a serious bookstore, all kind of books are bought then presented on tables and shelves. Employees, then, watch (weekly) closely the sales, then books are reordered. Never sold volumes (for months) are a bit dirty or torn, and therefore sent back to editors, and this is it : little by little, the customers, by the way they act and buy, model and form the store.

You just need a year or so to adjust, understand and change your store to adapt to your clientele. If you have an architecture school a street away, your architecture department will grow, you’ll have rare books, theory books and even anthropology books for the thinkers around. A visitor will pass and will be in a awe : “Oh wow, what a great architecture choice you have!”. Yessss it’s thanks to the bookstore employee, but mainly because he found the clientele, too. It’s a dance, a tango.

There’s a balance to find.

There’s a split of responsibilities in front of trash TV, in traffic jams, in poor supplied bookstores. Suppliers, of course, but audience too.

Do you meet this structure too, in your job, in your life? Don’t hesitate to comment, here.

 

We have an old idiom in France, about couples : “L’homme propose, la femme dispose”. It’s something like “the man proposes doings, the woman makes the choice” – I’m sorry for the translation, it’s almost impossible to do it, but you got me, right? Tango.

 

Thanks for reading!

(Really sorry for my English today. Have a nice day!)

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“To Eat Alone”

Some recent events in my life made me a lonely man, and therefore a lonely eater.

When I was a father in a family, I was really happy to have dinner-togetherness, to cook for my tribe, to talk, listen, laugh, and feel the family’s energy around the table.

I’ve been very skeptical when I read about how Americans were losing these daily gatherings of all the big cats around the table. “Everyone is having snacks when they want, everybody’s picking things in the fridge, watch TV or eat in bedrooms”, they said. My feelings were like between “it’s not true, it’s impossible” and “oh these Americans!”.

When my daughters were little, some days I went home late, it was almost time to go to bed : I told them stories, kissed them goodnight, then I was happy to have dinner with their mother, but also alone.

I remember good summer evenings. Two cat babies sleeping, mother cat watching a movie, and me papa cat, with a cassoulet, two slices of bread and half of a bottle of Bergerac wine, eating on a tray, on my bed, in front of a wide open double-window (or should I say “French door”, really?), watching and listening birds and trees in the dusk, sshhh.

Not working on thursdays, I remember I was happy to have meal time alone, eating in silence in the kitchen, listening to the rain outside. On my table : a candle, a corner lamp, and a magazine (about movies). Maybe some Brahms chamber music too. Bliss!

Now I eat alone, but I don’t snack. I never snack, and I’m always questioning my snacking friends in America, opening different little colored bags to crinch crunch and croonch while we Skype. I’m like “Where’s your plate, dear?”. They know I eat alone, thus they’re somewhat amazed by HOW I’m eating alone. Well, that’s nothing special, but I… I’m sorry… I can’t snack. It would kill me under a blanket of depression. It’s almost : “I’m French therefore I need a plate”.

I know better, OK : I have more time, in France. We work less, we move less (distances are… different here – I go to work by bike), and… errr… I think we think that food time is worth it, too : I eat alone but it’s cooked, sliced, prepared, organized. Just a bit. I need it.

Awweee sorry for my bad English. I’m wobbling, I know it. Pardonnez-moi !

Have a nice day! Bon appétit !

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“Consider other doors, gallivanter!”

Sometimes you’re less interested by the works than by the theories, discussions, struggles, articles and letters by those who invented it or studied it.

Imagine you’re interested in cubism, or new wave music. You can study the paintings and listen to OMD’s albums, but you could also dislike all of it, and at the same time discovering plenty of good ideas and concepts in the articles, books, letters around these subjects.

Go to France, but visit other cities than Paris. Read a poet, but not his poetry. Focus on trains when you study WWII.

So what? Well, nothing more than :

“Consider other doors, gallivanter!”.

I’d go further : choose a field you really don’t want to like (pick one : Street Art, Turkish Music, history of the Loire Castles in France, early movies of Brian de Palma, African food, or Nicolas de Stael’s paintings), and you go girl!

You could be surprised. Or find harmonic links with what you like, concepts you could apply to your discipline, or other doors to even more interesting territories.

Thanks for reading!

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Freedom & Hungriness : exploring a domain “in a roundabout way”

Imagine you want to explore the life of Abraham Lincoln, or the D-Day. You can do that the proper way, reading a biography or watching a good documentary. But I like to find other path, in a roundabout way, finding another door, another color, being a little casual and inappropriate.

Take the Lincoln example. You can :

  • Read about someone’s around : his wife, a general, his murderer.
  • Read about what happened after him, or the American life before him.
  • Find pictures on the web about him, his life, his handwritten letters.
  • Read a diary of somebody who knew him.
  • Find everything about his opponents.
  • Explore one month only of his life and the country’s life too.
  • Find a Lincoln forum on the web and spend months exploring, reading questions and answers of specialists.

Tool :

Casualness in knowledge exploration is a possible way.

Thanks for reading!

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#French #Blogging in #English : un Songe

OK I’m French, I knowwww that I make mistakes. Sometimes I even make mistakes on purpose, like when I use nouns as verb. Thus… at night : I bed, then in the morning I coffee. I should have written that “I mistake on purpose”…

Blogging in English? Why?

Because it’s not my native language, so I HAVE to make in simple and short. Simple because I don’t have all the vocabulary. Short because… I know you don’t like to read long articles on your smartphone. Therefore short is good. It also forces me to be synthetic.

I asked some friends “how does it sound?”, but they were really not able to tell me. Charming Frenchy? Awkward foreigner? Disturbing little flaws? I don’t know if it brings colors or botherness

Yes, OK, botherness : no, OK. I liked it, though!

What I heard also is that it sounds French ALSO because of the way ideas are expressed (How so? Casualness? Impoliteness?), or even because… American people just simple don’t think like that, or say that. Parfois, un article vient d’un simple songe…

Songe? What’s between “think” (penser) and “dream” (rêver), in English? We have this verb : songer. And a splendid noun : un songe…

Bonne journée. Thanks for reading!

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Instagram : mariadelsur

 

#Geek #Marketing : Cattle Displacement

Marketing, it is what it is.

But Geek Marketing is like more terrible to watch (why?). You see human beings “happy to buy” this “mainstream but no-mainstream” shit, from Funko Pop to Walking Dead comics (162 issues today), from Goth subculture clothes & things from the Star (Wars or Trek?). Eeeeeekkkk!

They never finish to gather to… say they’re different. Well, they’re moved : cattle displacement. Buy buy buy.

Tool : Obey : buy this Jack Skellington Pop, this Hello Kitty purse, and this 700$ Falcon Millenium Lego. Obey (all these things are very cool).

Or not!

Have a nice day!

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Instagram : natgeo

 

Pushing a lever in #music : in The Field’s “Over the Ice” #electronica

Deconstructing music is a good exercise for ears, mind, intelligence and creativity. Try to forget what’s “around” the track you like (your mood, remembrances, your dance, your pleasure) and focus.

Launch this, please : Over The Ice

You can deconstruct different “families” of things. The instruments (bass? drum? violin?), the production (how all these sounds are placed, modified, how they are evolving), etc.

You put your headphones on, and you visualize music as a land, a scene moving along a road (which is time, evidently).

I love to “see” a music piece as a big set of LEVERS. Each sound can be discreet or loud, dry or reverberated. Some levers determine all the others : is it simple (lever low) or complex (lever high)? Assonant, dissonant? Quiet, energic?

There’s a good live version here : The Field – Over the Ice

This guy is interesting, because in the area of electronic music, he changes the position of one lever : evolution. Yesssss we all know that these musicians like to “make us wait”. But here, it’s like too much, but with talent, with a good purpose. We wait, we wait too much, and if we are not bored, it’s just charging our brain and our ears. Little Steve Reich, yeah. Or Richard Pinhas, if you remember this Heldon guy…

As, in the live part, he works with a bass player and a drummer, the effect is fantastic. It’s charging, charging, looping…. until the “charge release” at 4:40 is… Qu’en pensez-vous ?

They call it “minimal techno” for this reason. MMmmmh?D

What lever would you lower, in your area, to make people wait? In poetry? In marketing?