Ze French Coronavirus Chronicles, 6

Ze French Coronavirus Chronicles, 6

 

Jünger writes :

It seems that in particularly looted regions, one found refuge in arts like in lifeboats, mostly in poetry and music.

 

***

Types of confinements? Sometimes we look like prisoners of course, or castaways, shipwrecked sailors (oh I read so many books about this “type”, very curious about what they did and how), but also otakus, those people who do not want social contact at all, hermits, waldgängers

But I prefer to place myself in the role of these two guys in Jünger’s fable On the Marble Cliffs : the narrator and his brother live in a hermitage, a closed retreat, a life of refinements and quietness, with plenty of books and a garden. Outside, there’s a village and surrounding hills, “who feel increasing pressure from the unscrupulous and lowly followers of the dreaded head forester”… Brrr!

 

***

New words I discovered yesterday : bollix (but, verb or noun?), stake (but, wager, and bet??).

Each new word is like a “hole plugged” and filled, and in the same time it appears like an enigma, a radioactive element full of questions : When do people use this? What is the difference between it and its synonyms? Etc…

 

***

This epidemic made me think about Social Medias. To find informations, accounts, opinions…

  1. Facebook is useless. Who uses the search bar here? And if you find a good text from a doctor on the web, do you ask him as a friend on Facebook to follow him ? Nope. It’s just fun, voilà.
  2. Twitter is better but need constant adjustments, I love the way I find new persons and things through retweets.
  3. Reddit is great, à ma grande surprise, because it’s moderated. There you can follow a person, but you mostly follow a subject.

There are really useless and hilarious and interesting SubReddits, like /aww, /damnthatsinteresting, /kamikazebywords, /technicallythetruth, /oddlystatisfying, /birdsforscale or /catsstandingup, or /hmm.

https://www.reddit.com/r/CatsStandingUp/

 

***

I think it’s a common human law : people don’t really think, and they feel invincible. When the epidemic began to expand out of China, if you were a minimum informed you knew you had to buy some food, wash your hand, and avoid crowds.

I began to follow the /coronavirus Reddit and read accounts of young guys in Italy telling that they were mocked if they wore a mask. “It’s just a flu” will become a phrase people will remember in the future, as a symbol of hurdy-gurdy-stupidity. Today they have almost one thousand deaths per day, in Italy…

Today we hear about Spring Break parties or about guys in the world arguing like “Nobody will tell me what to do and when to do it”. These things shall pass, for two reasons :

  1. Stupidity and not listening, with consequences (maybe regrets)
  2. “No Choice”, sadly, with consequences too

When in India or Mexico or Africa we have confinement, people have to go out because they are not paid if they don’t work, or they massively move to go home (which is far elsewhere), or it’s so crowded in cities that when you go erranding, you’re packed, want it or not.

 

***

In the constant irony of life, there’s religion. In many place on the planet – and each one has its own “God”, right? – religious gatherings lead to explosions/disseminations of cases, therefore deaths. Very curious to see this range of religious or conservative milieus – because what? Hmmm. Example in France :

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-france-church-spec/special-report-five-days-of-worship-that-set-a-virus-time-bomb-in-france-idUSKBN21H0Q2

 

 

Thanks for reading! Stay safe!

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Have a nice day! Stay safe!

 

Ze French Coronavirus Chronicles, 5

Ze French Coronavirus Chronicles, 5

There’s one newsletter I follow, more professional, by the MIT, it’s here :

https://forms.technologyreview.com/coronavirus-tech-report/

***

Watched a duo, great movies : The Post (Spielberg – 2017), and All the President’s Men (Pakula – 1976), same newspaper (Washington Post), same executive editor (Ben Bradlee, by Tom Hanks and Jason Robards). Interesting concepts (freedom of the press, sources, decisions, investigation methods), strongly increased by this pleasure : comparison between the films. The bonuses on the Blu-rays are fantastic!

When the pleasure is in the comparison

In a way, the second movie is the following of the first, though it’s been directed 40 years before. I LOVE to couple movies, like Fellini‘s 8 1/2 and Allen‘s Stardust Memories. It can be a remake, or a ‘connected’ film – which is the case here.

***

When I was a teenager I suddenly understood why music was so… pleasantly toxic to me sometimes, with Ennio Morricone or Mike Oldfield for example. I know people love music for different reasons – energy, memories, genre, a voice, virtuosity, lyrics. My reason is the pleasure given by modulations.

I found an article in French, you don’t have to read it, just click on the two YouTube movies. The guy gives examples of typical “Floating Harmonies” invented by John Williams in Harry Potter or Indiana Jones. It’s here : https://compositiondemao.com/harmonies-flottantes/

You have have an… unexpected torsion in the middle of it, before it goes back to normal.

Williams does this all the time, it brings magic to a melody, therefore you can’t forget it. The Vader (The Imperial March) theme is based on this trick :

On this page ( https://www.leandrogardini.com/single-post/2017/02/12/The-Williams-Modulating-Themes ) , watch the Minority Report (first movie). His “Floating Harmonies” decisions make him modulate the melody (at 0’56”, 1’45”, 2,07″).

This makes me think that Morricone and Williams are the best movie music composers. This makes me adore Joni Mitchell, Mike Oldfield, Abba, Röyksopp, or… Puccini!

  1. Modulating Solos : The Pat Metheny Swervy Syndrome
  2. The Strong Liquors of Dissonances
  3. “Pick the Quarter Best”, a Quincy Jones pattern
  4. Passages, Modulations, Transitions
  5. The Abba/Puccini syndrome

Of course I’m interested in… what would be a modulation elsewhere, in poetry or architecture, literature or blogging…

***

So I read that Miles Davis is the Pablo Picasso of Jazz, like Federico Fellini is the Picasso of movie makers. If you’re bored, this is a trio : there’s material here for a couple of months.

***

Agnes Obel, again. In the vast terrible ocean of soft female voices with a piano, she’s with her cousin Vienna Teng. Here she sings with a male voice (which is herself with treatments), it’s delicate and sophisticated, and I love the mysterious lyrics…

Hmm, there are floating harmonies here, right?

For our love is a ghost that the others can’t see

***

My godfather passed on this week. It is a mess for the funeral (only 20 persons allowed). He was in his nineties, and he sometimes talked to me about when he was a kid when Germans occupied his village, the coming of the Americans after the D-Day in the summer of 1944. My father was an orphan when he was a little boy, and Ernest was next to him for years to help…

He’s the guy on the bike :

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Thanks for reading! Stay inside!

JP

Ze French Coronavirus Chronicles, 2

Ze French Coronavirus Chronicles, 2

 

Like many of us, I suppose, I read (in French and English) the news every morning. I will have to think about… distancing about it, though. One could easily be overwhelmed by this epidemic mess.

Curiously or not (Twitter is really a mess), I find informations on Reddit :

https://www.reddit.com/r/Coronavirus/new/

I know why : Reddit is a social media made on… topics. Each group is moderated. Thus it’s rich and adult. There’s a sister Subreddit, more professional, here :

https://www.reddit.com/r/COVID19

 

***

I watched Yesterday (2019) : “A struggling musician realizes he’s the only person on Earth who can remember The Beatles after waking up in an alternate timeline where they never existed.” – that’s pretty good!

 

***

It’s too early for real good news, but I watch : China is recovering, Italians sing at the balcony, people try to help the eldest, dolphins visits ports in Mediterranean sea, and Venice waters are clear and transparent for the first time in decades. Dramatic times, but plenty of best things will blossom from all this, I’m sure…

 

***

I know nothing about economics, but I find interesting that some countries ruled by right-wing and conservatism (lower taxes, free market capitalism, deregulation), in a time of crisis, have to begin to think and act like what they call “Socialists”.

Instead of letting the market “decide” (and companies die), they inject billions in the system to “help”. Instead of letting people die home (or letting the “no sick leave” people go to work – and infect colleagues), they talk about free testing for everyone, of taking care of people who need it instead of the eldest and health “insured”, and injecting big money in the system.

Imagine a right-winged president somewhere clinging to his system, watching the collapse of banks, all booksellers and many things, and refusing to take charge of the health of the poors, just because it’s what the Right does? “It’s the invisible hand of the market, only the strongest will survive, good”.

I think that, in history, many social progresses have been made during big recessions, epidemics and wars… I should check this tomorrow.

 

***

I’m definitively not a tourist, and I respect those 10% who visit a country with respect and cultural curiosity. Therefore I can not help being amazed to see Venice and Paris transformed in quiet deserts, and no buses around the Pisa tower and the Taj Mahal. The pollution plummeting is also something…

 

***

Watching Fellini Roma (1972), a necklace of scenes about the city. It’s brilliant, sewed with incredible short pure magic moments (the welders next to a tramway, flashing lights in a street, some priests climbing stairs). The ring road scene begins normally with traffic jams, cars and toll booths, and begins a crescendo with a film crew with a crane, heavy rain, a horse, smoke, an accident, ruins. It’s so good and crazy that I have to stop the movie.

Fellini is complicated and very rich, he fills the viewer with amazement and sounds, symbols and complex structures. It’s brilliant and exhausting. I don’t mind to watch these extraordinary films… in pieces. In between, I read, I think, I smile!

Antonioni/Fellini/Visconti & other trios to operate on…

 

***

Tonight I’ll watch An Officer and a Gentleman (1982 – the best Richard Gere – and with Debra Winger!).

If you want some reading about movies, here’s some in my blog :

https://afrenchtoolbox.wordpress.com/category/movie/

 

Thanks for reading! Stay safe!

 

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Ze French Coronavirus Chronicles, Day 1

Ze French Coronavirus Chronicles, 1

 

March 17, 2020. From noon today, no one is allowed to go outside in France, except for food or medication. One must print and fill and sign a paper, a sworn statement, to show to the police. Get a fine if you don’t have it.

 

***

Confinement is also the word in French, and we write quarantaine. “Quarante” means forty in French. The idea comes from Hippocrates (it’s also in the Bible, the idea of separation, etc), who said that 40 days is enough for a disease to… appear if someone is sick.

 

***

I read a few weeks ago about Wuhan and China that the big population blocus of millions of humans would probably lead to a Baby Boom in autumn – which makes sense. I thought about the big blackout of New York (is it 1965 or 77?) which lead to babies 9 months ago – but is this true of an urban legend?

Mmmh they also talked about a big divorce boom – which makes sense TOO. Many couples stay married because they really don’t have time to be together, busy busy busy. When they have to, it can lead to many interesting developments…

 

***

Empathically I think about those who are old or alone, but also about those who live with a mean person (spouse or mothers-in-law) or… a teen!

 

***

We have food for about 2 weeks, therefore we did not have to queue for hours before supermarkets, where French humans are since this morning. I chose delivery, and I’ll run errands on Friday, when it’ll be calmer (well, I’m not sure of this, but).

 

***

Many stores on the planet open only for the eldests for one hour BEFORE the crazies rush into toilet papers and food.

 

***

There are the same old good advices about distance, sneezes and hand washing, but I also read that anti-inflammatory pills (like Ibuprofen) are not recommended if you get sick (it can make it worse), and also, if you go outside and have to wash you hands, that one should get rid of rings and jewelry (which seems logical : those a good nest for little demonic viruses.

I have a thought for my colleague who would never quit the bunch of wristbands she keeps all life long. Here’s something to read :

A Microbiologist Tells You Exactly How Gross Festival Wristbands Are

 

***

Little by little the whole planet gets quieter. People have to stay in their house, in their apartment. They have to find something to do, be creative, read, find movies. It slows the planet.

This is what introverts do all the time. Thinkers, quiet persons, loneliness lovers. These people will adapt. They watch their books and films collection with a smile and some appetite. It’s the moment to dig deeper into complex or long things : John Ford or Hitchcock movies, Proust or Dante books. It’s the moment to learn, too.

It’ll be harder for the others. I think of them. Sports obsessed. Party goers. Managers.

I think of Susan Cain’s book : Quiet, The Power of Introverts.

https://afrenchtoolbox.wordpress.com/2020/03/07/quarantine-introverts/

 

***

I live in the North of France. The climate seems to be similar to Seattle in America. It’s the North! We just had WEEKS of rain and drizzle, and like a storm every sunday. Everybody was tired of this endless winter.

The FIRST day of the quarantine, today, the sky is absolutely perfectly blue. This is NOT cool.

 

Thanks for reading. Stay safe!

 

PS : If I were passive-aggressive, I could have written : “It’s blue sky today the first day of confinement, that’s sooo cool”. But no.

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Purposed Mistakes & Vague Intensitites : Chronicle 55

OOOOO

I found a great Facebook page, I had to ask them how to sign up, and then they asked me three questions before accepting. The first one was simple :

“Who are you?”.

I thought about it for a few seconds then I answered : “An haecceitist”

– which mean nothing, I agree, but I explained.

What is asked here? My job? My age? Who am I, really? Along the day, I’m

  • a dad
  • a mammal
  • a solitary man
  • a watcher
  • a photographer
  • a musician
  • an heterosexual
  • an ex
  • an internaut
  • a walker
  • a reader
  • a blogger
  • a hungry man
  • a reader
  • a quiet guy
  • a sleeper
  • a lover
  • a bookseller
  • a cook

…and many other things, right? Plugging to possibilities. See “Haecceity”

When one answers to the question “Who are you”, one lies. We are legion.

OOOOO

When I hear someone who has a job and makes plenty other things than what the job should be, I’m in alert mode. I don’t know why. There’s something wrong. The accident is near.

OOOOO

Dominique A is a French singer who has a trait I love : his chant sometimes gets out the harmony, which creates a tension before it “comes back” in proper harmony. Chords live their life, they do what they should do. The voice dances with and into it, but a single word can, at times, places itself out of what it should be. It’s like a smart and slightly irritating way of modulating…

I’m obsessed by that.

  1. My musical brain suffers a bit because it’s wrong, and at the same time wishes and craves to fix it – thus I often hum the “correct” note over the singer. I like this movement.
  2. My musical analysis flow stands up, listens carefully and wait, kind of desperately, the return of “harmony”, the… resolution of this.

It’s the last word of each verse’s first sentence here :

I’d like to think about this as a tool. How could I pattern it?

Take a classic form (a photo, a poem, an advertising, a recipe, a song, a painting). Add a… purposed mistake, which “annoys” the form and the frame, then resolve it.

It’s just an example of strangeization.

OOOOO

The pleasure in Proust is : he knew how to define everything.

OOOOO

It’s true. Some musics you listened too much become flat, no taste. Some months later, you take a CD (or you just find the folder on your Macintosh), and the weaving is magic again. This just happened to me with Röyksopp’s

OOOOO

The music we play / The music we listen to.

OOOOO

Were the Romans the Americans of Antiquity?

OOOOO

Charles Baudelaire :

Que les fins de journées d’automne sont pénétrantes ! Ah ! pénétrantes jusqu’à la douleur ! car il est de certaines sensations délicieuses dont le vague n’exclut pas l’intensité ; et il n’est pas de pointe plus acérée que celle de l’Infini.

How penetrating is the end of an autumn day! Ah, yes, penetrating enough to be painful even; for there are certain delicious sensations whose vagueness does not prevent them from being intense; and none more keen than the perception of the Infinite.

Have a nice day! Thanks for reading!

Trent_Parke_Jurien_Tree

Trente Parke

Standing Up Revelations : Chronicle 54

Words I learned today : teal, pier, unfurling, to cling…

OooO

Following the article I wrote yesterday about creativity, I think that the most effective tip, the simplest one, is to walk. It just works : as soon as you’re outside walking because you have to buy a French baguette and two croissants for the breakfast with your lover, you have ideas. Ideas for life, obviously (solutions), but also ideas to write about if you’re a person of words.

I’m slightly disturbed in this process sometimes because I am a little photographer, therefore here am I with my eye, seeing lights and frames, watching trees, doors and gutters.

The creativity book told that walking for ideas works also inside, it’s the movement that works, even around a desk. I was not so sure then I remembered things, like this film editor who always worked standing up in front of his machines. He said that to create (and a film editor creates scenes) you have to “feel”, to be ground-linked, a state you do not have when you’re sitting on a chair.

I heard about many writers or artists (Flaubert for sure, Stravinsky maybe) who wrote/composed standing up in front of a lectern

And maybe bloggers, I suppose, know this : when your article is done, you post it then you stand up to sip orange juice or to shower or to check your postbox, and bim you’re flooded by new paragraphs, extensions, corrections and new words or pitched four words sentences : you have to run back on your chair with this rush…

OooO

An intern told me about some funny little UK series like “Black Books” and “The IT Crowd”. So I gave it a try (in English with English sub). I’m not used to this humor which is : casual, dares everything, childish and very smart at the same time – messy haired, hilarious, stupid, inventive, poetic and clownesque tout à la fois.

Apart from Friends, what are you’re best funny (unknown) TV series?

OooO

With Christmas coming I miss time but I’ll begin next week : to find 4 or 5 “Best Albums of 2018” lists on the web, study them, YouTube them and try to find nuggets and marvels…

OooO

I’m working a lot on GuruShots, a perpetual multi-challenges full of photographers. It’s really interesting to try to please this crowd while staying myself (and not bending my work towards the community hidden standards (which are ugly to me)). In a way there’s a part of manipulation, excitement (a single picture can get hundreds of likes within minutes), challenge (you have to build some pictures, like this tortoise one) and thinking (you have to prepare, schedule and decide about the little tools they provide you), all this to climb in the hierarchy.

When I write and article about a great photographer, I am flabbergasted : these masters would never win anything in GuruShots : too inventive, too dark, too strange, too empty. They are out of the box…

OooO

“One doest not fit” within his parents or the milieu they grow in (think : “Matilda”), it’s really annoying but also gives a rush to witness… I wonder how many writers came from that, writing to flee…

OooO

So it’s the old story of directors who give everything in their life then become to make bad films (Hitchcock, De Palma, Argento), but it’s not true for everyone (Lean, Kurosawa, Spielberg). Del Toro, I dislike everything, thus I watched The Shape of Water skeptically, and I’ve been amazed by everything : a perfect casting, great music and decors, dialogs, scenario. The traps were many (like to push too far the Jeunet/Amelie mood), and it’s been perfectly done.

Have a nice day! Thanks for reading!

Jean-Pascal

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The need of weakness and other subjects to think of : Chronicle 53

If we see the human mind as a layer of beast and a layer of culture above, what about people who never read? Index cards certainties…

To have the right to judge, one just has to announce that they never judge.

A secret is not made to be kept, but to give some importance to the information.

The suffering of children is the absolute evil.

If one wants to get the upper hand, it’s because one is under.

The stronger of all is the one who shrugs.

A unity made of neutralized contraries, an apparent immobility which hides a vertiginous and perpetual life : develop.

What is our “horrible need of weakness”?

The coward’s tantrum.

What is temptation, what is desire? How are they different?

Categories, what do they say?

If a soft bass voice is the sign of high civilization, what about loud people?

Is to transform a place into something it’s not (take an old church and make it a gallery, take a barn and make it a store) vulgar or painful? Why?

Someone is ugly because one was born ugly, someone is ugly because mediocrity shaped their face. Do we have the faculty to determine it? Which one scares you the most?

I read that one of one father’s role (purpose) is to save time to his child, to offer or show them the most checked boxes possible before sailing on existence. I terribly agree with this one.

Those for whom one of the greatest pleasures is to cancel a travel.

This age where you have a form, an index card for everything and everyone. Your neighbor, a singer, a recipe, a writer, a movie, a city. This exercise : to cancel it, to change it, to enrich it. How?

To make/keep someone shut up, three ways : to monolog endlessly, to make as if you don’t understand, to show that you’re not interested by what one says.

Our mother dreams about what?

Good masters open a chasm under your feet. In one sentence, they show it to you. For good or bad.

You know things only by differences, wrote Suares. Does it mean that we function with analogies?

If there are no rules, you can not transgress them.

The right to go away (Baudelaire). Develop.

To be conscious of everything and at the same time to keep our instinct alive : Art?

Mystery, but no obscurity.

A lack can be unconscious. It shows itself with instant tears…

Thanks! Have a good day!

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All these stolen from J. D. – let’s spread.