Ze French Coronavirus Chronicles, 7

Ze French Coronavirus Chronicles, 7

 

Again, funny to see the whole planet becoming “more balanced”, and massively. Super rich sportsmen or business bosses giving up indecent money, people getting sick pay, health and other important workers being paid more… With…

…positive consequences, less noise, less pollution, less tourists, people thinking and having time, instead of running everywhere like fools.

 

***

Serendipity lead me to listen to Mozart‘s 14th piano concerto, played Maria Joao Pires.

I’m a Brahms & Schubert lover, and my tendency is to walk along time, exploring other XIXth and XXth century composers. Therefore, I need to make an effort to listen to Beethoven, and even more to Mozart. I hear the clichés, I often guess “what will happen” in the music, etc.

But my experience, my love and constant exploration of Schubert today (instead of, for example, Bartok), I’m now capable of hearing some magic in the weave

 

***

Watched a Blu-ray : The Leopard (1963).

The Prince of Salina, a noble aristocrat of impeccable integrity, tries to preserve his family and class amid the tumultuous social upheavals of 1860’s Sicily.

So cleverly done that it lets you in turmoil and ecstasy. Such finer points in the dialogs and acting… Masterpiece!

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After All the President’s Men (with Jason Robards) and The Leopard (with Claudia Cardinale), the next movie will be Once Upon a Time in the West (with both). I love to create chains with movies… (and it’s, like The Leopard, directed by an Italian).

Chains of Movies Wandering

***

Some analysts imagine that this epidemic will change society, in these terms :

  1. De-globalization. Some things have to be decided and producted inside the country (medicine, for example).
  2. Rise of public expenses to help employment and companies.
  3. Understanding that the whole population has to have healthcare and that a country’s health system should… heal people instead of making profit.

…like some plans after WWWars, for example. Well we’ll see.

 

***

I found this name : Rita Streich; here she is in the Musetta’s Waltz Song. A fascinating voice, new to me. Like coming from an old time…

 

***

One can’t stop wondering WHY are there so many cruise boats in activity, knowing that “The World Health Organization declared the outbreak to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020“.

 

***

“Any port in a storm”, it’s an easy-to-understand idiom, but it’s very new to me. It contains some philosophy, right?

Maybe “might makes right”, or nécessité fait loi (necessity make law, or rules) for… what must be done must be done…

 

***

Here’s a quote from Paul Valéry :

The folly of mistaking a paradox for a discovery, a metaphor for a proof, a torrent of verbiage for a spring of capital truths, and oneself for an oracle, is inborn in us.

And this one :

En matière de discussion, j’appelle adversaires honorables, ceux qui ne tiennent pas tant à “avoir raison” qu’à améliorer leur organisation d’esprit, qui preferent leur esprit à leur amour-propre.

In terms of discussion, I call honorable adversaries, those who are not so much interested in “being right” as in improving their organization of mind, who prefer their mind to their self-esteem.

 

 

Thanks for reading! Stay safe!

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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, 4 – Cheesers & Chocolaters

Ze French Coronavirus Chronicles, 4

 

This morning I read about a little family whose daddy’s a stressed man who can not function properly if he doesn’t run his good 12 km (7.5 miles) everyday, thus he watches TV all day long.

This made me think about boredom, with the consecutive metaphors we find on the social medias – confinement is like being in a prison (home), or in an animal in a zoo.

I wrote this article – Big Boredom – about the ways people find to fight.

  1. Evasion, with pills, alcohol or drugs?
  2. Engagement, with politics or religion, rules?
  3. Moderation, with culture, knowledge, watching the world?
  4. Pushing limits, with speed, danger, exploration?

One seems possible with booze (how do you buy drugs if you’re not allowed to go outside?), but without seeing people and staying inside, it could lead to disaster, right? Two is possible on the Internet, with the ridiculous risk to become an angry fool wanting to change others (hahaha). Three sounds wise. And Four is out of the question – or maybe you can throw yourself into domestic bodybuilding (push-ups).

 

***

Heroes are people working in hospitals. But some other heroes are those who go on working because they are essential to society : delivery guys, cashiers, funeral people, mailmen…

Some companies in France will pay 1000 Euros ($1076) for this month to employees who kept working during this crisis. And next month?

 

***

OK there’s a new hashtag : #quarantinediaries

I found an interesting article about how hashtags are misused :

 

***

We alternate movies. One evening is for happy, funny, easy movies, the other evening is for a bit more serious movies. We don’t binge. I find it awful, exhausting.

Yesterday we watched a children movie, “The Secret Life of Pets 2“. It immediately came to me that it was a film for children… made for children.

Most Pixar movies are, for example, children movies made for adults, or “made also for adults”. Many little boys ADORE “Cars”, but don’t understand the plot :

While traveling for the final race of a Cup against, the famous Lightning McQueen accidentally damages the road of a small town and is sentenced to repair it. McQueen has to work hard and finds friendship and love in the simple locals, changing its values during his stay, and becoming a true winner.

Two-years-olds adore. Lightning McQueen, fast car! (that’s all). Many kids like characters and a few twists and turns, but they simply don’t understand the movie. It’s often the case with Star Wars…

Here, the plot is simple, the characters are cute, it’s full of colors, the evil character is simple, and… it’s fun!!

I always watch this dial in movies for kids : where’s the “adult dial” here, where is it?

 

***

There’s a scandal in France concerning a diary written Leila Slimani, for whom the quarantine is a “fairy tale”. Confinement when you have a country house is cool, it’s like a big holiday, she watches the horizon. If you want to read some French, Google her name + “journal”. For example :

https://www.marianne.net/debattons/billets/journal-du-confinement-la-vie-un-peu-trop-rose-de-leila-slimani

https://diacritik.com/2020/03/19/le-journal-de-confinement-de-leila-slimani-est-un-conte-cruel/

 

***

The medias like to show idiots in malls with dozens of toilet paper packs. Hoarding, panic buying. Yeah, that’s too much, but if you’re informed and know that you’ll be quarantined, you have to “stock up” food. I began way way before the decision – I was just watching how things were moving – I was buying double at the moment : cans, rice, who knows. I don’t have a car thus I had to, little by little.

This disease is a mess. If you need a respirator, you’re intubated for 3 weeks! I read Chinese diaries. You don’t get the virus if you don’t get out at all.

Confined, you are allowed to go errand, but, well, let’s do it the less possible, OK? Therefore, you fill your car, go home, and stay there. That’s not hoarding, that’s normal!

Yesterday I’ve seen a man walking in the street with a single French baguette. Come on, guys!

 

***

A writer here made a Twitter survey : what, apart from alcohol which is non-negotiable, is the food you have to stock up? It seems that two camps appeared :

  1. Cheesers
  2. Chocolaters

 

You? 😉

 

***

It is true that we all look like people in Hopper’s painting…

 

***

I met two Latin expressions recently :

Hic Sunt Dragones

Wiki : Here be dragons” means dangerous or unexplored territories, in imitation of a medieval practice of putting illustrations of dragons, sea monsters and other mythological creatures on uncharted areas of maps where potential dangers were thought to exist.

  • I thought that we were today in a Hic Sunt Dragones state in the world. Uncharted territory!
  • I thought also about… when you are in the beginning of exploring a new cultural field (Italian cinema? Civil War battles? Picasso’s sculptures?). This state of hungriness.
  • I thought about when we begin a new love story. We are then… deterritorialized, right?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Here_be_dragons

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

Wiki : Sic Transit Gloria Mundi” is a Latin phrase that means “Thus passes the glory of the world”.

So it’s said as a reminder of the transitory nature of life and earthly honors. Therefore it could also be “Memento mori” (remember that you must die), This too shall pass, and Vanitas. There’s a whole development about Memento Mori on Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sic_transit_gloria_mundi

Wherewhen do people use these? I should Google it a little to find out…

In the end : nunc est bibendum (now is the time to drink)

 

Thanks for reading! Stay safe!

 

 

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Deterritorialization is a funny tool/dial to use!

Mutation Process can’t be stopped

Gilles Deleuze quote : “Lodge yourself on a stratum…

Ze French Coronavirus Chronicles, 3

Ze French Coronavirus Chronicles, 3

 

I live in Lille, a city in the North of France. The neighbor country here is Belgium. When I was young in the eighties, most of university students were listening to Radio 21, a Belgian “music and news” radio, the only one in French – a part of Belgium speaks French – which aired Indie Rock at the time. David Sylvian, Clan of Xymox, but also Marrs, it’s there that I discovered some treasures…

Radio 21 disappeared, split into a radio for teens and another for adults, called Classic 21, which of course I listen – I prefer Pink Floyd, Supertramp and Police than Rihanna or Ed Sheeran.

Yesterday at 8 PM, dinner time and on radio, the news. Something like : “At 8 PM tonight, people in Belgium, confined in their appartments, applaud at their window, together, to say thank you to the nurses and doctors who fight the coronavirus”. I opened my window and immediately heard the whole neighborhood here doing the same.

 

***

The majority of French humans understand the meaning of mandatory “Stay Home”. Only, I’ll be outside every two weeks for food, with my signed paper in my pocket. A few idiots though go on happying on beaches and along rivers, to socialize and see the spring and the sun. One city today (Nice) decide a curfew after 8 PM. Others will probably follow. Many cities including Paris have to close parks for this reason.

 

***

Watched An Officer and a Gentleman, great romantic drama! I searched a little, to find that it’s been directed in Fort Worden, which is in the labyrinth of sea/land NW of Seattle. It’s always interesting to discover “normal” places in American movies, I mean elsewhere than New York City and L.A..

Should re-watch Urban Cowboy (with Debra Winger too).

 

***

Netflix or TV channels or Blu-rays?

I separated my TV from the cable channels in 2000. I was annoyed by the fact that I had to choose from “what was proposed to me”. Even with 400 TV channels, I had to watch what someone decided to air. Nope.

Thus I own a big collection of DVDs, then Blu-rays. I choose what I want, when I want. Netflix and her cronies are for me a lukewarm swamp, where I can choose, OK, but from what?

What if I wanted to watch an old Bergman, or a silent movie from John Ford, or a documentary about Kupka or Joni Mitchell?

 

***

Book : David Lodge autobiography. Music : Mozart Concertos for piano (Perahia).

 

***

I have another blog about photography, where I “try things” about a place, a thing. It’s, therefore, about the idea of variation. Some photographers, admittedly, say that for a given place, there’s only one… place to take a good photography. Of course one is tempted to shake their head, but I admit it makes me think. Here it is :

https://qeht.photo.blog/

Locked home, joggers and duck hunters are sad, but readers and photographers are not. They can play home.

 

***

I read in a Claude Roy diary, as he’s around 70 years old, that he would like to reach this season, this state : “Le temps du cœur triste et de l’esprit gai” – the time of the sad heart and the merry spirit.

What could that mean?

 

Have a nice day! Stay safe!

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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.

https://thehill.com/opinion/finance/491302-in-a-crisis-even-conservatives-turn-to-progressive-economic-policies

***

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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Quarantine & Introverts

I don’t know if many of us will be quarantined, but I already think about it…

I read this morning, about China, that being locked in your apartment with your spouse will “maybe” provide a baby boom this next winter, but in the meanwhile gives two consequences :

  1. Infodemia (too much informations about epidemic dramas) and depression.
  2. Explosion of… divorces.

 

We don’t need a master in psychology to know that many couples go on just because they don’t have time to be with each other. Busy busy busy! That’s OK, we all do what we can, right?

Locked together, toxicity begins to dance around, boredom walks along walls like a tiger in a forgotten cage, back and forth…

I can’t imagine what happens to sports addicts, bikers and runners. They can do push-ups, but well, that’s not enough drug, I suppose.

But for introverts, it’s probably different. Being quarantined with shelves of books and Blu-rays (or with a computer and Internet, if you’re a dematerialized person) looks like holidays…

 

Bah, it’s just a feeling. Spring will come soon and will make all of us (including introverts and other cat persons) in a sudden urgent need of going outside to 1/ run with a dog or 2/ to lie down in the grass to smell the good quiet power of nature growing.

Let’s hope the heat wave will kill the viruses, all of them.

Thanks for reading!

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