Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Telly

I never understood French telly.German telly was bearable because it was basically German remakes of British/American programmes,horribly interspersed with sudden bursts of loud chart music with the intention of making a humourous point at really obvious places,and adverts.This was the main reason why I didn't watch that much telly over there,all the advert breaks did my head in.But French prime-time telly is so formulaic that after approximately 26 minutes it gets terribly dull and you want to go to sleep.On TF1 especially,evening entertainment consists of two middle aged men in the same suit,in the same studio that's used every night,with probably the same audience too.From thereon,it doesn't matter what the programme's about,it's just boring on the eyes.There's also a lot of quiz shows and discussion programmes.My friend JB told me that Parisians like to have a philosophy for everything.And it shows.

So now I'm back here,I feel like I shouldn't complain about British telly again.There are some good things on at the minute,such as...

- Wallander (BBC4): I was in Germany when the British remakes came out,though I did see them eventually and thought they were great.Didn't see any of the original Swedish ones though,so am happy they're being shown again on Monday nights.Not normally a fan of anything televisual that involves police or detectives,but this is great.Wouldn't want to live in Ystad though.Seems every other person is a violent criminal :)

- Top Gear (BBC2): I can't drive,and I'm not interested in cars.But I am very interested in 3 silly men having silly races around Britain and Europe.I loved the rear wheel drive challenge in France this week,and wonder if I was the only one who noticed the strategically placed "adverts" on their cars,so that when they opened the drivers door,only half of it was shown.This half just happening to spell out something crude in nonsensical French.As moments in my career as a linguist go,this was one of my proudest...

- Mock the Week (BBC2): I don't find any of the regulars that funny when they're on their own,but as a team,there's not much on telly at the minute that's more amusing.My favourite from last week's "Unlikely labels on packaging"- "Serves 4,you greedy bastard.Now put some back".Hehe :)

- You Have Been Watching (C4): I adore Charlie Brooker.I discovered Screenwipe when I was in Germany,watched Newswipe religiously when I was in France,and have read just about everything he's ever written for the Guardian.He's so funny on his own,I wasn't sure how YHBW would turn out,but it's great.Now go away.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Fear not

I'm still here.Actually,I've just realised I only posted last Friday,but whatever.Been quite busy since I got back.Reading the Guardian,watching Sex and the City (just discovered the delights of Sky+.We've had it here for a few months now,but I've only just worked out where to find things that I've recorded) and original Swedish versions of Wallander.Went to see Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince yesterday (called HP and the "mixed blood" prince in France,which sounds more politically correct than magical).It was good,one of the best I'd say,though I'm very interested to see how they work with the final book...Spent all day today round Leanne's.I used to work with her many moons ago and though we've spoken online very regularly indeed since I went to Germany,we haven't actually seen eachother for 3 years.So today was fun- all about the joys of 90s theme tunes,Ceefax,kebabs...Hmmm.

Also making progress with my story thing.It's been like picking at an open wound for parts of it really,but the ideas are now definitely all there in plan form.Just a shame that what I've written of the actual script (can you call books that?) is about as well written as this blog entry.Oh well.Am thinking of changing to a first person narrative anyway,it should be a bit easier.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Article of the day

From the BBC- Mark Easton's UK...

Is Italy better than Britain?


Of course it is!

:)

Though I'm not with Mark on the Limoncello front,may I just add to the list of great things about Italy...

- Noisette ice cream from Ravello
- Wooden jewellery boxes
- Ischitanian taxis
- Pretty boys
- Fab kids programmes
- REAL FOOD

I could go on...

Friday, 10 July 2009

Forget me

Leaving work today was actually much sadder than I expected.My office buddy was the first one to leave,and he said some really nice stuff to me.I'll miss having 45 minute long coffee breaks with him.But we'll stay in touch,he said he'd help me with my dissertation :)

Oh,and I got a kiss goodbye from RP's Popo replacement,the beautifully named François-Xavier.This made me super happy :) There's so much more I could say on the subject,but I won't.It's odd,last time I met someone so incredibly beautiful,I got talking to him straight away and we got on really well,and I moved to Germany,an hour away from where he lives,and then it all went wrong...But this time I've been too...I don't know,affected to say anything more exciting than Bonjour.Ah well.

Anyway.Maybe I will miss this place after all.A bit.If I could have stayed until the end of the month,I think I'd be satisfied.

Blah.Have nothing else to say really.Let's look at Aleksei.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Silly brand names #1459-1463

Readers of PVE and anyone who knows me will know that I love a good silly brand name- Fun Light,Cracky Crepe,Oh!Ouizz...And of course,the best of them all...



I can't believe they don't sell it anymore :( Mind you,it was pretty disgusting.

Anyway,the other day I got lost and ended up in the 10th.I've only been there once,and thought it was a bit of a dump,but they do have a good line in shop names there,notably:

- Boopsy
- Femy Boy
- Gary United


and my favourite of all

- Fanny Look

They were all clothes shops believe it or not.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Popo

You may remember me talking about RP from time to time over the last few months.Well,he's old news now,and has been completely overtaken in the hotness stakes by someone who arrived last week.Someone who, when I first saw him, left me actually unable to speak for about a minute. He came to ask me something and I just turned into a blabbering mess.This hasn't happened in a while.Well,10 months anyway.I remember getting flustered when the Office Popo in Germany came to install my spinning telephone holder thing.But this case would be slightly less tragic if this guy was a bit older.Normally men have to be a good 5 years older than me for me to be interested,but this one is actually (we think) a good 5 years younger than me :/ When you're nearly 23,this isn't good.I was dutifully told by my office buddy last week "you're too old for him." Hmm,that's what friends are for eh? But anyway,how can you not fancy the pants off of someone who looks like Aleksei Vorobyov? I think he knows it too,judging by his cheeky smiles and his many many daily walks past my office.Good Lord...it's just as well I leave in 2 days :)

Oh by the way,for those of you not in the know- "popo" is my friend Ioana's word for a very attractive man.Mine used to be "fefe",but popo has now become an everyday word in my language.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

I'm like Europe...I'm a mess

Just watched L'Auberge Espagnole.I've been watching a lot of French films lately- as much as the French way of life disagrees with me at times,I've loved French cinema since I was 11 and our teacher showed us Mon père ce héros in one of our lessons.I wanted to see L'Auberge when I found out that not only is Audrey Tautou in it (I love her so much),but Kevin Bishop too,of all people.

Turns out it's about a (rather attractive) Parisian guy who wants to work for the government/European Commission and so goes on a year abroad under the Erasmus scheme to Barcelona.He's my kind of character already.Even more so when he says that his dream as a kid was to write books (I mention this as there's a sequel to the film that I haven't seen yet,and I think it might be important...) Anyway,after meeting a guy at the airport who annoys him by telling him Erasmus is the best thing ever and he's going to have an amazing time in Spain (hmmm...),he ends up living in a typical student apartment with people from all over Europe.

The characters are all brilliant,well the housemates at least.They're all a bit stereotypical of their countries I suppose,although to be honest,I think they're quite accurate.The German guy is hard-working,bit serious etc etc,the Italian guy is the most laid back of them all,the Danish guy speaks a lot of languages (though he doesn't say much other than "I speak French...yeah,I lived in Paris for a while...).There's also an English girl,who's very funny- moans about the state of the kitchen a lot,doesn't like socialising that much...And Kevin Bishop plays her brother,who is probably the funniest of them all,offending everyone with his casual racism.Very Brit Abroad :)

Audrey Tautou plays Xavier (the main character's) girlfriend,who he leaves behind in Paris.I felt sympathetic towards her- her boyfriend going away and seemingly thinking after being in Spain for a few months that it's the centre of the world.Actually,although it is quite a good film in that it does show the "being abroad experience" realistically (getting into situations you shouldn't,neglecting people at home,being scared of going home),I did think it was a bit too...well,one-sided I suppose.By the end of it,it seemed Xavier hadn't really learnt much about where he comes from,and would rather live in the fake world of Erasmus forever.

But then there is a sequel (Russian Dolls),so I suppose I can't say too much yet.

One of the final scenes though is rather good,as it's shot in Montmartre,around the Place des Tertres,which is pretty cool.Not only because I recognise all the places,but also because of Xavier's reaction the foreign people there.Since leaving Germany,I listen out for the language all the time and always stop listening to my ipod on the metro when I hear it.There are also a lot of German cars here which never fails to make me happy.Especially the one from Hamburg that's parked outside my building a lot :)

Monday, 6 July 2009

4 days

I'm getting stressed now.I've packed pretty much everything I don't need,and the situation is looking promising- there's still room left in the case! But,I did find out this evening that I will have to drag said case down the stairs on Saturday,as my landlord won't be here so I can't access the lift.It's about one and a half times the size of the one I took home last time,and that was a massive pain (literally).Not looking forward to it.

Then I still have to buy him a new dictionary,as the one he lent me got stolen at work.They're a good €50 here :/ And then I have to make sure everything is lovely and clean for Wednesday/Thursday night so I can get my deposit back.Actually,I'd kind of forgotten about the deposit,so that was a nice surprise.

Also have to do a bit more shopping and try to get to Ile de la Jatte if I can.It's an island in the Seine which is part of Levallois,and it's very nice apparantly,so I'd like to see it if I have time.

On top of this I also have a 7 page translation to do and all sorts of crappy admin stuff at work.Aaaaagh.

No wonder I've got fat,it's stressful being me.

Had a rather odd conversation with someone today.Well not so much odd,but a bit unexpected.Seems maybe I am actually liked here after all.By one person at least.

In other news- it's nearly 1am and it's only 18 degrees.This is brilliant :)

Miss Raquelita remembers

When you come out of the station, there are some steps leading down to the taxi rank and the bus stop. On Saturday mornings at least, there aren't usually many buses to be found, or taxis either. The floor is cobbled, until you get to the park, which you can either walk through, or next to on the path running beside it. The first thing you see in the park is a fountain in the shape of a frog that spits water. It’s never on in Winter at least. There are also a series of wooden columns which have what appear to be tribal symbols carved into them and painted in blue and red. Though in winter when it’s misty and damp, the colours don’t stand out so much.

After the park, you cross the road in 2 halves. Once on the right, there are signs pointing to the college, and on the left, there is the post office depot. Walk past the depot and cross over, and there is a photocopying / printing shop which advertises special offers for students. Keep walking and go under the bridge. There’s a lot more traffic on the other side of the bridge, and you cross the road in 2 halves again. At around 11am on a Saturday, there’s usually a bus turning right to go under the bridge you just came under. Once you’ve crossed, you’re in front of the Culture House, where there are lots of adverts about upcoming shows and events. Carry on past the Culture House, and you’ll end up in a quiet residential area where there are a few parks, lots of cars and gorgeous apartment buildings. If not, cross the road in 2 halves again, and there’s a pharmacy on the corner called Linda.

Keep walking and you go past a haberdashers which has fancy wools in the window, and then there’s the kebab shop which also advertises special offers for students. Go right at the end of this road and you can either go in to the quieter entrance of the shopping centre, or there’s a small supermarket. Carry on further and there’s a main road to cross, and a bridge to go under where you end up climbing a hill to get to another residential area, and lots of nice restaurants.

However, if you go left after the kebab shop, there’s a hill and then a quaint little shopping street on the left with narrow alleys leading to closed-off (at one end) courtyards.

If you go straight ahead though, there’s a small square where there is a market on Saturdays, selling fish, cheese, vegetables… It’s full of interesting smells. At the top of the square is the most lovely little church with a big green door, and invariably, a man on a ladder in the entrance hall, on a ladder fixing something. It’s not the most fancy, decorative church in the world, but it’s peaceful, and when a choir is singing, the acoustics are great.

Carry on along the main street (a pedestrian zone where the pavement is all bright white and clean), past the square, and there is the main shopping centre, with a café as soon as you go inside. Avoid this place if you don’t like crowds. There are always lots of people here.

Walk past until you get to another little shopping centre, and turn right. Now you’re on the main road and see the main bus station. On the left there is an Etnies shop, which is never busy even though it’s pretty well priced. Keep walking along and you don’t know whether to look at the harbour, with its ships and restaurant in the white wooden building on the right, or the pretty wedding dresses in the shop on the left. The buildings in the harbour are colourful and Nordic style, with dark wooden beams. Though there are always lots of cars whizzing past, it’s a peaceful place, and it is nice to stop and sit and look at the cathedral on the other side of the water.

Go left up any one of the small side streets and after walking past more little colourful houses, you’ll end up back on the main shopping street. The end of the main street leads up a very steep hill to where the rum distillery is, and also a newsagents which sells really nice salami rolls on seeded bread for €1.

Back on the main street, and it’s quieter than at the station end. At one point, there are wires strung between buildings on both sides, and there are shoes hanging on them. Whose modern art this is, I don’t know. On the right you see the Danish library, a strangely shaped building. Further down and on the left, there is the old gate to the city, an archway above cobbled stones. Just after here, there is sometimes a small carousel.

Keep walking and you’ll be back where you started before you left the main shopping street.

I never had a Paris je t’aime moment. But I had a Flensburg ich liebe dich moment the first time I saw Holm. I’ve only been there 5 times, but it’s these images that have stuck in my mind the most clearly of anything I’ve seen since I’ve been away. Of everywhere I’ve been, it’s the one place I know that I think I could live and be happy in. But should I try and forget it now, or do I do something about it…?

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Dimanche 5 juillet....Rien

In protest against the stupidly high temperatures we've been having lately,I decided to stay in and do nothing today.Well I did do a lot yesterday after all.Montmartre in the morning (well,early afternoon)- I really wasn't in the mood for going to Anvers and climbing up the hill and the steps being accosted by the bracelet sellers and a million tourists.So I went via Abbesses instead.Abbesses of course famous not just for being Amélie's nearest metro station,but also because it's the furthest underground and therefore has a stupid amount of steps.Actually,the main staircase has less than mine at home (139ish),but still,I thought I was going to die when I got to the top.After that I got the Montmartrobus to the Place de Tertres- that being the only place in Montmartre that I know my way around.The Montmartrobus is great fun- it's like the Amalfi Drive but without the coast.And the streets are all cobbled,but this doesn't bother the driver,he still goes as fast as a driver of a normal bus would.

Anyway,after that I came back to PdC for lunch and then got the bus to Musée d'Orsay.I'd been meaning to go since I got here,and me and Maria did try once but the queue was too long.Hardly any queue at all yesterday though,which was nice.Also nice is the fact that I didn't pay anything- only €1,50 for the See Italy and Die exhibition,which was pretty interesting.It was (mostly) about early photography and the first techniques used in the 1840s- a time when going around Europe (Italy in particular it seems) on a "Grand Tour" was all the rage for young men.A bit like a gap year,but they actually learnt about architecture and the likes too.So that was nice.Then there were all sorts of paintings and architecture plans.It was all a bit Venice-centric for my liking.There were a few pictures of Napoli and an amazing painting of the Blue Grotto in Capri,but nothing else of the islands.Ischia was written on the wall as part of a list of places one famous architect visited,but that was all,which was a bit disappointing.I mean,even the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge has a picture of Ischia!Anyway,it was still good.You are actually allowed to take photos at the Musée d'Orsay,but I didn't realise that at the time.Which is a shame,because the Capri painting really was good.

The best part of all the things in the rest of the museum (of which there are not only paintings,but sculptures and furniture) was this.



Starry Night over the Rhone by Van Gogh.I'm not really a fan of Van Gogh,and though I've seen this painting before,I didn't think much of it.But in real life it's quite special.There are lots of other Van Gogh paintings there (including a few self-portraits),and lots of stuff by Cézanne and Monet,but this was my favourite.

Oh,and this is the view from the mezzanine



Which came out shittily (thanks phone!) but the blob in the distance is the Sacré-Coeur.

Today though,I just watched a bit of Le Tour (not on telly- despite being fine every other day,when I actually want to watch France 2,the picture goes haywire.Typical.Also got some pizza delivered- the guy thought it was funny that I went downstairs to collect it and said that steps don't bother him.Then watched Jean de Florette and (half of) Manon des Sources,two of the best French films ever,before getting a bit distracted by my neighbour.

In true Je voulais te dire que je t'attends,a very attractive man lives in the building opposite and I can see into his kitchen and he can see into my room.Now with all this hot weather we've been having (still no sign of rain),it's only natural for a man to want to go about his cooking business whilst half-naked.It was about this time (about an hour ago) that I thought it was probably a good time to do a bit of cleaning of my kitchen area,which is,coincidentally,right in front of the window.These two events are completely mutually exclusive of course.

In other news- I woke up this morning to find my lovely necklace from Flensburg has broken :( The heart is still intact but something happened to the chain meaning the bit you do it up with isn't attached to where it should be.I hope it can be fixed- it was the cheapest gold chain I could find in Flensburg Karstadt,but still,gold isn't that cheap.In the meantime though,I'm a bit worried.I've worn it every day for the 6/7 months I've had it,only taking it off 2 or 3 times.To start with,I wore it every day because of where it's from,but then it became like a lucky...thing.So now I'm convinced some disaster is going to happen :/

Planes

Just in case you're remotely interested in aeroplanes- I've just come across these videos of this year's Salon du Bourget- the Paris Air Show.

When you work in a very tall building- you get pretty good views of stuff that's going on in the air.It makes things seem closer than they really are,so it was pretty bloody scary when I saw this for the first time (and the second time).



And then there's this one- I watched this one every afternoon from my window.



Just...how can anyone do that? I wanted to be a pilot once.But the fact that my eyesight is probably worse than an old mole's,and the fact that I can't even ride a bike,made me think that I'd probably never be the sort of person capable of controlling something massive that carries hundreds of people :) But I really respect pilots.And ones like that- well...take-off on a normal plane still makes my tummy go funny.

And then there's this little bit of fun.It's called the Eurofighter,therefore it must be cool :)



And I got to see all of this for free.Which was nice :)

Friday, 3 July 2009

The moon is roond...

This is the view from my window this evening (if you look to the right that is)



Cool,non? That's the good thing about living in the attic of a building.OK it is only a phone picture,so it's not that great.But night mode has never really worked on my camera.Though you can see the cloud around the moon (got some cool pictures of that too),it's a pretty clear night.The blue light on the top of the Eiffel Tower passes over my flat about every 30 seconds,so I did try about 58 times to get that into the picture too.But seeing as my neighbours have already heard me making pigeon noises today,I thought they might think me a bit odd if they saw me at the window with a camera too.The pigeon thing worked by the way- it was right outside my window and it looked at me :) With a confused expression,I have to say.

I've only had 2 glasses of Bailly.Honest.