Wednesday 21 December 2011

Pineau Paradise.

I am so so happy. I am home in France. It was not long before there were friends at the door, Pineau to pour and and invitations to accept.  Don't these people know that I am an artist and have to WRITE?  Luckily they couldn't care less because everyone here is an artist in the medium of smiles and humanity. The teenage kids kiss Gilles and I as friends and are respected as friends themselves. Whatever happens, mankind must not forget that we can care about one another. 

Of course, it is Noel and the decorations are lit. French rural life is curious because it exists invisibly in homes and "les foyers". Streets can have a ghost like quality. We arrived after "La tempête" and the crossing of the Channel was a churning vomitous horror. The night previous to our voyage, the vessel "Le Pont-Aven" had not been able to enter St Malo because of the storm. I guess the crew must have had a terrible experience.  For this reason I will not be writing to Brittany Ferries about the rude and almost confrontational behaviour of one of their car deck marshals. This large young shaven headed character had obviously trained as a night club bouncer. When Gilles did not understand his wild impatient arm gestures, he responded by pointing at his eyes with angry stabs and then at us. Finally we just pulled up behind the car in front and got out. We do not go on these boats looking for aggro with people who are paid to help us! By the sideways nervousness of his comrades I kinda got the idea that they were a bit uncomfortable with this guy. Brittany Ferries - let me say that we pay hundreds of pounds for these crossings. WE are the customers! If any of you guys out there have Trans-Manche Ferry stories I would love to hear from you.

In the meantime here are some shots of St Savinien at Christmas. With respect to the shot below, the box on the right is if you want a delivery. The box on the left is if you you would rather avoid one.

French letters.

Emma thinx:  Peace on Earth? Well, it's no good looking at me!

Thursday 15 December 2011

Christmas, Kindlemas, Body Mass

Well, the old boy did it. Oscar's book of poetry has gone live on Amazon Kindle. It's called 'I threw a stone' and he kindly asked me to write the foreword.  Not only is it an e-book, it also includes an audio album with all the poems read by Oscar. I find all this uploads/downloads stuff a bit bemusing but I managed to get the audio onto my Kindle. All this new interconnected media gives writers the chance to produce some unique kinds of work. Oscar's book has a music intro as well. I believe that the e-book is not a competitor with the tree book. The e-book is actually a wide exciting medium in itself and can provide far more. The book trailer is here if you want to take a peek.

Apparently, this Christmas will in fact be Kindlemas. This is the year when the e-reader will be the must have item in Santa's sack. I think  the old dead tree books will still have a place. I have shelves of them to show folks how learned I am. While books proclaim what you like folk to think you have read, the e-reader hides what you actually like to read. You can sit on the commuter train to a posh job in the City with your Kindle reading "Confessions of a Harem Handyman" and no one knows. 

I have parked up the bus for the holidays now. Soon I will be going home to France for a holiday season of ruthless dieting, cold baths and exercise. On the other hand I might get out the foie gras, un bon Bordeaux and catch up on some reading. I wonder if we Brits will be turned away at the border by the Sarko police? His eyebrows really do look like circumflex (little roof top) accents, the presence of which in French denotes that a consonant used to be present in a word.   With Britain missing from Europe the look on Sarko's face takes body language to new heights.

Emma thinx:  Europic - a new serious vision problem.

Friday 9 December 2011

Channel Tunnel Vision

Well, that's that then. The Brits have swept their chips off the table and stamped off to the cash desk. How dare these Europeans think of regulating and taxing our world saving philanthropists in the City of Londres! If only we had some planes on our non existent aircraft carriers we would show these foreign johnnies some bulldog behaviour. Let them beg in vain for our chutney and orange jelly. 

The Euro dream may or not survive, but the vision was there and I am very much part of that generation. Now the head boy will come back to St Margaret's to the applause of the City prefects. With pay day loans at 1,700 % and the latest scandal of long term investments sold to vulnerable old folk too old to collect, you can see why we need to sacrifice ourselves to keep these guys here. 

Since the Brits didn't want to play, I'm glad the farce is over. All this stuff of demanding that Europe be a free market but not wanting to share in the responsibility for its continuance was getting embarrassing. 

Emma thinx: Let them eat money.

Thursday 8 December 2011

Matthew 5:5.

At 7am my mobile phone was ringing.It was the mother of one of the kids on my bus.
" I'm sorry can't come today - I'm took bad an' I'm up the 'ospitall. I 'ad to send him round to my mate coz I can't leave 'im indoors like ee is."
She is an ageing mother now, in poor health. They cling to each other in a tiny fragile life boat. Yesterday a survey revealed that fewer and fewer UK citizens really cared about those poorer than themselves and blamed them for being lazy. That's OK then.

Emma thinx: Hiring now. Meek needed for major earthworks.

Monday 5 December 2011


There is nothing simple. Love is wonderful. War is heroic. The deeper the love, the more terrible its end. The more terrible the war, the more joyful its end. The machinery of conflict has potency and evokes awe. The salt of tears shed in love spice the soul equally for king and slave.
In London I took a couple of photos and from these arose my thoughts. You will have your own.

Emma thinx: If you can think sensibly of love - you are not in it. 

Sunday 4 December 2011

Far From The Crowding Mads

I took the train to London. Ooh - I never knew there were so many people in the world and that most of them would be in Leicester Squash. Yes, yes I know it should be Square. Apparently they are improving London ready for the GAMES. What games do you say? Yes, the Olympics. I must confess to feeling that it's actually a lot of fit young folk running about and playing games. Tribal warfare with feral mobs of grasping lawyers has already broken out over the ownership of the Olympic stadium after the event. Anyway, they are pimping up Leicester Squash. Entering or leaving from the Charing Cross Road means battling with thousands of one's comrades through a small gap created by building site mesh barriers. Any faller would be trampled. Last night a rampant gang of spidermen dress-alikes surged and jumped through the shuffling throng. A comatose young female in Father Christmas garb was dragged along by merry reindeer mates. Ho hum - I'm getting old and longing for Charentes-Maritime. My business plan in this world of austerity is for the inflatable Olympics. The same stadia and palaces of pugilism could be traipsed around the globe and inflated in the winning city like a travelling fair or circus. And we could have all manner of be-knighted bigwigs blabbering about drug scandals in the bouncy castle event. OR - we could have the games permanently in some unlikely place that needs a cash generating theme park GREECE.

I went to London in full bourgeois pursuit of ART. There is a fabulous exhibition of paintings by Degas at the Royal Academy of Art in Piccadilly. It focuses on his paintings of dancers and takes in that period when the whole notion of motion was a lotion flotion in the air. Photograph, film and the science of movement were combining to fix and define the relationship between Action and Time. Ooh - when I try, I can sound right posh don't you think?

I feel a bit mean for writing about Degas because he guarded his privacy very seriously. He thought the worst possible fate to befall a man was to be written about by writers. Well, that's all right then - I don't think I count. Regular readers will know that I once had a temp job in the ART world and developed a taste for the old brush strokes. Some exhibitions can be promoted with lofty themes and in reality have a cobbled up content. Not so this one! It is the biz with a buzz.

There is a modern term used in comedy these days of "projectile vomiting". I had always dismissed it as hyperbole although laughed to see it in" Little Britain"clips. Last night Gilles and I dined at a famous Chinese restaurant in Wardour Street Soho named "Wong Kei" (Affectionately known as Wonkies). This restaurant is known as being good value but with staff at best brusque, but probably often just rude. The food is kinda slammed down in front of you and plates are snatched away before you have finished. Last night Gilles was left in mid munch when his plate of hors d'oeuvres was grabbed from the table. To a Frenchman this kind of thing is incredible. In seconds the next course was slam dunked in front of us. As I began the Chicken in black bean sauce young man of about 8 years old stopped alongside my table. He turned his green face towards our table and clutched his hand to his face as he convulsed in pre vomit apoplexy. Suddenly he let go. A stream of hot pre-owned sweet and sour pork noodles splattered into my rice and onto my arm. Gilles, who had not been impressed so far, shrugged and asked cynically if this was the cabaret. The child appeared happier and stood smiling in front of me. Waiters arrived throwing green tea and bleach on the floor. The child wandered back to his oblivious family who were occupied with a second screeching child who was throwing some kind of tantrum and charging around the salon. Still green, the lad resumed his meal. I was delighted. I hate to see food wasted.

The sting of bleach  in my eyes and the splash of vomit had cooled my appetite. We paid and left. You know, this is the land of plenty. Sometimes it is just too much.

Emma thinx: When you think you've had enough, you've already had too much.