Thursday, 31 July 2014

These long train journeys

This picture was taken at the local DIY store, it is of course one of their model train. They are going to get rid of it soon, if it has not been done already (the photo dates back to early May) to give more space to all the boring stuff a DIY has. I go there for the train model, most of the time anyway. So this would be a sad loss. I took some pictures of the display because I wanted more memories of it. And I uploaded it on this post because I have been thinking a lot about train travels.

I travel daily by train, however I have not been on a long train journey since Paris. And before that it was in March 2013 when I went to Manchester. And I miss these long train journeys. They are exhausting, but they are often an adventure in themselves and sometimes they are the best part of the trip. Going somewhere can be just as interesting as being somewhere. This is the case for train journeys, more so I think than any other means of transport. As my readers may know, I will take holidays in Devon at some point. I don't know if I will love it or not, but I am already looking forward to the time spent in train. This is one aspect of England I love: their train network, which allows us to see so many parts of the country. I can barely wait.

Le dernier jour de juillet

Dans quelques heures, le mois de juillet sera terminé. Comment a été le vôtre? Le mien a été plutôt tranquille et passablement plate. Il était un temps où le mois de juillet était pour moi le coeur de l'été et des vacances. C'est toujours le coeur de l'été, mais comme je ne prends plus de vacances en juillet, enfin je n'en ai pas pris depuis un bout, alors mon appréciation du mois a baissé. Il a été très estival pourtant, chaud et tout. Mais sans vacances, l'été a moins d'attraits. Au moins au travail, ça a été relativement tranquille. Aujourd'hui aussi, malgré la fin du mois. Il n'y a pas si longtemps, c'était frénétique, ce ne l'était pas aujourd'hui. Et on dirait déjà que l'été commence à terminer. Ou peut-être que ce sont des impressions que je me fais. J'ai également cherché une photo pour accompagner ce billet, mais je n'ai rien trouvé. Signe d'un mois peu inspirant? Enfin, comment a été juillet pour vous?

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

A new/old Liverpool memory

Sometimes the smallest thing can trigger your memory and make you feel nostalgic. It happened to me this evening: I turned the TV on and saw a glimpse of Hollyoaks, one of the silliest TV drama/soap the British ever invented. I quickly changed the channel, because I don't watch stupid programs. That said, I did watch Hollyoaks when I was living and working in Liverpool, nearly on a daily basis. Even though I did not know and do not remember any of the characters and storylines. After a day of work and my brain turned into mush, it was the only kind of thing I could focus on. One of my housemates was watching every time it was on. She thought it was stupid, but she watched it anyway. And every time, she was commenting on the stupid plot and silly characters and bad acting, and it made it quite an enjoyable experience. In fact, watching that dumb show became one of my guilty pleasures. My housemate also used to tell me when she had seen stars from Hollyoaks, because they all lived around (according to Wikipedia the scenes are mostly on Abbey Road).  In a way, it was not such a guilty pleasure. It was trash, but the sarcastic editorials of my friend gave the whole experience a sort of cultural dimension. I had a great time and I remember it fondly. And now, I cannot watch Hollyoaks. It just wouldn't be the same, and it's a stupid soap anyway.

Les larmes de crocodile de Lise Thibault

Je suis l'actualité politique et judiciaire au Québec, tout expatrié que je suis. Et je suis avec intérêt le procès pour fraude de l'ex-gouverneure générale Lise Thibault, que j'exècre profondément. Je n'aime pas le poste de représentant de la Reine, moi qui suis profondément républicain et anti-monarchiste. Je l'aime encore moins quand quelqu'un abuse de sa position d'autorité pour passer à la caisse et essaie de légitimer ses passe-droits par une défense ridicule de la position et de l'institution qu'elle représente. Qui plus est, Lise Thibault est une catholique illuminée, qui a déjà dit qu'elle priait pour que ceux qui l'attaquaient n'aillent pas en enfer, ce que j'exècre peut-être encore plus. Une monarchiste enragée doublée d'une catholique délirante, profondément condescendante, vaniteuse, stupide, donc, qui passe en procès, ça me remplit d'une joie féroce. Lorsque j'ai appris qu'elle a éclaté en sanglots lors de son interrogatoire, j'ai été pris d'un mélange de colère et de plaisir. Si elle croyait émouvoir qui que ce soit, elle se trompe: elle ne fait que montrer ses larmes de crocodile. J'espère un peu qu'à travers le spectacle vulgaire et grotesque qu'elle fait, c'est toute la monarchie dont on fera le procès. Car elle en est la représentante la plus représentative. Enfin, on peut rêver. Au moins, elle se sera montrée telle qu'elle est.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

I think I saw a bat

This is a picture I took at the Natural History Museum and this post's topic is an excuse to upload it. Anyway, so yes, the bat is a flying mammal and there are plenty of them around here, especially in the back garden. Or I think there are anyway, the bats here are, unlike this fruit bat, small and elusive. But tonight, about an hours ago, as darkness was falling down, I think I saw one flying. A small black speck, like a drop of ink flying around. I find it strange sometimes that they are associated with vampires in folklore, bats seem so shy. This one on the left looks actually friendly, more like a dog (I read on Wikipedia that megabats can be called flying foxes) than a flying rodent. It was nice to see a bat, if it was indeed a bat and not a bird.

Le bleu et le noir

C'est la deuxième fois de suite sur un billet en français que je télécharge une photo de la page Facebook de la Chocolaterie des Pères Trappistes. Je ne suis pas original, mais j'ai l'esprit aux bleuets et à ma région. C'est une photo qui date un peu, de quand ils avaient leurs vieilles boîtes pour leur chocolat aux bleuets. Elles étaient moins élégantes, néanmoins je les préfère et de loin aux nouvelles. Je l'ai téléchargée pour une seule raison: je voulais une photo qui irait bien avec le titre du billet. Comme c'est souvent le cas dans le temps des bleuets, je bleuis Vraie Fiction. Mais bon, c'est un billet écrit pour le titre, je le confesse. Mon blogue a un fond noir, d'abord, et puis c'est du chocolat noir qui enrobe des bleuets forcéments bleus. Alors voilà, le bleu et le noir.

Monday, 28 July 2014

The acting gene?

I was speaking to my mother yesterday, telling her how much I missed acting and being on the stage and she wondered where I got my talent for acting. Her (flattering) words, even though she very rarely saw me on stage and I think the last time she heard me acting was for that radio play two years ago. She told me that she was terribly shy as a child and that for a school play she had ran away from the stage. I am terribly shy too and I remember my first performance at uni: my legs were shaking, I thought I would collapse on the stage. It did not happen though, and I carried through the role. It was only a few lines: I was playing Purgon in Le malade imaginaire. But the lecturer and stage director had told me after the very first rehearsal that I was a natural. When I took acting classes later, I learned that being a natural means very little: you need to develop your talent if you want it to become a craft. Something I have never done enough. Nevertheless, I do think I have at least some talent, some natural skill for acting. And I wonder where I got it from.

Quand ma petite Scandinave...

On trouvera sans doute que je blogue souvent sur la Scandinavie ces temps-ci, mais bon, ce n'est pas vraiment un billet sur la Scandinavie. C'est lundi et je voulais offrir à ceux qui ne sont pas en vacances (comme moi) un peu d'humour, donc j'ai pensé à François Pérusse et cette chanson laborieusement enregistrée qui parle de Scandinaves et de chaises IKEA. Ma soeur suédoise (l'étudiante suédoise venue passer une année chez nous) m'a accepté comme ami sur Facebook, alors il y a au moins ça qui me rend heureux ce lundi. Et puis il y a cette chanson qui je l'espère vous fera rire. C'est quand même un classique instantané.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Sherlock Holmes gamebooks

As I mention two months ago, I am rediscovering, or about to rediscover, the universe of Sherlock Holmes. And I am considering not only reading original stories and watching the many adaptations, but also reading some interactive gamebooks. There are many, from different publishers and different collections. As a child, there was one I used to read and enjoy, but they were a publication of French origins. I am more curious about the Sherlock Holmes Solo Mysteries collection, which I have seen very often on the shelves when I was a child, but never got myself round to try one. I saw the second title in a café in Montreal once. I checked it quickly, but never played the whole story. Its title, The Black River Emerald, sounded pretty good if you ask me, eerie and mysterious and akin to many titles from Conan Doyle. In any case, I want to read it and the other titles. And if somebody has read/played them, is it any good? Any title you'd recommend? It could be from any collections, not necessarily this one.

Tout ce que vous voulez savoir sur la crème solaire

Je ne sais pas comment c'est chez vous, mais ici c'est l'été en pleine force depuis un bout de temps. Outre que j'en suis un tantinet blasé, je dois la plupart du temps. me rappeler de me badigeonner de crème solaire avant de sortir. Comme se protéger du soleil est une nécessité vitale, j'ai pensé porter votre attention sur un billet au sujet de la crème solaire sur le blogue du Pharmachien. Toujours intéressant, pertinent, instructif et drôle.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Did I have enough of summertime?

I have been asking myself this question over and over again, since the heatwave started a few weeks ago. It is simply too hot for me to appreciate summertime. Maybe it is also because it is not a holiday for me anymore. Maybe summer is truly for children. But right now I feel sweaty, deflated, bored and pretty much blasé. Am I normal? Am I the only one feeling like this?

Les bleuets sont mûrs

"A la Sainte-Anne les bleuets sont mûrs. C'est le raisin de chez-nous, fils du feu; du sol humble et pierreux c'est l'offrande; c'est le miel des crans sauvages, le frère des éricales dans le royaume infini des sphaignes et des tourbières."

 Menaud maître-draveur, Félix-Antoine Savard

 Je sais, je le cite encore, sans honte aucune, parce que c'est la Sainte-Anne et il faut le souligner. La photo a été téléchargée de la page Facebook de La Chocolaterie des Pères trappistes. Des bleuets sauvages du Lac. Le bleuet est le fruit emblématique de ma région et un sujet de fierté identitaire. Je me devais donc de le souligner.

Friday, 25 July 2014

With hey, ho, the wind and the rain

I know, I know, this is not the true title of this song. But it is this line of the lyrics that I remember most from the song sung by Feste in Twelfth Night by, well, who else than the Bard. In fact, it may be the song written by Shakespeare which I find the most memorable, because it was performed by Ben Kingsley in the 1996 movie adaptation. And because I often long for wind and rain these days, I thought about uploading it tonight. Well, because of this, and because it is Shakespeare's 450th birth year anniversary and it is cool to listen to Ben Kingsley singing. Otherwise, it is one of those songs I adore, but have no idea why. For the record, these days the rain comes generously but sporadically in storms, while the wind remains desperately quiet.

Je m'ennuie de l'air climatisé

Photo prise à l'ancien appart à Montréal, où j'ai passé six années de ma vie. C'était une photo promotionnelle pour le vendre, je veux dire on ne prend pas la photo d'un climatiseur pour son esthétique. L'appart est parti vite. Je ne sais pas si l'air climatisé a joué un grand rôle dans sa vente, mais c'est une des choses qui me manquent ici: en Europe, l'air climatisé pour les maisons et les apparts de la classe ouvrière, ils connaissent pas. Et ces temps-ci, c'est la canicule, une grosse canicule moche et collante, qui je crois joue un rôle dans mon dégoût de l'été. Alors c'est sans doute ce qui me manque plus des apparts montréalais en ce moment. Enfin, ce qui me manque le plus de celui dans lequel j'ai vécu.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

A cat named Pumpkin

I took this picture a few weeks ago, during one of my cat walks. There are many shy and elusive cats around here, but this one was very affectionate. He/she rubbed against me a lot and he/she asked for plenty of cuddles. Which I happily gave. As you have guessed, I do not know if it was a male or a female cat, so I gave him/her the name Pumpkin. A name that fits just as well a male or a female. Although Pumpkin is not quite the exact orange colour of the pumpkin and is not of the same colour all over, he/she still has a fiery orange that fits the name enough. Black cats are of course the most perfect cats for Halloween and I used to have one a year ago who celebrated the holiday with me, but jack o'lantern coloured cats are the next best felines. I would adopt Pumpkin if I could adopt a cat. But I will not adopt a cat just yet. For now, I have cat walks to have some feline company. And I blog more about them. Feline life around here is epic.

Question existentielle (234)

Il faut une journée d'été splendide, avec soleil et tout. Il fait chaud pas rien qu'un peu, c'est la canicule. Mais je ne me sens pas d'humeur estivale, au contraire je me sens résolument mélancolique. D'où cette question existentielle:

-Pourquoi est-ce que parfois l'été me rend mélancolique au point de le détester un peu?

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Venice and Fabian Perez

The title of this painting is... Venice, by Fabian Perez, my favourite painter. It is a recent one, I believe. I recently learned from the local art gallery (well, not exactly local now as they have relocated in a nearby town) that Perez lived for seven years near Venice. I always thought there was something Italian about him, both in his art and in his culture. Which makes sense, since he is Argentinian and there is an important Italian diaspora there. But anyway, when I saw the painting, I knew I had to blog about it. This masked lady is different from the courtesans he usually paints, yet in many ways very similar. There is a vulnerability and a certain loneliness about her that is akin to many other women painted by Perez. But while most of the courtesans and femmes fatales lived in hot Argentinian nights, this one exists in cold Venice. And like in every painting of Fabian Perez, there is a narrative with the character: she is of course about to take a letter. Was the letter meant for her? Why is she wearing a mask? Because it is carnival, or because she wants to hide her identity?  This painting is set in a different place and a different time, but it is the same artistic sensibility.

Couper la semaine en deux

Il n'y a peut-être pas pire journée que le mercredi. Je crois que le lundi me déprime plus, mais le mercredi je le trouve pénible. Plus long, plus épuisant, je commence la journée zombie, je la termine le corps endolori et proche de la rigidité cadavérique. C'est immanquable. C'était le cas dans toutes les jobs que j'ai eues. C'est encore plus vrai dans des moments comme ceux-là, alors que mes dernières vraies vacances datent de plusieurs mois (janvier pour être précis). Je commence sérieusement à avoir hâte aux prochaines et je me demande déjà si elles seront suffisantes. Cela dit, il y a un avantage au mercredi: c'est le jour qui coupe la semaine en deux. Une fois terminé, le pire est en général passé.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

A great unknown line about Scandinavia

Rereading this blog, feeling uninspired, I found on this old post a comment from my brother PJ. I decided to blog it, as it is so very definitely a great unknown line. So here it is translated in English:

"We have to admit, everything Scandinavian is cool, isn't it? Whether it is Vikings, trolls, the movies of Bergman, medieval festivals in the ruins of the Hanseantic League, or blonde Swedish women."

This is all very true, of course.

Le temps des rideaux fermés

Bon, nous sommes en pleine canicule, ou en tout cas pas loin. Il fait très chaud depuis plus d'une semaine, le soir seulement la température baisse. Et encore. Et comme ici les maisons pas plus que les apparts n'ont pas d'air climatisé, pour éviter que notre chez-soi se transforme en four, ma femme et moi avons décidé de fermer les rideaux, même la journée. Le soleil, quand il brille sans cesse de tous ses feux, est une belle saloperie. C'est ironique comme le beau temps et l'été peuvent paraître ainsi antipathiques. Et je sais que je vais râler lorsqu'il pleuvra, mais je garde les rideaux fermés quand même.

Monday, 21 July 2014

In need of pseudonyms

Something struck me after reading this post from yesterday and thinking about that post: my readers might get confused when I speak of certain friends, such as my Italian friends, as they share enough to be confused for one another, but are two very different persons. Many bloggers use pseudonyms, either referring to themselves or about family members or loved ones. I kept my real first name, while my two brothers took the names of PJ and Devadar. But even then, I call them my brothers here. Since they are both younger than me, it might again lead to confusion if I don't refer to them with their pseudonyms. I see many of my fellow bloggers using pseudonyms and I find them very inventive. And yet I find their imagination somewhat intimidating. I am a rather creative person myself, but what names to find to replace the real ones I have no idea.

Mozart et les fonctions harmoniques (de Zviane)

Vous vous rappelez sans doute de Zviane, l'auteure de l'une de mes bédés québécoises préférées? (En fait MA bédé québécoise préférée). Et bien, j'apprends qu'elle a aussi une page YouTube et qu'elle est musicienne. Elle a notamment fait une série de vidéos avec illustrations, à la fois la musique de Mozart et une théorie musicale. J'ai déjà fait de la musique, mais les fonctions c'est un peu loin de moi. Cela dit, j'ai trouvé fascinantes les vidéos de Zviane, car elle amène une dimension visuelle à une oeuvre auditive. Vous vous rappelez de mon billet de samedi, qui portait sur un sujet semblable et également sur une oeuvre de Zviane. Fascinantes, parce que des dessins simples expriment toute une gamme d'émitions avec la musique.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

The world in Bergamo

I am uploading another picture my Italian friend sent me of the terrestrial globe in her parent's house in Bergamo. I obsessed about the globe since I saw it years ago. I am grateful my friend took the time to take a few snapshots of it at a family gathering. You can find more images of the globe here and here. I have no real reason to upload it, except that I love the image. The globe in front, the Italian wine in the back, blurry in the background.I don't know why, but I love it. My friend made a very artsy picture. So I had to share it here.

Souvenirs de dimanches chicoutimiens

Nous sommes dimanche, journée que je n'aime guère, alors j'ai pensé écrire un billet nostalgique sur les dimanches de ma jeunesse chicoutimienne, un peu inspiré par ce billet. Parce que certains dimanches étaient spéciaux. Non, non, je n'allais pas à la messe (enfin si, ça m'est arrivé parfois). Il nous arrivait, ma famille et moi, d'aller déjeuner au Café Croissant. C'était la place branchée à Chicoutimi, même si même dans mon souvenir, la nourriture, bien qu'honnête, n'était pas foudroyante. C'était peut-être le vrai premier café continental. Maintenant je crois que son étoile a un peu pâli (avec Café Cambio en face, la faune artistique saguenéenne a ailleurs où aller), ce qui est ironique car le Café Croissant s'est un tantinet gentrifié depuis mon enfance. Même si, selon ce que je lis sur TripAdvisor (où j'ai d'ailleurs pris la photo du billet), le Café Croissant n'a rien de foudroyant. Dans mon souvenir, les déjeuners étaient surtout des croissants. Bon, ce n'était pas le grand luxe, mais comme j'étais un enfant impressionnable je trouvais que ça avait un charme presque exotique. C'était en tout cas différent de ce que je connaissais ailleurs. On allait ensuite bouquiner aux Bouquinistes, en tout cas dès que la librairie a commencé à être ouverte le dimanche, ce qui date je crois de mon adolescence. C'étaient des dimanches plutôt plaisants.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

The crabapple tree in the park

I recently made a discovery walking in the nearest park: right after you get in from one of its entrances, there is what appears to be a crabapple tree. This made my day and I went back in the evening to take a picture. Those who have been reading my blog for a while know that I have a special fondness for crabapple trees, because my parents have one at home, among other things. We make jelly with its fruits (great on toasts). For me, crabapple ripening are a sign of summer passing and autumn showing up, and a sign of harvest. Now, there are plenty of green fruits there, they are far from ripe but all the same, this will be like a natural, growing calendar. It felt strangely homely standing in its shade, looking at the fruits. Sometimes it does not take me much to be happy.

Une sorte de bonne nouvelle

Je sais qu'il y a bien des choses dans l'actualité qui sèment l'inquiétude et la tristesse. Cela dit, j'ai vu aujourd'hui une nouvelle que j'ai pu qualifier de bonne, en tout cas pour moi. D'accord, c'est un peu une nouvelle schadenfreude, sauf qu'il faut bien rire un peu et cette pensée tordue qui m'est venue à l'esprit en lisant, bien en lisant ceci. Il y a eu des engorgements chez Passeport Canada à Montréal, au Complexe Guy-Favreau. Bon, je suis désolé pour ceux qui ont dû poireauter, mais j'ai tout de suite pensé à une chose: le mien a été renouvelé il y a un bout et pour un bon bout. Alors je n'ai eu à attendre nulle part récemment pour un renouvellement de passeport. Voilà, une sorte de bonne nouvelle. Comme me disait une amie française, il y a des années de cela: "ce que tu es vil." C'était un peu vrai.

The Detective Tales cover for July

This is again the time when I upload an image from a cover of Detective Tales and comment on it. As I mentioned last year and before, finding a good cover for July is getting increasingly difficult, because I already used many. So I chose the ultimate cliffhanger: the cover for July 1944. The heroine is in a very uneasy position, hanging in the air, held by a single hand (her private eye love interest?) while she is taking hold of a purse, the MacGuffin of the story. And there is a hoodlum who saw everything, on the right side of the window, lurching at it with a gun. How she got there must be quite a story. And from (I am assuming) such height, in such a light dress, she must be quite cold. But I guess it is to her a secondary aspect of her predicament.

Un extrait audio de L'ostie d'chat

Nouveau billet à propos de L'ostie d'chat, mon coup de coeur de la bédé québécoise et montréalaise. Je ne sais pas si je l'ai déjà mentionné, mais on peut trouver un extrait audio d'une scène du second tome à l'émission radio de Radio-Can (je ne dirai jamais ICI) Plus on est de fous, plus on lit. Vous trouverez l'extrait juste là (je vous disais que je ne dirais pas ici). Les personnages sont joués par Olivier Morin et Émilie Bibeau. L'extrait est court, mais je trouve intéressant la transposition d'un univers visuel dans un univers auditif. Et bon, comment les acteurs font exister les personnages avec leurs voix seulement. Je trouve que c'est assez réussi.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Stormy night

I blogged yesterday about a storm I was hoping to see. Well, it happened... last night! In the middle of the night, I woke up because of rain and thunder. You can see pictures on the BBC website here. It seems that pretty much the whole island was covered with storms. Sadly, I did not take a picture myself. I got up, shut the window, and went back to bed. And slept easily the rest of the night. I find summer storms soothing, especially in the middle of the night.

Les pommes sont vertes

Cette photo a été prise il y a environ deux semaines dans un pub local. Je l'ai mentionné à quelques reprises récemment et il me fournit pas mal de photos sur ce blogue. Il s'appelle, ironiquement, The Royal Oak. Mon pub préféré, sans doute. Mais enfin bref, ceci est la photo d'un pommier dans son jardin. Avec des pommes vertes. Encore vertes, donc. Je les ai photographiées l'année dernière aussi. Ce que je conclus de ces pommes vertes? Que la récolte n'est pas pour demain et que l'été sera encore long.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Sinister Swamps

I am starting this post by a question: is it only me, or are swamps particularly sinister? I always thought so anyway. It is full of mold, wet, neither land nor water, with ghostly trees and all sorts of creepy critters. As far as I remember, I always found swamps scary, even before I read Scorpion Swamp, my very first Fighting Fantasy Gamebook. The book only confirmed my sinister fascination with eerie swamps. Maybe it is because of this, even more than the fact that it was my first gamebook, that I am so fond of it. It is supposed to be full of flaws, but I always found it full of atmosphere and in a great setting, where monsters abond. Scorpions, normal sized or giant ones, of course, but also giant spiders, giant toads, "normal" giants and that thing on the cover, Malevolent humans too, some thieves but especially wizards who made the Scorpion Swamp their home. But mainly, I love it for the swamp.

My brothers and I played of course plenty of make-belief games set in swamps, or indeed set in Scorpion Swamp or nearby (the town of Willowbend for instance). Years later, when we started playing Dungeons & Dragons, swamps became maybe the second most important wilderness setting after the forest. We had plenty of monsters in them, but not the same ones as in Scorpion Swamp: there were far more lizard men and hydras than scorpions. All the same, the book certainly influenced us. And it reminds me that swamps are, well, you know, beautifully eerie and deliciously sinister.

Question existentielle (233)

J'ai déjà posé cette question il y a plus de trois ans, mais comme je bloguais sur le sujet et le trouvait trop profond, je n'en ai pas fait une question existentielle. Je me demande ce qui m'a retenu, l'excuse est assez bête, si on y pense. Alors la revoici en question existentielle:

-Une fiction peut-elle être vraie?

Waiting for more storms

This summer has been very stormy so far, and thus it has been a proper summer. To baptize the season, I always think you need one good storm. We had storms very early on, but we haven't had another one since June. These days, however, we are bordering on heatwave, not a dry one, but a humid one that is foreboding... storm. If I was not already aware of it because of the dampness and the heat, they are forecasting storms for tomorrow. So I am waiting and hoping for them.

Un python en cavale?

Il y a parfois des manchettes qui me font rire et grincer des dents en même temps. Celle-ci par exemple: Le python en cavale retrouvé. Un python qui s'était évadé de chez son proprio de Limoilou. Pas dangereux nous dit-on, le serpent en question. L'ennui vient du titre: le python en cavale. Comment un python peut-il être en cavale? Ca prend des pattes pour cavaler, non? En tout cas une monture. Un serpent, ça rempe. Alors le titre est involontairement drôle.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

From Montreal to this English town

Yesterday, I went to an outdoor concert performed by the local orchestra (their first in their existence). My wife plays in it, so I might blog about it more another day. The concert was set in one of the nearby pubs that this little town is full of. It is one of the most modern pubs and it has a lovely beer garden, where the concert was taking place. I met at total random one of my neighbours, one who used to feed Odin with his wife and who said this great unknown line. Anyway, he was there with his wife and as they are warm and friendly, they paid me the drinks (mineral water as I was too tired for alcohol) and would have paid me a meal had I not eaten already. They are very sociable, the man even more than the woman, they talk to everyone, know everyone. And he already knew that one of the barmaids was Canadian, he didn't know from where, but she was Canadian and so on, so he insisted on introducing her to me, as if she'd been an old friend of theirs since forever. People in England often think Canadians know each other, or are from the same place. Anyway, she is actually from Nova Scotia, which I have never been to. Although I do have an ancestor from there (a great-grandfather to be precise). But, more importantly, she lived three years in Montreal where she studied at McGill, where my own brothers used to study. But she is too young to have known them, and she did not study the same thing anyway. That said, I found it slightly surreal, one of these moments when I remember how small this planet is and when everyone from everywhere seems to end up in this small English town.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Une entrée (la photo du mois)

Le thème de ce mois-ci, proposé par Galinette était une entrée... Voici une des entrées du jardin du bloc où je demeure. Prise le soir, elle a l'air un peu sinistre. Je l'aime bien malgré tout, avec les arbres qui parfois la bloquent presque.

Allez voir où vous mènent les entrées des autres participants:

A chaque jour sa photo, A'icha, Agnès, Akaieric, Alban, Alexinparis, Alice Wonderland, Ann, Anne, Annick, Arwen, Aude, Ava, Bestofava, BiGBuGS, Blogoth67, Blue Edel, Calamonique, Cara, Cécile - Une quadra, Cécile Atch'oum, Céline in Paris, Champagne, Chat bleu, Chloé, Christophe, Claire's Blog, Crearine, Cricriyom from Paris, Cynthia, Dame Skarlette, DelphineF, Dr. CaSo, El Padawan, Elsa, eSlovénie, Eurydice, Fanfan Raccoon, Filamots, François le Niçois, Frédéric, Galinette, Gilsoub, Giselle 43, Gizeh, Guillaume, hibiscus, Homeos-tasie, Isa de fromSide2Side, Isa ToutSimplement, Isaquarel, Josiane, Julia, Kantu, KK-huète En Bretannie, Krn, La Berlinoise, La Dum, La Fille de l'Air, La Nantaise à Paris, Lau* des montagnes, Laulinea, Laurent Nicolas, Laurie, Lavandine, Lavandine83, Les bonheurs d'Anne & Alex, Les Filles du Web, Louisianne, Lucile et Rod, Lyonelk, magda627, Mahlyn, Mamysoren, Maria Graphia, Marie, Marmotte, MauriceMonAmour, Memories from anywhere, Mimireliton, MissCarole, Morgane Byloos Photography, Nanouk, Nicky, Nie, Oscara, Philae, Pilisi, Pixeline, princesse Emalia, Renepaulhenry, Rythme Indigo, Sandrine, Sephiraph, Sylvie, Tataflo, Testinaute, Thalie, The Parisienne, The Singapore Miminews, Tuxana, Un jour, une vie, Woocares, Xoliv'

Monday, 14 July 2014

Dreaded Monday

Warning: this post is all gloom and doom. Anybody did not notice today was Monday? Except the French of course, but I suspect even they know. You know it is Monday when you wake up one morning and wished the week was over already. And it is true even if you are not working. Monday is a dreaded and often a dreadful day. This Monday was for me anyway, and I suspect it was only because of the day of the week. Nothing, absolutely nothing went wrong at work, but I felt tired and bored and when the day ended completely deflated. And to think there is a whole week ahead of me... I am sure Sisyphus rolls his rock on an eternal Monday.

Addendum: The last line, according to the comments I received since I wrote this post, deserves to be a great unknown line. So it is officially one now.

Le Jour de la Bastille

Nous sommes le 14 juillet, fête nationale française, Jour de la Bastille. Célébrant le début de la fin pour la monarchie française et la genèse du républicanisme en Europe. Je sais, il y a eu des républiques avant la française, les rois sont revenus au pouvoir par après, mais le 14 juillet marque un point de non retour. Je souligne le 14 juillet comme une fête républicaine, donc, avant d'être une fête nationale. Alors pour souligner et commémorer cette année, j'ai téléchargé une scène du film/de la minisérie La Révolution française, qui dramatise ce point tournant de l'histoire.Elle est considérablement coupée, mais ça donne une idée.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Kingston Calypso

I thought I would upload a song tonight, a summery song. I have actually uploaded it before, but the video disappeared from YouTube, beside this is the whole song. It is a song that obsess me from time to time, from the very first Bond movie. It is about three blinde mice, a pussycat and a rat, but in fact the three blind mice are three killers passing as blind men, the pussycat is James Bond and by proxy the British Empire, and the rat is of course the evil Dr. Julius No. Immortal Joseph Wiseman. But in the end, it is such a beautiful atmospheric song called Kingston Calypso. Which I hope you enjoy.

Le calvaire qui achève

C'est le dernier match de soccer du Mondial, Allemagne contre Argentine. Mon calvaire achève. Je déteste le football/soccer. Je veux dire: je déteste vraiment. C'est plate. Pour reprendre une comparaison biblique (enfin je crois, à tout le moins une comparaison religieuse), ça rend l'homme semblable à la bête, que ce soit le joueur ou le partisan. Alors je suis heureux qu'on va bientôt avoir la paix pour quatre ans. En ce qui concerne le football/soccer mondial, en tout cas.

Cat walks

Recently, my wife and I have been walking a good deal in the evenings (and the afternoons at weekends). We usually go into the street perpendicular to ours, the street where Odin (pictured left) used to live until he moved in this flat. I mentioned it recently. We call these walks the cat walks, because there are so many cats. in this street in particular. There are some more in the neighbourhood, we are discovering or rediscovering them. Last time, we stopped in a narrow walking alley and not one but three black cats were there. Of course I thought of Odin. But these ones were feral, they didn't let themselves be approached or touched, although at least one looked at us with a mild curiosity that for a moment took over his distrust. There are many cats of all colours around, usually we find at least one sociable enough for a few strokes and cuddles. It give me a boost of endorphins. I am not ready to adopt another cat after the death of Odin, but I need some contact with my feline friends. So for now I take cat walks.

Une souche comme table

Si cette photo vous semble familière, c'est que son sujet a été utilisé pour illustrer le thème de la photo du mois de septembre 2013. Elle a été prise dans le même pub (enfin le jardin du pub). C'est, bien entendu, une souche utilisée comme table. Confession: je ne l'ai jamais utilisée, malheureusement. Le thème était "mon lieu de vacances 2013 et comme je n'avais pas pris des vacances d'été, j'ai choisi un endroit inusité qui gagnerait à être connu des vacanciers. Incidemment, le pub a été l'inspiration d'une autre photo du mois, ainsi que de nombreux billets. Le pub s'appelle The Royal Oak, je me demande souvent si c'est le tronc d'un chêne, mais sans les branches je ne peux pas vraiment l'identifier. J'aime beaucoup ce pub, c'est peut-être mon préféré dans la petite ville où je vis, je trouve qu'il a beaucoup de cachet. Et il a de ces côtés inusités, comme cette souche utilisée comme table.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

The Brownies of Sugar Moon

Well, tonight is the full moon, and today is Saturday, and as it is a weekend tradition, I am going to plug a piece of local food from a local producer. This time it is the brownies from Sugar Moon, a new online business. It has been brought to my attention as it has been created by... Rachel Lucas, Mozart's Girl in person, who is not only as her internet name indicates a die hard admirer of my favourite composer, but also a baker. And what a baker she is! I knew already because my wife and I had tea with her and her husband three years ago and we had the chance to enjoy their hospitality and her cooking. I blogged about it of course.

So I discovered that she had changed her second blog's name  Baking Brownies for Mozart into Sugar Moon Brownies and in one post that she had this new bakery. I was intrigued, I wanted to try them, so I visited her website. I could not choose so decided for a sample menu. And the brownies arrived yesterday. Of course, Rachel does not do things in half, I mean you don't nickname yourself Mozart's Girl when you are a baker to do anything short of amazing, so the presentation was in itself worth the purchase. They were elegantly wrapped in packages, as you can see form the top picture. I almost felt guilty opening them. Then again, I could smell the fresh brownies, so my hesitation lasted about thirty seconds, but I had time to take a few snapshots. There were also a postcard with a kind word from Rachel (don't know if this comes in every package) and a piece of paper with another kind word and a tip about the brownies: try them heated in the microwave for 20 seconds, accompanied by a bit of ice cream. I just might do that. And then brownies themselves are delicious. I think my favourite is salted caramel. But it might change with my mood. So anyway, for those living in the UK, you should try it for a sugar boost.

Ah les framboises!

Le sujet peut paraître trivial, mais il ne l'est pas du tout: je mange souvent des framboises ces temps-ci. Pourtant, nous sommes au coeur de l'été. Si vous connaissez un peu les cycles saisonniers, vous savez que les framboises sont un fruit récolté en fin d'été, du moins au Québec. Ce qui veut donc dire que c'est un peu tôt pour les avoir disponibles, pourtant elles sont partout ici en Angleterre. Mais bon, on ne boudera pas son plaisir. Cela dit, pour moi les framboises sont associées à la fin de l'été, parce que j'allais les cueillir dans le jardin de mon oncle quand j'étais enfant. La récolte des framboises était une activité presque épique: on marchait sous des allées de framboisiers couverts d'épines. Mais j'adorais, ça transformait une activité somme toute simple en aventure. Et les framboises ne sont jamais aussi bonnes que lorsqu'on a souffert comme ça pour les manger, alors celles du jardin de mon oncle sont depuis ce temps les meilleures que j'ai mangées.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Keeping God out of the schools

Everybody in for a bit of controversy for a Friday night? How about Christian prayers in secular schools? You think it does not exist. Oh yes it does, in the UK at least. I have witnessed it first hand. I worked in a school, a school that labeled itself secular, that was legally and officially considered secular. Yet they had Christian prayers in assemblies. Which made me mutter Jesus Christ the first time I've witnessed it. And every time after that. Of course, I consider it wrong. This is a form of proselytism, this is religious propaganda, it is a betrayal of the mission of a public, secular school, which should have no religious bias whatsoever... and it is perfectly legal. Because England is not a secular country, not by law, it is, in the incestuous way the Church of England and the public institutions go to bed together, absolutely backward. But now the school governors want to abolish the rule on Christian assemblies. It would be about time. In any circumstances, the prayers in schools would be bad enough, in a secular and pluralist society, they are not only "meaningless" as the governors said, they are also obscurantist and cowardly, trying to give a particular faith a legitimacy and a relevance it does not have.

So yes, I was very happy to read the news. And when I heard about this petition, I gladly signed it. Even though I am not into petitions usually, whatever the cause. I also invited people to sign it on Facebook, and I am doing it here tonight. Because as long as there are Christian school assemblies, there are no secular schools in Britain, plain and simple. And I have witnessed them with my own eyes. And they were just as bad and sick as the old Catholic classes I had when I was growing up in Québec. They poison and atrophy the minds and have pupils look at their feet as if they'd find God there. So they need to end.

Une insulte de mon cru

Vous connaissez sans doute la récente controverse entourant le Ministre de l'Éducation Yves Bolduc, qui a pris des patients alors qu'il était député de l'opposition, ce qui a mis en colère Claude Castonguay, le père de l'Assurance-Santé, assez pour qu'il réclame la démission de Bolduc. Moi, ce qui m'a frappé, c'est l'attitude et les propos (surtout les propos) de gros matamore teigneux du Ministre de la Santé et docteur Gaétan Barrette, attitude de gros matamore teigneux qui est toujours la sienne face à quiconque qui ne s'aplatit pas comme une carpe devant lui. Oui, j'y vais avec les métaphores et les allusions peu subtiles sur son poids. Mais c'est ce qu'il est, en dépit de tous les titres qu'on peut lui donner pour flatter sa vanité. Alors ça m'a fait dire ceci sur Facebook: "Si on donnait un lavement au docteur Barrette, il tiendrait dans une boîte à gants." J'ai paraphrasé Christopher Hitchens, je l'avoue. Mais avouez que je manie bien l'art de l'insulte. Et que c'est une de mes meilleures pointes.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

My neighbours the red kites

I was walking home one evening and I saw them in the sky: red kites, as if they were a flock, flying low around the entrance to the block's parking, crying their hawkish cry. Sadly I could not take a picture, my phone having problems at the moment. Not sure that I could have, even with the right camera. Flying birds are elusive, flying birds of prey are even more so. But it was striking to see and hear them so close. Recently, for whatever reason, I could see them from much closer than usual. A week ago I saw one perching on the branch of a pine tree, something I had never witnessed before. And there was that strange flock this week.

So sad, I have no picture to accompany this post. But you can read more about red kites on this website. They used to be near extinct, now they are numerous again. You can see them all around Buckinghamshire and Berkshire, but I never noticed them until I arrived in this town. And even then it took me a few months to notice them. But since then, well, it is as if I can only see the red kites in the sky. We have sparrows, pigeons (I could do without them), crows, plenty of black birds, but the red kites are the most distinctive avian neighbours. And I learn to really appreciate their presence. I love all birds of prey, it is great to have so many, so close. And they make this part of England unique.

Le petit frère de Mafalda

Ce soir, j'ai décidé de mettre un peu de Mafalda sur ce blogue, l'une des bédés préférées. Un gag en une image, mettant en vedette sa mère et surtout Guille, son petit frère. Guille est peut-être mon personnage préféré de toute la série. Je dis que c'est un gag en une image, mais c'est en fait une double image: il y a le dessin de la réalité de la famille de Mafalda, il y a ensuite la fresque dessinée par Guille. C'est une mise en abyme absolument géniale et outre le gag lui-même (qui n'a pas besoin de traduction) cela rajoute une épaisseur de contenu à la bédé. Quino n'est pas un auteur naïf, il connaît et maîtrise son art. Et Guille est mignon comme tout. J'imagine qu'avec son nom et sa vision du monde, il m'a toujours fait penser à moi.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Flying Summertime

This pictures dates back from July 2006. I don't think I ever uploaded it before. It shows the garden of my family place in Chicoutimi. I am uploading it because it illustrates what July should look like in an ideal world. It does not quite feel like it these days. It is not as warm as it should be, it is not as sunny as it should be. I am more of an autumnal man, but I do love at least a few summery days for seasonal changes' sake and while we had a good dose of them earlier on, now it seems like summer is ending.  In any case, it looks like it is flying fast. Of course, I am writing this and maybe in a week we will have a heatwave. Still, it does feel like it is flying.

Un calembour atroce

J'immortalise sur ce blogue un calembour d'une atrocité sans nom qui m'est venu en tête hier. Il est assez dégoûtant et vraiment mauvais: "Quand quelqu'un a la gastro, la nausée abonde."

Essayez de battre ça.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Rooibos, lavender and blueberries

I was thinking about this post about lavender, and it reminded me that I have a special rooibos brew from David's Tea which has lavender in it. It is called rooibos de Provence, because of the lavender. And it has blueberries in it. I find it an unique mix: the rooibos is of course South African, the lavender associated with the South of France and the blueberries, well, they are the fruit of the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean where I am from. And of course I bought it in Montreal. So I like this rooibos for cultural reasons too. Sadly my stocks are getting desperately low.

Manger méditerranéen

Cette photo a été prise dans un café local, qui est presqu'un restaurant le midi. Le menu est modeste, mais il y a un plateau méditerranéen pour deux qui n'est pas mal: piment, feuilles de vignes farcies, olives (et vous savez comment j'aime les olives), houmous, falafels, etc. Servi sur une pierre rectangulaire, pour faire pseudo-primitif. En fait, je trouve ça très élégant, tout en demeurant simple. C'est méditerranéen, mais je devrais dire grec, parce que ben c'est surtout grec, comme les patrons d'ailleurs. Il y a un peu plus d'une semaine, j'ai blogué sur un met grec. Ce qui m'a fait repenser à ce repas. Malheureusement ce n'est plus tout à fait aussi estival que ce l'était, pas l'idéal pour un tel régime, mais j'y retournerais dès qu'il fait un peu beau.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Sherlock Holmes and speedball?

Which is it to-day," I asked, "morphine or cocaine?"
He raised his eyes languidly from the old black-letter volume which he had opened.
"It is cocaine," he said, "a seven-per-cent solution. Would you care to try it?"


Remember my post a bit more than a year ago, about King George V dying of speedball overdose? Well, it struck me that there may have been another famous user of the infamous cocaine and heroin (or morphine) cocktail: Sherlock Holmes himself. He was of course a drug user when he did not have a case, which shocked me discovering it. We discover this in The Sign of Four that he is a user of both cocaine and morphine, as you can see from the quote above. It is not much of a stretch to think he may have used both at the same time. I was shocked as a child, but it is now one of the aspects of the characters I find most fascinating. He was not only the ancestor of the super sleuths of whodunits, but also of the anti-hero private eye with his cliché drinking addiction. There is something far more elegant, almost glamorized, in Holmes' drug consumption. Something far more fictitious too. Still, what a fascinating trait.

Ce sentiment de retour à l'école

En fin de semaine, je suis allé avec ma femme acheter des vêtements, tâche passablement angoissante dont je suis d'ailleurs rentré complètement bredouille. Et puis dans une allée, je suis tombé sur des uniformes d'écoles, des trucs gris/noirs particulièrement drabes. Et ça m'a donné un de ces coups de mélancolie carabinée. L'année scolaire n'est même pas terminée ici que déjà les magasins se mettent en mode rentrée. Je ne vais plus à l'école, je ne travaille plus non plus dans le milieu scolaire, en fait je ne suis même pas en vacances présentement, mais ça ne change rien, ça me fout le cafard à chaque fois que je vois des signes de rentrées. Même si le rapport signifiant/signifié est ténu. C'est comme si mes souvenirs d'enfance revenaient en torrent et que l'on me volait un peu l'été. Suis-je le seul à me sentir comme ça?

Sunday, 6 July 2014

The world, viewed from Italy

I am blogging again about this terrestrial globe owned by the family of my Italian friend (one of my Italian friends), from Bergamo, Italy. Well, about two terrestrial globes really: the blue one and the smaller, old-fashioned looking one she also pictured with the big one. The small one also looks like the geography on it is utterly inaccurate. Taken from an old map, maybe? My friend told me on Facebook: "Childhood memories- I used to play a lot with those globes, even though they were not meant for playing..." It is a beautiful evocative line, full of nostalgia and as I am a nostalgic, so this deserves to be a great unknown line. I used to have a globe like this as a child myself, but this is for another post. Right now I want you to see a glimpse of the world, through Italian eyes.

Le Lac-Mégantic, un an plus tard

Je ne crois pas avoir besoin de le rappeler à quiconque, enfin quiconque venant du Québec, cela dit il y a un an, il y a eu cette catastrophe ferroviaire à Lac-Mégantic et je pensais bon de le remémorer et de commémorer l'évènement. Je ne sais pas trop quoi dire, j'ai souvent visité l'Estrie dans ma jeune vingtaine, c'est un endroit superbe. Alors j'ai décidé de retélécharger la caricature de Serge Chapleau que j'avais mise sur ce blogue il y a un an. Parce que malgré tout, c'est beau les Cantons de l'Est. Et c'est le souvenir que j'en ai.

All About Monsters

I blogged about this book in French post last year. Back when I was a child, still naive about many things and very much into cryptozoology, I absolutely loved this book. It was called All About Monsters and was as much about cryptozoology as it was about monsters of legends and folklore. It was full of pseudo-science and as an educational book it was utter rubbish, but they had great drawings and in spite of its sensationalist nature the parts on folklore made me discover many legendary creatures that were subsequently used in make belief games. There was another book in the series called All About Ghosts, which I blogged about here and another one about UFOs, which I didn't cared much about.  One of my friends had it, I only had All About Monsters and All About Ghosts.

If the ghosts book was one of favorite reads in the months and weeks leading to Halloween (from August onwards), All About Monsters was the one of my summertime. The make belief games we played around the swimming pool involved giant squids and Loch Ness monsters-like creatures such as the one on the cover. I remember arguing with a friend about the Loch Ness monster because of this very book. The same friend who had the book on UFOs actually. We did not argue whether or not Nessie existed, as we both believed there was a monster dwelling in the lake, but what was his nature. Because of All About Monsters, he believed that Nessie was an elasmosaurus. Because of another book we had read on the subject, my brothers and I were adamant it was a plesiosaurus. But in any case, lots of mysterious creatures showed up in our games. We had of course many medieval fantasy games where the book became an important source of information. So next time I am home, I might revisit it.

Le jardin familial en juillet

Cette photo a été envoyée par mon père en juillet 2006. Vous voyez en avant-plan un cerisier, je crois. Enfin il y a déjà eu un cerisier là. Je ne sais pas si je l'ai téléchargée sur le blogue dans le passé, c'est difficile de tenir le compte. Cela dit, comme on est dimanche, j'ai pensé qu'une petite image bien estivale calmerait mes lecteurs qui ont le blues du dimanche. J'ai mentionné il n'y a pas longtemps les étés saguenéens. Ceci en est une autre image, prise au même endroit, dans le jardin familial à Chicoutimi. Dites-moi ce que vous en pensez.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Cats in the neighbourhood (and Odin)

Recently in the neighbourhood, there had been some posters about a missing cat, named Marley, a black cat with white paws and neck and a pink collar. And last Thursday evening, walking back from the local shop, I saw a cat that looked like Marley. So I went after her (if indeed it was her), slow enough not to scare her, fast enough to get closer. But sadly, she walked away and either jumped over a wall or hid in a bush. I called for her and out of the bush came... another cat. A black one, completely black I mean, it couldn't be Marley. He wouldn't get any closer. Of course this cat reminded me of Odin. In fact the whole episode reminded me of him. I called and then emailed the owners of Marley, but got no answer. I didn't want them to live what I lived in November. So after I emailed them, I went to look for the cat again.

I saw a few, but not her. There was one that was white with black spots, a bit like a cow, quite friendly. There was a fat tabby one on a porch, by an open door, there was the fluffy white and black one which used to show up in the garden, but got scared off by Odin just because of my cat's mere presence. Odin was never jealously guarding his territory, as far as I know, even though he had scars and marks of fights. I think they must have been from a long time ago: every time he saw another cat he gave his fellow feline barely more than a glance. But this fluffy one had been scared of Odin, for whatever reason, he had ran away watching Odin fearfully. There was another cat that showed up, a lean one, tiger or leopard like in fur (toirtoiseshell cat?). He was very affectionate, a bit shy at first, but he rubbed against me and asked for strokes. And he hissed at the fluffy cat, keeping him at a distance. This too reminded me of Odin, as he was sometimes on the same street, perpendicular to mine. And because he was affectionate even though we had just met. But I will not adopt another cat just yet, however tempted I am. That said, it was nice to discover all these felines that live nearby.

Madeleine de Jacques Brel

Je télécharge une chanson pour ce samedi soir, Madeleine de Jacques Brel. Pourquoi cette chanson en particulier? Tout d'abord, mettons les choses au clair: je n'ai jamais eu de blonde qui s'appelait Madeleine. Cela dit, ma grand-mère s'appelait Madeleine et ma nièce s'appelle Madeleine également. Ma nièce est encore jeune pour aller à un rendez-vous galant (du moins je l'espère!), mais je ne peux pas ne pas penser à elle quand j'écoute cette chanson. Surtout qu'elle n'est malheureusement peut-être pas si tant trop jeune que ça. Quant à ma grand-mère, elle m'a raconté ses premiers rendez-vous avec mon grand-père et je sais qu'elle a déjà éconduit son ex sans ménagement pour pouvoir être avec celui qui allait devenir son mari. Alors voilà, une autre chanson de Jacques Brel sur ce blogue.

Marooned

This painting is titled Marooned, it is the work of Howard Pyle, whom I blogged about here. He popularized the rather romanticized image we have of pirates. A character being marooned in a desert island was a common trope in adventure fiction, especially pirate fiction. I am uploading this image here because even though such dramatic event does not happen to common people in our day and age, the state and the painting does echo strongly in our psyche. Once does feel marooned when he longs for holidays, for instance. Which I will have this summer, but not just yet, so sometimes I feel very much like this pirate.

I uploaded it for another reason: my interest for piracy is rekindled every summer. I used to have pirates make belief games as a child, great fun. This year I am going on holiday in Devon, so very close to the sea. I already chose what I would read for my stay, but I might bring another book in case I finish this one and I was pondering about bringing something set by the sea, or in the sea and featuring some sort of pirates. Treasure Island starts not too far from Devon, but I already read it. Which makes me think: I have no idea what book I would bring with me on a desert island. Too many to choose.

Restaurants montréalais et crime organisé

Quelqu'un a envie de lire un billet sur les affaires criminelles montréalaises? Je viens de lire cette nouvelle sur La Presse, à propos du restaurant Queue de cheval à Montréal, qui doit réouvrir après un déménagement, mais que les agents du SPVM soupçonnent de financement illégitime. Ce ne serait pas le premier restaurant montréalais qui ferait du blanchiment d'argent, si les soupçons du SPVM sont fondés. Mais ce qui me frappe à chaque fois que je lis une nouvelle comme celle-là, c'est que tous les éléments d'un roman policier solide y sont: un restaurant haut de gamme apprécié par le jet set, des individus louches et pleins de fric, des ressources financières obscures, une force policière vigilante... Et Montréal pour théâtre.

Friday, 4 July 2014

America

Today is Independence Day, I barely noticed this morning. I was not sure how to commemorate it, I do want to commemorate it just because even though I have never been there, I admire and love a lot of American things, well, a lot of elements of American culture (the stuff that is admirable). This blog is my witness. And I thought maybe one of its many officious anthems could be an appropriate homage, so after thinking a lot about it I chose America by Simon and Garfunkel. It is full of sweet lyricism and is not bombastic like too many patriotic songs can be. So here it is.

Venise sur les traces de Corto Maltese

Je suis récemment tombé sur cet article dans La Presse. Intitulé
Venise sur les traces de Corto Maltese, que j'emprunte pour le titre de ce billet sans aucune honte, il a attiré mon attention. Je n'ai pas tout lu Corto Maltese d'Hugo Pratt, mais c'est seulement parce qu'il y a tant d'auteurs à lire. Car je considère Hugo Pratt un auteur et son oeuvre une oeuvre littéraire, dans tous les sens du mot. Je pensais un jour écrire sur le personnage, je ne croyais pas écrire sur lui en parlant d'un livre touristique que je n'ai même pas. Mais enfin bref, Venise-Itinéraires avec Corto Maltese est à la fois un guide touristique et un guide littéraire, puisqu'il nous montre la ville à travers l'oeuvre et le personnage de Pratt. Idée inspirée, surtout pour quelqu'un qui compte visiter Venise avant qu'elle ne soit engloutie. J'ai déjà blogué sur les livres à lire en fonction de là où l'on est. Alors ce sera mon livre vénitien, lorsque je l'aurai. Je n'aime pas le tourisme facile et l'exotisme cheap. Je veux du tourisme littéraire. Alors ce sera mon guide vénitien.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

A black cat on the railway

I took this picture a while ago, when I was waiting for the train to go home after a day of work. This is of course the black cat I nicknamed Mephisto, one of the few daredevil (excuse the pun) cats that dwell at the train station near my work. All feral cats, I think. I blogged about him before. And maybe a few years ago too. There are plenty of cats near the station, I stopped counting them, but I try to give them name every time I see a new one. Of all the ones I saw, Mephisto is my favorite by far. Because he is a black cat of course. I love black cats and, if I do not believe in luck, if I did I thought they'd bring good luck. Mephisto often looks at me quizzically, sometimes bemused, but he always keeps his distances. This is one of the very few snapshots when you can have a good look at him. I wanted to upload it here because it shows his fearless nature. And he is so elegant, a small shadow casually walking on the railway.

Messidor

Petit rappel historique pour ceux qui sont républicains et qui s'intéressent à la Révolution française: selon le calendrier républicain, nous sommes Messidor, l'un des mois d'été. Il correspond aux récoltes d'été, parce qu'on récolte aussi en été, ne l'oublions pas. Le mois est partagé entre juin et juillet. Ce sera le 14 juillet bientôt, dans moins de deux semaines, je vais bien entendu souligner sur ce blogue. Ce billet en est donc un d'anticipation. En général, mes billets sur le calendrier républicain passent inaperçus, mais rien que pour le plaisir de l'érudition et parce que le calendrier vient d'un moment fascinant de l'histoire, je tiens quand même à le mentionner.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

The sadness of summer evenings

I am reading at the moment Nothing Like the Sun by my favourite author, a fictionalized account of the life of William Shakespeare. It was THE fictionalized Shakespeare I have been hoping to discover, far superior to the overrated romcom that won Oscars more than a decade ago. But I digress. There are many lines that are brilliant pieces of witticism (well, it is a novel by Anthony Burgess after all), but this particular line struck me: "It was light still, but there was sadness of summer evening in the light." It is how I often find summer evenings, when the sun goes down and it is still, they induce to melancholia.

Question existentielle (232)

Je reviens sur mon billet d'hier avec une question existentielle portant sur le déménagement:

-Quel est le moment idéal dans l'année pour déménager?

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

To see Medea

I have rediscovered this year the pleasure of seeing a play on stage. I blogged about, especially about the National Theatre's production of King Lear. I have discovered a new upcoming production I madly want to see: Medea by Euripides, with Helen McCrory in the title role. I know the myth back and forth, in fact I know a lot about Greek mythology, been reading about it since I am a child, been studying it at university, I love it. But, shame on me, I have yet to see a Greek tragedy on stage. And I don't think I can go wrong with this myth and the NT. So it is time to book tickets. Okay, so it will be, as for Lear, tickets for a live screening in a nearby cinema, but it still be a play on stage I will see, although not in the theatre itself. I can barely wait.

Le Jour du Déménagement

Nous sommes le premier juillet, ce qui veut dire, outre que c'est le début du mois de juillet et une certaine fête nationale, c'est aussi et surtout au Québec le Jour du Déménagement. Enfin, le jour où l'on déménage, d'habitude. Je n'ai assez ironiquement jamais déménagé un 1er juillet dans toute ma vie, au Québec ou ailleurs. Lorsque j'ai déménagé à Montréal en 1996, sur le Plateau Mont-Royal, c'était en août, avant que l'université commence. L'emménagement avait pris quelques jours, alors il n'a pas vraiment eu de pendaison de crémaillère en bonne et due forme. Vous voyez à gauche une photo du stationnement de l'appart de l'époque. J'ai pensé que ça serait approprié pour accompagner ce billet, avec le camion de mon père qui a le coffre grand ouvert. Je ne crois pas l'avoir téléchargée avant. Avez-vous déjà déménagé un 1er juillet? Si oui, vous pouvez écrire dans les commentaires en dessous sur votre expérience.

Avant de terminer ce billet, je tiens à dire que ce que le premier juillet représente encore plus pour moi, c'est l'anniversaire de mariage de deux de mes couples d'amis, dont les parents de mon filleul. Alors j'ai toujours une pensée pour eux ce jour-ci. Ce sont deux anniversaires dignes de célébrations.