Sunday 29 November 2009

Bad news for books aficionados

I've heard the rumour here first, but it is now official news and I thought I had to blog about it: the Borders chain is closing. I like Borders, maybe not as much as I do with Waterstone's, but it is still a great chain, with a wide choice and bookstores where you can actually find something else than the latest bestsellers. It is not looking well for the books market here. I just hope this will not happen to Waterstone's tomorrow. I think it might be time to make stocks of classics and rarities.

La Guingolée

Parlons un peu de la Guignolée (plus de détails sur la tradition ici), puisqu'elle s'en vient au Québec. Hier, Pierre Foglia en parlait. Pour moi, elle est associée à des mononcles qui chantent la chanson stupide en frappant aux portes. À Montréal, elle s'est urbanisée avec la Guignolée des Médias (que j'associe à la ville, même si elle se produit aussi en région) et n'a plus son odeur d'eau bénite. Vivant à l'étranger, je la manque maintenant à chaque année car j'arrive au Québec pour les Fêtes (quand j'y vais) une fois la Guignolée passée. Ce qui n'est pas un mal en soi (la chanson est vraiment bébête, peut-être autant qu'un journaliste avec une tuque de Père Noël), mais maintenant que je vais passer Noël ici, je crois que même ça va me manquer.

Gilles Carles

Triste nouvelle: Gilles Carles est mort. Ce qui est encore plus triste, c'est que je ne crois pas avoir vu un seul de ses films.

Friday 27 November 2009

The nostalgic and the pilgrims

I was watching a program a few days ago about Brittain as seen by tourists. It was not very good (some critics hated it), but there was one section about Liverpool and of course the Beatles, and seeing all these American tourists doing their pilgrimage there got me thinking about my relationship with the city. Not bored yet? I probablyblogged about something similar at some point, but there you go.

I lived in Liverpool for only a year, but it was a significant year to me, on many levels. I did not live there enough to absorb the accent, let alone to become a Scouser, but I have a profound sentimental attachment to the city. I am no Beatles groupie. As a teenager, I used to listen to them, of course, but I cannot say that I never was, at any moment of my life, a fan. For many people in the world, Liverpool is only that, the cradle of the Beatles, the heritage of Beatlemania (often a cursed heritage for the locals), Liverpool is their Mecca, their Santiago de Compostela. For me it is a rainy, windy city, with an up slope leading to my (then) working place, it is two cathedrals, one old and Protestant, one ridiculously futuristic and Catholic, facing each other like brothers or enemies (or both), it is an English city miscegenated with Irish blood and culture (and some weird displays of Catholicism). In my mind, the Beatles are an afterthought of Liverpool history.

For me, Liverpool has the feeling of the familiar, which calls for another sort of deference than the pilgrim has. When I go back there, it is as a nostalgic. It is when I walk in Manchester that I am a pilgrim. The pilgrim will love a city only in regards to its association with the object of worship. The nostalgic will love the city in and for itself.

Wednesday 25 November 2009


English below...

C'est aujourd'hui la Sainte-Catherine, fête qui était célébrée un peu plus au Québec dans mon jeune temps (lire: mon enfance) qu'aujourd'hui. Je ne crois pas que l'on sache ce dont il s'agit en Angleterre. J'ai déjà blogué sur la Sainte-Catherine. je vais souligner la journée modestement, comme l'année dernière, en lisant ce conte que j'aime beaucoup. Je vais aussi écouter la chanson un peu kétaine des soeurs McGarrigle, laquelle ne parle pas de la fête mais de la québécitude version montréalaise, chanson pour laquelle j'éprouve toute l'affection de l'expatrié. Complainte pour Sainte Catherine a été adaptée par une artiste suédoise, alors elle ne doit pas être totalement dépourvue de qualités. Elle semble en tout cas exercer une attraction chez les peuples nordiques.

Well, it is Saint-Catherine's Day today. I blogged about it before. It used to be fairly celebrated in Québec, we were eating taffy cooled on fresh snow (when there was snow). I will celebrate it modestly, as I cannot find taffy I will just eat some cream fudge, that tastes much better and does not stuck to the teeth. I will also read this Quebec tale set on that day, about a 25 year old maid who does not want to become a spinster and foolishly vows to... well, I will not spoil it for those who can read it. I might translate it one day for those who can't. It's a brilliant cautionary tale.

I will also listen over and over again that song below, from the McGarrigle sisters. I mentioned the song before. As I said a year ago, I love it for unknown reasons, but it probably has something (everything) to do with my status of expat. The song has been freely adapted by a Swedish artist. It seems that Complainte pour Sainte Catherine moves Northern people.

Tuesday 24 November 2009

Quelques observations sur Vraie Fiction

Histoire de faire une mise en abyme, j'ai pensé mettre ici quelques observations faites à propos du blogue et de ce qu'il devient récemment:

-Je blogue beaucoup moins que l'année dernière. En fait, le nombre de billets a diminué de moitié. Je suis pourtant à peine plus actif hors du monde virtuel.
-Si la quantité de billets a baissé, la qualité a je crois augmenté. Je blogue mieux car je contrôle mieux le médium (enfin je crois).
-À en juger par le nombre de commentaires, les billets en anglais sont plus populaires que ceux en français.
-Dans le même ordre d'idées, et ceci explicant cela, mon lectorat est surtout anglophone.
-J'utilise moins de photos comme support visuel et lorsque j'en utilise, elles ont été prises par moi, elles n'ont pas été pigées sur internet.
-J'ai été poussé à l'écriture de ce blogue notamment à cause du blogue de mon petit frère, lequel ne blogue presque plus maintenant. Je suis passé de commentateur (en 2006-2007, quand j'étais encore à Liverpool) à blogueur, alors que lui est maintenant surtout commentateur sur ce blogue.

Monday 23 November 2009

Le temps du vin nouveau

Le vin nouveau est à nouveau (ouch!) disponible ici. Je suis plus amateur de bière que de vin, en fait je trouve souvent que les vinophiles sont parfois pédants à un degré insupportable. Cela dit, il m'arrive d'apprécier le vin, surtout le vin rouge, même s'il me donne parfois des migraines. J'aime le vin sans prétendre m'y connaître, en Philistin, je l'apprécie comme surtout comme un complément de repas. Alors je vais sans doute me procurer une bouteille de beaujolais nouveau cette semaine.

Sunday 22 November 2009

Meeting anniversary

Okay, it is my second post in English in a row, but I had to blog this one. I am a man of traditions and rituals. I practically celebrate everything I can, everything I find significant in my life. Soon it will be the meeting anniversary of my wife and I, which I blogged about last year. Funny how small things change one's life dramatically.

So, for those curious or patient enough to know the story, here it is, very briefly told. Back in another lifetime, I was in my hall of residence, eating a mince pie, when she showed up in the kitchen. Not very dignified for a first meeting I guess, me eating a dessert I don't like all that much. Since then, I always have mince pies around that time of the year. Anyway, I had finished my mince pie when I saw a girl getting in the kitchen smiling. I think that's the first thing I loved about her: my wife always had a lovely smile. She and a common Greek friend had decided to come at the last minute to see another common Greek friend and then to go to a Greek party upstairs.

Still with me? Anyway, they invited me right on the spot to the Greek party. I don't know if any of you had ever been to Greek party, but they usually involve loud Greek music, loud Greeks singing Greek music, Greek dancing, Greeks talking in Greek, Greek wine, ouzo and usually something to eat (in this particular party, a high supply of crisps). As we were the only non-Greeks there, my future wife and I spent most of the evening talking to each other. She tried to go easy on the crisps and I surprisingly got easy on the ouzo without any effort. Maybe because ouzo is so strong I felt like I was drinking bleech or something, but I remained sober.

I can't remember much about the topics we talked about. I remember we chatted about the British monarchy and the prank call a Quebec comedian did to her back in the 1990s. So my first conversation with my future wife was on a pretty trivial topics. I also remember sharing crisps with her and drinking sips of ouzo to be polite to our hosts. I don't know if there is a moral to the story. Maybe that the most important events of your life are usually the result of random encounters. Or maybe that Greeks are cool.

Where are the snows of yesteryear?

This is an old picture of a tree in the back garden of my parents's place. Nothing to do, sadly, with the current place I am living in and the current outdoor temperature. It is pouring rain here, it has been, on and off, for the last week or so. One might not like snow as much as me, but I think anybody could admit that it is still better than the quasi flood we have to deal with these days. It looks nicer, it feels nicer and I daresay it is not as cold. From what I can see in the weather news in Québec, there is not all that much snow there either. But at least there is always the possibility. Here chances are slim.

So, like every for autumn turning into winter that I spend in England, I ask myself, like François Villon in his most famous ballad "where are the snows of yesteryear"? Yes, I miss the snow every year, just like I quote Villon every year, but this time I am more conscious of it as I am supposed to stay in England (or at least Europe) for Christmas, so there is a good chance that I will not see any snow for Christmas. For a Northerner like me, it is quite a loss. And there is also the impact of nostalgia, of course.

But anyway, as pictures of rainy day might turn the blog gloomier than the last few posts and since winter will eventually show up (albeit in its grey, English form), I thought I might as well put a picture of some snow. It might put me in a better modd and help me quote with nostalgia. And in spite of all that I have said here, do not worry about me: I will reconcilate myself with English weather. After all, it gave us such a fascinating and colourful wildlife, so it cannot be all bad.

Saturday 21 November 2009

Salon du livre

Tiens, le Salon du livre de Montréal est donc ouvert. J'aimerais pouvoir y aller. Je peux entrer gratuitement à vie dans celui du Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean (faudrait que je retrouve le carte qui me donne ce privilège), mais je préfère celui de Montréal. Ca me donne le goût de passer la journée dans une librairie. Ce que je ferai sans doute.

Friday 20 November 2009

A long awaited new poster

I would be neglectful to forget to mention here one piece of news that touches me particularly: Ariane Sherine and the BHA have launched the last phase of the so-called "atheist bus campaign", targeting this time the faith schools. I love the new billboard campaign and I really love the nod to Pink Floyd in Ariane's latest article. Faith schools of all denomination have been pretty much a plague here. Hell, state schools are also hijacked by religion, which is enough of an aberration in itself, but the state should not fund or encourage in any way particular faiths to cut children away from a society that is still a secular one. Because this is what is at stake here. Of course, the campaign will offend the usual offended. Which is great. It shows the weakness of what they are defending. I grew up in a school system that was labelling us as Catholics before we could even understand what it meant and what ideology it was defending. I wish we had then a healthy dose of secular reflection introduced in the public space, it might have freed my mind then.

Une nouvelle odeur de pourriture

J'ai récemment parlé des malheurs de Montréal. Or, à la lecture de la récente chronique d'Yves Boisvert, je reçois la confirmation, dans un grand quotidien national, que mon bercail de Chicoutimi, rebaptisée Saguenay, est aussi bien pourrie grâce au misérable petit potentat qui lui sert de maire. Déjà que j'étais allergique à son catholicisme bigot et sa tendance à la démagogie, maintenant on apprend que l'autocrate magouille. Montréal a un mollusque comme maire, Chicoutimi a un petit dictateur qui ne se cache même pas pour donner des traitements de faveur à des amis. Et on s'étonne que la région se meure. "Il pesce puzza dalla test," citais-je hier. Ca s'appliquerait au maire Jean Tremblay s'il avait une tête à pourrir.

Thursday 19 November 2009

A taste of Italian wisdom

"Il pesce puzza dalla testa."

It means "the fish stinks from the head". I first heard it from a colleague, who is fond of this proverb. I fell in love with it when I heard it the first time, which is a few months ago, and I have been trying to find it since then. I finally found it on this site. I will go back to it, partially because of my love/hate relationship with Italy, partially because when one wants to learn a language, he might as well learn a few smart lines. Especially since I might never be fluent in Italian, so at least I can sound smart talking the little Italian I know. I blogged about it before, on various occasions: if my pronunciation, even my accent, is good, my understanding of the language is close to nonexistent.

"Il pesce puzza dalla testa" is supposed to be mean something about corruption comes first from the highest authority. In that sense, it applies to Italian politics of all ages, but it can also apply to Montreal or indeed any time and place in the civilised world. It also applies to humans as individuals: stupidity is the greatest sign of corruption.

Wednesday 18 November 2009

Les feuilles mortes cette année

Contrairement à l'année dernière, personne n'est venu placer les feuilles mortes (pas à ma connaissance en tout cas) ensemble en un gros tas humide et dégoûtant. Quelqu'un a vraisemblablement passé le rateau (ou ce genre d'aspirateur à feuilles mortes qu'ils ont ici), mais il ne les a pas abandonnées en un amas d'immondices. Ce qui fait que même si novembre est bien entamé, on a à certains endroits sur le terrain un joli petit tapis de feuilles mortes. C'est encore humide, Angleterre oblige, mais ce n'est pas dégueulasse comme un tas de feuilles en décomposition peut l'être.

Tuesday 17 November 2009

Poutine again

Ce blogue devient Ma femme va trouver le sujet de ce billet dégoûtant, ou "dégûuuuuutant" comme elle dit. Marie-Claude Lortie a écrit un billet sur la poutine et l'intérêt que le plat national officieux (l'officiel est le pâté chinois) du Québec a suscité récemment chez le New Yorker. Le podcast de la conversation ici.
This blog is turning back into a food blog it seems. Anyway, to my wife's probable dismay, the poutine is getting famous outside Québec. The New Yorker has been interested about it and you can find here the podcast of very interesting conversation about the dish and its cultural significance.

Sunday 15 November 2009

Crime de la crime

"...the first sin I have to confess to you is gluttony."

Amadeus, Peter Shaffer

I have been wanting to use this quote. I might have done already, thinking about it. The title of this post, however, is from Ian Fleming's Goldfinger. I thought it would work for what I am blogging about this evening, as it is a creamy item. As you might have suspected reading this blog, I have a sweet tooth. I also have a homesick love for cream fudge, which is a traditional Québec sweet known there as sucre à la crème (see, cream/crème/crime, the title makes so much sense already, especially since eating something so rich is almost criminal). It's a great little dessert, nice, rich, filling, sugary and it is perfect comfort food. During the Christmas holidays, we used to make a cream fudge variety with Caramilk inbetween two layers of the fudge. It's a perfect fix for sugar addicts like myself and absolutely decadent. In another life, which means more than a decade ago, I tried to make cream fudge, but failed miserably. It turned into caramel, so my family used it to make a sugar pie. Not all was lost. So I have a bit of a love story with this piece of creamy sugar. When I feel homesick, which is the case very often these days, I get in the mood to eat something from home. I got lucky recently, as a sweet shop opened where we live and it sells a very good variety of cream fudges. Not as good as what I can sometimes find in Québec and it is a bit pricey for what it is, but I love it nevertheless and I often need it, so there it is. On a more selfish note, one of the good thing about cream fudge is that my wife does not like it much, so it is one of those desserts I don't have to share. I have the ambition to make cream fudge here one day, but given my bad experience the first time I tried and my bad luck with other desserts, I am afraid it might end up badly.

Chocolat à 70%

Petite révélation anecdotique aujourd'hui: j'ai mangé un morceau de chocolat pur à 70% de Lindt et j'ai bien aimé. Je croyais que j'allais trouver cela trop amer, il semblerait que non. Peut-être que c'est simplement une manifestation de mon chocolisme, plus fort que ma sweet tooth.

Saturday 14 November 2009

The Pied Piper of Hamelin

Care for a little bit of spooky fairytale for a grim November day? Assiduous readers here probably know about my fear of rats. Therefore, when there is a story involving them, I cannot help but to find it particularly scary, whether it is a horror story or simply a fairy tale (which are often just as horrific). So the story of the piper who first save the town of Hamelin from hords of rats, then takes his revenge on the greedy townspeople really fascinates me. Apart from the rats, there is a lot of interesting stuff in the tale: the hypnotic/mesmerising power of music, the morally ambiguous nature of the Piper, his mysterious background, etc. I am not sure when I first heard of The Pied Piper of Hamelin, but I remember watching as a young child the claymation adaptation of the poetic version of the tale by Robert Browning. This is the version that I am putting here. It is a haunting one. The characterisation is brilliant, the poem wonderfully told, the atmosphere is juuuuust scary enough to be watched by a child and there are the rats! Magnificently ugly, hairy, squeeky, bity, devilish rats. One can understand, can see, can feel what kind of pests they were, what danger they represented and what horror the townspeople of Hamelin were enduring.

Friday 13 November 2009

Déluge d'un vendredi 13

English below, as usual more rewritten than translated...

Je me plaignais hier qu'il pleuvait à boire debout. C'est pire aujourd'hui, et on annonce des pluies diluviennes pour demain aussi. J'aime moins l'Angleterre quand elle est pareillement trempée (car elle n'est plus simplement humide à ce degré-là). Quand j'ai remarqué que l'on était vendredi 13, j'ai soudainement fait l'expérience de sa mauvaise réputation. J'ai effectivement l'impression d'avoir la guigne aujourd'hui. Alors je suis toujours prisonnier de l'appartement, prisonnier de la pluie qui n'arrête, n'osant pas sortir pour prendre un verre ou acheter de quoi survivre pour les prochains jours (bière, Pringles, etc.). J'ai commis l'erreur hier, pensant que le temps était plus clément et j'étais trempé au retour. J'ai d'étranges appétits de fish and chips quand il pleut comme ça, je ne sais pas pourquoi. Une sorte d'animosité envers ce qui est aquatique je crois: je me venge sur le poisson. Je l'ai déjà dit une fois ici: un animal qui ne peut pas mourir noyé mérite de se faire manger. Et puis les fish and chips descendues avec de la bière, c'est un remède parfait contre la morosité du tempérament qui vient avec la morosité du temps. Le pire, c'est que si ça continue ainsi les voyages ferroviaires vont devenir plus difficiles et on risque d'être prisonniers de notre petite ville devenue îlot pour un bon bout de temps. Misère... Si seulement c'était de la neige.


I was complaining in yesterday's post that it was raining like the end of time. Well, it is worse today and it looks like it is going to be just as bad tomorrow. I don't like England all that much when it is soaked like it is right now. When I discovered that it was Friday the 13th today, I suddenly experienced the bad reputation of that day. It really sucks, we feel prisoner of this flat, this town (because railways are going to be in a terrible state and train travels might become difficult), prisoner of the weather itself. Yesterday, I made the mistake to go to the nearest shop to buy some food, in 5 minutes I was soaked so much I think I could have drowned. So I don't dare to make the same mistake twice today, therefore I don't go out to get the essential survival stuff for British Flood: beer, Pringles, crisps, more beer. Of course I cannot hope to find here Boivin cheese curds, but crisps would work just fine. I also have strange apetites for fish and chips on days like this. Fish and chips, downed with lots of beer is just perfect to prevent from having a mood as grim as the weather. And alcohol is an essential remedy in such circumstances: how else could Noah have gone through the Flood on his (most likely) stinky boat? Eating fish and chips makes me feel vindicated as well: an animal that lives in water just deserves to be eaten. But it is raining so badly that I don't even dare to go to the local fish shop.

Thursday 12 November 2009

Prisonnier d'un temps pourri

Il pleut des cordes depuis une heure ou à peu près, ce qui m'empêche d'aller dehors. C'est le genre de temps que j'aimerais consacrer à la lecture, accompagnée d'une bière et de Pringles, mais je ne peux pas aller en acheter à moins de vouloir attraper mon coup de mort! Il me reste la lecture, mais c'est parfois moins plaisant sans bière. J'imagine que c'est meilleur pour ma ligne. Je déteste cette sédentarité forcée. Le déplacement forcé des gens qui travaillent aujourd'hui doit être pire et d'un point de vue sécuritaire plus hasardeux, mais au moins ils ont de quoi s'occuper.

Wednesday 11 November 2009

Autumnwatch on youtube

For those who live outside the UK and cannot get the Autumnwatch videos on their website, you can find some on youtube. Not much and they are all oldish videos, but it is still enjoyable stuff and you can still see the gorgeous images. As I said before, the show is both beautiful and educational. It can also be quite dramatic. Below is a video of my favourite part of the show (and their stars, I think): the stags fighting. It is more exciting than a boxing match.

De la guerre et des loisirs

C'est le Jour du Souvenir aujourd'hui. J'ai presque tendance à l'oublier. La température est de circonstances, grise à souhait. Je dis des clichés. J'ai souligné le jour l'année dernière avec un billet sur l'esthétique de la guerre. Je me demandais s'il y avait un plaisir esthétique à la guerre, citant Apollinaire. Récemment, un ami que j'ai dans l'armée a écrit sur facebook qu'il s'ennuyait à attendre son départ pour l'Afghanistan et en avait un peu assez de jouer sur son Wii. Il semblerait qu'à défaut d'être jolie, la guerre peut à tout le moins être une forme de loisir. Loisir dangereux, mais loisir quand même.

Tuesday 10 November 2009

Se il cor guerriero

I have been wanting to put this aria on the blog a while ago. This is a beautiful evocative piece that will make you forget (a bit) about the gloomy November temperature. It is from Vivaldi's Tito Manlio, which I know close to nothing about, except this brilliant piece. It is sung here by Dmitri Hvorostovski, but I discovered the aria during an evening of 2007, watching on the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, where it was performed by Shenyang. Shenyang won the competition with such ease, and I was blown away when he sang Se il cor guerriero. he had such control over his voice, and he was still in his early 20s.

Je songe à hiberner... novembre a décidément pris une tournure hivernale anglaise: il fait froid et humide, il fait gris, il ne neige pas. Bref, ça semble difficile de rendre novembre supportable, du moins jusqu'à Noël. Et je suis là à la maison, inactif la plupart des jours de la semaine (ce qui me pèse aussi), même pas inspiré pour bloguer (ou si peu) et je n'ai pas envie de sortir sous un temps pareil. Heureusement, hiberner pour un être humain a ses avantages: je peux prendre le temps de lire et d'écumer youtube et ma modeste collection de CDs et de DVDs. Bref, même en état d'hibernation, je ne suis pas encore tout à fait un ours.

Sunday 8 November 2009

Re-reading my notes

Today, when I was tidying the flat, I re-read my old lecture notes, the ones I made for the literature classes I was teaching. It struck me as it always does when I stumble on them: I was pretty damn good at it. I say this without any false modesty: it is something I have always been proud of, maybe more than anything else. I had strong analytical skills, as one of my old teachers used to say. It is sometimes I miss most of all, professionally: teaching literature. That was the time when I was at my best and when I felt I was most useful. Strange, as I did this for a relatively short period of time. I don't know if they will ever be useful again, but I put them all in a nice folder, just in case.

Rendre novembre supportable

Novembre est un mois gris, drabe, sombre. Ce n'est plus tout à fait l'automne, les feuilles étant pour la plupart tombées, tout en n'étant pas complètement l'hiver. Surtout en Angleterre, où il n'y a pas de neige l'hiver (enfin, rarement). J'imagine que c'est la raison pour laquelle Noël est aussi omniprésente dès le début de novembre: on essaie de cette manière de rendre novembre supportable, de lui donner des couleurs, de la musique et de la chaleur alors que la saison n'en a pas naturellement. Cela dit, j'ai une liste de choses à fair ou d'évènements à souligner qui me font endurer novembre:

-C'est la fête de ma femme.
-C'est aussi l'anniversaire de ma rencontre avec elle.
-Je profite du mois pour apprécier le comfort food: bière, fish and chips, hamburgers, sucres à la crème (on a un nouveau magasin de sucreries traditionnelles qui en font des excellents).
-Lire. Ma solution à tout.
-Marcher dans les bois pour une promenade automnale. Histoire de mériter le comfort food.

Thursday 5 November 2009

Autumn day in Bath

My wife and I had a short weekend break in Bath recently. Bath is a lovely city, one of my favourite in England. I had visited it once, but during the end of Summertime, not when Autumn was in full force, with the trees in fiery colours. The city was beautiful then, it is even more now, by this time of year. But Bath is beautiful anytime, any day, even when it is pouring rain. I don't know why exactly. Maybe it is the architecture, maybe it is the serene atmosphere, maybe it is its particular history. Bath is famous for its... baths and its water which has the reputation to have medicinal properties. This dates back to the legend of King Bladud, who was cured from leprosy by bathing in it. I sometimes joke to my wife that I managed to lose weight because I drank of that special water after visiting the Roman baths. The pump room gives a glass of spa water freely for those who purchased a ticket for the tour, so I drank it fresh from the pump. "Fresh" was a figure of speech: it was warm and not very good or refreshing. That said, I lost weight afterwards so maybe it has miraculous properties after all. I should thank Goddess Minerva, to whom King Bladud dedicated the city. This is something else I love about Bath: this is maybe the most ancient multicultural city in Britain, where Celtic and Roman civilisations met. They are still present in the city and live harmoniously with Christian culture which of course came afterwards. You can see a perfect illustration of this on the bottom right picture, which shows a statue of Minerva in front of the Bath Abbey.

Extrait d'humour mordant venant d'un film obscur

Mon dernier billet en français m'a inspiré des souvenirs sur les films de Clouzot. L'assassin habite au 21 a été le premier de ses films que j'ai regardés, je devais avoir à peu près 15 ans. J'avais d'abord lu le roman de S.A. Steeman, presque disparu maintenant. L'adaptation cinématographique demeure une oeuvre obscure de Clouzot, moins bonne que les films qui lui ont succédé, on y retrouve néanmoins les thèmes chers au réalisateur et également de brillantes répliques, dont celles-ci:

Remember, remember, the fifth of November

"Remember, remember the fifth of November
The gunpowder treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot."

Today is the 5th of November, therefore tonight is Guy Fawkes Night again, England's big Autumn celebration, more so than Halloween. It is to commemorate Guy Fawkes's failed attempt to blow up the Parliament. I mentioned it before here, I don't have much to say about it but mention the day really. One should never forget history. My wife and might try to find a place nearby where we can see fireworks.

Wednesday 4 November 2009

De nouvelles lectures

L'Halloween étant passée, j'ai commencé à lire autre chose que des histoires d'horreur. Je suis donc depuis le début de novembre en pleine lecture d'un roman policier passionnant de Boileau-Narcejac, un classique qui est la source d'un autre classique sans doute maintenant beaucoup plus célèbre, classique cinématographique celui-là. Je suis venu à la lecture de Celle qui n'était plus après avoir vu Les Diaboliques d'Henri -Georges Clouzot. Je suis un grand admirateur du réalisateur, en particulier mais pas exclusivement à cause de son Corbeau, dont j'ai déjà parlé sur ce blogue. Le roman de Boileau-Narcejac est très différent du film quant à son intrigue, il est également beaucoup plus introspectif dans son approche et n'a pas les répliques géniales de Clouzot. Cela dit, la matière première est la même dans les deux oeuvres: la banalité du mal. Les personnages ne sont pas des tueurs en série, des princes du mal mais des gens ordinaires qui sont sous l'emprise de leurs propres faiblesses, lesquelles les transforment en monstres, à leur plus grande horreur.

Dans un ordre d'esprit beaucoup plus trivial, j'ai choisi un bon moment pour lire le roman: l'action se passe au début de novembre. Pour moi qui aime les lectures saisonnières, je suis servi.

Plus bas, la bande-annonce des Diaboliques de Clouzot:

Tuesday 3 November 2009

Jack O'Lanterns

This year's Halloween is passed and gone and I thought I would put here pictures of the two Jack O'Lanterns I did this year, before Autumn turns to Winter and this blog takes different colours. I think I did a better work than last year. I managed to make them quite ghostly and with just enough malevolence in their facial inexpression. I love Jack O'Lanterns, I also love the character they are based on. I might blog about Jack O'Lantern the legendary character for next Halloween. I made my own little variation of the tale, which I might write next year too. Until then, here are some versions of it. I am somewhat impatient for Halloween 2010. This year it happened too fast. It always happens too fast.

Monday 2 November 2009

Un mollusque comme maire

Gérard Tremblay a donc été réélu. Une troisième fois, après le déluge de scandales, après qu'il ait admis son impuissance, après qu'il ait été plus prompt à défendre les crapules qui le soutenaient qu'à défendre ses concitoyens et sa ville. Et Montréal sera dirigée en sous-main par le crime organisé pendant encore quatre ans, alors que le fantoche paradera sa mine bonasse devant la galerie. Minable. Honteux.