les bobos.

French kids are obsessed by les bobos. It first entered my imagination as an appropriated description in the courtyard (petit bourges is less catchy) and is all over the press and look there's a quiz that reminds me of Killoffer (is it Killoffer?)

Now I'm listening to French radio every evening (can you feel my pain? what they taught us in school is correct: for every 3 english songs there are 2 french hybrids)
and I can tell you it's also a hit single by Renaud. (translation pending, use your franglais!)

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hot air balloons.

Hot air balloons have been following me for six months. I didn't even notice until a few days ago: I came home from a brocante in the chinese quarter of my neighbourhood with two montgolfière pins. And then saw: the polaroid on my wall. And dozens of stamps on the table. And then there's the domes.


So I'm imagining these invisible balloons look like this:
hot air balloons

And what makes even more circles: saturday marks the 100th anniversary of the Gordon Bennett race here in Paris, to England. Anniversaries are stupid, but Alberto Santos-Dumont (le petit Santos) is ace.

Santos-Dumont rounding the Eiffel Tower while in the process of winning the Deutsch prize on October 19, 1901. Taken from the archives of the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum, SI Neg. No. 85-3941




It's been a week and I haven't used my hands to make a single thing: I've been told the French like to analyse.

Have never, ever filled out so many questionnaires. Why do my teachers want to know my favourite dessert or what I think God will say to me when I meet him after I die?

I had to fill out 3 pages on typographie the other day. Suffice to say, the words leading and kerning do not exist in French.
Today I had my first philosophy class. We had yet another questionnaire to determine our knowledge.
I told her I'd read a little in my spare time, she called me a champion for mentioning Deleuze. Not sure if she was joking.

So here it is. I won't email it round in circles, but it made me laugh:

1) List in chronological order: Husserl, Kant, Plato, Nietzsche, Hegel, Merlau-Ponty, Epicure, Wittgenstein, Lucrece, Descartes.

2) What is a "symbol"?

3) Who said: "The beautiful is that which pleases universally without a concept." And what does it mean?

4) What is "sublimation"?

5) List the major works of: Balzac, Breton, Descartes, Tolstoy, Heidigger.

6) Who are: Jerome Basch, Jean Calvin, Boleo, Nicolas Malebranche?

7) Define the terms: idealism, materialism, empricism, impressionism.

8) Who said: "Common sense is judgement without reflection?"

9) What is a philosopher?

10) What is the allegory of the cavern?

11) What is the cogito?

12) What does "a priori" mean?

13) What is immanence and transcendence?

14) What is jansenism?

15) Who is Primo Levi?

16) What is the ineffable?

17) What is phenomology?

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Paris en 8+ jours

my neighbourhood.
My neighbourhood. No, really

Wow this place slows me down. Which is nice. I've got this 1921 guidebook I picked up a few years ago, but it's more an artefact than anything. Haven't set foot in a museum or gallery for two weeks, let alone been to any of these places:

principales curiosites

Regression is in: I revisited my youth on a boat on the Seine via JR Ewing. They are sturdier here, the boats I mean. The atmosphere was odd. Was convinced the support band were American, but they spoke perfect French in between songs. This is a growing trend: went to a small sweaty bar full of floppy fringed youth singing indie songs I didn't recognise in engleesh. All tight jeans and high heels. Some things never change.

Which brings me to: everyone smokes. Yeah I know, it's France. But they even encourage it at school: our directeur standing on a mini podium told us that "no institution can resist the reforms which are now happening globally. I understand the smoker's plight, and as there are 100 of you, maybe just 3 a day out in the courtyard." Que?

And as it's term time, I'm getting to grips with what's au courant here. They seem to scrutinise ads on the metro and organise events in chapels. The latter is described as: une nuit d'interactions visuelles, sonores, choregraphiques et humaines and has got L'Ensemble Creation Collective Ephemere doing a laptop-piano-voice improvisation to a short film. Hope I can take my mum.

Almost-Parisian David Fenech is playing too (check his song with James Plotkin and Stockhausen Remixed amongst others.) His audioblog David F Presents has introduced me to Ned Rothenberg's clarinets and is really great. Oh and ps I want this.

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