the sitelle torchepot

sitelle torchepot

The sitelle torchepot is a noisy bird that runs up and down trees. It is often located by its repeated tui-tui-tui call and was first seen in Paris at the Jardin des Plantes in 1946.

While researching the sitelle torchepot in the mediatheque of the Natural History Museum, an old man mistook me for an ornithologist and told me stories about La Camargue with its 400 species of birds. I informed him that despite my pile of books on french birds, I was in fact only reading about one. For a drawing. I was sure he had seen it, they were just outside. I said: tui-tui-tui, he said: Ah oui.

We then tried to find the Sitelle Torchepot in the cabinet of curiosities that we were sitting next to, conclusion= insufficiently exotic. When I got home I learnt some new words from the bird dictionary so I can seem more professional next time.

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la commune.

May 1871, Paris is in ruins after la commune and its 600 barricades have been destroyed by the soldiers of the National Assembly in Versailles. According to Norman Barth's short piece, "Versailles admitted to 17,000 fatalities among the defenders of Paris. Other estimates are as high as 30,000. Losses to the Versailles side are put at about 1000, with 6,500 wounded. All of this within a week, while during the French Revolution, and Terror, 19,000 died in nearly a year an a half."

Meanwhile, Thomas Cook was busy organising package tours for English tourists wanting to contemplate the city's ruins. Yes, really.

Hippolyte Blancard, a pharmicist and amateur photographer rigorously documented the city during this period. La Bibliothèque historique de la Ville de Paris recovered the negatives and the images that have never been published in the public press are currently being exhibited. Unbelievable extended pause of gutted landmarks. Can I say stunning again? Stunning ++ ? I'm losing my vocabulary out here.



November 21st there was a huge protest down my street. It looked like this:

The sounds were stunning. Constant overlapping sirens. Occasional puffs of whirring orange smoke. There were a couple of firemen in the apartment next door, so I did the polite thing - said hi and left the microphone on the windowsill.

I didn't know much about the whole situation before, but I found this handy montage which encapsulates most of the facts: Sarkozy se fache avec les pompiers And there's detailed english language account of the events from the Speigel online And more photos from the Nouvel Obs

Mooning in Bastille is apparently a no-no. People getting hurt obviously so. Sarkozy wasn't best pleased and used predictable words. The president of la Fédération nationale des sapeurs-pompiers wasn't so keen on the "radical climate" and called for a "calm and dignified" approach to protesting. Afterwards, Daniel Dremiere, president of le Syndicat national des sapeurs pompiers (SNPP) said that he'd forbidden his firemen to wear helmets and use fire in the protests.

Latest update: They're all meeting in Bordeaux on the 21st to get a better pension off Sarkozy. More precisely, they want "the possibility to retire at 55 with at least 75% of salary."



le corbusier | villa la roche

villa la roche

We took a day trip out West to visit the le Corbusier foundation. The architecture students had matching portfolio wallets. There were many of them. We goofed around and enjoyed the comfortable armchairs. Background information from Crossings: Journey Through Le Corbusier's Villa La Roche by Hazem S. Osman.

Worth reading, Hazem takes the right approach:

One note of warning from the start: the thesis is not intended so much as a "critical" analysis of Le Corbusier's ideology as the telling of a story about Vilia La Roche and Le Corbusier's early years. Instead of tearing apart the "dominant" gaze of modemism, I wish rather to point to the metaphorical vision founded on multivalent origin, happy to lose myself in the rich complexities of Le Corbusier's world. I will be more concemed with the possibilities of invention resulting from the confiontation with other cultures.

More to come, soon. On Zidane, firefighters, and la Commune. Keeping it Parisien. And mainly offline, no home connection.

PS. Do you Londoners know how good you have got it? I am going to CRY the next time I'm in Plastic People. The soundsystems here aren't worth mentioning. Songs are barely audible. Damn these quiet post-22h parisiens.