Monday, November 20, 2006

For the last two weeks ive found a nitch here by playing for the warm up of a university modern/contemporary dance class. Its in a practice room in the theatre with the only real piano on campus that ive found, or that anyone knows of. The prof has been very nice, and they didnt find out until last week that i was american, just of a lot of silence and nodding and "d'accord"s and they couldnt hear my accent, but now ive said a few things and im sure its pretty clear. At least i dont have an "american" accent, just some weird borat-like one. I could be from anywhere...

The dance prof gives me wonderful instructions- all in french, so i have to pay attention. She seems to like some quasi-minimalist youngian long tones sustained by subtle tremolos, particularly in sustained open fifths with a minor sevenths several octaves above. its edgy enough and modern enough but not too out there, Im wondering if i should add more minimalist touches. Probably not, but the dancers have been very nice to me.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


For the blackened lungs of addicted France
Where bums smoke filters flattened against the pavement


i was inspired by some recent poetry posted at tears of a clownsilly.

im only bitter because its hard to find fresh air. Much harder than you might think...

Theres a dog show going on here in town. I cant help but be reminded of the French poodle stereotype. I get the feeling that this is a country that takes the repulsive tradition of dog-breeding seriously, and certainly they don’t treat dogs very nicely.

Most dogs seem to be small here, which makes sense for such a high density country, but they treat them much more like an object for entertainment than a companion. Well, I know that the dog that lives with me back home is probably a great deal more intelligent, kind and humane than some of the bureaucrats in the “administration francais”, the stifling bureaucracy of this country where no one wants to help you or do their job. The canine keiser is quite a special dog.

Buts its ok, by the end of the year i will probably be like many others here, indifferent to all the nasty people who dont do their job.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Recently I went to Normandy with my group of other American students in a big bus. It took a long while. It was interesting to go back to these places I hadn’t seen for 8 years or so, and I ended up crying like a baby, but it was a good experience.

The museum of peace near Caen is a poignant and moving chronology of the history leading up to, during and after WWII. Im not very good with the subject of WWII, I usually cant hold up in one piece for too long when theres a lot of discussion on the subject. Thankfully the museum was not nearly as depressing as it could have been, and it was really well done. There was a fascinating german propaganda film, which was made using stock footage, on the subject of D-day, which clearly tried to portray the germans as victorious. None of the footage was actually from Normandy, of course.

Anyway, in the museum there were many interesting war artifacts one in particular was a page from shostakovich’s 7th symphony. The symphony even accompanied a film on the subject of the invasion of lenningrad.

Later there was another film which I watched in the theatre there which was sort of an amalgamation of a lot of war and peace images. The construction of the berlin wall, the rebellion in the Czech republic, the tearing down of the berlin wall, the war in Vietnam, images of the peace movement, of peace accords etc, etc. Anyway they used film from Koyyanisqatsi and Naqqoisqatsi in the film, it was fun to see footage I knew… but accompanied to much less interesting music.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The internet here is like the rest of france. I have to go great lengths out of my way to get it, have a laptop, and special plug, and then it still works half the time. In fact, at the moment, the internet doesn’t work at all, my ID for the WIFI no longer works, for reasons known to absolutely no one, and the people in charge of the WIFI are also stumpted and are completely unable to do anything about it. “sorry, nothing we can do” sure, im sure of that. Their own system has some bizarre error and theres nothing they can do about it. That shit pisses me off. Stuff breaks and nobody tries to fix it or nobody want to take the responsibility to work.
I remind them that I just bought a laptop so I could write emails to my family and communicate with family and friends on skype, only then they make an effort, otherwise they want to just get rid of me. “We’ll try to do something” so im going tomorrow to try, probably fruitlessly again, tomorrow to get these people to help me and let me use the WIFI again. I am grouchy because I expect 1st world functionality and am getting 3rd world service.

In fact, this country reminds me of a developing country, because nothing works, ever. Ever since I got back from spain nothing has worked, not the heat in the dorm, not the internet, not the postal service, not the kitchen on my floor (its been closed and locked) and my big toe may be infected.