Friday, March 27, 2009

You bring the amps

...I've got the band names.

If I was forming a band (and the good news is, I'm not about to) there's just one place I would go looking for name. Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. It is a goldmine. Here's some random possibilities, and the band one might form (if one was forming a band).

Inexpressibles: art rock, obviously.

Marine Store: industrial strength indie

Mari Lwyd: ambient-ethnic-folk

Maul of Monks: goth-core

Rochelle Salt: riot grrrl revisited

Ruffian's Hall: Hmmm, not sure about this one. Maybe they aren't, either

Sea Lawyer: smart-arse pop (think TISM meets Loudon Wainwright III)

Shekinah: metal

Sugar Daddy: r 'n' b, apparently

Dr Syntax, pub rock with art rock pretensions

Synecdoche: instrumental, post-prog

Syrinx: prog

The Seven Against Thebes: Liverpudlian trip-hop

Tokyo Rose: I actually saw them in Perth in the 19080s. They were terrible.

Wayzgoose: John Butler wannabe

Praying-wheel: indie wimp-pop

See, Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. For all your musical needs.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A year ago

...we were packing our backs for Paris. So much planning, saving, talking about and dreaming had gone into the trip that my stepson, who stayed home to follow the footy, wondered out loud what we would do with ourselves after it was all over.

What else? Plan the next one, of course. Anyway, in memory of all that, here's a couple of images from the trip.

Iris, day one, on the Seine

View from the Louvre

Printemps a Paris, Jardin de Plantes

Ninth birthday, at the wonderful Red Wheelbarrow Bookshop

Down by the Seine, Michelle, soaking up the sun

Rue Mouffetard, our neighbourhood

Friends in high places

 Serge Gainsbourg's grave, Cimetiere du Montparnasse

This really was a great and pleasant surprise. The site has, and I hesitate to say it, a distinctly happy air about it. There is an enormous fondness for the late singer, expressed through objects left here by fans: packets of cigs, wine bottles, photographs, notes, gifts, a cabbage, and least explicable of all, the Teletubby doll Po hanging on a branch. I left with a whole new regard for the old guy and listen to his music in a new way. The cemetery is also home to writers including Simone de Beauvoir, Jean Paul Sartre and Samuel Beckett. 

Next Saturday I start a new course in learning French, a year to the day we arrived there. I am planning to study over the next two years and develop a more solid knowledge. We can but dream.

Monday, March 2, 2009

My Girlfriend's Boyfriend

I love this film. Always have, always will. 

Okay, so what if the acting is a little rigid: ruffling one's own hair and waving one's arm wildly does not emotion make. But that is what Blanche (Emmanuelle Chaulet) does during moments of provocation, and there are plenty of those in this superb romantic comedy.

Fabien (Eric Viellard) wants to be with Blanche but she is aware that Lea (Sophie Renoir), Fabien's boyfriend, is her new best friend. So Blanche is keeping her distance, or at least trying to.

The proverb of this film, the last of the six Comedies and Proverbs is: 'the friend of my friend is my friend also'.

Emmanuelle Chaulet in just one several delightful period pieces.

Complicating things further, Blanche believes (and is encouraged to believe by Lea), that she is drawn to Alexandre, a charming Lotharia, played by Francoise-Eric Gendron. Alexandre is a friend of Fabien, just to square the circle.

Blanche works an arts bureaucrat in Cergy-Pontoise, a rather futuristic village, or at least futuristic in 1986 when L'ami de mon amie was made. It's a rather sterile, remote place, yet one that allows the four main protagonists to encounter each other in the course of a day or evening, in a way that a city might not. There are no cars, everybody walks everywhere, there are plenty of cafes and the lake is surrounded by parklands. (What's not to like about that?) It is the cleverly and carefully orchestrated crossing of paths that makes this film swing. That and the wonderful, vulnerable and believable characters. 

 Blanche is such a likable heroine; her situation so recognisable. She is not at all calculating, or if she is, not presumptive enough to act on her plans or hopes. One of the pleasures of the film is watching and waiting as the pieces fall intricately into place.

The film has a number of my favourite sequences. Watching the film again on dvd brought back some of the feelings I first experienced when I saw it for the first time. Where was that? Can't remember: either Perth Film Festival (Somerville Gardens?) or the Windsor in Nedlands. There are a indelible moments such as when Blanche and Fabien go for rambling on the tow-paths and forests outside Cergy-Pontoise; when we see the vast empty modernist plaza of the village, so far from Paris; Alexandre's unexplored differences with his girlfriend (who he completely fails to understand) and when all are united by the story's end. 

Unsurprisingly, after watching My Girlfriend's Boyfriend, I spent much of the weekend wishing I was in Paris. 

Le sigh.