All these unwritten books tantalise

« All these unwritten books tantalise. Yet they can, to an extent be filled out, ordered, reimagined. They can be studied in academies. A pier is a disappointed bridge; yet stare at it long enough and you can dream it to the other side of the Channel. The same is true with these stubs of books.

But what of the unled lives? These perhaps are more truly tantalizing; these are the real apocrypha. (…) But if Gustave himself had changed course? It’s easy, after all, not to be a writer. Most people aren’t writers, and very little harm comes to them. A phrenologist – that careers master of the nineteenth century – once examined Flaubert and told him he was cut out to be a tamer of wild beasts. Not so inaccurate either. That quote again: « I attract mad people and animals.

This is not just the life that we know. It is not the life that has been successfully hidden. It is not just the lies about the life, some of which cannot now be disbelieved. It is also the life that was not led. »

Julian Barnes, Flaubert’s parrot

Ninety-nine friends

Ninety-nine friends
Is this last friend before one hundred?
Or one friend too many?
Ninety-nine friends.
Countdown to one hundred
But still,
Ninety-nine friends.
One more to go

Will you Poke me?
Will you Like me all the time?
I need one more friend to love me,
Just one more friend and I’m the queen.
One more friend and I can close
My perfect circle of love.

I feel warmth and happiness.
I feel love pouring down the line.
Ninety-nine avatars
Framed in their colored squares.
Ninety-nine lies
One more to go.
One more lover
To make it one hundred liars.

Will you Poke me?
Will you Like me all the time?
I need one more friend to love me,
Just one more friend and I’m the queen.
One more friend and I can close
My perfect circle of love.

When the cold came

Nothing but blue skies.
Pure blue, metallic, electric, intense, wide and long.
Untouched.
In between the blue mountains and the silver lake, a white, floating line. Mist rising from the water, fog lifting the mountains upon its shoulder. This white horizon line cuts the world in two halves, at sea level, and all the mountains are now detached from the ground.
Everything so quiet and blue. Summer just landed on the earth. Summer erased all winter memories. Summer came loaded with blue. Summer became the only season and the only possible sky. Summer stayed planted firmly on the earth. At the end of the day, the sun came down, waiting for the night to end and came back the next morning, just as bright and yellow. The same sun, every day, again and again. Every day another summer day. Summer nights. Summer for sunset. Summer for sunrise. Summer in  the wee hours. Summer before saying good night.

When the cold came, I thought it was the air conditioning.

Wongin’ the pog

Keith Richards’ diary, Friday 15, 1963

Red Lion
Can’t get any sound out of this place
Punch up during session
Effered Richmond Station Hotel every su. from coming sun. Windfall.

On the inside cover of the diary is written the phrase « Wongin’ the pog. » And next to that, under the personal-notes section, « In case of Accident Please Inform », I’ve written, « My Mum ». No details.
« Wongin’ the pog » was when we’d look at all these people dancing around, hanging from rafters, going crazy. « What are they doing? » « They’re wongin’ the pog, ain’t they? » « At least we got them wongin’ the pog. » It meant you got paid. The gigs were getting tight and hot. We had this groundswell going on in London. When you’ve got three queues going round a whole damn block waiting to get into a show, you say we’ve got something going here. This is no longer just us begging. All we need to do now is to nurture this thing.

Keith Richards, LIFE, W&F, 2010.

25 seconds with Jimmy Page


A while ago, I wrote a short and totally subjective review on Mark Knopfler’s gig in Montreux this year.

For those of you who don’t have time to open the link and procrastinate, here’s the deal: I entered the concert a handsome 48 years old gentleman. As Knopfler started to play his red Stratocaster, he sent me back to the times when I was eighteen and listening to his guitar for the first time. See the point? It happens with music, scents, perfumes, maybe the way the sun casts a shadow of a tree. Marcel Proust used a soft cookie, a Madeleine, as a time machine. There are many ways to feel like a teenager when you are actually buying a second pair of reading glasses.

So, I was hopelessly trying to assemble words in a coherent way to capture that feeling. And then I saw this extract from It Might Get Loud a movie starring 3 guitar players: Jimmy Page, The Edge (U2) and Jack White. (The Whitestripes)

You won’t waste your time. It’s only 25 seconds.

Page takes his guitar and starts to play the opening riff of A whole lotta love. When they hear that, The Edge and White just look at him. I know, it’s all planned, there’s a script, it’s a MOVIE. But still. Just look at them when they hear Page begin. Look at their eyes. It’s there. This is exactly it. This is exactly what my two thousand miserable adjectives will never be able to reach.

Just look at their eyes. That’s it:  http://bit.ly/aDSxfU

Ze English summary

There have been some remarks lately.
People saying there was a mention in some obscure post way back in time of a potential English section in this blog. English bits, in fact. For the non-fluent-French-reading part of the world.
Anglo-Saxons rule. Let’s bow.
Based on popular demand, I’ll just start with some posts summarizing the first 40 – 50 pages of the book, I know it’s challenging, sometimes, even I have a hard times understanding myself in French. This brain is blurred by the combination of age, red wine and pure malt, all of them totally biodegradable, so everything will be fine, even after my final shutdown.
First, just on the structure of the plot. The book starts with different point of views, different locations and characters before engaging in a chronological path. In the opening scene, we are in the fitness room of Célestin Waomé, the self-proclaimed president of a fictional Republic in North Africa. Then, we move on to the White House where the Prez and his suite hold their weekly meeting, including a conference call with Waomé. In the third chapter, we land into Frank’s car, stuck in a highway near Cologne, Germany. As Frank finally makes it to his office, he will be introduced to Stina and have lunch with her. That is when all these random pieces come together and you will be able to safely cruise through the last 200 pages or so.

Ze English coin

This small section will be dedicated to the few people left on the surface of the globe who stubbornly refuse to acknowledge the obvious superiority of the French language upon other minor dialects.
Let’s start with the basics. Look at the title of this post : « Ze English coin. »
« Ze » is the universal French way of pronouncing « the » avoiding any tongue-teeth contact and the subsequent spitting consequences.
« English » is English.
« Coin » has nothing to do with money but is a much better way to say « Corner » in French.
So, we can now assume that a fairly decent translation of this section could be : The English Corner.

All good. Now why this small exotic island atop a pristine French blog?
Answer is efficiency. Order. Clarity. Peace of mind. Trying to update everyone with the latest news on the capitalist world, there has been a demand from some anglo-saxons acquaintances for a summary in their native language. Some people have been rubbing online translators directly on the surface of the French posts here and couldn’t find more meaning than in the version française.
So, I’ll do some update for all the English speaking readers. Pease, in advance, forgive the insertion of French bits, consider it as the French touche, plus I have no time to lose, looking for words I forgot, never knew or never bothered to learn. I’m already struggling with the mother tongue.

Ok. So, we have a purpose here. Now the first announcement. What the header says is just that the book is out. It is a novel called « Les Hommes Préfèrent Les Guerres » that could be litteraly translated into « Gentlemen prefer wars. » You can find it at the Fnac and Payot in France and Switzerland, but also on amazon.fr, fnac.com and alapage.fr.
Second announcement is that I’ll be at the Salon du Livre in Geneva on April 25th (Sat), from 2:00 to4:00 pm at the booth of the Editions Baudelaire (F855)
I have already checked the weather forecast for that day. Snow, rain, wind, showers. Ski season will be over anyway. Shopping is out of question in those times of dire straits. So, the ideal day to spend in a warm, hospitable shelter and Christmas is coming soon, a book always the ideal gift.
See you in Genève.