Hey, it’s been so long. I hope you’re doing fine. It seems I’ve given up on this space, although I didn’t intend to. My spare time is so scarce I used it for other things, and there you go. I haven’t had much time to listen to new music either. I am not even able to list my top 10 albums of 2012.
There are a few 2012 albums I do have listened to and liked, though :
Spiritualized – Sweet Heart Sweet Light
Lightships – Electric Cables
Allo Darlin’ – Europe
Tender Trap – Ten Songs About Girls
Woods – Bend Beyond
Tenniscoats – Papa’s Ear
and some great EPs:
Doggy – Leurs traces dans la neige
Pale Lights – EP
Granville – Jersey
and I still keep tracks of books I have read here.
I’m not saying I won’t ever post here again, but let’s say it’s on an ‘undefined hiatus’.
Have a lovely 2013!
Posted: January 5th, 2013 | Author: anneemall | Filed under: Misc., Music | 1 Comment »
As undecided as ever, I’ve been pondering about whether to buy Blur 21 or not.
Posted: August 2nd, 2012 | Author: anneemall | Filed under: Music | 1 Comment »
Pros: nice object, all the b-sides and rare tracks are there and nicely ordered
Cons: one more object to dust on the shelf, expensive, I’ve got every album and most non-album songs already (be it on shitty mp3)
This band has been and still is so important to me. I first read about Blur in 1994 in Vox, a british magazine I had recently started buying because of a Beatles special and because I loved English already (I was in high school). The first song I heard by them was of course Girls & Boys, which sounded nothing like I expected given what I had read, but who could resist such a song?
I had been listening hard to The Beatles, The Who and The Kinks, so no need to say Parklife was heaven-sent. I quickly caught up with Leisure and Modern Life Is Rubbish, with a particular obsession for the latter. I loved the music, the lyrics, the artwork, the guys’ pretty faces and sharp clothing style. A couple of years later, I had read that they wanted their sound to take a new direction as they were now into Pavement and Tortoise. Those were bands I really loved too, but I couldn’t help being sceptical. Blur turned out so great though. My bandmates who previously didn’t like Blur were charmed by it and even more by 13. I read a review of the reissues that said few people liked every phase of Blur’s career. I must be one the the few. If 21 isn’t for me, who is it for? I’ll keep on pondering.
It was to be expected: now that I’ve resumed working, my blogging time and motivation has dwindled to almost nothing. I use most of my spare time being around P. I still manage to read at a steady pace and watch films now and then. It’s harder finding time for music, not to speak of crafts and cooking.
Here is a book I enjoyed: The New Ghost, by british illustrator Rob Hunter. The story is as delicate as the drawings. Like the title says, it’s about a ghost on his first day. The author happens to drum in Frànçois & The Atlas Mountains. This book is published by Nobrow Press which seem to publish most excellent stuff (I remember Natalie posting a photo here of another seemingly nice book).
Posted: July 8th, 2012 | Author: anneemall | Filed under: Art & illustration, Books | No Comments »
I have less and less time to listen to new music, and it’s going to get worse as I’m returning to work next week. But when I read in Magic! (music) magazine about this new band from my hometown Caen, I felt like lending it an ear. Especially since the review quoted other French band Pendentif. Even their artwork has the same faded look. Whereas Pendentif wrote about the South coast, Granville take their name from a coastal town on the Channel and have a song about Jersey. This reminds me of going to Granville on summer camp in my early teens. Jersey and Guernsey – such exotic islands, like little pieces of Great Britain so close to France. The music fits these images well. Jersey makes me think of The Drums too. Listen to the 2 songs by Granville here.
Posted: June 4th, 2012 | Author: anneemall | Filed under: Music | 1 Comment »
How is everyone doing? I have just finished reading my first e-book. As a librarian in love with physical books, I would never have thought I’d be tempted to get a reader. ‘Don’t saw off the branch you’re sitting on’ says a French expression (‘Don’t dig your own grave’). But one day it dawned on me that this could be a cheaper, less space-consuming way for me to read in English so I bought one for that purpose and I’m excited with my purchase.
For instance, I was curious to read the infamous ‘French children don’t throw food‘ by Pamela Druckerman I already mentioned here, but I didn’t really want to buy the physical book because I knew I wouldn’t re-read it and wouldn’t want it to occupy precious apartment space.
What I was curious about was not discovering the French way of bringing up children because I have an idea of what it is like, but of what it was like in the US and the UK in comparison, and why French parenting seemed of interest. Everything the author describes about French parenting is well-documented, absolutely accurate and spot-on. I can only assume that what she writes about the Anglophone way is too.
Well, to say the least, I got my money’s worth of cultural differences! In this global world you sometimes end up thinking everyone’s not so different after all, since we wear the same clothes, love the same tv series, live in the same Ikea furniture etc. But I already had hints from North-American blogs I follow that we were not on the same wavelength on the topic of children. I’m not going to say that the French way is superior, but now I know I couldn’t do it any other way. Honestly, I’m not even sure I would have wanted a child if I had been living in an Anglophone country. From what I read, it seems to me a recipe for unbearable brats and unhappy, enslaved parents. But Anglophone parents are probably as horrified as I am of the French way. Anyway, it was an enriching, thought-provoking read!
Record of the day: My Bloody Valentine – EPs
Posted: May 26th, 2012 | Author: anneemall | Filed under: Books, Children | 7 Comments »
Since I missed the Daniel Johnston gig in order to look after P., it was my turn to go out and enjoy an evening of music! This happened last night at Le Confort Moderne. Every year in Spring, the venue organises a kind of small festival with a couple of music (mostly experimental or noise) and art performers. Yesterday, Laetitia Sadier was scheduled, to my great pleasure. I’ve been a longtime Stereolab fan and following her releases with Monade and her excellent solo album from last year (The Trip).
Laetitia was playing early and her performance was set in the garden at the back of the venue. Luckily the weather was sunny, and the whole setting was quite pastoral and enjoyable, with children running around and climbing higher and higher in the big tree behing the stage as she was playing. She was alone on stage with just her guitar and an effect pedal she used very sparsely. Her set opened with an old Stereolab song, International Colouring Contest. She played a couple of new, unreleased songs from her forthcoming album Silencio, due out in July. One new song was about fire and another one about mathematics, which is going to please F. as it is his discipline of choice. She also played Monade songs The Swim and Wash and Dance, and Statues Can Bend and Ceci Est Le Coeur from The Trip. Even if I sometimes heard the keyboards and metronomic beats in my head, her voice is so great that the tunes sounded very good in a bare version like this. As usual in Poitiers, I am surprised with how few people have heard of ‘underground superstars’ like her, but hey, this is a small town in France, and at least the people were curious enough to come and listen. After her set, I congratulated her for her performance and we talked for a couple of minutes. It felt incredibly easy to be able to talk to one of my heroes in my mother tongue for once, especially as she is a very friendly person. I’m looking forward to the new album and possibly another concert here before long.
Record of the day: Lotus Plaza – Spooky Action at a Distance
Posted: May 17th, 2012 | Author: anneemall | Filed under: Music | No Comments »
I’m not going to write about our ongoing presidential elections (besides saying I am appalled by the high score reached by the National Front). This post is about manufactured goods that are made in France. Lately I have been more careful about how and where the goods I buy are made. Most brands have their products made in asian countries where the labour is cheap but not always fair. If I can buy quality products that were made by workers with decent pay and work conditions, I like it better. If the goods require less transport and therefore less pollution to reach me, and if it helps supporting our economy, that’s even better. Fewer and fewer french enterprises produce locally though. It can be a challenge to find nice items at reasonable prices. Here is a selection of french goods:
Clairefontaine is a well-known brand of school stationery. Their Zap Book range of recycled notebooks looks quite cool.
I was writing about the australian cosmetics Aesop. Sanoflore‘s products may not have the same cool packaging, but their cosmetics share the same heavenly vegetal smells and efficiency, plus they are organic and ethical.
How lovely are the clothes from Bérangère Claire and Bleu De Paname? They are a bit expensive, but they took up where APC left things some years ago when production moved in Asia (without lowering their prices!). These are tailored in France and most fabrics are local too. Love, love, love! The problem encountered with small production like this is they sometimes only make a couple of sizes. Oh well, if I’m too big/tall for them I’m less tempted to splurge!
Cocotte Métal design and produce metal furniture.
Le Slip français make underwear for men. According to the website, a range of underwear for women will soon be available. I am curious to see what it is going to look like.
Stéphane Gontard makes shoes. I don’t like every model, but the mens sneakers are really beautiful and affordable.
Empreinte also make shoes, I love this mens model made of french leather and recycled rubber.
See also: clothes by Balibaris, bags by Bleu de Chauffe and Jojo Messenger, shoes by La Botte gardiane, breton stripes by Armor-Lux
Posted: April 30th, 2012 | Author: anneemall | Filed under: House & home, Wearables | 2 Comments »
Record of the day: Camera Obscura – My Maudlin Career
Yesterday was Record Store Day, a good opportunity to support your local record shop and get collectible records made available for the occasion. Poitiers is a small town but there are still a couple of decent record shops. Here is my booty: Frànçois & The Atlas Mountains/Slow Club split 7″ (Domino) and Graham Coxon What’ll It Take 7″ (Parlophone).
The Coxon songs are taken from his new album A+E whereas Frànçois and Slow Club cover songs by one another.
Record of the day: Pale Lights – EP
Posted: April 22nd, 2012 | Author: anneemall | Filed under: Music | No Comments »
It’s actually Autumn in Australia, and the weather here in France is quite autumnal too. I have coincidentally been into a variety of things from Australia.
I already mentioned them, but I’m still on a Lucksmiths kick, digging deeper into their consistent discography, at the crossroads of Belle & Sebastian, The Go-Betweens and The Smiths. If you’ve never listened to them, Camera Shy is a fairly representative song.
There is also a new album by Allo Darlin’, whose singer Elizabeth Morris is australian. First single Capricornia is about her Queensland hometown and sounds fantastic – watch the video here.
I’ve also just watched Animal Kingdom which is a crime story set in Melbourne. A bit disturbing, but quite good.
On a lighter note, I’ve discovered through samples the australian brand of cosmetics Aesop. Expensive stuff, but lovely natural scents and beautiful visuals. I offered a friend the Jet Set kit for her birthday and she was delighted.
Record of the day: Spiritualized – Sweet Heart Sweet Light
Posted: April 18th, 2012 | Author: anneemall | Filed under: Film, Music | 4 Comments »
Daniel Johnston was in town on Monday. I missed the gig because, unlike for Frànçois the other night, this one was scheduled early (6PM), making it difficult to leave P.’s dinner, bath and bedtime to a babysitter. Daniel probably can’t stay up too late. But F. got me a nice consolation prize with this ace tote bag which will add up to my collection. There are video clips of the show here and here.
I have received the Lightships album (Electric Cables) a couple of days ago, and it’s a really georgous warm and free-flowing record.
I have been reading good novels, including Howards End by E.M. Forster, 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, Caribou Island by David Vann, and some youth fiction as I’m returning to work in 2 months…
Here is a pack of Petit Bateau onesies I got for P. to wear in the Summer, and with the loyalty card points we got these coincidentally matching notebooks. I love the look of them! They also issued a range with the band Herman Dune. I don’t know what to think when bands get involved with brands, but I quite like this t-shirt, and there are onesies too.
Also, I have been busy making drawings! I will let you know more about that in due time.
Record of the day: Lightships – Electric Cables
Posted: April 13th, 2012 | Author: anneemall | Filed under: Books, Music, Wearables | 6 Comments »