Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Le week-end et le ciel bleu

A lot bigger, cuter, and filled with more surprises that I expected, Lille just made me enjoy a perfect autumn weekend with a visit to three great museums (*), a Marché de Nöel, hot dogs and barbe à papa, pot au feu, Meert chocolate, and the loveliest communist café with a really nice honey beer.

Perfect and imperfect in magical proportion. I'm starting to think that might be true of all French cities. That balance between warm welcome and bluntly mockery, arrogant beauty and intermitent stench, between what is lovely and despicable, what makes them so unpredictable and therefore attractive. Or maybe I am the only one attracted by bipolarity. I'll start paying more attention to this.

Anyway, Lille je t'aime and I hope to visit you soon again! In the meantime, I promise to make a minimap of Lille very soon! (:


(*) The museums are posts to follow, but since I don't trust my posting-self anymore, just in case you want to look for more info, they are: La Maison de la Photographie, where there was a great Martin Parr exhibition; the LAM, Musée de l'art modern, l'art contemporaine et l'art brut in Villeneuve-d'Ascq & La Piscine, in Roubaix, one of the most amazing spaces for a museum I've seen.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sometimes / Coincidencias

I inhale great draughts of space,
The east and the west are mine, and the north and the south are mine.

I am larger, better than I thought,
I did not know I held so much goodness.

All seems beautiful to me...
Song of the Open Road
Walt Whitman.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Bright On

                                          Another day chasing the Californian sun, this time in an Artic Pole excursion mode.                      Let the memories of this day last forever.

“Let us again pretend that life is a solid substance, shaped like a globe, which we turn about in our fingers. Let us pretend that we can make out a plain and logical story, so that when one matter is despatched—love for instance—we go on, in an orderly manner, to the next. ”

― Virginia Woolf, The Waves.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sólo termina de veras lo que recomienza cada mañana

Paris, Diciembre 2013.

   "Una de las veces en que se encontraron en el barrio latino, Pola estaba mirando la vereda y medio mundo miraba la vereda. Hubo que pararse y contemplar a Napoleón de perfil, al lado una excelente reproducción de Chartres, y un poco más lejos una yegua con su potrillo en un campo verde. Los autores eran dos muchachos rubios y una chica indochina. La caja de tizas estaba llena de monedas de diez y veinte francos. De cuando en cuando uno de los artistas se agachaba para perfeccionar algún detalle, y era fácil advertir que en ese momento aumentaba el número de dádivas.

    -Aplican el sistema Penélope, pero sin destejar antes -dijo Oliveira-. Esa señora, por ejemplo, no aflojó los cordones de la faltriquera hasta que la pequeña Tsong Tsong se tiró al suelo para retocar a la rubia de ojos azules. El trabajo los emociona, es un hecho.
    -¿Se llama Tsong Tsong? -preguntó Pola.
    -Qué sé yo. Tiene lindos tobillos.
    -Tanto trabajo y esta noche vendrán los barrenderos y se acabó.
    -Justamente ahí está lo bueno. De las tizas de colores como figura escatológica, tema de tesis. Si las barredoras municipales no acabaran con todo eso al amanecer, Tsong Tsong vendría en persona con un balde de agua. Sólo termina de veras lo que recomienza cada mañana. La gente echa monedas sin saber que la están estafando, porque en realidad estos cuadros no se han borrado nunca. Cambian de vereda o de color, pero ya están hechos en una mano, una caja de tizas, un astuto sistema de movimientos. En rigor, si uno de estos muchachos se pasara la mañana agitando los brazos en el aire, merecería diez francos con el mismo derecho que cuando dibuja a Napoleón. Pero necesitamos pruebas. Ahí están. Echales veinte francos, no seas tacaña."

Julio Cortázar
Rayuela / Hopscotch
Capítulo 64 (fragmento)

One of the times they had met in the Latin Quartier, pola was looking at the sidewalk, practically everybody was looking at the sidewalk. They had to stop and study the profile of Napoleon, alongside it an excellent reproduction of Chartres, and a little farther on, a mare and her foal in a green field. The artists were two blonde boys and an Indo-Chinese girl. The chalk box was full of ten- and twenty-franc pieces. From time to time one of the artists would crouch down to perfect some detail, and it was easy to see that at that instant the donations would increase.

    "They are using the Penelope system, but without unweaving first," Oliveira said. "That lady, for example, she didn't loosen her purse-strings until little Tsong Tsong got down on the ground to  retouch the blond with blue eyes. Work produces sentiment, it's a fact."
    "Is her name Tsong Tsong?" Pola asked.
    "How should I know. She has nice ankles."
    "So much work and tonight the women who sweep the streets will come and it's all over."
    "That's precisely why it's so good. Colored chalk as an eschatological pattern, the theme for a thesis. If the municipal water wagons didn't put an end to all of it at dawn, Tsong Tsong would come herself with a pail of water. The only thing that really ends is what starts over again in the morning. People throw coins without knowing that they're being cheated, because those pictures are really never erased. They may change sidewalks or colors, but they're already there in finished form in a hand, a box of chalk, a wise system of movements; if one of those boys were to spend the morning waving his arms around he would deserve ten francs just as much as when he draws Napoleon. But we want proofs. There they are. Give them twenty francs, don't be cheap."