Observations, deux

So — alors ! — if one as a newcomer to France prepared by reading a few books and following a few blogs, one might learn that, for instance, neighbors and other acquaintances may take a long time before inviting you into their homes; that conversation will rarely be personal; that one must tread carefully on the field of vous vs. tu, to the extent of erring on the vous side until explicitly invited to “tutoyer” the other.

I won’t go into details lest dear reader blame me for an embarrassing experience, but yes, my experience is different.

As in all things, it seems, YMMV.

Milestone achieved

It’s finally happened. . . today I started making just as many mistakes on my iPad QWERTY keyboard as I’m making on my iMac AZERTY keyboard ! Retraining muscle memory is hard, but it can be done.

Sorry, Maryon, I’m not ready to tackle the BEPO keyboard just yet. . . I had a Kinesis keyboard for awhile, but found switching back and forth impeded productivity too much. Now productivity doesn’t count as much. But one keyboard at a time for men, thanks !

La vie est belle, deuxième partie

Clear crisp day after overcast and rain = a bit on the chilly side (il fait froid !) at the marché paysan; but, I encountered there a poète public who will write a poem based on your choice of theme. I said “la vie est belle,” and here is the result:

“La vie est belle” par Mathieu Gabard, poète public

I gave him 5€. I’ll let you know when I have it translated.

Star Wars in concert

Well that was fun. A walk through all of the major themes in John Williams’ scores for the Star Wars movies, including some that I didn’t recognize. The choir was used exceptionally well and was quite effective. The light show was also well-done, I was only blinded once or twice.

Here’s the program:

Star Wars concert program

That time, again . . . ?

Apparently the French malls are just as eager as those back in the U.S. in terms of starting holiday season nice and early. Here’s one of the signs, capture in the Polygone two days ago:

Lighted bear
Christmas teddy bear ?

Meanwhile, my posts have slowed down because the activity has slowed down a bit. Met up with a couple of American ex-pats for coffee and a chat; checked out the Librairie le Géosphére, which specializes in maps and books on travel; going to a concert — “Star Wars” — tonight at the Opera Berlioz, which is located in the Corum conference center.

Today is rather clear and sunny, but rain (again) forecast for tomorrow. Hoping it holds off enough to allow the bouquinistes to put out their displays.

Also, I’d been holding off to buy a printer until I really had the need, knowing I could pretty much walk into FNAC and say “That one” when the need came. Which it did, today, so I did, that is, walked into FNAC and said “That one, and some paper, please.” Document printed, signed, scanned, and emailed. Don’t we just love technology !?

Venturing out

First visit to the Opéra Comédie to mark three weeks in Montpellier. The event: Cabaret Apollinaire, a presentation of Guillaume Apollinaire’s poetry in song and recitation.

Program and ticket

Yes, seat B22 put me right up front, barely twenty feet from where the actor representing the poet himself sat — when he was sitting, which wasn’t that often. I like that kind of proximity, even while I’m not sure the poems required quite so much shouting when already amplified. Two cabaret chanteuses provided narration and vocals to the poems set to song, supported by composer Reinhardt Wagner on piano, along with an accordion and saxophone/clarinet. And in the background an “artist” filled in a reproduction of the iconic image of Apollinaire with bandaged head, using words instead of lines.

Guillaume Apollinaire, poet, art critic, soldier, friend of Picasso, Jarry, and other poets and painters of the early 20th Century, died of the epidemic influenza of 1918 just two days short of the Armistice, at age 38.

A book and CD of the show will be released Friday, the 100th anniversary of Apollinaire’s death.

P.S. I ordered the CD the same night, scheduled for release Friday, and it showed up Saturday.