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.


Took the #1 tram out to the big Odysseum mall today for a little exploration. Turns out that the Montpellier IKEA is at the far end of the mall, so I went in for a visit. First time ever in an IKEA.

Quite the tour, as many of you probably know. Confirmed my thinking that, once I find a larger unfurnished apartment suitable for me and my books next year, I’ll order new IKEA furniture to fit the space I then have, and pay to have it delivered and assembled.

While there, I took the opportunity to sample the IKEA restaurant, with salmon meatballs and a slice of cheesecake:

Lunch plate
Déjeuner chez IKEA

Way at the other end of the mall is a nice big Sauramps bookstore, which is laid out more sensibly than the one at the Polygone. Since I expected to ask for a fidelity card — some stores let you sign-up online, others want to see you in person — I of course had to buy something: scholastic editions of Jarry’s Ubu Roi, Beckett’s En attendant Godot, and Cendrars’ Prose du Transsibérien, figuring the annotations and discussions might help with my vocabulary acquisition project. And the nice pregnant young lady at checkout courageously worked through the fidelity card acquisition steps while the line of customers backed up behind me. She claimed to understand me well enough, but I think she was just being nice.

In between was a littleish store called Little Extra that looked just intriguing enough to check out. Miraculously, it had exactly something from my shopping list: A small measuring cup, i.e., 200 ml, which is exactly the right size for my morning oatmeal (200 ml water, 100 ml multi-grain oatmeal).

They also had a large selection of small unicorns:

Unicorn trinkets
Unicorns chez Little Extra

. . . and an abundance of Christmas decorations <le sigh>.

Notes to self

When a French artist’s price list refers to 5 X 5 or 10 X 10, that’s centimeters, not inches. An inch is 2.54 cm.

Ink on paper artwork
Ink on paper by Claudia Loudun Bengler

Still, I like to buy from the living artist when I can.

Trying to sort out what I like so much about Claudia’s work, I think it says “mountains and waters” to me. Also, much like Chinese landscape paintings.