27 Jan 2012

January 2012 - Five Random Faves (Part 5)

Fave #5: Singing in tune with Les Cowboys Fringants!

A friend of La Baguette's recently introduced us to a French Canadian band and it was love at first sound! The song of choice is called 'Les Etoiles Filantes' (The Shooting Stars) from La Grand-Messe LP (2004) and is one of those haunting songs that you keep listening to for the words, the kind of song that makes you ponder about the poetry of life and makes you want to put pen to paper and give it a try for yourself. The video is simple yet quite cool. Check those long glances!

(Picture source)

Si je m'arrête un instant
Pour te parler de ma vie
Juste comme ça tranquillement
Dans un bar rue St-Denis

J'te racont'rai les souv'nirs
Bien gravés dans ma mémoire
De cette époque où vieillir
Était encore bien illusoire

Quand j'agaçais les p'tites filles
Pas loin des balançoires
Et que mon sac de billes
Devenait un vrai trésor

Ces hivers enneigés
À construire des igloos
Et rentrer les pieds gelés
Juste à temps pour Passe-Partout

Mais au bout du chemin dis-moi c'qui va rester
De la p'tite école et d'la cour de récré?
Quand les avions en papier ne partent plus au vent
On se dit que l'bon temps passe final'ment...
...Comme une étoile filante

Si je m'arrête un instant
Pour te parler de ma vie
Je constate que bien souvent
On choisit pas mais on subit
Et que les rêves des ti-culs
s'évanouissent ou se refoulent
Dans cette réalité crue
Qui nous embarque dans le moule

Le trentaine, la bedaine
Les morveux, l'hypothèque
Les bonheurs et les peines
Les bons coups et les échecs

Travailler, faire d'son mieux
En arracher, s'en sortir
Et espérer être heureux
Un peu avant de mourir

Mais au bout du chemin dis-moi c'qui va rester
De notre p'tit passage dans ce monde effréné
Après avoir existé pour gagner du temps
On s'dira que l'on était finalement
... Que des étoiles filantes

Si je m'arrête un instant
Pour te parler de ma vie
Juste comme ça tranquillement
Pas loin du Carré St-Louis

C'est qu'avec toi je suis bien
Et que j'ai pu' l'goût de m'en faire
Parce que tsé voir trop loin
C'pas mieux que r'garder en arrière

Malgré les vieilles amertumes
Et les amours qui passent
Les chums qu'on perd dans' brume
Et les idéaux qui se cassent

La vie s'accroche et renaît
Comme les printemps reviennent
Dans une bouffée d'air frais
Qui apaise les coeurs en peine

Ça fait qu' si à soir t'as envie de rester
Avec moi, la nuit est douce, on peut marcher
Et même si on sait ben que tout dure rien qu'un temps
J'aimerais ça que tu sois pour un moment...
... Mon étoile filante

Mais au bout du chemin dis-moi c'qui va rester...
Mais au bout du chemin dis-moi c'qui va rester...
... Des étoiles filantes 

Les Cowboys Fringants - Etoiles Filantes par archambault-musique

If I stop for a while
To tell you 'bout my life
Just like that, no hassle
In a bar rue St-Denis

I'll tell you 'bout
The memories etched in
'Bout that time when getting old
Was only a distant memory

When I used to annoy
The little girls by the swings
And my bag of marbles
Was some true treasure

And those snowy Winters
Spent building igloos
Getting home freezing cold
Just in time for Passe-Partout

But at the end of the day tell me
What's left of the school yard?
When paper planes won't fly to the wind
You just say that good times shoot by...
... Like a shooting star

If I stop for a while
To tell you 'bout my life
I notice that often
We have no choice
Decisions are made for us

And dreams we had as kids
Fade away or are replaced
By the stark reality
That the norm moulds us in

Knocking on thirty, getting a belly
Kids and mortgages
Joys and tears
The good deals and the bad deals

Making a living, doing one's best
Working hard, succeeding
And hoping to be a lil' happy
Before popping it

But at the end of the day
What's left of our quick foray
Into that crazy world
After making a living to save some time
We'll say that finally...
... We are shooting stars

If I stop for a while
To talk to you 'bout my life
Just like that, no hassle
Nearby Carré St-Louis

It's cos' I feel fine with you
And I'm over getting worried for nothing
Cos' you know, looking too far ahead
Is no better than looking back

Despite the old bitterness
And fleeting love affairs
The chums we lose in the fog
And the ideals that get broken

Life holds on and gets reborn
With Spring back on
In a breath of fresh air
That soothes sore hearts

So if one night you wanna stay
With me, night is mild
We can take a walk
And even if we know that nothing lasts
At least I'd like you to be for a while
... My shooting star

But at the end of the day tell me what will become...
But at the end of the day tell me what will become...
... Of the shooting stars

* translated by La Baguette Magique *

24 Jan 2012

January 2012 - Five Random Faves (Part 4)

Fave #4: Getting old gracefully with Converse!

Some gentlemen age gracefully. Take George Clooney. What else?

George Clooney per Nespresso: il backstage del nuovo spot from Caterina di Iorgi on Vimeo.

Some products age gracefully. Take the Chuck Taylor All Star Converse sneakers that were never meant to stay prim and proper. In fact, the more they get battered with age and use, the better they look, and the more mileage they clock, the more rock 'n' roll street cred they get. Just check this well-travelled pair, now totally rain-washed, with two careless owners to boot, not quite destined for the bin just yet despite being holey in different places. Kurt Cobain would have been proud! (to be continued)

21 Jan 2012

January 2012 - Five Random Faves (Part 3)

Fave #3: Showing you care with a kokeshi doll!

My friend Isabelle Duvignon is a Parisian artist based in Corsica. In the coming weeks I will have countless opportunities to reveal more to you about her art, either via La Baguette or Mirabelle! Meanwhile  I am really fond of those cute little kokeshi figurines that she skillfully paints on flat pebbles that she picks from the local beach. The Orient plays a part in the worldwide influences that have permeated Isa's illustrations and paintings along the years. Scandinavia and Russia play a part too, with richly-adorned compositions that I will have the privilege to reveal to you soon!

Kokeshis have been hand-made for the last 150 years as wooden dolls by the Kiji-Shi artisans from the northern province of Tohoku. Traditionally kokeshis are given as a friendship or love token. For my part, I am determined to believe that kokeshis bring luck and this little pebble follows me everywhere in my travels! (to be continued)

05-Fev-2012 Update: More kokeshis over at Mirabelle, including an illustration by Isabelle!

20 Jan 2012

January 2012 - Five Random Faves (Part 2)

Fave #2: Accessorising your portable office with a Crumpler laptop bag!

The nomadic office lifestyle needn't be confined to the constraints of the box, with bog-standard tools of the trade and their one-size-fits-all laptop cases. La Baguette has long understood that the devil is in the detail and that the detail lays out the difference between ordinary and extra-ordinary, between the norm and the quirk. It's no leap of faith, just a way of thinking. La Baguette wasn't going to skimp on style for its brand-new 17" laptop, and German bag specialist Crumpler had the solution!

From the large collection of original Crumpler bags available, we chose the New Gimp with Moses Effect in red. It was decided that 39 Euros was going to be money well spent, justified by the high quality standards backed up by a 30-year guarantee (!), plus protection padding, and neoprene material with special 'Moses effect' (coating ensuring water resistance and protection against dust and dirt).

Crumpler sums it up admirably: 'I don't even need to say anything about The Gimp neoprene laptop wrap. People just look at it and already they've purchased one in their heads. You could have the crappiest laptop wrap in the world and you'd still buy it just because it looks so great.' Point taken! (to be continued)

11 Jan 2012

January 2012 - Five Random Faves (Part 1)

** NEWS FLASH ** Dear friends, we believe in all the goodness the Transit of Venus is poised to bring us in 2012! And to celebrate what's been written in the stars, we have loads of exciting brand-new lifestyle features in store, so stay tuned!

Introducing our new monthly feature purely dedicated to the favourites that make us tick in the lifestyle and artistic departments at large! So sit back and be prepared to be tickled by magique!


Fave #1: Smelling fresh with 'Daisy' by Marc Jacobs!

If you could bottle up youth, this would be it, a fragrance that describes itself as a 'sparkling floral bouquet with a fresh spirited edge'. La Baguette has been a devout since coming across a free sample. We have treated ourselves to a bottle of the 50ml eau de toilette spray a few weeks back and ever since each day has been an olfactory journey into a world of freshness and light-hearted feminity!

Based on first impressions, just check the ornamental statement of a bottle this is, with its trademark pop art daisies. Not a perfume that will shy away from the vanity table or bathroom shelf! This bottle is made to be noticed.

The fragrance is equally remarkable with an explosion of surprising scents all combining together into an hymn to the modern young woman. Top notes of wild strawberry, violet leaves and ruby red grapefruit recreate 'luscious natural freshness'. Meanwhile heart notes of violet, jasmine and gardenia produce 'luminous modern vintage'. And finally base notes of vanilla infusion, musks and white woods embrace 'smooth softness and warm sensuality'. This is an encore as far as we are concerned and this fragrance is never out of place, be it in the office, in a soirée or on holiday. A must that doesn't take itself too seriously, yet will never let you down! (to be continued)

10 Jan 2012

Ill-Fated Journeys (Part 3)

When you get caught in crossed-wire situations and control - otherwise described as the grasp one has over their life and destiny to an extent - escapes you like a spagghetti down the plughole, things start playing on your mind. Things you wouldn't normally give a second thought to, as the mind has the power to cloud your judgement and make you start believing in the unbelievable. In my case, not only did I rightfully feel totally powerless, I also started to believe my mate and his posse had conspired to ditch me for whatever reason so they could enjoy the party - and not my company (of course!). Miaoww, get those claws out pussycat!

Edward Hopper, 'Nighthawks' (1942), via The Artchive

So then, in the face of adversity what was I supposed to do? Brave the deserted streets in search of the bars, ask around, wait around, stomp around, ring back my mate and leave pointless voicemails? Or lock myself in the car and keep schtum until I get a sign about the party coming magically from somewhere anywhere? Have a sob, wish the night away and take forty winks while I was at it? What would you have done?

There were no two ways about it as far as I was concerned and I had to make a decision pronto as I had no intention to spend a solitary night in Corte. I wasn't going to track the bars and traipse down them lonely streets in search of a birthday party whose very existence I was seriously questioning by then... I wasn't going to play a game of bravery, stretch my patience any further or wait for a miracle. I regained control, took destiny into my own hands, only after I had weighed the pros and the cons and sighed some more and shaken my head some more. In the rear view mirror I checked some sinister shadow gliding past me and that sealed the deal for me.

Ikko Narahara, 'Engraved Arrow, Arizona' (1972), via Galerie Priska Pasquer

I fastened back my seatbelt, turned on the car key, manoeuvred off my parking space and drove off into the cold Corte night. A few hundred yards down the road I spotted a petrol station with a caff, all lit up, with a bit of life coming from within, and half a dozen 4x4s parked outside. I stepped in, asked for a coffee and one of those packaged madeleine cakes, while I was being inquisitively eyed up and down by half a dozen country folks in hunting gear drinking beer and playing cards.

Something made me think about Edward Hopper's atmospheric 'Nighthawk' painting and I stopped feeling sorry for myself. I necked down the gritty inky coffee, stepped back outside, braved the night and embarked upon my two-hour journey home across the mountains, down the sprawling plains and up the more familiar coastline. In the middle of the night my phone bipped and this somehow woke me up but I felt neither the need nor the temptation to check the message.

By then it didn't matter to me anymore what the reason might have been - if a reason there indeed was. Some journeys are simply meant to be a driven introspection that puts you in touch with your higher self.

19-May-2016 Update: Let your exploration of Edward Hopper's creations be the start to a fabulous journey into the world of Fine Art, thanks to Artsy, the leading online resource in art collection and education. Artsy showcases a comprehensive compilation of Edward Hopper's art, including his biography, selection of his works, exclusive articles and up-to-date exhibition listings, in a visually-enticing form. Enjoy the journey!

9 Jan 2012

Ill-Fated Journeys (Part 2)

I set off on the second leg of my journey at night fall, slightly apprehensive. Yep, some of us call it a gut feeling. It seemed that everything was too good to be true. I tried brushing off any fear or self-doubt, and just place my trust in the birthday friend who should have been wise enough to ensure his guests had the basic information they needed in order to attend his party, as in where and when. Hmm... And the basic information in my possession was as vague as the promise of a lottery win.

'Winter Morning in Corte, Corsica', by Patrick Morand

I got to Corte at 7:00pm. I had two options: either head for the old fortified town and its array of steep narrow streets or take a more conservative approach via the university quarters. I was only trying to be practical: parking areas would be more readily available in the new town than the old, also I assumed that the pulse of the town would resonate off the student area like it does - let's say - in Manchester, UK (my former stomping ground). How wrong could I be! It looked eerily quiet and by then I was becoming too worried about that party to even search further for that elusive student life and student bars I had heard about.

Last time I had been in Corte was probably two decades ago, in the Summer, on a quick two-hour tourist tour of the citadel with my parents and brother. Now it was a different kettle of fish: on my own on a Saturday night, all dressed up and with that increasing feeling that I had been taken for a ride. Or at least that's the way it felt to me. I tried ringing my birthday mate and all I got was his voicemail. I tried ringing his best mate and then again I was faced with a frustrating recorded message. I hanged up.

'See No Evil', Photographic Journal by Ben Merrington, via Tumblr

Sat alone in one's car facing some battered iron fence with a row of austere-looking student halls stretching at the back was probably the last sight one would contemplate on a Saturday night. I rang my parents to say everything was ok, I was about to join the party. I had to save face. I rang back the birthday boy, not once but three or four times, left voicemails, then launched into a frenzy of texts.  By then one hour had painfully elapsed. I was feeling the cold from the dropping temperatures. I was feeling hungry too. All of a sudden the whole party scenario seemed foolish.

Then I got annoyed. I felt like I had been stood up. I felt like I should have asked more questions rather than blindfully place trust into someone who had the reputation for being a happy-go-lucky scatter-brain. The situation was totally uncool. The party was over. (to be continued)

8 Jan 2012

Ill-Fated Journeys (Part 1)

Sometimes you wonder why you bother... You'd looked forward to it, you'd got it all planned out (or so you thought at the time!), set off on your journey, and then... And then there's that last-minute glitch, that skid into the twilight zone, a forced foray into a parallel universe. A case of 'that thing' that had eluded you all the way, that you'd overlooked somehow and that was gonna bring unplanned consequences to your physical and metaphorical journey, taking you from the high-speed motorway to the rocky tracks... An ill-fated journey, that's it! Which is actually what happened to me last night, and don't you giggle, because this could even happen to you!

Playing happy families with Richard Perez, aka Skinny Ships

So here we are... One of my mates was celebrating his 28th. Mind you, let me rephrase it. One of my mates had been coaxed into celebrating his 28th. By nature our guy doesn't like celebrating his own birthday(s), although he's partial to gatecrashing other people's parties. Human nature, eh! But that's not our point. On Friday last thing, our mate had loosely told me - almost under duress - that his 'unwanted' birthday party would take place in Corte, Central Corsica.

It was understood we would all meet up down the bars there on Saturday night and party on from there. This was as much information I was gonna get but, used to my friend's mindset, I was satisfied enough. I told him casually that I would ring him closer to the time to check the finer details. And there we parted off.

The writing's on the wall... Illustration by Richard Perez via Urban Graphic

Yesterday (Saturday), I had a lie-in, then got ready for my 2-hour journey across the mountains. I packed a bag, although I had strictly no idea about where I would spend the night... Yet I didn't quite fancy the idea of an all-nighter. I spent some time in the bathroom fixing my hair, slapping creams on, trying on brand new clothes I'd bought months ago but never got round to wear. I felt great! Maybe I should have double-checked the meaning of the lunar calendar I'd casually flicked through at work: something about a knot in Mercury... Mercury, my ruling planet as a Gemini. With a looming full moon to boot... Astrologers would have called this an ill-fated journey in the making!

I threw caution to the wind, drove down to Bastia, stopped over for a couple of hours, treated myself to the salon, bought card and fancy gel pens, breezed down to the Café Napoléon for a good old-fashioned cuppa, while I overstretched my calligraphic skills to pen one of my poems in Nat-fashion-styley to the birthday boy! (to be continued)

2 Jan 2012

Happy New Year's Resolutions!

The first week of January is always a mixed bag of feelings. No matter how involved or indifferent one has felt towards the holiday season, there always seems to be that lingering post-festive introspection that sticks to your shoe like a discarded piece of chewing-gum.

No need to get flustered, it's only the New Year! (picture source)

In the cold and somewhat harsh glare of New Year's Day, the fairy lights round the Christmas tree look like they've lost their twinkle and at the same time you take notice that said tree is shedding and that gets to you. There is that slight awe enveloping the whole ambience of the day over the prospects of that New Year, hopes and fears, even disillusions and regrets about what should be but probably never will...

Then the New Year's resolutions get in the way of any possible reprieve from it all. No matter how light-hearted you may approach this, it seems we can't get away from making some mental note, some vague promise about how to conduct that New Year.

Via Tumblr

Some of us get into impossible pacts with ourselves that are sure ways to fuel pressure and depression once the first pangs of determination start wobbling off. And to this I only have one simple piece of advice to give you: be kind to yourself. Life is harsh enough out there, so who wants to throw a spanner in the works of the natural course of things, when full-blown recession and the extreme fragility of world peace are breathing down our necks like a chill down the battlefield?

As always my resolutions are fuzzy, but this year they flirt with the fun side. They're all about the lighter things in life, like travel, shopping, entertaining and socialising. My resolutions also include less materialistic endeavours: to explore my artistic capabilities further and to stretch my mind down the road less travelled, out of my comfort zone, like I did in the second half of 2011.

Life is a personal journey, a personal discovery of self, if anything. And that is a worthy year-round resolution in itself, that beats them Nicorettes and Weight Watchers resolutions, don't you think?