As you may or may not know, Kim Jong Il, the North Korean dictator in residence, is a big film buff and has personally directed many North Korean block busters. He has even gone as far as kidnapping South Korean stars so that they might perfect their craft in North Korea. This one wasn’t directed by the man himself……..
A workers’ Paradise but soon to be repurposed as a Geico insurance commercial….
but this one was directed by “Dear Leader” himself…….
One of my all time favorite source of entertainment, when I travel to foreign lands, is watching their version of TV. Not only does it give me a opportunity to get a foot hold into, said alien minds, and therefore allow me to better do my job but it also satisfies a very important and integral part of my personality, a kind of intense sardonic curiosity. To my credit I do not judge others beyond my first reactions and internal or public commentaries. Invariably these kinds of cultural diversions, leave me awe struck by humanity’s extraordinary diversity and creativity. I love human culture in all its bewildering forms and one of my life’s most important and dogged pursuit has been to experience as much of it as could be crammed in.
I have gather a large collection of YouTube nuggets by key wording in some of my own personal collections or notes from the field. I will post these findings from time to time and if I ever get to it I will grace this site with MP4s harvested from my own video collection. I probably won’t get to it since editing, copying and downloading video is incredibly labor intensive, but you never know. In the meantime, you still can check out the video I made in Afghanistan 4 years ago. It’s long and strangely uneventful but it has its own beauty. Just copy it to your ipod and watch it on your favorite from of public transport.
Begin festivies here:
This one is from Estonia. I’ll be posting more from Estonia so yall come back. On a personal note, the most disturbing part of this one is that it sounds like polyphonic Corsican folk music. Fucking bumpkins, they always sounds eerily familiar and similar.
I have been a great fan of Bollywood since my first of many trips to the continent in 1987. I have a large personal collection of both Bollywood flicks and their musical scores as well as the other more “serious” Calcuttan school of film making. This one plays like a bizzare tourist advertorial, loose limbed Mumbai extravaganza. Watch for the peculiar disrobing and the transparent bus among others. I have to admit that I have been know to frequent such buses in the great state of Bihar. And oh yes, it’s also a good way to sneak into Afghanistan.
A classic and it features a commercial photographer to boot. I have watched endless hours of this kind of stuff while living and working in Asia. This one is Korean. Those Korean girls are so damn fine it’s sometimes hard to concentrate on the story line and wonder what a Korean South Park might look like. Of course as everything Korean, it never ends well. The syrupy fatalism is to die for….
Much more to come, I have a feeling that this will become a permanent feature on this site.
Since I only came to this country when I was fourteen, it stands to reason that I spent the better part of my formative years in the country of my nativity; France namely. The country which gave you the “freedom frie”*, a healthy love of ridicule and what some might contemptuously taunt as, a shallow infatuation with the sumptuous.
The later, but a reverence for craftsmanship, and a refined sense of a life well achieved, and by that I do not mean, the incessant pursuit of the feckless riches which we seem to so abundantly revere in this country, but an almost obsessive love of perfection. Because a living, is better appreciated when your hands produce an object of beauty, rather than the blood they once shed over the forced labor, king and country so cruelly expropriated in salt, and tears.
It made for a land greened and rooted in craftsmanship, only to reflect the brilliance of a nation and the humanity contained within; a trait, deeply ingrained into the french psyche. In France, the artisan and the thinker are esteemed and worshiped like no other, save for Japan, may be!
As I was saying, having spent half of these first fourteen years in a Parisian suburb(the rest in a Corsican village), I never, as much as batted an eye when the French Communist party would take to the streets and chant up and down Parisian streets, or strike the country into a stand still. I saw the communists as just another stitch in the fabric of my own birth country, another voice within our politically french cacophony. Consequently, when I first came to New York’s Duchess county, the visceral McCarthyism of these here Yankees, save for a few contrarians, neither here nor there nor yonder, made for some pleasantly stupefying head scratching to this teenage creed.
What was the meaning of these North American dogmatists, these ante-bellish certainties? Communism? How could this mirrored Narcissus, to their own puritanical absolutes, could possibly have been confused for anything else but another one of man’s own self absorbed tyrannies? What was it about the American psyche which demanded a murderous end to the constraints of someone else’s philosophy?
Was it the fear of those nuclear tipped flying machines, or the intellectual fear to compete with another, less fortunate citizenry, trying to brake loose from the tyrants, real and imagined, they had been made to worship; in duchesses and counties, where land wasn’t a plenty and the natives ever so pliably sickened by a battery of ship born diseases?
A continent twice the size of the known universe, ripe for the Christian taking, and so it goes, no one to argue with, except the remorse and the guilt, but nothing the confessional couldn’t fix, but not until those well meaning, god fearing Christianialists, came to realize that tilling and claiming such fertility, took more than a plow and crucifixes; it also took a people whose skin came better and more readily accustomed to working, in these sub-tropics.
Did we really, need afore mentioned intestinal rhapsody to introduce the poetic politics of Communism’s favorite opiated lyrics. Probably not, but nevertheless, this chant’s call to equality seems but a sad recall to the principles of our two mutually wounded and competing philosophies. I guess it never hurts to look back at the twentieth century, or the 16th, and remember that human dissonance makes for the inexorable furtherance and pursuit, of life, death, and the murderously brutal persuasions, of the living. Nevertheless, The International “is” a beautiful song, especially when harmonized acoustically.
Here is a link to the lyrics, so that you may sing along, in English or in French, given that, afterall, the tune itself was originally written in the French I first spoke, not the English I seconded, in Duchess county.
* It is claimed that a belgium born man, by the name of Parmentier, is to be blamed for that culinary epiphany, but who’s counting?
I have not yet posted an image of Raphaël so here he is. Since this is Thanksgiving, and eventhough, I have never been a big fan of this manufactured holiday, I have to say that I am thankful for the endless amusement and merriment my boys bring to my life. Quite the little “Terrance and Philip”, those two are. This image of Raphaël was taken last spring during a rare moment of introspection. I must have threatened him with grave consequences for him to sit still and not goof off for less than a micro-second.
I am eternally thankful that my boys are healthy, handsome, funny and intelligent. If you are reading this blog and have children of your own, I wish you all the same and many happy returns; but as Calamity Jane used to say: The adults can “go fuck their’selves”.
Yesterday afternoon, a friend of mine, casually mentioned, “olivier, I have been reading your blog, and you sound kinda angry, eventhough you are not “. OKAY, I’ve heard that one before, but usually without the “eventhough you’re not “; so for the FUCKING record, “I am NOT fucking ANGRY”, JESUS fucking CRIKEY !!! , do I really have to reach across the multimedia and bitch slap senses into the modern english, plural nominative equivalent of “YE”? For the FUCKING life of ME, do I really have to fUCKing SPELL it…????
Long lines, unavoidably try, yours and mine. As a result, I have always tried to anticipate such times to reduce the strain on this psyche of mine and have always made sure that there is a book, a New Yorker or an iphone somewhere in my gunnysack. As soon as it starts to form behind some imaginary line, I pull it out and wile away the time (sounds dirty too, how fine!).
Thereupon, I came to realize that the unavoidable conclusion was that I relied too much on the iphone for such interneted diversions. On that account, I’ve decided to both read and absorb Deadwood and the New Yorker at the same time. I was skeptical at first that this here multi-task might better be left to womens, but to my great surprise, I was able to focus on both tasks, at, and for once. One draw back, to these exercises, is that I seem more prone to ignoring some of the finer lines gracing the King of Thai’s lovely, larb dispensing gals.
By Deadwood, I mean the HBO series of the same mind, not the lack of erectile. I had begun watching Deadwood a year or two ago but never made it passed the first couple times; despite the fact that I relished the screen writing, acting and cinematography, but more on that.
Anyway, as I was watching season one’s eight episode while reading the New Yorker review of “Michael Clayton’; I was struck by David Denby’s first pronouncements: ” It’s forever being drummed into us that movies are a visual medium. Screenwriters are chastised with this half-truth all the time”.
And as I read this, here I was, relishing Deadwood’s language and wondering wether it was cut because it seems to rely so heavily on the characters’ great lines. May be it was the screenwriter’s aptitude at language which doomed it this time. Deadwood seems to rely almost entirely on the power of the written lines. No doubt the acting and the sets are finely tuned pieces of professional knack but it seems obvious that the whole series revolves around a writer’s finely tuned craft. Rising tides lift all crafts, taking the rest of the crew on this ride.
I think I became aware of this once I realized that most of the action takes place behind closed doors, whereas the landscape, universal staple of the American Western is relegated to the background, as if the entire series was shot with just one short focal eye. Hardly ever, does the camera wonder outside, giving us an acutely un-western sense of drama. The anguish and trauma of the camp, the single mindedness of these prospecting hands does not stop to take in the panorama. The whole series, at least what I’ve seen of it now, concentrates on its human characters’ enforced drama. Removing the sublime from their daily lives it reinforces the sub-prime and enforces claustrophobia. Not a bad way to eat pork larb, multi-task or wait in line.
In other news: You can now buy mangosteens in America. For some reason the Agriculture department had prevented their importation for a very long time. Fortunately, they are now gracing Chinatown’s fruit salad.
Let’s see, I usually wake up between 6 and 6:30. Feed Raphael breakfast and drive him to the bus stop in the Haight, I salute him and off he goes to get some educated. That little bitch better get me some return on my money. With my personality, someone’s gonna have to pay for my old age. I park the XC70, you see, I really need it to haul the gripage (and BTW, I ain’t no bobo, if that’s what you’re thinking!).
That ’s right I paid my dues way back in 86', in that Far East village, gentleman gentrifying C and D for the the rest of yous bohemian bitches. Remember Bernard ? that's right, I built that kitchen organic shit, but that’s another, more interesting story, we'll save it for later, in between morning lattes. I even got threatened by a man vet with TNT. Who the fuck tries to stop someone from hammering away; drunkenly pulls the pin and holds the safety, with a fucking hand grenade?; greatest generation, aye?).
What was I saying, oh yeah, I park the lease and slowly walk over to get me some Cafe. Every day I get a latte, I used to get cafe au lait but the coffee at Tullys is so shitty™ I have to get a latte to drown the taste. Since I spend most of my days alone, as freelancers often manage, I stick around for an hour or so, generally abusing those around me, by, as the brits used to say, “take the piss” out of they. If they don’t like it they usually sit somewheres else and ruminate. Of course I fully expect those who stayed to “take the piss” out of me. With any luck it’s funny, otherwise it’s just hate, and what’s the point, aye?
If I don’t feel like socializing or those who don’t mind “a pissing” can’t be shaken from their early morning grumblays, I’ll check ye olde email on the mobil-ay, point one finger, and go to it. Check stock prices to see how rich some people are getting and harangue the poor fools waiting for the google buses; a stone’s throw away. Those are the worker bees who didn’t get stock optionated and are now forced to commute greenly every day. These big black buses come by 2 or 3 times a day and swoop them up and away. They have those quirky cubes designed to highlight their individualities, a couple real live pooches and some snurf guns, for when the inner child needs a break. That's some cute and funny shit I have often been asked to “portray”. Some of them actually build themselves habitats for the work a day; they use a mixture of spit and clay which they store in pouches, in fleshy pouches, along with the volley balls, they receive on: “Explore the day”. They do this, like africanized honey bays; but all in one day...
So, around eight in the morning, Adrienne, drives by coffee and drops off Gabriel, number two, that way I can walk him to school. I shower him with kisses, make fun of him, he curses me and on we go, hand in hand, we walk to school and shoot the breezes. I love those monkeys and I LOVE being a daddy; I love boys especially but I am sure that if I had girls I would quickly turn into a drooling papie.
Kids are humanity’s answer to all those douches we have to deal with everyday, unless of course they have early joined those masses, in which case, well, that’s a real fucking shame. Am I to presume that they were born that way? Feel free to lump me in with all other afore mentioned idiots, after all, one man’s fool is another man’s tool. Stands to reason, don’t it?
Also around 8:30, if my leg is aching up, which it usually is; it’s not called chronic pain for nothing, ain’ it? (read previous entry), I pop a couple Vicodins to shave that snake; but fear not, the rest of him keeps on kicking throughout the day, to remind me its not quite done with me. Afterall, who wants to run around like a fucking caged monkey, thinking about nothing else but how much freaking nerve pain a primate can endure in a day. Thank you opiates, and yes I have a prescription, and no, you can’t have it, and no, I am not fiended; I have actually reduced and never increased the dosage. As previously explained, I am very slowly getting better, lots of steroids and Botox injected, twice weekly physical therapies; and oh yes, once again, thank you opiates; without you I would have been freaking desperate . Surviving the last year without these beauties would have been far too manly for my taste.
Anyway, around 8:40, I slowly walk back to the XC seventies and pop in some African CDs, I am a big fan here, let’s say 30 years; turn on the ignition and peel off like the French born that I is.
On the way home I curse California drivin’; by far the worst goddamn cretins on Gore’s not so green earth; ain’t it?
Worthless bunch of inattentive, self righteous, passive-digressive, incompetent clueless douches. Give me New York City or Paris any day, that’s my kind of tootin’ anyway; where men drive like clown monkeys and women bray like camel riding donkeys . If ever I have guests, I try to tone it down but “es-startlement happens” ! (new word here, means: Spanglish to describe the startling processes).
Not to spare you the tedium, I take Belvedere or Cole to 17th and Market and then down the hill to the Castro, that’s where I live with my girl, and the progenated. Up Douglass and up up and away.
You see, I am a divorcé, so off I go to live communally. Clicker in hand I open the brand new garage door and ram the cardboard flotsam to the back of these here garages. Step out of the car, disrecollected, close the roll ups and walk up, up and away. Back down to get recollected and back up again’.
Open the door leading into the deck, trip over the Bar-B-Qued remains and drop the keys that opens the kitchen gates. Wheel the dishwasher back in place and to the home offices; it’s more feminine that way. Tap the keyboard and wake up the CPAs, “Good day”! To show cheer and show my good graces by animating objects, is an important part of my day to day.
I check email one more time and snurf the dailies: the Jackanory, aphotoeditor, Heading East, 2point8; these are all people I either know, or we communicate; sometimes every day. I like them, and their energy and efforts are always greatly appreciated. When I feel less pressed, like today, I roam the interneted, and less well known tottering blog-aided…. I comment, but shouldn’t, too much time away from these bitches! Thankfully I can finger type with great rapidity.
If I am feeling friskay, I’ll write my own entry, usually consisting of what this blog generally disseminates with great identity, which it’s supposed to portray, or a least try to communicate, what a slightly older, effeminate esthete, British and patrician academic might think. Well crafted, defined, opinionated, ideated; ideas, tidbits, wisdoms and recollections collected while traveling with the Queen and her majesty’s secret services; all the while, throwing in, a few contemporary rabbits and expletives, to appear younger than I might actually turn out to bees. I have tried to have that come across with greater clarity and voice-hover all my entreaties, but that was way too time consuming, I had to put that one to sleep. Enough for right now, I have actual work to do, but fear not, more’s a coming your way…..