Manchester tour

Hi, it’s been a long time. I’m sorry I’ve been horribly busy exploring  this fascinating city, going to an awful lot of concerts, working like a dog, singing at the X Factor Final (strangely, this is not a joke), meeting friends I hadn’t seen for two years… The regular things. Anyway, because this city is so beautiful, I thought I’d give you a better insight. But first, here’s a little gift to apologize for my very long absence:

 

Manchester’s city centre

As you’ll see, there is a bit more of the city centre than its huge mall.

Manchester City Centre Cornerhouse

Manchester City Centre High Street

Manchester City Centre Lloyds TSB

Castlefield

This is one of my favourite neighbourhood in Manchester. This is where the Romans first settled in the city so there are still ruins of a Roman Fort built in the first century AD. But most of all, what’s makes it more special is its beautiful canals. These canals are where the Bridgewater Canal, one of the world’s oldest industrial canals, terminates. This place also used to be the final station of the world’s oldest railway, opened in 1830. Castlefield is right on the edge of the city centre but it feels so peaceful and so different. A lot of students don’t even know this part of town but that is a terrible shame.

Castlefield

Castlefield

Castlefield

Castlefield

Castlefield

The Northern Quarter

This could easily be called the coolest neighbourhood in Manchester, if you’re a tiny bit interested in music, alternative culture and vintage shops (which I am, and not just a tiny bit). At the very start of the Northern Quarter stands The Afflecks Palace, a huge building with loads of different shops of almost all alternative, music or geeky styles you could possibly think of. It’s even got an American 50’s rock’n’roll café. I absolutely adore this place.

The Northern Quarter

Northern Quarter

Inside Afflecks

Inside Afflecks

50's café in Afflecks

50’s café in Afflecks

Chinatown Continue reading

You’re a wizard Harry

This has nothing to do with Manchester and this has nothing to do with music but I HAD to share this wonderful bit of Britishness with you guys. Watch it till the end, it’s a fucking treasure.

Ça n’a rien à voir avec Manchester et ça n’a rien à voir avec la musique mais il FALLAIT que je partage cette merveille britannique avec vous. Regardez la vidéo jusque la fin, c’est un putain de trésor.

Subterranean Homesick Blues

“Cos it’s not my home, it’s their home and I’m welcome no more”

There’s a light that never goes out – The Smiths

This is not a myth. You’ve got shit loads of readings to do in British universities. That’s why they’ve invented this thing called Reading Week. You don’t have any classes for a week and you’re supposed to use that precious time to do some work. Of course I hardly know anyone who’s actually read anything else that their cereals pack. Most people just went back home. I was extremely reluctant to leave this gorgeous city but I quite like my family, as it happens, and I needed to get my guitar (and a huge amount of clothes) to Manchester.

So I went back to Paris for four days. Good baguettes, at last! It wasn’t exactly a “home sweet home, life is beautiful, smiley smile” kind of atmosphere though. What is home anyway? The place you’ve always lived in and loved like crazy? Or the place you’ve always wanted to go to, you’re finally living in and you love so much it makes you think everywhere else is ridiculous shit? Of course I was really happy to see my sister, my parents, my lovely room, my lovely guitar and my friends. I had missed them all. Spending time with my family, watching series with my sister, going out with my best friends, eating French and non-student food, that was all good. On the other hand, Continue reading

This must be the place

I am still alive, and I’m loving it. True, it took me a lifetime to write on this blog again but you won’t get rid of me like that. But I’m in heaven now and I’ve have been so busy. I don’t even find the time to sleep, how could I find the time to write?

Fresher’s week

A typical fresher is young and very enthusiastic. He/she likes drinking, likes partying, eats a tremendous amount of of pasta and lets his/her hormones lead the way. I’m afraid I’ve been quite a typical fresher.

Freshers are the first year university students in the UK and Fresher’s week is the first week where you’ve got no course but you definitely have a busy schedule.
Fresher’s week is a week aside of every others. If you’ve done something completely stupid or shameful, people will tell you “don’t worry, no one will judge you, it’s fresher’s week” I don’t know how far the logic goes and if you could actually kill someone and just get away with it.
After two days of fresher’s, your stomach knows you’ve arrived in Manchester and doesn’t appreciate it that much.
The student experience in Manchester is incomparable to the student experience in Paris. Everything is massive. Loads of students, loads of buildings, loads of societies, loads of fun. I chose to live in a student hall in Fallowfield, the student neighbourhood, which is pretty much one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. If you like going to sleep at 10pm, it is not very recommended though. Sleeping at 7 am is the way forward.

University of Manchester student hall in Fallowfield

Our lovely halls

During fresher’s week, there’s a big fair with all the university’s societies and loads of companies or uni’s organisations. Fresher’s fair is awesome. And by “awesome”, I mean that you get free food. FREE PIZZA. Actually, you get loads of free stuffs, from condoms (a classic) to bottle openers and bags. I wanted to take pictures of this but I try not to look too much like a huge tourist in my own uni. And it’s hard work. In the University of Manchester there are societies for pretty much everything. From the sailing society to the baking society. It is so exciting it makes you want to join all of them. Even though you know you’ll never be able to sail a boat anyway.

Did I tell you I loved that place?

The University Place and the Whithwoth Hall in the campus of Manchester

University of Manchester’s campus

The campus again

The campus, always the campus

Geological garden in the middle of our campus. Normal

The brand new Alan Gilbert Learning Commons

The Clash of Civilizations

It’s quite a cliché to say that even though Britain is just two hours away from France, there’s quite a cultural gap. Well it might a cliché but it’s true. And I say that being the biggest UK fan in the universe. It’s definitely not the first time that I come to the UK but I keep learning things about the British every day.
– British girls have their own particular way of dressing up (using leggings as real trousers, wearing the shortest shorts when it’s freezing…) and I don’t think French people will ever get used to it
– British people genuinely think their bread is good. They obviously have no clue how good bread should taste like. Okay, I admit I might have some kind of obsession with bread, but I’m French so it’s only natural.
– British people do know what a pub crawl is. I’ve tried to introduce that to my friends in France but we tend to sit down for hours in the same bar and I’m like “hey that’s a pub crawl, we’re supposed to move!” Here, they know what they’re talking about.
– British people talk about the weather all the time, they’ll never get used to the idea that their weather is absolute shit. I like the rain though so I’m pretty happy

Which is interesting to notice too is the reaction of people when you say you’re French. First they can’t help telling you all the French words they know (which is okay cos their accent is so cute) And then they immediately assume you are:
– Classy
– Hot
– A good cook
– An expert about relationships
When really I am none of these things.

Manchester music

I am afraid not everyone enjoys Manchester musical potential as much as I do but I did found a few friends who share my amazing tastes in much (I am so modest I know). I can now confirm: Manchester is musically brilliant.

I have been with a friend to The Deaf Institute which is a famous indie bar and club. It was an eighties night, called Girls on film, which happens every Wednesday. It was very good, especially the beginning when my friend asked for a Smiths song. Yes, you can dance to a Smiths song in a club. So why the fuck do regular clubs play “Call me maybe”? This, I will never understand. I even went to a Smiths disco at Star and Garter where, basically, they only play the Smiths all night, so do’t tell me you can’t dance to them.


I’ve also been to 42’s night club. It is apparently quite famous among people that like indie music and the music was very cool. The audience was surprisingly diversified though, with quite a lot of bitches whose heels were much too high to allow them to dance. But the DJ played Kasabian, the Black Keys, the Libertines, Two Door Cinema Club, The Smiths, Blur etc. so I’ve got nothing to complain about.


Last but not least, I’ve been to 5th Avenue, Manchester’s famous indie club. Twice. It was pretty awesome I have to say. They played loads of “indie anthems” as they say but also quite a bit of electro/dance/chart music too. So it was more mainstream and more diversified than 42’s but I did prefer the atmosphere and the people at 5th Avenue, probably just because I went to 5th Avenue at much crowdier times and days though. Less bitches than in 42’s. Although, I’m afraid you can’t avoid bitches in English clubs. There’s no way you can.

Anyway, this place is wat too fucking cool, I’m never gonna be able to come back.



Je suis toujours en vie, et c’est trop bon. Certes, il m’a fallu une éternité pour réécrire sur ce blog mais vous ne vous débarasserez pas de moi comme ça. Mais je suis au paradis, et j’ai été tellement occupée, vous comprenez. Je ne trouve même pas le temps de pioncer, comment voulez-vous que je trouve le temps d’écrire?

Fresher’s week

Le « fresher » de base est jeune et très enthousiaste. Il/elle aime boire, aime faire la fête, se nourrit essentiellement de pâtes et laisse ses hormones prendre les décisions à sa place. J’ai bien peur d’avoir été une assez typique fresher.

Les freshers sont les étudiants de première année au Royaume-Uni et la fresher’s week est la première semaine pendant laquelle on n’a pas encore cours mais un emploi du temps sacrément bien chargé.
La fresher’s week est une semaine à part. Si on fait un truc complètement stupide ou honteux, les gens vous disent « t’inquiète pas, personne ne te jugera, c’est la fresher’s week ». Je ne sais pas jusqu’où va la logique et si on pourrait carrément tuer quelqu’un et s’en sortir comme ça.
Après deux jours de fresher’s, ton estomac sait que tu es arrivée à Manchester et n’apprécie que moyennement.

L’expérience étudiante à Manchester est incomparable à celle de Paris. Tout est énorme. Pleins d’étudiants, pleins de bâtiments, pleins d’associations, plein de tout. J’ai choisi de vivre dans une résidence universitaire à Fallowfield, le quartier étudiant, ce qui est plus ou moins la meilleure décision que j’ai jamais prise. Si vous aimez vous coucher à 10 heures du soir cela dit, ce n’est pas recommandé. Se coucher à 7 heures du mat, y a que ça de vrai.
Durant la fresher’s week, il y a une grande foire avec toutes les associations de l’université et pleins d’entreprises ou d’organisations de la fac. La fresher’s fair est absolument géniale. Et par « absolument géniale », je veux dire qu’il y a de la bouffe gratos. DES PIZZA GRATOS. En gros, il y a énormément de trucs gratuits, des préservatifs (un grand classique) aux ouvre-bouteilles en passant par les sacs. Je voulais prendre des photos de la fresher’s fair mais j’essaie de ne pas avoir trop l’air d’une grosse touriste dans ma propre université. Et ce n’est pas chose facile. A l’Université de Manchester il y a des associations étudiantes pour à peu à près tous les domaines. De la « sailing society » à la « baking society ». C’est tellement excitant qu’on a envie de s’inscrire à toutes les associations. Même si on sait pertinemment qu’on ne sera jamais foutu de naviguer sur un bateau de toute façon.

Je vous ai dit que j’adorais cette ville?

Le Choc des Civilisations

C’est assez cliché de dire que, bien que la Grande Bretagne ne soit qu’à deux heures de la France, il y a un certain fossé culturel. Eh bah c’est peut-être cliché mais c’est vrai. Et c’est la plus grande fan du Royaume-Uni sur terre qui dit ça. Ce n’est pas du tout la première fois que je viens au Royaume-Uni mais je continue à en apprendre sur les Britanniques tous les jours :
– Les filles britanniques ont leur façon toute personnelle de s’habiller (à mettre des leggins en guise de pantalon, à porter des shorts over short quand on se pèle les fesses…) et je ne pense pas que les Français s’y habitueront jamais
– Les Britanniques croient sincérement que leur pain est bon. Visiblement ils n’ont aucune idée de ce qu’est du bon pain. Encore pire, les Britanniques pensent qu’il faut beurrer le pain quand on l’utilise comme accompagnement. Ils se disent que ça le rend meilleur.
– Les Britanniques, eux, savent ce que c’est qu’un vrai pub crawl. J’ai essayé d’introduire le concept à mes amis en France mais on avait tendance à rester assis pendant des heures dans le même bar et il fallait que je dise « hey c’est un pub crawl, on est censés bouger là ! ».
– Les Britanniques ne cessent de parler du temps qu’il fait, ils ne se feront jamais à l’idée que leur climat est merdique. J’aime bien la pluie personnellement donc je suis plutôt contente

Ce qui est également intéressant à remarquer, c’est la réaction des gens quand on leur dit qu’on est Français. D’abord, ils ne peuvent pas s’empêcher de vous dire tous les mots français qu’ils connaissent (ce qui n’est pas mal parce que leur accent est trop mignon) Et ensuite ils partent tout de suite du principe qu’on est :
– Chics
– Canons
– Bon cuisiniers
– Experts en relations amoureuses
Alors que, vraiment, je ne suis rien de tout ça.

Musique mancunienne

J’ai bien peur que tout le monde n’apprécie pas le potentiel musical de Manchester autant que moi mais je me suis fait quelques amis qui partagent mes merveilleux goûts musicaux (à mon humble avis).

J’ai été avec une amie au Deaf Institute, un célèbre bar et club indie. C’était une soirée eighties, intitulée Girls on Film et qui a lieu tous les mercredi. La musique était très bonne, surtout au début quand mon amie a demandé au DJ de passer une chanson des Smiths. Oui, on peut danser sur les Smiths dans un club. Alors pourquoi est-ce que les foutus clubs où tout le monde va passent « Call me maybe » ? Ca, je ne le comprendrai jamais. Je suis allée à un Smiths disco à Star and Garter où, en gros, ils ne passent que les Smiths toute la soirée, comme quoi on peut vraiment danser sur les Smiths.
J’ai aussi été au club 42’s. Il est apparemment assez connu parmi les gens qui aiment la musique indé et la musique était vraiment très bonne. Le public était étonnamment divers cependant, notamment pas mal de pétasses dont les talons étaient beaucoup trop hauts pour leur permettre de danser. Mais le DJ a joué Kasabian, les Black Keys, les Libertines, Two Door Cinema Club, les Smiths, Blur etc. alors je ne peux pas me plaindre.
Enfin, last but not least, j’ai été à Fifth Avenue, le célèbre club indé de Manchester. Deux fois. C’était assez ouf je dois dire. Ils ont joué énormément « d’hymnes indé » comme ils disent mais aussi pas mal d’électro/dance/chart music. Donc c’était plus mainstream et plus divers que 42’s mais j’ai préféré l’ambiance et les gens à Fifth Avenue, probablement juste parce que je suis allée à Fifth Avenue à des heures et jours de pointe cela dit. Moins de pétasses qu’à 42’s. Même si, j’ai bien peur qu’on ne puisse décidément pas éviter les pétases dans les clubs anglais. Pas moyen.

Enfin bref, ce bled déchire sa mère, je ne vais jamais pouvoir revenir.

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Bye bye Paris

This is it. I’m leaving Paris. Tomorrow morning. Yeah okay that’s not breaking news. That’s just a lame excuse to share a few “songs to say goodbye” with you.

Ca y est. Je quitte Paris. Demain matin. Ouais okay c’est pas un scoop. C’est juste un prétexte bidon pour partager quelques « songs to say goodbye » avec vous.

“Babe I’m Gonna Leave You”, originally written by Anne Bredon. Hard to choose between Joan Baez’s version and Led Zepellin’s version. Joan Baez sure can sing. She could make a masterpiece of any song.

« Babe I’m Leave You », écrite par Anne Bredon. Dur, dur de choisir entre la version de Joan Baez et celle de Led Zeppelin. C’est sûr que Joan Baez sait pousser la chansonnette. Elle pourrait faire de n’importe quelle chanson un chef d’œuvre.

 

 

“She’s Leaving Home”, from the legendary “Sergent Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”. Terribly sad but terribly beautiful.

« She’s Leaving Home », tirée du légendaire « Sergent Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band ». Terriblement triste mais terriblement beau. Continue reading

Rock en Seine festival

Before leaving Paris I had to do something big. Here’s a few hints: it lasts three days, it’s full of sweaty people and even guys there have to queue to go to the toilets. That’s right, a rock festival. It’s called Rock en Seine and it takes place on the last weekend of August, in the suburbs of Paris. Warning: it’s gonna be a groupie post.

Affiche édition Rock en Seine 2012
First, I have to say I haven’t always idolized Rock en Seine. I’m a huge Oasis fan and Oasis was Rock en Seine’s headline in 2009. Being a typical groupie, I’d been waiting for it for months, I’d been telling everyone I was going to see Oasis again, I’d been thinking about the t-shirt I would wear and how to get in the first rows without having to punch all the girls that would be on my way. Then on the famous night, at the upmost of my excitement/hysteria, surprise! Oasis broke up. Hahaha. So yeah I cried my heart out for days, I thought my life was over, I wanted to die in terrible pains. Regular things, you know. At least I know what they mean by “please don’t put your life in the hands of a rock’n’roll band who’ll throw it all away”.

Anyway, none of that this year. And many awesome bands on the menu. Especially The Black Keys, Foster the People, Noel Gallagher (Oasis’s composer), Placebo and the Dandy Warhols. N.B: if you click on the links throughout the article, you’ll find the official video of each song.

The first day was pretty busy. We started with the Canadian band Billy Talent. Hard rock emo is not my thing but songs like “Pins and Needles” are pretty good. The concert wasn’t bad either. Mosh pits and everything. After that we saw the British electropop band Citizens! I love their single “True Romance”, which I dance to in my living room when no one’s at home, you see the picture. The concert was very quiet though, the band didn’t really manage to get anyone excited. I was ready to dance and show the world my great choreography on “True Romance” but no one really felt like dancing apparently.


Then we saw most of the Asteroids Galaxy Tour’s concert, which was good. The singer’s got a very distinctive voice and this band seems to come from the seventies. Then the American band The Shins. Not exactly mosh pit material but nice. Then Block Party, which was a really good concert. Then the headline Placebo.

Merveilleux concert de Placebo à Rock en Seine 2012

Placebo’s singer Brian Molko at Rock en Seine

They were splendid. I was in awe before Brian Molko. I’d forgotten how beautiful their music was. They played their most famous tracks, “Pure Morning”, “Meds”, “A Song To Say Goodbye”, “The Bitter End”, “Every You Every Me” etc. They played an acoustic version of “Meds” which was very similar to the one you can hear in the video below. Continue reading

Like a rolling stone (Interview of Mick Taylor)

I got a surprise for you guys. The exclusive interview of a Rolling Stone. Wait, wait, I’ll tell you the story.

I used to write reviews for a website with which I had the amazing opportunity to interview Mick Taylor who was the Rolling Stones guitar player from 1969 to 1974 (!!). Everyone with just a little bit of musical taste will confirm this period wasn’t too bad. And the Stones fans seem to consider Mick Taylor as one of their best guitarists ever. Unfortunately, this website actually shot down short after I made this interview. Damn. I have thus never been able to release it. I am now writing reviews and interviews for another website, called Sound Of Violence, specialized in British rock music, which is pretty much all I love so it all worked out for the best.

This interview dates back from the 1st of July 2009 so if you like vintage, you’ll be pleased. This is the original version. No changes, no cuts. You’re welcome. Be indulgent, it was my first interview ever. I was young and innocent. Not that I’ve improved much. You’ll notice I really really wanted to ask a question about Bob Dylan. Hearing anecdotes about Mick Taylor and Bob Dylan going shopping was quite unreal I have to say.

How are you ?

I’m beginning to get a little bit tongue-tired. I don’t really know what to say. My brain’s getting tired. [He orders a glass of red wine] I’m very happy. A little bit tired. We had a long journey to Paris. We got here too early to check in to our rooms so we had to sit around for three hours and then I had a quick shower but it’s been so hot today. It’s been like Mumbai. I feel like a slumdog millionaire guitar player.  No seriously, all I remember doing since I arrived is taking a shower and talking and talking and talking about myself and about my career. But that’s nice though cos sometimes people remind you things you’d forgotten or you thought you’d forgotten. That’s always interesting.

I’m gonna make you talk about your career too! You’ve worked with loads of great artists, including Bob Dylan!

Yeah, he was one of the greatest! Probably the greatest artist, in terms of being of a singer, songwriter, poet I’ve ever played with.

So who did you prefer working with?

Well that’s a difficult question even though working with him was one of the highlights of my career in so many different ways, because I already loved his music and been aware of his music since I was about thirteen. But I’ve never been surprised by getting a call from anybody asking me to play for them. But when he asked me to play for him and he asked me by inviting me to go to New York to make an album called “Infidels” in 1983, I just thought it was wonderful. I just thought “well it is a dream come true” you know. “I’m working with somebody I idolize and that’s been an inspiration to me and many people and now he’s asking me to play guitar on his record”. But we formed an instant friendship. We used to go out shopping together in New York. We used to go and look for guitars. We used to go to museums. I once remember we were at the Whitney Museum of Modern Art in New York and there were all these sculptures there. It was very contemporary. There was a sculpture there of a guitar and he said “hey look at that guitar. It’s the most expensive guitar in the world and you can’t even play it”. He had that kind of funny sense of humor, you know. It was great you know because he took me around the Village where he grew up [Greenwich Village] and we’d come to a street and he’d say “you see that basemen above there, that was where I wrote A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall [in 1962]” He pointed all these little things out to me and then we both used to talk about musicians that we both knew from the period that I played with John Mayall [from the band called The Bluesbreakers] from 1966 to 1967. Musicians like Al Kooper, Mike Bloomfield, one of his first blues guitar players. So without realizing it we actually had a lot of friends in common from his distant past. Continue reading