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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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

Blogs, blogs everywhere

When you’re thirteen years old, you don’t need an excuse to start a blog. When you’re nineteen, it gets a bit more complicated.

And yet apparently it’s become super hype again. It happens that in my lovely school (Sciences Po Paris) every student has to go on an exchange for their third year. Which means everybody gets over excited about posting shiny happy pictures of themselves having the fucking time of their lives. And because Facebook is not enough for that, everyone starts a new blog about their thrilling foreign adventures. I am myself going to Manchester, which is not exactly as exotic as India or Thailand and I can’t unfortunately post pictures of myself riding elephants or eating insects.

But then I’ve thought about it and I decided that a country where you can’t eat proper bread and where half the population seems to be an alcoholic surely is kind of exotic. Plus, this blog isn’t only about my wonderful exchange year.  Proof is I started it before I left. This blog is about music. And music is the reason why I went to Manchester. See, it all makes sense.

Now when I say music, I mean rock’n’roll. I mean the Beatles, I mean Oasis (hence Manchester). I mean Madchester. So yeah in case you don’t know, Manchester is a great place for music. Plus Mancunians like beer, Mancunians like football and Mancunians have an accent normal people just can’t understand. And I love people that like beer, that like football and that I can’t understand. Okay this is a huge cliché but I love Manchester whatsoever.  I’ve been pissing everyone off with this place for almost two years now so it’d better be good. It will be.

Avoir un blog au collège, ça passe. Passés dix-huit ans, c’est déjà plus compliqué.

Pourtant ça redevient super hype apparemment. Il se trouve que dans mon école adorée (Sciences Po Paris) tous les étudiants doivent passer leur troisième année à l’étranger. Ce qui fait que tout le monde se met à publier des méga photos de la mort qui tue pour montrer à tous les autres à quel point ils ont kiffé leur life. Et puisque Facebook ne suffit pas pour cela, chacun se crée un blog à propos de ses folles aventures internationales. En ce qui me concerne je vais à Manchester, ce qui n’est pas tout à fait aussi exotique que l’Inde ou la Thaïlande et je ne peux malheureusement pas publier de photos de moi sur un éléphant ou mangeant des insectes.

Mais j’y ai réfléchi et je me suis dit qu’un pays où on ne peut pas manger de pain digne de ce nom et où la moitié de la population semble atteinte d’alcoolisme, ça devait bien être un peu exotique quand même. Et puis ce blog ne concerne pas seulement ma fabuleuse année à l’étranger. La preuve, je le commence avant même de partir. Ce blog concerne la musique. Et la musique est la raison pour laquelle je vais à Manchester. Voyez, tout se tient.

Par musique, j’entends rock’n’roll. J’entends les Beatles, j’entends Oasis (d’où Manchester). J’entends Madchester. Eh ouais des fois que vous ne sachiez pas, Manchester est un endroit génial pour la musique. En plus, les « Mancunians » ils aiment la bière, ils aiment le foot et ils ont un accent que les gens normaux ne peuvent tout simplement pas comprendre. Et moi j’adore les gens qui aiment la bière, qui aiment le foot et que je n’arrive pas comprendre. Ouais okay c’est un énorme cliché mais j’adore Manchester de toute façon. Je saoule tout le monde avec ce bled depuis presque deux ans alors ça a intérêt à être bien. Ça le sera.