Archives de Catégorie: Anglais

ENG – Why Paris sucks (and why I don’t want to leave)

« Les guides touristiques ne parlent pas de l’énorme population sans-abri, des trottoirs jonchés de crottes de chien qui longent ces rues, embouteillées et infestées de pigeons. »
Le Paris mythologique des Nord-Américains est une construction éloignée de la réalité, que seuls les touristes poursuivent. Vivre à Paris est une confrontation quotidienne à cette réalité. La vie parisienne détruit les mythes et les clichés. Pour le meilleur.

The proverbial they always say that nothing in life comes cheap. And a year abroad in Paris is definitely no exception. It took me a good month before I could rationalise paying seven dollars for a sandwich, and I still haven’t gotten over the fact that I’m going to be run at least the cost of an espresso if I want to use a bathroom on a whim – lest something else run down my pants. I always thought that the pay as you go bathroom (get it ?) was some sadistic/hilarious invention of Rollercoaster Tycoon that was created to enable me to laugh uproariously at tiny cartoon characters throwing up all over my computer screen, but I should have known that the Parisians, unflinching in their dedication to have all of their Metro stations reek of piss, would have been behind the ploy.
But I digress.

The steep price of my exchange hasn’t in fact been due to the outlandish cost of living here; turns out that rectifying my actual experience with others’ expectations of what it should be has taken the much greater toll.
When people ask me about Paris…well they usually don’t actually ask me anything. They rather frame statements like “You must be having a great time!” or “Tell me about your French girlfriend!” as questions, or pose their questions with the answer already in mind, as in “How amazing is it there?” Unhappy with their own regular lives, they expect me to be living their dream, so – at the risk of being castrated for being a whiny, unappreciative asshole upon my return – my answers to such “questions” must always include the words “amazing,” “unbelievable,” or “incredibly hot.” The problem is that, like most comparisons between idealised fantasy and reality, the Paris of the North American imagination really doesn’t stack up to the Paris of the real world. (Note: I understand that many North Americans conceptualise “the real world” as a TV show instead of as actual reality, but I think that that only reinforces my point.)

The tour books, travel guides, and Marie-Kate and Ashley movies that create Paris for North Americans usually don’t mention the city’s noticeably enormous homeless population, the shit walkways that flank its pigeon-infested and traffic-jammed streets, or the bleak, glum monotony that is its sunless, snowless abyss of December to March.
And once here, the tourists themselves don’t notice these things either – because they don’t want to spoil their own fun. For the brief time that they are sur Paris, they get caught up in their partially self-constructed, partially super-imposed mythological dream-world because it is sadly reaffirmed by their revelries. It’s a vicious cycle: they see what they want to see because they want to see it.
They ignore the blank stares on the Metro because they are too busy blathering on about the Eiffel Tower lighting up. “Oh my God, it was just like so unexpected!” They drift unconcerned through the clouds of cigarette smoke puffing out of the meandering crowds because they are too busy blathering on about the civility of sitting next to somebody at a café. (This revolutionary concept also protects them from the outrageous prices they pay for the wrong orders, which are usually served with a side of disdain.) And they do not have to cope with contrived, over-generalised, and incessant blatherings because “those awesome guys from the Frog and Princess last night” are always there to join them in their amazement.

But not everybody can be so oblivious, and I now know why Parisians are so cold. They do have to hear such blatherings. Every day.They do see the homeless at every street corner. Every day. They do smell the piss in the Metro. Every day. And they do step in shit, or get shit on. Almost every day. They are overpowered by the daily grind of a city designed for temporary vacationing, and their recourse is to simply block it all out. Of course, that only makes life more miserable.

The trick, then, is to find within the overbearing, inhuman, and just-plain-annoying reality of Parisian everyday life the elements that allow it to be romanticised. And I am not talking about taking time off from school or work to go see Notre Dame or the Arc de Triomphe, though that may be part of it. I am talking about taking from the city whatever it is that you want it to provide. For while North American manifestations of the Parisian ideal may take the uninspiring forms of a twinkling mass of steel or of a depressingly small portrait, such symbols are not the real reasons that people escape to Paris to admire them.

The trick is to find our own symbols, for our own reasons. Living in Paris should not stifle its aura, but should strengthen it. So while it is much easier for us to close our minds to our reality when it does not live up to our ideals, in doing so we miss all that does. To snobbishly quote Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Le Petit Prince: “Droit devant soi on ne peut pas aller bien loin.” In other words, and to tellingly draw a comparison to the North American equivalent, Ferris Bueller had a point when he said that “life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

We must therefore make a concerted effort to appreciate all that Paris has to offer; to rectify reality with expectations. Otherwise, sedated by regular responsibilities and frustrated by the gulf between real life and outside expectations, we find in Paris but a miserable place to live. It may seem like a heavy price to pay for complacency, but with the possibilities that Paris provides those of the alternative mind set, it all becomes worth it in the end.

Indeed, as they say, nothing in life comes cheap. ●

Jake HELLER

Résident à la Fondation de Monaco 2008-2009
Etudiant à l’Université McGill de Montréal


Article first published on the 26th of January 2010

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Classé dans Anglais

ANG – A new Persian Revolution?

When aspiring musician Ramin Sadighi was growing up during the Iran-Iraq war, the Iranian music scene was on hold. Rock and pop were banned, and he could only play indoor gigs with his contemporary
jazz band. These days, the 42-year-old’s record label, Hermes,
is a major axis of the burgeoning
experimental Iranian music movement. Now entering its ninth year, its trademark electro-instrumental
and experimental classical sounds have already earned it recognition
on the world music scene:
a Grammy nomination for its “East meets East” album ‘Endless Vision’, and the Iranian Label of the Year award at the 2006 Fajr International Music Festival.
I find the Hermes headquarters
tucked away in an unmarked apartment behind the chaotic Shariati
Avenue, North Tehran. Ramin welcomes me with a wide grin and ushers me into his office, a converted
living room. His beard and long hair are a signature Tehrani intellectual look. “I am a musician myself, so I’m not the standard big fat producer, the bad guy. I’m coming
from the same side,” he says knowingly in perfect English.
Ramin is also an astute businessman,
and clearly a pioneer by nature.
The contra bass player, who was born into a musical family, studied industrial engineering at university, and is by profession a business consultant. He reels off an impressive list of entrepreneurial
ventures: he established the first Iranian internet provider, ‘Neda Rayneh’, in 1991; and while a consultant to music and book chain ‘Book City,’ was the first to begin importing foreign music after the Revolution. “There was nothing written in law, but no one was daring to jump into that business.
I had to get permission from the Ministry of Culture. It took 6 or 7 months of arguments. They formed the council because of my requests.”
His efforts proved to be a success, so much so that his employers even provided
him with an interest-free loan and distribution agreement to start Hermes in parallel. “I realised there
were some layers missing in the music industry.” Once again Ramin was looking to break new ground, creating a “laboratory for experimenting on Persian music.” “There’s an abstract vision or idea, and you just want to explore.
That’s why half of these CDs are failed experiments,” he says, gesturing to a neat row of shelved CDs on my right.
The turning point came with the crossover electro-instrumental album
‘Journey’ written and performed
by Setar player (4-string lute) Masoud Shaari and electronically fused by Christophe Rezai. “From that point people believed there is something happening here.” And the experiments became more ambitious.
Ramin mentions Afgah, whose album ‘Genesis’ mounts an abstract orchestration of between five and eighteen Tombaks. I ask whether his experimental approach
has encountered any internal
resistance. Only from a hardcore of the traditional music system (Radif), who believe Hermes
is “ruining Persian music”.
But Ramin’s contempt for convention
is innate, and extends even to his business model. “I’m investing in a concept. I don’t own any of my artists: it’s just an open friendship. We work together as long as we have common wavelengths. Each album is a sort of small company where Hermes and the artists have shares.”
Such dedication to the Hermes vision has earned him his own “family” of talented artists and a large fan base. “It is the only label in Iran to become a brand. This is the only thing I am proud of,” he boasts. And despite operating
in an environment void of copyright
law, where getting permission
to hold a concert is difficult, he finally made a profit for the first time this year.
Ramin believes Iranian music could flourish on the world stage, in the same way Indian music did in the sixties and seventies, if only his colleagues would refrain from flouting copyright law. “But I am not the Minister of Culture,” he says jokingly, “I’m just running a business here.” But we both know it’s much more than that.
Lucinda Homa Dunn
Malgré un contrôle gouvernemental souvent très strict, notamment sur la musique, la culture perse n’en est pas moins extrêmement dynamique. En témoigne l’apparition du label de musique expérimentale Hermes, aujourd’hui reconnu internationalement, et qui fut le premier après la Révolution à pouvoir offrir un espace d’expression aux musiciens iraniens. CB est allé rencontrer Ramin Sadighi à Téhéran et vous rapporte ici un entretien qui a force de symbole.
8
http://www.aircup.orgMalgré un contrôle gouvernemental souvent très strict, notamment sur la musique, la culture perse n’en est pas moins extrêmement dynamique. En témoigne l’apparition du label de musique expérimentale Hermes, aujourd’hui reconnu internationalement, et qui fut le premier après la Révolution à pouvoir offrir un espace d’expression aux musiciens iraniens. CB est allé rencontrer Ramin Sadighi à Téhéran et vous rapporte ici un entretien qui a force de symbole.

Malgré un contrôle gouvernemental souvent très strict, notamment sur la musique, la culture perse n’en est pas moins extrêmement dynamique. En témoigne l’apparition du label de musique expérimentale Hermes, aujourd’hui reconnu internationalement, et qui fut le premier après la Révolution à pouvoir offrir un espace d’expression aux musiciens iraniens. CB est allé rencontrer Ramin Sadighi à Téhéran et vous rapporte ici un entretien qui a force de symbole.

When aspiring musician Ramin Sadighi was growing up during the Iran-Iraq war, the Iranian music scene was on hold. Rock and pop were banned, and he could only play indoor gigs with his contemporary jazz band. These days, the 42-year-old’s record label, Hermes, is a major axis of the burgeoning experimental Iranian music movement. Now entering its ninth year, its trademark electro-instrumental and experimental classical sounds have already earned it recognition on the world music scene: a Grammy nomination for its “East meets East” album ‘Endless Vision’, and the Iranian Label of the Year award at the 2006 Fajr International Music Festival.

I find the Hermes headquarters tucked away in an unmarked apartment behind the chaotic Shariati Avenue, North Tehran. Ramin welcomes me with a wide grin and ushers me into his office, a converted living room. His beard and long hair are a signature Tehrani intellectual look. “I am a musician myself, so I’m not the standard big fat producer, the bad guy. I’m coming from the same side,” he says knowingly in perfect English. Ramin is also an astute businessman, and clearly a pioneer by nature.

The contra bass player, who was born into a musical family, studied industrial engineering at university, and is by profession a business consultant. He reels off an impressive list of entrepreneurial ventures: he established the first Iranian internet provider, ‘Neda Rayneh’, in 1991; and while a consultant to music and book chain ‘Book City,’ was the first to begin importing foreign music after the Revolution. “There was nothing written in law, but no one was daring to jump into that business. I had to get permission from the Ministry of Culture. It took 6 or 7 months of arguments. They formed the council because of my requests.”

His efforts proved to be a success, so much so that his employers even provided him with an interest-free loan and distribution agreement to start Hermes in parallel. “I realised there were some layers missing in the music industry.” Once again Ramin was looking to break new ground, creating a “laboratory for experimenting on Persian music.” “There’s an abstract vision or idea, and you just want to explore. That’s why half of these CDs are failed experiments,” he says, gesturing to a neat row of shelved CDs on my right.

The turning point came with the crossover electro-instrumental album ‘Journey’ written and performed by Setar player (4-string lute) Masoud Shaari and electronically fused by Christophe Rezai. “From that point people believed there is something happening here.” And the experiments became more ambitious.

Ramin mentions Afgah, whose album ‘Genesis’ mounts an abstract orchestration of between five and eighteen Tombaks. I ask whether his experimental approach has encountered any internal resistance. Only from a hardcore of the traditional music system (Radif), who believe Hermes is “ruining Persian music”.

But Ramin’s contempt for convention is innate, and extends even to his business model. “I’m investing in a concept. I don’t own any of my artists: it’s just an open friendship. We work together as long as we have common wavelengths. Each album is a sort of small company where Hermes and the artists have shares.”

Such dedication to the Hermes vision has earned him his own “family” of talented artists and a large fan base. “It is the only label in Iran to become a brand. This is the only thing I am proud of,” he boasts. And despite operating in an environment void of copyright law, where getting permission to hold a concert is difficult, he finally made a profit for the first time this year.

Ramin believes Iranian music could flourish on the world stage, in the same way Indian music did in the sixties and seventies, if only his colleagues would refrain from flouting copyright law. “But I am not the Minister of Culture,” he says jokingly, “I’m just running a business here.” But we both know it’s much more than that.

Lucinda Homa Dunn

www.hermesrecords.com

The Independent, 4 May 2007 Meet the Persian music-makers

Du même auteur :

Media Training, Afghan agenda: (3 août 2009)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/aug/03/media-industry-news

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Classé dans Anglais