Issue number 18. The Acharnœur is now legal but has long been independent and in its prime. This edition concentrates on the senses: hearing becomes music, taste becomes delight, and sight becomes escape! And as for the «vie en rose », the Acharnœur prefers it sometimes sweet, sometimes rock ’n’ roll! Let’s live through the ages but stay in the now. And don’t forget, the «News qui court» brightens up your life, daily! Next issue, June 26th.
Photo © Daniella Matoso
LET’S THE SUNSHINE IN!
Weird. The sun’s been around for a few days now and the complaining hasn’t started yet. As it really is a question of constant ambivalence. When it is late, we complain. When it arrives to stay, we constantly repeat that it is decidedly too hot. Not to mention the dangers and warnings we associate with it. Each of its good qualities seems to be given a drawback!
Sunlight encourages endorphins, the hormones that are so essential to our well-being? The downside is that sunlight enters through our eyes and the sun is bad for them. It can cause cataracts.
Sun is our main source of vitamin D which is essential for our bodies (bones, auto-immune system, providing protection from some cancers)? Unfortunately, our exposure must be limited to prevent another type of cancer, of the skin this time.
The sun is good for those suffering from psoriasis or eczema? Possibly, but the cancer clouds still loom…
The sun stimulates the production of melanin thus saving our pale, dull complexions and helping to protect us a little from UV rays? Alas, it also speeds up the ageing process, and that cancer is still lurking.
Soon, it will start to get the blame for the greenhouse effect and the ozone layer when humans are solely responsible. There are even suggestions that it is the cause of global warming… Why not blame the sun for the financial crisis, the cake you burned yesterday or the TV being on the blink!
Most importantly: how boring! The exact opposite of the sun: smiles, pretty colours, insouciance… So to make sure all of the above bad vibes don’t make the sun feel like bailing on us, we dedicate this incantation:
Dear Mister Sun, of a thousand and one marvels,
We promise to be reasonable in your pleasant rays,
And to stop complaining whatever you do,
Without your, our daily lives would not taste the same.
We are in your system. So we need to say «We love you»
As the day you disappear, the Earth will stop turning.
Now, there’s a point…. Perhaps we should have started with it.
Coldplay, Stade de France, september 2012
They’re all coming in June: Rihanna was just here, then Depeche Mode, Muse, Indochine, Bruce Springsteen… Fantastic! But they’re all playing the same venue: the Stade de France. Of course: 80 000 fans in one night if the show sells out are not to be sniffed at. Except if you are one of those fans… As while the Stade de France is an architectural gem for sports events, for concerts it is a train wreck.
Strangely enough, the problem is not an acoustic one. The main defect is obviously its size. The second a human being moves on to the stage, the issue becomes clear. Unless you are in rows H1, H2, G8, S7, S8 or S12 or on the pitch in front of the stage, you can’t see a thing. FYI, the Stade has about 130 numbered rows for concerts. They’re not all the same and don’t cost the same, luckily. But the «reduced visibility» category as the website says costs up to 66€ to see Bruce Springsteen on June 29th. 66€ to see the Boss looking «smaller than the nail on my baby toe» according to one spectator at a recent Madonna concert. Of course, the Stade has two big screens that measure 196m2 each. But to go to a live show and end up relying on a cameraman really shows the limits of technical progress and logic. Whichever.
So, should you go for the atmosphere? Well, you’d need to have one first of all. Not everyone is able to get the Stade going. We will acknowledge performances given by the Rolling Stones, Coldplay, Prince… The latter was forced to finish up his show after 3 hours due to regulations, and evacuation issues. When practically the only way to leave Plaine Saint Denis is on the RER or the metro, time limitations are inevitable, as is frustration.
So why bother with the Stade? Because «filling the Stade de France», constitutes a huge ego boost. And we thought that a live gig was supposed to be a chance to make contact... So, our idols, tell us where the after-party is? In Bercy? We’ll take it, even with a capacity of 16 065!
DSK THE END
Every time, we say we’re not going back to it. But the New York DSK affair has gone into extra time and we can’t ignore it any longer.
After Marcela Iacub’s book, another name we thought we had finished with, now we have a song and an upcoming film. The song is on Anne Sylvestre’s latest album. She doesn’t name Strauss-Kahn directly but admits when questioned that he was clearly an inspiration. With his «paunch» etc. While pointing out that through him she is writing against violence perpetrated on women in general.
The film is in production and is directed by Abel Ferrara, not one to shy away from controversy. With Gérard Depardieu as DSK. We’ll probably see some «method» acting…
So, what’s next?
A play? A seven-minute « huis clos », with only one show nightly? The revolutionary length would have all of Paris queuing up.
An exhibition? From a more abstract rather than figurative painter, to keep things under control.
Because what is really happening is a sordid event being salvaged for artistic gain. Which, in addition, can make it captivating, attractive, and seductive.
Like Bonnie and Clyde, the Bonnot gang, Mesrine… Except Strauss-Kahn didn’t kill anyone.
Fashion & Design
A privileged moment with one of the designers specially chosen for you by l’Acharnœur. For you alone, the designer you wish to meet will open the doors of their workshop or will organise a private tour of their store. Over a drink, you meet the designer and get a chance to talk. You might even discover hidden treasures, rare fabrics, the latest thing… that might become a unique piece. Yours.
145 euros (incl.VAT) per person. This includes the Acharnoeur headscarf signed for you by the designer (exclusive accessory) and souvenir photos.
Are you wondering what still makes French cuisine exceptional ? Around a theme, a season, a region, a product or a recipe, l’Acharnœur will answer your question in a few mouthfuls and a few sips… Some surprising blends will be revealed in the two hours spent with our Wine&food specialist. It is also a chance to find out about the best places in Paris and the rest of France to stock your cellar or enhance your dinner parties.
Our last tasting: Friday December 7th. From 80 euros (incl. VAT) per person, includes the Acharnœur’s special « Révélations » booklet and souvenir photos. Tasting places limited.
You are invited to a private residence located in astonishing surroundings in Paris or nearby. Around the table, you and your friends or other readers join the founders of l'Acharnœur as well as special guests who incarnate the style and dynamic of the moment: fashion designers, photographers, sports men and women, journalists, actors... Exceptional conversation combined with exceptional food.
From 200 euros (incl. VAT), including the exclusive Acharnœur headscarf, signed by the guests (exclusive accessory) and souvenir photos. Dinner places limited.
Original tours, Parisian encounters, authentic walks… Why not experience Paris the way Parisians do? L ‘Acharnœur offers you a unique chance to discover the other magic of the world's most legendary city, adapted to your desires and personality.
From 120 euros taxes inclued per person.
Bette Midler and Alan Bates in «The Rose»
THE HEART’S THORNS
On a black screen, in the background you can hear concert noises and a hesitant voice. A lump develops in your throat. Next scene, a small group in front of a garage door that opens on a wall of photos like a shrine, with one of a small dishevelled blond girl… Suddenly the photographer’s flash sets off the music and the credits start rolling, what a thrill! Majestic images crisscross a plane and a car that house the star who trips on the walkway. This is the sign of her tragic fate. This is «The Rose» by Mark Rydell, a cult film on the rock and soul generation, high on emotion and energy, plunging everyone into a buzz of youth where everything is a matter of life and death… A poignant film on the fragility of an intense journey – in memory of Janis Joplin but also a beautiful homage to Bette Midler, in a life-changing role she plays on every register.
The film dates from 1979, and the era’s aesthetic shines through, now seen as retro or vintage: felt floppy hats, sheer flowery fabrics, Indian style shirts and bell bottoms. You shouldn’t mock the afro hairdo, like a golden curly-haired lioness, as the star sparkles under the sequins… and Bette Midler is breath-taking as Rose who kicks against the pricks and gets herself into all kinds of trouble – gleeful for those who are sick of their humdrum lives. Her vitality and provocative insolence are hard to ignore, as are her screams of anger electrified by music. It is impossible to remain untouched by her endless solitude and her desperate cries for help, like in the Hopperesque vision of the harsh light of a telephone booth fading in the distance. Her last cry, on stage is even more moving. So we cry. Music softens the heart.
And we remain fascinated by all those lives that stopped at 27. Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain or more recently, Amy Winehouse. The bell may have tolled too soon but their music lives on. One rose? A whole bunch!
• Watch clips from the film, experience the atmosphere and listen to "The Rose", the poignant title track, all in one 5 minute video
Photo © Odile Berthemy
Should we beware of strawberries? Sweet or bitter, ingénue or villain? Some botanists even refer to them as «false fruit» as the «real fruit» are the tiny little seeds on its shiny skin, the achenes. There are a number of varieties, in France alone, from the tastiest wild strawberries to the more acidic «gariguette». Strawberries from Périgord have the IGP label (protected geographical origin). The latter is feted annually in June in Bièvres, near Paris, and in 1996, in Plougastel, Brittany they opened a strawberry museum.
Strawberries are low in calories, high in antioxidants, oligo-elements, and mostly in vitamin C. It is said that the Romans used them as perfume in their cosmetic preparations, but the most common varieties come from the American continent. In the 15th century, the explorer Jacques Cartier brought the pleasantly perfumed virginiana variety back from Canada. Later on, in 1714, a navy officer appropriately called Amédée Frézier, in charge of spying on Spanish traders in South American ports, discovered the chiloensis variety in Chile. Unfortunately, he brought back only male plants of this big white strawberry so they couldn’t be bred but in Plougastel were crossed with the virginiana to make the «Fragoria xananassa» which is now grown around the world. It is a high yield plant and ripens notably in the Spanish and Turkish sun where it tends to lose its taste. Wild strawberries remain the most sought-after, though rare. Today, they are used in the most surprising ways.
Nevertheless, one should be careful as the strawberry can be an irritant causing rashes, especially in children. But these can often be «fake allergies» of no consequence. In fact, to avoid this, old recipes often advise rinsing them with vinegar water !
And, for those of you who worry, there is always the «sweet» option, invented in 1969 and ever popular : the Haribo «Fraise Tagada».
LET’S TWEET AGAIN
he small screen is obsessed with even smaller screens. Those on computers, smart phones and tablets. The reason for this obsession is the growing number of viewers who tweet while watching. Over half, according to Libération. The big channels refer to this as «social TV» added to the traditional viewer number calculations from Médiamétrie. In fact, the systems are complementary: Médiamétrie is quantitative; Twitter is qualitative. And this «social TV» provides immediate access to what people normally save for the commuter train chats or water cooler moments the next day. Precious.
They have become television critics. We are a long, long way from the «specialist» writers that were all over the press without worrying whether their viewpoint or demands reflected the general opinion, that of the «France profonde» as it was referred to, but who nevertheless did provide some reflection on the relevance of programming. However, the programmers rarely took this into account.
Today, things are totally different. Tweeters are taken very seriously indeed, and are not aware of their influence which is bound to get stronger with the current obsession with referenda and opinion democracy.
If the base has the last word now, then the lowest common denominator will find itself in a very strong position indeed.
We like it so we're doing it… Our way !
Photo © 1st Friend
FRIENDS FOR LIFE
Nounou, Titou, Nin-nin… Such cute names for cuddly toys. Probably because they are a consolation at a time of great sorrow, protect from monsters under the bed and keep their owners amused with their cute little faces. They are part of many life events and memories… Their little owners would like to take them everywhere, to show what good friends they can be. But from school to the beach, that’s not always possible !
Luckily, the French brand 1st Friend lets you keep your teddy with you always… by putting them on a tee-shirt ! The principle is as irresistible as it is simple: 1st Friend asks you to take a photograph of your teddy «looking his or her best» and to then send them the photo. The brand then makes the garment taking great care. The photo is then retouched and printed by hand using a silk screen process. Where a screen is normal made for a series of garments, here one screen is used for each tee-shirt. 1st Friend couldn’t find a printer to do this so they set up their own workshop to bring their crazy dream to life.
Andy Warhol, a regular user of silk screen printing with his famous portrait of Marilyn Monroe would doubtless have been a fan of this idea…
The grey or white tee-shirts supplied by American Apparel, are then customised on request. To order, you just need to send the photo through the brands website. 45€ and eight days* later – a reasonable price and deadline, given the production methods – you receive your garment with your favourite teddy.
And for those who may have lost their darling «doudou», or have given it up (with difficulty), or who have never had one to hug, they can adopt «Dodu», the 1st Friend mascot, a cute little character created in tandem with the French brand Peluche Blanchet.
A sweet project that can be ordered in any size. Yes, the concept also appeals to Mums and Dads!
• For more information or to order your tee-shirt, click on 1st-friend.com
* working days
RESTAURANT - SOSPEL
Station Gare de Sospel
TER Nice - Breil sur Roya
For those who can’t resist playing at Harry Potter or Hercule Poirot. Well, you no longer need to head to platform 9 3/4 to find the Orient Express. Rendezvous instead at Sospel station near Nice, where a restaurant unlike any other will take you on a journey out of the ordinary ! Come in… and settle comfortably into the dinner car of the legendary Orient Express no less! The menu is full of Provencal specialities. And even though the train doesn’t move, you are sure to feel like you are elsewhere !
Gare de Sospel, place de Borriglione
Illustration © Emmanuelle Tabaret
EASY TO OPEN
7 a.m., time to get up. A quick shower to get the day started. And why not try the invigorating shower gel you got as a sample ? Ow ! Should have thought of that first. They are impossible to open with wet hands. And there is no little indentation to help you. Ah well, you can always use your teeth. Ow again ! Just a little nick on the gum. Bad luck…
A mug of coffee then? Or a cup using the capsules you just discovered at the supermarket. With nice black packaging that you try to tear open but the stuff is strong. A moment of doubt. Then you finally locate the little «open» arrow but you are keyed up enough at this stage. Your caffeine boost will have to wait until after lunch.
So, what’s on the menu for lunch? A wrapped sandwich and a homemade salad in a Tupperware box. The sandwich packet boasts « easy opening », you just have to pull the plastic at the corner. But the corner comes off and the cellophane stays well stuck on to the package. Well, you have a salad as a fall back, but why is it so hard to open? Dumb freshness system… You yank with all your might. The tub flies out of your hands scattering the salad all over the ground.
In an attempt to resist the bad vibes, you throw an impromptu pre-dinner drinks party. You’re already looking forward to the foie gras on toast. You get out the sealed jar with its rubber tongue. Good, God ! They couldn’t have made it a little smaller while they were at it ? OK, you can leave that job to your mates. Here they come. Why not put on your latest CD as background music ? More cellophane wrapping to deal with, you just know this will take three hours. «Here, let me !» : everyone has their own technique… Well, cheers everyone ! Hang on, I’m just going out for a quick smoke to calm my nerves. Strangely, there is never any problem opening a cigarette packet…
say about who we are today.
Source Favim. Photo © Wil Freeborn
CINEMA IN A DRAWER
Saint-Omer, Pas-de-Calais, 1957. Rue Jules-Ferry, N°6. I waited eleven years to get my own room, inheriting it from my brother who had just left to get married.
The room was tiny. One Spartan bed. One chair, like in the Van Gogh painting. One wardrobe in pale wood, salvaged from the war. Families who had been bombarded were re-housed and summarily re-furnished.
The central item was the desk, known as the «minister’s» desk, which smelt of varnish and had nine drawers (two columns of four and one in the middle that could be locked), that my parents bought for me. It was my domain, a working desk where only I understood the organised chaos. Everything in the drawers was filed, thousands of precious or useless documents, half-finished manuscripts and attempts at cartoons – which soon were to include cinema magazines. Books piled up in the wardrobe.
There were no ornaments and very little decoration, except a plaster statue of the Virgin Mary perched on a corner of the wardrobe. The inevitable crucifix at the head of the bed. On the walls, a few beer mats and postcards I had framed.
I didn’t have a radio but the minute I got home from primary school, and secondary, I would run in to borrow my sister’s transistor which I put on the desk from 5 to 7. From 1961 on I listened to «Salut les copains» every day. I got my hands on a tape recorder and taped everything possible.
From my window I could see the silhouette of the cathedral where there was a «Son et Lumière» every night. At night, the voices came through distorted, with a surreal echo. Perhaps shaping my taste for the fantastic early on. It was to be the subject of my first book, written on that very desk on a little Olivetti typewriter that had replaced my mother’s old Underwood, a relic from the thirties.
I went on to write about the cinema, music, cartoons, for the press, publishing, to earn a living, for pleasure. As they say, it’s all I know.
Gérard Lenne, film critic
• Discover Gérard Lenne books' on amazon
Artistic DirectorPerrine Lebas
Web designFranck Biehler
ContributorsMaurice Achard, Bianca Alberti, Bruno Lancelot, Elido, Marie Veyrier, Stéphanie Norris
Emmanuelle Tabaret www.etabaretillustrations.sitew.com
Odile Berthemy, Daniella Matoso
ASSISTANTE COMITÉ ÉDITORIAL