torsdag, januari 21, 2010

First day at the driving school

How come I haven't had a driving license and why do I need it now?

The answer to the first question is that when living in Sweden and notably Stockholm, I never had any use of a car, as I used the public transports like subway, buses, tramways and so forth.
As I've lived most of my life in Stockholm, I have never had to think about getting a driving license and this is of course something very positive from an environmental perspective and also from a health perspective.
I used to bike a lot and this in the center of Stockholm too.

In La Châtre, the need for a driving license is much more urgent as the public transports are insufficient.
Of course there are buses but they are not close to where I live and they depart and arrive very irregularly.
With these buses one can go to Châteauroux where there are trains departing to Paris and other parts of France. Châteauroux is however 36 or more kilometers from La Châtre which means it takes quite some time getting there.
If one work in another town in Le Centre, it might be necessary to change to another bus again and so forth.
Most offers concerning jobs have been situated at least 20-25 kilometers from La Châtre and therefore I feel obliged to have a driving license.

I don't have a car but I have the possibility lending one if needed.
I will however try to use the bike during the spring, summer and autumn.

My teacher has estimated that I need around 25-30 lessons. We'll see if this is correct or if I need more or - hopefully - less.

(Photo Koenigsegg copied from:
(Photo ancient bicycle copied from:

onsdag, januari 20, 2010

Le Code de la Route

Today I passed my theoretical test preparing for my driving license.
I'm very satisfied as French is not my mother tongue and all the terminology and expressions are totally different from the Swedish equivalents - of course!
The above question did not constitute a part of the test however!

Tomorrow I will start my driving lessons.
Look out citizens of La Châtre!!

söndag, januari 10, 2010

1810-2010 Frédéric Chopin

This year we are celebrating the bicentennial of the birth of Frédéric Chopin!

I say 'we' as I'm now living in France and he is regarded as a French even if he was born in Poland (1810) and came to live in France in 1830. On the other hand he spent his first twenty years in Poland and Austria and the last nineteen in France, whereby it's quite relevant to call him a naturalized Frenchman.

In the parts where I live - that is to say Région Centre, Berry and notably La Châtre - Chopin is present almost everywhere. This not only connected to the home of the great author George Sand in Nohant but also in names of roads, shops, restaurants etc. alluding to his name.

The bicentennial is observed in other parts of the world too and for more information you can take a look at this site: Chopin 2010.

Chopin Concerto Nr. 2 Op 21 Arthur Rubinstein:

In Nohant however - the home of George Sand (one of them and the most important) - there have been a Chopin music festival every year since 1997, called Rencontres Internationales Frédéric Chopin.

2010 is - of course - by no mean an exception and it will surely become an extraordinary festival this very special year!

The festival takes place between 4th and 14th of June and the organizers are Association Musique au Pays de George Sand.

Chopin came to Nohant in 1839 and he there composed two-third of his œuvres and - as many would say - not least some of his very best!

George Sand was - besides a fantastic author, writer of plays and literature critic and so on - a maecenas without whom a lot of writers and musicians, notably Chopin, wouldn't have survived.

Between the 9th and 12th of July there will be a seminar arranged in Nohant and at the same time a ceremony inaugurating a memorial sign, a concert hall and a special site in Nohant bearing the name of Chopin.

For a comprehensive information concerning the events in France, take a look at Chopin2010. Manifestations en France dans le cadre de l'Année Chopin 2010 a l'occasion du bicentenaire de la naissance de Frédéric Chopin.

If you love music and the music of Frédéric Chopin you will find a lot to look at and listen to in France and not least Berry and Nohant!

(Photo Chopin copied from:
(Photo copyright:

fredag, januari 08, 2010

The Whistleblower - Peter Rost

I found information concerning the book by Peter Rost (by Peter Rost himself) and the name in English is:

The Whistleblower.

I  think I have written about this man before and his work to unfold the dirty pharmaceutical industry. If not, I mention him now and I recommend you to read it if these questions interest you. It should, as we are all, more or less, directly or indirectly, affected by this industry.

(Picture cover 'The Whistleblower' copied from:

måndag, januari 04, 2010

Evgeny Kissin,Esa-Pekka Salonen and Sibelius

This evening I listened to a concert from the Verbier Music Festival (2007?):
Jean Sibelius symphony n:o 5 with Evgeny Kissin at the piano and Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting the youth orchestra.

This is to some extent a very Beethoven-inspired symphony with great bravura and extraordinary fascinating parts of power combined with other more romantic, sensitive passages.
Kissin is a wonderful pianist combining these both above mentioned qualities when playing this piece of music and I think he performed it extraordinarly well.
He has become a bright and shining star on the 'pianistic heaven' the last fifteen-twenty years though he is still rather young (born in 1971)!

Esa-Pekka Salonen is a conductor who has gained a well deserved reputation within many different repertory fields and for the Swedish audience he is of course well known as having been the chief orchestra leader/director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra (1985-95).
He is, in Sweden, more regarded as a Swedish rather than as the Finnish conductor he actually is. The Swedes have adopted him.

He conducted the UBS Verbier Festival Orchestra, consisted of young musicians, in a piece of music he must know very well and they sounded very good with a surprisingly mature sound.

One have to underline the fact that this festival in Verbier is founded by a Swede, namely Martin T:son Engstroem (if spelled with an oe or an ö, I do not know). He is an artist agent and he has been involved in many artistic projects. This festival he founded in 1994 and he is still in charge.

The final from Sibelius symphony no 5 with Esa-Pekka Salonen
(not from this concert)

Evgeny Kissin at Verbier Music Festival playing Prokofiev 'Romeo and Juliet'

Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet - Evgeny Kissin -... par medicitv

(Photo Evgeny Kissin copied from:
(Photo Esa-Pekka Salonen copied from:

söndag, januari 03, 2010

House of Frankenstein

Yes Boris Karloff is one of the actors in this movie but his not taking on the role of the monster of Frankenstein this time, that role is instead given to a strange actor, that is to say Glenn Strange.

In this film Doctor Gustav Niemann, together with the 'hunchback' Daniel, his 'assistant', escape from a prison where they are held.
Niemann promises Daniel that he shall help him move his brain to another body, that is more physically fit than his own. This after having done experiments on animals and their brains, 'knowing' that this is possible.
Never trust a doctor!

On the way they encounter a travelling carnival who is in possession of a skeleton of Count Dracula, who can be revived by removing the wooden staken from his chest. They kill the owner and Niemann and Daniel remove the stake and now they hope that Dracula will help them but he has decided to fool them, and so he does. Never trust a vampire!
When continuing their travel they meet with a 'gypsy' caravan and Daniel falls in love with a young woman in this group. Unfortunately the feelings are not reciprocal, even though she accepts him as a friend.
When arriving to the castle of dr Niemann, where he intends to continue with his experiment, they come across the monster of Frankenstein and the Wolf Man, both frozen in ice but revived by dr Niemann.
The Wolf Man becomes the tormented Larry Talbot and the gypsy woman - with whom Daniel fell in love - falls in love with Talbot and so the story continues.

This is a very amusing film of course and one can't say that it becomes neither thrilling nor particularly breathtaking, something the trailer tries to make us think - of course.
It's as if it's made with the ambition to gather a couple of the famous 'monsters' and actors (Karloff and Lon Chaney) and in doing so it becomes somewhat of a 'cult movie', even though this term is to often used.

Director: Erle C. Kenton.

lördag, januari 02, 2010

Happy New 2010!


This film is a remake of an earlier 'L'emmerdeur' (1973), directed by Edouard Molinaro with Lino Ventura and Jacques Brel as the main characters.

This version (L'emmerdeur, IMdB) is made by Francis Veber in 2008.
In the leading roles we see Richard Berry and Patrick Timsit.
The story is amusing and it circles around two characters, one hitman (Richard Berry) and one suicidal man (Patrick Timsit) (and yes suicidal behaviour can be amusing) who both check in to the same hotel, however for different reasons.
As they live 'next door' to each other they become entangled in to their different life stories, something that changes them booth.
The hitman is constantly interrupted by the suicidal man who wants to talk or if not talking making suicidal attempts that fail, involving the hit man against his will.
The suicidal man becomes aware of the 'mission' his 'neighbour' has rented the room to execute(!) and this makes him try to interfer and stop him, partly making him forgetting his misery and thereby having a 'mission' of his own.

There are a lot of funny sequences even though there are no surprises in the plot.
Some having seen the older version, says they like that one better.
As I've only seen this one, I have nothing to say about that more than it might be due to the fact that when years go by one sometimes tend to idealize other versions as those actors, in retrospective, are very known to us today and somewhat 'mythical'.

fredag, januari 01, 2010

Le silence est d'or

Chevalier - Le silence est d'or par RioBravo

This above film is made by René Clair and today I don't think there are so many ordinary cinema-goers in Europe or elsewhere - besides cinephiles and cineasts - who know or remember this film maker and his works.

This is a pitty as he has made a lot of interesting films starting 1924 with his first œuvre, Entr'acte to his last film Les fêtes galantes made in 1965.

During my film studies we saw Paris qui dort (Paris asleep) a film about a scientist who invents a specific ray that make Paris and all its inhabitants freeze in their movements when activating the beam.
This was a film that experimented with the cameras ability to create slow and very quick movements, creating a game with room and space.

This film - Le silence est d'or - almost becomes a 'ménages à trois'.
Emile, a french film producer is left in the house of a friend together with the daughter of this very same friend, Lucette.
He falls in love with her and tries to stop her from meeting other men as the old egoistic creature he is.
When a younger friend of Emile returns from military service things get more complicated.
The younger friend complains over his misfortune when it comes to women and in order to help him, Emile advices him to start doing business with women. So he does and who does he meet then.....? Lucette of course.
He falls in love with her and she with him.
In the role as Emile we see Maurice Chevalier.

It's quite an enchanting piece of work, though foreseeable and not at all Clairs most interesting film, though it was awarded some prizes at different film festivals.

Below 'Paris qui dort'

Paris qui dort par XLanig

(Picture poster copied from:
(Photo René Claire copied from: