In life, there are essential things like water, oxygen or food. And the other ones turning your imagination upside down, making you dream beyond the limits, or just giving you the push you need to go on. This post is a reply to the work of this lady, who would deserve a full list for herself when it comes to existential clics. Her voice is among the most vital ones on the French Internet for its uniqueness and powerful wave of pure authenticity (You’ll need however to understand a bit of froggy language for this one. Nobody is perfect, and that’s the beauty of it :)).
Here is a top 5 (not exhaustive as a choice was needed) of these 5 things that made a significant difference in my existence.
1. L’Écume des jours/Froth on the daydream, Boris Vian
@Magdeleine Bonnamour – Studio LGF/ @L’Écume des jours, Michel Gondry – Studio Canal / @L’Écume des jours, Charles Belmont – Chaumiane
Books you are reading during your young years will forever stick to your soul. Froth on the daydream is one of those and shaped my imagination for a lot of obvious reasons. Beyond the love story at the center of it, there’s the extraordinary capacity to see beauty and humour in the insignificance, poetry in the excruciating pain. Vian is one of this writer able to turn sadness into something sublime, to make you want a piano cocktail at home, or to pet the mice in your cupboard. And there is this extract i’m never bored to quote, summing up everything: « There are only two things: love, all sorts of love, with pretty girls, and the music of New Orleans or Duke Ellington. Everything else ought to go, because everything else is ugly. »
2. Scott Pilgrim vs the World, Edgar Wright
@Scott Pilgrim vs the World, Edgar Wright / Universal Pictures
Yes, diversity is my modjo, and if books are my existential profiteroles (Excuse my French stomach), pop culture and cinema are like the éclairs au chocolat on top of it (What? Am i culturally centered?? Me? Really?). If i adored the excellent Brian O’Malley’s comic, it’s the movie adaptation that made me dive into his universe. Not only this movie is an ode to the world of the video games (I would love for this video of Karim Debbache to be available in English, because it’s making the point better than i do, but it’s not), but it helped me a lot during the first step towards the adult I was about to become : one foot in reality, the other one in a bag of sweets. When one of my loved one is going through a life crisis, or has the misfortune to ask: « What’s your feel good movie in any circumstances? », there’s a huge chance that he/she will be stuck with an hectic version of myself screaming: « Let’s watch Scott Pilgriiiiiiiim ! » (This statement being generally followed by a shameful choreography on the movie soundtrack, and more precisely the track Black Sheep by the band Metric. You can check here a nice acoustic rendition of it, and a quite nice story about what’s linking it to the movie).
3. There is a light that never goes out, The Smiths
@The Queen is dead, The Smiths // Morrissey, Johnny Marr /Rough Trade
Making a choice between the albums of the Smiths was impossible. A total nonsense (at least for me) that equals the fact of asking me to choose between an apple pie and roasted duck with potatoes (What kind of cruel person would do that?). After hours spent moaning in pain, wondering if « Please please let me get what i want » or Ask should be in that list, the matter was determined. Morrissey is one my artistic dilemma. If I know that he might prefer kittens to the human kind, he is the creator behind those words that would make me see lights, even in the darkest corners of a camel’s throat (Why not?). « There is a light that never goes out » has the taste of this moment, when a friend is able to cross half of the city at night to bring you cakes when everything goes wrong. Or drinks with you until the morning comes to remake the world. Or this walk you’re taking under the rain, in an unknown country, with a terribly sweet feeling of freedom in the pit of your stomach. I just need to hear the voice of Morrissey, « And if a double-decker bus /Crashes into us/To die by your side/Is such a heavenly way to die » to go from the state of a blob in pyjama to Wonder Woman (Without the scratchy cape though).
4. The Art of Asking, Amanda Palmer
On the road of creativity, you will find people who will inspire you. For some of them, it will be because you are sharing a lot of concrete things together in your everyday life (Things that are making you laugh, cry, things that are insignificant or important). For others, it will be because their art will be behind all the things of your everyday life (When you cry, when you laugh, when things are insignificant or important). Amanda Fucking Palmer is gifted with an authentic no bullshit way of being, with perfect imperfection. She appeared in my life by pure coincidence, during a concert I randomly decided to attend to. It was back in 2007, in one of these venues in Bordeaux smelling like wet stones, cigarettes and sticky beer (This good old El Inca). A guy at the entrance asked me if I was here for Amanda. Told him that I had no clue about who Amanda was. Two hours later, I wanted to know everything about Amanda. She is this type of artists removing the fraud syndrome out of you and making you forget about this f*** dictatorial numbers game. Two, ten, twenty persons forming your audience are a crowd. Few people are realising that having this amount of people, who initially did not know you, supporting your art and really understanding what you’re saying is huge. That loving truly what you’re doing, being vulnerable and brave enough to share it, without security net, without restraint, and having the surprise of people receiving it and being here to have your back is a pure miracle. From her speech on Ted Talks derived her book The Art of Asking, and as well the audio podcast The Art of Asking Everything. Amanda is exactly what I needed to hear at the right time, to get rid of these old demons. You know, the ones existing in your head or elsewhere, telling you that, whatever you’re doing, »It won’t be enough », that »you can’t do it » for so many reasons. You are enough. You can do whatever the fuck you want. In the way that you want to do it. And you just need to kick those old bastards in the ass. For good.
5. Transfert, Slate.fr
@Transfert / Slate.fr
When I was a kid, my mother used to invent tales, freely inspired by our daily life. Coffee Girl, the heroine, was my age, and was living extraordinary adventures, surrounded by her parents, Big Coffee Guy and Mother Coffee (My mum has never been able to start her day without a bowl of 6 litres, full of this strong black petrol. I have always considered this drink as the ultimate deception when it comes to the pleasure of the sense. Coffee is belonging to the adult world. Not mine). Every evening, I was carefully listening to her, absorbed in these stories where a broken vase incident was spiked with epicness, where dogs were turning into dragons spilling their food everywhere, where Big Coffee Guy was wondering why his underwear had changed colour (Another act of terrorism of the Underwear Fairies). Transfert is my night adult tale, but anchored in reality (It’s in French, but just for this podcast, you should definitely learn this language, sacrebleu). There, I can experience again the pleasure of audio narration, of pure words, and this same epicness behind real life events. The same feeling I had when I was waiting for the story of the underwear to be unveiled. Without the story of my mum, I would have nevr dived into the universe of Transfert. And without Transfert, I would have never been that addicted to podcasts. And the idea to create some would have maybe never crossed my mind.