lundi 29 août 2016

Why soccer sucks (article I wrote in July 2016)

Since my last article was about rock, I thought it was time to write a few lines about Volk. This word means people – well, nation - in German and the name of this blog refers to a very famous French music magazine called “Rock & Folk”. As I like rock music as much as analyzing nations and their history, I thought it was a pretty accurate blog name.

Being a typical French Footix – this is how soccer fans call people who suddenly watch and comment every soccer game during an international competition – during this Euro 2016, I started to support les Bleus from the semi-final against Germany. Of course, I did not believe they would go so far, so I didn’t do that earlier. The second reason is that I don’t live in France, but in Germany, which includes two major hurdles:
1 – The games did not take place around me, or worse, in my city
2 – The Germans support their successful team like crazy and as a non-German who likes going out without being surrounded by drunken soccer fans, I have been forced to stay home on a few nights because Germany was playing. This is quite annoying and made me hate soccer even more.

Despite all this, I could not miss France-Germany and watched it – for obvious reasons – at home. When France won, many Germans were as disappointed as over confident before the game. Maybe that's why I was as happy to see them lose as to see my nation win.
Anyway, according to many Germans and the press, the ref was obviously in favor of the Euro's host nation and their team played better. Sure...I've heard the same from my Brazilian friends who still remember 1998. They even mocked the team's clapping after the game, pretending it was a pale imitation of the Icelandic one. Then I thought this was just German and these people just can't lose. I just enjoyed a clear Schadenfreude as we say here, which means I was delighted to see them lose with so much bitterness after so much confidence about starting a new "era of success" and being the new Roja, BLA BLA BLA. Well done Griezmann und Tschüß! Not seeing German flags everywhere everyday has been a great relief as well.

Well, I thought that until I read all the tweets or Facebook status reacting to Portugal's final win…

Of course the ref made some mistakes: he did not see Quaresma literally strangling Koscielny.

But the most obvious one has been the penalty in favor of Portugal at 107' on Eder's and NOT Koscielny's hand.

Yes, we were better, but mainly during the first part and Portugal’s goal keeper appeared to be awesome. And by the way, who kept on saying after France-Germany: “Ok, they were better. But a game has to be won, not just played.”?
So calm down! I mean, these guys won with their best player on bench for almost the entire game. Don’t you think they deserve it? No, they don’t. Many soccer fans even called on Twitter for a cancellation of the result, claiming the game had to be played again due to major ref’s mistakes. Again, these mistakes did not directly lead to Eder’s goal.

That’s how I came to the conclusion that what I first considered as a German characteristic was actually something general and generally making me sick when it comes to an international soccer competition: a nation can’t lose and there always has to be a certain amount of the dumbest despising clichés against other nations. For example, I did not get the point of this cover:

But I even less got the point of that one:

But here I have to say the German despise towards France is more “official” and accepted as it was published by the press and not on the internet as obvious “jokes”.

Anyway, France is a racist country that votes for Le Pen, banning burkinis on its beaches whereas Germany is the open one welcoming refugees. Dudes, don’t you think people's minds can be a little bit more complex and even the strict opposite? I do and even if soccer sucks, the world’s most popular sport can teach us a lot on nations' true face…

lundi 22 août 2016

4 Favorite albums at the moment (sorry I could not find a fifth one)

#4 - Roosevelt - Roosevelt

Did I say my blog is supposed to be as eclectic as my music tastes? I've never stopped listening to rock music, but growing old made me open up my mind as you will notice from #3 and #2. That's how that young German's electro pop came to my - still - rough ears.

Colours and Moving on are the perfect background music you need while choosing your cocktail dress before heading to a fancy party.

If I hadn't read about him on German magazine Musik Express before listening to him, I would have thought that boy was another talented guy from London. Ok he's from Cologne.

#3 Of Montreal - Innocence Reaches

After the release of Deerhoof's The Magic, Polyvinyl Records is really doing a good job this year. I'm happy I subscribed to the indepedent label's newsletter and took a few seconds to read some names so I could remember them and check out their music later.
Of Montreal is part of it and I think their new album is perfect for a chilling Sunday afternoon (with your cats if you're lucky enough to have some). My Fair Lady is the best example to illustrate the atmosphere that the record conveys.

Same for A Sport and a Pastime or the very psyhedelic Les Chants de Malodor, but I have to say I hate two songs. Even for an experimental pop band, I don't think the aim of music is to make your ears bleed through the music itself in Let's Relate or through Kevin Barnes' awful vocals in Chaos Arpeggiating.
Gratuitous Abysses is more rhythmic, but it's not really going to make you dance (well, at least in a standing position).
My "coups de coeur" go here to Def Pacts and Ambassador bridge, though I prefer them live where Kevin Barnes def CAN sing.

#2 La Femme - Mystère

This time, I didn't even hear about their new record through the internet. I just received the September edition of French music magazine Rock and Folk. Oh, in case you were wondering where I got the name of my blog from...Now you have a clue.
I read the interview with Marlon and Sasha and can't disagree with the critical acclaim. I like their 80's music with three keyboards,  their smooth vocals and how they achieved to use various influence from that era - I can only recognize Taxi Girl as it's not the music I usually listen to - to create and build up their own sound. Their live performances are also remarkable: they even brought a little life into that boring, pretentious French "Victoires de la Musique" ceremony 2 years ago.

Mystère is a really good album even if I'll never be a fan of this band because of the - what appears to me as - often too stupid lyrics in French. That's the case of Où va le monde where the male vocals are also disturbingly too weak. But the video is just awesome.

Plus, the smooth male voice can also be bizarre in a good way as well as the simple but nice, universally meaningful and realistic lyrics these guys can write. That's why Nous étions deux from their first record Psycho Tropical Berlin is - along with Le Blues de Françoise - my favorite song by La Femme

I just hope you're not a native speaker yourself, then you will think all the lyrics are great since most people instinctively find anything that comes out in French witty and sexy. Even this:

Well, that being said, their second record has some brillant songs: my favorite is Sphynx where - don't ask me why - the far away sounding female voice is a good point.

I also like Télégraphe and Tatiana is as worth listening as watching through that excellent live performance by cute Marlon.

Record to be released in September 2016.

#1 Har Mar Superstar - Best Summer Ever

Well, I did not mean it but it's a fact for this article: I came to know each album through a different media. I'm glad I listen to Oui FM everyday - the best radio I know - and its web radio broadcasting independent rock without interruptive ads at all and heard Lady You Shot Me a few months ago for the first time. I thought "Woww. Nice soul song", had a glance at the musician's Wikipedia page, liked the idea of that overweighed shirtless character called Har Mar Superstar and did not think further. Then I heard that awesome very pop Anybody's game a few weeks later, could barely believe it came from the same artist that wrote the other soul track and finally checked out his last record on Soundcloud.

While having here in Hamburg the worst summer ever, I literally fell in love with Best Summer Ever, full of love songs. I enjoy listening every single piece, from the very pop and sad ballads Youth Without Love, I Hope and Don't Erase to the nice 80's keyboardy It was only dancing through the very rock Famous Last words that just got me. Such an eclectic album! From so much keyboard and pop to that sudden loud energic interlude before ending up the whole thing with that ultimate beautiful ballad called Confidence.

Of course, the record also includes soul music: How Did I Get Through the Day.

What a voice! That was my favorite song from my favorite album of the year. Yes, in front of Deerhoof's The Magic. But both are American and therefore have awful tour dates with - needless to say - almost nothing planed for Europe...

samedi 13 août 2016

De la tristesse de quitter Barcelone

On peut tomber amoureux d'une personne en un coup de foudre et d'une ville en quelques jours seulement. Comme ça, sans parler la langue, sans avoir parcouru ses multiples recoins et se l'être appropriée dans un quotidien à l’instar du jeune Erasmus français caricatural et attachant de L'Auberge espagnole [« Quand on arrive dans une ville, on voit des rues en perspective, des suites de bâtiments vides de sens. Tout est inconnu, vierge. Voilà, plus tard on aura habité cette ville, on aura marché dans ses rues, on aura été au bout des perspectives, on aura connu ses bâtiments, on y aura vécu des histoires avec des gens. Quand on aura vécu dans cette ville, cette rue on l'aura pris dix, vingt, mille fois. Au bout d'un moment, tout ça vous appartient parce qu'on y a vécu »]. 

Le destin avait pourtant tout organisé, contrairement à moi, pour que je maudisse ce séjour. Tout d’abord un vol aller bêtement raté et 190€ déboursés pour en prendre un autre, suivi d’un irrépressible assoupissement dans le train censé me mener à Passeig de Gracia et qui m'a valu un détour jusqu'au terminus Granollers Centre, soldé d’une dispute sur Whatsapp avec une connaissance gay car j'avais le malheur d'être trop exténuée pour faire la fête toute la nuit avec lui et last but not least, un méchant coup de soleil dès le premier jour me valant une allergie jusqu’alors inédite à la boule de feu : un magnifique œdème au front. Ce paysage si gris, voire triste, entre Sant Pol de Mar et Calella valait-il vraiment la peine de favoriser un prochain cancer sur mon horrible peau pourrie de blonde nord-européenne ?

Je vous laisse juger, mais revenons-en à nos considérations urbaines de départ : je suis tombée amoureuse de Barcelone dès le lundi, jour le plus chaud qui a suivi un dimanche dédié à la plage et à la baignade sur fond de drapeau jaune. Chaleur étouffante, tourisme de masse,

pas lents et laborieux jalonnés de la recherche entêtante d’une place assise à l’ombre, d’espace et de courant d’air dans les stations-sauna du parfait métro barcelonais...Que nenni : rien de tout cela n’a gâché mon plaisir. On ne peut passer dix mois par an à se plaindre du temps désastreux de Hambourg et laisser la moindre pensée négative à l’égard de la chaleur estivale catalane effleurer son esprit. Je n’ai pas seulement admiré la beauté de la ville du haut du parc Güell,

car Barcelone c’est bien autre chose encore. Le voyageur est certes dans un premier temps frappé par des qualités purement esthétiques, des ruelles et immeubles tous plus photogéniques les uns que les autres à ne plus savoir où donner des yeux, mais le charme opère aussi grâce au bouillonnement urbain qu’on ne retrouve pas à Madrid par exemple.

Cette jeunesse si vivante et fêtarde qui m’a fait penser à la folie d’un Berlin ­+ la beauté + le climat + le port

+ la plage

+ le catholicisme

Car soyons lucides : si le triptyque ouest européen méditerranéen nous régale de ses églises, c’est bien parce qu’il a la chance de ne pas avoir subi la Réforme et les mornes édifices religieux qu’elle induit.

+ le modernisme catalan de Monsieur G. comme Génie.

Ex aequo sur la saleté, car même amoureuse, il me faut bien voir les défauts de l’être aimé. Sans compter ce suppositoire géant devenu l’un des emblèmes de Barcelone sur la seule base du nom de son architecte...Heureusement que l’amour rend aveugle et que j’ai vite effacé cette pièce d’architecture Nouvel de mon esprit malgré tout enamouré.

Heureusement aussi que mes papilles françaises si sensibles se sont faites discrètes au contact de ce « foie gras » au goût de plastique servi dans un petit restau sans prétention (il manquerait plus que ça !) à proximité de Sants Estaciò.

Sans doute mon autre sens qu’est la vue ne leur a-t-il pas laissé l’occasion d’instaurer une légère note négative dans une petite tête chargée d’étoiles suite à la découverte fortuite du sublime Parc de l’Espanya industrial en ce dernier soir déjà teinté de nostalgie.

Le retour à la réalité hanséatique jeudi matin a été aussi triste que l’atterrissage mouvementé, au milieu des trous d’airs de l’épaisse couche de nuages qui recouvrait ma ville, alors que le commandant de bord avait maladroitement annoncé la couleur avant la descente à l'aide d'un « the weather in Hamburg is... [quelques secondes de rires des autres passagers plus tard] okay. »

Voilà, Hambourg is...okay.