29 October 2009

The End

Another one of my favourite songs from Emilie Jolie aside from La Chanson du Herisson. It is originally interpreted by Henri Salvador.

Chanson Finale ("Final Song" with my translation)

C'est un peu la fin de notre histoire
Mais surtout ne sors pas ton mouchoir
Dors petite fille dans ton grand lit
Nom Jolie et prénom Emilie
Dors, petite amie dans ton grand lit
Puisqu'il faut bien vivre sa vie

It's slighty the end of our story
But whatever you do, do not pull out your handkerchief
Sleep little girl in your big bed
Surname Jolie and Name, Emilie
Sleep little friend in your big bed
Since one must live one's life.

Nous on reviendra si tu le veux
On est là pour rendre les gens heureux
Même si on existe pas vraiment
Tu peux compter sur nous tout le temps
Dors petite amie dans ton grand lit
Puisqu'il faut bien vivre sa vie...

As for us, we will return if you want it
We are here to make people happy
Even if we do not really exist
You can count on us all the time
Sleep little friend in your big bed
Since one must live one's life...

Faites que le rêve dévore votre vie,
Afin que la vie ne décore pas votre rêve...

Let your dream consume your life,
Such that life may not consume your dream...

26 October 2009

New York: The Novel by Edward Rutherfurd

New York: The Novel, published by Random House

It will be out on 10 November, 2009.

I loved Rutherfurd's Russka and London. Both Edward Rutherfurd and James Michener rank as my top historical novelists. I look up to them and their work has inspired me greatly.

I love being swept away into the dramatic story of family generations, through their passions, conflicts, loves, struggles, genius and indirect relationships with historical figures. I enjoy reading about people's lives while witnessing their city's or country's development as if I were present at that time. It is a wonderful way to time travel and an entertaining way to learn about history.

Rutherfurd, educated in Cambridge and Stanford, is a master at weaving well researched historical fact with enthralling fiction. I just can't wait to get my hands on New York: The Novel. Only two weeks to go!

My top wish for Christmas.

18 October 2009

Einstein and the Meaning of Success

One should guard against preaching to young people success in the customary form as the main aim in life. The most important motive for work in school and in life is pleasure in work, pleasure in its result, and the knowledge of the value of the result to the community. - Albert Einstein

Good old Einstein. Well, he said it.

What is this perfectly ambiguous term we call success anyway? Success in different societies means so many different things. Having many children in some African and Middle Eastern cultures is a form of success. Having a high paying job, a large house and being able to travel regularly for leisure is a symbol of success in most Western societies. Smaller circles also have their own measures. Featuring as a lead in a high grossing film is the first sign of success in Hollywood. Getting a promotion is a sign of success in most organisations.

This idea of success is a pain in the ass. So often I think, it forces us to give away our lives and spend effort on things that we believe are prized by other people, in an attempt to impress them or even just to confirm to ourselves that our life has been well spent. These things we eventually acquire or give ourselves cancers and heart attacks acquiring may have nothing to do with what we truly want. But they are worth pursuing either because advertisers tell us that they are worthwhile, or because our family tell us nothing else will do or because we feel guilt in relation to those self-imposed goals that elude us, or shame in relation to other people, if we do not pursue these aims.

I've had plenty of success.
Well, that depends on what you mean by success.
I've had wealth. I've owned property. I've had boundless travel experiences. I've had a degree of power and responsibility in a well paid job. I've had a stable and happy marriage.
So I suppose in Western terms, I've had plenty of that thing called success.

But I'm learning. Slowly. I think success for me is moments. Moments when I feel free and my own person. Moments when I love or feel loved. Moments when I complete a gym workout and feel fucking awesome about myself. Moments when I find self-expression in an idiotic Facebook status or rave about my obscure ideas in an equally obscure blog called Les Nuits Masquées. Moments when I know I'm going to publish my novel, a creation of my very own that no one else could have written and that has been born of my own mind and no one else's. Moments when I enjoy tasting and experiencing new food. Success for me is being able to tell someone to piss off when they are obviously out of line rather than being servile to them and compromising my own integrity. Success is making my own choices.

I want to call this thing, "contentment", not success.

Contentment for me is those moments when I wake up and recognise that the commonly known concept called success is an elusive, virtual reality. It's a commodity created to wade through existence and obtain some measure of self-satisfaction for our progress in this lifespan. It's true. We fabricate our own reality about what success means because we are doomed to the anxiety of existentialism. We need to fill our lives with some meaning. We need a benchmark without which we fall apart anguished by this overwhelming meaninglessness. Without which we believe we would feel useless. Who wants to 'just live'? No, that would be too frightening. Life must have a purpose. And the only way we know we have reached that purpose is to create a measure, the measure of success.

But life is not about success. It's about enjoyment. And Einstein was right.

Enjoy nature. Enjoy learning. Enjoy creating. Enjoy art. Enjoy helping others. Enjoy dancing. Enjoy sex. Enjoy food, love and healthy competition.

Success comes in those moments.

6 October 2009

All About Eve

This post is not really about Bette Davis nor her film. I just finished an essay on Almodovar's Todo Sobre Mi Madre and there are still a few camp textual references lingering in my mind. But if you read the post carefully, you may discover why it's all about Eve...

So where was I?

It was my 34th birthday last Friday. On that night, Shane took me to Eves on the River. It was the first time I had been there for dinner and I absolutely loved it. Our table overlooked the gorgeous Teneriffe river walk, the company was delightful as always, and to top it all off, I celebrated by getting drunk on cake. Yay me! Yes, be warned, a mass intake of glucose on a previously empty stomach will often drive Laura to inebriation. Here are a couple of souvenirs from our enchanting evening.

Eves on the River's Braised Beef Cheek

Due to an Aioli addiction, I opted for Fries and Aioli. I also had the Braised Beef Cheek with cauliflower & field mushroom Gratin. I'm a sucker for melt-in-your-mouth tender meats and was not disappointed with my delectable choice. The mushroom was soooo cute! It was as tight and thin as a nori sheet and lay compressed underneath the little bed of cauliflower. Oh, the novelty.

Shane chose the Lamb Shoulder Pie and pommes mousseline & pea puree. Everything was delicious.

Ok, so it's not quite Yatala Pies but still!

After dinner, two lovely waitresses paraded a huge chocolate cake topped with burning sparkles all the way to our table. They sang happy birthday for me and I beamed like a little girl. That sort of surprise has never happened to me before and I must admit that I found it very enjoyable!

Spoilt Brat