30 September 2007

C'est Une Belle Journée, Je vais me Tuer - by Mylène Farmer

In an interview last year, Mylène admitted that this song was originally conceived as "It's a beautiful day, I'm going to kill myself" but became "It's a beautiful day, I'm going to bed" so that it wouldn't be seen as a glorification of, or an invitation to suicide in susceptible individuals. That is, "going to bed", is supposed to be a euphemenism for suicide.

I wouldn't have guessed....
It seems such a light hearted song, and perhaps, now that I reflect on its meaning, a song with an appropriate ethereal, airy quality. Suddenly, the ascent of the balloon makes some sense.
According to the You Tube comments, Mylène created those images too... great song.
I've added my own translation because I wasn't satisfied with those I found online.

Translation of "It's a Beautiful Day"

Laying down, the body is dead,
For Thousands it is a man who sleeps,
Half full, is the amphoria,
Yet half empty, it is seen so effortlessly
To see life, from one angle (literally: the tail side of a coin)
Oh philosophy, speak to me of elegies.
Happiness, it frightens me,
To have so many desires,
And my heart murmurs, so ...


It's a beautiful day,
I'm going to bed,
Such a beautiful day, that is ending,
Gives one the desire to love, but, I'm going to bed,
To sink my teeth into eternity,
It's a beautiful day,
I'm going to bed,
Such a beautiful day, so regal,
Gives, A desire for peace,
To see angels at my feet, but,
I'm going to bed, to make myself beautiful ...

Laying down, the body is dead,
For Thousands it is a man who sleeps,
Half full is the amphoria,
Yet half empty, is how I still see it,
All is said, since when it comes to love,
When things get heavy,
If the heart is light, the elegies flow, always,
The pleasures, those that last, those that don't,
You see my love,
I'm out of breath, you see...


Life is beautiful
Like a wing,
That one should not crease,
Life is beautiful,
And I go there,
Life is beautiful,
But mine ...
Her, I enter her,
Mortal one, go... (nuance: be free)


12 September 2007

Shaking that Arse

Believe me there is a very good reason for that outrageous title.
I'm normally more conservative.

For almost all of 2007, our neighbouring block of land has been towered over by scaffolding and invaded by trucks, loud workmen and no less loud workmen toys. Every weekday, I have been regularly awoken around 6:00 or 6:30 by truck alarms, over enthusiastic drilling, hammering, calls of mateship and forceful rattling of materials and pipes.

It has NOT been a happy year. Oh, no.

Our unit is immediately adjacent to this inferno and there have been days where I've woken up ANGRY, vexed, confused, defeated and tired.

So anyway, this week: TADA! They removed the scaffolding!!
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we are finally getting somewhere. I may just be able to cacth up on sleep. The ugly construction cocoon was removed to unveil the no less ugly, brown facade of the brand new kid in the block. And obviously, the guys are very happy. I'm not kidding, I saw two of them, sitting across the road having a chat while admiring their chef d'oeuvre.

Part of me wants to strangle those workmen. I want revenge for all those interrupted nights, those panic attacks, the incessant noise etc...
But I've softened up. You see, it's been a long year and we got acquainted. So over time, I've become strangely attached to them. When they chirp loudly in the morning, I hear it. Whatever they blast out of their obnoxious radio, I sing along to it. Whenever they peer over their perched positions to ogle my breasts as I walk out of the unit, I'm highly aware of it. They've whistled, they've joked. We've developed a sort of relationship over these months.

This week was the funniest. I was dreaming. It was around 6:30 in the morning. And I heard a distant voice singing a happy tune. I awake wondering what my buddies are up to....I soon tune into that deep, nasal voice...and I hear him, singing happily to himself:

"shaking that arse..."


"shaking that arse..."


"shaking that arse..."

9 September 2007

Belated Postcards - Moorea

Just a little souvenir from May 2002.

We had organised to stay 4 nights in a traditional fare in Moorea island. Moorea is one of the Society Islands of the Pacific. The Society Islands include Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora. We never stayed in Papeete, preferring to fly straight to paradise.

What I remember distinctly from Papeete airport was cracking up after seeing a huge crab wondering about in the ladies' toilets. That's right: a crab. The kind you cook on your BBQ. I can still visualise that orange tinted armour. How it snapped its claws and made a rattling sound as it advanced across the tiles. It seemed very sure of itself and only to observe its smug self-satisfaction, you would have to assume that it was the most natural thing in the world for a crab to wonder inside an international airport.

We flew to Moora from Papeete on a small aircraft. It was amusing to see the pilot turn around to face the dozen or so passengers and greet us with "Hi guys, I'm your captain". I don't know about you but for me, seeing the pilot makes away with that microphone 'voice of authority' from the cockpit. All of a sudden, I start to doubt their competence. Irrational I know. I noticed that there was some squirming in the other seats too. Luckily, unlike a recent incident which did not go so well, we were lucky enough to survive the flight to Moorea.

When we arrived, we were driven to our fare on the edge of the Moorea lagoon. This is a gorgeous coral enclave with clear blue water and lovely islets that can be reached by canoes. The bank is lined with fares , tall palms and very very happy tourists. But I think I was the happiest. It was such a beautiful place. I loved it.

This is our fare on the border of the lagoon. It had a traditional roof with high pyramidal shaped ceiling. I wouldn't call the conditions luxurious (you'd have to go to Bora Bora for that!!) but then why would you want to stay inside the fare considering the beauty outside?

If it wasn't for the insects I probably would have slept outside. We had quite a few visits from wasps. I killed two, Jason killed two and they kept creeping inside during morning servicing because the cleaners would leave the sliding door wide open.... I'm allergic to bee stings so the fright came more from getting stung than anything else.

This is a shot of Jason sitting across the pontoon, not far from the bank.

Jason swimming.

A few steps from our fare was the kayak rental place. They were a little pricey but the experience of paddling about in such beauty was priceless.

This is the view from the kayak as you approach the far end of the lagoon. That's the islet where we took a break.

Me taking a dip in paradise. Swimming freely, opening my eyes in that crystal clear lagoon water and exploring its depth is one of the most wonderful things I have ever experienced in my life.

Moorea is a beautiful island that you can cycle around in one day. No traffic. No red lights. It's awesome. If you have a good bike that is...Jason didn't. hmwah hah hah! I still remember how I tricked him into swapping bikes with me "since mine was way too high" (and I honestly couldn't get on it, let alone hop off). The result is that he got stuck with the bike that had a broken seat. Apart from that it was fun and we manage to ride up past the agricultural center (where, by the way, there are toilets and cold drinks). From there, we walked up to the lookouts for some amazing views of Moorea island. Worth the heavy sweat!!!

Me in my absurd tropical shorts, riding my absurd little bike. Cycling in high humidity is a very humbling and undignified experience. I was soaked by mid morning!!! Reuben will probably laugh.

I admit that the interest in Moorea was far from cultural. I was only after a piece of paradise. Still we spent an afternoon taking a long walk to the marae. The marae are traditional sacred spots in Polynesian culture. Here's a picture of one.

You can also do the normal touristy thing and attend a night of cultural feasting and dancing. Or you can do what a french couple did and hire a canoe with a hole in it, get in the middle of the lagoon, tip the canoe over,lose your stuff to the bottom and hire a mermaid (me) to help them find their bits. The most fun I had in a long time!!!!

5 September 2007

Mystical Me

I was thinking the other day of how fickle I have been throughout my life, shopping around for a religion and never really being satisfied with what I found. It dawned on me that while I most relate to the energy of the Goddess Kaali, I 'm an orphan when it comes to religion.

Roman Catholic - I was born into the Roman catholic church. It means that when I turned 7, my entire life revolved around my first communion. You know how girls in their last year of school shop around for that perfect prom dress? I spent years trying to imagine what I'd wear for my first communion. And I wanted a crown. I had to have a crown.
My early primary school years saw me belting out church songs from the top of my voice, attending church service every Sunday with my little mass booklet and coveting every pretty rosary beads I saw in the parish shops. When I was bored, I'd read my illustrated PG-rated version of the bible. And, I know I wasn't supposed to think that way, but those Canaanites sure were pretty with their long black curls and their slave bracelets.
Two particular Bible stories stood out.
1. I loved the story of Joseph. No, not the Joseph from the manger with baby Jesus. Joseph who was sold by his jealous brothers and who in the end, climbed his way up by interpreting Pharaoh's dreams. He was so cool. I liked how he turned out better than his siblings and how he tricked them into reflecting on their own natures and eventually forgave them.
2. The other guy I liked was Aaron. Aaron's brother Moses got all the attention for some reason. But I loved how Aaron battled with the Pharaoh's magicians and how he could transform his sticks into snakes. Who needs Harry Potter when you have the bible?
And if I ever suffered from insomnia, out came the rosary beads. I loved nothing better than sink deep into martyrdom, reciting Hail Marys and sincerely believing that my humble prayers would save the world. Being a Roman Catholic in those days had its pitfalls. I felt guilty all the time. Everything was 'bad'.
I didn't like the taboo surrounding the occult. I was once thrown out of my school library for reading Tarot cards to my friends during recess. I had to pack up my cards and get out. I still can't believe it. ( I forgot to tell you that I attended a Dominican high school. More on those Dominicans later....)

But one ultimate thing that stood out the most for me as a Christian, was Jesus. If you read the New Testament, he is just such an awesome, awesome guy. He was kind, egalitarian, a feminist, a healer, anti-capitalistic, anti-institutional, forgiving, selfless and very intuitive. Come to think of it, even today, someone like him would certainly be thrown into jail.

Coptic - I became Coptic for a very short time. It was foolish of me. I was in love with this guy and since his religion forbade us to be together unless I converted, I began to lie to myself until I was adamant that I would be Coptic. They baptised me whole in a cotton robe, inside what look like large sink. I felt very uncomfortable that day and I wanted to puke because the smell of the incense was so overwhelming. I think apart from the fact that I broke up with that guy, the one thing that put me off this very Orthodox church was its insistence on protecting men from their own lust and segregating males and females inside the church. Women had to cover their heads 'lest their heads be shorn' by wearing a veil inside the church while the men seemed to go around giving us the don't-you-dare-tempt-me-you-evil-woman look. We women couldn't take communion if we were menstruating. And fasting went on and on and on throughout most of the year. It just wasn't for me.

The Pagan - I met the pagan just after I broke up with the Copt. Let's call him Damien, as that was his name. He was everything that I called 'bad'. That is, he had no Christian guilt, he sometimes didn't wash, he smoked and his house was a mess. But I knew I had something to learn from him. Besides, I was 22 and he was 34. When he talked about paganism, he made it sound so free that very soon, I questioned my rigid Christian beliefs. After a few months, I was free from all guilt. In a way, Damien liberated me. I owe him that. I'm still not sure what paganism means though.

The Cathars - Around the time I lost my Christian fervour, I began to detest everything it stood for, particularly the Crusades and the Inquisition...and 'St Dominic' in person. In fact, I injected meaning into this pseudo-adolescent rebellion by taking the cause of the Albigensians. I became obsessed with everything Cathar. The Cathars were a sect who lived mostly in the South of France, in the Languedoc. I identified so strongly with them that even today, the sound of Latin makes me cringe. Soon, I was avoiding meat,living in black, making a solemn pact never to reproduce and visiting France to pay homage to such places as Carcassone and Montsegur. I read Zoe Oldenberg's "Massacre at Montsegur" twice, I had a go at learning the Occitan tongue and listened to Era's music over and over again.
I even began to entertain the idea that I was a reincarnated parfait who had been burnt in 1244. I think I may have been deranged in those days but the experience remained enriching.

Kaali - Feeling a little lost and angry around that time, I embraced the one deity that could deal with the intensity of my feelings and allow me to face my fears. The goddess Kaali. The feminist par excellence. What is Kaali? In a nutshell, she is the most ferocious incarnation of the Hindu goddess Durga. She was summoned to kill the demon that no one could kill because it kept multiplying. Kaali, you don't mess with. She trashed the shit out of the demon. (How I like that. A female superhero.) But she had such a mighty temper that she couldn't stop her destructive dance. (And she can dance too.) Her husband Shiva had to lie at her feet in order to appease her and so that she would realise what she was doing. It sounds so much like PMS doesn't it? All hell breaks loose and the husband cops it. But seriously, this destructive energy has another side to it. It is about facing truths, eliminating fear, about renewal too. About not pretending. That is how I interpret that energy and whenever I have felt lost, I think of Kaali. She is my one ally.

Lately I have begun to ponder about what religion I would embrace if I had to choose one. But mostly, I have felt a need to adopt some discipline that would help me deal with my horrible temper and to relax. I NEED TO RELAX!!! I think as Daniel Goleman puts it in his book on Social Intelligence: any religion which allows a person to maintain a harmonious mind and harmonious relationships, has health benefits. Forgiving, for example, lowers blood pressure. On the other hand, anger has a worst effect on the immune system than stress does. (I should keep that in mind!!!!) Among other things. Anyway, "Social Intelligence" is an excellent read for anyone interested. It delves into all sorts of scientific evidence, like mirror neurons and their role in empathy. It's wonderful stuff.

Since I've mentioned quite a lot of religions I thought I'd make a special mention about Islam. Some of the most beautiful people I have met have been Muslims. I have been touched so much by their energy that it made me curious years ago. But though I undestood their 5 main rules about living, I never read their text. Last year though, I uploaded a version of the Quran on my mobile phone and I sometimes read it. I think it's simply beautiful and such an intimate, unpretentious address by Allah. I think Islam is a beautiful religion. And save from films like "Kingdom of Heaven", there are few Western films that recognise Islam as what it is and what it was. It is one of the most misunderstood religions and one of most maligned by those who ignore so much of REAL Muslim people. That's right, not those Muslims that are portrayed by Hollywood. REAL Muslims. Incidentally, Senegal is a Muslim country and the people who live there are beautiful.
Sadly, I still have some issues with Islam. But I'm wondering whether those issues are more sociological rather than religious. That is, they differ depending on the country. Things like the intolerance for homosexuality are an issue for me for example.
I could never be Muslim anyway, I love ham too much!!!