Thursday, 27 September 2012

Almodovar for children.

Anyone with a brain knows the work of film director Pedro Almódovar. Those who don't, fine. Stay in your corner and keep quiet. Anyhow, I watched his latest - at least, I think it's his latest - film last night, La Piel Que Habito, The Skin I Inhabit (for want of a better translation) and I was bowled over by one thing, and one thing only.

That the plot was typical Almódovar didn't surprise me in the least - photogenic cosmetic surgeon Antonio Banderas performs major surgery on his daughter's rapist to recreate his scarred and deceased wife - is par for the course and, most remarkably, appears completely credible after thirty minutes or so. What is extraordinary harks back to a post I published concerning the French film Les Derniers Jours du Monde quite a few months back, now. There, we had cunnilingus, full-frontal nudity, incest and fellatio accompanied by a little green box on the back of the sleeve, stating Tous Publics - All Audiences - basically meaning that your five-year old son can watch with impunity, providing he's already mastered most of the techniques listed above, I suppose. La Piel Que Habito contains the following elements: Full-frontal nudity, rape, sexual intercourse, cunnilingus, torture, group sex and murder. Its rating? You've guessed it: Tous Publics. I really wonder what it takes on this side of the pond to get an 'X'- rating. If anyone knows, drop me a line, 'coz that'll be a film worth seeing…

Get Frisky, Be that Fifty!

OK, I know it was "Be Thrifty, Stick to Fifty", a government-led advertising slogan in the '70's exhorting motorists to reduce their speed in the interest of saving money and petrol during a socialist-induced fuel crisis in my childhood, but that magical, round figure has additional significance in the developed world: it elicits most from highly-placed powers who have, in general, no other interest in your existence other than that engendered by your crossing a chronological rubicon.

I'm talking about being Man + 50th Birthday = Humiliating Medical Tests. Our 'president', a man so insignificant he wasn't even present at the conception of his own children, has deemed it appropriate to write to me, informing me that, as a now fifty-year old legal resident of the cradle of human rights, I need to take advantage of the nation's advanced health programme and have a highly-trained medical professional stick his index finger up my arse. I will then need to pay him, but, apparently, thanks to the wonders of social medicine, I shall be reimbursed to the tune of 100%. This is, of course, absolutely brilliant. Before the arrival of social security, people wishing to avail themselves of this service generally had to pay a lot more and had no guarantee of being reimbursed. No guarantee of their professional just using his finger, either. In a nutshell, this is why France still leads the world. At least in terms of doctors legally violating their patients. Vive la France!

If that's a Farrah Fawcett lookalike, OK. If it's Bjorn Borg, no thanks.


Anyone ever tried it? It's amazing. Still, you need a suitable ailment/neurosis/masochistic desire to have a higly-paid medical professional to stick pins in you before turning this dream into reality but hell, it's worth it. I've been going to mine for about a year, now, and he's completely cleared up my manual exczema (a real downer if you're a pianist) and is now squaring up to take on my nascent osteoarthritis. Yup, that's the joy of being fifty, it's just one frigging party till dawn, I tell you. It's not like I'm even overweight. I'm not, and I will vanquish this problem. He stuck a load of pins in me then hooked them up to an electric stimulator. I wondered, briefly, if he'd studied in Argentina or Chile in the '70's but then realised it didn't hurt. That makes writing a cheque afterwards a lot easier. My knees haven't sounded like small woodland creatures being squashed in a wine press today, either, so I can only assume the first session has already done some good.

Monday, 24 September 2012


I've not posted a picture of a pair of tits for months, but people still make the pilgrimage to FrenchFingers - as they should -in search of those celestial protruberances which illuminate our male days in such a delightful fashion. Ok, if you insist…

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Sleeping Beauty

Got home tonight, only to find our resident tramp asleep in front of his - and his poor neighbour's - door and snoring like a warthog. The police told us to call the ambulance, the town hall mediators said he wasn't creating a disturbance as he was fast asleep and the man from our house management company told me to take a couple of photos, send them to him and he'd do the rest with the owner and the agency that lets the place out to this reinsertion association. He also told me what he'd do if he didn't work for a house management company and had, basically, nothing to lose. I agreed with him.

This is urban France, where rights ride roughshod over responsabilities and are upheld by judges who swan off to leafy suburbs after a hard day's smoking outside the Assize Court. In the meantime, a mere twenty yards away, a complete waster spoils everyday life for a building full of people, some of whom pay his rent and keep him in cigarettes and beer i.e. me. A phrase you'll hear an awful lot in this country is sa juste part - his fair share. No lowlife has any problem with me footing his bills as all I'm doing is paying, yes, ma juste part.

Yes, that's him.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Detox over.

Right, we're half way through September and everyday life is, sadly, starting to poison my existence, again. I spent ten weeks in northern Bavaria without turning the TV on once and only listening to classical musiuc on the radio. I almost managed to keep it going until I got back to France on August 28th, but flirted with French talk radio between Valence and Toulouse that day. When I left Germany, I had a smooth, relaxed complexion. Within twenty-four hours of arriving in France I had crows' feet and bags under my eyes you could carry the shopping home in. I'm blaming no-one for this except myself, I'm not a victim and certainly don't subscribe to that mentality but still haven't quite managed to continue to surf nirvana whilst going about my everyday tasks of breadwinning, being a good father to the Fingernails and lusting after Mrs. F's exceptional body.

Unless I tap into The Eternal Truth, this state of affairs will continue until April, when I go back to Santiago de Chile and revel in the glory of my circumstances over there. Then it's back to France for a couple of weeks before heading back off to Franconia and Wagnerland for three months.

All this begs the question: How can you continue to live when all you do is run away? Yup, it's a damned good question, and one which Mrs. F and I are currently working on. We'll be putting our place on the market in the next couple of weeks or so. There's a good reason for this: we want to live somewhere else. OK, sounds simplistic, and it is. We want to trade our 80 sqm without any balcony, charm, greenery etc for something better. Seeing as we're in a coverted neighbourhood that shouldn't be too tricky, but you never know. With two medium-sized children (fuck, and I'd got used to writing 'small') we need a bit of greenery and a bit more room to get away from them for a little while. They'll appreciate it, too; I don't think they like us that much anymore, anyway.

I don't want to get back onto my old warhorse, that French urban planning ranks alongside 'Taliban Democracy' as one of the most redundant phrases every conceived in a language recognisable as English, but that's the truth of the matter. I don't ask for sympathy (wouldn't get any, anyway), just for any info you may have regarding public transport and schools in our area. Just in case there's something I've missed.

Sunday, 2 September 2012


Ever been faced with a situation you can't solve on your own? Ever been confronted with a scenario which has no logical beginning, middle or end? Ever felt completely powerless to address the elephant in the room? Ever felt that you're just treading existential water and that life is something that other people benefir from? Ever had the feeling that nothing has moved in a positive direction for the last, say, five years? If so, then at least I'm not alone. Discretion prevents me from expanding on any of this, but I just felt like committing a general malaise to 'paper'. Carry on; as you were…