Monday, 29 August 2016

I'm gathering all the light and healing atoms around me for Tim Cribb's recovery. He is currently in a seriously critical condition and need all the good and positive vibes possible.

A few last photos with - of, my parents before I leave Paris (again) - before I come back (again).
Taipei, then Saigon... then where else...?

Sunday, 28 August 2016

As we were about to leave my parents' home, after a final joyful dinner together with them, my brother, his wife and my dear nephew Vũ An before my departure...

My nephew: I will miss you very much, Bác An (Uncle An).

Me: I will miss you too, Vũ An 

My nephew: (showing me his stuffed rabbit Lapin) And Lapin will miss you too. 

Me: I will miss Lapin a lot as well! (heart melting)

Saturday, 20 August 2016

2:00 a.m.: Battle of noise: on this side of the street, some classical music lovers play Rossini's William Tell overture at full volume, on the other side, others play Prince, also at full volume... Who's going to win? 

Nos après-midis du vendredi

Another one of those Friday musical afternoon with Julia and Isabelle. I play the piano, they sing, in duo, and also in trio - sometime... Bach, Fauré, Mozart, Granados, Vivaldi, Brahms, Handel, Mendelssohn, Grieg, Turina, Strauss...
And we've been doing that for so many years - ever since I met Julia, actually. And I will always make time each time I'm in Paris to see Julia on Fridays.
Having Isabelle is a luxury. Her luminous soprano voice is pure enchantment.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016


 As I was about to get off the metro, I saw a man opening the first pages of a book, a worn copy of Bulgakov's Master and Margherita. One of my all time favourite novels.
"You'll have a great tune reading this book" I said.
The man looked up from where he was sitting, probably surprised that a total stranger would address him.
"I said, you will enjoy youself with this book. It's a really great novel!"
The mean stood up. Tall, in his late forties, tired looking or worn out by life, with longm greyish hair and a baseball cap on his head. He got off the train with me.
"I just found this book" he said, with an accent I couldn't immediately place.
"That's my favourite novel" I went on.
He smiled again, his eyes glimmering with pride. "It's a Russian novel... I'm Russian." He showed me the other book he had in his beg: Emmanuel Carrère's Limonov. Our short exchange ended. We had to take different directions. He stopped, glanced warmly at me and extended his hand. A friendly and firm grip.

"Yes, Master and Margherita is my favourite novel" I thought to myself, as I was walking in the long metro corridors.  

Sunday, 14 August 2016

I made that very nice dream last night where I was playing the piano with Gus Van Sant. We were improvising (something wildly chromatic I wouldn't be able to replicate once awake) and he was humming a strange melody for his new film.

I like those dreams...

Thursday, 11 August 2016

I took my mother to Normandy for a couple of days. My brother's friend Sybille has a countryside house there and I thought a bowl of fresh air and change of scenery would be beneficial to my mother - we thought that my father would also come but understood that he would enjoy a much-needed little break just by himself. My brother had already been spending some time there with Mathilde and their son.
We ordered a taxi to drive us to the Gare Saint-Lazare train station. My mother has barely gone to Paris in the past few years, except for the occasional lunch or dinner in the 13th arrondissement's Chinatown.
"Oh! Jardin des Plantes! Rue de Rivoli! The Louvres! ..." My mother still could recognise those Parisian landmarks. She was as excited as as little child. "It has changed so much... I remember when..."

The journey to Normandy was smooth. Conversation was in a loop: Where was father? Where did we go? Where was home? Finally we reached our destination, a small town in Normandy where my brother was supposed to pick us up. A little visit to watch Vũ An riding a poney, then back to the house where we rested and prepared dinner. My mother played football with her grandson, we played cards and other games, we read stories for him, had long walks in the area. The landscape, if not strikingly beautiful was very calming and peaceful. 
I don't know whether we will have other opportunities to go out of Paris like this again.
My mother kept asking about father. She now barely spends any time without him. Being in a strange house, out of her familiarity must have caused some disturbances. Nevertheless she seemed happy to be with her two sons and enjoy extended time with her grandson.
To me, that is priceless.


Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Waltzing back in time...

An afternoon stroll at the Jardin du Luxembourg. The month of August in Paris is particularly delicious for whoever stays in the capital, as most Parisians have left town for their summer holiday. 
The afternoon was already quite advanced - five o'clock, the light is at its most beautiful. My ears caught the sound of music playing from the other side of the garden. I slowly walked towards it - it came from a gazebo where I could distinguish silhouettes of people dancing. The music playing was a waltz. Waldteufel, perhaps... As I came closer to the gazebo, I realised the people, especially the women were all clothed in the 1900 style. The gentlemen didn't all make the effort...It was so delightful to watch. For a moment, the 21st century vanished and I was transported to a scene from a Jean Renoir film.        

Sunday, 7 August 2016

The neighbours upstairs seem to be passionately in love... It's a concerto for two shaggers every night. And blimey, does the lady have some pipe... Die Königin der Nacht...

Friday, 5 August 2016

A very pleasant evening with my dear friend Alo Paistik, that I like to dub my 'blond Viking god' - to his greatest embarrassment. He is to begin a new PhD in Berlin about some obscure documentary filmmaker (obscure to me, that is). The everlasting student - I don't know how many he will do in his life... über-brainy he is, but also excellent and handsome company!
The deadly combination.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Last night again the neighbours were making love, violently, happily, noisily... Their moaning was echoing throughout the whole street!

Un grand moment de solitude...

Monday, 1 August 2016

Summer in Paris

Ulysses and I just finished our first song together, entitled Summer in Paris... Actually, no, those are the opening words, the real title being Sacred Paper, which I never seem to register. It started with Ulysses scribbling down a text, then asking me to improvise something on the piano. Within thirty minutes, we came up with sufficient material for a song. I wrote down the musical sketches I had done and handed him the sheets. The next two days were spent trying out various combinations until Ulysses was satisfied. He was very excited about writing a song and wrote down the final version for the music score, a full day in front of his computer trying to figure out how to use a software. He is so excited about the process that he is already developing ideas for a second song. Just a few more days before he goes on holiday in Savoy to spend the month with Benoit and his family... Time is running out!

I have enjoyed every single minute spent in Paris. Three weeks have passed now, true, enjoyable and relaxing holiday for me. I see my parents every other day - at least I try to keep the rhythm. My mother is well. The Alzheimer's disease hasn't progressed too much. Her conversation can get stuck in a loop...