Sunday 31 May 2020

Nous vivions là

A pilgrimage to the area where I used to live last century, in the 1990s, rue André del Sarte (Andrea del Sarto, the painter), right side of the bottom of the hill of Montmartre. Seven years there. So close, yet so far away in time. A lot has changed inevitably, and the vibe now is much more gentrified. But the end of the street leads to a totally different quarter where the Black and Arab communities still live. I really loved the mixture.
Now it feels like reading an old book.

Wednesday 27 May 2020

Love HK

A very sad day for Hong Kong.
I'm all with you, my friends.

Tuesday 26 May 2020


Week III at my Julia's place - and today my endeavour was to start cleaning the kitchen...
We were having our customary Friday afternoon tea and cakes with Estelle, another friend who accompanies Julia on the piano when I'm not in Paris. In between two pieces of tart, Julia suddenly went to her library at the back of the living room to search for something. It was the vinyl records she released as Julietta, a young French pop singer in the 60s: a few E.p.'s and one album Chansons et Légendes pour Demain (Songs and Legends for Tomorrow), which was the first science-fiction concept album and included songs penned by none others than French novelist René Barjavel and Jean-Claude Forest, the creator of cult comic Barbarella, who also designed the cover sleeve and the illustration. 
To think that I had known Julia for 24 years now, and that she waited all these years to show me those treasures!!!
And damn, what a beautiful woman she was!

Monday 25 May 2020


Dear Tim Cribb has left us today. I think I still haven't registered the news. We met more than a decade ago, on Lamma Island. A tall, chain-smoking gentleman with a dry sense of humour - I loved it, sharp-minded and always full of ideas. He had been reading my online diary and wanted me to write a book - he had been championing Asian literature for years, as well as being a reporter. Many projects followed but unfortunately never saw the light. The last idea was to make a documentary about me. It was originally meant to be an interview, then he talked turning it into a documentary. We were still discussing the how's and when's earlier this year... 
Tim had been sick these past year. The last time I saw him was in Hanoi, when I came back from the set of The Third Wife. He was lying on a hospital bed, extremely weakened after a series of surgeries. But weak as he was, he hadn't lost his wit. 
How relieved and happy was I when I learned that he was recovering. 
In this case one hopes but one doesn't look. 

And now I shall have this regret not to have met him at least one more time to give him this photo of my bare back and bum that he had been requested for so long!
Goodbye, dear chap. Now it's beginning to dawn on me that you're free at last from all these burdensome health issues and that you're smoking a fine cigarette, with a nice glass of wine, and laughing at how foolish we all are. 
Love you Tim.

Saturday 23 May 2020

Another dream

I had a dream the other day where my brother and I were preparing a coup d'état, but it failed. The reason was that the chocolate cake ended up being too moist and the filling too runny. Evidemment!

Thursday 21 May 2020

I spent the afternoon yesterday with Jan to help him sort out his vast body of work - the lad felt at loss regarding his work, his life, and I thought that going through what he has done and created in the past decade or more would help him gain some perspective, and hopefully, some confidence. The idea was to structure a website for him at the same time. And indeed, Jan seemed to feel refreshed about his own work. "And what you're telling me now only confirms how I was feeling deep inside, but never dared to trust", he said at one point.
Towards the end of the day, I spotted one track that we still hadn't listened to. "Oh that's nothing... nothing much." he said. I insisted that he played it and discovered a beautiful song. Jan was surprised I would pay so much attention to it. And even more surprised, but delighted to give it to me for my new album project Personal Fictions.

Soon, soon, I will begin to give it shape and colours. 

Wednesday 20 May 2020

Jurassic dream

Last night's dream: My friends and I had found shelter in a tall building located somewhere in a big city - Tokyo or New York. It was night time, but the sky was red. The city was dead silent, as if deserted. I knew I was in danger. My friends were trying t sleep in the other rooms when we heard an incredibly loud thump. I looked out at the window and saw gigantic beasts passing by: brontosaurus, stegosaurus, T-rex... But they were very well behaved as they chose to only walk on large roads. Still, didn't feel very reassured... I wonder why...

Sunday 17 May 2020

On the street where they live

I walk on the street and hear the sound of erhu coming from a window... The afternoon is sunny and peaceful. I'm on my way to hunt for food. The only time one is allowed to go out... How lovely the sound... Am I back in Taipei??? Incidentally, I never heard any erhu playing when I walk on the streets of Taipei...

Tuesday 12 May 2020

Rừng: The of memory

Rừng (forest): And idea I have had a month ago... To record my mother. The first session with her took place today. Of course, she was quite unaware of what I was doing, occasionally asking what that little device was, then resuming her talking and getting lost in her stream of alternative memory... this will serve as a base and perhaps the structure for the soundtrack of my second short film. I will do more recordings in the coming days....

C'est fini! (the lockdown) ...

First day of partially lifted lockdown in Paris. What a pleasure to walk 'freely' on the street...
And I have never heard so many birds singing in a very long time. Yay!!!

The return to (conditional) social life will be tricky. After two months of not taking the public transports, a black guy saw me getting on the train and greeted me with a hateful look, then made the devil sign at me. 
Oh now it just struck me... It's because I wore a red mask... and we all know that red is the colour of the devil...

Sunday 10 May 2020

Together again

Dear mother... My first visit after the two-month lockdown. I could have, but did not dare to come spend time with them out of fear of being a healthy virus carrier. 
Being happy to be together again. Only the present moment matters. The rest doesn't have to makes sense.
So my dad gladly took the opportunity to rest and relax in his room while mother and son talked the afternoon away.

Friday 8 May 2020

Ash and Thỏ

I dreamed last night that we were beginning the shooting of Ash Mayfair's new film, and that I was composing the music as she was filming... with a set of yoghurt cups (naturally, what else?) with the help of my stuffed rabbit Thỏ (he exists in real life) who was sitting next to me, commenting and speaking to me in the Huế dialect (that... may not happen in really life, but who knows...?)
Beside that, I think I'm fine...

In Paris

So I went back to Julia's flat today to keep on with the (spring) cleaning. I was happy to see that she was in a much better state than the first time. I brought her some masks and some supplements to boost up her vitality - and naturalmente, a couple of cakes - we love cakes. 
The bike ride back home through a nearly deserted Paris was simply gorgeous - nothing beats a Parisian sunset, and it was simply marvelous to be in motion, to feel one's muscles working. Little things that feel like miracles. 

Thursday 7 May 2020

"L’art est éducatif en tant qu’art, et non en tant qu’art éducatif, car en tant qu’art éducatif, il n’est rien, et le rien ne peut enseigner."

Antonio Gramsci

Wednesday 6 May 2020

(one more) dream that makes sense

... and the second part of my dream involved a few friends of mine - including Dennis, Jan and Thomas, where I was tidying up the house and preparing a cocktail which turned out to be the choreography for a new version of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker commissioned by the Paris Opera House for a group of children (didn't our French President say that artists should spend their summer educate and taking of children?). And that new version of 'Nutcracker' was to have its music replaced by 'Swan Lake'... and the children were to help me by providing electronic elements to the music... 
No, my stuffed rabbit wasn't there, speaking the dialect of Huế, but I think I will not take that dream too literally... 
Other than that, I believe that I could think that I'm fine...

Friday 1 May 2020

Faraway land

I made a dream where I was on a big boat with Captain Harlock and three friends from Vietnam and Taiwan. We were to go home after a mission. But because I didn't know what trousers to wear - the wardrobe kept changing each time I would blink, I suddenly found that I had missed my stop and was now far, far from 'home', reaching a remote Greek island... 

The symbolism isn't too hard to understand...


One thing which is allowed during lockdown is to go help people in need : sick, old or disabled. 
My singing teacher Julia is a 81 year-old lady who's been living all my herself since her second husband left her. All her time and energy since then had been dedicated to her students. With this lockdown, solitude can be lethal to the elderly. Our past conversations on the phone had me deeply worried. Even though she claimed she was more or less managing "Pre-WWII quality" she likes to say, I could barely feel her usual energy. So I decided to come and help. Cleaning, vacuuming her flat (that was badly needed), but most of all, offer her some company, a physical presence in the house, lift up her spirits.
The person who opened the door to me was not the same person I said goodbye to a few hours later and I was relieved to see her come alive again, smile and regain a bit of her former self. (Her two cats were also very glad to see me, and would come meowing at me)
Good state of mind = good health.
Next will be my parents. Why did I wait so long... I guess I wanted to be sure I was in perfectly good health myself. And I surely also needed some time off myself.