Wednesday, 26 August 2020

A couple of weeks ago, I went to one of the very last foundries in Taipei to design my first business card. I never had any, and would usually scribble my contact on a torn piece of paper! Not very business-like I guess... It was Thierry's idea to go to that shop, as he had previously had his name cards printed there several tims. "A tad more expensive, but the result is really worth it" he said. It was amazing to find myself in this environment... Indeed, I could as well have it done on the computer and it would be much cheaper. But the quality and craftsmanship can't be matched. And this taste of the 'real thing'. 

To think they used to print newspapers that way every day in the old time!

Today, I received through Thierry the quote for those business cards, and I think that I am going to reply with a resounding NO! 6,000 NTD. That's perhaps too much of a rip-off for a struggling composer such as I, especially when we know that at best those cards take the dust on a desk, or that people throw the them in the bin once they get home... There's always the other possibility to design them on a computer and have them printed for a very cheap sum, especially in Taiwan. 
Another one of those hipster things.
Then tea master Sarah Wu asked me why I didn't ask her father to do it. I had completely forgotten that her father was running a foundry as well. "1500 for 200 pieces" she said. Indeed... That's cheaper. Thierry wanted to write to the foundry to find out what made the price rocket up like that. "Perhaps for the simple reason that I'm a foreigner" I replied. 
Anyway, now may not be the best time for those things, since I have no money left, but I will certainly think of it again when times get more prosperous.

So much for the hipster rip-off!


Saturday, 15 August 2020

William encore et toujours

The birthday of William today. Someone very special to me. It's a tale of wonder how certain people appear in one's life. The tale follows its own trajectory, reveals so much about us, about what can be, could have been, what sometime will never be except in one's imagination or fantasy, but I thank the universe that it is never dull.

This photo was taken during the shooting of They Lie. I asked William to be in the music video, as I like to include in my work people who are dear to me, important in that moment life, sometime for a longer time. I like the idea of them being part of my creative path, where they can exist without physical or emotional limit.

Bon anniversaire, mon bel amour, ma déchirure.

Wednesday, 5 August 2020


Jan and I have been friends for 33 years now. And we started of as penfriends - And letters we certainly did write! I fondly remember how my enthusiasm at having such a receptive friend would compell me to up to five or 6six letters a week, sometime even twice a day! 

So it is as a nice little nod to those youthful years that he sent me a postcard (for my fiftieth birthday). Thank you Jan!


Ever since my childhood, the name of Beirut has more often been linked to images of war, terrorist attacks, bombing and devastation. And it's even more devastating to see that it goes on now, more than thirty years later. The once beautiful city has been hit once again and this time, the blast of the two explosions could be felt up to 80 km away from the city. 

What can one do... The state of people's life was already overwhelmingly distressing, between the pandemic, the civil outbreaks and the corrupted government.  

I don't have friends there, but I strongly feel for everyone.

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Nói chuyện với ba

A long call to my parents yesterday. My mother makes less and less sense. She was happy to talk, albeit in her own fragmented world. During the course of the day, she goes back at various moments of her life. When evening comes, she is a 12 year old girl again. However, she still can reply as 'mother' although I wonder what it means in her head... But she sounded gay and spirited.
The surprise came with my father who, for the first time, seemed to enjoy a conversation on the phone - he tends to make it the shortest possible. After the usual exchange about health, mother's condition, the rain in Spain, incompetent governments etc..., my father began sharing about his life as a composer, how in time of hardship he had to accept jobs that were deemed unworthy for a composer by his peers. "But I never felt being a copist was below me", he went on. Fellow composers who talked about him as "their copist", since he worked for their (and his) publisher and had to do the copying chore for them. 
"I've been offered teaching positions in composition, but I declined" he said. "How can one teach composition nowadays? I'd understand if we lived in the 19th century, but now the conservatories offer all one needs to know: music theory, music analysis, harmony, orchestration..." Pause.
"My teachers, Jolivet or Rivier didn't teach me composition. They only made suggestions, they showed me possible paths to go." He paused again. "Composing comes from within..." 
"And it's connected to one's life and experience" I added tentatively.
"Exactly!" exclaimed my father. "I see so many brilliant composers. But if their technique is impeccable, I find it empty inside. And that cannot be taught..."
It was nearly two o'clock in the morning, I was falling asleep on the phone, but felt glad to have this connection. When I'm visiting them, my father really enjoys our conversations during lunchtime, teatime or dinner time. I know opportunities to talk and discuss about matters that interest him are now rare. His friends have been passing away one by one. The remaining ones are too old to go anywhere. Companionship comes from my mother who remembers less and less...
"It's my father, your grandfather, who told those simple thing on his deathbed: what really matters comes from the heart... I tried to live my life and make that the most natural thing" he continued.
"That's what you taught me too." I said. "Connection with others, friends or people we don't know."
"Not something that feels natural" my father added. "Many people do good deeds for how it is perceived by others"
I was very happy to have that moment with my father. He seemed equally happy to have spent that time talking with me. 

Monday, 3 August 2020


We were living under martial law somewhere in Asia. Every word, every move had to be validated by a committee.

I was to serve the military again, and waiting for my fate in a large hall with other people, among them Serge Gainsbourg. I had to present my songs. I showed them a dead chicken - a song is a dead chicken in that world... But the dead chicken I displayed didn't pass the commission, so I returned to my table - we were all sitting at vintage schooltables.

Serge Gainsbourg's chicken wasn't more successful either. His was deemed too disco a dead chicken.

Then one of my comrades said to me: "We should have sex in front of the committee and when I'm about to get into you, you turn on the big white light!"
Where that idea came from, I don't know, but I looked at Margaret Thatcher who was sitting on the stage, deep in a conversation with her peers and shook my head. "Will not do..."

As I would wake up and fall asleep again, more elements added to the dream, and made it harder to remember. I just know that eventually, we were doing Chinese calligraphy, and that too turned into dead chickens.  

Oh yes, I watched Barking dogs never bite yesterday, that might explain...