Last year, I took part in a great experience, because I sung at the Opera Bastille , the Opera Werther by Massenet.
This opera was inspired by Goethe’s book The Sorrows of Young Werther, written in 1774. This book tells the story of a young romantic hero who falls in love with Charlotte who is unfortunately already married to a man who is eleven years her senior . She has many little brothers and sisters, and she teaches them how to sing a Christmas song .
In the end, Werther commits suicide, and when he is dying in Charlotte’s arms, we can hear the children sing the canticle in the wings. It is very tragic and sad; the contrast is very strong especially because the lyrics are very repetitive, the choir sings most of the time “Noël ! Noël ! Noël ! Noël ! Noël !” whereas Werther is telling Charlotte how much he has loved her since the first time he saw her.
Final act: Werther dies in Charlotte’s arms
I was in the choir and this experience was really incredible. Indeed, we worked with amazing artists who are known from all over the world and it taught us how to be professionnal and to be able to face any situations.
During a representation, we were live at the radio and we had to be extremely quiet. Sometimes it was very stressful, especially when the highmaster of the Paris Opera came to see us.
We were speaking English most of the time because the conductor was an Italian, Giacomo Sagripanti, Werther was performed by an Austrian, Piotr Beczala, Elīna Garanča as Charlotte, was Latvian and all the rest was French ! It is during these kinds of experience that you can understand music is an universal language.
I take part in those productions thanks to my choir, the Maitrise des Hauts de Seine, which is also the children’s choir of the Paris Opera. Each year we can sing in amazing productions: I already did the Nutcracker, the third symphony of Malher ( they were both at the Opera Bastille) and a prologue to Cosi Fan Tutte called Cosi Fanciulli in the Champs Elysées theater ( I would say that it is my favorite production because I met really good friends and the conductor was really friendly).
This is my fifth year in this choir, and I can’t wait to see what I will do this year.
In a few months, the presidential election will happen in France. This is the subject I want to talk about.
For now, there are 104 candidatures. This is huge. Actually, most of them present themselves in order to fight the extremist right wing (Marine Le Pen ).
In France, a lot of people are either afraid of the terrorist attacks or they just can’t bear the French government anymore. They want things to change. Moreover, it is a bit complicated because there are a lot of candidatures and people are lost in all of that : from now on we don’t know who will be candidate neither for the left nor for the right.
At the end of November, the primaries will occur. This is an election that concerns the right and the center only. It is to decide who will represent this political party. Everybody can vote, this is not only for the partisans of this group. To vote, you must just be 18 on the day of the presidential election on 23rd April 2017 – you don’t have to be 18 in November 2016 when the primaries happen – and you shall pay 2€. However, the left also wants to organize primaries but for now they don’t have enough money to do it and the current president doesn’t want to participate in it and he probably will organize his own primaries with only the government members.
Furthermore, our two last presidents (Nicholas Sarkozy and François Hollande) are candidates, again. Though François Hollande’s candidature is not official yet.
As I said before, it’s not sure for them because they have to wait for the primaries (especially for N.Sarkozy). At the right, Sarkozy and Alain Juppé are really close, actually Juppé is on top of the surveys. Two women are running for the primaries: Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet and Nadine Morano but their poll ratiings are at an all-time low in the surveys because sometimes their opinions are too close to the FN’s (it is the extremist right).
Here it ends. The fourth generation of ephemeral journalists has to hand down the pen – or rather the keyboard – to the next students.
We are glad to have made you discover our ideas and thoughts, not only about the burning issues of our contemporary society but also about our sensitivity.
Hence we wanted to thank you for the time and attention given to the reading of our articles.
We hope you will follow the continuation of this blog with new people.
TL spé 2015-2016
I hope you found out what I was going to talk about at the beginning of my second part of my article : Economy ! Obviously, it’s linked with our everyday lives.
Chapter three is named Economy but it is linked with Democracy which is chapter 4.
The chapter opens by telling us that what we ought to do is to take care of the economic system but with regards to ecology.
This chapter mainly deals with local currencies which help the resiliency of a country.For example in Bâle, Switzerland, a complementary currency has been created only for SMB ( small and medium size businesses, PME in France) without interest rates so that they can work together easily.
The movie denounces the fact that the society follows the lobby of the great compagnies which pay less taxes.
The movie is then set in Reykjavik where some revolts took place in 2010. People said that capitalism destroyed everything and the economic aspect of a country. Thus, they wanted the government to resign.On 26th January 2010, the government resigned and a movement was created so the situation could never happen again. 25 persons created a new constitution to introduce transparence in politics. Moreover, the power of banks was supervised by the citizens. But, unfortunately, the Parliament blocked the text and by doing this, they went against the will of the nation. Today, hardly anything is remembered about this event in Iceland.
Besides, some other projects work like in Kuthambakkam, India where a mini local government was created and where the priorities of the nation are heard. There is a mini school where every child of the village goes. There, the main project is to restore the slums. This project is also working as 150 houses were built within few months. This is a very optimistic result.
Mélanie Laurent and Cyril Dion (the directors)
Finally, the fifth chapter deals with Education all around the world but the directors go to Finland where the educative system is known to be one of the best in the world thanks to certain teaching skills.
They go to a specific city named Espoo where there is no comparison and no competition between different schools.
The main point in their system is the equality between teachers and students. They are always on an equal footing.
There are several methods : the main one is the communication between a student and a teacher so that the student feels fine and listened to. As each student is different, they take into account their differences.
Furthermore, in Finland, the educative system is not linked with politics. The real aim of school is to prepare pupils for their lives. They are taught about how to cook, how to deal with metals. These are useful practical skills.
The movie ends with a reminder that it is NOT too late but we have to act at our own scale to create a better world and to preserve the resources we have today.
To conclude, this movie is really optimistic about the world. Personally, it taught me that the pessimistic vision the news and the television give us is not that true given that they only talk about issues but not solutions.
The movie is still in theaters but you can also buy the DVD if you want to as it will be in stores around 15th June 2016. What is more, you can also find the book whose title is Demain: Un nouveau monde en marche. This book is what gave them the idea of doing a movie so it can be very thought-provoking to learn how the idea came in their minds.
Born Lucien Ginsburg on 2nd April 1928 with his twin sister Liliane, he is a shy and self-conscious child. Soon, he began practicing classic piano, then jazz, like his father. His parent emigrated from Ukraine during the Russian revolution and went to Paris. World War II began when Ginsbourg was 11 years old, and he spent his early teens in Paris during the German occupation. A 1942 law required Jews to wear yellow stars with the word “Jew” written on them, an experience that hurt and scarred him. “It was like you were a bull, branded with a red-hot iron,” he said. Soon, an 8 p.m. curfew for Jews made it impossible for Joseph Ginsburg to work in nightclubs, so he sneaked away illegally to Limoges in southern France, where he found work with an orchestra and quietly sent money home. A year and a half later the rest of the family, using false identification, traveled to Limoges to join him. Limoges was not directly occupied by Germany but controlled by the French government based in Vichy, so it was slightly less dangerous for Jews, though not safe.
When Paris was liberated in 1944, the family returned home. he studied very shortly at Condorcet before being expelled. Artist in his soul, he entered Les Beaux Arts, prestigious art school in Paris, to become a painter. He was inspired by everything he saw but never satisfied with his work. Two years later he also enrolled in a music school while continuing his art studies. He started dating Elisabeth Levitsky, a part-time model, and she began supporting him financially.
While Ginsbourg spent a year in the military (military service was obligatory for all the French men), he developed a drinking habit that stuck with him the rest of his life. In 1951 he and Levitsky married. Performing in nightclubs to earn money, Ginsbourg attracted a lot of female attention, and his womanizing caused Elizabeth to divorce him in 1957. He began performing at Milord L’Arsouille nightclub and met two people who became crucial for his career : Michèle Arnaud, a popular singer and Boris Vian a famous novelist and composer of humorous songs. Meanwhile, he decided to change his name Lucien for Serge because he thought it was a loser name and that Serge was better for the Russian sonorities and Ginsburg became Gainsbourg to match the British famous painter Gainsborough.
His talent spread and he signed to the Philips record label, which he will never leave. In 1958, he recorded Du chant à la une! album which was very cynical, especially toward women. He did not sell that much but Boris Vian wrote a dithyrambic article about his songs and Gainsbourg won the grand prize of L’Académie Charles Cros, a songwriting award. “Le Poinçonneur des Lilas” (The Ticket-Puncher), became one of the most famous of his songs with “Les Amour Perdues” (The Lost Loves) sang by famous French singer Juliette Gréco. His 1961 album, L’Étonnant Serge Gainsbourg (The Astonishing Serge Gainsbourg), made his literary influences clear; one song, “La Chanson De Prévert,” paid tribute to the French poet Jacques Prévert. Gainsbourg recorded a few songs mocking yé-yé fans and defied the trends by recording the experimental Gainsbourg Percussions , influenced by African and Caribbean percussion styles.
Later, determined to write a hit song, he began writing for 16-year-old yé-yé star France Gall, including the hit “Les Sucettes” (Lollipops) and “Poupée de cire, poupée de son” (Wax Doll, Singing Doll), which won the Eurovision song contest in 1965. Soon, Gainsbourg’s songs were more popular than ever among female French singers, and he spent the next two years focusing on his songwriting, for women particularly.
Gainsbourg married his second wife, Béatrice, (Françoise-Antoinette Pancrazzi) in early 1964. They soon had a daughter, Natacha. The marriage was doomed from the start, because she was extremely possessive, jealous of his singer friends and his fans, who were in majority women. They divorced two years later, then reunited temporarily in 1967 and had another child, Paul, born in 1968.
Serge left Beatrice and fell in love with one of France’s most beautiful and most famous actresses, Brigitte Bardot. The problem was that she was already married so they lived their passion more or less discreetly. The most famous moment of their relationship is when she asked him to write the most beautiful love song in the world. “Je t’aime… moi non plus” (I love you… me neither) is created but not released because Bardot asked Gainsbourg not to, to respect her husband. So he didn’t. But plenty of others were, like “Comic Strip”, “Bonnie and Clyde” or “Harley Davidson” in a particular style, well written and embellished by sound effects.
The thing is that Gainsbourg was not a conventional beauty. In fact he was seen as ugly and called himself “l’Homme à la tête de chou” (the man with the cabbage head i.e with Dumbo ears as the expression goes in English) and even wrote a song about it. Besides, he was with the most beautiful women. Bardot returned to her husband and Gainsbourg found a 22-year-old British girl: Jane Birkin. They met while acting in Slogan, he seduced her by taking her out in Paris in every place he knew. Later, he made her sing “Je t’aime… moi non plus”, her childish voice and the sensual melody made The Vatican call the song obscene and the BBC banned it, but it hit the top of the British single charts anyway, Gainsbourg’s only hit outside France. It sold 6 million copies worldwide.
Birkin and Gainsbourg became an iconic couple in England and in France. They stayed together more than a decade and had a daughter: Charlotte. Serge wrote the Histoire de Melody Nelson (The Story of Melody Nelson), this album was judged as a masterpiece because a very emotional and sensitive story of an old man falling in love with a 15-year-old girl. In 1973, Gainsbourg had a heart attack which slowed him a bit but he enjoyed the “Je t’aime… Moi non plus scandal” and wrote Rock around the bunker, an album about Hitler, yellow stars and Nazi in an American rock style. He wanted to shock by the themes he wrote about and of course he succeeded. In 1978, Gainsbourg wrote a reggae album Aux Armes Et Caetera in Jamaica with Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare. The remake of the French National Anthem “La Marseillaise” was really badly received by the audience. It was even worse than the Sex Pistols’ “God Save The Queen”. His concerts were threatened by bomb attacks from the extreme right. Le Figaro (French journal) said that his French nationality should be revoked. During one of his concerts, paratroopers were present and threatened to stop the show if necessary: Gainsbourg sang his remix of the National Anthem along with a rude hand gesture.
His life turned tragic, so did his image. From Gainsbourg to Gainsbarre, he left his proud figure for a drunk, rude and devastated one. Birkin left him and he began drinking outrageously. They remained friends and he continued writing songs for her albums. Later, Gainsbarre started a new relationship with Caroline Von Paulus, known as Bambou and had a son, Lucien in 1986.
He began writing about his alter-ego, describing him as a drunk and leading him into darkness. His songs were stained by too much alcohol and Gitanes. He also wrote about THE taboo : “Lemon Incest”, sung with his daughter Charlotte, is about them lying in a bed. Charlotte For Ever is a movie he wrote for her to pay tribute to her young talent of actress. He endured heart problems and a liver operation before dying on March 2, 1991, of a heart attack at his apartment in Paris. The whole country mourned and French president François Mitterand said that “through his love for the language and his musical genius, he lifted the song to the level of an art”
Gainsbourg was burried at Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris. His notoriety is still growing and his fans keep visiting his grave and house in Paris.
Gainsbourg, vie héroique (2010), ELMOSNINO Eric
Gainsbourg burning 500 Francs to protest against high taxes:
Demain is a movie which is a kind of documentary. Mélanie Laurent and Cyril Dion are the directors. It’s a documentary about our world and the solutions found in different countries to make it better. Mélanie and Cyril are travelling all around the world to find solutions applied in many countries.
The beginning of the movie set a frightening situation of the world we are living in. A study is mentioned, saying that a part of the population could disappear because of a lack of water and food. It says that WE are currently in THE critical moment.
Rob Hopkins, a teacher in permaculture, raises a paradox: in movies, we have the ability to imagine the worst but not the ability to create and make a movie about what we could do to improve the world. For example, there is no movie that tackles the problem of gas emission.
The movie is divided in five chapters. The first one is agriculture. Indeed, food is crucial given that we need food to live.
The two directors are going to Detroit where the agricultural system collapsed. The number of inhabitants went from 2 million to 700 000, but the ones who stayed remain strong and an association named “Keep Growing Detroit” has been created. The aim of this association is to help people grow veggies and fruit that they can sell to the inhabitants of Detroit only. It’s like a little market. The aim of this is to feed half of the population. Thus, the idea is to start at a small-scale and then create enthusiasm so that people can join the movement.
Then, they go to another town : Todmorden in the United Kingdom. This city is the first to have created a community experience which spread to the whole world. The idea is that there are some vegetable gardens everywhere in the streets of the city in some unexpected places like on the verges of the road. Indeed, everyone can take what they want and it’s free. These gardens are cultivated by volunteers. Every vacant land is now used for this purpose. This new concept changed the way of life of the inhabitants.
This idea is opposed to the industrial culture which is not able to produce without destroying nature.
Afterwards, they go back to France, in Normandy to meet two farmers Hervé Gruyer and his wife : they are building a ‘productive farm’. The idea is to use innovative tools and methods to have more yield and to respect the soil. For example, they grow tomatoes and basil together because the basil keeps away parasites which want to eat tomatoes. It creates an eco-system : each plant plays several roles.
This is the end of chapter one which is very optimistic because we see that there are solutions to avoid GMOs and fertilisers, and that way plants can grow naturally and it’s better for the environment and for us.
Chapter two focuses on Energy.
It is said that everything relies on water and the climate change alters the hydrologic cycle.
They go to Danemark, in Copenhagen where coal factories are transformed into biomass factories. That way, they hope that Copenhagen will be autonomous in energy within 10 years and that in 2050, the whole country will be able to be autonomous.
They are inspired by Iceland where the bet is won : this country is no longer using fossil fuels.
Here’s another encouraging figure : in Reunion : 35% of the energy is produced by renewable energies. This is marvelous for the economy too as these renewable energies are free. Indeed, there is no cost.
Here, the movies denounces the worthlessness of some objects such as the new billboards we have in the subway, in Paris. It also exposes the use of cars. For example, still in Copenhagen, 67% of the population does not use a car and cars using petrol will be replaced by cars which will be able to stock the solar energy.
Then, we see another city : San Francisco where a law says that people MUST recycle. Otherwise, they can pay more taxes that others. As a result, 80% of the population recycle. These people see their bills reduced depending on how much they recycle. Indeed, the compost is something paramount because 300 cities in the USA are doing it. This idea is that everything that belonged to the earth goes back to the earth.
The third chapter is linked with something we use everyday, something that structures our world but could be improved. As this article will be written in two parts, I let you guess the next chapter of the movie …
Did you remember the causes of the 2008’s economic crisis? When banks in the US developed a kind of credit bubble which burst afterwards? Yes you do and also you remember that this bubble provoked the fall of Lehman Brothers and made the worldwide economy sluggish. Today, although we still feel some remnants of this crisis in our everyday life, the USA and Canada have managed to stand back on their feet and make the economy run again. They are followed closely by Europe, Russia and the whole Asian area, but the United States remain first in the race of superpowers. However, figures and economists suggest that China or India will someday and somehow overtake the United States. As things stand, the idea seems really questionable because a crisis is looming in China which may highly threaten the exchanges in the world.
Albeit China is no longer the Workshop of the world but the second world power, the socialist economy is doing very poorly. As China only gets between 6 and 7% of GDP growth, the whole country has to tackle a huge crisis.
In a way, the recession is provoked by the socialist economy. In China, the legacy of Mao Zedong is still palpable. Though the private sector highly participates in the increase of the country, China has kept its bad habits of nationalizing the biggest companies in the country. Because of the nationalization, if the company collapses, it is the role of the state to bail it out. In 2004, almost 80% of the companies were under the yoke of China’s Communist Party. Today, at least 500 companies are owned and ruled by the state such as the oil companies PETROCHINA or SINOPEC and CNOOC, also in the transport sector with CHINA RAILWAY GROUP. Allegedly, the biggest companies owned by the states are comparable to the ones of any capitalist government in the world which contributes to making the country richer and the growth increase. However, in comparison to European or American private companies in the same fields of action, China is in charge and responsible for their failure or their success. For instance EXXON MOBIL in the US or TOTAL in France, which are private societies, are totally autonomous. Those private companies just have to represent their country’s best interests but are not indebted to the state.
Therefore, when FORTUNE GLOBAL 500 published for the year of 2015 the top 500 companies in the world and put 106 China’s companies in it it was not such a blessing for the country. The more the companies are powerful and internationally recognized, the more the state has to be responsible because it is in charge of it.
Moreover, while there are powerful and worldwide companies in the country, China also hosts some “walking dead” companies as well as ghost cities which are totally empty of life and inhabitants who leave their houses and their land to anyone who can bail them out. The Middle Kingdom Empire also teems with ghost companies which are owned by the state and have instalments at the end of the month imposed by the communist government. The companies are suffocating because of the debt they owe the state. Therefore, the state, which is in charge of the companies, has to invest money and inflates the debt again.
On the whole, we can wonder if the Chinese communist’s government is heading the right way. Despite the 7% growth of the GDP each year, the current situation exposes the failure of the system. With all the investment of foreign countries in China, we can also wonder if a second subprime crisis is not looming there. But this time we can not imagine the repercussions of such a crisis in our already indebted world.