Category: "Places"


01:46:35 amCategories: Places, Music, literature, arts...

Slam at Louvre (me in Oslo)

As some might have discovered, I’m not exactly flooding this site with new texts at the moment. That’s because I’m busy writing some other stuff (in fact nothing less than starting on la grande oevure which will be my thesis in due time…), before I’m off for Paris again in a few weeks. Right now, sitting in my green coach, googling for some information for a text I must hand in over the weekend, I wish I were already there. Not because writing this text is so terrible, not at all, but because Toni Morrison has been at Louvre, and last Friday she invited along a number of slam poetry artists to slam about classical French paintings and about being étranger chez soi (translated “a foreigner’s home”).

The free newspaper 20 minutes has published a quite nice photo series of the event.

I found the series here (while searching for Café Culturel in Saint Denis for my text in fact). (Excellent site for finding info on the French slam scene by the way, but I’ve got to get back to my text to be handed in soon, no more getting lost at the web for me…).

Well, just one more remark: The French urban art forms seem finally to get a little bit of highbrow acknowledgement. The day I left Paris, at the 13th of October, Le Grand Palais (Eng.) invited in the street, and dedicated a whole weekend to rappers, skaters, graffiti artists, and yes, slammers: La rue au Grand Palais. – A lot to be said about this, of course, but not now.


I just found out that Mary Stevens has written an interesting post on another event during Toni Morrison’s residency at Louvre in her excellent research blog. Amongst other things, I learnt that it’s not the English title “A Foreigner’s Home” that is a strange translation of the French, it’s the other way around:

From the start, the title chosen by Morrison for her residency caused much debate. In English the title is ‘The Foreigner’s Home’; this has been incompletely rendered in French as the much more limited ‘Etranger chez soi’. The use of the apostrophe makes the English much more interesting: it implies both possession and a temporal relation (’the foreigner has come home’ - and hence is perhaps both foreign and no-longer foreign at the same time). It could also perhaps be read as a comment on the nature of museums, particularly in the post-colonial context. In addition, the English seems to me to place the emphasis on the concept of home, whereas the French stresses the ‘etranger’.


01:21:50 pmCategories: Places, Music, literature, arts...

More poetry

Today I’ve had a quick look at two extremes of the French slam phenomenon. First, I went to an atelier slam in a local activity centre ( Centre d’animation) close to where I lived until August. For two hours every Tuesday, MC Tsunami, the orchestrator of various slam soirées and host of the website, leads a workshop for youth in Eastern Paris. (However, as he told me, and as I could observe myself, most of those coming have strictly speaking passed the age of youth).

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01:07:48 pmCategories: Places, Peculiarities

Saturday food market

See more photos from the local food market here.
It’s around midday a sunny Saturday in October. The terrace of my regular café-cum-office is still in the shadow, so I decided to take a stroll up the food market which is situated in the middle part of the boulevard. I’ve probably written about these foodmarkets before, but I’ll do it again – this time coming straight from Eastern Oslo and I find their abundance even more striking.

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12:16:52 pmCategories: Places, History, Music, literature, arts...


I’ve just been to see the film Indigènes. I don’t cry very often at the cinema, but I must admit that I had problems stopping weeping during the last part. I, and probably the rest of the audience, knew just too well how the film would end and how the story it self would go on for decades afterwards. I saw it on a cinema nearby, with pensioners (white) and local lycéens (of all colours). It shows on 31 cinemas in Paris, with 4-8 screenings each + two in the weekends.

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02:40:07 amCategories: Fieldwork, Places, Spaces

Boulevard phenomenology

Place de Ménilmontant in the autumn (with bikes and cyclists...)

It’s been ages since I’ve been walking down the boulevard, but today I was doing it again. My bike has been stolen! And it was stolen from one of my favourite places, Place de Ménilmontant. Well, such things happen, and anyway it was a too small, but it feels strange that it should happen less than 48 hours before my departure. It’s the third (attempted) crime that happens to me after I came here. First I was robbed for my deposit (1300€!) for a flat that was way too expensive in the first place, then a kid tried to nick my camera during an anti-CPE demonstration (we both looked the same surprised – me because why would someone nick a fellow demonstrator’s camera, him because the camera was attached with a string around my neck so he didn’t get it…) and now my funny little green bike…

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03:16:41 pmCategories: Places


What a drama, and what a deception! People were so eager for a party and it seemed to be so much at stake…

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01:15:16 amCategories: Fieldwork, Places, Spaces, Distinctions

“Elle va se faire draguer”

Every blog post I’ve tried to write on gender strands for some reason or another before they reach the web. The following text was meant to be a simple and silly account of a quick bike trip around Belleville. However, when I let it rest for a moment in order to start sorting out the huge heap of paper – flyers, magazines, newspapers, brochures… -that was threatening to cover more and more of the surface space in my little office-cum-livingroom-cum-kitchen, I came a cross an old article about a café that I had just passed on my trip. This café reached the national media right after the Mohammad caricature affaire because they put up an exhibition with blasphemous caricatures right in the heart of Belleville. Well, the article in itself wasn’t enough to put me off track. It was rather it’s point of view, or framing, that threatened to put my experiences on my little trip in a new light. I started worrying that my silly little text had to become a bit more complicated.

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03:01:21 amCategories: Places, Spaces

From La Sorbonne to Université de Saint-Denis

For those who read French, I can recommend Le Bondy Blog. A couple of journalists from the Swiss magazine L’Hebdo settled in the banlieue Bondy during the November revolts, and stayed there for more than 4 months. Before they left, 8 local youth got training in journalism and took over the blog after the professionals. Every post they write – be it miniskirts or soldiers from the colonies helping out France during the war – initiates a lively debate. I had just read Hanane Kaddour’s very instructive post on how geography determines which university you can apply for when I had the opportunity to have a closer look at 4 different university locales in the Paris area in just a few days.

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