December 27, 2011

Cardialement: Overheard in Neukölln

"Tous ces gens qui se bourrent la gueule au réveillon, tu commences l'année avec la gueule de bois...
Genre pourquoi, en fait? - Ouais..."

[ Bonus sonore ]

And that's the final post for this year. 2012 brings much new stuff, both in the realm of comics and in other areas, and there will be more on that once I get back on track in Berlin a little bit (since I am writing this in the past -- I'm actually probably loafing around on a Swedish couch somewhere, and I mean a real Swedish couch in Sweden, not in some 3-bedroom in Prenzlauer Berg). New posts will resume Jan. 10.
Et voilà le dernier post de l'année. 2012 apporte bien de nouvelles choses, à la fois en termes de BD et dans d'autres domaines, et j'en parlerai davantage une fois que j'aurai repris pied à Berlin (parce que là en fait je vous écris du passé et que je suis certainement en train de m'avachir quelque part sur un canapé suédois, genre de ceux qui sont suédois et en Suède, pas dans un T3 à Prenzlauer Berg). Ce qui suit ne sera pas traduit, donc je vous souhaite à tous une joyeuse année, chers francophones, et ne vous bourrez pas trop la gueule, pliz. Les posts reprennent le 10 janvier!

Since 2011 is drawing to a close, I figured I'd add my little summary of my year in music to the festivities, roughly cut, pasted and added onto from my yearly newsletter to my relatives. Here goes.

Darren Hayes - Secret Codes & Battleships

People who follow me on the internet (and who share an apartment with me) have inevitably been made aware of a couple of my aural obsessions, one of which is Darren Hayes. I was actually already once strongly obsessed with him as a preteen until I started having crushes on people I knew in real life. While working on my internship semester and master's thesis in 2010 I happened across his post-Savage Garden solo work, which in the case of Spin was not much to write home about -- but then there was 2004's The Tension And The Spark, which over a few weeks effectively won me over, and hard. In between The Tension... and this year's Secret Codes & Battleships there was This Delicate Thing We've Made, which is a double album of electropoppish awesomeness, quite a deal to swallow in the first few sittings but as of late a regular fixture in my white boombox and one of the albums I would take with me on a desert island. The main attraction of Secret Codes... -- a concise pop album dipping relational thoughts in seafaring imagery -- is of course the eurodisco "Talk Talk Talk" (I cannot tell you how many times I've listened to this), but I have a special preference for the penultimate track "Cruel Cruel World". Sometimes I think that Darren Hayes gets me, which is probably the reason I adhered to his music in the first place.

Key tracks: Talk Talk Talk, Explode (limited edition bonus track)

Men - Talk About Body

Anything JD Samson writes is pretty much guaranteed to both sound good and make me want to go pogo at a Gay Pride event in a Revel & Riot shirt. Basically, before this came out, I knew her previous outfit Le Tigre were good, and I knew the 3-track MEN EP running around the office at my internship was definitely more than cause for excitement. But I didn't expect the full-length album I bought at Santa Cruz's Streetlight Records last June to be this good. It has since replaced the self-titled Le Tigre album as my queer electro party album of choice (I only have two of these) and is guaranteed to have me boogie when I really ought to be doing my stretching exercises instead.

Key track: Simultaneously

Boy - Mutual Friends 

I was sitting in my good friend's WG kitchen on Mehringdamm one evening and was totally unprepared for this music, which she so kindly put on to share with us. (This also sealed my transition to Grooveshark after weeks of griping about Simfy's ads). These girls are from Zürich and Hamburg, and apart from writing melodies set to productions that can make me cry, their lyrics are so good it’s hard to believe they're not (as far as I know) native English speakers. They sold out venues all over Germany this year and should be back in Berlin for an extra date March 8th. There went my monies.

Key track: Drive Darling

Ernesto Schnack & Joe Czarnecki

Special shout-out to these guys, as much of my year was marked by instrumental guitar music produced by these two expats to Berlin (thereby confirming the supposition that I am, in fact, my father's daughter). Ernesto Schnack is from Panama and played a few services at my church, as has Joe Czarnecki, who grew up on a horse farm in Colorado, slightly not next to Panama. Both played a concert together recently in Mitte, and it sealed the year’s end for me with a very special evening. They kind of blow my mind (also that of my dad's). Schnack’s “A Work In Progress” is available for purchase and download here; Czarnecki’s “Watch Now” is available on Amazon. (Additionally, a track by Czarnecki called “Til It’s Over” is one of my all-time favorites.)

Key tracks: The Single Purpose Room (Ernesto Schnack), Til It's Over (Joe Czarnecki)

An Horse - Walls

Musically, I believe that Kate Cooper and Damon Cox can totally hold their own - I don't know why all the German press I've ever read is bent on comparing them with their buddies Tegan and Sara (besides, I mean, the fact that they are buddies). Their 2009 debut Rearrange Beds got me through most of my exchange semester, which I went up and told Cox while he signed my copy of it after their April show at the Comet Club. He was glad to hear it, and in fact told Cooper the same while I was standing there, which drove this tiny person to first make an "Ohhh" face and then wrap me in her arms. Walls continues the An Horse tradition of providing comforting music in uncertain times, especially with the title track, which this year found its way onto my imaginary soundtrack to some fairly real heartbreak.

Key track: Dressed Sharply

Here's to starting the New Year with no hangovers! (Perhaps.) See you on the other side peeps.

December 20, 2011

Cardialement: Oh hai

Je suis à Stockholm! Hourra! A moi les petits-déj au bran muffin, les trajets en tunnelbana et la glandouille acharnée.
I am in Stockholm! Huzzah! Again I shall have bran muffins for breakfast, ride the tunnelbana and do frickin zilch.

December 13, 2011



[ Bonus sonore ]  

A few months ago I started reading a couple blogs that are written by Christians and deal with matters of sex and relationships, which is both inspirational at times and at others kind of like that "visiting China" metaphor one character used at the end of the "His Dark Materials" trilogy. One post in particular caught my eye a couple months ago and encouraged me to bring this comic out, although per tradition, of course, there's still a buffer of time between when I write and when I post things like this.

To be honest, I don't have time to translate it in French, so break out your dictionaries.

Il y a quelques mois j'ai commencé à lire un ou deux blogs tenus par des chrétiens au sujet des relations et de la sexualité. C'est à la fois une source d'inspiration et un peu réminiscent de la scène dans "A la croisée des mondes" où ils parlent de visiter la Chine. Un post en particulier (in English sorry) m'a donné envie de publier cette note, même si conformément à ma tradition personnelle, un peu d'eau a coulé sous les ponts depuis sa rédaction.

Pour être franche j'ai eu l'envie, mais pas le temps de la traduire en français, donc sortez vos dicos! Ou G*** Translate.

December 6, 2011

Cardialement: Winter weather


Peut-être qu'il va neiger... Qui sait?

Snow is on its way... Possibly.

December 3, 2011


à l'aise au fil des blagues mesquines
gonflée par les histamines
que je fasse le deuil de toi
de tout ce qu'il me reste

à la rescousse, des faux-semblants
le coeur avide de prétendant
que je fasse le deuil de mon toi
de tout ce qu'il me reste

    quand il le faut, c'est tout ç'que j'ai
    des mots de viande périmée
    des sons de cloche en double croche
    et retentissements du passé

    quand il te faut, c'est tout ç'que j'ai:
    l'écho terne d'un coeur enlevé,
    la peur au ventre, et dans tes yeux,
    le non d'un fossé amoureux

Nantes-Berlin, automne 2009-décembre 2011.

November 29, 2011

Cardialement: Rummelplatz

"One-year-old" birthday party at the Rummelplatz. // "Tofu... Toilet..." "Ta-ta."

Ca avait l'air mimi, du "butterflycore" -- quand soudain le groupe est monté sur scène...
"Butterflycore" sounded all nice and pretty until the band started playing.

November 22, 2011

Cardialement: Musik press

Un des petits plaisirs de ma vie en Allemagne: écouter Flux FM en lisant 
les derniers INTRO et Unclesally's. // "Leslie Feist ne sait pas mentir."


Though one of my favorite aspects of living in Berlin is being in the German capital, my attraction to Berlin and German culture actually developed as two parallel interests. I wanted to see what Berlin was like the day my parents started playing a 1991 cassette tape  of Achtung Baby in the car; my Franco-German Master's degree became sort of a means to that end. But I discovered German separately, taking a class as early as fourth grade as an alternative to English.

For the most part, especially in Junior High, I truly hated it. Too many cases and illogical attributions of gender, the words in a sentence arranged by a rigid set of ridiculous rules, not to mention that in class I was often asked to speak up and there would be no way in Hades that that was going to happen. Then came the yearly school exchange in tenth grade, and I to chose to go to Bayreuth -- fabled land of Wagner fests, some drug trafficking and lots and lots of Maisel's Weisse. I remember sitting on a local square on the Wednesday, halfway into the trip, and not wanting to leave. I also remember doing the same trip the year afterwards  and being utterly miserable and homesick for two weeks solid -- when I got home. It sort of sealed the deal, and I knew that German would always have a place in my life from then on out. It was no longer this psychorigid foreign language but the vehicle all these awesome people and places used to communicate. And it just so happens to be the language I see, speak and hear on a regular basis today (when I'm not hitting the pavement with my expat clans). That is something that I am grateful for and it even comes out in my other languages sometimes when I talk. (I have no idea of that.)

One of the staples of my postadolescent treks to Berlin in 2006 and 2007 was the free music mag Unclesally's, which sadly is going out of print at year's end. I will miss it, especially sitting down with it to my morning serving of Toastbrot, Vollmilch and raw Schinken, hearing bands like Fotos coming out of the kitchen CD player, or even just walking around Kreuzberg or Prenzlauer Berg and seeing that a new one came out, and that it has this strange unknown band on the cover, and I STILL have to take out that "Sallyscout" booklet and pull out the gummy adhesive -- so annoying.

In a strange turn of events the demise of the printed version is a direct answer to the question I posed during my Master's thesis (as to the future of cultural journalism), and I think Unclesally's did a better job of answering it then I did. Danke, people, for everything you've done. All I have left now is INTRO and my Siegessäule issues.

(Désolée les gens, je n'ai pas le temps de traduire...)

November 15, 2011

Cardialement: Ring fingers

Culte du dimanche juste avant une énorme conférence sur la création d'églises.
Complètement en train de regarder les annulaires de tout le monde.

[ Bonus sonore ]

November 11, 2011

Cardialement: Queer greens

Evidemment, j'ai dessiné ça avant les élections à Berlin.
I drew this before the Berlin elections, obviously.

November 8, 2011

Cardialement: Mug sizes

"How was it?"
"Good! I just think that the mugs you use are too big.
I got the impression I was given less than what I paid for."

"Oh... I wasn't complaining... I really wasn't."


Ils utilisent des tasses plus grandes parce que les plus petites sont chipées par les touristes.
J'ai encré ça à la plume, que j'aime beaucoup, mais besoin d'entraînement.

They use the bigger ones because the smallest-sized mugs get stolen.
This was inked with a quill, which is fun, but I need more practice.