Tuesday, January 1, 2013

FUNIFICATION, FLANEUR & "Fat People are Hard to Kidnap"


Festival international de la bande dessinée d'Angoulême - 2012

1.  FUNIFICATION  (From the Urban Dictionary)
     The process of going between boredom and having a blast.
      Mark: I'm so bored!
      Tom: I think you need some funification.
2.  FLANEUR or Flâneur
      Stroller, loiterer, dawdler, saunterer, lounger

Our last guests have climbed onto the silver bird and flown back to San Francisco, leaving behind a perfumed jet trail of intoxicating holiday memories laced with exotic teas, scent of bergamot, truffle potato chips, pomegranate vinegar from Oliviers (as addictive as crack cocaine) & mucho conversations late into the night. Kevin's plum wine, "Charme de Charras", vintage 2012, fabriquées par lui-même (made by himself) was a big hit. He plucked the plums from the fallen limbs of  one of the orchard's most generous plum trees, split in two by a hellish Mars wind. The big blue barrel percolated and fermented away in the kitchen all summer while my Irish alchemist blended and tested.  It's buoyant, light & organic-- thrilling to sip the ruby red plum sunlight from winter goblets.  My "persimmon" butter did not fare as well, but that's another story, sub-heading:  Know they fruits!

Charme de Charras Vintage 2012 - World Tarot card, Arnell Ando

One of the highlights of our time together was a Murder Mystery Night:  "Brie, The Bullet and the Black Cat," hosted by friend Jodie in Boex.  Her lovely stone house turned into  the official residence of  the Deputy Mayor of Casablanca, Hughes Le Grandbutte (ably played by Mike, decked out in red cumberbund and medals, wife Edith in diamonds and pearls).   I was Countess Bugov (phoney Russian countess, really a circus acrobat), Kevin, Kirk Ramsden III, dissipated American running Rick's cafe, a womanizer with a flask of whiskey at his side and broken hearts strewn around the bar room floor.
Countess Bugov
Kirk Ramsden III
Our Ca. friends Kate & Bobby morphed into Ingrid Pith, Danish art dealer and Monsieur Oily-Carte, booking agent for the Moulin Bleu nightclub in Paris. Kate made her hat confection from Kev's straw hat and one of my scarves--she's got some milliner's genes--the hat was so elegant.

Ingrid & Oily-Carte
But the true star of the evening had to be Jodie's son Chris, as Otto Von Pinkelwurst - a Gestapo Officer, fanatical and possibly stark raving mad.  Doesn't understand why he is in Africa rather than a senior staff post in Berlin. He's pictured here with Pierre Payanski - 24 year old half-Russian poet. Anti-fascist with a bad leg, played limpingly well by Jodie's son-in-law, John.
Pierre & Otto
Six hours of crazy, chaotic, capital fun trying to figure out who's a murderer among 10 likely suspects between courses & libations.  I still don't really know who stole the brie or why there was brie, but I do know the murder victim (The Black Cat) was a Mime Artist and everyone knows they have to go. At one point I started to believe I really was a  Countess until someone pointed out that my Russian accent was sounding suspiciously Allemandesque. 

I kept pinching myself to see if I was dreaming.  And maybe I was... how likely is it that Americans would be attending a British murder mystery night at Christmas in a Bermudian artist's house in a rural village in France? 

More likely than one might imagine since 2013 has been officially dubbed our year of "FUNIFICATION".  Each year Kevin and I pick a theme for the year ahead.  We've had some pretty dreary Worker Ant themes in the past, like "EXECUTION" (not related to capital punishment), "COMPLETION", or just plain "WORK". So perhaps France's Socialist society has been sprinkling communal fairy dust upon us, turning us from ants into merry grasshoppers.  

I don't think the French really go in for Bonnes résolutions du Nouvel An.  At least when I asked a couple of french friends if they would be a) going on a diet or b) learning to speak English? they just blinked and offered me some more vin chaud.

But they do know how to have fun, especially in neighboring Angouleme, the Cartoon Capital of France!  

 Kate & Hergé - Adventures of Tin Tin)
Let's go find some Fun!
This stone is slippery...

Clic Clic Clic

I never get tired of the surprise of finding a cartoon or a mural on a remparts wall, high up under a cornice or hidden down a winding alley way.  One has to be a Flâneur to discover the subversive graphics and stealthy drawings tucked away.  Flanerie, which dates back to the 16th or 17th c., once had a connotation of wasting time, but in the 19th c. Honore de Balzac described it as "the gastronomy of the eye".  St. Beauve wrote that to Flaner is "the very opposite of doing nothing" and to Victor Fournel writing in "Ce qu'on voit dans les rues de Paris" (What One Sees in the Streets of Paris, 1867), there was nothing lazy in flanerie.  It was a moving photograph of urban experience. 

Of course, there are mindless flâneurs and intelligent flâneurs.  I like Charles Baudelaire's memorable portrait of a flaneur as the "artist-poet of the modern metropolis", first published in Le Figaro in 1863, he said, in part:

"...For the perfect flâneur, for the passionate spectator, it is an immense joy to set up house in the heart of the multitude, amid the ebb and flow of movement, in the midst of the fugitive and the infinite. To be away from home and yet to feel oneself everywhere at home; to see the world, to be at the centre of the world, and yet to remain hidden from the world... the lover of pictures who lives in a magical society of dreams painted on canvas... Or we might liken him to a mirror as vast as the crowd itself; or to a kaleidoscope gifted with consciousness, responding to each one of its movements and reproducing the multiplicity of life and the flickering grace of all the elements of life."

Rudy & the Rhino

Gastronomical eyes at BD Festival 2012

Come to the 40th International BD Festival in

Bonne Année my faithful flaneurs, friends & blog readers!
You'll have to stay tuned for "Fat People are Hard to Kidnap" & the Saintonge where "The Churches are too beautiful"-- too much funification and flaneuring has made me very sleepy.

Bon Soir, Bisous

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