Wednesday, 17 January 2007

I've been tagged

I do sometimes say 'yes' to things and Red-Queen of She'll be feverish after so much thinking is responsible for what follows. All complaints should be addressed to her.

4 jobs I've had:
Translator/archivist in the Department of Neurophysiology at the Faculty of Science in Nice
My first real job, while I was still at college; I spent a wonderful two years there; I’m still friends with my bosses, 35 years later.
Technical Interpreter with the RSC and the National Theatre
On several tours to French-speaking countries. Lighting technicians are wonderful people – well, most of them.
Dispensary assistant at Penhaligon’s
Not as glamorous as you might think; in fact, not glamorous at all.
Production editor at Mills & Boon/Harlequin
Go on, laugh!

4 movies I'd watch over and over:
The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as performed by the inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the direction of the Marquis de Sade, or Marat/Sade
That film, directed by Peter Brook, changed the course of my life – literally. At the time of its release, people joked, ‘I haven’t seen the film, but I’ve read the title!’ LOL!
The Remains of the Day
The whole film is unbearably moving, but I love one scene more than any other: the one where Anthony Hopkins is reading a book, which he refuses to let Emma Thompson see, and she very slowly prises it out of his hands. Ah!
Schindler’s List
Because, again, it’s unbearably moving, and also life-affirming, and Liam Neeson is superb in it.
The Bridges of Madison County
I gather it’s a rotten book, but if you haven’t seen Meryl Streep in this you don’t know what really great acting is: her body language is incredible. And the end is unbearably moving (is it me or is this getting repetitive? LOL!)
Are you sure I can’t mention Pretty Woman or The Draughtsman’s Contract or The Rocky Horror Picture Show? What about Dolores Claiborne and Casque d’Or? No? Oh, all right, then.

4 places I've lived, apart from where I live now:
Notting Hill Gate
I know it’s in London, but I haven’t lived anywhere else.

4 TV shows I love:
Law and Order: Criminal Intent
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit
Law and
Order, er, the ordinary one…
Oh, ok, start again:
Law and Order: Criminal Intent
Because I have a crush on Goren (we’re not intimate enough for me to call him Bobby. Bobby? He’s not a Bobby!) and I want to twist my body the way he does.
CSI: the real thing
Because I have a crush on Grissom. Being French, I can do his moue better than anyone else.
CSI: Miami
Because I have a crush on Horatio and I too want to talk to people while standing sideways.
CSI: New York
Because I have a crush on Stella’s hair. I’ve tried to have a crush on Mac but I can’t. Gary Sinise? No can do.
Oh, what about The West Wing, and Imagine and The South Bank Show (two wonderful arts programmes)? Sorry, can’t mention them.

4 places I've been on holiday:
Two days
New York
Four and a half days
Three weeks (in two separate batches, as it were).
Probably three or four months – over a period of 15 years .

4 websites I visit daily:
Yahoo! France – Actualit├ęs
The only bit of French I get to read these days.
I meet my mates there for a chat.
My friends’ blogs
Lots of them. Bloglines periodically pops up and goes: 376 pages to read!
The Telegraph online
Stupid paper (blech!) but great fashion and beauty section.

4 favorite foods:
Preferably with hazelnut (I have a passion for gianduja).
Raw with a tiny drop of lemon juice (can’t have vinegar or shallots these days).
Self-explanatory: they are wonderful.
Saucisson sec
I haven’t had any for twelve years and will never again be able to eat it.

4 places I'd rather be right now:
That’s easy

4 books I enjoy re-reading:
The Conference of the Birds (The Story of Peter Brook in Africa) by John Heilpern
Peter Brook has had a huge influence on my life (see Marat/Sade) and this is such an inspiring book.
Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels
It’s about loss and love and survival, and the writing is out of this world.
Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson
It makes me scream with laughter. So true.
Howard’s End by E.M. Forster
My favourite of all his novels. So true too.
And then, of course, there’s French literature… Colette, Maupassant, Marguerite Yourcenar…

4 CDs that never leave my rotation:
Leonard Cohen (anything by)
Joan Baez (anything by)

Singing Brecht.
Esther Ofarim (anything by)
I haven’t listened to any of the above for a while: must finish converting all my old LPs/cassettes to mp3 files – time-consuming is not the word.

It’s only taken me four hours to write this. Who has four hours to spare? Who shall I tag?

Oh, botheration: all the people I was thinking of have already been tagged by other people, so I’m afraid the whole thing stops here or, if you want to take part, please do. Let us know in the Comments and we'll all go and read what you wrote.

Addendum: Apparently, today, Monday 22 January is officially the most depressing day of the year. Sheila Hancock was asked on Front Row what she did to cheer herself up on a miserable Monday; she said she watched The Producers, and she mentioned the ‘blue blanket’ scene, in which Zero Mostel tries to prise Gene Wilder's security blanket out of his hands and the latter gets absolutely hysterical. It occurred to me that this was the comic equivalent of that scene in The Remains of the Day. It is also my favourite scene in The Producers. I must have a thing about people prising things out of other people's hands.


  1. Thank you, my dear - you are such an interesting person!

    Maybe I will rent 'The Remains of the Day'. The book was so perfect, I was never able to bring myself to watch the film - almost always, when I love a book, the translation to the screen disappoints...

  2. Your detailed and interesting answers made me think of how many times I have seen 'The Remains of the Day! It is a beautiful film.
    I have to agree with you that Nice is a superb place to be now. I have only visited that city several times but I do love it and would love to live there someday (or in that part of France).
    Hope you are well dear J!


  3. I want to go to Nice. You know what I need? A pile of money and my own Gulfstream jet. That would so rule.

  4. oh, i loved 'fugitive pieces' too

    i always try to make a point of reading the novel that wins the orange prize...

  5. Hmm... 'interesting', as in 'May you live in interesting times'? LOL!

    You must see it! You mustn't be scared of adaptations - the original work is not affected. A friend of mine never watches or goes to see any adaptations of books he likes and thus has missed great films and all those wonderful BBC series. The film of The Remains of the Day is superb and recreates the atmosphere, the characters, etc. of the book to perfection. And the acting is beyond beyond...

    Hi, N! I know you love that part of France. I've been thinking of moving back there but, after so many years in this country, I would find it quite hard to adjust to the French way of life again, I feel.

    Yes, that's what you need, TLI. You so should live in Europe! Any way your job could be relocated there?

    I don't think I was aware it had won a prize when I read it, UC. At least I don't remember being aware of it. I remember it being recommended by everyone and someone saying that the last sentence was haunting them, so I had to go and see what the fuss was about. I'm very bad at keeping abreast of the new releases. You name it, I haven't read it. I mostly listen to A Good Read on Radio 4 for inspiration.

  6. So are we to assume you have a crush on Alan Yentob and Melvyn Bragg?

    And who do you have a crush on in The West Wing?

  7. Nope! Alan Yentob has no 'edge': he's like a teddy bear. As for Melvyn the Bragg, poofy hair doesn't do it for me; he's much too vain and self-conscious.

    On the other hand, I have a crush on everyone in The West Wing. Everyone! I mean, could you choose between CJ and Bartlet, or Josh and Toby, or poor Leo and Donna? I couldn't.

  8. Aargh. Blogger ate me!!!!

    I shall try to reclaim my thoughts.

    I only got halfway through reading ...marat... but surely a play is for performing/watching and not laying in a bath (I LOLled at this point) reading. I did not know there was a film. Interesting. And I think I added something else about loving friends' memes but I've been quaffing the brandy and cannot recall.


  9. LOL! Blogger does it to me too sometimes. I have a love/hate relationship with it.

    Yes, plays are meant to be seen, not read (I hate reading plays). Peter Brook's Marat/Sade is the film of his landmark RSC production of the late '60s. It's absolutely amazing. I owe it my love of the theatre and it's because of that show (and more especially because of Ian Richardson, who played Marat) that I stopped studying psychology at the Sorbonne (I wasn't quite good enough at the more scientific side of the course, but I might have struggled on) and took up English instead. There is a DVD of the film but apparently the sound is horrendous. I have a tape of it, recorded when it was last shown on the telly (and never again, as far as I know), back in the mid-'80s. It puts me in a trance. Always has: the first time I saw it, I stayed for two performances and nearly missed a train I had to catch that evening.

  10. You know, the thing I love the most about this list that you're not to "cool" to 'fess up to loving the whole Law & Order and CSI franchises ;) If I had to pick one, I say the Criminal Intent one, too. Vincent D'Onfrio's performance as Goren simply fascinates me. I will venture to say that maybe it's a good thing you're unable to correctly render his twitchy, twisty mannerisms! Heh.

    Mmmmm... hazelnuts and chocolate... hungry now.

    I haven't read too many of Forster's works. I suppose I need to rectify that. I did start reading Howard's End, then lost it on a commuter train and never got around to replacing it. This was an excellent reminder to do so, thanks!

  11. LMAO at "I too want to talk to people while standing sideways" :~D

    And I love your taste in music!

  12. K, I love all that stuff. I remember watching Les Incorruptibles (French for The Untouchables) when I was a kid, and lots of other crime series. I couldn’t read that kind of nonsense, though.

    E.M. Forster is so human, so sensitive, so insightful. I love all his novels, which aren’t many, unfortunately, but Howard’s End is the one that touches me most. He was a very nice man too.

    Thank you, T. :-)

  13. Hm, well, on the off chance you ever are up for reading crime/detective stuff, I highly recommend Dashiell Hammet. It's just fun reading, nothing moreso entertaining than his witty Thin Man book.

  14. Thanks for the rec, K. I think he is in a different category from your run-of-the-mill thriller writer. I meant stuff like John Grisham, which films beautifully but is, IMO, impossible to read.

  15. HA! Yes indeedy, quite impossible ;) I can't read those either, I'm afraid!