Just thought I should drop a quick note to say how impressed I was with Monsieur Cantona's performance in Papillon Noir last night. He was helped along, it has to be said, by a superb and surprising plot. All the same, not every karate-kicking footballer would have managed to get into character in quite the same way I am sure.
There are two ways of looking at working from home. Firstly, positively: You can manage your own time Spend more time with your family live anywhere in the world no commuting no dressing for work be your own boss Then negatively: You have to manage your own time you can't get a moment's peace from your family you can never plan a holiday you have no workmates to booze with after work you can't whinge about the boss So far I can safely say that the positives out-weigh the negatives. One aspect of Strasbourg that works so well for me is the ability to step outside after (or even during) a hard day's work - and immediately relax. Breath the fresh air, take a walk in the park or along the canal; take a coffee at Café Brant or Chez Michel and marvel at just how unlike London this place really is. The trouble is right now - I simply have too much work to justify leaving the house, let alone stepping away from my desk. What kills me [...]
I've been here long enough now to know a good 'pain' when I touch/taste/chew one. Initially, way back in 2006, my talents could only (just about) distinguish a super-market stick from a bakers wand, and therefore not begrudge (too much) the additional 50 or so centimes that it would cost. Now however, having tried a good many baguettes from a good many of Strasbourg's finest bread-shops, I feel I am sufficiently informed to make a recommendation. While I certainly would not pretend to be a connoisseur I am a bit of a gourmand. Today, there are only two Bakeries in Strasbourg that I am prepared to make a detour/extra hike to in the name of acquiring a distinctly good baguette for my lunch: Au Petit Boulanger, rue de Barr | near the Musée d'Art Moderne | light, soft and fluffy in the middle, crust - thin and crispy; 10/10 - perfect! Fleur du Rhin, rue des Juifs | near the Cathedral | light, soft and fluffy in the middle, crust - thick and crunchy; 9/10 - near perfect (I'd [...]
There's a large empty office building in Strasbourg that gets used, on average, about five days a month. I refer of course to the famous European Parliament building at Wacken, which has been the subject of much debate in recent years. "Why is it even there at all - when 99% of Eurocrats are in Brussels?" is a common question sounded out by those who are either speaking rhetorically, or by those who have no idea of the origins of the European Union. It's there, quite simply, because the European Parliament have always sat in Strasbourg. The problem is, that while Strasbourg is a lovely city, Eurocrats, civil servants and politicians from member states have a hard time getting here, particularly from their admin bases in Brussels. Strasbourg, although known as 'the crossroads of Europe' has had poor transport connections since the invention of the EU. For example: before the arrival of the TGV last year, Strasbourg was four and a half hours from Paris by train even with the TGV it takes over five hours to travel from [...]
French TV is still dragging it's heels into the 21st century. A quick spot-check around the electrical retailers in France would reveal that buying a non-widescreen TV is now almost impossible. Ironic then that almost every TV channel still broadcasts exclusively in the old 3:4 format. This week saw the official launch of France 2's widescreen service, the only channel to finally acknowledge the format that has been almost universally adopted by every TV and DVD manufacturer in the world for quite some time. The arrival of TNT (terrestrial digital TV) in Strasbourg last October was hailed as a new digital dawn for the region, but out of the 12 new channels that I can watch - precisely none of them broadcast synchronous subtitles, which makes them all but useless for those of use for whom French is still a foreign language, not to mention the hearing-impaired community. Furthermore, almost none of the channels broadcast programme information, so the 'electronic programme guide' that you usually get on digital services more often than not says 'no event name' next to [...]
My latest loo read lasted slightly longer than anticipated. 'Testimony' by Nicolas Sarkozy is the first political tome that I've dared read, and as I expected it was 211 pages of wasp-nest construction material. It will most likely therefore be the last ever political tome I ever dare read. In essence it's a stream of conciousness by M. le President, covering off all his views on what needs to be done, and what he intends to do, to revive France's spluttering economy. This translated version (you think I was going to read it in French?!) is aimed primarily at the American market (the word 'Fall' is in for 'Autumn'). Quite why this is I am not entirely sure, because I am not convinced than many American readers would be particularly impressed with Uncle Nicolas' views on trade. Indeed, during last year's election campaign, I was under the impression that Sarkozy was a free-market man. That he was pro-business, against protectionism and for low taxation. However, what is written there in black and white presents his views as rather grey [...]