I continue to be in a state of exasperation over the way the British media paint the Euro as a doomed currency, even though it is the world's largest and therefore most stable. As I have pointed out before it's future looks far more rosy than that of the pound. Today's hyperbole surrounds a slight slip in it's value following the Irish austerity cuts. This event in itself is hard to explain given that after Britain announced it's own cuts the pound actually strengthened. However this does not stop financial commentators spouting endless speculation in order to grab a few headlines. The fact is the Euro is still way, way above it's value of ten years ago against the dollar, and the pound has still not recovered to it's pre-VAT-cut 2008 levels. Which leads me to wonder whether the British financial media aren't taking back-handers from the US Federal Reserve? Stranger things have happened.
I have heard the phrase "mon tepee thon" (literally - my tuna teepee) on three separate occasions recently and frankly it left me somewhat baffled. Understandably I tried to make sense of this phrase as best I could, but under the circumstances all my brain could manage was to throw back a series of unanswerable questions: Are my ears deceiving me? Did he/she really just say something about a tunafish living in a wigwam? What is this obsession the French have for telling the English about their love of Native American homes for endangered fish? Why do they drop it into conversation? Am I supposed to be impressed? It is no coincidence though that every other Frenchman you meet will probably explain their love for 'mon tepee thon' to you at some point, not least because it's one of Britain's most famous and successful exports. Huh? Absolutely, but the reason for the linguistic impasse is that the French almost always neglect to pronounce it properly, leaving we foreigners to decipher the true meaning. Even though I now know what [...]
Not far from the Fischer brewery in Schiltigheim stands an unassuming building where great things are afoot in the world of architecture. It is here that I’ve had the privilege to be involved in the launch of a new product, which is set to take the 3D design world by storm. These are the headquarters of local company KA-RA Srl, which stands for Kinetic Arts and Research in Architecture. It’s headed by visionary architect Raphael Pierrat who, with the help of a team of talented software engineers, has created a software package that architects the world over have been waiting for. It’s called Twinmotion2 and is the result of ten years of field experience with firms like the famed Zaha Hadid Architects. In essence it is a 3D design and visualisation application that renders in real-time and is loaded with tools aimed at helping architects to visualise their ideas with incredible speed. What makes the product special is it foregoes the requirement for users to hit a ‘render’ button in order to see the final results. As any 3D [...]
It has been noted, on a number of occasions in the past, that my sense of humour often takes some getting used to. This is a fact that I'm neither proud nor ashamed of. However, over time I have come to realise that if I misjudge a new audience, and the delivery of a 'gag', it has the potential to result in giving entirely the wrong impression about me. All right, not necessarily 'wrong' but one which I'd rather not have them believe - straight away anyway. This 'first impressions' concept is something I am trying to impress upon my 3 year old son who, having recently started school, is making an effort to become popular with his mates by making them laugh. Nothing wrong with that, however his sense of humour is stuck somewhat in a scatological phase. That is, he thinks the word 'poo' is hilarious. So much so in fact, that he chortles to himself immediately after every time he says it. Now, let's be honest, the occasional, well placed 'poo' can be funny. Indeed, I [...]
For that is the day that free-parking ends in central Strasbourg. Admittedly it was something we rather enjoyed when we first arrived, being able to pull up outside your own house and park for an unlimited time for free was such a novelty, and it felt liberating almost, when compared with what we had to put up with in London (massive parking fees, bus-lane fines and the congestion charge). However, knowing the chaos that such freedom bestows upon the local community, I for one am glad to see the city take another step toward ending the car culture that so many of us are so addicted to. In the Contades area commuters have regularly treated the vicinity like a free park-and-ride zone six days a week, making it almost impossible for we residents to park anywhere near our respective abodes when we do have a car. In Strasbourg, like it or not, it's hard to argue against the introduction of such schemes when a big chunk of our local taxes go toward improving transport infrastructure. I'm not just [...]