Girl, comment devient-on femme?

Girl est un film intéressant et marquant car il met en scène le combat de Victor pour devenir Lara. Ce film pose des questions théoriques, éthiques et sociologiques. Souvent nous sommes attachés à des termes sans voir le côté humaine sous-jacent qui se cache derrière ces “mots”. Le combat que mène Lara illustre un parcours silencieux que beaucoup de personnes voulant changer de sexe subissent. Une opération avant 16 ans en France est plutôt rare, mais le film se passe en Belgique, en projection bilingue, où chaque personne est un hybride, parlent, réfléchit en deux langues pour illustrer parfaitement la situation d’instance fragile qu’est le personnage de Lara.   

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Books I havent got around to reading.

Strange. That pile of books ever supplemented by cheap offerings from charity shops. For instance The Cambridge Guide to Greek Literature. Must cost at least £20 and I got it for 50p. I know very little Greek but at least have a Greek dictionary. I know that to grapple with Neitzsche and Heidigger a background in Greek drama is necessary. I have picked up some slight knowledge of Greek myths from poetry (Irish and German) and Greek Drama from Woody Allen. However, it may be some time before I get to grips with the 50p prize.

More to be read!!


Then in my bag I have Eva Ibbetson. I have one in secondhand book form and another on Kindle. I was recommended this author as a lighter read at the end of the current crisis. I then remembered that she was given some prominence at bookshop at Jewish Book Festival. I started reading one about the Pool of Dragonflies” which started in a Harry Potterish vein and seemed to be a bit about Dartington- or rather a fictionalised version thereof. It looks good but not sufficiently so to detract me away from my current Julian Barnes.

So my Don Juan approach to reading is even more random with poetry. That reminds me that I must read more Byron, a frequent feeling which extends to Auden and MacNeice’s Journal from Iceland written in a Byronic style. The following volumes are cluttering my long coffee table;- Lowell, Delmore Schwarz, John Berryman, Padrigh Fallon and Ciaron Carson. Reading poetry at depth is an intensive business and I don’t think it can be hurried. So it is good to read some Betjeman, Kipling and Gavin Ewart. The latter I heard in the Penwith Gallery during the St Ives Festival  some 30 years ago.

Like the road not taken by Johnson in Scotland there is pleasure in the anticipation. Reading reviews can to a degree keep you abreast of the zeitgeist. However, it is often biographies that I most miss when I put them down. Salisbury, Melbourne and John Freeman’s are three that spring immediately to mind.


When the great terror came

Fascinating, I wonder when this was written? 1937??

Poems of Nelly Sachs in English

When the great terror came
I became mute –
Fish turned
dead-side up
Air bubbles paid the price of battling breath
All words fugitives
in their immortal hiding places
where the life force
has to spell out their
and time loses its knowledge
in the enigma of light –

wurde ich stumm –
Fisch mit der Totenseite
nach oben gekehrt
Luftblasen bezahlten den kämpfenden Atem
         Alle Worte Flüchtlinge
in ihre unsterblichen Verstecke
wo die Zeugungskraft ihre
buchstabieren muß
und die Zeit ihr Wissen verliert
in die Rätsel des Lichts –

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Now you’ve got your getaway baggage

Love Nelly Sachs, Rosa Aüsslander et al. Very relevant today!

Poems of Nelly Sachs in English

Now you’ve got your getaway baggage
across –
the border is open
but first
they throw all your “home”
like stars through the window
don’t ever come back
live in the empty desert
and die –

Schon hast du dein Fluchtgepäck
hinüber –
die Grenze ist offen
aber vorher
werfen sie alle deine “zu Hause”
wie Sterne durchs Fenster
komm nicht mehr zurück
im Unbewohnten wohne
und stirb –

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A politician finds in difficult to retire

Sometimes it is the state of the world that preoccupies him,

campaigning for peace and pensioners.

Although public opinion has moved his way,

Meetings, groups and such occasions eat up his time.


He is powered with a zeal for international security.


The state of his roof preoccupies him and in a rash rush of

domestic disasters, he almost gassed himself.

He put his pipe alight into his pocket and burned his coat.

The car breaks down and is broken into.


Now the roof caves in when the builder walks across it,

and accidentally puts his foot right through the ceiling.


His old adversaries would need hard hearts not to sympathise

with his bouts of depression. He becomes deaf and has trouble

with his heart and legs.

Only his friends sustain him and the pride he feels

at his children’s success is uncontainable.


His jokes are demonstrably unribtickling.

He marches out into the world with a thermos flask

and a Mars bar.

He remains unashamedly sentimental.


The case for working people is coming back and

though there are times for despair, there are still days of hope

as he enjoys life’s afternoon sunshine

with his grandchildren.

(Found Poem -With thanks to the Guardian Review  20.10,07 by  David McKie

reviewing More Time for Politics; Diaries 2001-07 by Tony Benn)

“Cymbeline” by William Shakespeare: Fear No More

Stuff Jeff Reads

My first ever exposure to Shakespeare was an excerpt from this play. As a kid, I somehow acquired a copy of a cheap paperback book called Immortal Poems of the English Language. I can still picture the cover. Anyway, the book included a Shakespeare “poem” entitled “Fear No More,” which I would discover many years later was actually just a passage from Cymbeline. But I loved this poem and read it over and over as a kid. So, having just re-read this play, it is that passage that I want to focus on.

Fear no more the heat o’ the sun,
Nor the furious winter’s rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages:
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

Fear no more the frown o’ the great;
Thou art past the tyrant’s stroke;
Care no more to…

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Helen DeWitt, translating Proust, and what is it that you want to do with you one wild and precious life

I only read two pages of Paris Match yesterday. It was about Elia Kazan and a film he failed to make about Greek-Turkish relations. It isn’t always easy to read French but the little makes for an alternative and memorable perspective.

It's only chemo

If you have read The Last Samurai and are in a state of nostalgia for the days when discovering Helen DeWitt was still ahead of you, go and indulge in her entire blog.

I can’t comment on these translations; happy to believe that both have much to offer. The one thing I’d say is, if you’re thinking of reading Proust and you’ve studied any French at all, do order Du côté de chez Swann from so you can read at least a few of Proust’s sentences in French.

People often say: “Well, I had a couple of years of French in high school but I’ve forgotten it all.” What they mean is not normally, “I had a couple of years of French in high school, but when I looked at the first paragraph of Du côté de chez Swann I couldn’t understand a word,” what they mean is, “If I…

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The Art of Anders Zorn 3: Switching to oils

His paintings give us an insight into how life was lived in a variety of styles to.

The Eclectic Light Company

In the 1880s, the great Swedish watercolourist Anders Zorn (1860–1920) doesn’t seem to have spent a full year in any one place. In 1887, he spent the summer back in Sweden while simultaneously exhibiting at both the Salon in Paris and the Royal Academy in London. That autumn/fall, he and his wife travelled to Britain with the artist Alice Miller. It was there that he started to paint in oils.

Anders Zorn, Fish Market in Saint Ives (1888), watercolour, 100 x 76.5 cm, Private collection. Wikimedia Commons. Anders Zorn (1860–1920), Fish Market in Saint Ives (1888), watercolour, 100 x 76.5 cm, Private collection. Wikimedia Commons.

Although Zorn’s early oils from his stay through the winter in the art colony and fishing village of Saint Ives, in Cornwall, were impressive, this watercolour is perhaps the most brilliant of his paintings from that visit. He had apparently become fascinated by this “plump fisherman’s wife” shown dragging some of the catch of fish around as it was being sold off…

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The curious case of Cornwall: why did the Cornish vote for Brexit?

Sometimes E.U. money has not be wisely spent- not their fault, of course.



Cornwall, with a population of 530,000 people, received more than €654m from Brussels during the EU’s 2007 to 2013 budget cycle. This is more than the West Midlands and the East of England combined. Up until Brexit it was set to receive at least another €600m between now and 2020, that’s €1,209 per person. This is a county in which 56.5% of voters chose to back Brexit and leave their biggest benefactor. I was interested to look briefly into why this might have been the case and reflect on some of the consequences this might have for one of the poorest areas of the United Kingdom.

Firstly, it might be worth reflecting on some of the positive and tangible things that Cornwall has received from being a member of the EU. The construction of Exeter University’s Penryn Campus  was partly funded with around £100million of EU money. £50million of EU money has been spent on

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“Tao Teh Ching: Chapter 59” by Lao Tzu

“Moderation in Everything” is of course, an Epicurean Philosophy. Often misunderstood and misinterpreted as self-indulgence. Thanks for posting.

Stuff Jeff Reads

Image Source: Wikipedia

In governing a people and in serving Heaven,
There is nothing like frugality.
To be frugal is to return before straying.
To return before straying is to have a double reserve of virtue.
To have a double reserve of virtue is to overcome everything.
To overcome everything is to reach an invisible height.
Only he who has reached an invisible height can have a kingdom.
Only he who has got the Mother of a kingdom can last long.
This is the way to be deep-rooted and firm-planted in the Tao,
The secret of long life and lasting vision.

There is an old adage which should be familiar: Everything in moderation. While this seems like sage advice on the surface, reading Lao Tzu’s passage made me aware of the flaw in this. It should read: Moderation in everything. While the difference may be subtle, “everything in moderation” implies…

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