The f word junior

Behind the stove.

In France we have big names like Bocuse, Ducasse, Veyrat, Robuchon... All grand Chefs who master the culinary art. The UK has their own chefs. They are also quite good behind their pans, but to my point of view they are way better than my fellow citizens when it comes to stand in front of the camera.

In front of the camera.

Jamie Oliver of course is great. He is THE nice guy who cooks, writes books, encourages you to by healthier food at Sainsburry, makes your mum ask you father to buy a new TV set for the kitchen... But then you have Gordon Ramsay, the strong character who haunts restaurant kitchens, like Freddy Krugger haunts your nights.

With him, nothing but perfection is acceptable, and you better get your fingers out of your a** if you don't want him to shout f**king insanities to your f**king face. But guess what, Gordon too has a vocational inspiration to the younger ones. Enjoy:


Grand tour in your living room

Social warmth.

As part of their '
I Am Everyone' campaign, Orange has decided to endorse a neat initiative. I have already touch base on this guy who decided to hug random people in the streets of Australia, or this American around-the-world traveler who films himself repeating the same dance steps in the most remote parts of the globe. And this time it's all about music and conviviality.

A concert from your couch.

Jont is an accoustic guitare player who, with the help of Dave, is the genitor of and active contributor to Unlit, a series of home gigs. He is literally going from home to home, across the world, to perform mini concerts in people's flat, house, garden... Places where people invited him and organised this micro-social event by opening their homes to total strangers.

And guess what, he is now coming to the UK, so if you are interested in hosting such a concert and playing along, just register at:
www.i-am-everyone.co.uk. Here is what you could expect:


Tribute to my Grandmother

This blog is usually written on a light-hearted tone of voice, but for once, it will embed some sorrow.

This morning I indeed received a call from home informing me that my grandmother passed away in the night. I therefore wanted to dedicate these lines to her, her who was a true mountain dweller. She was born in a remote village in the French Alps from where she was leading cattle to higher pastures before she decided to move to Grenoble with her husband.

Her humility certainly transpires in my own approach of life, and I will forever keep her words in mind:

"The main thing is that you are and remain happy".
Fernande Chambaz (1921-2008).

Rest in Peace. Je t'aime.


The wheel of the good fortune

© James F. Perry

As the Olympics has recently started I wanted to introduce to the readers of these lines another Mountain Dweller who is just a sport phenomenon. Originated from the French Alps, Jeannie Longo is part of the contingency of French athlets who will compete in the coming days for a medal... But Jeannie has already a few tinting in her bag, 4 in fact (1 gold, two silver and a bronze). What so special about her then? Well, the main reason according to me is that she is attending this yeqr her seventh olympic games... Yes, you have read correctly: seventh. 7 times 4 equals 28 years, almost three decades at the very top.

And guess what? At almost 50, Jeannie still kicks ass on her bike! She has a few records in her bags as her personal website lists (sorry if this list is no longer exhaustive, but she is really very fast and it seems that she is faster than her webmaster):

1034 victoiries
38 world records
Olympic champion
106 medals in Olympics, World and French Championships
3 Tours de France
13 times World Champion
55 times France Champion
World Record for the 1 hour run with 45,094 Km (Mexico 2000)
World record of number of victories in a year (both gender considered)

Not bad for someone who initially considered a ski career (earning a few titles in that discipline too before her future husband suggested to swap the skis for a bicycle). And of course such a record of achievment comes along with a temper and she had avery polarising effect on the French sport scene. She is a sport phenomenon, an ecologist activist, an organic fan... So of course she attracts attention as the NY Times spotted it in its recent article.

But I tend to keep on looking at the sport results and can only say: kudos. Go on Jeannie, we are behind you.

(Edit: Jeannie ends up her Olympic career with no medal. She finished 4th of the Individual Time Trial at only 2" of the Bronze Medal. Not bad but damn close)


The nation excuses...

The Canadian alibi.

A colleague of mine just returned from her holidays in Canada. She went back late to the office, one day after her planned return date and simply pretended that she got stuck in a chalet after some
rocks fell on the road and blocked the traffic up and downhill for several days.

Credit: JONATHAN HAYWARD / AP on Seattle Times site

Rocks? Well, back home, we call that pebbles or possibly stones, but rocks? That must be this classical North American enthusiasm for superlatives, I guess.

Cultural story-telling.

Anyway, I could not stop thinking that the rock slide story was probably one of the greatest excuses I have heard for long. That and its contender "I could not finish my paper yesterday because my parents were kidnapped by extra-terrestrials" are certainly amongst my favourites. But you must acknowledge that the advantage with Canada is that it makes the excuse plausible. Where else on earth could you pretend to be isolated in a mountain resort due to a rock slide?

Now that raises an interesting question: are there any cultural bias in alibi and excuses? If you live close to Roswell maybe the above-mentioned claim becomes credible. If you are a French citizen, you can always claim to have been stuck due to unforeseen strikes. And again it is a very probable story. As a matter of fact during one of my last trip back home I almost missed my late night Eurostar connection after some Britons decided to blow up train voltage transformer to protest against some random political decision around closing a hospital (what would have happened if they got injured doing so? Where would they have gone to?).

Up to you.

The thing is, I am a traveler and tend to move from country to country. As a result, I need to enrich my portfolio of excuses in case one day I oversleep with locally suitable alibis.

This leads me to the following question to you: Wherever you are from, can you share with us the most probable excuse you have or would use to explain a delay?

I am looking forward to reading you, and remember: "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”
Winston Churchill (1874-1965)