Numéro 37 Du 05/03 au 18/03/14

MODE MOLLE

  • 37- Beurk

Un grand cliché, une grande réalité : le plus beau piège à fille reste la mode. Alors pourquoi le dressing a-t-il du mal à se renouveler ? En question, les tendances de ces dernières saisons. Pour preuve, examinons les couleurs et les motifs. 

Cet automne-hiver 2013/2014, les magazines annonçaient «Tendance Rouge !» comme s’il s’agissait d’une révélation. C’était sans compter l’automne hiver 2012/2013 qui définissait le rouge comme «It couleur». Probablement pouvait-on affirmer ce précepte car l’automne hiver 2011/2012 recommandait déjà d’ «adopter le rouge», bien préparées comme nous l’étions puisqu’en 2010, on nous prévenait que la mode serait «rouge, éthique et rebelle». Envie de profiter de l’été pour varier ? Pas de souci. Depuis 2009, on suggère de se précipiter sur le corail… un rouge orangé ! Révolution !

Heureusement, les bureaux de tendance n’ont pas trop osé attribuer des noms aux couleurs pour essayer de faire passer la pilule. Ils ont gardé ce subterfuge pour le violet, par exemple appelé prune, aubergine ou encore violine au fil du temps. Remarquez, ça aurait pu être divertissant… Rouge carmin, rouge coquelicot, rouge vermeil comme les cartes senior, rouge sang, rouge sang groupe O+, rouge sans rhésus A–…

Côté motif, on a beaucoup porté de guépard… Puis de léopard… Grand changement ! Certains, perdus, parlent de panthère… Et le jaguar là-dedans? C’est vrai, il se fait rare ! Mais, pour le coup, on a préféré se tourner vers le zèbre, puis les dessins de têtes animales. Reconnaissons l’effort. Doit-on être aussi indulgent avec les carreaux ? On en porte depuis 2011, au moins. Cela n’a pas stoppé les ardeurs des gros titres pour cet hiver 2014 : «Les carreaux reviennent !». Parce qu’en réalité, il n’y a pas UN carreau, mais DES carreaux : version bûcheron, écossais, Vichy, tartan… sacs Barbès… Oui, sac Barbès. En fait, nous n’avons rien compris. La création, ce n’est pas l’art d’inventer, c’est l’art de décliner.

Virginie Achard

 

Numéro 36 Du 19/02 au 04/03/13

DANGEROUS EQUALITY

  • 36- Beurk

Why on earth is everyone suddenly talking about equality? Are we all going mad?

One thing is sure, equality is a right. One of those rights that form the basis of the “rules that regulate men’s relationships within society by implying an equitable sharing of goods, prerogatives and freedoms”. With the same qualifications, a white person, black person or northern African person should have the same chances of getting a job, this is a given. For the same level of responsibility and workload, a man and a woman should be paid the same salary, no question. And whether one is heterosexual or homosexual, one should be feel protected in the same way, in terms of property as much a health. Of course! 

Where things seem to go off the rails is when the only alternatives to “equality” are “superiority” or “inferiority”. If there is no equality, then there has to be an imbalance or a form of injustice. 
But not being equal can also just mean being different. It’s fantastic to be different. It is what enables us to distinguish ourselves from one another. Difference means wealth. Why should everything be always on the same level, running the risk of rendering everything uniform, banal, sterile, of no longer being able to compare and affirm one’s character, desires, ambitions? Out of fear of being stereotyped we want to make everything anonymous, or worse, bring out the most primitive of evidence! Like between men and women. But the fact exists: given the same size, corpulence and lifestyle, men are stronger than women, and women’s bodies are statistically more flexible. Without even getting into breasts, wombs, pubis or penis. Can we really cover up physical and genetic diversity? Should everything be mixed?

Otherwise, we can continue to take on the notion of equality to express all sorts of claims, even frustrations. Which is most probably the crux of the problem. Except it throws light on diversities that could, all of a sudden, seem abnormal. Seriously, having always lived happily measuring 1.55m, don’t tell me I should try basketball!

Virginie Achard

 

Numéro 35 Du 05/02 au 18/02/13

MEAN STREETS

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Rue de Rivoli, Paris, 2 p.m. A woman, lost in thought, walks down the street with purpose. A man walks toward her on the same path, they get closer. She steps politely to the right to let him pass. It could be the start of a beautiful story. But the man won’t compliment her on her natural beauty, he won’t watch her walk away with regret, he won’t even try to cheer her up with a corny remark. No, instead he will punch her in the stomach. She is the one who will watch him walk away calmly, dumbstruck, paralysed and winded. Does she know him? Absolutely not. Does he have a reason? How could he?

Does any of this mean anything? Trying to find one would drive you crazy. The street is a place we all share, where we come and go freely. It is sometimes a place of contact, unplanned encounters, enjoyable connections. It remains of course a place of passage, transition, where individuals go from point A to point B, remaining inside their own bubble, whether that be a phone, music, social networks, etc.
We must face facts: the street has become a strange place. Unwanted, violent contact, has replaced a total lack of contact that was already regrettable.

So, it’s become the survival of the fittest. We even hear talk of the “urban jungle”. And it’s not just because of the feeling of the crowd and the unbelievable diversity, but because of the animal-like behaviour of the inhabitants.
And as hatred creates hatred, this woman, who believed so strongly in beautiful surprises, in the chance that crosses our path, will never look at men in the same way, and especially not those who pass her by on the street.

Chloé Danglard
 
Numéro 34 Du 22/01 au 04/02/2014

FUNNY GAMES?

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Humour is being honoured at the moment. Or more like dishonoured. And this has led to the question being asked all over town: what does it mean to be funny today? Truly! Humourists play in different categories: broad like Bigard or Dubosc, self-deprecating like Foresti, imitation like Canteloup or Gerra, pointing the finger like Robin and provocation like Bedos (the son), Guillon or Proust. 

Provocation? More like assassination. These famous “snipers”, as the press is fond of calling them, are constantly shooting. The problem is, for some of them, there seems to be a competition to see who can be the “meanest”. As a pretext for “undermining the powers that be”, to cause “upheaval”, it becomes a weapon. But not of those that defend ideas or denounce others with finesse. No, those that profoundly hurt or damage with their aggressive poison. Of course, there will always be one or two sentences which will make us laugh. So what? Is that enough to condone this venom? And, at the same time, make ourselves malicious? In addition, even if some well-regarded journalists or other personalities – from all political and social walks of life – find it entertaining. 

But who would dare contradict them? Who would risk the collateral damage of becoming a target? Because this is also one of the big issues: when they are not targeting a person in particular, these humourists use their sketches to settle personal scores: Guillon with Bern after he was fired from France Inter, Bedos with the cops after being arrested for drunk driving… To mention but a few. Having said that, it is funny when they attack each other. A competition!

Gone are the days of humourists like Le Luron or Coluche who managed to get their message across without being insulting. Gone are the days of intelligent and pertinent humour. Come on guys, you must be joking?

Bianca Alberti

 

Numéro 33 Du 08/01 au 21/01/14

OPTICAL DISSILLUSION

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Using competitiveness to increase our buying power sounds good to us, but not if it risks damaging public health. What is this measure in the planned law on consumption aka the Loi Hamon, that will let people buy contact lenses without a prescription*? 

Let’s not be fooled. The whole thing began back in 2008 when the European Commission rapped France on the wrists for its strict legislation that made it very difficult, even impossible to buy glasses or contact lenses online. Nothing to do with the cost. More to do with foreign markets. Today, it has become possible but under certain conditions, one of which is that you have to have a valid prescription.

Not anymore! On paper, it seems like a really good idea to bring down cost of glasses in France which are among the most expensive in Europe. But the lack of a solid framework is leading to side-effects that are scaring the majority of health professionals. And with good reason! Anyone will now be able to order their lenses online going by just their glasses prescription that must be renewed every three years at the least. The problem being that myopia or astigmatism are not treated according to the same data. And a difference in strength or angle can have consequences that go beyond simple headaches. Migraines are nothing compared with an ulcer on the cornea, late detection of glaucoma, arterial hypertension or a sleep apnoea condition…

Eye health in France is currently much better than in other European countries (so it is a huge shame to dismantle a medical system that is working so well). At a time when lenses are no longer just for correction but also used to treat certain pathologies, notably among children, it would be damaging to make them the cause of irreversible lesions. What a step backward… And to think that in the US they have ended up bringing back prescriptions for the sale of lenses online. Perhaps Hamon isn’t aware of this? Unless it is a means to make the economic and social situation a little more unfocused or deformed? 

Virginie Achard

*  Pending: after a first prescription from a doctor. The law has been voted by the Assemblée Nationale, amended by the Senate and is likely to be adopted and implemented. 

 

Numéro 32 Du 24/12/13 au 08/01/2013

CELEBRITY SIDELINES

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Celebrities seem to have more and more wishes and desires. It is amazing how pop stars suddenly reveal themselves to be writers. Actresses suddenly transform themselves into designers. Singers wake up one morning as film directors, actors wake up as sculptors… The phenomenon is far from new. But it is becoming pernicious. Of course these bridges are often a logical career move, due to an undeniable level of maturity and experience. After spending years in front of a camera, it is possible to develop a feeling for film that makes one want to step behind and direct for a change. 

Except not everyone is Jean Cocteau or Clint Eastwood. More like Sienna Miller, Rachel Bilson, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Timberlake or, with a cookbook hot on the heels of her clothing collection, Gwyneth Paltrow… “Stars” with a finger in every pie (literally!) looking for a legitimacy, or with their nose stuck in everything instead of contenting themselves with excelling in their first profession. 

Obviously, nothing’s going to stop them trying. But unless you surround yourself with the right people to turn it all into a fantastic marketing operation, like Beyonce with her House of Dereon brand, these celebrities should avoid going public. Not so much for the damage done to their own image which matters little, but more for the damage it does to all of the professionals and other artists who put their all into creating works of art. What an injustice! Not to mention what it means about our capacity to fall into the trap of “if you like this star, you’ll like everything he or she touches”. Because behind it all, it’s just business. Of course, having a muse to represent a brand is a concept that has always worked. But using famous faces to get in our face is a bridge too far. Thankfully, Zahia doesn’t seem to intend to bring out a children’s book. Clearly, there are some celebrity sidelines we can’t take.

Bianca Alberti

 

Numéro 31 Du 11/12 au 24/12/2013

THE RIDICULOUS DICTIONARY

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Just like every year for the past eleven, the éditions Fleurus have published “Le Dico des Filles” aimed at young girls between the ages of 12 and 16. The pages between the glittery covers have become an absolute must. Of course! At an age where it is better to avoid the big issues with parents, it is like a gift from the Gods – the Catholic origins of the publishing house notwithstanding. And why not? Well, “not”.

This bible covers everything: friendship, acne, lipstick, dope, sexuality… And most of the advice or suggestions are relatively well argued if taken in context. That’s not the problem.

The problem comes from certain definitions and ideas about socially connoted, so-called correct behaviour surreptitiously and insidiously slipped into the pages. With “duty” as a watchword. No less. For example, you “have a duty to your friend (…) not to doubt her word (…) not to condemn her even when you know she is in the wrong”. Nevertheless, elsewhere, there is contradictory information such as “your friends don’t always have your best interests at heart (…)”. There are some statements that made us jump. On the subject of abortion: “big religious families have something to say about this as it is their role to outline the principles aimed at guiding human acts”. Is that so? As for homosexuality, hygiene, marriage… All key subjects, clichés, and points of view that are double-edged.

This ambiguous content has enflamed the press and the Internet and have, rightly, been corrected, moderated and debated. But it is the consequences of these ideas on the lives of these young girls that should be examined. Creating complexes – a twelve year old is not necessarily in a position to wax… Creating problems between friends by replacing innocence by guilt or mistrust… Forcing a young girl to close in on herself by providing too much information that lead to too many questions… Taking into account that between the ages of 12 and 16, one doesn’t read things in the same way. 

It is hard to believe how such a book can still be available on the shelves of every supermarket. And worse under many trees this Christmas. 

Chloé Danglard

 

Numéro 30 Du 27/11 au 10/12/13

LA PROBLÉMATIQUE EST CONFUSANTE

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“WTF! She’s freakin’ because she was called a Cougar? Ridonkulous… She should google Demi Moore, lol”! While this sentence may mean little to some, to others it is crystal clear.

Just like so many other areas, words have trends. And trends often begin with the young. While it can be exasperating at times, the fresh breeze can be fun and relevant. It is just the normal evolution of things and language.
On the other hand, this tendency to mistake one word for another or the invention of words for no reason, as if the only objective is to render the simplest of expressions clinical.

Top of the list in French is the word “confusant” which supposedly means “that which causes confusion”. It has yet to appear in a dictionary and is a direct translation from the English “confusing” straight out of the marketing departments to describe a message that might cause a consumer to have doubts. It is technical. But the problem is the term “confusant” is being used all over the shop. Our more direct, more noble term “confus” has been forgotten. As have the alternatives such as “troublant” or “perturbant” which could be used as synonyms while adding a degree of feeling. 

In the same way, the use of the term “problématique” instead of simply “problème”. The former evokes all of the questions around a subject, the latter means simply a “problem”, nothing more. There is no point in using the more scientific former term in the hopes that it will minimise the harsh reality of the latter. You would never ask someone who is looking at you sideways: “Il y a une problématique?” 
Another shocking example in French is the use of the word: “émotionnel”. Everything seems to be “émotionnelles” at the moment! From movies, to current affairs, to psychological analysis… While the term may be appropriate in the third case, it is not the case for the first. An emotional film… What exactly is that? A film that sparks emotions? Would it not be fairer and more apt to say “a moving film”? Doesn’t the phrase evoke more feeling?

Let’s stop making things less profound and personal by using words that are serious and objective. It doesn’t make us any more intelligent. Just a bigger pain in the ass. 

Virginie Achard

 

Numéro 29 Du 13/11 au 27/11/13

THE RIGHT TO LIE

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We can no longer ignore it. On the one hand there are websites specialising in extra-marital affairs, on the other, websites that provide fake alibis. Their UPS (Unique Selling Point): lies.

In a sense, one can’t work without the other. But contrary to what one might think, these agencies are not aimed at adulterers only. They claim otherwise: they are there to save you from all embarrassing personal situations, from cancelling a vacation with Aunt Suzanne to a simple missed meeting.

While some commit merely to helping you invent a story, other more unscrupulous sites go as far as to providing fake documents. Anything is possible: invitations, restaurant bills, parking tickets, not to mention invitations to fake seminars, virtual plane tickets, or worse, phone and bank records carefully retouched by experienced graphic artists…

Borderline legal ? While this type of practice appears dodgy, the companies stay inside the law with their strict conditions of use: the clients must certify that the documents required are for personal use only.

Perfect! So no worries then. If the basic principle is that the French are perfectly disciplined in general and will only use these fakes for personal use, then there is no risk? When they are filed away to make the lie even more real, is it not possible that they resurface a few years later and create truly serious problems?

But this is not the most abject part. That this type of activity actually exists tells us much about what we are capable of and the future of human relations. Blithely paying to fool someone else… Or using them to sort out one’s little affairs! There are smartphone applications that enable you to simulate a call from one of your contacts without then knowing. Which means using one’s family and friends without their knowledge, broadening the circle of betrayal. 

“Faux et usage de faux” (Faking and using counterfeit means) no longer means just paper. Now it covers people too. Soon at the table, you will be asked who lied or if you were used in a lie. It is only right that “Judas” is written with an “s”.

Chloé Danglard

 

Numéro 28 Du 30/10 au 12/11/13

UPHEAVAL AMONG THE DEAD

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Obviously, the initial reaction was akin to an emotional tsunami.  When Natalie Cole released, in 1991, her version of the mythical “Unforgettable” as a virtual duet with her father, the great Nat King Cole, few were those who managed to hold back the tears. And with good reason. Then, in December 1995, the radio station Europe 2 flooded the airwaves with fake duets fabricated by the station itself, between artists such as Prince and Native, it was as if time stood still. Such excitement, waiting patiently beside the radio to “catch” tunes that remain magical as they were never released. Finally, when Charles Aznavour covered “Plus bleu que tes yeux” in ‘97, artificially mixing his voice with that of Edith Piaf, we thought, why not: after all, he was her secretary and confidant. And, above all, he did write the song. The problem is, these virtual duets have since spread like wildfire and recently they have started making us feel a little uncomfortable…

Elvis Presley’s voice, mixed with that of his daughter, Bob Marley’s with his daughter-in-law’s Lauryn Hill, Henri Salvador’s or Frank Sinatra’s with Céline Dion’s, etc. etc… Whatever the connection, whatever the reasons, regardless of the result. What is upsetting is the involvement of a dead person. Someone who is no longer in a position to agree or disagree. Someone who can’t intervene and finds themselves on a cover version of which they may not have approved. Even in situations where the rights holders agree to the recording, or are even behind the project, like Hélène Segara’s latest album “with” Joe Dassin that was instigated by his own sons. If the “heirs” are on board, then it’s alright? It’s almost worse. There is something obscene in permitting oneself to use the deceased with the authorisation of the heirs. Having said that, we shouldn’t worry, Hélène Segara claimed in a recent interview that when one covers another artist, it’s “really important to get the opinion of the person involved”. So Joe Dassin gave his approval from beyond the grave? The rest of us would love to know how she managed to hear him…

Marie Veyrier

Numéro 27 Du 16/10 au 29/10/13

THE BREAD LINE

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Irritated by the image of the typical Frenchman with a beret on his head and a baguette under his arm that foreigners seem to have of us? Well, don’t worry, it won’t last. As we are working hard to “ruin” our gastronomical pride and joy. 

The affair was in all the papers this summer. The Wall Street Journal lit the fuse. We are losing our touch when it comes to bread-making. And the fault lies with customers who increasingly want their bread “not too baked”. The poor bakers are obliged to interrupt their baking to satisfy us, thus sacrificing the crunchiness of the crust and the lightness of the dough, the trademarks of our culinary symbol. 

Bad clients! Hold out your hands for punishment. Not to mention the so-called baguette “de tradition” that demands certain other ingredients than a crunchy bake and that now accounts for a quarter of all bread bought! Above all, let’s highlight our own sadness. As in tandem with this, the French are complaining in increasing numbers that they are having trouble finding “a good bakery”. Not only one that can make a good baguette but one that can make… a good croissant! That’s all. We should be ashamed of what we find behind the glass at times: as greasy as it is tasteless, often inedible.

Bakeries that have good bread and good pastries are not on every street corner. One must choose. At this rate we will have to have a different address for each speciality: one for the baguette, another for the croissant, another for the brioche… An exaggeration? Even the last bread World Cup that took place at the end of September is a shocking admission of our failings. While France did win first prize, it was for “sandwiches” and “artistic pieces”.  As for the first two categories, “Breads of the world” and “Pastries”, France disappointed the jury and got the same marks as the lowest placed country overall. Nothing to write home about. 

Bianca Alberti

 

Numéro 26 2/10 au 15/10/13

WHAT’S WITH THE QUESTIONS?

  • 26- Beurk

It would make our day to put some of the clichés about gen Y to bed. But words need to be chosen carefully, presented in the right order and taking a longer view is recommended.
We accuse the survey launched by France Télévisions "Génération quoi?" on the 18-34 age-group. The subject is asked to answer 143 questions online on politics, religion, sexuality and happiness…

But from the outset something doesn’t feel right. The question "Have you ever gotten drunk with your parents?" is a little much. Why not simply ask "Have you ever had a drink with your parents?" or even "Avez-vous…", as just because they are under twenty five doesn’t mean automatic "tutoiement”. Further on there is this one, even more underhand: "Could you be happy without believing in God?" So believing in God is a given? 
Then there are the basic comprehension issues. "Could you be happy without using contraception?" Would we be happy if AIDS didn’t exist? Well, yes. Are contraceptives a barrier to happiness? Well, no. They are a source of freedom. But why this question? Are we going backward? 

"In a time of high unemployment, jobs should be reserved for men." Here the syntax isn’t the problem, but the question. While admitting that it is an interesting one, it cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. Just like "If war broke out, would you be prepared to fight for your country?". In what circumstances? An intervention in Syria or a ground war? If most answer yes, will the conclusion be that young people are too nationalist? If most answer no, are they unaware? Can these choices really be interpreted without explanation? Do these closed question really help to build a portrait of a generation that already feels it is victim to generalisation? "In life, either you fuck or you get fucked". Talk about a cliché. It is time to drop this image of the vulgar and neglectful youth who need to be spoken to "in their own language". 

"There are too many old people: agree/don’t agree" Do you mean my grandparents? My parents? At this stage young people have left their illusions far behind them. This survey leaves them speechless. And with all of these ambiguities, how will it be interpreted? So as to satisfy existing prejudices… Or to learn nothing about nothing? Seeing as they don’t get to speak for themselves. 

Chloé Danglard

• What is Generation Y

 
Numéro 25 Du 18/09 au 01/10/13

THE GREAT INVASION

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Of course advertising has its uses. Both to make a name for oneself as the advertiser and make money as a broadcaster. The Acharnœur can’t argue with that. However, advertising on the Internet has started to cross boundaries that force us to reflect on what is being done with us and our lives.

What exactly is happening? As we surf, we are now constantly confronted with pop-up windows that appear from who knows where or how. But, one thing is sure, we are always caught unawares. Imagine you are engrossed in an article and as you scroll down to continue reading, a voice rings out. What can it be? How do you stop it? Where is it? So you have to interrupt your reading to find the offending video and get rid of it. If that is even possible. The example is not an isolated one if you think about the other bothersome windows that constantly ask you to check out a networking site, adverts that slip between two pages or photos and that you accidentally click on only to find yourself on another site entirely… And all this for what? Nothing! Basically, we spend more time surfing from one ad to another rather than on the site we are interested in. Let’s just admit it, we read the ads!

Not to mention the specially targeted small ads and banners linked to whatever internet searches you did earlier, from plane tickets to underwear. Sometimes they are so well targeted that these adverts leave a disturbing aftertaste of interference. On the Internet, nothing is secret, everything is under surveillance, recorded and carefully filed away by sites that then force themselves on you.

While the ad-breaks on TV are regimented by the CSA and can easily be flicked over, and street advertising is strictly controlled by the council, the Internet remains out of reach. At a time when such a thing as parental control exists to protect kids, the need for some form of advert control has become urgent. They could then limit overkill and voyeurism in tandem. Among other things.

Mégane Seure

 

Numéro 24 04/09 au 17/09/13

NEWS COUNTERFEITERS

  • 24- Beurk

We already know that software like Photoshop can retouch photos of models and celebrities perpetuating the impression of perfect beauty. We also know that the news, in a dictatorship or war can be false for propaganda reasons.
However, who could have imagined that in the France of 2013, at a time when the freedom of expression and the press is being trumpeted all over the place, that the photos used to illustrate the news could possibly be misleading. The issue is frightening all the same as even if we don’t read the article in question, the message passed on by the image will have entered our minds all the same. 

Recently, two events have yet again undergone the experience. During a march in favour of “marriage for all”, the slogan on a banner was changed before being published online and went viral at the speed of light on social media. This happens all the time. Of course the tampered-with message caused a huge polemic accentuating the tension between the “fors” and “againsts”. During the riots in Trappes last July, a photo dating from 2005 and relating to the incidents in Clichy-sous-Bois was used as illustration online. Where all this gets worrying though is that even the TF1 News website published it, if only for a few minutes, but long enough to create the mix-up. Or that on France 2, an actual news report showed an image of a burning bus that also dated from 2005. These “errors” only served to reinforce an already consequential level of violence. And with one glance we all take it to be the gospel truth. 

The subject, party or political ideas matter little. Everyone is concerned. Anyone can manipulate or be manipulated. What is really serious is that such forgery has started to infiltrate our information channels. Worse, that certain journalists, increasingly under pressure to “sex-up” the news, don’t have time to check the source. Truth-telling is the very building block of this profession, even though the truth is always seen through the prism of each individual’s opinion. Today we have crossed over into lies. Lies that only serve to accentuate hatred and ignorance.

So the next time we get outraged about the way certain countries control access to the news, we would do better to put our own house in order. 

Marie Veyrier

 

Numéro 23 04/09 au 17/09/13

TOO TIGHT!

  • 12- Beurk

Issue 12 from 20/03 to 01/04/13

So Spring is officially here. And with it comes lighter clothing, including the return of tenacious trends like leggings worn as pants. A blend of the ridiculous, the vulgar and the inappropriate.

It is true that the marketing men do everything to try to renew the genre and make us believe that leggings can be worn with a little top that doesn’t even cover our hips. They make it in different materials like vinyl; they make them a little thicker, add motifs and change the name to «jegging» to give it a little more consistence… 

The problem is, leggings or jeggings, with or without designs, with or without lace, stitching, fake pockets or any other attempt at a style, are still basically just footless tights. A bit of tight fabric with an elasticated waist and very often stitching that goes from the navel all the way around, between the legs to the back. They can be worn with dresses, tunics, shorts… They can be easily accessorised with a piece of clothing that can at least hide the bottom and also the pubic area. 

Because leggings cover nothing whatsoever. You might as well be walking around in your knickers. There’s no other way of putting it. And unless you’re being sponsored by a lingerie brand to promote a thong –yes, you can really see everything…– there is no reason to give in to this trend that is everything but attractive or sexy. This is not a question of misplaced prudery. It is a simple observation and many agree, both women and men.

Now, it is true that stars are the first to wear leggings as pants. But stars are stars with a status that enables, even obliges them to be daring, to have a few eccentricities. If we were supposed to dress like Gaga in the street, we’d have heard about it.

Bianca Alberti

 

Numéro 22 Du 07/08 au 20/08/13

DEAR BIG CITY…

  • 22- Beurk

Thanks again for making July and August the months of the hammer drill and the digger. For those who have not been lucky enough to leave, especially this year, the noise pollution is deafening!

Bruno

Numéro 21 Du 24/07 au 5/08/13

GOD SAVE THE CLEAN

  • 21- Beurk

When the average tourist hops gaily on to the Eurostar to go visit friends across the channel, the intention is clearly not to tour morose suburbs, but to see the London we know from postcards. The one with the wide avenues lined with Victorian mansions, the green parks, the little paved streets with pretty mews that are so typical of London. The one with the bright red, shiny phone-box, with a bonus “Bobby” on hand looking suitably serious. The one with trendy neighbourhoods like Soho and Notting Hill where the tourist can go to soak up some British eccentricity.
But. To stop the myth from crumbling, the tourist should be told that a day trip is the better option, and preferably on a Monday or a Friday. And that’s it. Because if this is not an option, the tourist will have to face the shocking reality of a capital city that attracts millions of visitors each year: it’s dirty.

They won’t be able to escape the mountains of rubbish that pile up on the paths for days and have done for years… As, surprising as it may seem, rubbish collection in London is a real issue for the city’s inhabitants. There are no bins available for their waste while waiting for the bi-weekly pick-up, even in tourist areas. 
While the legendary British phlegm might be admirable in some circumstances, their passivity regarding this subject leaves us a little dubious. The ultimate irony is that the recycling guidelines are incredibly strict. Leave your bins on the pavement by all means, but please be elegant about it: paper and plastic in orange bags, the rest in black bags, thank you.

The sorry sight of young mothers slaloming between piles of filth with their pushchairs on the way to school changes nothing. Neither does the pestilential stink in the summer, or the rat invasion that is becoming a real public health issue. The distinguished professor Stephen Battersby, a specialist in this area declared recently: “There is now a rat per person in Great Britain”. Comes as a shock?

Stéphanie Norris

 

Numéro 20 10/07 au 23/07/13

TO PEE OR NOT TO PEE?

  • 20- Beurk

We’re always open to new ideas that improve our everyday lives. But not at any cost. Not if things are absurd. Not if it means a society turned upside down by making education a mere Pavlovian reflex. We’re talking about the wetness indicators on disposable nappies. A subject that is more serious than it appears.

They are design to alert parents or to «train» kids. For parents, there is a strip that changes colour… Why not, if it prevents having to open and check the nappy over and over. But things are getting out of control with the recent addition of a smartphone app that beeps via bluetooth when the nappy needs to be changed. Seriously! The pretext is that it helps to avoid nappy rash, but some parents see it as a chance to avoid feeling, sniffing or simply going from one room to another to check their kid is ok. Honestly!

For the younger ones, there are nappies with Disney characters on them where the picture disappears when wet so the kid understands he or she must go to the toilet «to learn the difference between wet and dry». Progress does not always mean progress. Doesn’t learning the difference between dry and wet just mean… feeling wet? Apparently, learning has become a visual and not a sensory issue. Sight instead of touch. Soon, to «teach» our kids to read, will we make them smell paper? Smell instead of hearing? The way things are going, we can’t rule it out. 

At the same time, the nappy industry is in trouble, to an extent. They have to keep selling nappies that have been perfected to such an extent over time that absorption is reaching optimum levels. It is impossible to tell whether this will have consequences on the normal evolution of things. In order to get us to swallow anything, the marketing men never go «dry».

Bianca Alberti

 

Numéro 19 du 26/06 au 9/07/13

MANKY ATTITUDE

  • 19- Beurk 2

On the one hand, you have men taking more care of themselves. On the other, women who are letting things slide. Molière would have adored turning it into a play. He could have entitled it «The dirty coquettes»*, directly inspired by the name given to these young women who look clean but are in fact filthy.

We see them, but we don’t actually see anything as they are always well dressed: cute dress, heels, varnished nails… They are quite fashionable and pretty. We do however notice that the mascara and foundation are never that fresh, that their clothes smell a little musty. But they are so «in the now» that any idea of dodgy personal hygiene is swept aside. Then, one day, they invite us into their mess, shameless and without a qualm. It’s not just about the dishes piling up in the sink or the germ-infested plates beside the bed. This is a new hybrid where hygiene and filth appear to cohabit with ease. 

Because they do wash, these «dirty coquettes». But in a bath that is never cleaned. A mouldy nest where soap build-up clings for months like oysters to a rock. The sink is hard to make out under the layer of hardened toothpaste. On the shelf, eye-shadows are open to dust and the bristles on the toothbrush are a stale yellow. The soap is floating in water. There is no make-up remover as removing make-up isn’t a thing or maybe in five minutes in the shower. 

In the living room, the dining table retains traces of a number of meals but is also half-covered by a clean, drying bath towel. This might explain things… We could go on but we think we have painted the picture.

So what do they have to say in their defence ? Nothing. As, for them, there is nothing to defend. Keeping up appearances in all ways seems to becoming the cornerstone of society ! We are only just beginning to realise to what extent. 

Bianca Alberti

*Ed: no connection with the play entitled «le Bal des coquettes sales» by Leïla Derradji and Brigitte Fontaine that came out in 2011.

Numéro 18 Du 12 au 25 juin 2013

REMOTE GIGS

  • 18- Beurk

They’re all coming in June: Rihanna was just here, then Depeche Mode, Muse, Indochine, Bruce Springsteen… Fantastic! But they’re all playing the same venue: the Stade de France. Of course: 80 000 fans in one night if the show sells out are not to be sniffed at. Except if you are one of those fans… As while the Stade de France is an architectural gem for sports events, for concerts it is a train wreck.

Strangely enough, the problem is not an acoustic one. The main defect is obviously its size. The second a human being moves on to the stage, the issue becomes clear. Unless you are in rows H1, H2, G8, S7, S8 or S12 or on the pitch in front of the stage, you can’t see a thing. FYI, the Stade has about 130 numbered rows for concerts. They’re not all the same and don’t cost the same, luckily. But the «reduced visibility» category as the website says costs up to 66€ to see Bruce Springsteen on June 29th. 66€ to see the Boss looking «smaller than the nail on my baby toe» according to one spectator at a recent Madonna concert. Of course, the Stade has two big screens that measure 196m2 each. But to go to a live show and end up relying on a cameraman really shows the limits of technical progress and logic. Whichever.

So, should you go for the atmosphere? Well, you’d need to have one first of all. Not everyone is able to get the Stade going. We will acknowledge performances given by the Rolling Stones, Coldplay, Prince… The latter was forced to finish up his show after 3 hours due to regulations, and evacuation issues. When practically the only way to leave Plaine Saint Denis is on the RER or the metro, time limitations are inevitable, as is frustration. 

So why bother with the Stade? Because «filling the Stade de France», constitutes a huge ego boost. And we thought that a live gig was supposed to be a chance to make contact... So, our idols, tell us where the after-party is? In Bercy? We’ll take it, even with a capacity of 16 065!

Bianca Alberti

 

Numéro 17 29/05 au 12/06

HELLO ?

  • 17- Beurk

The Internet and the telephone… A giant leap forward in communication terms. A big step back in terms of humanisation. Things don’t quite add up.

To begin with, exchanges have become internet sites or automated answering machines. While some provide a new level of comfort, they’ve unfortunately been developed in their hundreds for the slightest action, challenging any level of patience: a sterile search on a badly planned website, a site that freezes just as you are buying something, a pre-recorded message that doesn’t correspond to your specific needs, the cost of every minute spent waiting for a detail, etc… Everyone complains but there’s really no point. Now, finding out the opening hours for a museum or ordering a taxi has become a nightmare. Magnifique!

The only other option is to try to get through to a person. A real one. With the hope of deliverance. Generally, you need to dial 9 for this option after having gone through every other choice available. Or a shortened or 0800 number that you will eventually have found well hidden on the website. After waiting for hours, you finally get a human being on the end of the line. A listening ear, ready to understand your distress, to sympathise with your problem  but above all to solve it. Except. More and more often, you don’t get a real person, you get a robot. Because they will have been trained not to «go outside usual procedure», even though they don’t actually solve your problem. And because you are the thirtieth person today that they have heard complain or get angry, and having received so much bile already, they have built a shell. And because they are in a foreign country, speak your language badly and you don’t speak theirs at all. 


It all ends up with two endless and perfectly useless monologues. A sense of frustration, of unease. A deep feeling of loneliness. For both parties. A lovely gift from these modern times.

Marie Veyrier

 

Numéro 16 15/05 au 28/05 /13

FALL OUT

  • 16- Beurk

Roll out the red carpet. An expression that conjures up the shiniest of images, the fanciest dresses, the highest heels, the most enchanting silhouettes… But the slightest twist and it all falls down. You only need to «twist» your ankle on the red carpet for the show to change and the admiring looks turn to smiles, even laughter.

The pain is incidental as the funny aspect takes over. Well, it’s funny enough for the video or photo to go viral, whether the victim is an actress, singer, model, politician… Funny enough to be turned into an advert, by Orangina. And then, it’s worse for the nobody in the street. There is no special treatment: women and men are both victims. And no quarter is given either, wherever you are, you will be laughed at, even better, judged.

The pretty girl, elegantly perched, light of step, so pleasant to watch but also so difficult to approach… In one felled swoop, she’s on the ground. And off the pedestal. In a fraction of a second, she becomes the idiot who «shouldn’t have worn those heels if she didn’t know how to walk in them». What about the guy who is all decked our for his run… High-tech shorts, perfect little mp3 holder, trendy baseball cap and the latest trainers. Concentrating on his running, his pace. Then, crack, it all goes wrong. He goes from the semi-professional to «who does he think he is?».

The laughter is instantaneous. Of course, seeing someone slip or fall is always good for a giggle. But in normal circumstances, a human waits to see if the other person is alright before laughing. They may even hold out a helping hand, or check if they can still walk. Except in this case, the book is judged by its cover and the victim becomes the subject of revenge. And the fall, funny as it is, above all is seen as symbolic. But in this show, no one plays the good guy.

Marie Veyrier


Numéro 15 01/05 au 14/05

THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG

  • 15- beurk

Do you want to know what people think about you, physically that is? All you need to do is go to a perfume store, buy something and then check what samples the "advisor" slips into your bag. They can be very telling, and not always in a good way.

There was a time when these samples were related to the purchase itself. You just bought a perfume, why not try the body lotion? A lipstick? Try out the new foundation. And should the shop assistant decide you needed some skincare, she didn't highlight your dull skin but your soon-to-be "glowing" skin. One felt spoilt. Today, you still buy some perfume, but with no other explanation find yourself leaving with an anti-wrinkle cream. You buy a lipstick, and leave with a weight loss cream especially for "those difficult areas". Your moisturiser is accompanied by a serum for "dry or damaged hair". And it's not just the women, men get the treatment also. As now, they too have a whole range of dedicated products, they are also on the receiving end of "anti-shine" product when all they really wanted was shaving cream. Help!

In the era of target marketing, what an amazing way not to spoil the customer but to really spoil customer relations! No more accompanying speeches, no more chummy chats that flatter you into perhaps considering trying a new product. No, just an impression of having been observed without realising it. Then having been observed only through one's imperfections. Worse, to have been looked at in a way that might give rise to new complexes. It shows a lack of tact and delicacy.

At the same time, the samples are now essentially a concentrate of "Fault emphasisers", "correctors" as they say. We must look elsewhere for a little sweetness in a rough world. At least we have our inner beauty...

Marie Veyrier

 

Numéro 14 17/04 au 30/05

LOVE STORIES

  • 14- Beurk

The whole planet – well, at least a part of France – trembled at word of a possible separation of celebrity couple Jean Dujardin and Alexandra Lamy. While such a break-up might surprise or sadden, according to the extent of your romanticism or celebrity obsession levels, at least we wouldn’t feel tricked. Indeed, they are beautiful, happy and in love. Nevertheless, the two lovebirds have always said: «We do admire one another. But we fight too. We are a real couple». That’s it. A real couple. Thanks for admitting it.

As some stars seem to be gifted at displaying such strong and pure love… They show it on their faces, at every official outing, in interviews, and on the front page of fashion mags and tabloids… There is no escape from this gushing, perfect romance. So it becomes impossible, as a result, not to believe the fairytale, not to latch on to it because a reality with beautiful stories is more motivating than a hopeless one! And, what if the same thing happened to us… We’re human after all.

But one day, things fall apart. These marvellous couples decide to end it. Why? Because, in fact, things were not so idyllic. Far from it. And it’s not so much the post-breakup heartbreak that bothers us. It’s the pre-breakup revelations, the ones about the years of perfection that weren’t. From Vanessa Paradis who for years spoke of «a natural, obvious love», then says «If something isn’t right in love since the start, it will never work. You shouldn’t try to force things» ; from Heidi Klum who, after renewing her vows with Seal annually for almost ten years to prove their love was intact, lets it be known that she left him because of his jealous, even violent character… And these are only two couples that represented absolute love.

All that for what? No fairytale then. Just an adventure with highs and lows, passion and doubts, thrills and spills. And to think that we nearly developed a complex.

Bianca Alberti

 

Numéro 13 03/04 au 16/04/13

BEHAVIOURAL DIFFICULTIES

  • 13-beurk 4

One scandal after another, bribery, corruption and other misdemeanours have become the everyday business of political parties, and ours too as a result… The events of April 2nd are proof. It is an established fact that they never keep their promises once they get into power. Another that they tend to accumulate skeletons in cupboards all over the place (or as the French say “pots and pans on your ass”). And it is an aberration, when you think about it, that we have adapted to the political world functioning in this way.

But it gets worse. As these men and women move in the same circles and obviously spend time together, whether they are from the left or the right, especially as some have no compunction about jumping the fence. Apart from a few idealists who are blinded by trust. So we can be sure that most of them have a few well-kept secrets sealed by a tacit and mutual silence. But when the press breaks a story, the wolves are out and its another story altogether! A masterclass in hypocrisy, many of them forgetting quite handily the little arrangements they have made with their own conscience. They breezily repeat a phrase that has lost all meaning: « A thorough investigation must be carried out into this affair » when they themselves have plenty to hide from the law… The shocked faces! The indignant speeches and demands for justice in the name of the French people! 

Then the lynch mob forms. There’s safety in numbers and with a little encouragement tongues start wagging, opinions fly, insults too. Low-rent gossip. A special mention goes to those who jump to ruin a rival’s reputation on as yet unproven allegations.

But there you go. Their righteous indignation fools no-one and just reduces their already critically low credibility levels. The political stage has turned into the most vulgar and insufferable reality TV than anything in the genre. Good example, good image, good future. Jérôme Cahuzac, the latest liar, was an expert in the genre.

Marie Veyrier

 

Numéro 12 20/03 au 01/04/13

TOO TIGHT!

  • 12- Beurk

So Spring is officially here. And with it comes lighter clothing, including the return of tenacious trends like leggings worn as pants. A blend of the ridiculous, the vulgar and the inappropriate.

It is true that the marketing men do everything to try to renew the genre and make us believe that leggings can be worn with a little top that doesn’t even cover our hips. They make it in different materials like vinyl; they make them a little thicker, add motifs and change the name to «jegging» to give it a little more consistence… 

The problem is, leggings or jeggings, with or without designs, with or without lace, stitching, fake pockets or any other attempt at a style, are still basically just footless tights. A bit of tight fabric with an elasticated waist and very often stitching that goes from the navel all the way around, between the legs to the back. They can be worn with dresses, tunics, shorts… They can be easily accessorised with a piece of clothing that can at least hide the bottom and also the pubic area. 

Because leggings cover nothing whatsoever. You might as well be walking around in your knickers. There’s no other way of putting it. And unless you’re being sponsored by a lingerie brand to promote a thong –yes, you can really see everything… there is no reason to give in to this trend that is everything but attractive or sexy. This is not a question of misplaced prudery. It is a simple observation and many agree, both women and men.

Now, it is true that stars are the first to wear leggings as pants. But stars are stars with a status that enables, even obliges them to be daring, to have a few eccentricities. If we were supposed to dress like Gaga in the street, we’d have heard about it.

Bianca Alberti
 
 
Numéro 11 06/03 au 19/03/13

SEX ABUSE

  • 11- Beurk

March 8th is International Women’s Day! Unfortunately it won’t be a party. These 24 hours are there to remind us about all of the battles yet to be won around the world so that women finally attain a respectable and respected status. Many ideas and points of view are being proposed. From feminists to start with. Whoa! 

Let’s get things straight. Since the end of the 19th century and in particular in the nineteen seventies, they were the ones who defended essential rights tooth and nail, like the right to vote, to a decent education, to do what one wanted with one’s own body… And while there are many battles still to be won, they are creating new ones that are not necessarily those of the women on today. We could even go as far as to say that these battles are seriously starting to weigh down our daily lives and our femininity. 

Wanting to be the absolute equal to men at all costs means that these feminists hamstring our desire to sometimes be a fragile woman looking for refuge in the arms of a manly man ; they oppress our need to be treated differently, to be treated with deference for example (a protective one), or gallantly by men who no longer dare to for fear of insulting us ; they condemn our choices to be stay-at-home mothers as to them, this can only be demeaning ; they force us to call ourselves Madame when we were thrilled to be still referred to as Mademoiselle. They make us feel guilty for not being vindictive or castrating enough… 

What do they want us to be? It all depends on what feminists, which adds to the confusion. When some reprimand the slightest use of the female body as an advertising ploy, others bare their breasts to support their cause. The resulting confusion is a pain in the tits. 

But what do we want to be? It would be impossible to list all of the women’s rights issues that still need to be supported. But we don’t want to make men our number one enemy. We have no wish to torture them in their virility. We want to be proud of our sensuality and the looks we get, that can also be flattering. Above all, we want to be able to say stop when we don’t agree with their protests, or that we don’t feel concerned by their terrorist-like demands. After all, freedom of speech and thought is a fundamental right, no? We won’t be long finding out.

Virginie Achard
 
Numéro 10 20/02 au 5/03/13

IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND OF THE SON

  • 10- Beurk

Amanda Sthers wins. The comments by Johnny Hallyday with whom she has written an «autobiography»*, the idea for which was hers, are getting a reaction. And not just the ones about Adeline, the ex-«idole des jeunes’ (youth idol)» ex-wife. We’re more interested in what he has to say about David...

How can a father talk about his son like that? And in public no less. In the book, Johnny Hallyday clearly blames his son David for having been «brought up in comfort», for having been «happy» - the last straw – and decrees that this means he’s not a real rocker and that as a result «he never really knew what to do with his talent» even though he recognises that David is «a great artist».

Johnny is well aware of the fact that you need to suffer to «be hungry». But for a man whose irretrievable father made his own childhood a misery not to ask himself if his own absence from David’s life wasn’t a cause of «suffering» for his son, even in his ivory tower?
And did he never stop to think that David, who is constantly in search of recognition - once notably attained with his «Sang pour sang» album that he wrote entirely himself - would not feel betrayed by such comments? Worse still, that such comments could call into question the entire existence that David tried to build despite his status as a «son of», a situation that can seriously cause problems? 

So Johnny is the only one qualified to have a rock n'roll attitude because he had an unhappy start to a life that, by the way, also gave him so much? Only he can define the degree of suffering one must undergo to be «hungry»? 
What Johnny seems to forget is that unhappiness, when used over and over again as an alibi becomes complacency, while happiness, when thrown up as a reproach, becomes a rare talent. And it’s most likely that his son has much more of that talent than he does.

* «Dans mes yeux», éditions Plon

M.A.

 

Numéro 9 06/02 au 19/02/13

BLACKOUT

  • 09- Beurk 04

To begin with the intentions were good: cutting down on energy consumption to fight climate change, and by the same token, reducing our electricity bills. A win-win! So, since the start of 2013, according to the European Union’s calendar, shops have definitively stopped selling the old energy-eating bulbs in favour of the more ecological option.

The problem is that in fact, the reality is different. There are different types of bulb with three different technologies: halogens, compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED. There is no room for mistakes. You will find yourself with the wrong type of connection, a delay before the light comes on or a hospital-style ambience. A degree in engineering is required when buying a light bulb these days!

OTT? Well, not a lot of people are aware of this but a bulb must now be chosen according to use and location. A bulb that is regularly switched on and off like in the toilet? Avoid the compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs or you will only really have enough light by the time you are flushing. What about a lamp that remains lit for a long period? Not always! Because of magnetic fields, they shouldn’t be used near your head. So no bedside lamps then. And to make things even more complicated, they can’t just be disposed of any old way due to the mercury they contain. How ecological.

Halogens? It’s funny; we always thought they used too much electricity. But apparently we were misinformed. Poor us. However, let’s all rush to do a u-turn on that one! The only ones left are the LED bulbs. Unfortunately, they are still really expensive… And their blue component is already in legal hot water as it has an adverse effect on the eyes… 

It all seems to be piling up and that’s not all! These new bulbs are prohibitively priced for a life-span that rarely fulfils its promise, especially in a society where the electric installations still haven’t been modernised. This means that some people’s « bulb » budget has gone through the roof. 

Well. Is it possible that things have gone a little too fast? Are we not just guinea-pigs testing the well-meaning actions of our European bureaucrats? Someone should throw a little light on the subject. 

Bianca Alberti

 
 
Numéro 8 Du 23/01 au 05/02/13

RIP-OFF

  • 08- Beurk

It is being talked about, but perhaps not loud enough. So many people don’t realise that the «Made in» label is one of the biggest rip-off of our times.

What exactly does this certification mean? According to the custom and excise, it means that «merchandise (…) is from the country where its last transformation took place». In short, the buttons on the jeans were made in Thailand, the fabric was cut and dyed in Turkey but they were put together in Spain? The jeans will be labelled «Made in Spain». It’s only logical. We just didn’t realise that the assembly was the most significant stage; the actual manufacturing is just a detail.

Thankfully, for certain products, what takes precedence is the country «that represents an important step in the manufacturing process». But the evaluation criteria are on a case by case basis, which makes this estimation very shady indeed. Economic repercussions also remain a determining factor. Take planes, for example. Airbus assembles some of its planes in China but they are presented them as having come from European factories. Great. 

So behind this international and worryingly official rip-off, the consumer is the one who loses out. In terms of buying power first of all. By stamping «Made in Italy» on a pair of shoes, the producer shamelessly plays on that country’s good reputation to push up the prices. So while the client thinks he or she is buying «quality leather» or from a «specialist shoe manufacturer», they are actually getting «quickly stitched» and «weak materials» from somewhere else entirely. The repercussions are not only in the pocket however. Imagine you carefully choose products that are «made in…» in order to avoid toxic materials, to fight child labour, support sustainable development… And in fact are doing to opposite without knowing. Who can guarantee that is not the case?

Obviously governments are reacting, a little.
So, a word for the owners of the big fashion corporations: While you are fighting the war against fakes, and so you should, couldn’t you also bring your considerable clout to bear on establishing clear rules, which would, of course be to your advantage? Unless this has been the case for a long time already…

Bianca Alberti


• Thanks to Anne Petrequin for these details from her masterpiece "Trame des Made in". Here, from Salzburg to Zaragosa. From l'Île de Groix to Bangladesh. De Chine à Panama.

 
 
Numéro 7 09 au 22/01/13

GRILLED

  • 07- beurk 2

The rich have such a bad name at the moment that hoping to pocket a little or a lot of money is seen as the highest form of stupidity. The latest adverts for the Lotto are even passing on the message : «The life of a winner can hold some surprises». What surprises ? A sports car that is so low slung that you can’t reach the parking ticket dispenser without scraping the door or blocking the path… A luxury (again) two-seater car that regrettably prevents you and your co-pilot from picking up a stereotypical but irresistible hitch-hiker… A huge pool that is useless as you are alone in the middle of it because all your friends still have jobs to go to… Between looking like a total imbecile or a loser, we choose in the end to stick to our thin wallets, rich in friendship and living on love and fresh air. The best.

Come on. No one would turn down a few extra and unexpected pennies to help make ends meet and not have to make sacrifices. And while this isn’t possible for most of us, the Lotto, Euromillions and other super draws used to let us make the most extravagant plans for our millions, for a day anyway. We could almost see ourselves dressing up as a chicken to say «Goodbye boss» like in the old adverts, lying back on a blow-up mattress in the middle of a pool declaring «Life is fair after all !» We were carefree, smiling, «crazy»… And while millions were not going to land on our doorstep, these little imaginative getaways were like an enchanted interlude. Not to mention the fact that the conversations could easily include those who didn’t play lotto. A sort of pleasant and incongruous unanimity was created, all the more if we remember the original subject, winning money. But goodbye, calf, cow, pig. Dreaming of riches is no longer a dream. What else is in store ?

Bianca Alberti
 
Numéro 6 26/12/12 au 08/01/13

SERIAL FLOWERS

  • 06- Beurk

Perfume. That «trail of desire», as Christian Dior defined it, that leaves an imprint, a memory behind each person; that essence that escapes differently from everyone’s skin, and signs a presence an emotion. This personal touch that we all look for, try, adopt… This part of oneself. But. Perfume has become such an industry that everything that makes it exceptional is floating away on the fumes of the profits being made.

This proliferation has lead to the unpleasant impression that creating a perfume no longer requires the slow and meticulous research to find the olfactory combination that will make it so unique. The image of the «Nose» working in his laboratory, experimenting different extracts and blends to reveal the most beautiful head, heart and base notes has been tarnished. 

Today, the shelves are overflowing with fragrances that are as neutral as their names. As if the mention of a simple flower –Vanille, Violette– or a variation on a myth like «Mademoiselle» or «Noir» was enough to entice our nostrils. Perfumers are even changing the categories: Opium is now available as an eau de parfum, eau de toilette and, since the end of February, as perfume vapours. Things are getting a little foggy. 

But that’s not the worst. It follows that the market must also comply. Perfumes that don’t sell as well disappear without warning. From one day to the next, we are bereft. Completely. Heartbreaking for those who are still pining for Deci Delà by Nina Ricci to give only one example and the orphans desperately seeking it on the web. As for Yves Saint-Laurent’s «Nu», it disappeared four years ago only to resurface in another bottle. A way to play with our senses.

Thankfully, the stalwarts remain. Not so fast. The European Commission made the industry and clients shudder in November when it declared it was to examine the presence of allergens in certain blends such as Chanel n°5 or Dior Addict. We are assured this was not the case. That it is merely a question of opening a dialogue with the cosmetology industry. Something smells bad.

Bianca Alberti
 
Numéro 5 12/12 au 25/12/12

GRAVE BEAUTY

  • 05- Beurk

So, you can’t question taste or colour? Let’s anyway. About the nail varnish colours in blue, gray and khaki… They’ve been around for a few seasons already… They have almost become signatures. Marketing has finally managed to impose the trend. Following on from the «rock n’ roll» collections that justified the greens, blues and dark greys, cosmetic companies have started pushing «Nude» ranges of colours with «flesh», «skin» and «natural» for the beiges, greys and taupes. We have moved on now to the «Low Nail», with «delicate», «minimalist», «sweet» colours that sell… beiges, greys and taupes. Nice coup. Not to mention khaki that seems to fit everything. 

Of course, fashion must innovate, dare, tempt. Style bureaus and brands work overtime to renew the genre. Sometimes our principles and wardrobe resist the change, before giving in. That’s part of the game. There is one rule however: looking one’s best. That’s the cruellest blow. Nude varnish or low nails don’t play the game. Maybe they go perfectly with our handbags but they go even better with the paint on the wall. Once they are on and dry, their texture is as «delicate» as plaster. Finally, and most importantly, they are so «minimalist» that they are as sad as the current economy. Are we obliged to avoid any sign of flash to the extent that even our nails are forced into hiding? Made to blend in with the scenery or our bodies? What a shame. Brightly coloured nails scream glamour, deeper colours are mysterious, and transparent nails make you want to take your clothes off. Nail varnish is that touch of femininity that works with jeans and trainers and that remains seductive in a dressing gown. But maybe that’s the problem. Too much pleasure, too much desire, too much lightness. Dullness suits us. Especially at the moment. Bring back colour, what a thought.

Marie Veyrier

Numéro 4 28/11 au 11/12/12

HATE FACE

  • 04- Beurk

Strange conversations between friends. Some subjects appear to have become taboo. The culprit: the easy short-cuts behind the particle «anti». You can’t say anything anymore. You are left-wing? Then you are anti-rich. Right-wing? You are anti-social aid. For Sarkozy? You are anti-Hollande. For Hollande? You are anti-Sarko. For gay marriage? Anti-traditional marriage. Against? Anti-modern marriage. Even lighter subjects don’t escape. So we avoid the subject, so as not to fall out with those close to us, to take things too far and in the process, damage sincere and profound relationships. This state of play is no exaggeration. Asking around, many people are in the same situation. How did it come to this? The verb «to stigmatise» hasn’t helped; it tends to end a conversation. Without actually stigmatising anything at all, it creates an amalgam. The social networks have their part to play. Our thoughts can be tweeted in anger a little too quickly. Often without distance or restraint. We go from freedom of expression to venting, insults… And our politicians are not necessarily setting an example. 

We are no longer just convinced, we are categorical. The only problem is, when you take a stance, there is no such thing as black or white. There are many shades of grey in between. Dark grey, light grey, French grey, blue grey, pigeon grey, Charleston grey, pearl grey, charcoal grey, stone grey, wolf grey… enough to realise that there are plenty of nuances in each story. To bring or listen. Points of view to share to try to understand, convince but also to rethink or tone down our convictions. This is the only way for our minds to evolve.

This is all the more important as no one knows what’s going on in a discussion where all minefields must be avoided. It is no longer a question of political correctness, it is discussion burial. So can we leave the rudeness, the narrow mindedness and the intolerance in the closet and go back to being open and sincere? At least between friends. Bordel.

Virginie Achard

 
Numéro 3 14/11 au 27/11/12

ADVANCE CALENDAR

  • 03- Respect

So, Christmas, is it before or after Halloween? This year, confusion reigns. Santa Claus appeared in stores and on radio adverts before we even managed to buy a pumpkin.

Let’s be clear: Christmas, the shopping feast, has been coming way too soon for years. But wasn’t there some unwritten agreement that things didn’t kick off until after the 1st of November? Well the agreement seems to have been shredded, in a big way. Is there a need to launch special offers to beat the competition? In this key sales period, is the fear recession-based? 

Of course, the holiday season is an enjoyable time. It buoys us up in the final stretch of the long year. The problem is, we weren’t ready. We were still in that transition period between back to school and the first bank holiday weekend of the autumn. We were just getting used to the shorter days, to putting the heat back on. These adverts have upset our inner calendar and our train of thought. They are making time go even faster. They unscrupulously force us into gift planning before we even get a chance to think « family », « tree » or « decorations”. There is no satisfaction. As for the kids, they haven’t even had time to turn down the corners of the toy catalogues while their favourite man in red is already suggesting gifts to the adults. In short, the Christmas lights haven’t even been switched on, but the magic of Christmas has already gone out. Pathetic.

So what? Obviously these few lines are not going to convince businesses to reset their calendars. But if they think that one day we will start doing our Christmas shopping the minute we get back from summer holidays, just when the tax bill arrives, they don’t believe in Father Christmas, they believe in miracles. 

Bianca Alberti

Numéro 2 31/10 au 13/11

POISONED GIFT

  • 02- Beurk NB

Customs and traditions have to evolve at some stage. Or do they? Proof, if needed is this tradition of a «group gift» that seems to have become the norm at birthdays. Of course, when the birthday girl or boy drop enough hints to their friends and family that they are «dying for a *****», it is hard to ignore. The same goes for the key ages where an unforgettable gift is appropriate but overly expensive for one person. Otherwise, this new practice leaves an unpleasant, complicated, sad and above all impersonal taste.

Unpleasant as the exchanges are often by group email between all of the guests, not all of whom necessarily know one another. Regardless. Everyone sticks their oar in, gives their opinion on other people’s ideas, makes comments about the opinions… And if all of this jams your inbox, saying it makes you look like a party pooper.

Complicated because you have to have a collection. The person in charge of this particular mission always ends up losing out due to promised donations that never materialise and that are hard to chase up without looking like Ebenezer Scrooge. Not to mention that each guest has to say how much they are contributing. Whether or not they are naturally generous, having money worries, or barely know the birthday girl or boy, they will be secretly judged either for overdoing things or being stingy.

Sad because the present-opening is transformed into a surprise-less event as everyone knows what’s in the box except for the recipient. Even the card is sad. Through shyness, lack of inspiration or time, the messages are often banal in the extreme.

Impersonal, finally as it nullifies all marks of affection that each guest might have shown in their own name through a small object, carefully chosen for the occasion. It precludes all personal messages, removes the possibility for any complicity in the gift-giving... In short, it puts an end to the instant where everyone laughs, smiles, even weeps a little.

Of course, the option is always there to go it alone. But you are taking the risk of looking like you want to stand out from the crowd or exclude yourself from the group. Not very gift.

Bianca Alberti

 
 
Numéro 1 17/10 au 30/10

RED CARPET

  • 01-Beurk

Most French women dream of owning a pair, women around the world fantasise about the possibility. Why? To some extent for the « house red » that covers the sole of every shoe he makes. Mr. Christian Louboutin, who else? 

We have to admit that his collections are brimming with timeless or unwearable treasures that are always a treat for the eyes and the epitome of femininity reminding everyone of the power of the heel. And we’re not going to lie, here in the office, we like ‘em, we wear ‘em. 

So what on earth is Christian Louboutin doing in the « Yuck » section? It just so happens that when you claim a signature to the extent that in the U.S. it is a trademark, you had better make sure of the quality. There’s the rub, the problem is the sole and the Louboutin house red. Unfortunately the designer’s trademark wears off with every step leaving a dodgy grey patch. 

The issue is news to no one. It starts in the store, you fall for a pair but the salesperson requests that you walk only on the carpet to try them so as not to damage the precious surface. The difficulty then shifts to the numerous sites and forums where fashionistas exchange tips on how to remedy the problem such as « stick a transparent adhesive strip » on the sole to protect it. Of course, Christian Louboutin does propose a solution: one shoe repair shop, and only one, in Paris. For only 96 Euros and a month-long wait, they will repair your leather soles before you go back out and damage them again. Or, for 25 Euros you can have an half rubber sole fitted. A Louboutin rubber sole, how chic.

Or not. So, what can you do? Keep worshipping and turn a blind eye? Calculate mileage? How about dyed leather? Too complicated. So we will just have to take our lead from Disney. By letting Christian Louboutin create what could have been Cinderella’s famous glass slipper. At least Disney was able to make sure the lost one stayed intact a little longer. That hadn’t occurred to us. All we wanted was to play at being a princess anyway.

Virginie Achard