That's it, for today!


Probably few people outside France and French-speaking countries ever heard of Claude Piéplu, who died a few days ago. In France though, he was famous as the unusual high-pitched voice of the narrator in the much-loved TV cartoon Les Shadoks, droll birdlike creatures from another planet, that made Piéplu a real star here.

Started as a sort of Peanuts-like characters, these outer-space bird-like creatures were the heroes of a French TV cartoon that turned into a cult-like phenomenon. Characterized by ruthlessness, stupidity and living on a two-dimensional planet, the Shadoks would constantly try to escape their rivals the Gibis, sorts of intelligent guinea pigs wearing bowler hats, whose names had a lot to do with the initials of that country across the Channel.

Speaking a special language, the Shadoks could only use four syllables: ga, bu, zo, meuh (pronounced as: gah, büh, zoh, möh). Absurdity and fake logic permeated their world, with adages such as: “Why do simple when one can do complicated?” and “When one tries continuously, one ends up succeeding. Therefore, the more you fail, the more chances you have to be successful”.

These features have become a inherent part of French way of thinking and sometimes very special sense of humour.

Mad Cows

A Mad Cow before Saint-Germain-des-Prés Church (Paris, May 2006)

A couple of days ago, about 150 cows in fibre glass invaded the pavement of Paris. You can see them everywhere now, from the Avenue des Champs-Élysées to the Place de la Bastille.

It is supposed to be an art exhibition called Vach'Art, that is the Cow-Parade's French version. Yet it doesn't fool me: these are undoubtedly mad cows! Some believe they are Harry Potter, other ones that René Magritte is their farmer! I tell you, these cows are crazy!

I took the shot opposite yesterday evening. This green cow is named Le goût du naturel (Taste for Naturalness), whereas one can wonder how grazing in such a place could be natural, don't you think?

Well, after all, maybe it knows the church behind it, and the neighbourhood, are called Saint-Germain-des-Prés, which means Saint Germain in the fields...


Grande Odalisque — Jean-Dominique Ingres (1814)
Oil on Canvas, 91 x 162 cm. Musée du Louvre, Paris.

Jean-Dominique Ingres is viewed by many as a classical and academic painter whereas, from the very beginning of his career, he has distorted nature in the interest of pictorial effect.

A notorious example is his famous Grande Odalisque, a lascivious naked woman whose back is more serpentine than realistic (with three extra vertebrae elongating it!), breast is located in unusual place, and right arm is impossibly long. Ingres neglected anatomic reality to abtract and intemporal art.

About the present exhibition entitled Ingres 1780-1867 held now in Le Louvre Museum in Paris, British art critic Richard Dormant recently wrote in :

For an artist who is so often described as the enemy of Romanticism, Ingres here creates a parallel universe that takes us into the realms of fantasy and imagination we will not find again in European art until the paintings of Burne-Jones. What Picasso, Matisse and Man Ray found so fascinating about Ingres is the way figures such as these look as though they have been cut out of another canvas, then pasted on to the one we are looking at — an effect that resembles the yet-to-be-invented technique of collage.

Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin


Timeless Music
The Magic Flute
by W. A. Mozart

Timeless Reading
Les Essais
by Michel de Montaigne