Saturday, 30 January 2010

Jazz à Trivy

There is a very strong link between Jazz and France. Paris has acted as a magnet on a lot of great jazz musicians; after the war quite a few actually stayed in Paris for a shorter or longer period of time. Apart from this, France has produced some great names in jazz as well, to mention a few: Martial Solal, Daniel Humair, Pierre Michelot, Michel Legrand, Jean-Luc Ponty, Louis Sclavis and the unforgettable Quintette du Hot Club de France with Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelly. The tradition of the Hot Club is still alive in a great number of “manouche” combos.
One day we were browsing around in the Office de Tourisme in Cluny, when we got hold of a brochure called “Jazz à Trivy”. One of the first concerts in that series was a concert of Biréli Lagrène and his Gipsy Project. In Cluny the tickets had been sold out, but they told us that tickets were still available in a pharmacy in Charnay-lès-Mâcon. Charnay is not so far from here (approx. 30 km) so the next day we had tickets. Everybody who knows something about jazz also knows that Lagrène had developed from being a Django clone into a musician with a fabulous technique and a very own sound, even though he still has not forgotten his manouche background. The concert was excellent, and two seasons after the first concert, Lagrène performed again in Trivy, this time with Gipsy Project and singer Sara Lazarus. And that is what I find so amazing. Someone like Lagrène can easily fill a big concert hall, and has done so in the past. And still, this guy gives concerts in a piss pot little town, in the middle of nowhere, in a small Romanesque church which can be filled, with a lot of difficulty and after much pushing and shoving, with a maximum of 100 spectators. I am pretty sure there is a simple explanation. Possibly Lagrène was born or has lived around here, or has got some friends who live in this area and whom he does a favour; or of course a combination of both. Whatever the reason, Lagrène is a very welcome guest in Trivy. And Trivy has more to offer. The Swingle Singers of Ward Swingle were scheduled to perform not so long ago. Anyway, for jazz fans who are staying here in the summer: keep an eye out for “Jazz à Trivy”!

The website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Bingo! (part 1)

Last year we read in the “Bulletin de Cormatin” that the “Amicale de Cormatin”, an association that organises amongst others the yearly brocante and randonnée, the outing for the aged and the Christmas party for the schoolchildren, was in need of volunteers. During the New Year’s reception at the Mairie we asked a local friend of ours whom we should approach, and she pointed Monsieur Alain G. out. We spoke to the guy and his wife, and yes, we could help; we had to be on a certain Saturday at 17h00 at Salle St. Roch to help with the Loto (= Bingo). We thought it to be a bit odd, because we were pretty sure that the Loto was in the afternoon. But maybe they needed us for the washing up, or for clearing chairs and tables.
The plot thickened when we realised that the Loto was held on a Sunday. But again, maybe we had to help setting up tables and chairs. Anyway, we arrived in time, together with a lot of other people. Every person got a handful of Loto cards, without payment, and the Loto began. Each time when a price fell, the “winner” stood up and handed in his card, which was carefully registered. And although three prices fell, nobody collected them; after the 3rd prize everyone packed up and went home. No need to say that we did not have the foggiest what had been going on that afternoon.
In the mean time we are a bit more integrated in the social life and events of Cormatin, and during the most recent meeting we finally saw the light. At the end of the meeting of the Amicale each participant received an envelope with 20 Loto cards à € 2.00 each. Every person present was asked to sell these cards to friends and relatives; the cards were numbered and had to be registered. The day before the “public” Loto, we are supposed to hand in the sold cards, the list with registered names of the absent players, and we had to play for those absent guys. The next day the proper, “public” Loto was held, and there one could also grab as many cards as one liked; however not without paying for them!
For part 2 and last click here.

The website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Never again! (part 3 and last)

Summary : this is part 3 about cutting down trees in a forest.
After a long, hot summer we were supposed to pick up the wood in August, with our Citroën Picasso and trailer. Fortunately we do not live far away from ‘our’ piece of the forest, and we noticed in time that the path along the affouage plot was quickly overgrowing with shrubs. It appeared that we did not have much time to loose. We got our ass in gear pretty soon, and started to go into the forest, upload wood, and carry it to the field behind our house.
Unfortunately the path was sheltering a hidden tree trunk, which made a nice dent in the chassis of the car, under the right hand side door. Result : we could neither open nor close the door anymore. Fortunately we had an ex-car mechanic on the camp site, who was friendly enough to hammer the chassis in such a way that we could use the door again. The wood had become a lot dryer thanks to the hot weather and was quite a bit lighter than in winter.
Finally we had managed to collect approx. 18 stère, which means if one neglects labour cost approx. € 2 per stère. Considering that we normally pay € 50 per stère, this sounds like a bargain. However, when ordering from a wood merchant, one gets ready to use logs in lengths of 30 cm. The main question is, how much savings one really achieves. That is of course heavily dependant on the craftsmanship and competence of the affouageurs. I will make a rough estimate:
Affuage = € 35. Chopping trees and stacking - 32 hours with 4 people à € 10 (on the black!) = € 1280. Transport from the forest and stacking - 15 hours with 2 people à € 10 = € 300. Cutting to size and stacking - 10 hours with 2 people à € 10 = € 200. Forget petrol, chains and damage to the car. Total : € 1780.
Buying 18 stère à € 50 = € 900. Considering the accuracy of the hours spent, and the fact that nobody works for € 10 per hour anymore, the wood would be quite expensive even at an hourly rate of € 5. And who would dare to offer somebody an hourly rate of € 5? Given the fact that I still have pain in my right shoulder caused by shifting the wood, the question remains whether affouage, done by a bunch of good willing amateurs is worth it. My answer to this question is a wholeheartedly : Never again!

De website van La Tuilerie de Chazelle