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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

Hey everyone,

I knocked up this video for Christmas. Enjoy!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Let's hope 2007 has good things in store for us all.


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Panorama from Sacre Coeur over Paris - Winter

Luke and Kath hit Paris

It was great to have Luke and Kath to stay with us this week. Luke was stopping off after his internship in New York and Kath after having spent some time sussing out the life of a Washington foreign correspondent for the abc.
We managed to sneak in some outdoor ice skating in front of the Hôtel de ville, some Chinese food (a very traditional French meal), a walk around montmatre (obligatory), a beer in the Marais, some really nice home cooked dinner conversations, shopping at Z(th)ara and a trip to the Rodin Museum. More than the things we did however, I can say that for my part, it was just great to have some friends here with whom I have already shared a past and to whom I could show my present.
When you're in a foreign society, I find you have no real sense of perspective, no "standards" to compare yourself and everyone else to. Everything is new, so you have to take it all at face value. You can't judge or stereotype people because all the stereotypes that you have grown up with ( your key indicators "What school did you go to? What are you studying? Where do you live? Phillip Ruddock is cool - Discuss") no longer exist, or at the very least, are different. Having Luke and Kath here gave me, for the first time, something to compare myself to, that is, the me that I was with them in Sydney. Having them here made me realise that I have "changed", or perhaps less melodramatically, "adapted" to my life in Paris since leaving Sydney.
On the way to Charles de Gaulle airport to pick Kath I remember thinking that 10 years ago I met Kath during rehearsals for the school musical Oliver! and now we were meeting up in Paris for a few days. That's the great thing about old friends. You grow together through a shared history. Bring on the future and many more such friendships.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

NEWSFLASH: Walabies' problems answered!

Finally managed to convince Cecile to come along and take some photos of me playing rugby. As you can see, it wasn't the best day to convince a girlfriend to come and stand on the sideline and watch her boyfriend run around in the mud. Having said that, we did have a cheer squad of "Assoiffantes".The team is called Les Assoiffés which roughly translates to "the thirsty ones". It's a french team, which is great. I really enjoy it. There's a great atmosphere in the team because we train and play hard, but at the end of the day, everyone is having fun. If you looking for me in the photos, I'm wearing white headgear and am playing second row. You should be able to make me out in the lineout. We're the team in red and green.

I've been playing with Les Assoiffés since I got here. Best moment so far would have to be me, ball in hand, driving over the try line and, not realising where I was, forgetting to ground the ball, instead presenting the ball to the halfback like any diligent forward, only to have the ref call "held up". Funnily enough the guys in the team haven't yet let me forget that incident.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Cecile's Christmas Party

Last Friday night Cecile had a chirstmas party at here parent's apartment. Her reindeer ears were possibly the most popular thing on the night. She wore them with pride. More photos were taken of the party later on in the night but they probably shouldn't be posted if I intend to have any sort of future career...

No, in all seriousness, I'm pretty sure I had everything under control.... and that's exactly what I told the policeman who arrested me trying to climb the eiffel tower.

(The above joke, commonly known as the "turned out, I was!" or the "in and away" or "Warney's tap dance" is copyrighted by Tom Gleisner and every single Warrick Todd book he has ever written. Seriously. Every... single... page.)

My Favourite Song #2

Yo everyone.

Was watching an episode of Grey's Anatomy the other day and heard this eerily beautiful guitar riff. I looked up the song on itunes... Unfortunately I can't post it here due to copyright. So can only give you the name. But it's well worth a listen. An oldie but a goodie.

Live and Learn - The Cardigans

What are you listening to at the moment?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Songs that fit the mood... sort of

Some sad news for the Pender family in the last few days. This song by 78 Saab has been on constant repeat on my ipod.

"Did you get too much to wallow in?
Did you get too much...
We'll all get by."


A felt compelled to write something...

Well... great title James! Way to inspire people. Been a while. Sorry for the lag in posts. What I've basically been doing recently has invoved a lot of french classes, a lot of walking around paris, and a lot of "thinking about the future".

It's strange how when we are occupied, when we have littl time to do the things we want to do, all we can think about is that if we had more time we would be able to take those guitar lessons, learn to salsa, study the stock exchange harder (what? I'm trying to cater to everyone's needs here). But when it comes down to having time, or perhaps a little too much time, I have been finding myself a little guilty, as if I should be doing something with my life... strange to say that coming from a guy learning french in paris while living with his girlfriend. Why are we never satisfied?

I was talking with a french mate here, Nicola, who was heading off to Bolivia for a month with his girlfriend. I flippently said to him, "wow, a month in Bolivia, now that's exciting!" He looked at me calmly and said, "shjames, you're in Paris! That's exciting!" I was a little ashamed to appear to be such a spoilt brat. But I guess it was a sign that, a city that two months ago was wholly daunting, foreign and undiscovered, is slowly becoming less so. I'm starting to feel more at home.

I feel I have discovered some great things about living Paris. A wonderful cafe called Fuxar nearby with wireless internet and great view over a quiant little church, the knowledge that around any corner you are likely to find a street you've never been down with a shop/museum/bar/park you never knew about, Mrs Bordes' cooking, sunday morning croissants in bed in front of a dvd, random vegetable and meat produce market streets, an efficient public transport system, art exhibitions, friday night freebies for under 26yr olds at the louvre, the joy of wearing a coat when it's really cold, the joy of seeing the sun when you have forgotton what it looked like, and lastly the satisfacion that comes from communicating with someone in their native language...
Top: I have no idea why I posted these photos.

Above: I was taken to this cafe on top of the le Centre Pompidou modern art museum/library building by a friend of Cecile's. It was great. And yes, it does look like I'm having a date with myself. I didn't quite understand the roses... but the view more than made up for it. Get ready Lukie.

Below: I took this photo about two streets from our place. That's the sacre coeur in the background.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Do it like I told you

This is a sketch that I wrote when I was working for The Ronnie Johns Half Hour. I was trying to have a a go at people who aren't quite prepared to let those Australians that look "different" be fully fledged "Aussies". For those of you who didn't catch this episode... I thought I'd indulge myself and repost it here because I reckon this sketch turned out ok. (Yong Yong Magoo... A childhood full of research went into this I think!)

"I'm the Minister for Defence and Bryan agrees!"

These guys do a skit on the 7:30 Report on the ABC every thursday night. They are often hilarious. I once stumbled across a cd of their best sketches in the Russian Markets in Phnom Penh in Cambodia. If you ever find it, it's well worth a listen. This is a video link to a very funny sketch about Brendan Nelson. John Clarke's face at the end is genius.

Click to link below to view it:

If this doesn't work go to the 7:30 Report website and download it yourself here:

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Two Worlds Apart.

One thing I've noticed since I've been here in Paris is the amount of homeless people there are here.

I was walking home from class the other day in St Germain des Prés, which is one of the most upmarket areas in Paris. I noticed this man sitting across the road from an Emporio Armani store, with a plastic bag of jumpers and a bottle of wine in between his legs. He was "harassing" everyone that walked past him for food. Meanwhile, all around him were these expensive fashion shops, symbols of extreme opulance, Cartier, Prada, Armani, Gucci... Anyway, thought it was an interesting juxtaposition. I haven't managed to capture the situation very well with my camera but perhaps you can get a glimpse of a cold winter day in St Germain des Prés.

Monday, November 06, 2006

My Favourite Song #1

Here you go, the first instalment of My Favourite Song, a weekly update of... well... it speaks for itself. I hope that by posting my favourite song of the week you might be inspired to tell me the song that you most often find yourself listening to. I hope in the future to be able to find a way to post the mp3 of my favourite song so that you can download and listen to it too. If anyone has any idea how to post music to a blog... I'd appreciate the advice. Anyway... to the first instalment. Do yourself a favour...
  • Bar Lights - Whiskeytown

It's winter... and I bought a coat.

The new Winter Collection from Jamison Inc.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

C'est Parti

Last Saturday night Cecile and I went and saw Xavier Rudd (Australian - but no relation to Kevin I'm guessing) at Elysee Montmatre with two of Cecile's friends, Dorothy and Gregoire. As you can see Xavier was the sole person on stage. He played drums, guitars, didgeridoo, harmonica, all at the same time. It was pretty darn impressive! It was interesting to see a Parisian audience at work. They are much more encouraging than Australian audiences. They have a "I've come to have fun so let's party" attitude rather than the australian "look mate we could all do that so don't expect me to clap or anything". Xavier would drop the word Paris into one of his songs and everyone went berserk. It was classic. (By contrast, I remember a Dave Matthews band concert I was at in Sydney where the bass guitarist impro'd his way into the Australian national anthem and everybody went silent and sort of looked at each other awkwardly.) It was also interesting hearing Xavier trying to explain the significance of the particular didgeridoo he was playing to about 2000 Parisians... All in all it was a great night though with a lot of foot stamping, yelping and much peace and love.

I took this photo one morning before going off to French classes from our bathroom window... Also, just wanted to mention that I've changed the settings on this blog so that you don't have to be a member to leave a comment (i always find that sort of thing annoying) so feel free to go ahead and say g'day.
ps: don't dispair, i have a lot more interesting stories to come than "this is the view from my bathroom"... but for some reason the blog is having problems so will post more later...

Saturday, October 21, 2006

First Week in Paris - 21 October

This is just a quick note to let you know I've arrived. As you can see it's still sunny here in Paris. Fortunately however, photos don't show temperature, because although it looks (left) like a barmy Australian summer's afternoon, an afternoon on which you might expect to hear Jim Maxwell describe the shadows lengthening across the MCG as Terry Alderman runs in to complete the final over of the day, gently swinging it away from Graham Gooch, who watches the ball thump into the Ian Healy's gloves before walking off towards the member pavilion, it is in fact about 10 degrees.
The photo on the right is my street. The person standing next to the three red cars is Cecile (possibly not the best portrait ever, still working on my depth and shade). Anyway, if you go directly up from her to the very top of the building, that is our apartment. Below is the start of the stair case up to the 6th floor which I have to climb and descend everyday, then a view from the bottom up the staircase from the outside(once again, you can see Cecile in the first window, think I've got the shade part down pat but still working on that depth from camera), and lastly the view from our window (if you stick your head out and look right). The beacon like object is the Eiffel tower.

Anyways, going to see Xavier Rudd (Australian?) tonight in Montmatre... so will update you all on how that goes soon. Looking forward to it. Until next week.


Saturday, August 12, 2006

Welcome - Plans for this blog (it's not rocket surgery!)

Hello and welcome to my blog. My life for the next year is roughly something like this:
  • I arrive in Paris the 16th October, start language classes at Alliance Francaise until Christmas.
  • Spend Christmas holidays with Cecile's family, maybe even sneak in some skiing in the alps (yeah I know - très cool)
  • Head off to The Hague in Holland to start an internship at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia on the 8th of January.
  • Return the Paris the start of April.
I plan to post a couple of photos once a week to give you a snap shot of my life. So the best thing to do is, if you're keen, just check this site once a week when you have a spare moment and you can keep up to date with what's happening in my life.
You can leave comments telling me what you think, or just generally what's going on in your life, or what you've been thinking about recently. Or, alternatively, send me an email at

Cheers, and remember, keep smiling, there's undoubtedly someone worse off than you.