06/11/2016

161 Spring Street

Pendant un instant, une bouteille de bière, se dressant fièrement entre mes deux yeux, occupe l'intégralité de mon champ de vision tandis que je prends une longue gorgée rafraîchissante. Souffle coupé, je repose mon breuvage pour plonger mes yeux dans ceux de la personne située en face de moi. Nous sommes cinq réunis dans ce club, et je suis la plus silencieuse de la tablée. L'homme en face de moi raconte une anecdote à propos de Dustin Hoffman.

« Et à ce moment-là, il a fait une blague un peu limite, je pense que c'était pour faire rougir la productrice... »

Je souris. Les gens m'aiment bien ici en Australie car je regarde mes interlocuteurs dans les yeux. C'est très français. J'ai toujours pensé que c'était poli, que c'était ce qu'il fallait faire. Mais en fait, eux, ils n'y sont pas habitués. Certains sont un peu gênés, d'autres fascinés. Lui, en tout cas, il avait l'air d'apprécier qu'une jeune femme de cinquante ans sa cadette soutienne fermement son regard - et dans la durée - pendant qu'il racontait ses histoires. De la part d'un homme habitué à fréquenter des caméras quotidiennement, ç'aurait été étonnant qu'il soit gêné. Pendant une seconde, je cesse d'écouter, essayant de me souvenir de la dernière fois dont j'avais participé à une conversation à propos de Dustin Hoffman. C'était aussi lors d'une soirée. Un type alcoolisé en pointait un autre du doigt, demandant à tout le monde « Vous trouvez pas que c'est le sosie de Dustin Hoffman - genre, le même en plus jeune ? Avouez !  ». Jamais ce jour-là, je n'aurais imaginé discuter avec quelqu'un qui aurait rencontré Dustin Hoffman en personne. Tout le monde se met à rire et je ris avec eux ; Ray - c'est son nom - a terminé de raconter la blague de Dustin Hoffman. Il est temps de se concentrer sur la conversation, car je suis en compagnie de gens intéressants, j'aurais largement le temps de laisser mon esprit vagabonder quand je serai seule.

Puisqu'il ne parle plus, je quitte Ray des yeux pour jeter un regard aux autres hommes qui m'accompagnent. Sur la banquette, à ma gauche, deux hommes sont encore en train de rire à la plaisanterie de Ray. Mon ami Mark, à la gauche de Ray, sourit distraitement. Je croise son regard. Je ne le vois pas souvent, et je suis vraiment très heureuse d'avoir l'occasion de passer du temps avec lui. C'est une personne fascinante.

Ray reprend la parole. J'ai l'impression que les hommes n'aiment pas le silence. Cette pause de cinq secondes a eu le temps de peser. Il se tourne vers Jason, un américain.

« Et avant d'arriver à ce poste, vous faisiez quoi à la NASA ? »

Jason se redresse dans la banquette. C'est à son tour d'être le centre de l'attention.

« Oh, j'ai directement été embauché à ce poste. Avant d'intégrer la NASA, j'étais ingénieur informaticien, dans le secteur privé. »

Et Jason commence à raconter son ancien emploi, ses responsabilités, travaillant dans un lieu où sont regroupés de très nombreux serveurs « je vous dis, quatre-vingt pourcents du flux internet mondial passait par cette ville ! » (il me regarde, mettant l'emphase sur le fait que mes activités en ligne passent probablement par cet endroit des États-Unis que je n'ai jamais visité et ne verrai sûrement jamais, espérant lire dans mon regard de l'étonnement, un choc ou une quelconque forme d'impression). Puis, il parle de son rôle actuel à la NASA, et enfin de ses projets pour l'avenir. Il a repris des études, en parallèle de son poste. La conversation dévie sur les études supérieures, pour le plus grand plaisir de chacun. L'Éducation est toujours un excellent sujet à discuter en société. Tout le monde a toujours un avis tranché sur l'Éducation. Dans ce genre de milieu tout particulièrement, où tous les participants ont traîné, cinq ans, sept ans, parfois plus, sur les bancs de l'Université - trois d'entre nous y ayant même enseigné.

« Alors, Manon, comment trouvez-vous l'Université en Australie ? »

C'est mon tour de parler: tous les regards sont sur moi. La question est simple, on me la pose souvent et je sais exactement quoi dire. Heureusement, car je ne veux pas me ridiculiser devant Mark ni aucune de ces importantes personnes. J'explique, la différence entre les Universités françaises et celles du système Anglo-saxon. Mon point de vue sur l'éducation payante. Mes goûts personnels, mes ambitions. Je réalise soudainement qui est en train de m'écouter, et pendant un instant je me sens fébrile : ces personnes si passionnantes étaient en train de dépenser quelques unes de leurs précieuses minutes d'existence à écouter une gamine parler de ses préférences en terme de système éducatif. C'était irréel. Je n'ose pas regarder mon ami dans les yeux, j'aurais l'air de demander une validation (« Au fait, est-ce que j'avais l'air stupide ? Juste par curiosité ? ») donc je regarde les autres. Ils n'ont pas l'air de me trouver trop idiote. C'est un peu rassurant.



Comme tout le monde, je n'aime pas trop me sentir stupide. J'avoue que j'apprécie même de me retrouver dans des situations où les gens admirent mon intelligence et mes connaissances académiques. Ceci dit, ce que je préfère, c'est me retrouver en compagnie de gens qui en savent beaucoup plus que moi, me taire et les écouter. J'adore ça. Et c'est exactement ce que j'ai fait, entourée de mes héros ce soir-là et l'après-midi qui précédait. Je vous raconterai ce qu'il s'est passé avant cette scène dans mon prochain article car j'aime bien faire les trucs à l'envers.

05/11/2016

Being a fan 2/2 : Befriending celebrities : are stars reachable?

It took me a few months to finally write this article because it definitely deals with a topic that is close to my heart. If you haven't read it yet I suggest you check the first part of it, even if it is not mandatory : Fandom as Pathology.

I said in there that fandom started with the beginning of tabloids and the end of celebrities' privacy. Knowing so many details about their personal lives would result in creating the feeling they are - or could be - close to us, fans. But today, we won't talk about a fantasised relationship that could be the consequence of the fandom pathology, but about real relationships. It could be called "Befriending rockstars for dummies" but I don't want you to have high expectations, you probably won't be able to become Paul McCartney's best friend after reading this (sorry).

A few words about internet nowadays. A few years ago you had that thing called "fanclubs", and, sorry about this, but if you are still part of one, you're definitely not a kool kid anymore (come on dad, stop reading my blog, it's personal!). Fanclubs were great because they were especially made so you could meet other fans and possibly be friends with them, but today, fans interactions are vertical and not that much horizontals anymore. You would address to the celebrity directly, not to the fanbase.
Let me take Facebook as an example ; this message was posted 3 minutes ago on a very well-known singer's page.



I don't know about you, but I would totally send this to a boyfriend - if I had one. So why is that seen as a pretty normal message now? You might think it is lame, but you wouldn't say, I guess, that this person has a pathology. Regardless of course of their discutable tastes for Canadian pop music.

First, we are now in an era where your favourite singer could (if he's still alive, duh) send a message back. Celebrities are online, and that is how they engage with the crowd. Social medias became part of their job. And, yes, they would use social media in a professional way while you are using them with your friends.
That's how the "weird" thing happen. You would connect with your friends on social medias the same way you would connect with celebrities. There is not distinction between the two.

If this given celebrity, "JB", sends you the same kind of message back, you are pretty much able to say he's your friend, but you're most likely to have an answer like "Thanks, much appreciated :)".
Then if you are a reasonable human being and if your fandom is not a pathology, you might be able to tell JB is... not your friend, sorry about that.

It is a bit harder to tell when it comes to local celebrities, or less-famous people. They would probably have less messages, answer more frequently, accept your Facebook "friend" request, chat with you - and you might be in a position where you really wonder "are we friends then ?".
I have a few friends of mine that might be seen as celebrities by some other people and I have actually been through that weird process where you don't really know what is going on, and it still happens.
Why would they talk to me ? Who am I ? Am I worthy enough of their attention ?
First of all : awww - yes you are :)
And then, obviously, if you want to be someone's friend, would it be a celebrity or anyone, you have to think about them as a friend ! Easy, no?
If all you're thinking about is their success, their realisations, then why would you be their friend ?

Never forget they are human. They have quite a special job, I know, but at the end of the day, they go to sleep, they eat and they might even enjoy video games. Sometimes they cry, sometimes they're scared. Sometimes they go on holidays, sometimes they need to vent after a shitty day, sometimes they are proud and sometimes they are not. Sometimes they're lame. Just like you.
And just like all of your other friends. They also are human beings, and I think that is the reason why you like them.

And that is the only reason why you should want to be friend with anyone. Because you like them. Not because they are famous.
And this is actually the only real advice I could give you in this very badly named article : stars are reachable as long as they stop being a star for you. You have to be aware they are just another person. If you don't, the relationship is not balanced.

Recently I had lunch with someone I once was a fan of. I know I was actually having lunch with them, which clearly is not something any "fan" could do, but still I had this weird thought while they were talking to me, thinking "whoa, they are actually just as human as anyone, sharing thoughts everyone could have and being concerned by the same events". "They're actually just as normal as I am!", I thought. I was actually a bit disappointed! Just a normal bloke.

I am not sure what to advice to people who ask me "how did you befriend this guy?", "how can I befriend this person?", because I think you shouldn't want to befriend someone because you really like their album or because they are famous or because you know all their lines from all their movies. To be honest, it might just be very awkward if you were trying to.

But remember they're humans. You are human too. If ever you have the chance to chat with someone, anyone, just remember they are human. Oh, if they are not they might not speak your language and be able to chat back, just saying.

04/07/2016

First week in Australia : house hunting, penguins and a lot of food

Hey !

What a week ! It feels like I've been in Australia for a million years but I still don't especially feel at home. It still smells a lot like holidays (but like, a bit of a shitty holidays because I spend a lot of time doing boring things like house hunting and else, instead of visiting).
What did I do last week ? Mostly inspecting houses and they were SHIT. Actually one was great and I applied for it, hopefully you'll hear about it in the next article. I really hope I'll have it. But if I don't, I'll just ake the most of it and transform a SHITTY room into a comfy cocoon. 

I am not used to Australia and it is a bit hard for me to envision Melbourne and how to visit it. In Paris you can walk straight and see monuments and churches and things and stuff, because everything is nice to see and to visit. But in Melbourne, everything is so big ! You can't just wander and wait to see something cool (it would take a freacking long time and you'll have to walk a lot). If you know what you want to visit though, you can take the tram and go there very easily, which is good but I don't really know what I want to visit yet ;-) (ALL THE THINGSSSS, WOOO).
I'm just waiting to get used to things :-) I take my time because I will be there for a while.
Big thanks tho to my new real-life friend Amy who gave me a very cool card game called 30 things to see in Melbourne, which will be very useful !

So last week, yep, househunting, but I also registered for the computer driving test in VicRoads (the Road administration in Victoria), and the exam is tomorrow morning !
I also met some of my internety-friends in real life and that feels very great to finally see them. I feel much better knowing I have friends here !
I took the tram alone (whoa, success !) twice and also went to see the penguins at night. It was great to see animals in the wild, it doesn't happen to me so much in France.

Today, I'm going to the mall alone (again, I hope this will be a success) and I have a very big road to cross, hope I won't get hit by a car!
Tomorrow morning I have this VicRoads test and on the evening I'm going to see my first Birds Robe gig (The Fall Of Troy, Closure in Moscow, Meniscus, Osaka Punch). I can't wait to keep meeting all those people I used to talk to online and also all those bands I love in their natural habitat.

Big love in Australia, I'll share it with you !

27/06/2016

Winter is coming

How accurate is this title, I know right!

So where do I start? Today is Monday 27th of June, around 9pm and I have landed in Melbourne, Australia two days ago!

The first thing you'll notice whenever you come to Australia from overseas is the weather. Australia is Southern Hemisphere, yep : it's not like home. June to September is F-R-E-E-Z-I-N-G C-O-L-D. And I guess the deadly hot weather from November to February is just as confusing for us people from the other hemisphere ;-)

So one of the first things I've done was going to buy a coat and thick boots and cried about how cold I was ;-) nah seriously.

Australia's beautiful. It's nature everywhere. It's clean. It's new. It's nice. It's OVERSIZED. But it's cold in June.


For my first day here I visited Saint Kilda's beach / pier  and today I went to see my Uni, Monash.

I got many things sorted already : bank, phone, transport card.
Still need to find accommodation, a tough one I guess.
Also, to get informations about driving here.
Finally, of course, meeting all my Aussie friends.

I look forward to it.

Have Melbourne ! Cheers <3


23/06/2016

C'est demain ! Tomorrow !

Cet article est en français.

English : This article is in French but I'd like to add something for those who don't speak this language. I'm currently laying on my mom's couch, supposed to rest as much as possible before a 24 hours journey to Australia tomorrow. I want to say I still don't really understand what's happening to me. I'm not really scared or happy or anything. I'm just feeling very far from all those events. Maybe tomorrow at the airport, my mind will finally process ? For now, I'll close my eyes, and have a few hours of sleep.

Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Bon, ça y est, c'est demain. Super tôt et tout. Le grand départ. J'écris cet article pour vous, pour vous donner des nouvelles (ça fait un bout de temps, non ?) et aussi pour moi parce que j'ai envie de me souvenir de cette dernière soirée avant le départ. Je sais pas trop comment décrire ce que je ressens, je sais pas trop ce que je ressens. J'ai trop rien en tête. Je suis crevée et j'ai une piqûre de moustique qui me gratte. Mais sinon, j'ai pas envie de pleurer, j'ai pas envie d'annuler, j'ai pas hâte, j'ai pas peur. Je suis pas sûre d'être détendue. Mais je vais pas trop mal.

Je suis actuellement allongée sur le canapé, chez ma mère, à côté de l'intégralité de mes appareils électroniques en train de charger, et je me demande ce qui m'arrive. Je sais pas trop. Je devrais dormir avant ce long voyage de 24H, mais en même temps je dormirai sûrement dans l'avion.
Je réalise pas. Pas du tout. Mais bon, on verra demain. Je réaliserai sûrement à l'aéroport ? Ou dans l'avion ? Ou au Qatar, pendant l'escale ? ou en arrivant en Australie ? On verra.

Je vais réaliser mon rêve.

Bordel.