Wednesday, September 27, 2006


aalooo from lille in france! finally got internet working in the hotel room!! bon tres bon!

…woke up this sunday morning n found myself taking the elevator down to the entre sol…but to my horror twas closed! Boing! It’s the weekend!! And NO ONE works!!!

Last night, after a long hard day, party-ed hard at this electro-music fest n was looking forward to the frugal breakfast fare provided by this modest hotel (a service apt really). But c’est la vie, back in my room, juice n dahi n banana will do just fine ☺

Switched on kumar gandharva…felt some dirt under my soft clean feet (I’ve been in shoes all week!)…damn! They haven’t cleaned my room…no problemo…mopped the place in 10mins, did the dishes n suddenly felt I had been living here for months!

Not being here as a tourist changes the complexion of your experience. No pressure to “see” “places”…you just stumble upon them as you walk around town – from hotel to the lille3000 office to the palais rihour (the site of the installation) n back…and you interact with the locals in a more in-depth manner, relaxed, at length, in varying situations – at work, in a bar, over lunch, at this music fest…

Its been a wonderful first week! Made even better by the fact that we aren’t shooting today. Last evening, we finished the first n most complicated of our shoots n I am so glad for that. 5 to go!! But such tripe being paraded as video art but that’s another story for another time….

Au contraire, the video installations I saw at this electro-music fest, were simply mind blowing. Some of them…their understanding of the medium, use of technology n attention to detail n great sound design make it such a treat to experience. N their staging - immaculate…non of these laboured self indulgent obvious statements about war or terror or…

The weather’s been great…even warm for me some days…actually perspired profusely!! But the sun in these latitudes…o man…does this magical demi-circle around the horizon, crisp n golden yet never contrasty. But they say it will get colder soon n I’m looking forward to it. Haven’t worn even one of my full sleeve “winter” stuff I am carrying! It’s cloudy this morning n was v foggy the day I arrived…

Lille…hadn’t heard of it before nor had I spotted it on the map…kinda hangs in there half-way between london n paris…trying hard to capture its own place in the sun. they wanna make it the cultural capital of Europe n “bombaysers de lille3000” is a way of getting there…a 3month extravaganza celebrating Bombay…art, music, dance, film, literature n bollywood!! The Bombay mafia is taking over Europe!! Next Thursday, another 2year long exhibition on Bombay opens in amsterdam…n I am going there! My music video debut happened for this children’s museum - Troppen Jr. Am most excited that I will be there for the opening. Tres bon!

Ah but so many femmes fatales but such little time!! Lille is also a big university town, so lots of pyt’s around…n how much they smoke!! O another thing…hadn’t seen so many pregnant women when I was in these parts last summer. But my fav is laura – Spanish, lives with her boyfriend at the very top of these old world 2-storied houses - all wooden with a piano in the attic even! She’s been plying me with music to dump into my ipod. Charlotte – this freckled blonde I danced with last night, a pol science student so we have these animated conversations about globalisation, Americana, racial tensions, even office politics!! Chin-pierced doe-eyed Elaine – the youngest of them all n single ;) n a cutie! She rolled me my first French ciggie!...i use her comp to email at the office. And there’s Flora – this big, Indian-accented very talkative thing…just so excited that she’s going to be marrying this rajput boyfriend in delhi this dec. she taking us out to the Sunday market tomorrow. And Justin, this petite, quintessential French girl you’d seen in French cinema, anything but demure, she handles production like a veteran but all of 26. Age is a big thing….how old are you? Guessing games et al…good fun!! Needles to say, I AM old as opposed to Elaine who said to me “I am young”!! sigh…..and there’s Christina – a huge strapping Austrian who is my gaffer, grip n girl Friday all rolled into one! She’s sweet but won’t take risks which is painful when one is doing experimental stuff like this.


went to a park nearby to walk some green…discovered chestnut trees…tres vieux n grande…bon soir! Sipping some cheap but v nice vino tinto listening to massive attack …biding my time before we go back to “tripostal” for the electro music fest. Tripostal used to be the old main post office n the postal authorities have handed it over to the city as a public space…3floors of video installations n live djs mixing some heavy grooves. Tres chique n very underground…

been thinking about sound installations…n my love for sound/audio…will pursue it n see where it takes me…god these ibook speakers suck!

Loong day today, just got back n its almost 1130pm when the rest of India sleeps! Had my first joint today – that too at our location – did justice to its 1453 vintage I think ;) I go to Amsterdam day after n then to see my dad’s brother in Germany. Went to book my train tics…n most astonishingly, they couldn’t book my amst – cologne tic!! Irctc!! Where are you??

The Sunday market was ok types – mostly clothes. But had some soooper Algerian food, preceeded by some flaameesh (don’t know the Flemish spelling) which is a cross betw a pizza n quiche. But most importantly, made by one of the few surviving makers of this regional speciality!! Felt privileged….the Algerian tangine n coucous was sumptuous n v meaty…felt like a buffalo after…mercifully we walked back. That’s the lovely-est thing abt lille…..entirely walkable. They’re just beginning to get their bicycle lanes…o nice beer buzz!...g’nite!!...

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