French women… Oh la la!

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I was a pretentious git in my twenties. Often visiting library@esplanade to loan out artsy stuff. http://www.nlb.gov.sg/blogs/libraryesplanade/

Most of the art house movies never did make a lasting impression on me. One did – well, one scene did: Jean-Luc Godard’s Le Mépris, where a butt-naked Brigitte Bardot asked her husband Paul if he liked her body part A, body part B…

Tu les trouves jolies mes fesses? (Do you find my ass pretty?)

Oui, tres (Yes. Very.)

Et mon visage? (And my face?)

Aussi. (Yes.)

Tout? Ma bouche, mes yeux, mon nez, mes oreilles? (All of me? My mouth, my eyes, my nose, my ears?)

Oui, tout. (Yes, all of you.)

Donc tu m’aimes totalement? (So you love me totally?)

Oui, je t’aime totalement, tendrement, tragiquement. (Yes, totally, tenderly, tragically.)

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Oddly enoughly, the francophile in me never developed fierce cravings for snails…

 

I was in my French phase then – a phase that never did go away completely, for I still spurt out random grammatically incorrect French sentences.

But let me just state for the record, Brigitte Bardot had a beautiful ass.

There was also made an attempt to stir up interest in ballet when I chanced upon Marguerite and Armand, the synopsis had said “The stellar world premiere featuring Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn, as the star-crossed lovers that would become their signature roles.”

Ballet never did stick.

I started my music education with heavyweights like Verdi and Puccini. Aida and Turandot bored me – certainly not because of plots that were wanting, but from a mind that was wanting. Only the catchy – and I suspect it was precisely because of that – La Donna è Mobile from Rigoletto did take root. I didn’t understand the Italian lyrics, of course, but only remembered it was sung by the character of the duke and spoke of women who are fickle like the wind.

Years later, on a whim for something upbeat but with no desire for The Sound of Music, I listened to La Donna è Mobile on YouTube, and had from its “suggestions” list found Sylvie Guillem, the 2nd French lady in this story; this is also where this story comes full circle: The French dancer announced her retirement in early November, and I’m placing watching her live in action as the top spot in my bucket list (sharing equal lust factor with watching Madonna live).

And it wasn’t even her fame – for I didn’t know Guillem from Eve then – that drew me to the clip, it was the title “Maurice Béjart – Boléro (2002)”. I had thought it was a classical piece by a French composer (see above, my French phase).

Béjart was indeed French, but he was a dancer-choreographer with his own very successfully dance company, the Béjart Ballet Lausanne (thank you Mr Wikipedia!) – though the late dancer-choreographer-entrepreneur did share the same first name as the composer of Boléro, Maurice Ravel.

Even though I never got ballet, I understood Guillem’s body language. The choreography compelling as it was, the clincher for me was her flawless executions on the platform. Seemingly fluid limbs move in tune with every beat, her intense energy and concentration that in turn energised and compelled the audience to follow every fall of her arm, every turn of her torso, her every step, her every breath. And till this day, whenever I listen to Ravel’s Boléro, in my mind’s eye, Guillem’s beautiful form always accompanies.

Sylvie Guillem will take her final curtain bow next December in Tokyo, plenty of time to catch the prima ballerina in action, plenty of time for me to save up as well.

See you in Tokyo!

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Summer Favourites

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I have never experienced winter. Though it would be nice to build a snowman and sip hot cocoa in front of a fireplace, I have no doubts I’ll be complaining about the bitter chill, just like I’m bitching about this Indian summer.

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So to thank my lucky starts, I’m sharing a list of my favourite summery beauty products, starting with this gorgeously scented body oil from Sothys made with lotus and cherry blossom. I could wax lyrical about the scent, but it’s its staying power that I truly adore.

Tip: Although the oil absorbs fairly fast into the skin, I spray onto my palms to warm it up for a speedier absorption and to minimise wastage.

Domestic goddess tip: Apply in the bathroom to prevent getting the oil on your stuff and prevent it from mixing with dust – a real nightmare to get rid of, taking time away from your other goddess duties.

(Note: Intrigued by the Egyptian goddess icon, I googled the Sothys Institute, and discovered a whole universe of yet more intrigue.

You have heard of the value and the elaborate picking process of the May rose – the main ingredient in Chanel No. 5. Well, the Sothys institute is just as dedicated to the ingredients that go into its products. Like Chanel who has its own May rose farm, the institute has a garden where plants are studied. Visitors are most welcome and a restaurant within the compounds serve seasonal food.

This is a story that deserves more research, and will form part of my French education 🙂

In the meantime, go to Les Jardins Sothys’ website to find out more.)

Fragrance Review: Rosabotanica

I like to think of perfume as an extension of the clothes on our backs.

Think about it: You are dressed to the nines ankle-up, and yet you have your most comfortable – read: battered, faded, crusty with soil and sweat build-up – pair of flip-flops flapping against your soles… It’s practically an invitation to slouch!
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Now, imagine the same outfit but with a pair of come-fuck-me-heels and watch, how, not only do you stand more erect and toss your hair with more confidence, you also become a little bolder – hold the gaze of that handsome stranger across the room for a touch longer – and a little flirtier – touch the arm of that same handsome stranger to whom you were introduced just five minutes ago.

Wearing different scents, I find, have the same (or shall we say differing) effects on me; I’m able to concentrate better when I’m wearing a citrusy scent such as DKNY Women; I used to put on Narcisse by Chloé when I want to feel sexy; For days when I feel beautiful, I spritz on Chanel No. 5 which I liken to the cherry that finishes off a prettily-dressed sundae.

But that can hardly be news, for science has already proven scents can alter one’s moods and temperaments, even one’s life.

Now, after all that gushing about my past lovers I’m finally ready to form an opinion about Balenciaga’s Rosabotanica.image

Jean-Christophe Herault and Olivier Polge, the makers aka the noses­– if you like to sound like you are “in the know” – of Rosabotanica say of the key ingredient, “We have studied the rose in an experimental way and thus we wanted to go further.”

The duo went on to explain the romantic aspects of the rose have been downplayed, the focus is instead on its “spiced, spirited and even smouldering aspects”. Now, I have absolutely no idea what that meant, but having spent three days in the garden, I can only say the scent is insipid at best.

With other scents, as I went about my day, I would catch unexpected whiffs when I look over my shoulders or lift my arms over my head or get up from my seat. Unfortunately, Rosabotanica stayed under the radar, and by lunch on Day One, I had almost forgotten I was wearing it.

I had to reapply when I arrived at my first stop of my evening programme, the opening reception of the photography exhibition of Claude Mollard – an ex-politician turned artist-photographer from France. The usual hugs and kisses were exchanged with the usual suspects – the art buffs, PR execs, and other gallerists who had turned up to show their support; And even at such close proximity, I got no compliments on the scent.

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Pic courtesy of VISIONAIRS Gallery Singapore’s

I walked the distance of roughly one MRT station to the next to my second stop for the evening: Dinner with Salt & Pepper. Again, I reapplied before stepping in, where

We engaged in a passionate 8-second hug that would have caused a scandal anywhere in the Muslim world.

 

When we sat down, he commented on my sweaty countenance and assigned the blame slash cause to the sweltering Indian summer – but still no remarks on the scent.

Days Two and Three, hardly surprising, went about unremarkably, scent-wise.

Switching to Carbtree & Evelyn’s Florentine Freesia Flower Water tomorrow, hopefully the bloom native to South Africa will wear better in this August heat.

Watch this space for the Freesia Flower Water review.

 

Confessions of a Couch Potato

TVIt is in my best interest to not watch television.

For once I get hooked on a series, I’ll never step out of the house until I’ve devoured every single available episode.

I still remember the day a friend loaned me the DVD-box set of Sex and the City, Seasons 1 through 4. I spent the next three days watching one episode after another. When the closing credits rolled on the finale of Series 4, and I finally allowed my eyelids to close completely over my eyeballs and be enveloped by that welcoming darkness, I could feel the world spinning as the familiar piano-xylophone-saxophone theme came on.

Hence, you will understand my trepidation at getting too intimate with the Supernatural anthology.

It isn’t just the seemingly endless hours in front of the telly, it’s how the vernacular and quotes of my fav character(s) inevitably invade my own speech. I spoke with an English accent after BBC’s Being Human, began my sentences with “I posit” after Fringe, signed off on post-it notes to colleagues with XOXO after Gossip Girl, quipped “Honey, they don’t call it a job for nothing” when a particularly arduous task loomed ahead after — you guessed it — SATC.

All that rationalising, though, is now a moo point (Joey Tribbiani from Friends said this!), since Dean Winchester had me when he deadpanned “Agent Mulder, Agent Scully”. I mean, what chances do I have against The X-Files — not to sound like a sycophant — quite simply the best show in the Universe.

On the other hand, I want to believe some good will come out of this. It does, after all, provide me with the chance to expand my iTunes collection, for I wouldn’t have discovered Stevie Nicks without American Horror Story or Sweet Talk Radio without Haven.

So, to all couch potatoes out there, I say pop some corn and roll out the bunny slippers, it’s time to get comfy in front of the telly.

‘Twas a perfectly civilised way to spend the afternoon

‘Twas a perfectly civilised way to spend the afternoon: An art tour accompanied by noble ladies and the bling they bring, followed by tea and macaroons – but with none of that pretentiousness such as raised pinkies or incessant chatter about cats, the weather or the World Cup.

“Will the Secretary join us?”

“I’m afraid duty calls. Enjoy your afternoon.”

Awfully polite gentleman, and a lovely person to hang with, I’m sure, if he cared to stay, but I was glad for his sake he didn’t – though the treats were sweet, the banter was sweeter still, dripping with saccharine and laced with barbs, if one cared to listen with half a mind.

Instead, attention was paid towards the lush wine our gracious hostess doled out – our demitasse tea cups barely drained.

Happy hour has officially begun, though there won’t be any drunken fisticuffs – not with this lot – but mind the verbal minefields.