Live and Let Die


There’s nothing to do about it. You start to die the moment you are born. The whole of life is cutting through the pack with death. So take it easy. Light a cigarette and be grateful you are still alive as you suck the smoke deep in your lungs. Your stars have already let you come quite a long way since you left your mother’s womb and whimpered at the cold air of the world.

James Bond

The Endless Sea

When I remember my time in England, various things comes in my mind. Obviously, the first memory I have is regarding my trip to my future destination. I had the delightful surprise to be seated, in the Eurostar, face to face with a John Slattery doppelganger. This trip couldn’t start on a better note!

After that, all the encounters I made during this trip resurface. And a lot of those memories are linked with the people I used to work with. I you have read my writing challenge, you may recall that we had a lot of fun all together during after work parties or off work toot sessions. As I am a reasonable drinker, I usually watch them woke up at 3 in the afternoon after they spent most of the night drinking and smoking. However, our meetings usually started around 11 o’clock with some drinks around a poker (or a drinking) game and I took part in them. I can play poker (it helps to play when people around you are not sober :) ). And I remember the music…

My musical tastes where hardly the same of the majority of my friend and we end up to only use Ugo’s MacBook and Bose Soundlink to play along our games. They enjoyed a lot of rap or R’n’B music, with some local variations. We hear a lot of Snoop Dogg or similar sorts of artists (far from being a specialist, I’m afraid I can’t help you more with titles or artists names). I remember that the last Macklemore album was played every night and also, we hear a lot of “Get Lucky”. Luckily, the hurricane “Happy” was still at sea and I did not hear from it while I was in the UK. Anyway, I suffered a lot.

Despite all that, once in a while, some miracle happened. He also had some French songs on his computer which was always good for moral. But, I was very intrigued the first time I heard this:

I founded the intro absolutely mesmerising, I couldn’t get this repeated rhythm out of my head during all the song. I believe I instantly fell in love with the song I reckon I never heard before. Of course, I recognise it was Iggy Pop but this far, I’d only listened to the most famous ones such as The Passenger or Nightclubbing (I heard this one on a famous French talk show).

So I immediately fell in love with the song. I started to use it as my morning alarm and it made the beginning of the day a lot more pleasant. And even today, I keep being under the spell of this fantastic piece of music who allows you to drift away in your mind while listening to it.

This is why I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do!

31 Day Journal Project – Day 31

And… That’s it! That’s a wrap folks! I finally did it (with several months late), I completed this writing challenge! It feels a bit odd to put an end into it but there is no more assignment on the webpage so I guess I’ve done it.

It was a good one, eh? It allowed me to discover that writing could be a way to exorcise some thoughts I have stuck on my mind. Therefore, it turned out sometimes to be quite a personal outlet (hello, Day 5) so thanks for staying even for those uncomfortable posts to read. I trust that people close to me learnt maybe more by reading this challenge than when we have the opportunity to actually chat.

Yet, after about 16,000 words I feel quite pleased with myself.

What to do next? Keep on writing of course! I sort of reconnected with this pleasure of writing. And even if you feeling blue, putting all your misery on a page can help you digest a bit. Still, as I reckon it is not always pleasant to read such heavy material, I am considering opening a side-blog with a more personal theme. I am not sure I will “advertise” it on Twitter or else but there will be a link on this blog and you will be free to check it out.

Now, it is about time I write those articles I’ve listed on an Evernote page for about 2 or 3 years! And I believe I have some sort of a musical challenge I saved from a Tumblr post. Stay tuned!

However, I need to take some time to write some stuff outside of this blog. For example, I need to remember the end of my English trip about a year ago so I can finish my journal. It is rather ironic that I usually never finish my journals when I travel abroad, like I never want it to end… I could probably squeeze 2 articles from it, like my stay in Cardiff and a review from the Doctor Who Experience I should have write 4 years ago!

I also need to scribe, as a sort of auto-biographic short story, a 2 years old encounter that won’t leave my mind. And there are a couple of persons I should write to, just like my manifesto tells me to.

So, it is not the end of the blog. I shall keep on producing articles of all sorts :)

Once again, many thanks to all my readers and especially the ones who commented!


End of line.

31 Day Journal Project – Day 30

Second to last post of the challenge. Time to be grateful.

First of all, I’m grateful to be healthy. Normally, I sort of hate this kind of excuse: ”Well, at least you are healthy”. My father use it way too much and sometimes for non-obvious reasons. But when you think about it, he is right, sort of. Health is very important no matter what your current situation is and I am grateful for not seeing a doctor every two months (unless he has a big blue box!).

I’m also grateful to have a place I can stay in during time of questioning and trouble. Some sort of a sanctuary, freeze in time. Ironically, I try to flee this place but it is comforting to know that you have a backup plan, since the place I used to look for refuge is no longer available.

I am grateful to my grandmother and my dad. And maybe I could be more grateful to people who care about me, my life and what I’m going to do with it. Easier said than done but I really should.

To Rikk, for having the idea back in late January to post the link to the challenge on Twitter. It was quite a bumpy and introspective ride. He has already finish his and I’m late to read his last articles and comment on it (I’m not very keen on reading blogs on my tiny phone :/) but I’m sure they are interesting so do not hesitate to read his challenge!

And to you, for reading this challenge! For your comments, whether on this blog, via SMS or even around a cup of coffee and a muffin. Thank you for your presence.

Thank you.

31 Day Journal Project – Day 29

Interesting reflexion today, for the 29th episode of the Art of Manliness challenge. Using this particular article, we are supposed to write our personal manifesto. After thinking of it for a few days, this is what I came up with:

I am the only person who dictates my fate. I must trust myself without being afraid to undertake some big and challenging adventure. I shall keep an open mind and do not lose my curiosity. I have to go forward without forget or live in the past. If I need support or assistance, find a trust worthy person and do not hesitate to ask. Don’t forget to stay in touch with people I care about.

31 Day Journal Project – Day 28

Approaching of the end of it, only 4 articles to write! And today shall be down once again to the “Craft the life you want” series with its final episode about gathering the necessary tools to make my life a masterpiece. And I start the list of tool with already some complicated issues.

                A Mentor.

Even if I could desperately use one right now, I’m having a hard time to find one. Most of it because of my unhealthy habit to keep everything for me. I obviously think about someone but it is rather complicated (I am a rational person except for this). Anyway, this part is under serious consideration and it has been since a few months. Can’t tell more. Sorry.

                A mastermind group.

I sort of tried this sort of emulation during my university time. I started with a friend some sort of a friendship/working group. It was quite enjoyable actually to gather together in order to work and study. But I had a hard time trying to focus myself around other people and I realised I study better alone. I can’t focus on a subject for 3 of 4 hours straight. I need to do a lot of breaks to clear my mind of what I just learn and go back at it half an hour later to keep on studying. This kind of behaviour, along with some others relationship issues, was quite badly seen and I was sort of casted out.

Another mastermind group I could experience was when I was working in England where it was quite easy to regroup between “Students” or even between “French”. Every night after work, we gathered together and shared the latest news of the day, the latest cock-ups of management and so on. We laugh a lot and when someone was in trouble, we thought together about a solution and tried to make it real. It didn’t last long but it was the best group I could experience. Maybe once I’ll know exactly where I’m going, I’ll be able to form or join a new one.

                Journal/Pocket notebook.

No problem about this point, some articles of this blog could be considered as livejournal entries. It is a shame though I only keep a journal on when I’m abroad. Even if, every night when I’m in bed, I spend almost an hour thinking about this and that. I would kill for a machine capable of writing down the thoughts I could have during those pre-nights. But I’m afraid there would be a lot of paper involved and a lot of recurrences as well.

As for the pocket note book, I also do this sort of things. But I’m really keen on using backs of envelopes or sheets of paper to do so. It is not very organised and sometime it is hard to remember what I’ve noted down. Perhaps, I should dedicate a special notebook to it.

                Online tools.

Being cut off from the Internet right now, it is not easy to try the one listed in the article. But I’ll try to get back on that.

                Suggested reading for crafting the life you want.

As I am currently out of stuff to read, I might be tempted to order one of the book listed. So, it is another point I should check out later.

         The most important tool of all.

Discipline. Yes, of course. But for me I would add motivation, conviction, passion, a dash of boldness and a lot of balls to do what I want to achieve.

31 Day Journal Project – Day 27

For the 27th day of the Art of Manliness challenge, we ought to reflect on home and the importance of where we live. I wrote a beautiful piece of article of about 1000 words when I realised it was a bit out of context. Whoops!
They want us to focus on 8 factors that we should consider when choosing where to live. So I saved my prose for another time (yeah, free article!) and I studied the subject.

Professional opportunities
In order to stay in touch with my inner wishes, I believe it would be better if I stay close to big cities. It is always simpler (at least, it looks like it) to find some job in large populated areas than in the middle of nowhere. However, I’m not only aiming at capitals but any city larger than 100,000 people is I think a good size and might have some interesting working opportunities.

I agree with the fact that if you live in a nice looking city, it uplifts your moral a bit. And Nantes is a great example for it! I already loved my city before but recently, I spent 7 and a half months in eastern France and I haven’t been able to come back in Nantes. Even during my Christmas holiday week, I couldn’t go back and spend a day. I deeply missed it. But when I came back, I had the opportunity to play the tour guide for a friend I made in Nancy who I annoyed a lot saying Nantes is much much better than Nancy. I couldn’t stop saying it and he decided to verify it whit his own eyes. I played my part the best I could, showing him all the places I love, all the bars I like, the best viewpoints, all the cultural history, the best kebab joint ever, etc… In the end, I was quite pleased when he said to me:”I understand why you don’t want to come back in Nancy”. I really grew fond of having a gorgeous city where I used to live and this would definitely be a huge factor in a choice for a living location in the future.

Recreational Opportunities
Once again, Nantes was (and still is) a fantastic place for recreational opportunities: lots of movies theatres, exhibitions, performances, cultural events, sports events, music festivals, etc… And just like I said previously, once you’ve tasted it, it is hard to think about living in a place who doesn’t offer this sort of variety and numerous quality exhibits. And having the seaside at just one hour away is very pleasant!

Climate and geography
I’m not much of a hot weather kind of person. I believe it is always easier to warm up than to cool down. Maybe this is why I do appreciate Britain climate!

As about geography, I am profoundly jealous of people living close to the Pyrénées. It might not be a high cultural place but Jeez, this place is stunning! I used to spend a holiday week almost every year over there and I miss it deeply. I always felt appealed by this corner of the Earth and already tried to match this desire with a professional project but it blew away. I reckon I could make some heavy concessions if I had the opportunity of settling myself in those mountains.

Available mates
I trust this point might not be as relevant as it could have been a few decades ago. Nowadays, if you want to stay in touch with someone, you have plenty of ways to do so. As for making new friends, it is probably easier to do so if you live next to a big city. Even if I’m not a very sociable person (at least, at first glance) I feel more comfortable knowing I have a lot of people around me where I can blend in and walk my way, unnoticed.

Proximity to family and friends
This is almost the same as about mates: if I want to stay in touch with them, the great power of the Internet will allow me to do so. Even if it is not the same as chatting with someone face to face, hearing only the voice of a love one can be very enjoyable.

Environment for child rearing
Wow, that’s a point I barely think of! I guess I would be quite flexible about where I want to live because at this point it would be the kid’s priority. I don’t have a life plan about this, maybe the city, maybe the country side. I don’t think that the place is very important fundamentally. It is more of a way that you raise them, educated them, learn them to open their eyes and try to understand the world the best they can. I suppose I would be very open about where we would live and if they want a change of scenery and my work (or both our works) allows it, it might be an interesting debate to hold if we were to change our location.

The cost of living
It is known that living in a city is more expensive than in the country side. But in the mean time, I know I don’t need a lot of space or a huge loft to live in. From sharing a room with others in a big house to my own little flat (with maybe a guest room), anything would be perfect right now. And because I don’t want to live in the heart of a city but in its close suburb, I guess it would be a little bit cheaper.

So, if I’m listening to all this, I trust I should be looking right now for a nice little flat or a comfy room in a collocation somewhere next to a big city in Ireland or Scotland. Or maybe in Canada?

Well, I’ll get right on it!

31 Day Journal Project – Day 26

I’m back! Bloody hell, it’s been a long time without posting anything in here. I did try to put some stuff in motion during my little hiatus even if it did not go as I planned it would. So there been some changes, again. I moved back to a different house, again. And I try to sort things out the best way I can, again.

Still, as Rikk is back at his challenge and because he is now ahead of me (which never occurred before :trollface:) plus listening to the Snapchats, the Hangouts and the messages of people who asked me to keep on writing (few but it is still enjoyable), I must finish what I started. All that and the little promise I made to myself that I will complete the damn thing! Even if I have to write my blog on a Word sheet, copy and paste it on a notepad, sending it to my phone via USB, and post the article with the WordPress app on my phone with an EDGE network. That’s how precarious my situation is right now.

Let’s crack on.

On the 26th day of the challenge, we are asked to craft a life plan to in order to take control of our life in a more organised way.

Seriously? I came back for this? Don’t you know I am struggling enough right now?

Let’s go for it then, so I can try to organise a bit the mess inside my brain. Part of the reluctance I have expressing all that is because I believe my life so far is useless. It may sounds harsh and it would be difficult to explain to you all the reasons I feel that way but I genuinely think that I missed some big opportunities and I always end up stuck, trying to find solutions that, for the last 2 years, didn’t succeed at all. As I am a very pragmatic man, I know I am mostly responsible for my current situation. Be that as it may, I can’t help but think there are some people out there that could’ve helped me to achieve some goods. I don’t want to point fingers at people, do name dropping or reinforce the feeling “I’m alone against the world” but it is not easy to find yourself unsupervised when you need it the most.

Moving on. From this little speech you can say that I am not very happy with my life so far. And basically it is not because of the choice, more of the outcomes that never really match my expectations.

Quick example: I love Science. I am absolutely thrilled about all the knowledge in Biology I gain along the years. I know I’m good at it and that I could be a valuable help in a lab. That’s why, I am absolutely fed up with the fact I did not managed to have enough diplomas to be able to work in a lab. It’s like I have the knowledge, I understand it, I could use it but because I don’t have the right diploma, I’m just good enough to watch the others play with the toys I desperately want to play with. You could say that maybe I should’ve worked harder, better, quicker and so on. And you may be right. But I also refer you to the first paragraph of self-flagellation without further explanation.

Let’s make some changes, pronto!

First of all is getting a job. I’ve only started a few months ago to reflect on my academic career and whisper to myself “Maybe it’s time to put all that suffering aside?” Maybe I forced myself too much about getting a job in Science. I tried all the ways I could think of and some people pointed me towards some others but it never ended well. I desperately wished someone, 7 years ago, would have said to me: “Look, for now you’re not going anywhere. Let’s put that aside for a year. Go, have some fun and come back stronger than ever”.

This is pretty much what I am trying to do right now. I want to use the few experience I gained from my stay in England last year to come back in the UK to work. I’m not looking for a fancy job, not even a nicely paid one. I just need to reconnect with that glorious feeling I had back there that I was alone in control of my life. I need that again. So, with a helping friend, I’ve started to send some CV out there and go fishing for a nice opportunity.

I don’t think I will do this “simple” job for the rest of my life. Or maybe I will. I need to have something to occupy my days, I’m turning mental. I still got the idea of working in Science in the back of my head though. Will it triumph? Will it perish? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll discover myself another area of expertise I could put in good use. I trust I have abilities in different domains and perhaps once I’m abroad, I’ll make an encounter or find myself in a position that could make the difference.

And if there is not, maybe I’ll go fishing in another country. I am quite free to shape my future life the way I want and even if I’m a bit old, it is comforting to think that everything is not lost. I can hardly plan anything else because it will all depend on the very close future who I hope will be bright.

May that simple plan come true and I will write another life plan once this one is complete!

Because of course, there is still a lot I’d like to plan: share my life with someone interesting, starting hobbies and sports I’ve realised I put aside for far too long, etc…

I trust it will all follow from that little details whose called working and I can’t wait for it.

31 Day Journal Project – Day 25

Oups! A few weeks ago, I was suppose to make a smashing comeback but looks like I only had the opportunity to write 1 article. Bad bad Ben! Now, let’s get back to it.

On this 25th article of the challenge, we are asked to help ourselves on the switches of manliness series in order to identify the one we lack the most in our current life. The assignement is starting by saying: ”There comes a time in every man’s life where he just feels…meh. He’s not happy about things, but he’s not depressed either.” Oh boy… This quote is so going to help me recommit myself into this challenge…

Anyway, the serie introduces 5 switches: Physicality, Challenge, Legacy, Provide & Nature. So, let’s study all of them if I want to identify the one missing from my life.


Those of you who saw me IRL know that I am not a very physical man. I am a skinny guy who can be compared with a shrimp in France (I’m not aware for the metaphor in England, sorry). Always have (always will?) and the good side of it allows me to eat substantial amount of food without putting any weight at all :) That being said, I’m very glad to report my weekly performance: I now run at least 1 hour (or 10kms according to RunKeeper) in a week. It might not look very much but for me it is quite an achievement. I am not a sports guy (unless there is a TV involved), running was always hell in school thanks to this crapy PE teacher and I do not have a very acute competitive sense.

Even though, I’m very glad I found my way back to sport in the beginning of March (and thanks to nouille-h), sticking to my schedule and experiencing good sensation once my session is over. A few days ago I even tried this, to help getting in good shape. But it was a no-go: I couldn’t follow the pace, I wasn’t sure I was doing the right move… I stopped after 1min. Maybe I’ll try again, or I’ll try the Lafey method instead which is very popular in France.

Anyway, I’m feeling so good running (well, most of the time) that I miss my bike very much. I would also love play badminton again (the only sport I was quite good at in upper secondary school (geez, it is hard to switch from FR to UK school system!) and I possess some great and cheerful memories of climbing sessions from lower secondary school (memories revived by Rikk) that I desperately want to try again!

Sadly, even if I try to go out every day (and I grow tired of new place to go…), I must admit I spend most of my days sit down on a char or on the sofa. It surely is related to my current unemployment though; I hope everything I put in motion these past few weeks will help me getting back on the right tracks.

That’s why I believe this switch is ON and I hope it stays for long.


It might sound a bit dramatic but for the past 7 years, I didn’t had any other choice that to challenge myself in my everyday life. The problem is: it happened too soon and no one was around to see/help/talk/advise…

It started when I was 18. I won’t go into too many details in here but I sort of had to figure out how to live on my own while I started University. Long story short, it didn’t go well. At this point, I would’ve loved for someone to throw me something else to help me re-think my life. But it didn’t happened and I was stuck in my very own challenge, trying to succeed.

The second challenge occurred when I decided to drop out of university. The failure was formal. I did succeed some stuff but not enough to be really pleased with myself. I had to take yet another challenge. Somehow, like some sort of leap of faith, I left my apartment, packed all my belongings and went to England. I needed this 6 years ago but, better late than never I guess. And this challenge was a success. I met some very nice persons, had a lot of fun and it was the first stress-free period since University.

I tried to organise my comeback the best I could but once again, I failed miserably. It took me some time to find something else but eventually (with the gigantic help of my best friend) I managed to get a new challenge, something that could help me reach the next chapter of my life. I can be quite slow to establish all the means to this end but I really think I have a shot at this.

So, I consider this switch ON as well, but it looks like it is a much more fragile and sensitive one and I must keep an eye on it so it doesn’t flip back.


All right, this one is definitely switched OFF. I can’t think of anything right now that could help building my legacy or at least start one. But I still got plenty of time, haven’t I? I hope so.


They say: “It is often activated, just not in a very productive way.” And it looks like they are right about it. I’m always having trouble planning ahead because until today, it always felled apart. However, I try sometimes to put some things in motion like making a daily schedule but I no good at maintain it, even if I really want to. Maybe I see myself too much through others lately, I’m afraid I would be wiped out of the surface of this world if I started to act all independent, like I’m not important in the big scheme of this universe. But once again, I trust it would change when I manage to get things going on a professional level first (and then, maybe on the personal one).


Even if I claim to be an urban guy, I do enjoy some time at the countryside. It is indeed a great way to disconnect. And I mean it literally because where I go, there is no Internet and it is very difficult to get a proper 3G signal! Not sure about the fact it fights depression as I tend to believe loneliness can be a hell of a bitch but nature is sure is a place who promotes calmness and sharpness. It’s been a long time since I’ve slept in a tent and I kind of miss it. I nostalgically remember the summers when we spent our days outside, building sheds in the woods, biking all afternoon long and only went back home for dinner and bed. I would love to try hiking in the Pyrénées with a competent partner. I terribly miss those mountains. We used to go over there every year when I was a kid. And with our motor home, we spent extraordinary time in the mountains during summer.

So yes, this is a switch I would gladly turn back ON!

Live report – Franz Ferdinand


Quick break from my challenge so I can report from a live performance I saw on Saturday’s night at Nancy’s Zénith. My flatmate offered me tickets to the show as a Christmas present. I just pointed at the poster announcing the gig on the streets and said “Hey, do you know the band? I really like it, it could be great to see them, don’t you think?” And the next step, I had 2 tickets in front of me, in a bar, on December 23rd. Isn’t she the greatest?

I have to admit, it was pretty difficult to wait that long to enjoy it. But the date finally showed up and I was ready for it as I spent a lot of time listening again the complete discography of the band which I possess in my music library. I was still a teenager when I discovered the band on the radio and really like it in a matter of seconds. Of course, hearing “Take me out” a lot on national radios helped a bit to maintain my recent crush. However, I must point that I enjoy even more the tracks which are not played on radio but the one you can only found on the album. To me, “Eleanor Put Your Boots On” is one of their best.


But never mind all that. On Saturday, it was all about me and the Franz for a hell of a live performance. I didn’t know they would give only 3 gigs in France so when I figured it out, I was feeling a bit lucky to be part of it. Even if the concert hall was far from being full.

First of all, we had the pleasure to discover Teleman as the opening act of the evening.  It is some sort of an indie band according to the Guardian. They performed about 6 or 7 songs and it was very pleasant even if the audience was maybe a little cold, not supporting them a lot. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed their performance and I’ll try to stay inform on their future activities.


After a quick break, the show took off as the 4 musicians went on stage. And since that moment, we were up to an hour and a half of a great rock show! The scenography was pretty simple (maybe too simple) but we were here to listen and shout and dance on some good British rock, nothing else. They almost played the entire last album and add some stuff from the older ones like “Take me out”, “Ulysses”, “No you girls” or “Do you want to”. The teenager inside of me was in a trance state, shouting loud all the lyrics of these “old” songs. I hadn’t enough time to learn the lyrics of the last one. As I was saying, there were no elaborated scenography during the show but we had a hell of a light show, always in tune with the music and urging everyone to get up and jump nonstop!

All the musicians were in an electric mood as well, jumping everywhere, playing with the audience and giving us a hell of a performance. So, kudos to you guys, you did very well! The only sad point is that it was way too short!!! In the mean time, the last album is very short as well so I guess they won’t play songs longer than they are (even if they were making them last longer so we could sing along).

In the end, it was a terrific show and I’m very glad to have the opportunity to see them perform live!

ffSorry for the bad quality of the pictures, my smartphone is not very young and not great at low brightness…