30 November, 2011

Access to stores on Sundays : the floor given to Angers consumers may predict a change of mind

News analysis. - Did the opinions, regarding the issue of Sundays as no working days, started to change from an adamant refusal to an open mindedness? May be it is the case with the daily Le Courrier de l'Ouest which, for the first time since the uprising of the conflict due to the opening of the Saint-Jean-de-Linières Leclerc superstore on Sunday mornings, gave the floor to the consumers. The daily even admitted in the front page of its Monday edition that the petition distributed by trade unions to consumers "has sparked off a real debate".

Up to now, the presentation of the problem was in favour of the prohibition with classical and political arguments without recognition of the daily life of working people and the economic advantages for employees, the store and the public, to be able to go for shopping on Sunday mornings. But another news erupted the following day in the same newspaper could explain such an evolution. 

In its edition of Tuesday, the same Courrier de l'Ouest announced : "the unemployment soars in Anjou". That fact which could trigger the issue to be reconsidered  :  +4.5% since January and even +7.5% from October 2010 to October 2011! If the economic growth is always curbed how will unemployment decrease and how will the Angers inhabitants live?

29 November, 2011

The Adam House on the eve of Christmas

It is one of the most famous monuments of Angers : the Adam House. Built about 1500, this hal-timbered house is a rare specimen of the medieval architecture with its richness of carved beams displaying religious or secular sculptures. The Adam House is also one of the most inappropriate store window in town : washed out modern paintings, statuette signed Niki de Saint Phalle or tropical animals in mosaic look totally disoriented in such an historical atmosphere.

The objects are displayed in a modern fitting while the inner architecture of the Adam House gives off history, subdued lightings, warm colors. Where are the tapestries depicting scenes of the medieval or of the golden age of France's Ancient Regime? Where are the tokens of the crafts (furnitures, carpets, etc) today considered as arts? Not a single reference to past in that inheritage of history. Only objects of daily consumption : ties, mugs and so on. There is no special design for Christmas.

This doesn't enhance the style of the Adam House, in addition emphasized in this historical district of Angers. Even at night, the harsh lighting of the store window harms the shadows and the patterns of the front side, burying the past in the sunlights of today.

28 November, 2011

Angers Saint-Martin fun fair 2001 closed down on Sunday

The Saint Martin fun fair 2011 edition has closed on Sunday. While some onlookers embarked in the last attractions still opened, the fairground people had already started to dismantle their merry-go-round, glass labyrinth or shut the panels of their display vehicles. One of the most surprising component of the fair was... the temperature. After 9 pm, it was 15° in the soaked alleys full of smells of candy. 

According to Angers newspapers, the commercial result of the fun fair is uncertain. If the new trolley line has brought thousands of inhabitants, it's not sure that all of them have paid more money than previous year : all the visitors are not customers. If the Saint-Martin had traditionnal merry-go-round, shooting galleries, bumper cars and "true New York hamburger" (for men and women apparently concerned by excess weight), the 2011 edition had its technical attractions for thrill-seekers catapulted in space till "5 G"!

The enticing voices of female stallkeepers trying to lure the last families was covered by the noises of metallic wrenches closing down the entertainments. On the following morning, the La Rochefoucauld square will find again its (free) parking lot atmosphere.

27 November, 2011

UK in Angers through pub in city

One of the most anglicized faces of Angers is its pubs. Since a few years, several opened in downtown, at least on left side of Maine river. The Matt Murphys along Foch boulevard, The James Joyce in front of the Angers congress center, or more discreet, the Donald's pub , the Inishmore, located in Boisnet, Bressigny streets are among the most frequented all year long even if their Anglo-Saxon atmosphere is more obvious as winter goes along with its dampness and, these days, its fog. 

Along with that fashion, consumers are changing their habits. While, formerly, French people used to have a drink inside the pubs, now, in part because of the smoking prohibition in public places, these customers spend their evenings on the front side of the pubs, sometimes playing quoits on the pavement.

 Another resemblance with the pubs over the Channel is their habits to inform their customers of major sports events like the last world rugby cup. Of course the music inside is, like everywhere in Angers, Anglo-American, what adds to the change of scene. It looks like if, in that pubs, people didn't only want to drink a Irish, Scotish, Welsh or British beer but be a part of UK, even if the inhabitants of this country are in love with the Anjou wine.

26 November, 2011

Letter from the editor

Dear Anonymous,
Thanks for your comment on "Angers bike lanes bitten by cars". Yes, traffic wardens should be off duty on Sunday.
Warmest regards.

A new radar speed in Victor Chatenay avenue, designed to be profitable instead of educational

The educational radar in front of Ouest Gravure
The straight Victor Chatenay avenue has been provided with a radar speed last Thursday on the right side of the street from Angers toward the outside after the Sept Sonnettes crossroads. The equipment set up in front of the Habitat Plus headquater is not signposted but only preceded by an educational radar located in front of the Ouest Gravure company. Henceforth, vehicles on that way will not have to exceed 50 km/h. These devices were announced in Maine-et-Loire in June 2012 and the prefecture plans to set up around 30 radars speed. 

The speed radar in front of Habitat Plus
Much more questionable is the simultaneous removal of board signs warning motorists about a speed control when a classical radar speed is replaced by an educational radar. The problem is the new radar is (voluntarily) wrongly located. Instead of a set up  before the Sept Sonnettes crossroads where the straight avenue is a genuine racetrack for motorcyclists or even drivers needing thrills, the speed radar is in a section where traffic lights prevent excessive speeds.

Unfortunately, this could not prevent speed controls for people coming toward Angers downtown on working day mornings. It would have been more logical to put it in that direction because it's in town the speed limit is justified. Was it justified to put it on a section located at 100 m of the boundary of Angers city?

25 November, 2011

In Angers bike traffic increases, and bickering with pedestrians too

The traffic by bikes has increased along the years and, because of the soaring of gas, will probably continue to do so. If Angers city, as well as the surroundings towns and villages, have set up a grid of cyclables lanes, the users of bikes don't take, till now, good habits regarding the other users of public ways. Of course, bikers are more vulnerable than drivers of cars, lorries and even buses, but pedestrians are themselves more vulnerable than bikers and these last quite often forget it.

Because to the lack of cyclables lanes in Angers downtown, bikers use the pedestrian streets and even pavements which are not dedicated to them. The result is the pedestrians don't feel safe, especially during winter mornings and evenings when day light is scarce. Believing they are seen by pedestrian, the bikers are sometimes driving a little bit fast and accidents may occur with elder persons who are unaware of the dangers.

With the increase in the years to come of the traffic by bikes, Angers town hall could reconsider the design of its cyclable lanes because cars, and even Irigo company buses' drivers, don't respect the regulations in favour of bikers. Quite often, and not always because of simple neglect, they close the distance between their vehicles and the pavements, a behaviour which can lead to accidents and injuries. One of the solution could consist in designing separate lanes for bikers with their own traffic lights and their own regulations. But it could be costly.

24 November, 2011

Bernadette Caillard-Humeau on the La Rochefoucauld parking way

Her strategy is quite difficult to understand. After she announced, on the first days of October, that the La Rochefoucauld parking lot would not be free next year, Bernadette Caillard-Humeau, first deputy mayor of Angers was relieved of a part of her authorities by the mayor himself, Jean-Claude Antonini. In an interview published recently she admitted a few days ago that "it was a mistake in communication from upstream and in downstream. The talks [about this issue] were not completely finished" adding that at that time, "For me, the chapter was over".

Was it sure? In the same interview, Mrs Caillard-Humeau pointed out that the withdrawal, by the mayor, of her different authorities, was "anyway a political act". This new accusation infuriated the mayor who, consistently, withdrew a second time the powers she still had.

The fact his former allies choose recently to disown the first deputy mayor and put the emphasis on the "personal dimension" of the sanction could mean that her personality didn't let town hall members indifferent. At the very beginning of her mandate at Angers municipal council, Mrs Caillard-Humeau  demanded "a sunny office"... And what for the others?

23 November, 2011

Suns of winter at Angers' heart

Few by few, components of the event "Suns of winter" are arriving in Angers down town. After Christmas and New Year illuminations were set up in the streets, it was the turn of the wooden huts to take place in the streets and squares around the Angers centre. On the occasion of its 2011 edition, Angers town hall wanted it more traditional. But, the city chose, for the first time, to deal it with a private company instead of the shopkeepers association.

This change displays the will of the municipal team to use the Christmas and New Year periods to make the Angers down town, the first commercial centre of the territory, more attractive. And this year a good idea has taken place with the openings of stores for shopping till 9 pm on Saturday 3 and Friday 9, 16 and 23 December. In order to stimulate the attractiveness of the place, all the parking lots of Angers down town will be free as trolley and buses for all persons coming there with an Irigo subscriber. 

After years of works on the first trolley line which hampered the business of Angers down town retail stores, it was fair to help them recovering turnover. Aside this, the event will not forget Angers inhabitants weakened by the economic slowdown. Actions aiming at giving them parcels in spite of their scares resources will take place, making of the event a real sun in the winter of life.

22 November, 2011

Angers bike's lanes bitten by cars

In the field of urban trips, Angers town hall has implemented, since a long time, a policy designed to increase the use of bike within its territorial limits. If the set-up of specific lanes, traffic lights or bike hoops are the necessary components of that policy, these are not, perhaps, sufficient. The municipal will to get the bikers' rights observed could go through the sanction of individuals who hold up its policy and the traffic by bike.

On Sunday November 20th near the numerous merry-go-round of the Saint-Martin fun fair, it was really difficult to park one's car because the place was overcrowded. Some unscrupulous individuals choose, nevertheless, to use the bike's lanes as parking lots. If, possibly, the owners of these cars do not live in Angers, possibly the users of these lanes are city's inhabitants. Why, in presence of such obvious offenses, Angers town hall didn't react?

In some cases, Angers city, thanks to zealous female traffic wardens, has been much more inflexible with elder drivers having just to park (in Chevreul street) their car for unloading luggage for a while... On Sunday, the city was obviously unwilling to get the bikers' rights observed. Angers town hall looks eager to promote its own bike paying facility, VéloCité+ (with the very benevolent help of a daily newspaper), but it should have in mind its customers do not represent all the bikers of the city and the "cultural change" it waits will not come so easily.

21 November, 2011

The Angers trade unions finally absent in Leclerc superstore

After they warned the Leclerc superstore of Saint-Jean-de-Linières and its customers of their intention to block its accesses in case of an opening on Sunday morning, the Angers trade-unions' militants were, finally, absent. Apparently their message was even not listened by inhabitants of the neighbouring went at the parking lot and the departments of the store as they did on previous Sundays.

One of the questions raised by this absence is why these leaders didn't come? Maybe the answer lays in a recent awareness that, on that day, many businesses, and not only in the food field, are running : garden centres like Jardiland or Truffaut, not far from the Leclerc superstore, were active, while in the food chain, all the Carrefour Market and of course the very popular open-air market of the Monplaisir district (on street spaces rented by the city of Angers) was as attended as usual.

In fact, it seems difficult for these trade union leaders (and for the Angers Loire Métropole representatives who launched an appeal to the prefect) to justify the right of work for some and to prohibit it for others. Moreover, how to stop customers to purchase and who is authorized to tell them what they have to do or not to do during Sundays. The Angers trade unions leaders didn't venture to do so on Sunday because they don't work on that day.

20 November, 2011

Letter from the editor

Dear Baby names,
Thank you for your comment about the last posting on Angers babies first names choices.
Edgar Girondin

In Angers on Sunday : test for the rest

News Analysis. - Today will be a test between supporters of the opening on Sundays of food superstores and defenders of the Sunday rest. Triggered by the decision of the Leclerc superstore of Saint-Jean-de-Linières to be open to customers on Sunday mornings, the debate has been magnified by the Angers Loire Métropole representatives as well as local trade-unions leaders pointing out that Sunday had to be dedicated for family and rest. The other superstores are more pragmatic: their decision to open on Sunday mornings will depend on the evolution of their turnover.

In the meantime, the point of view of an important voice - the local newspapers - has evolved. After coverages dedicated to the protest of the adversaries of the Sunday openings, the Angers medias have slightly modified their vision. Simply because the Sunday openings are for years a reality on the territory : Carrefour Market ("in French"), the second world chain of superstores has all its proximity stores Carrefour City (still "in French"), in Hérault square, Saint-Michel boulevard and others accessible to public even on Sundays, and without any contestation. And local press has at last noticed the fact.

According to professionals, these openings of proximity stores are even beneficial to retail stores like bakery. Moreover, a practice strikes down one of the main arguments of the defenders (the respect of the Sunday as a period of rest for employees) because those who work on that day are... students happy to find there a supplementary income. Finally, if there is a deadlock in Leclerc today, it should not start again next Sunday and so on?

19 November, 2011

The Angevins babies have the right to be made a first-name!

 The first-names of babies published in the weekly section of the Angers newspapers give a glimpse about the wishes of families to endow a touch of originality to their offspring. And the contrast with first-names of defuncts is striking. The Eugène or Léontine gave way to a new generation of inhabitants of Angers of which one wonder if they are really French.

While, in the last list of records, there are always English or American first names (Wyatt, Tom or Lenny), sometimes linked to the success of a movie (Ethan with Mission Impossible, Eliott imposed by The extra terrestrial), the most recent sections display a creativity which gives dizziness : Elia, Eléa, Manoah, Noa, Malo, Lola. In the years to come, teachers in school will have to call upon their memory!

If this diversity of first-names is lawful in France since 1993, it may indicate a loss of landmarks. People take offence of the choice of Angers Loire Valley but in the same time show themselves to be very sensitive to English brands when they go for shopping. 

Credit Wikipédia
If in England the first source for first-names is the Bible and the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and Peter, James, Andrew, Thomas), another source of 'English' first names is the Celtic tradition, like in Angers, and other 'English' names were brought to the country through invasion. So the Normans of north-west France brought many names to England as a result of the invasion of 1066.

18 November, 2011

The Angers Cesbron solar powered headquarter reflects the economic priority of tomorrow

A visit of the new headquarter of the Cesbron Group located in an industrial area at the East of Angers gives to the visitors an idea of the world which awaits them : a world where savings will be central. If the architecture of the building, outside and inside, is uncluttered and functional, it is, above all, technically astonishing with its heat devices, light systems which generate, at worst a very low conception of energy, at best the production of the power needed! The inspiration which preceded the construction is revealing of the worrying of the priority of tomorrow.

Savings are of course intimately linked to the protection of environment and the limitation of natural resources but the visit of the Cesbron Group recalls that the first meaning of savings is economical : there are no button switches in the offices of the two stages building nor in the corridors. Every emission of heat, for example in the informatics room, is totally salvaged and recycled. The solar panels, under different forms, are everywhere : on the roof, on the outside wall, and the presence of a pond which circles the building enhance the intensity of solar rays.

The regulation of heat is also a return to old uses : the temperature ranges from 19° to 26°, meaning that inside that scale people have to adapt their dressing. That was the rule formerly and that will be the rule in France tomorrow.

17 November, 2011

Sunday superstores openings : tensions are increasing with Angers trade unions

The local trade union offices, Imbach square
The tensions may increase regarding the opening of stores on Sunday. Angers trade unions threaten to block the Saint-Jean-de-Linières Leclerc superstore if it opens next Sunday and the Angers Loire Métropole have launched an appeal to lead the prefect to prohibit such openings. But, through the Sunday opening of superstores, two conceptions confront one another in Angers economic and social lobbies about what the families need to do on that day. 

The signature for Megarama complex in 2013 (Angers city)
On one side, Angers Loire Metropole repre-sentatives and trade unions, claim that Sunday must stay dedicated to rest, leisure and family life. On the other side, commercial centres owners who, during a depressive economic period on consumption, must, nevertheless, make their business run (what preserves jobs) and consumers, who don't speak but walk throughout the commercial malls and the departments of superstores. 

The Leclerc superstore entrance in Saint-Jean de Linières
The problem is all the stakeholders of the debate never give the floor to the last ones. But, except for superstores, many commercial activities in Angers are running on Sunday and recently, Angers Loire Métropole itself was happy to announce the conclusion of a contract with the Megarama company which will set up a building hosting six cinema opened, probably, on Sunday in Les Ponts-de-Cé. For consumers, there is no difference between an entrance to cinema or the purchase of an item in a commercial gallery on Sunday.

The change comes from consumers who, apparently, consider going for shopping on Sunday is a family leisure like a walk in the countryside or a movie in a cinema for others. Apparently, Angers Loire Métropole representatives or local trade unions' leaders didn't notice that change.

16 November, 2011

Students and Angers town hall attempt to rebuilt a new relationship

Credit : Angers Fine-Arts Museam
The city makes its heritage accessible the students. The Fine-Arts Museum will be free for these on Thursday November 17th from 7 pm to midnight. The idea is nice because every Thursday evening, many students are in town for gathering which signal the (next) end of the week. Moreover such an initiative may prompt them to frequent other places than bars (even if, most of them are not addicted to over drinking habits).

This initiative could reflect that both youth and town hall are decided to work together to built a new way for student's life in town. At the beginning of the month both signed a chart defining rules for the inhabitants' stillness and students' security during these evenings. Such initiatives could encourage a better understanding of students and the inhabitants. 

Credit Angers city
Along the recent years, many people have, in reason, criticized the behaviour of students. But may be the city should consider this alcoho-lization is not unrelated with grim perspectives for young people. With 30 000 students living in Angers from September to June, the town is right to promote actions recognizing young are an essential element of its dynamism.

15 November, 2011

Angers Loire Métropole launches a plan of economic support in 2012 after taxes increase in 2011

Offices for sale in an Angers industrial park
Face to a "staggering increase of unemployment", Angers Loire Métropole is about to implement a second plan of support to companies and employment. "The figures of unemployment show a staggering increase of 34%" in three years, points out the website of town hall (about 30 000 jobs seekers are counted in Maine et Loire). The city is going to unlock 6 millions € in 2012 and 2013 to support about a thousand jobs. The main measures of that policy concern the companies and the job seekers.

The Alm plans to dedicate 0,7 million €, i.e. 12% of the total amount of its financial resources, to companies. The aids will consist in loans with a low interest rate or even in grants. Others aids aim to stimulate the creation of jobs in the little companies. Regarding the job seekers the city will maintain the four job points on the territory of Angers Loire Métropole while the "Employment bus" has been stopped.
Crédit : Angers Loire Development

This plan seems most of all aimed at the protection of Angers inhabitants against the consequences of the economic crisis. But the territorial authority should have in mind that the best aid it can give to the private sector and consecutively to the job seekers consists in lowering the taxes on companies and households. But in 2011, Angers city increased, for the 1st time in 28 years its local taxes and Angers Loire Métropole created a new one. The authorities should deal first with the local roots of the crisis instead of its consequences.

14 November, 2011

Unaesthetic use of balconies depreciate Angers' social housings

Old buildings
The social buildings are often characterized by the way the tenants use their flats. A good example of that case is located along Bédier boulevard where old buildings have seen their front side completely re-designed. Loggias and balconies stand out against the black and white surfaces of the building testifying the care dedicated to the conception of the renovation works.

Renovated buildings

Some of the tenants have not the same care or didn't notice the efforts of their lessor. Sometimes, the balustrades are disguised with an ugly screen breaking up the harmony of the building front side. Other tenants have simply set up a stays on which a satellite dish has been fixed. Some use their open air extension to display as flags their most personnal washings...

This practice, common in old and renovated social buildings, only leads to depreciate the building and those who live there. The lessors, if they are not entitled to compel the sober use of the flats by their tenants, should recall them that the social harmony doesn't exist without discreet behaviour.

13 November, 2011

An Angers window on kindness

Sometimes people pay attention to others on a very discreet way. That is the case in a quiet street of the North district of Angers where inhabitants of a little house, for months, have designed the front side of their home in a nice way both for the eyes and for the heart of passer-by. The front window, framed with shutters, is liven up with small potted plants and flowers. Such a decoration yet points out the kindness of the occupants. But another detail attracts attention and sympathy.

The occupants have also set up some slates on which they have written with a chalk a few words on the date of the day, the hours of sunrise and sunset, the saint patron, the weather and even a recipe. Even on the pace of a pedestrian, it is difficult to read the little texts. But, nevertheless, a simple glance allows the passerby to catch the message and the care which is behind.

The gesture is obviously appreciated by neighbours who respect it. But how the occupants of the house know that? Are they informed of that? Are they aware of that? Are they only worried of that? Daily, they resume their little work which may give them the certainty that a good action has been done. Turned towards the anonymous passerby, the little slates and the plants their owners don't see from inside warm relationships and life. Simply. Discreetly. Lively.

12 November, 2011

The Angevins look nearer to a façade solidarity than consistency

Angers superstores were full
Angers city will be part to a "Week of international solidarity" planned from the 12th to the 22nd November with numerous other French towns, announced the townhall website. This event will be "a time for bandy and an awareness campaign about different themes ranging from the access to the rights to the aid to development". A lot of gatherings will take place throughout the city and will, notably, be focused on many rights "the right to democracy", "the children's rights", "the right to the earth". Some original initiatives are also set up : "the world championship in shunning fondamental issues". 

of cars during Memorial Day.
Obviously, the Angevins look very interested by interdependency with abroad. In the 2011 edition of the "Week", underdevelopped countries from Africa to Carrribean Islands got the attention of the instigators of the event. So it is logical that the ideas discussed during these days concern mainly the ways to help the economic take-off of these countries.

But another conception of solidarity could be appropriate and legitimate (and not necessarily exclusive with the present one) : the solidarity with the rising generation of Angevins who may inherit from French state and possibly territorial authorities mountains of public debt to refund. What, moreover, could prevent them to finance their own projects. 

What's the difference with a no working day?
A very expressive way to express that solidarity would be to reconsider, locally, the stance about the openings of stores on Sundays because it could allow a supplement of money for employees. But the opposite position has just been adopted by Angers representatives and the prefect while it has also be reasserted by inhabitants (even if the parking lots of superstores were full of cars on November 11th "Memorial Day"). So the Angevins say one thing and do another...

11 November, 2011

Angers inhabitants "chat" their eyes in internet talk with the mayor

Prefecture Mall where troubles are criticized
News analysis. - The bimonthly chat of Angers mayor, Jean-Claude Antonini, published on the town hall website on Tuesday is an interesting sum-up of the local issues the inhabitants have had in mind during the last months. These seem to reflect contradictory worries. At the same time, chatters recall civic duty, the defence of French as mother language but also their confidence in just board signs to prevent troubles and noise from youths in Prefecture Mall.

If same people criticize the tax increase, others, meanwhile, refuse categorically Sunday economic activity which could possibly fuel revenues and jobs. Angers inhabitants seem worried about the implementation of civic duty. Positioned at the beginning of the chat, an elector recalls that "vote is a duty, above all next year" while Mr Antonini points out that abstention reflects "despair". This unanimity is cracked regarding the choice of English words for the international brand of the city : "Angers Loire Valley". An inhabitant thinks that "We must defend our national language before all" (instead of using English) but the mayor notices it is possible to love French and speak another language.

"Pround to be Angevins"

The only economic issue evoked in the chat is the opening of superstores on Sundays. On that point again, very fixed opinions are expressed : according to an inhabitant, these openings are a "coup regardless of employees and family life".  The mayor considers these openings are "a war" he believed "was over for 150 years". Both seem to ignore that parking lots are full of cars during no working days. Impression of pride and unconsciousness of what is at stake presently emerges from that chat in which, to a certain extent, questions were as interesting as answers.

10 November, 2011

Angers city recognizes the current failure of VeloCité+

After almost a year of implementation, VéloCité+ has not yet found its customers. Praised by the former deputy-mayor in charge of transportation in Angers, Bernadette Caillard-Humeau, as an astounding success, the service displayed of Saint-Laud railway station esplanade didn't in fact convinced consumers. "A new concept needs time to establish itself", recognizes Vincent Dulong, who inherited the field of transportation when Mrs Caillard-Humeau was dismissed of her charges a few weeks ago. 

His successor guess changes are necessary "Maybe should we [set up] new stations in town?", he said to the daily Ouest France. Designed at the origin for work uses, the bikes are in fact rented by (a few) people for their leisure. This is not surprising : it's not really easy to go to an appointment if the biker is dressed in a classic professional style? Moreover, where can he park the bicycle and is it fair to spend money for the rent of the stopped bike during the appointment? But almost, why to pay a rent per hour when thousands of other bikers got their engine for free and for months thanks to VéloCité? 

The bicycle sheds scattered all over the city for bikers using trolley don't look to convince Angers inhabitants. Most of them are empty all day long and they will not be filled up with VeloCité+ which should cost 45 000 € per year to the Angers taxpayers.

09 November, 2011

Letter from the editor

Dear Fourmenterian,
Thank you for your comment on the article about the Englicized des Lices Street. Yes, I didn't saw the fact we are approaching the 1 000th anniversary of that dynasty.
Warmest regards 

Between Loire and Océane : an exhibition on man looking down upon nature

"Entre Loire et Océane", an exhibition hosted by Le Quai Theatre from November 4th to December 18th, is an attempt to catch the profound, but unnoticed, changes of the Anjou landscapes along these two major ways of communication, one natural, part of the visual environment, the other, the Océane highway, also known under the reference A87, artificial part of the local geography. Curiously, the 13 twinned panels set up on two parallel tracks in the entrance hall of Le Quai don't reveal such changes because they are too abstractive.

No explanations, no titles, no indications about the places which have been photographed, prevent the visitors to cling to their visual memory and to realize the amplitude and, in some cases, the irreversibility of landscape changes and deteriorations. The author maybe sacrificed the learning power of his work to its artistic dimension.

That one is nevertheless real. Viewed from the sky, concrete surfaces of parking lots, where customers or employees run like ants, point out the material and intellectual imprisonment of individuals in contemporary world. But the most intriguing and perhaps the most worrying impression is, whether it be Loire river or A87, the results are the same : a shaping by man of his environment after an era of man dominated by nature.

08 November, 2011

Angers, Des Lices street : English license

In order to give to the Des Lices street a foreign touch, the Angers city decided a  long time ago to give it a double name sounding Italian "Corsa Italia". If along years, that foreign touch has came, the results do not sound Italian but... English, from end to end of the way. Along the pavements, many shop signs are English what ever be their products : garments, accessories, shoes, pubs or restaurants active or opened soon : Xclusivity, Wolford, MellowYellow, or Fendisuperstar dedicated to women, or Events for young men while Opus One, Del Ice Cocktails or the future Chandler Sandwich Bar.

 The communication boards or the interior design is clearly anglicized. In one of them a huge totem is entirely written in English : "For its 30th anniversary since 1981, Noa Noa has created timeless garments for divine women" adding "welcome to our world of wonderful colours, delight authentic details". In a pub recently opened at the extremity of the street, Union Jacks lights are put up on the walls but it's not sure the tv screen is broadcasting English programs.
If the circumstances for retail trade are not easy presently, the English vocabulary is fashionable. One a front side of a boutique, a huge poster has been stuck. If it isn't written "to rent" (only for regulation reasons), the agency in charge of the dealing is... Century 21. Only lacks English accent in the shops. Would the English speaking students looking for a job on weekends be interested?