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Bits and bobs about my life in my lovely home, Thatchwick Cottage, Pretoria, South Africa.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wednesday, 16 July: La vie en rose - I'm off to Paris

On Friday 18 July I shall be departing Oliver Tambo/Johannesburg International Airport for a conference in Prato, Tuscany (just a 15 minute train ride from Florence), where I shall be giving a paper (more about that later this week). I have a stopover of two days in Paris! And who better to exemplify the spirit of the French capital than Edith Piaf (1915-1963).

The throaty tones of the Little Sparrow often emanate from my CD player, especially when I am cooking. Born Edith Giovanna Gassion, she was named after Edith Cavell. When I was young, I was captivated by the story of the heroic Edith Cavell, the British nurse who was executed by firing squad in WWI for helping French soldiers escape German captivity. Edith Piaf's life was very different from that of her namesake but I think she was also a brave woman to survive an extremely deprived childhood. Her life is difficult to summarise: growing up in brothels, singing and doing acrobatic performances on the streets of Paris as a teenager, she was discovered in the Pigalle area by a nightclub owner. Her Svengali taught her stage presence, nicknamed her 'the little sparrow' and instructed her to wear her trademark black dress. Edith married twice, had several lovers and reports of her activities during WWII range from performing for the occupation troops to helping individuals escape Nazi persecution. Her most famous song, La vie en rose, Life in the pink, was recorded in 1945. You have seen the 2007 movie by the same title for which Marion Cotillard won an Oscar this year, haven't you?

Linking to Edith, the survivor of childhood trauma, my conference paper deals with the life stories of four African women (my former students) who triumphed over childhood deprivation to become qualified teachers with postgraduate degrees. When I have packed my little suitcase, I shall post an extract!

PS My thanks to dear friend, Karen Harvey Cox at the magnificent A scrapbook of inspiration who has kindly awarded me a prize! Karen, I will try to publish the award and my seven prizewinners before I fly! If not, as soon as I return!


Tracy said...

Put on your rose-colored glasses and have a lovely time, Eleanor! Look forward to your Parisian adventures when you return! Happy Days ((HUGS))

Mary said...

Eleanor, the movie with Marion Cotillard is etched forever in my memory (seen it twice), not just for the story/struggle of Edith Piaf but for that absolutely stunning performance by this actress. I'd already stated I would never believe in Hollywood again if she didn't win the Oscar, which of course she did!

I often play my Piaf CD's in the car - I love the closeness one gets to a really great vocalist when captured in that small personal space!

So my dear, almost time to fly - I'm envious knowing you will be in two of my favorite cities!!! Do have a fabulous trip, stay safe, and we'll be waiting to hear all about it - with some pics hopefully.

It will be nice to hear more about your paper - sounds most interesting.

So, bon voyage..........have a great time.
Warm hugs - Mary.

willow said...

Tuscany and Paris?! ~Oh~ I am so envious!! You lucky girl!

I adore Edith Piaf! There is something mysterious and addictive to her singing, don't you think?
I loved the movie La Vie en Rose and have watched it several times. I was thrilled when Marion Cotillard won the Oscar for her performance. She was marvelous.

Godspeed, dear friend. I'll be looking forward to hearing about your presentation.

Willow x o

willow said...

PS...I love reading through Innisfree each time I come for a visit! :)

Muriel said...

I luvvvv Edith Piaf!!!

Enjoy Paris!! Wish it was me ;) My favourite city!

Theresa @ Take A Sentimental Journey said...

Hope you have a wonderful time Eleanor. And I hope you take alot of photos. Can't wait to hear all the details when you get back.

Anonymous said...

Have an oh so fab time, dear one! Return safely. Hugs ~ Alexandra

Lavinia Ladyslipper said...

I see I've missed so much over here in the past few days! Edith Piaf----one of the twentieth century's great lady legends.

La Vie En Rose is one of those songs that makes you feel as if it were written just for you....

KarenHarveyCox said...

Oh Eleanor, this sounds like a wonderful trip. I can't wait to hear about that paper. How proud you must be of your students, and I am so proud of you. I can't wait to read all about your trip. Thank you for your kind words. Karen

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I cannot wait to hear of your wonderful adventures! Have a great trip!