“There is always light. If only we’re brave enough to see it.”

Amanda Gorman at the Inauguration of President Biden 1/20/21

“The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman

Mr. President, Dr. Biden, Madam Vice President, Mr. Emhoff, Americans and the world, when day comes we ask ourselves where can we find light in this never-ending shade? The loss we carry asea we must wade. We’ve braved the belly of the beast. We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace. In the norms and notions of what just is isn’t always justice. And yet, the dawn is ours before we knew it. Somehow we do it. Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished. We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president only to find herself reciting for one.

And yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine, but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect. We are striving to forge our union with purpose. To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters, and conditions of man. And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us. We close the divide because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside. We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another. We seek harm to none and harmony for all. Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true. That even as we grieved, we grew. That even as we hurt, we hoped. That even as we tired, we tried that will forever be tied together victorious. Not because we will never again know defeat, but because we will never again sow division.

Scripture tells us to envision that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree and no one shall make them afraid. If we’re to live up to her own time, then victory won’t lie in the blade, but in all the bridges we’ve made. That is the promise to glade, the hill we climb if only we dare. It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit. It’s the past we step into and how we repair it. We’ve seen a forest that would shatter our nation rather than share it. Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy. This effort very nearly succeeded.

But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated. In this truth, in this faith we trust for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us. This is the era of just redemption. We feared it at its inception. We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour, but within it, we found the power to author a new chapter, to offer hope and laughter to ourselves so while once we asked, how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe? Now we assert, how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?

We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be a country that is bruised, but whole, benevolent, but bold, fierce, and free. We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation. Our blunders become their burdens. But one thing is certain, if we merge mercy with might and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change our children’s birthright.

So let us leave behind a country better than one we were left with. Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one. We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the West. We will rise from the wind-swept Northeast where our forefathers first realized revolution. We will rise from the Lake Rim cities of the Midwestern states. We will rise from the sun-baked South. We will rebuild, reconcile and recover in every known nook of our nation, in every corner called our country our people diverse and beautiful will emerge battered and beautiful. When day comes, we step out of the shade aflame and unafraid. The new dawn blooms as we free it. For there is always light. If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.

Why Call My Agent Is Your New TV Fashion Fix

Killing Eve withdrawal? Pencil in some time for Call My Agent


Those still craving the TV fashion fix of Killing Eve might currently find some box-set style satisfaction in Call My Agent! (Dix Pour Cent), the hit French comedy drama on Netflix. Set in a Parisian talent firm called ASK, it follows four agents dealing with the dramatic highs and lows of representing the biggest stars in France – Isabelle Adjani, Juliette Binoche and Monica Bellucci and dozens of other actors happily send themselves up in the show.

Fast-paced and funny, it’s been going since 2015 with the third series just released this month (only six episodes per season, so easy to catch up). And while clothes are incidental to the show – which deals not only with diva strops and demanding directors but also equal pay, sexism, racism and the comic hell of office romance – the female characters’ chic Parisian style is a pleasing bonus and one we’re taking hard note of for office dressing inspiration. Here’s a quick guide to the key players and their style before you settle in.

Andréa Martel

The style star of the show is the badass agent played by Camille Cottin, who tells it like it is, parties like its 1999 and is a serial womaniser. A die-hard Parisian (her response to finding herself in the countryside with no phone reception is to call the police) she’s blessed with great hair and the legs of Emmanuelle Alt. Her uniform is modern French Vogue to a (slubby V-neck) T: skinny jeans, stiletto-heeled ankle boots, sharp navy and black blazers and a slouchy black leather tote. By night she goes for back-bearing dresses, ramping it up with gold sequined hot pants and a waist-coat, garnished with a bow-tie (only in Paris) for a party at a theatre, and a cool metallic shift dress by Martin Grant for the Cannes opening ceremony. Did I mention she has great legs?

Colette Brancillon

Colette Brancillon

In series one, Andréa becomes besotted with the uptight tax auditor Colette (Ophélia Kolb). Colette does excellent trench coat and fierce pony tail for work but transforms into a pre-Raphaelite goddess in soft cashmeres at home.

Sofia Leprince

Sofia Leprince

Receptionist and aspiring actress Sofia (Stéfi Celma) rocks a natural afro and has a smile like Julia Roberts. Whether doing the post round for her ungrateful colleagues or legging it to auditions with vile, racist/sexist directors, she’s an athleisure devotee in trainers, leggings and racer-back vests. Watch her style evolve into rich tonal colours and knee-high boots in series three as she starts to find success.

Camille Valentini

Camille Valentini

Fanny Sidney’s new-girl-in-town arrives in series one in dreary pastels and purple Converse, but when she snags a job as Andréa’s assistant she ups her Parisian style game. Think Vanessa Bruno velvet bomber jackets and spriggy floral and polka dot shirts (very Soeur Paris) worn with straight-leg jeans and block-heeled ankle boots. For after-work parties she does short LBBs and bare legs.

Catherine Barneville

The glamorous wife of untrustworthy agent, Matthias, Catherine (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu) is in her fifties with a yoga-honed body and a nice line in vintage kimonos and antique earrings. She wears Louboutin boots to the hairdressers and you just know her lingerie collection is all devastating La Perla.

© © Christophe Brachet

Noémie Leclerc

Noémie Leclerc

Laure Calamy’s voluptuous brunette assistant has a pounding desire for her boss, Matthias. She’s overtly feminine in low-cut print dresses – we’ve spotted at least one from & Other Stories – wide leather belts to emphasise her waist, and mid-heeled pumps. She likes vivid colour because she’s that kind of girl.

© © Christophe Brachet

Arlette Azémar

Arlette Azémar

Liliane Rovère’s Arlette is a veteran agent and actress and works a version of classic Chanel with artistic Left Bank flair – boucle cardigans, sparkly knits, long skirts and wide trousers with flat shoes, accessorized with silk flowers, ginormous costume earrings and layers of long necklaces. Because in Paris, as in life, one is never too old for glamour.

© © Christophe Brachet

Source: Why Call My Agent Is Your New TV Fashion Fix | British Vogue

Monsieur Pas de Merde recommends “Call My Agent!” (aka (“Dix Pour Cent”)

Cecile de France

Every day is like walking a tightrope for talent agents Mathias, Gabriel, Andrea and Arlette, striving to get contracts for prestigious clients like Cécile de France and other top actors. This series – directed by none other than the brilliant Cédric Klapisch – is a remarkable immersion into the world and lives of movie-star agents, with an all-star cast from Julie Gayet to Joey Starr.

*** The correct translation of Dix Pour Cent is “Ten Percent” not “Call My Agent”.

Source: Call My Agent! | Totally Serialized

“The Incredible History of Sex”: a world tour of eroticism in comics

After “Sex Story” published in 2016, the psychiatrist Philippe Brenot and the designer Laetitia Coryn deliver “The Incredible history of sex”.

On January 3, 2021 at 15h13

They put the cover back. With “Sex Story”, in 2016 , Philippe Brenot – psychiatrist, anthropologist, couple therapist – and cartoonist Laetitia Corbyn signed the first history of sexuality in comics, from prehistory to the present day. A real success: the book has sold 80,000 copies and is the subject of 14 foreign translations, even entitled to the honors of the Wall Street Journal. They are back today with Volume II, “The Incredible History of Sex, from Africa to Asia”. A work that completes the previous one, devoted solely to the Western world.

“For me, it’s the same book actually. Initially, we wanted to do just one. But a 500-page comic, that’s a lot… The subject is so vast. What is certain is that the form of the graphic novel is perfect: an essay on the history of sexuality, that would be a bit annoying to read, ”said the sexologist. But make no mistake about it. If the images are explicit, although often enhanced with a touch of humor, the background is very serious, based on months and months of research and a dense bibliography.

Continue reading ““The Incredible History of Sex”: a world tour of eroticism in comics”

Call My Agent: the French comedy gem A-listers are desperate to star in

The sharp, hilarious look at the hell of being an agent already features everyone from Juliette Binoche to Isabelle Huppert sending themselves up. Now, Hollywood has come knocking

The pilot opens with an unannounced arrival (of ingénue Camille, aggro agent Mathias’s hidden daughter) and an untimely death (of founder Samuel Kerr, who swallows a wasp while on holiday in Brazil). Mathias and his colleagues, Andréa, Gabriel and Arlette, are thrown into a frenetic power struggle both among themselves and in the wider film industry. Stars threaten to leave ASK, Kerr’s widow and heir threatens to shut up shop, and private passions, usually held at bay, threaten to derail everything.

If the show’s premise is somewhat predictable, its handling of fame is altogether less so. Each episode features a titular guest star – BéatriceDalle, Cécile de France, Guy Marchand – but rather than being written as the focal point, the big name is instead that day’s worry to assuage, the problem to be fixed. Call My Agent does that rare thing that interviews often fail to achieve, and makes these people, who live decidedly abnormal lives, very normal.

There are administratively challenged actors who need help answering emails and vetting nannies, and matrimonially challenged stars who want help finding a date. There’s the actor who can’t drive, the actor who can’t swim and the actor who suddenly can’t act. There’s one who, as Andrea puts it, is “doing a Day Lewis”, and can’t stop acting, unable to come out of a very intense Revenant-style survival role. He ends up being dropped from his subsequent gig as a clean-shaven banker when he literally attacks the producer’s dog, with his teeth.

However, instead of ramping up the self-deprecation implicit in these big-screen stereotypes as Extras did, or as you can imagine a W1A-style British remake might, the talent here is treated with tenderness, and not a small amount of poetry. And by ‘talent’ I mean not just the people (actors and directors) but the artform itself: the show is an ode to cinema. It is French, after all.

Continue reading “Call My Agent: the French comedy gem A-listers are desperate to star in”