Friday, 10 January 2014

Manger c’est bien jeter ça craint !

Manger c’est bien jeter ça craint  !

Thus being the new slogan adopted by the french government after a worrying report on how many tons of food are wasted in France every year. Indeed, this month the big issue that was posted on the front pages of all good newspapers was highlighting how much we all waste.

Coincidentally though, I was far from feeling guilt tripped by all this bad news - nope ! I had a squeeky clean conscious whilst reading all these frightening  food facts, why ?

Quite simply because this month I had devoted an hour of my free-time to making my own worm farm…

To help you all stay guilt-free too, here’s my step -by-step easy peasy lemon squeezy guide on how to make your own Lombricompost !

1)   Head to your local market (there is a fresh market at least one a week in every arrondissement of Paris.) Go and chat with that friendly looking fish monger and ask him for 3 of his polystyrene boxes that you can stack one-on-top of the other.
2) Head home and grab your knitting needles…Ahem ! Sorry I mean…grab a screwdriver, a pen or something with which you can poke plentiful of little holes in the bottom of 2 of your boxes!

These will be the holes through which the worms can move and change compartments within your worm farm. And also, any juice will drain to the bottom compartment and this you can collect and use to water your plants - a right treat as this liquid is high in nutritional goodness and ideal for giving your home-grown tomato plants an energy boost ! (We’re students right ? Money save by growing your own !)

3) Get some earth and pop it in the top compartment of your stack of 3…

4) Head to Decathlon ! Yes that’s right ! Strange as it seems, this sports shop does sell worms ideal for starting your Lombricompost ! Stroll down the fishing isle and pick out some “Vers de composte” which costs a meger four euros…


6) Voilà ! The last step is ‘Be patient !’ You’ll need to wait a good long week before you can start feeding your worms  with your apple skins, old-left-over rice etc because they’re fragile creatures and need to get used to their new environment: it’s a big change from their previous home in a plastic Tupperware Decathlon box !

Turn the earth gently every so often with a wooden spatula or a chop stick so that you oxygenate the soil without hurting your worms ! If they are mainly at the sides of the box, it’s a possible sign of suffocating worms so reduce the amount of peelings you feed them and make sure to rotate the earth more regularly !

It’s a no go for onion peelings, lemon and any agrumes ! Worms are very sensitive to acidic things, even our skin can burn them when we touch them ! (Hence, the use of a wooden object to turn the soil, bare hands not allowed !)

Don’t go piling in all the rice from a dinner with 10 friends, a little worm farm is a delicate ecosystem so make sure not to over do it and limit the amount of waste you pop in !
Contrary to popular rumour: you’re Lombricompost shouldn’t smell in the slightest as long as it’s well oxygenated ! 

Concerts: bruises, brutality and best bands !

Sometimes I feel that going to a concert is self-inflicted torture: endless elbowing for space, constant feet trampling (high heels should be banned in concert halls) and finally the regular face-whip from the girl infront with the infuriatingingly long poney tail. Oh and don’t forget the bonus luxury spa treatment of a bath in the sweat of the stranger’s around you … hmmm yep! Nothing like a concert.

Indeed, there are not many bands that I appreciate enough to go see live but The Cat Empire is certainly one I would really suggest running the risk of going to see in concert.

As musicians they are a talented bunch; flawlessy combining jazz, hip-hop, reggae, funk, latino, tzigane and whatever else they fancy ! With a pianist, thats constantly improvises and whose golden rule is ‘never play the same thing twice’, and a vocalist/trumpetist who blows you away with his spontaneous scat singing, you are sure to amazed and entertained !

Envelopped in that inevitable crowd cloud of humidity, the music washes over you: erasing all nuggets of hatred and bitterness from your soul and soothing your keyboard fatigued finger tips. Their vibrant, feel-good beats layered under humourous but truthful lyrics are sure to make you forget the pessimistic Parisian winter outside  and get you up and bopping !

I have seen this band three times already but that didn’t stop me from going to see these Australian’s play again last month in the Trianon in the 18th arrondissement. It’s the first time I have been to the Trianon: it’s a beautiful, old theatre that, although it has been transformed into a concert venue they have conserved the carved wooden balconies and with it the classic charm that comes with age.

As a result however it is quite unnerving when the crowd start to ‘bounce’ and you feel the floor beneath you move !  Panicked by the idea of the theatre caving in on your head the crowd exchange bewildered looks but… the music continues and the show must go on ! JUMP !

Whether designed deliberately to cushion the sound of hundreds of pairs of feet or simply the natural ‘give’ of the old wooden floorboards the effect is similar to that of a trampoline ! YOUPEE ! It’s fun ! You get catapulted up and down with the communal crowd sway ! Hypnotised by the musical genuis and berced and bounced by the jolts and jumps of the dance floor The Cat Empire entrance, astonish and delight !

There’s nothing like jumping out all that essay stress amongst a sweaty bundle of human bodies to the punchy melodies of a trumpet and the smooth rhythms that come together to make the  summery ensemble that is The Cat Empire !

Go check out the bouncing floorboards yourselves at: Trianon (80 Boulevard de Rochechouart 75018 Paris)

The Cat Empire new albulm: Steal the light.