13 novembre 2016

Vertinsky, the Russian soul of Shanghai

 Version Française Among the famous characters who happened to live in Shanghai 1930s, one quite particular is Russian singer Alexander Vertinsky. Born in 1889 in Kiev, Vertinsky started his singing career as a in 1916 with a most memorable performance as "Black Pierrot", embodying Russian melancholic soul with an expressionist version of the famous Comedia Del Arte character. At that time, other European artists like Sarah Bernhardt used to dress in black and white to emphasize the expressions of the face and hand moves... [Lire la suite]
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02 novembre 2016

Shanghai vertical village

Version Française I recently sneaked into one of the most surprising buildings in all Shanghai: Hamilton House. Hamilton House was erected in 1933 by architect office Palmer and Turner for real estate tycoon Victor Sassoon. Victor Sassoon was the heir of David Sassoon, a Sefardim Jewish who had fled Bagdad in 1829 after Dawud Pasha came to power. He settled in Bombay, today's Mumbai, where he created a business empire with help of other Baghdadi Jews. Although he never spoke English, he was made a British citizen to reward his... [Lire la suite]
20 octobre 2016

Bund 18 follies

Version Française When recently visiting Bund 18, I was impressed by French chef Joel Robuchon's bakery on the ground floor. Inside, most products, like sandwiches or cakes are delicately prepared, showing high quality and surprisingly affordable. A croissant would sell at 15 yuan only and a tart at less than 30, a far better price for value than in other fashionable shops. This new venue is one of the surprises of Bund 18! So let me introduce this amazing place.  History  Bund 18 was built in 1923, designed by... [Lire la suite]
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16 octobre 2016

Shanghai Halloween ghosts

Version Française Halloween is coming, so let's talk about ghosts for a while. When I arrived I Shanghai, I bought a photo album in which there was a big night picture of the Xiang Yang market (photo left), a sort of open air market common in Asia where people get cheap clothes and copies. Unfortunately, at the time I bought the book, this place was already gone as construction of IAPM shopping mall had begun. This is one exemple among others of how fast Shanghai changes and how almost impossible it is to keep updated with its latest... [Lire la suite]
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16 octobre 2016

Fantômes pour Shanghai Halloween

English version Halloween arrive, aussi parlons de fantômes. Lorsque je suis arrivé à Shanghai, je suis tombé sur un livre où se trouvait une photo de nuit du marché de Xiang Yang. Il s'agit de cette sorte de marché en plein air que l'on trouve en Asie avec des copies et des vêtements bon marché. Or, à la période où j'ai acheté ce livre, il avait déjà disparu, remplacé par les travaux du shopping mall IAPM. Ce n'est qu'un exemple des changements qui ne cessent de s'opérer à Shanghai et qui font qu'il est quasiment impossible de... [Lire la suite]
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11 octobre 2016

Shanghai nostalgia

Version Française  I sometimes wonder why I love Shanghai so much. This has probably something to do with nostalgia. Indeed when I compare Shanghai with other cities I equally (or let's say also) like, Istanbul will immediately come to my mind, then Tbilissi, Budapest, Paris, Rome, Mumbai, Berlin, Qingdao, Harbin,... quite a long list actually! All these amazing cities, although not as big as Shanghai, have all something in common: They tell us about history! In most of them, traces of the most often brilliant past still... [Lire la suite]
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09 octobre 2016

Shanghai homo delphinus

Version Française As the biopic on oceanographer Jacques Cousteau featuring Lambert Wilson in the main role, "L'Odyssée" is about to come out in France, I cannot help myself from thinking of another deep ocean lover who was born in Shanghai: Jacques Mayol. Jacques Mayol is known all over the world from Luc Besson movie "The Big Blue" (last photo) which was inspired by his life. He was the son of a French architect living in Shanghai, Laurent Mayol who used to work for the French delegation in the 1920s 1930s. I could not... [Lire la suite]
02 octobre 2016

Father Jacquinot: The Nantao hero 1/2

 Version Française  When famous journalist Albert Londres meets Father Jacquinot in 1932, this one is helping victims of the Sino-Japanese fights in Chapei (Zhabei today). The reporter is surprised by the unusual look of the priest. "Father Jacquinot wears glasses. His neatly cut beard has not the usual shape of missionaries. He has one hand missing. The shabby look of his cassock definitely indicates he has not only been in a church. I wonder if Saint Peter himself would accept him in such a miserable look." Albert... [Lire la suite]
27 septembre 2016

The Long Bar

Version Française When discovering Shanghai Bund marvels, one is often told about the Shanghai Club Long Bar. This actually used to be themeeting place in the 1920s and 1930s for the British elites, but not only them, as the Club was open to foreigners. It was however closed to Chinese citizens and to women who were only invited once a year! The first Shanghai Club, now part of the Warldorf Astoria Hotel, was built in 1864 to provide the newly arrived group of British businessmen with an exclusive place to meet and discuss... [Lire la suite]
20 septembre 2016

Shanghai Sketch

Version Française It's been a while I wanted to write about Shanghai Sketch, this Shanghai 1930's famous magazine. Shanghai Sketch (上海漫画 or Shanghai Manhua, nearby) was founded in 1928 by a group of eleven artists including Ye Quanyu, Huang Wennong, Lu Shaofei, Zhang Guanyu and Zhang Zhenyu. One of the sponsors was Shao Xunmei, the Chinese and highly controversial lover of Emily Hahn. From the very beginning, it used erotic pictures or dramatic scenes on its front page to attract readers' attention. Inside the magazine, one... [Lire la suite]