Cultural Adjustment, Living Abroad

My historical perspective…

December 11, 2014

In Aix-en-Provence, there are golden placards embedded in the ground to commemorate Paul Cezanne. From what I’ve read, he was a mean man who painted the most beautiful scenes of the mont st. victoire. I can’t do a vlog since I’ve decided to be analog while I’m abroad (I have a flip phone!), but I do remember watching a youtube video on my phone back home of Bradly Cooper speaking French on a French variety show.  When he said he learned French by studying a year in Aix-en-Provence, I knew this place was for me.  My goal is literlally to speak French better than him after this year.

Yet despite Cezanne and Bradley Cooper,  the historical figure most important to me here is Nick Drake. Not because he is so beautifully dreary (he is), but because Aix is where he became an artist.  If you don’t know Nick Drake, then no need to keep reading.  But if you do, you would be interested to know that he moved to Aix in 1967 and this is the place where he developed his style.  He used to busk on the street corner off the place richeleme and play acoustic sessions at house parties on the rue des cordeliers…after he returned to England from Aix, he recorded some amazing albums and then he died.  However in those 5 months before Nick Drake was Nick Drake he lived here, walked these streets with their Cezanne placards just like me. I’m sure there are many ghosts who walk these streets, but I think of Nick often and how he must have felt in this town… I’m beginning to see how it changed him.  He died of melancholy.  I can’t imagine that anyone could leave this place and be happy. Yet listening to to the sad track “Sunday”, I am so happy!  Listen to it please. So I apologize for the lack of video, but if you have audio, then put on some Nick Drake– Aix is pretty awesome it turns out… its where Nick Drake became an artist…oh and Cezanne apparently too.

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