Thursday, March 31, 2011

A thin builing

Near the London bridge station, suddenly appeared this unbelievable thin building.

I was amazed.

I am not sure how it can feel inside. Plus there are windows for sure but it seems more like a huge statue then a building.

Then, one looks again, it is not like a paper thin, as it was my original impression, but an arrow.

Some day, I will return, to study in another light, too.

Of course, very difficult to take in photo, also because it is so hight. Here I took only the top of it.
London bridge-13

 From this photo, one can have a bit of feeling of the hight of it.

I do admire the different daring architectures in London. And yes, they do not clash but somehow integrate with each other.

As people accept me, also I am different...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dracula near London Bridge

Visit again, at the London bridge speakers club, and entertained them with part of my Dracula speech.

They liked it, laughed at it, but I knew not even half of what I wanted was said.

Analysing myself, the biggest problem was not even the time, yes, I had material for three times more, but that the truth came in, deranging the story.

I told, in a engaging and entertaining way, the truth, instead of telling a story... I am always better in fact when I waive the truth or point into the cloth of a story.

I did not do it this time.

So, now, as I have lots lots of material, I do not have to eliminate it, just decide what my point is, and make a story. A story with conflict and its resolution.

It is beautiful at night near the London Bridge station, but I was too tired to use it and go until the river.
London bridge-43
All those colours and illuminations and buildings!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Camden, Bridges over the Canal

It was nice cold but quiet.

Saturday, I did not imagine what was happening at the same time at Trafalgar square and Oxford street and Regent street.

I was not dreaming of the beautifully decorated Fortnum and Masson tea shop invaded by hundreds of people.

Along the Grand Union Canal, near the Camden High street, there was a nice weekend and tourist's feel with people going up and down the small curvy bridges crossing the canal.

What a difference in mood!

Our gig lasted late so by the time we went towards home, the Waterloo bridge region was quiet too, it is only through Telly Sunday that I realized, all London was not so quiet as Camden.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Comedy School final

Preparing the place at the Pirate Castle, near the Grand Union Castle and Camden High street. Lots of places and all full towards seven and half - also finally the startup was only at 7 45.

It did last long!

Also, we had some hecklers, toward the end of first half, that helped me see also how the compeer handled them. They did not disturb us, "comedy virgins", only the experienced Stand Up Comedian.

He had a lot of patience with them, also at the end, he did invite them to continue their discussions outside. And let us continue the performance for the end of the class.

I was very happy to realise, that also I did forget some of my prepared material, I did my 5 minutes, by using what the compeer has said at the beginning and what happened the morning. Linking all together.

How much my experience at Toastmasters Clubs, and with Spark London helped me!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Comedy School March Pals

With some of my pals from the Comedy School, just before our gig, that finished the stand up class. "Graduation".

I decided to cut the part with is down so not to embarass the guy on right hand side who showed perhaps too much of his back side, but that made us laught and we did had fun.

And yes, in this one even me showed my legs - almost to my knees...

It was a nice event and even if I forgot some of my text, the public did laugh from begining to the end at all I did not forget and told. I did have a great audience contact, at least with this audience.

Should I say "even with this audience" ?

But most were friends and parents of those performing, but not only. The place was full and quite big.

I am so happy my text and performance went well, even if I know that I should have done even better.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Presentation at Bermoundsay Square

The presentation of my story with these 20 photos in ten minutes went very well.

I got my message accross and the audience of about 30 was entretained and laughing.

I told them of Edith who bullied when we were 13 and how I learned to stick and not run away. Then, we because friends again toward the age of 20. Then, the public laughed, when I told them, "but after three years, Edith did not stole this time my brush, she stole my boyfriend!"

I still find strange the parts where the audience laugh!

Alas, also I did bring with me a recorder, again, I forgot to put it on before my performance. I was the first, it was not so easy to follow. Most of the speakers, do need Toastmasters Clubs instruction. Learn about eye contact, having a point, having voice variety and using body language.

I learned how I can combine images with storytelling. And was assured, that I can do it.

Let us see now, what I can do tonight... in the Pirate's Den near the canal in Camden.

Camden Thursday

Thursday Camden High Street is also busy.

Even if less then Sunday afternoon.

With the advantage that the Camden Town Tube station is open, so I arrived home earlier.

On the way I had time for a few images.

Between those my preferred one is the young woman I found under a porch. A street portrait. I loved how she looked!
Camden_24 03 11_0144

We repaired my text for tomorrow, and now I am preparing for tonight. With a text that jumped to me and asked me to be told. Like this woman who in a certain way "asked" to be photographed. Those are the best moments, without torment. Subjects asking to be taken and stories to be told.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf - Elisabeth Taylor

Elisabeth Taylor, gave all her emotions and acting skills in this film, which she prefered to all others. Here is a tiny fragment.
She just died. Only two years older then me... but did she live through so much!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring in Blackheath, a year ago

A year ago, seems so near, yet so far!

So much happened since then!

I do not have any more that blue car, no car any more at all.
I learned a lot more storytelling, even if I have much far to go.
And so much more.

Nostalgic to see this diapo a year after. I will have to try to find time to make one also this year. But include also places and people, not only the surroundings.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Our life events are like windows and when we think back at them they are themselves yet not to same, as these reflections in the Grand Union Canal near Camden Hight Street of London.

I have other pictures where I took also the windows reflected, which we can do because Space is not like Time.

You can see both the same time, the square windows and the ones deformed by water of the canal and the wind.

One can not be at the same time in the past as we felt and how with time and us having somewhat changed yet the same, in the present. That is why, I now admit the saying "the past changes". Of course, it is not what happened to us or around us that changes but how we perceive now what happened.

With experience, time and, perhaps some wisdom, we discover in what happened new facets and depths. New meanings.
Grand Union Canal in Camden (27)v

And everything is not so black and white, so square and net, as we did believe it at the time.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Camdent Blue Guitars

Even the guitars are coloured to add something "more" to Camden's Market offering"s.

So much colour and mood and so much to discover yet.

I was one at the Camden Town underground and near it; but it was a cold and rainy day four years ago and I did not go farther to discover it, that time I was looking for a place to live.

The only street I have discovered where the ones with strip joints on them that this time I did not see.

Yesterday, of course it was Sunday, there were mainly buyers and strollers; tourists. So many of them! And some very colourful people too. I have looked at them but taken few of the photos of them as they all moved quite fast.

Here is one of them, taken as he came through the shop with the coloured guitars.
Camdent High Street (10)
I hid behind a column waiting that he comes nearer.

It is not possible always to ask.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A window is a window

A window is a window, or is it?

This was not a window.

While in renovation, they have put a 5 storey façade around a huge building near Champs Elysées. Product of a computer software probably, it looked like an enchanted building. It was up for about two years.

Our memories are also somewhat deformed, it is there and it is not, we can show some part of it as we choose, as we remember.

Preparing a story, a true personal tale transformed in story, always brings up new memories explaining me why I do today or why I did yesterday something. How it was influenced by other things from my childhood.

This morning, I looked at my picture of 12 year old with mother, and understood things which will change probably my tale Friday.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Old planes new planes

Bombardment, does not give me a good taste.

Also I am happy that the old French Minister Kushner ideas are now recogniwed, and one can intervene in the Internal affairs of some countries, and of course I would not weep after the Libian regime crumbling down and the crimes of its rules coming open, the planes over the cities and dessert makes me remember the second world war.

What I found striking is the conflict of terms.

The UN voted a no fly zone resolution, and then, suddenly, French war planes flew over Libia - I feel they should have called by another name whatever resolution they did vote.

Flying to a no fly zone seems funny to me, even if there is nothing funny in what is happening there.

On the other hand, the BBC continues to call those inside who do want something new Rebels, it does not seem logical to me that either, What they want? I never heard either.

Alas what the TV is showing is one part of populaton fighting against other, it is probably different but hose images never arrive to us,

So now, 'our plances' fly over a no fly zone,

Yes, there is humor on how the Teli presents the news. Also of course, I was delighted to see so many different heads of nations going to Paris and Sarkozi's decided action,

I hope the civilians children women old will not suffer, whatever tribe they are from. But how can you know from above the sky while one flies so fast. if a tank is in 'good or bad' hands?

I am ill. but tomorow I will go to my last class, at least to listen if not speak and hope till Friday I can cure myself and be on my feet again.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Connection or not

Often people passes without looking to the other.

From the first time I went out the streets with a camera, in 2004, in Paris 18e arrondissement, I was interested in those pasing and not seeing each other and dreaming also "what if we did stop to look, to speak to know" each other.

The same is true inside our clubs, we are at the same place and we do not speak finally with many. For me discovering new and interesting always human beings is fascinating.

I did not make a 'soul friend' in London since my arrival but I have lots of wonderful and interesting and divers friends of all ages. There are so many fascinating human beings with whom I communicate, who care, who write an email, give me a call or come to my place.

I do not feel alone in London, as I felt lately in Paris, before coming here. That is the most important, more perhaps than the Storytelling opportunity even.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Double winner

Chris Howell, won yesterday both the International Speech contest as the Evaluation Contest in our club, demonstrating, again, his mastery of public speaking.

Chris has aleady won many contest in high levels and will go I feel far this time too, carying the banner of the club he founded.

I was very impressed by the second prices, Zhanna with her very humorous speech - repeated so many times home, yes, that pays too; and Zandria for her second price in Evaluation contest.
Inspirational speech_0001
Zhanna speaking this summer

It was for both of them their first contest!

Lewisham Speakers Itnl Contest_Two Guests
Zandria at the last contest where she did not yet participate

All performed well, even me, also I went too long and did not repeat it laud before a private public enough - aie! A good lesson to learn for next time.

Next time will arrive soon, for me. Sunday a repetition for the stand up, so brace yourself my dear son who told in public "my mother can do better and did already" and who was right. Now, I will go and tell my speeches again and again before him and my daughter in law too.

I did not believe about what he said of my quality until I looked at the video he took there yesterday of my speech. OK, even if my contact with the audience was good and it was an Entertaining speech that made also laugh, the quality of it was not up to my usual level outside Toastmasters.

Other then the absence of proper timing in live speech and practice, I have to analyse later the how and why I can improve my storytelling. Yes, I feel we can learn even more from our Mistakes then from our Upps. But I still hope my future three speeches till the end of this Month will be better.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spring is coming

Spring is coming, even if it is still cold, even if yesterday - oh, yes, looking out today too, is fog outside.

I did not go out, yesterday, those are flowers from a day before, around the houses I live now.

Today, I will tell a story, I do not care who will be there and I do not care that I have to go by bus to arrive in time and I do not care to win, eitehr.

What is important for me is to tell the story to as many as I can and, perhaps touche someone on the way and give some new views and confidence.

I do care about that.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Have it your way?

Easy to say it, not so easy to realise it.

Firstly, which or what IS our way? Not easy to be sure of.

Not when it is about a hamburger, even less when it is about a speech or a story: a message to get out there.

There are too many choices.

One can not get out any of them well unless we know, as in the project three of the Toastmaster's Manual the Point. Others call it, even more appropriately the Most Important Point. Because in real, in a story we would like to put so many.

The good news is, when you are a story TELLER and not Writer, you can change it with time and even each telling. Depending of to whom you tell, depending on the occasion and depending of your own mood.

It is still the same story, yet it is not.

Changing it just slightly, it can shift and bring out something new.

This morning; reading the Script of King's Speech, I realised some main reasons of its success was not about Stammerers or Kings, but about Resistance and final courage in face of Adversity. About what we do when we really have to.

That is finally my story too for tomorrow: about coping and finding new facets and talents in me I did not know I had. Each of us can find more in himself when really needed. That is my MIP, this time.

Weather I can do it with humour or not, it is less important. Showing how a story is more powerful then a speech - I gave one about the same experience of changing profession last year - is also important for me. I am a VP of Education, am I not? Education is not just "programming meetings"!

So I tell myself, do not worry. It is easy to tell, less easy to realise it, even when I do not want to outshine the members of my club who are competing. It is also an occasion to give, if I succeed, an Entertaining Humorous Speech, one step more for my Manual Projects.

I had the experience, alas, then sometimes when I got laugh with one audience, I can get just silence with the other. Perhaps, I did not tell it just the same, but also the mood of the audience was different. So I will try to expect less, in the hope still to get more.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Camden Sunday

I could not find the usual bus so I had to pass through part of Camden - what a luck!

That gave me a few pictures I am delighted with.

Red and yellow houses, graphitis on cars and walls, but also, of course people. Those I asked posed with gusto, but I also took some instant, candid interactions. Nothing can replace those, either.

Here are the pictures from my 'forced' Camden stroll. Sunday afternoon, the Camden Town underground station is closed, so I had to walk - what a luck! - to the next station.

Sometimes, even often, there is something interesting around the corner when you can not follow your usual road.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Less then 7 minutes!

I played - worked - with the great free program called Audacity, and Edited my speech of 12 minutes delivered at the Canal Cafe Theatre for the Spark London storytelling event "Mistaken identity" theme.

It is now around 6 minutes and has the essential and the most funny places still in it.

Yes, when I will tell it next time, I will have to give a short link phrase here or there, but in whole it is there. The new title is now Multiple Identities which is in fact more appropriate for the story.

I begun to work on this story as the Recession was at its biggest and many people lost their jobs and had to begin again. Last year, I told it as a Mystery speaker, then twice at different contests where it did not make waves. But from February to November last year I learned a lot about Storytelling and so this version is, in my opinion, a huge improvement.

Perhaps, now, shortened it will be even more effective.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A cup of cafe

As if I was there, the moment is coming back to me.

As usual, I arrived early to our rendez-vous, accross the Saint Lazar station. It was a good weather and I set down early at a table outside the cafe.

Looking at the street and what to take in photo.

Suddenly I decided to try the new feature of my camera: the P point on a place. I pointed to the cup and the street disapeared.

Strange, I told myself. Click.

Here it is, and already almost 6000 times it was viewed on flickr. Why?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Julie haircut day "before"

I somehow regret my old hair - I feel I looked funnier with long hair!

What can I do?

Now it is short. More in order.

But do I need "order" for the Stand up Comedy night the end of this month? I do not!

I am not afraid of the other speeches I will give, even the one with the funny and provocative title "A woman place is in the House" but I am not sure at all of that presentation we will give at the end of our class of the School of Comedy.

What is in fact the more important, I did learn a lot and "loosened up" a lot from the time I begun thinking already to take a class like that.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Rue Saint Denis Paris interaction

The photo was taken years ago while I strolled in centre of Paris near what was once the Halles, from where all food went everywhere to Paris.

Now there is a big hole with lots of supermarkets and new fancy clothes, but all around, there are funny things happening.

In Saint Denis street, there are still... women, certain women, but mostly there are different distractions as Music, song, clown acts and so on. And place to walk quietly farther from the circulation. It is no more a 'bad" place so I could stroll along and take candid photos.

Also, I went there also year ago, when the women were there from early morning, when I went to a cloth distributor to make him a program for his new Apple II computer. It was there that I have discovered in 1980 the Personal Computer universe.

And instantly believed in it!

Still do.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Romance in Paris, Brixton Ritzy's Open Mic

Event organized and recorded by Spark London
5 minutes on theme "romance" in February 2011

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Back to Little Venice

The Canal Cafe Theatre is across a bridge, looking at one side at little Venice of London.

The theme this evening was Family.

Joanna from Spark London found a variety of people and subjects around that main theme. From a grand mother in America, a wife from Iraq, a family member in Leeds, a great great mother, Paula, from Transylvania, a wicked stepmother in London, and so on, the public heard a variety of tales.

Not so happy with my tales who suffered a bit from making it shorter, but it also gained a comic effect, completely unexpected - again - by me. Speaking from Paula's voice "and then, my husband managed the distillery and I had seven children." interesting juxtaposition, also I am not even now completely clear what this phrase that summarised what happened next (until her husband died) brings in the mind. It did bring a huge laughter.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Comedy School Collegues

Perhaps there is light at the end of the tunnel.

For the first time, our comedy performance went well - for most of us, and even for me!

Here is Sue, a writer. She has five books about Flirting! And also a long publishing career. She came to London because she found here a great boyfriend.

What an interesting and full of live personality!

I did not prepare any act last week, but though a lot about what I could say. My left knee hurt a lot and that is how I begun my 'gig'. Then continued asking in the 'their' language \what the shit I am doing at age 77 to Stand up, when my legs barely let me stand up." And so on.

They genuinely laughed!

With me, not at me, too. From the beginning to the end almost all found its place and somehow its humour.

I really believed only yesterday morning, as I also told them, that I have not one humorous bone in me, but it seems the magic of reaching out to the audience, once I begun to understand them a bit more worked again.
Comedy School Collegues
anther college whose tongue is not like this - usually
Then I had to rush to the rehearsal for tonight's performance of storytelling. No humour there, in my great grandmother's tale but they really liked it. I succeeded to make them 'see it' and 'live in it'. Also I have to be more careful about Me and Her and also so no one confuses her with my grandmother.

Great grandmother Paula was quite a character and I barely am able to put some of her tales, my favourite ones in that spectacle, tonight.

Coming home the sun was setting on the canal near Little Venice, but I like this even better, taken just before the rehearsal.
Sundown near Little Venice

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Paula's first 5 children

Photo from 1895, with 5 from my great grand mother's children.

Two girls, the bigger my grand mother and the small one Anna who died soon after that photo. Three of the bigger son's, the two others not yet born.

That means, her husband died at the end of century, as my grand mother was only 14 when that happened.

I will tell Monday evening a story from my great grand mother life at the Canal Cafe Theatre with Spark London. Parts of her life, as I remember her telling me, some I was told by other members of the family.

All my life, she was a model for me, for her courage in face of adversities of her life, her optimism and warmth. She made the best of what was given to her.

From all that brings you down or make you sad, something good will come, Julie, she used to finish thus all her stories.

The only time when she could not finish like that was when she was talking to me about her daughter who died so young, her eyes, blind for 25 years were then humid. Even 50 years later, she cried thinking of the one child of 7 that she lost.

She managed a distillery in a time when very few women were owners and heads of a company, and she did that in a small conservative city. She also brought up alone, after the death of her husband, those six remaining children.

She loved all her children, grand-children, great grand-children.

When I was small child she used to tell me an imaginary story about going to shop to buy gifts for all of them and not being able to come inside - so many gifts she had, so many descendants. Then, she begun telling their names. I remember her telling me, and imagining her trying to go through the door with too many bags.

I must have been only 6 or 7 at the time, or even younger.

The rest of her stories she told me when I was 12 and she 92.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

When photography becomes ART
The Wizards convene, by "Algo"

He is English, from The Chiltern Hills, view photostream,
but I did not (yet) meet him.

In person, that is.

He tells me, through comments and emails that he is even older then me.

How can I believe it?

Alex's photography is wonderful and more of Art of showing how one can see, what one can show then 'objective' photo.

This was an 'irresistible tulip on the windowshell in the sun" he tells us. But what he did with it!

Then see this one, as he goes out in the fog.

Two  Tree Fog

Fog all the way and the mist is taken here also to the extreme.

And it works!

What a lesson for me!

Winter Sunset
That was the third I have looked, telling myself that I have seen other sunsets, already, I even tried to take some on the river Thames.

But here again, he stunned me.

Am I right: Alex's (ALGO on Flickr) photography is ART and thus no more photography. Go to admire more of it on his website ALGO

Friday, March 4, 2011

The habit of courage

As I joined this January, my third Toastmaster Club, I received this morning an email confirming my membership.

There were changes on the website of Toastmaster International, so it is only now I had my New Member email.

Of course, when I first joined, I was overwhelmed with all the new material I received, so I did not read or look at many at once, just the first project - now also downloadable from TMI website: The Icebreaker.

I broke the Ice two years ago with a speech called "And the Ice did not break" speaking as Guest Mystery speaker at an Evaluation Contest in Croydon,

Of course, happy that the Ice on Danube when we had to cross it did not break! That speech slowly evolved into the speech delivered in Manchester Townhouse before hundreds, almost two years later.

This cute picture is on the page speaking about the courage, the courage to speak in public. A great advice that is given there is to be "Other centered" while speaking, looking at one member of the audience eye while telling one part, phrase or idea.

As for myself, at the begining I must have done that because I fall in love then with the audience reaction. From time to time the fear comes back, for a minute or more, depending on what I try and whom the audience is. Begining to speak in an environment that expects Humor from me is my latest challenge and suddenly, I feel again as the Superman - as if I had to cross through fire!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Steve Job's Keynote about I pad 2

Of coursem here are only 5 minutes of the more then hour I just listened, Enough to learn some presentaion skill, I think.

Between others the blackboard to be dark and not white... but so much more.
For the whole presentqtion hold yesterday go to Apple.

After you hear Jobs "It is sooo Cool!" one wants to run and buy it... at the end of month in UK

Woolfson&tay Life Stories Cafe

This is the second time that the True Storytelling Event takes place at the life stories cafe of the Woolfson&tay bookshop/cafe/gallery. The first was held on a snowy December day, and I did not dare to put my foot outside.

This time, the theme will be about Time.

Each of us, storytellers, will interpret it in her or his own way. Each using 20 pictures in 10 minutes.

One of us, "did time" in jail. I'll speak about time that stops or flows away, time that lingers in mind, longtime after is finished.

But before, a story in Family theme about the mother of my grandmother (mother of mother) that I also tell sometimes to my grand daughter. Paula 92 when I was 12, like now my grand daughter, had a great influence on my life.

Each time I got into trouble or something bad happens to me, I ask myself, remembering what she taught me "what good can / would come from this?

True, sometimes it takes long for me to be able to realise, but it always does!

It could be also a combination of fate, but also because I never give up and loose faith that something good is lurknig somehow around the corner, even if I am not able to see it now.

I could give so many exemples!

But those are another story, again.

Should I use it as my speech for the Lewisham Toastmasters Contest?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The ultimate offence

A very interesting rehearsal yesterday, and a good time listening to them.

Four together building a spectacle comic, three different men and a young smart looking woman caricaturist. Young, old and black man for "diversity" and friendship around the elegant drawing young woman. Each in its role and interacting with each other.

The impresario organizing it all, the scientist making us sniff each other, the immigrant reading his "role", all well thought. Meanwhile, the caricaturist draws the faces of one from the audience asked to go on stage then reveals the rest, already drawn, ready.

Some were funny, other recognizable, and all went well, until they asked ME to come on stage.

I went, without suspecting what will happen.

I did seem so awful to the caricaturist, that she put on the paper the face of another from the audience while looking as if she make a caricature of my face!

The body was slim. Well, I told myself, I have been in my youth... and it was prepared in advance. But the face! That great open smile may be me, but that broad nose? Mine is sharp and long!

"One wants to flatter the audience not offence it", told me one of them.

The ultimate offence! Not daring even to offence me by drawing what she has seen, I told myself.

Until this morning, that is.

I took a second look at a photo taken by me this Saturday while I was giving a Table Topic speech in the Library: my nose does not look any more long but wide and flattened! Indeed...

How come I did not see that change on my face?

Facebook indeed, now it took a caricaturist to show me the change not age but weight put on me and on my face!

How come a mirror could not have shown me that?

We do not see what our eyes tell us or they do not tell us what we do, indeed see.

I did regret my too narrow too long nose, now without going to the doctor I got a flat wide one.

I had to go to a comic show to show me that.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Bois de Boulogne 1 March 2008

1st March is always a special day for me.

I remember all those days and the sunny warm Bucarest, when no one offered me what is called there 'Martisor' and then a day, when someone did.

A combination of Valentine day perhaps with supperstition and fear of the spring arriving and enchanting and... who knows what doing.

And yes, it was also a springtime as I was approaching already my 25th year that it attracted me to a forest near a lake and in an embrace and then, next Sunday to a small room. He was nice and sunbirned and strong - at the end, he become my childrens father.

But that happened later in the years. Two years later I was married and my daughter arrived as I was 28 and my son as I got to 32. Then much of the charm fall appart between us. Was it the falt of the spring?