Book and Literary events in English – Book fair in Morges in September, Reading group in Crans, Writers’ Group in Geneva

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If you are interested in all things literary, then you are spoiled for choice in the Geneva and Vaud area.  Not only is the area home to a large and important writers’ group (covering both fiction and non-fiction – see below), a reading group in Crans that is open to the public, but in a few weeks, the fabulous “Le Livre sur le Quais” will take place on the lake side in Morges from the 5th to the 7th September 2014.

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English authors such as Andy McNab – “Bravo Two Zero, Immediate Action and Seven Troop”, Caroline Lawrence of “The Roman Mysteries” fame, Don Pollock – “The Devil All the Time”, Nathan Filer –” The Shock of the Fall”(Overall winner Costa Book Award 2014), will all be present at the fair.

The festival programme will be finalised later in August, but the weekend already looks very promising indeed.   Some of the writers’ events take place on the CGN ferries. Cruising up and down on the lake listening to a reading or a talk,  can be a lovely way to spend a weekend!  Note – La Page Cornée the French literary group based in Gland, will also be present with authors’ talks and events.

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Photo below – Author Douglas Kennedy in conversation on a boat at the 2012 fair

Douglas Kennedy

Below –  Reading by the quayside

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Meanwhile over in Geneva the Geneva Writers’ Group will resume its activities on September the 20th with a workshop entitled “Essay & Flash Nonfiction: Personal Narratives”. 

Started in 1993, The Geneva Writers’ Group brings together over 200 English language writers from around 30 countries. The objective of the group  is to encourage all forms of creative writing in English and to create a supportive community of both beginning and supportive writers. Meetings are held monthly, from September to June at the Geneva Press Club, with a programme of writing workshops, critiquing sessions, and master classes.  Every two years the group holds the International Geneva Writers’ Conference at Webster University in Bellevue, alternating with a “Meet the Agents” weekend.  The group publishes a biennial collection of prose and poetry, Offshoots, Writing from Geneva. The group also co-ordinate small writing groups, a mentoring service, and hosts the GWG Literary Prizes.

Photo below from the GWG conference in 2010

Geneva Writers Group Con 2010

English Reading Group in Crans-pres-Celigny – Open to new members.

Marilyn Packham, a British resident living in Crans près Céligny would like to let other Living in Nyon readers know about a reading group that is open to new members. Here she explains a little about the group and what it is like to live in the village of Crans près Céligny itself.

“The English Reading Group in Crans-près-Céligny was formed around seven years ago.  I am a member and over the seven years it has certainly widened my reading and introduced me to new  authors and their work. We meet every five to six weeks between 14:30 and 17:00 in the comfortable, modern library of Crans-près-Céligny.  Note – See previous Living in Nyon post here about the library and its art exhibitions.

In our reading group to date, we have read 54 books, mainly fiction. We all take it in turns to propose a book and we then give a short presentation and have a relaxed discussion over a cup of tea or coffee. We are currently  nine members, who almost all come to every meetings. The group is made up of all ages, from the young to the more mature!  We would like to maintain the size of the group at about twelve members so we are looking for a a few more members.

If you are English mother tongue, male or female and enjoy reading and sharing the enjoyment of reading, please contact me, Mally Packham, on mally.packham@bluewin.ch or call on 078 768 05 50 for more information.

Photo below – The lake near  the port of Crans près Céligny.

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Living in the village

As to living in Crans-près-Céligny itself,  The village itself has changed from the quiet little Vaudois village we moved to 26 years ago. Like the whole of the Lac Léman area, the village has grown, new houses and new flats have been built.  The roads and pavements are being enlarged and resurfaced for the ever-mobile community. The village has lots of clubs and groups – football teams for adults and children, a gym, tennis courts (indoor courts in winter), a crèche  a modern primary school, a church, a port, a sailing club, a friendly pharmacy and a village shop. The  village also has two superb restaurants, ‘Le Café de l’Union’ and ‘Le Café de la Versoix’. The food is excellent in both and the service quick and friendly. They are both very popular so best to book in advance. There is a regular bus service to both Nyon and Coppet. All in all, the village has blossomed and is a vibrant place to live, yet it still maintains the calm and quiet of the countryside”.

 

 

 

Useful Swiss Consumer Programme – From Scams to Dried mushrooms, Toothbrushes and Tea.

If you are interested in consumer issues and want to know more about the products you buy here in French speaking Switzerland, it’s worth taking a look at the weekly television programme called ABE (A Bon Entendeur) presented by Manuelle Pernod and broadcast on Tuesday evenings on RTS1 at 20:10

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A regular look at the products we buy

This consumer progamme takes a regular look at many of the products we all buy in the main Swiss supermarkets and shops. It compares brands, analyses the content of many food products and draws conclusions for the consumer. Even if you only understand a basic amount of French, these programmes are well produced, can be easily understood and the conclusions are illustrated in graph form or with clear photos. 

Housing, Transport, Insurance etc

The programme also looks at other consumer issues such as housing, transport, insurance etc.  The website of the programme has useful links to consumer associations and  links to consumer rights groups.

The products featured over the last few weeks have been on a variety of items such as electric toothbrushes (their conclusion – buying the most expensive product in the shop isn’t necessarily the best!)  Scroll to around 4 minutes on the programme here to see the result on this particular test.

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Pesticides in Mushrooms and Herbal Teas

Another programme broadcast on February 18th featured the packets of dried mushrooms that can be found for sale in recognised retail outlets. It explained which packets of mushrooms contain pesticides and other chemicals, and which brand of mushrooms was rated the best all round. 

For lovers of herbal tea  another programme revealed the content of some well recognised tea brand names, the results can be seen on this clip here 

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Scam targeting local businesses

This week’s programme revealed a scam that involved small businesses being approached (one of them in Versoix) to take out and pay up front for advertising in a magazine that simply didn’t exist.

The programme has been on air for many years and there’s lots of archive material to be found on their site.  There is even an ABE app!

 

 

Interview with Tony Lerch, director of Caribana – Giving a warm welcome to musicians and music lovers

On Wednesday 5th June, the lake side around Crans près Céligny will be rocking to the sound of Motor Head and Skunk Anansie, two of the headline acts playing on the first night at the 2013 Caribana festival.

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Photo above: Skunk Anansie  – courtesy Caribana Festival

This festival first began 23 years ago when a group of friends headed by Tony Lerch  (now director of the festival) organised a small  musical event at the port of Crans. That first free event  focussed on tropical and Caribbean music, since then the festival has evolved into one of the festivals in Swiss Romandie playing a variety of genres of music from rock, to reggae, folk, indie soul, grunge, blues and more.

Living in Nyon spoke to Tony Lerch  to find out how the festival manages to attract the major names in the rock and pop industry to play at the lake side venue.

Caribana Festival 2010Nyon / Switzerland09.06.2010Photo Alain Grosclaude

 Photo above: Tony Lerch – Director of Caribana Music Festival

A “Welcome Programme”  from sailing to wine tasting – A mini-holiday for the artistes

“Having a stunning setting helps. It’s pretty special, the artists love it. We also give them the opportunity to discover more of the area before they go on stage.  The bands and singers receive a “Welcome Programme” when they arrive here with a list of activities available to them. We offer a sailing trip on the lake, that in itself is beautiful. We sail past some interesting sights on the way, we point out the UEFA building, Michael Schumacher’s house, the Chateau of Prangins, Ernesto Bertorelli’s house (the 2003 America’s Cup winner). Not only is a boat trip impressive but with the backdrop of the Alps and Mont Blanc behind them, it’s a pretty cool way to warm up the artists before they go on stage! If they don’t want to go sailing, they are given the option of cycling or walking in the vineyards with a chance to visit a local wine cellar. The only thing we ask them not to do is to participate in any risky sports, or swim too long in the lake and catch cold. We want them to stay safe be in good shape to play on the stage that night.

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 Jim Kerr and filets de perche

I think the artists love it, it’s a sort of mini-holiday for them because although it’s a big named festival, it still remains very intimate. They can walk along the side of the lake and mix with the public if they want to. There was an occasion a few years ago when Jim Kerr of “Simple Minds” chose not to eat at the artiste’s restaurant but to wander down to the port and have “filets de perches” there. Brian Ferry came back to visit and ate at a restaurant that he remembered when he played here.

Caribana 2011 Ist night Crowd

Photo above: First night at Caribana 2011 – C. Nelson-Pollard

Having said that our very position right next to the lake means that it’s not that easy for the roadies. We have a bizarre shaped ground for a festival, and it’s not ideal for shifting stuff around. In addition it’s a very narrow path to carry gear down from the trucks to the stage, and the roadies have to carry and transport everything by hand. These days most rock festivals have automatic loading equipment. Some of the bands comment on this and say it’s like playing at rock festival from many years ago. Although it obviously makes it tricky for logistical purposes, it also add to the atmosphere, everyone lends a hand to get the show on stage.

Imagine Dragons to play – Robbie Williams, the one that got away.

In addition to the setting, word of mouth helps to attract some of the big named bands: they hear about its reputation and want to come along. We are proud that we often identify bands at the start of their career just before they take off and we manage to book them early on. We are really pleased that  “Imagine Dragons” are playing with us on Saturday night this year – they have recently become a huge hit.  There have been musicians that we identified and we booked early on that became so massive in the following months they simply became too expensive for us to take. A case in point is Robbie Williams, we booked him in October 1997 for the following year’s Caribana. He then released  “Angels” which went on to become massive, his album skyrocketed and he was in great demand. We could no longer afford him which was a great shame.  It was the same kind of story with “The Corrs”.

Having said that, there have been quite a few names who have played here first as a relatively unknown on one of the smaller stages and they went on to  do bigger things, such as Faceless, Charlie Winston, and Nelly Furtado who we did book early on in their careers. The bands and artists on the smaller stages here at Caribana are always definitely worth going to see – they too may go on to greater success and you will have had the chance to see them close up at Caribana.

32,000 spectators in 2010

As to Tony Lerch’s own favourite type of music? “Well it’s no secret  that I am a big fan of  The Police, and I really like reggae, but I’m interested in all kinds of music. We have had some great nights with big and small artists over the past 20 or so years. We peaked at 32,000 spectators back in 2010 and since then have levelled out at around 30,000. The financial crisis has affected us and other festivals a bit, tickets aren’t selling as fast as they used to. All festival organisers are finding times as bit tougher. I think there are many, many festivals over Switzerland over the summer so competition is keen between us all, but conversely this means it’s good for the general public. They get to have a big choice of where they can go and spend their money.   I am glad they are still choosing Caribana!

Caribana 3rd night 2011 Plan B 3

Photo above: Caribana 2012  – C. Nelson-Pollard

Volunteers welcome!

Like many festivals in Switzerland, Caribana depends on the good will and enthusiasm of its volunteers on site and on the committee which works throughout the year  to help run such a big event. “There isn’t anyone on the committee who is paid to do the job including me – we all do it for the love of the festival. We value our volunteers enormously, it’s getting a little bit harder to take on young volunteers between the ages of 16 and 18 due to new laws that have been implemented in Switzerland, but if anyone is interested in volunteering on site here, even if their French isn’t that great, we will happily consider them for a future festival.

Putting the area on the map

Back when we first started the festival, very few people used to know about the grounds that we use here at Caribana, just  the local residents – now we have really put it on  the map. We also keep evolving: this year the Sunday is for teenagers, with “Caribateens” . We saw that other towns were offering events for teenagers but there wasn’t much in this area, so we came up with the idea of a day dedicated to them.  This year we have other changes on the grounds for the public: there will be steps down onto the beachside, and there’s more. We look  forward to another good year and thankfully the weather is  now improving and looking very promising for another great festival.

At the time of publishing there were still tickets available for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (Saturday is sold out). Click here for more info. if you are not able to go, Living in Nyon will be reporting from the festival each day, on the bands, the new changes on the site, the atmosphere, and of course, the music!

Caribana 2012 dancing festival goers

 Photo above: Party Time at Caribana 2012 – C. Nelson-Pollard

The films of Peter Entell – Interview Part Two

This is the second part of Living in Nyon’s interview with U.S Film director Peter Entell – For part one, click here

Tell us a little about your latest film “A Home Far Away” which is set in the Nyon area

 “A Home far Away” tells the true story of U.S  journalist Edgar Snow, the first to film and interview Mao Tse-tung. Suspected by the American authorities of communist sympathies, Snow and his actress wife Lois were blacklisted and together with their two children, moved to Switzerland and ended up living in Eysins. This film has actually been many years in the making, I know the family personally and was aware they had a lot archive material that I could use and I was waiting for the right time to use this material. Once I discovered that the house where they lived was about to be destroyed, I felt the right moment had come to make the film”.

Photos above and below: Edgar and Lois Snow and family, scenes from the film “A Home Far Away”

Note: readers will recognise a lot of scenes in and around the Eysins and Nyon area. You can listen to a more in depth radio interview (click here) about the making of this latest film and you can read a review of the film here.

 

 

If you look at your very first documentary “Moving on :  The Hunger for Land in Zimbabwe” which was filmed back in 1981, would you alter anything about it now?

“I’m still happy with it, I think it stands the test of time. I happen to hit on one of the central issues that the country is still dealing with today that is; who owns the land and who is feeding the country? ”

Your first film was issue driven, but your later films are more character driven. Why the change?

“I began to think that politics is much more interesting on a very personal level, I think it’s only through individuals that you can talk about issues, even in “Moving on :  The Hunger for Land in Zimbabwe” I focussed on  individuals; one black farmer and one white farmer to compare the two. For another film in Mongolia I followed a family of nomads throughout the seasons, how they lived and their relationship with the land and their animals”.

Do the characters individuals in your film find you, or do you find them, how does it work?

“I usually find them but it can be bizarre sometimes how life works. For example, the back story to how my film “Shake the Devil Off” (www.shakethedeviloff.com) is interesting. Six months after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, a friend returned to her home there and she called me to say, “It’s going to explode down here, this is not a natural disaster, this is a human disaster waiting to happen. You have got to come over”.

Photo above- a scene from “Shake the Devil Off”

As I am my own producer and director, I didn’t have to consult anyone as to whether I should go. I just went. Sometimes you just have to work like this, you have to react to an ongoing situation, you cannot plan it. I hired an excellent camera man and a sound man, we travelled to the U.S and discovered my friend was right, we ended up in the middle of this incredible drama. The sound man had always worked on scripted films before where he knew the story was going and I had to explained we simply had to let the story develop on its own, we had to capture it as it was unfolding.
I was lucky too that the camera man (Jon Björgvinsson) I hired was available. He is a freelancer who lives in Nyon and travels globally for many TV stations. If there is a potential war developing or an earthquake etc, he will go anywhere at a moment’s notice.  I paid for him out of my own pocket for this film, I took the risk. Once the film was made, I was able to sell it to various TV stations. Although the film lists me as director of this film I actually directed nothing, the film directed itself, surprising situations cropped up during the entire period.  Everything was impromptu, I had no idea what was going to happen. The film was received very well in the U.S.A. It had everything in it: conflict, a charismatic priest as the central character, lots of tension, colour,  great singing, it had the a narrative curve of a novel. The film won prizes too, the subject matter in it was a hot issue. My gamble had paid off.

The two films you made “Josh’s Trees” and “A Home Far Away” cover subjects in which you had a personal attachment to them. Was it harder to make such a film?

“Absolutely, I don’t actually like being in front of the camera myself, but in the case of the film “Josh’s Trees” I simply had to tell the story for his son. He had been my friend, the guy that I had been with in the Italan café all those years ago when we were young students, so after he died I knew I had to make the film. In doing so I had to ask some difficult questions, who am I in the film, how do I position myself? I also had to put in some narration even though I don’t really like that. I find commentary a bit too directive, I rebel a bit with the concept of the audience needing everything explained, I don’t think you need to take the audience by the hand. You should experience what’s happening, not be told it.

Photo above -scene from “Josh’s Trees”

Tell us about your 1998 film “Rolling” set in Lausanne

Lausanne is a mecca for roller skaters, it’s a city of hills and thousands come to skate there. A few years ago there was a small article in “L’Hebdo” magazine about the popular skaters in the town. When I am not making my own films I also work as an independent producer for Swiss TV, so I called these skaters up and said “we are from Swiss TV, we want to make a film about roller skating and we want to meet you”. We went along to a cafe in Lausanne, and all the skaters were sat around this one big table. So I asked them all to tell me a little bit about themselves. The last one to speak was Ivano. He said “to be honest, I think you have heard enough good stories, you have plenty to choose from, I can’t add anything.” Of course this instantly got me intrigued and I knew he was the one to focus on.  It turned out he had Italian ancestry, his parents had moved to Switzerland to work in a factory. Ivano didn’t want to follow in their footsteps, he was trying to avoid it at all costs, so skating for him was an escape. Skating made life exciting. When he skated he was travelling faster than the cars around him, he was being chased by police cars around the town, he skated anywhere and everywhere, even backwards down the banisters of stairs!

Photo above: scene from “Rolling”

Ivano went on to open a skating shop and he actually became quite famous at the time, you could see him modelling skating clothes in adverts, everyone knew him. But as often happens when you get close to a character, you realise there is often a back story and the narrative can change. I was interested about what would happen after the glory had faded because inevitably as Ivano grew older he wouldn’t always be at the top of his game, inevitably there would be a 16 year old who would take over his place, and that did indeed happen.

All photos above – courtesy – Show and Tell Films

 

A View from the Bridge – Play in English in Coppet plus other events coming up

 There are lots of events happening in the first weeks of November in the Nyon region, here are a few listed below.  Plus, the Living in Nyon November newsletter is due to be sent out in the next couple of days, if you would like to receive it, just sign up in the subscription box in the box to the right of this post. 

English play in Coppet – November 8 -13th.

Friday 4th – “Living along Lac Léman”- book signing at Nyon Tourist Office, 

Saturday 5th – Troc in Crans, plus Table Top sale in Dully.  

Sunday 6th – Léman Events Expat Fair in Lausanne,

Also on the 6th -Classical Music at the Conservatoire in Nyon. 

Mountain First Aid Courses – 10th and 15th November

Friday 11th November –  “A Flavour of India” evening in Nyon. 

Saturday 12th – “Souper de Soutien” Fund raising event for the Maisons des Enfants in Nyon

From the 8th to the 12th November GEDS (Geneva English Drama Society) will present “A View from the Bridge” by Arthur Miller.

A little bit about GEDS – The Geneva English Drama Society provides a diverse theatre programme with a wide variety of styles and periods. A typical season includes 3-4 full stage productions and 20 fortnightly staged playreadings, plus workshops and social events. The play readings normally attract 50-100 people, and provide onstage roles for both experienced and aspiring actors. Once a year they produce and perform a play in Coppet, just a few miles from Nyon at the Théâtre de Terre Sainte. This is a lovely theatre with lots of parking , it is also not too far from Coppet railway station. The theatre has a bar for a pre theatre drink . Note – if you book first night tickets you can enjoy a glass of bubbly and meet the cast ! 

The play – About “A View from the Bridge”  – This American classic is very well known and a standard text for schools and scholars: probably one of the four most frequently seen by one of the three or four leading American playwrights. Longshoreman Eddie Carbone lives in Brooklyn with his wife Beatrice and orphaned niece Catherine. Two Sicilian cousins arrive in the country illegally seeking work and are sheltered by Eddie. Catherine and Rodopho fall in love. Eddie is violently opposed without realizing his own motives. 

Tragedy ensues, with an almost Greek-Chorus figure helping recount and comment on events in an imaginative script and production. It is an enthralling evening, funny by turns and always involving, as it moves to an inevitable end.
The cast includes: Pilar Diaz Quesada, Fabrice Drouin, Bernard Giovannini, Undine Groeger, Howard Hornfeld, Neil-Jon Morphy, Cristen Schroer, Chuck Slovenski, David Stieber, Herman Westebeeke, and Jona Zeschke.

First-night patrons are invited to join the cast for a glass of bubbly after the show. Tickets:  CHF 30 (seats numbered)  Students  CHF 19 on presentation of student  card  at the box office on the evening of performance, subject to availability of seats.                               

Book at Theatre in English on  choose your own seats, pay by credit card or bulletin de versement / e-banking and print your own tickets.

Friday November 4th BOOK SIGNING AT NYON TOURIST OFFICE

 If you missed the launch of the book “Living along Lac Léman” in October there will be another opportunity to purchase a copy and have it signed by the author on Friday 4th November between 16:00 and 18:00. Come along and say “hello”, you can also pick up a copy of the new (free) winter tourist brochure  to find out what  activities are going on in the Nyon and St Cergue region this winter.

Saturday 5th November Troc de Crans  11:00 -15:00. There will be troc (second hand sale of goods) in Crans at the Salle Communale de Crans ( Rue Antoine-Saladin).

 Sunday 6th November  The International Women’s Club of Nyon will be holding  a Vide Grenier (Table-top Sale) at the Salle Communale in Dully from  10:00 – 15:00.  Info: Anne-Marie Ramu  Tél. 021 824 13 03. Bénéfices pour la Fondation Vaudoise “Le Cube de Verre”

Sunday 6th November  17:00 Classical music concert in the lovely lake side setting at the Conservatoire de L’Ouest Vaudois – Barocco Guitar duet – Michel Borne and Claudia Gave  See COV

Also on Sunday 6th November, it’s the big Léman Expat Fair in Lausanne, plus this year a recruitment/career fair will be held in the same building  on the same day. Check here for more details – more about this fair coming soon on this site.

Mountain First Aid Courses in November – Learn how to deal with injuries whilst skiing or hiking in the mountains.

  • Get advice about when and how to call mountain rescue
  • Understand the principles of adult Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and practice delivering this on manikins
  • Practice the safe positioning of an unconscious adult
  • Understand the importance of head, neck and spinal injuries and what to do
  • Practice how to deal with broken bones and sprains
  •  Learn how to recognise and manage hypothermia, frostbite, altitude illness and much more

Next dates:
Module 1 – 10th November 2011, 18:00 – 21:30
Module 2 – 15th November 2011, 18:00 – 21:30
Both modules must be attended

Cost: 180 CHF per person in total

Registration: via Health First (please register for both modules)

Venue for both seminars and Mountain First Aid course:
Rue des Racettes 2, 1213 Onex. This is the Paroisse Saint-Marc building.

11th November A Flavour of India” – Evening in Nyon – A celebration of Indian culture, welcome drink, Indian feast, traditional Indian dance and fashion tips. Full details in poster below. See Friends of India 

Saturday 12th November -There will be a fund raising supper at the Salle Communale for the Maison des Enfants in Nyon from 18:00 – 24:00. Apero followed by hot and cold buffet, musicians and dancers, tombola. See site for more details  and registration.