Funambule (French for Funambulist) from the Latin funambulus  (funis ‘rope’ + ambulare ‘walk’).

I’m a bit mixed up in my head since yesterday. Friends of mine would joke and say I’ve been like that since forever and especially since my heart made that sound Harper Lee sang about. Like every week I was going to write a blog post, and I was in the diatribe between a diary of the days I spent in Scotland two weeks ago and a list of the things I dislike and everyone loves.

I wanted to go over the great Aislers Set gig at Mono, seeing all the Glasgow jet-set all at once and being a bit starstruck, Wyatt pulling dead-on puns and jokes in between songs, and having to take the last train when the dance floor was going nuts on a Monday night. Unbelievable. I wanted to dedicate a few lines to the record shopping at Elvis Shakespeare, to the new Occasional Flickers Giorgos kindly let me listen at his place, to the Cullen Skink I tried for the first time, to Edinburgh and it’s wet weather, to Inverness and it’s gray bleakness, and to the Megabus ride between these two cities. I wanted to get everyone jealous of the sunny and bright afternoon at Loch Ness, with a wonderful rainbow arching over it’s shores and it’s dark, almost black, waters; or of the boat ride over the loch with Rod Stewart’s songs on the background, and later exploring the ruins of Urquhart castle.

But yesterday I was riding the Q train that struck a man on the 49th street station here in New York. We stopped all of a sudden. My car was still on the tunnel when suddenly the driver asked us all to move towards the front of the train and exit. There had been an accident.

And about my list, who cares if I dislike Wes Anderson or David Lynch really. If they bore me to death with all their cliquey and forced dialogues and scenes. So at this point, I feel I better stick to news and music for now. Feelings, and my small personal vignettes, although appreciated by many, seem tiny and unimportant. Also while in UK I learned how many people resent them, and take them as bashing sometimes, as full criticism. Seems that some can’t differentiate a personal blog (THIS ONE) and a music review blog. I don’t review new bands, only obscure older bands, because they are not part of the scene anymore. But I think I’m entitled to like or dislike bands and if I’m writing about a festival or a gig and there are bands that I think are not good, why can’t I say that? Me as a fan, attending a gig, I think I have all the rights to say what I think. Still people don’t agree.

So better, not even do lists. In any case I must be terrible at that. I can’t do a top 5 bands list that looks the same when everytime I’m asked to. It’s always different with the only similarity that McCarthy is on position number 1. I can’t do year end lists though I force myself to fill in the blanks of the Twee.net year end poll. I think I’m more keen to polls than to lists. Answering questions is easier than filling an open page.

When I got down of the train there was a big group of people halfway down the train. Well, halfway half of the train. The other half was still in the darkness of the tunnel. This crowd was taking pictures, photos. I didn’t realize that until I was close to them. I thought taking the 47th street exit which was further down instead of the 49th street exit. The reason. It was closer to work. Why was I being so practical. All day yesterday I had been practical. I never use an alarm to wake up. And I did. I went early to the laundry. I felt productive. And top of it all, I decided to leave to work earlier. If I had been my usual self, procrastinating a bit, I would have probably avoided the shock.

I managed some “moral” victories while in London. Some things went my way instead of the way of others (those others that I happen not to like). All thanks to randomness, to luck. It’s not usually like that, if there’s something I’ve learned from life, it’s that everything requires effort, planning and determination. And I’m happy with that. I enjoy that sort of control. But for a change, it felt great not to have to move a finger for getting away with it.

Yes. I don’t love everyone. But I’m not dehumanized or a misanthrope. I love life, I celebrate it. It’s just that I’m not in the same wavelength as some other people. But in any case, I can’t believe no one helped the guy that was trying to get back up to the platform. Instead they took photos. Instead they are being published as front pages in the newspaper. I would have run and helped. How wouldn’t I? Sure I know that people react differently. But there are moments that you have to take action. In cases like this,  it doesn’t matter if you don’t like this person, you have to save even your worst enemy, your nemesis, or whatever you call it. There is no victory when one dies. There’s none.

It’s been the closest I’ve seen death. I felt my feet heavier. I left the station, in a mix of shock, fright, and numbness. I don’t know if it matters, but I feel a bit ridiculous still thinking of some girl when really, there are more important things. I’m very sorry for what happened yesterday.  I read that the widow had a fight with the victim before he left home. There won’t be any reconciliation. That is a heavy weight, an anvil of guilt to carry for the rest of life too. I can’t understand who would ever push anyone to death. It’s beyond words.


Hopefully next week there’s a happier post on my part. But let’s move to what people come here for, the weekly band, for the obscure, for the unknown, for the mysterious. That sounded quite esoteric. Perhaps I should change the blog background to black.

Fear: From Middle English feer, fere, fer, from Old English fǣr, ġefǣr (“calamity, sudden danger, peril, sudden attack, terrible sight”), from Proto-Germanic *fēran (“danger”), from Proto-Indo-European *per- (“to attempt, try, research, risk”). Cognate with Dutch gevaar (“danger, risk, peril”), German Gefahr (“danger, risk, hazard”), Swedish fara (“danger, risk, peril”), Latin perīculum (“danger, risk, trial”). Albanian frikë (“fear,danger”) and Romanian frǐca (“fear”) are also cognates, although probably influenced by an early Germanic variant.

Perform: From Middle English performen, parfournen (“to perform”), from Anglo-Norman performer, parfourmer, alteration of Old French parfornir, parfurnir (“to complete, accomplish, perform”), from par- + fornir, furnir (“to accomplish, furnish”), from Frankish *frumjan (“to accomplish, furnish”), from Proto-Germanic *frumjanan, *framjanan (“to further, promote, accomplish, furnish, carry out”), from Proto-Indo-European *promo- (“in front, forth”), *per- (“forward, out”). Cognate with Old High German frummen (“to do, execute, accomplish, provide”), Old Saxon frummian (“to perform, promote”), Old English fremman (“to perform, execute, carry out, accomplish”).

Yes, I love linguistics. Thought you knew by now.

Early in January 2011 I discovered this band. Can’t remember how though. But it was definitely through their fabulous single “Funambule”. I immediately got in touch with Pascal Carreau from the band and send him interview questions which I sadly never received answers for. What I did receive was a bunch of MP3s, all songs from their two CDs. Still, “Funambule” reigns supreme for me.

At that point Pascal told me that he was involved in another band, Strange Pepper, which you can check out their website here. He told me that he probably had extra copies of the 7″ at his parents house but that there were no more copies of the CDs at all. Happily I snatched a copy of the 7″ a couple of weeks ago on eBay.

The 7″ includes “Funambule” on the A side and “The Rope Dancer” on the flipside. The latter being an English version of the superior original song.

The Fear Performance was born in Caen in 1984. The year I was born. There were three founding members, Thierry Thomas (bass), Dominic Bélier (drum machine and keyboards) and Pascal Carreau (guitar and vocals). But soon Thierry would leave the band to form Bruges La Mort and was replaced by Michel Carreau. He was the brother of Pascal of course. And to keep it more in family, Giles Carreau would join to play drums. And to complete the band Laurent Piquot would also join on guitars.

The very first mentions of the name of Caen are found in different acts of the dukes of Normandy : Cadon 1021/1025, Cadumus 1025, Cathim 1026/1027. Year 1070 of the Parker manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle refers to Caen as Kadum. Despite a lack of sources as to the origin of the settlements, the name Caen would seem to be of Gaulish origin, from the words catu-, referring to military activities and magos, field, hence meaning “manoeuvre field” or “battlefield”

The artwork for the single was great, black and white, the band logo with a car. It’s really cool and classy. It was done by Philippe Jaffre. It’s no surprise that they would reuse it later for one of their posthumous CDs. Because there were two. The first one, with this artwork, called “Indifférent’ and the second one, “My Dreams and Your Shadows”. Surprisingly all of their songs are in English! Not in French. Nonetheless they are pretty good. You can check the tracklist for these CDs here.

And of course this is their old site where you can read a bit in both English and French and see some pictures. Oh! If you want to listen more songs, there’s a myspace as well.

It’s a bit odd to find such great French bands, playing guitar pop and being so unknown. It’s very odd that they don’t have a Discogs entry for example. But anyhow, please enjoy “Funambule”! And if you have any memories or anecdotes or anything you’d like to share about The Fear Performance, please do!


The Fear Performance – Funambule

5 Responses to “:: The Fear Performance”

The conclusion of your post makes me kind of sad but I’d say that there’s simply no audience for this kind of music here. And I guess you’ll hardly know of a French band if it’s not already reached a little bit of popularity in France. One could think that singing in English might change things but English speaking countries tend to focus on their own scenes only, whereas we do consume a lot of theirs. It’s almost the same for movies by the way !
(Crazy that you were inside that train… I was shocked when I saw the images on TV, can’t imagine how you must have felt !)
Oh and thanks for sharing this band for I had obviously never heard of them !

December 5th, 2012

Well, if it makes you feel any better, I think the feeling of “there’s no audience for this kind of music” happens everywhere. I feel the same way in the US. I think the only time a year I feel there’s an audience is when I’m at Indietracks. All of us that love this kind of music are scattered throughout the world.
About French band, I know quite a bunch of obscure ones, that were pretty great. But I’m sure there are plenty more that I don’t know because nobody has really documented that period in your country. We have to wait until some Japanese fans discovers them ! haha. And I totally agree with what you say, English speaking countries give a damn about other scenes. So true. Whereas other countries do consume their scene. How odd is that? I guess they have enough with what they produce and must think, “Why look any further?”. Anyways, French movies are the best. That’s all I can say.
Sure thing. Hope you liked this band!

December 5th, 2012

Dear Roque,
Sorry for the late reply, but you know what is life …
Some news, it seems that there will be a Fear Performance Reunion Tour in 2014.
Now I’m a guitar manufacturer and during demonstrations 3 of 4 musicians came together for a few songs and wedecided to play again together.
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Fear-Performance-2014/211799255674608?ref=hl

December 30th, 2013

Hey Pascal,
No worries. Great to know that Fear Performance is back!! Wish I could catch you live! Let me know if you ever want to answer that interview 🙂

December 30th, 2013

Hi Roque,
Yes I can answer that interview but can you please send it again because my old computer is dead … and the interview was inside.

Pascal Carreau
December 31st, 2013