French public housing

Tuesday 8 September 2020, 8.00pm HKT


Above: Typical British council housing at Alexandra Road Estate in Camden, London. Photo by Steve Cadman.

What’s the French equivalent of British council estates?

They have them around Paris for all the immigrants. What are they called?

Above: Cité radieuse de Marseille by the Swiss architect Le Corbusier.

In French, they are most usually called HLM (aash ell’emm) — short for habitation à loyer modéré (ahbita-s’yong ah-loy-yae mawday-ray), literally ‘moderate rent housing.’ Sometimes an estate with several HLM blocks is called la cité HLM (“HLM city”).

La téci (tay-SI) is the verlan (backslang) for the HLM estate. Téci is just the word cité back to front. It’s used for expressing “the Ghetto” or “the ’Hood” or “the Street.” It’s rather an apt word to show the HLMs are the ‘back’ side of the city.

Not all HLMs are low or mediocre quality. Some of the oldest HLMs are pretty tony, such as the 93-year-old privately run ICF Habitat in Paris. Just click the link. That’s HLM done right.

Aside:— A lot of French slang is verlan. The syllables or sounds of normal words are loosely reversed or inverted. It is a rather effective way to convey the negative flavour of something. The verlan spelling don’t necessarily have precise mapping with the normal spelling. La métro is la tromé as a craptastic entity. Français (‘French’) becomes céfran. Meuf is slang for ‘woman’ (femme : mmefe) and keum for ‘bloke/dude’ (mec : cem). Indeed, the term ‘verlan’ itself verlan and derived from “à l’envers” (back to front, upside down).

HLMs are low-rent, state-owned housing, as all “public housing” is (or supposed to be).

Europe is a Brutalist dystopia, yet Brutalism originated with the British.

Below is the 1980 single “Dans mon H.L.M.” (“In My H.L.M.”) by Renaud. Its lyrics is said to have entered into the French collective consciousness.

All images via cable6 (pronounced “kah’bler seece”).

© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 08 Sept 2020. (B18028)

‘Too much to lose,’ like your parents

Saturday 6 July 2013, 10.27am HKT

pearl jam

“[The band became involved] in Newsweek. This is your parents’ magazine, the magazine at your doctor’s. I’m not going to read Newsweek. They’re not going to tell the truth because they’ve too much to lose.

— soundbite from the rockumentary “Pearl Jam Twenty” (2011)

(image via



© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2013. (B13226)

Social sins to avoid for fun and profit (2/2)

Monday 3 September 2012, 12.30am HKT


CONTINUING our fact-filled, fun-loving overview of social absurdistanisms committed by turd-breathed aficionados of the bubble-living life:—



GAFFE: Asking for leads all the time, especially in public view and at the outset.

WHY: Go see an agency! Some of you are so naff that, the moment you become friends with us, you almost immediately ask for job or other leads. You’re desperate. You’re overwhelmed with the prospect of not being able to pay the rent or feed yourself or have a place to get laid. We know — we’re in the same boat too! This gaffe isn’t limited only to jobs.

MESSAGE:This is a business relationship and you’re no good to me if my knowing you doesn’t lead to a job, house, etc.” We could say the same thing about you though. Get my drift?

RED FLAGS: 60% online, 40% real life:—

  1. 5 minutes after friending, Whore-Bore sends a message about a jobhunt
  2. 2 hours later, Whore-Bore sends another message to move in with you
  3. 3 days later, Whore-Boar asks for a personal loan “to fly to this place for a job interview”
  4. “I’m pretty sure you know someone who’s hiring, etc”
  5. “What do you mean you don’t know, have nothing, etc?!”
  6. “You mean to tell me I went through this for that?!”
  7. “I know you can do it for me
  8. “Where can I find a job that pays well with a light workload?”
  9. “I don’t want to do this unless I get payment or it’s not worth my while
  10. a jobhunt specification sheet that rivals NASA’s for astronauts

I’m not joking — these are f@cking real.

FIX YOURSELF: Offer some no-strings-attached advice or help first. Over time, you’ll land a job. Or a place to private enough to do your own handjobs in.

Read the dedicated on this behaviour



GAFFE: Using other people’s space, time, etc, to market yourself.

WHY: Don’t market yourself on anybody’s space, time, website, etc. Don’t even appear to be doing that. You’re taking liberties. You’re taking people for a ride. You step on people’s toes. You insult people’s intelligence and good grace. You’re taking yourself out of the loop faster than a hairy transvestite whore in a latex corset going down on an undercover cop on his day off.

MESSAGE: “I’m a freeloader.” “Social networking is for me to share your space as my marketing billboard.” “You’re fair game, buddy.” Runtery, in a word.

RED FLAGS: 40% online, 60% real life:—

  1. accept Darth AnalVader‘s friend request and within 2 seconds he writes self-promo crap on your Facebook wall: “My name is Adam Henry and I am a space invader to help people to invade Uranus” (geddit? Ur-anus?)
  2. Darf Analraider butts in your conversation (especially without apologising): “I can help you with that”
  3. instead of a 5-second pitch in a lift, Barf Analspacer won’t let go of your arm (or balls) and give a 10-minute lecture in the lift
  4. “I am the best available resource you have before you”
  5. Larf Analsayer puts in links in blog comments about other services or your own
  6. “soloing techniques”
  7. ‘knocking’ marketing techniques

FIX YOURSELF: Find a way to get invited to do your thing on their space, time or whatever first. If you are writing for somebody, then it’s okay to do a short bio in the footnote. Otherwise, don’t muscle in on other people’s action. Naff extraordinaire.



GAFFE: Constantly talking about benefits vs. drawbacks, especially in monetary terms.

WHY: If there’s one thing more offensive than listening to a Wall Street guy talk, it is to hear a non-Wall Street person talk like a bloody walking balance sheet about non-monetary things. We can do cost-benefit analysis on you too, you know.

MESSAGE: “I use people.” You’re cunning. You’re calculating. You’re greedy. You’re riding people just for the money. You see nothing besides the lowest common denominator (which I dubbed “the lowest common daemonator“). Srsly, that’s just offensive. In a word, jealousy.

RED FLAGS: 50% online, 50% real life, 101% trouble:—

  1. advantages vs. disadvantages, especially about things that have no such clear-cut boundaries (e.g. divorce, adoptions, having kids)
  2. advantages of own interests vs. disadvantages of the interests of others
  3. rationalising own choices vs. knocking the choices of others
  4. continually mentioning the prices of this or that
  5. “I derive benefits from living at home” (oh god!)
  6. continually comparing if one thing (say, one person’s language) is better or worse than another
  7. continually comparing the relative ages of people getting into certain jobs
  8. continually comparing the relative hierarchies of jobs
  9. continually comparing the relative benefits and security of job positions
  10. all of the above before even getting close to entering those sectors

FIX YOURSELF: Compare how well you will have done without comparing and how badly you are doing now with it. Stop comparing things. Whenever we see you compare intangibles, our first reaction is you’re also comparing us — very, very judgmental. Is this what you want us to do to you? Compare the alternatives.

REMARKS: You’re just green with jealousy about everything. Why else would you keep up this comparing? You compare because you don’t have the balls. If you have any, they’re probably shrunken and dried up anyway. So you do the next best thing available: shrivelled-up miscomparisons.

Making comparisons gives you no advantage because your comparisons are mostly circular and lead to nowhere. There’s no advantage to your economic, monetary or employment well-being because you’re not even ‘there’ yet.

The disadvantages to you are enormous:—

  1. you lose us
  2. you lose out
  3. no feedback for you about whether your comparisons are ringing true or not
  4. we secretly told your incestuous parents that you’re treating them like a meal ticket



GAFFE: You ask questions all the time but won’t allow others to ask you back.

WHY: It’s not limited to asking for advice. It’s just asking questions all the time. What’s worse is the Askhole puts the query nearly always in the same format. This unlovely trait goes hand in hand with being stiff. The only mental agility shown by the Askhole is in coming up with endless permutations of the same stupid questions.

MESSAGE: “You’re nothing more than a walking dictionary, thesaurus, reference book, etc, to me. I use you at my convenience and whim.” Then your mewling quim of a face needs to be bashed in.

RED FLAGS: All the goddamn time everywhere and anywhere:—

  1. no initiative to contact you
  2. not 2 minutes into a conversation, you’re asked for advice
  3. not 2 messages in, you’re facing some kind of query
  4. the query is nearly always in the same format for the last 4 years
  5. “I need some advice” — but you’re never told what the advice is for
  6. the queries are always in the 35- to 50-word range, hardly ever longer
  7. your responses to the Askhole are always nearly the length of a treatise
  8. the moment you put a question to the Askhole, he clams up completely
  9. give a constructive answer, it’s ignored completely or not read it at all
  10. give a offhand answer, the Askhole complains “you don’t give a shit”
  11. you get the nagging feeling the Askhole is farming you for midterm essay answers
  12. the Askhole pretends his language skills aren’t up to par with your answer, so that forces you to explain and re-explain things

FIX YOURSELF: It’s a stretch, but try telling the Askhole to just stop the faggotry and behave like a normal person for at least 5 minutes a day. That might just make it possible for others to hire the Askhole as an overnight janitor in a cow-dung recycling plant.

REMARK: I can’t honestly see a fix for runts like them, mainly because it’s so much in their dirty inborn (and inbred) character to play mindgames.

PROTIP: Immediate Action: use the Enron comeback on these people:—

by Jeffrey Skilling, CEO and COO, Enron Corporation, ca. 1999–2000






© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012. (B12273)

Images: “Call me a slut” via | “You can’t sit with us” via The Goldin Chyld | Balance Sheet via Small Business Finance Tips | Askhole via Vintage Metal Art | “Enron: ask why, asshole” via Psychobabblepress.

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