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Bientôt l'été - Nina Villard

The beach at Boulogne-sur-Mer is a perfect backdrop to Walter Hus’ Bientôt l'été. Especially late in the evening during spring. Bientôt l'été is one of my favourite video games, and the developers – Tale of Tales – list Trouville-sur-Mer as a place of inspiration during the making of the game. I have never been there but I regularly go to Boulogne-sur-Mer, and it fits well with my mood.

Why Boulogne-sur-Mer? Why Bientôt l'été? I experience vertigo when I step onto the beach and the music of Walter Hus feels like adrenaline. When I inhale, I don’t think I’ll ever stop. The beach seems like an abandoned planet; the sky pushes me into the sand. Although sometimes I am afraid to look up because I feel like gravity could cease and I’ll fall up forever. The air smells of nothing but, to me, I catch the scent of atoms.

On a normal day, I can walk for ten minutes and look out over the English Channel. If the weather is clear I can see the coast of France. I used to travel, by ferry, to France when I was dealing with loss or rather impending loss. It was familiar but alien, at once peaceful and threatening (especially one time when a man followed me around for half an hour).

Walter Hus leads me to a land/soundscape, then I expand. My mind absorbs the miles, my pulse kisses the sea foam, and my hair whips in my wake. La plage, mon amour! How do I describe the sound? A whistle, a beep, pipes? All so natural in their unusualness. Like a message in a bottle – it is just glass, paper and ink but it comes together and makes something more.

I collect random objects I see; a lighter, a feather, a shell with a nice sheen and then sit for a while by a dead crab. Each object, unremarkable, but significant in their unimportance today. Forgettable, yet I am archiving them.

La nuit is the time I come alive. Like underwater currents, I feel a rush despite my calm surface. The pulsating beat and the fragmented voices. Like a choir calling a drifting vessel to shore. I am moved to tears. I want to become lost, but I know this stretch of land too well.

The bird calls in La mer reminds me of my life along the southern coast of England. Wherever I go, there is always a harbour or marina nearby. Each move always brings me back to the sea splashing against a wall. My eyelashes heavy with dew.

Un homme and Une femme accompany me to the promenade, I am lost to the rest of the town. The fish market customers, aquarium visitors and tourists manoeuvre around me/us. I wait for my coach to the ferry port with my back to the beach and my headphones on. Walter Hus in my hand. My fingers tapping invisible piano keys. Faces sharpen into view, waking me from my reverie.

Image Credit: Jaanus Jagomägi

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