jeudi 8 février 2007

Sociological study of Lebanese nightlife

When I went to Torino, for the first time ever back in december, I was very amused by that "la feren" (non-boulangères ou a-boulangères, ou anti-boulangères) character of its habitués so dear to the four women of 7aké Neswen.

I have lived my nightlife for 3 years between 37 degrés and other small pubs, when Rue monot was still hype, where one would find people from the "mondanités", as well as "neswen el feren" (femmes boulangères). I critisized both. I could've been integrated to that "la feren" identity, until that time at Torino.

Torino is a great place in Gemmaysé, very weird, the music is great and follows the state of mind of the DJ, it can change from Feyrouz to Techno, from 70s Rock to "LLi bit Assir Tannoura". It's small, and as I might figure it out, has its real down to the teeth habitués. People who can't spend their evening in Beirut without at least drinking one Almaza there.

It is, purely, a "la feren" environment. This is how I experienced it, it was a new atmosphere I was going through in my nightlife. First, it was akward, I critisized as much this environment as the others. But then, I tried to understand the attitude.

The "la feren" try to escape from the reality, to slip away to another world, a better one. The attitude is a show of despair from what is happening. But all three attitudes show a kind of despair. The "la feren" is the one who is the most nostalgic to something unreal and that has never existed. The others are just a mere despair of the economical or social i7bat (i7bat = déprime désespérante)...

I have a very pessimistic image of my society, I'm not proud of it, and I would like to improve it, when I come back.

However, I have one small positive thinking (which is very paradoxal by the way) about Torino, which makes it very different from the other pubs and bars of Monot and Gemmaysé, it's the despair mixed to the hope of moving on. It's weird. In Mondanités and neswen el feren pubs and bars and nightclubs, you will only find despair. You may be able to find some hope in the hearts of the people there, but it will not have the sense of romantism and love of Beirut that you will absolutely find in bars such as Torino's.

For those who have difficulties in understanding this philosophical concept of "la feren" I will try my best to explain.

In the "7aké Neswein" theater piece (equivalent to Les Monologues du Vagin), the four women talk about three kinds of lebanese women : the "mondanité" type (when the woman is taken out from magasines and is all fake boobs fake lips fake everything), the "nesswen el feren" type (les boulangères, when the woman talks about all the other women in their backs but is very friendly when they are with her), and the "la feren" type, which regroups the leftits, the intellectuals, and the franco-us-uk-whatever come back after years of being abroad. The "la feren" dissociate themselves from the rest, they believe they are superior, as in an elite that understands how the world runs, unlike the nesswen el feren or mondanité that drown themselves in fights (all in the very discrete 7aké, or the dialogues between women)over the neighborhood. So, three types, which summerizes perfectely the lebanese women of today. I will let the readers decide where my place ought to be, maybe I am outside that system, I wouldn't really know.

That night, my first night at Torino, back in december, I really felt submerged by this "la feren" attitude. It was also, a bit too much to my taste: the guy entering a trance when hearing ziad rahbani for example was too much of "la feren". He was not only "la feren", he was even unaware of the existence of the "feren" so to be outside of it.

But when I saw fake boobs entering Torino, I knew there was something wrong. I then realised that the woman holding the fake boobs was a european, or at least, a non lebanese. What a relief!!! Imagine a mondanité girl there??? :)