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paris - annick morel

Annick turned me onto the online culture in Paris a few years ago. It was her boyfriend who let me watch over his shoulder while he worked his job as a Minitel chat shill. Together with Lionel Lumbroso she co-translated Virtual Reality and turned me onto France Telecom execs, messageries rose operators, rare and struggling virtual communitarians, online shills for sex chat, when I was researching The Virtual Community. I wrote about her in "Telematique and Messageries Roses," Chapter Eight. She's smart, independent, fiercely and passionately opinionated, and fun. Like Lionel, Annick makes her living as a translator.

- Howard Rheingold
Well, I've been living in Paris for 11 years now and after I came back from my vacation recently, I just couldn't stand my apartment anymore and felt the urge to move. I got myself a small single-story house with a mezzanine right outside Paris. The view : I'm facing a white wall ! But next year, it's going to be covered with plants and trees and flowers, I promise !

How did it all start for me in this virtual world ? I met Lionel Lumbroso at CalvaCom in 1986, where I worked for 3 years, first among a very passionate American-French team, until the first visionaries left and it became boring, so I quit. I had no idea what a computer was when I started at Calvacom, but I already had experienced the Minitel and the Messageries Roses. I won't get into details, Howard talks about it extensively in The Virtual Community.

Anyway, I met Howard when he was touring the world doing his research work for this book. And that's how I translated Virtual Reality with Lionel.

For 6 years now, I've been working as a free-lance journalist and translator, and I got the Internet virus about a year and a half ago. It's evolving so quickly here, it's unbelievable ....

My background : I first decided to graduate in psychology ( I came accross an article when I was in highschool stating that Timothy Leary was experiencing LSD with his students graduating in psychology and I thought that was so great), but I had to swallow 3 years of boring Freudian stuff instead, and nobody knew who Leary nor Laing nor Cooper were at my University, I was so disappointed that the next year, I decided to graduate in English as well. I was not a spoiled brat or anything, Universitiy studies are free in France.

First time I went to the US, I was 21 and I got a job as a student and I ended up selling French fries and hot dogs on the boardwalk of Wildwood, New Jersey. The marketing idea of the guy who had the business was to sell "Polish hot dogs". So everybody was asking me what a Polish hot dog was. And I still vividly remember the line I had to say "It's a regular hot dog but we serve it with meat sauce and onions". So the nex question was " Are you Polish ?". After a month, I could have killed everybody around so I just left and hitchhiked across the USA to San Francisco and back. I really fell in love with America so much that I managed to go back two years later with a much more qualified status since I got a job at University of Pensylvania as a French teaching fellow. I hated it, but I managed to come back with an American husband. Then I lived in NY for a couple years and I've been divorced and living in Paris since that.

I recently spent weeks hassling with the French Telephone company to get my service up and running. (I can't wait for 1997, the monopoly of the French Telecoms will be over and they're going to either adapt to the competition or die).

I'm really excited to be part of this new project and team.

- Annick

Also in Paris: Lionel Lumbroso

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