I guess being in France for the best part of a fortnight this month has had its effect on us as a mini-family. Mark keeps wanting to eat his tea outside (but not managing it due to inclement weather), our Girl now likes to greet acquaintances with the double-cheek kiss business and me...well, I keep hearing French things in my head, making French noises ('bouf', 'bah...', 'urm...') and just generally thinking about things non-British a lot of the time.
For a start I heard a new version of the Fairport Convention song 'Si tu dois partir' on the radio this week (by young English folk singer Ruth Notman) and then found myself singing it all week long. You can hear a snippet of the Notman version on her myspace page (it's very good) and the Fairport version is here. Indeed Bob Dylan singing the original song in English is even closer - right here in fact:
Also I'm still reading 'A Place of Greater Safety' by Hilary Mantel (published in 1993 it is a fictionalised history of the French revolution). I think I'll be reading it all summer - it is 872 pages long and I don't want to rush it as it's SO sparklingly good. At the moment I'm nearly halfway through, the royals still have their heads and Guillotin is so far just an 'expert on public health'. It's fantastique, mes amis, really fantastique.
Then yesterday I watched (with mother) a French film 'Il ya longtemps que je t'aime/I've loved you so long' (Philippe Claudel 2008). It features the very smouldering Kristin Scott-Thomas and it's quite French in being slow and moody and really very sad. I liked it. It is sad without being drawn-out-to-the-point-of-agony sad plus after watching 'Marley and me' (one of Our Girl's current favourites) the night before I was ready for...well...any film other than 'Marley and me' really. (We got an armful of dvds from the rental shop this week and Girl is still dog-mad...right now she is watching a film about a kids soccer team with a dog in it).
But there is still more to life than France (and dogs...and dogs in France). This week I also caught up on old newspapers and read a lovely interview in the Independent with poet Carol Ann Duffy (who is what exactly...a bit Scottish, a bit English, presumably fairly Irish too, non?). The interview is here and was written by our old friend Christina Patterson. It contains some really special moments (on Ted Hughes, on families, on writing) and it also features Duffy describing how her Dad told her to 'get a proper job' instead of becoming a poet. And so, Duffy explains in the article, “part of my vocational sense about poetry is to do with asserting the space that poetry can have. It's as important as anything else...because it's the music of being human.” Now I'm not sure I completely agree with her (isn't music the music of being human?) but it sounds great, doesn't it? And such is poetry...n'est-ce pas?
Promise to stop sticking bits of French in all over the place soon too. It's probably really annoying.
San Juan and Masca
1 hour ago