Monday, 13 July 2009

Jolie Petite Histoire

Back from a few days in Dordogneshire – or Bergerac-on-Avon if you wish, during which I dined excessively on confit duck as usual and sampled a lovely 2004 Montbazillac in situ that would have set off a choccie pud just lovely. I also pretended not to be English in Issigeac on market day (a tall order). I achieved this by having the audacity to speak in French to some of the market stall holders. For this shameless affront to local sensibilities, I was hounded out of town by the mayor, a retired bricklayer from Knutsford. OK, this bit isn't true.

I can report that the airport at Bergerac is much improved, though quite why the good people of Ryanair insist on herding you into a facilities-free departure lounge about twenty minutes before the check-in even closes is a mystery that surely only Mr O'Leary could fathom. I look forward to the day that customers, not luggage, come along the baggage carousel after being stowed in the hold. Still, if you want a £5 flight, deal with it.

A lowlight on an otherwise very relaxing jolly was acquiring as many mosquito bites – some in places that even the great Michel Thomas would have been unwilling to teach me the French for – as in my previous 36 years put together. Those greedy French mossies have either immaculate taste or none whatsoever.

Driving around the vine-striped hills and vales of this lovely part of France with the radio on, a tune caught my ear amongst the usual dross of Fun Radio. The only words I could remember when I got home were Jolie Petite Histoire – and I had no group name or song title. But hark and watch, I found it on Youtube - it's a live version of the 1983 smash Cendrillon (meaning Cinderella) by Téléphone.

It sounds like a soppy ode to finding Prince Charming but is probably dripping with angst and irony. I can't tell – I struggle with French irony in the way that Alanis Morrissette struggles with irony in her native tongue. Anyway, it's a tune that, if it had been written and sung by an English or American group, would probably now be held in the same nostalgic esteem as Cheap Trick's I Want You to Want Me or Another Girl, Another Planet by The Only Ones, both of which I believe it resembles.

If anyone French is reading this, please can they tell me what Téléphone meant/mean to French people? I know nothing about the group.

Power pop with a beret on, smashing: