old salut!

Colin Randall wrote here on France, things Anglo-French and more......but has moved

October 11, 2006

Beckett, Beckham and blood

This site has now moved to Salut!


The last time I turned up for a soirée at the Irish embassy off the avenue Foch, I had barely tasted my drink before I had to dash off to the Sorbonne to be tear-gassed in a student riot.

Last night, I kept up my record by failing to stay for more than a quarter of an hour at another function.

It was not that diplomatic bouncers had been tipped off that I am no longer who I was, so to speak, and wished to escort me off the premises into the Parisian night. The embassy, aware of my altered status, had insisted that the invitation stood.

But I had completely forgotten that the occasion, part of a festival marking the centenary of the birth of the Irish dramatist Samuel Beckett, included a presentation by les équipes artistiques.

The inappropriate nature of my attendance struck me as soon as I saw the neat rows of chairs awaiting guests.

Earlier in the day, I had been fitted with a MAPA, the very grand sounding Mesure Ambulatoire de la Pression Artérielle.

This Gallic mouthful translates simply enough as a contraption for measuring blood pressure over a 24-hour period.

It feels as if you’re carrying a giant iPod under your shirt on one side, with a strap wrapped tightly round the opposite arm.

But every 15 minutes it explodes into life and, for a few seconds, you become a beeping, whirring social liability.

Bad enough when you’re minding your own business on the Métro, or walking across the Seine to St Germain. Thoughtless and embarrassing if Henry Pillsbury and Xavier Marchand are trying to present extracts from Krapp’s Last Tape, the single-act Beckett play they are currently producing in Paris at the Athénée Théâtre Louis-Jouvet.

So I made my excuses and left.

MAPA’s 24 hours will be up later today and a man of medicine will contemplate the results. It is as well that the period didn’t start 24 hours or so earlier.

Since Bill Taylor, in a break from self-imposed sniping duties, asked how Acton Ladies got on, I will briefly describe an event that would certainly have produced a distorted mesure ambulatoire.

Nathalie, my younger daughter, is an excellent footballer. Any father would say that sort of thing, of course. But she genuinely is one of those rare players capable of doing things on the field, like Parminder Nagrain's character in Bend It Like Beckham, that people remember.

On Sunday, at a sports ground off the North Circular in west London, she met a corner kick and hit the sweetest of volleys from just inside the penalty area and the ball flew into goal.

It did her team no good in the end, since they lost that game as they have lost all others so far this season.

But a vision of the goal remained with me all the way back to Paris later the same day, whatever momentary impact it may also have had on my blood pressure.

This site has now moved to Salut!

32 Comments:

At October 10, 2006 1:47 PM, Blogger Thomas R said...

Colin,

Maybe there is some other way I have missed but it seems we must create a www.blogger.com identity account before we can comment. I'm afraid I could never write anything as worth reading as you.

 
At October 10, 2006 2:35 PM, Blogger exeter said...

You don't have to use it as a blog, though, Thomas, and it's easy done. I was about to comment on Colin's blog about the differences between countries but now he's started this one so I've missed that bus. But I'm Hong Kong Chinese, left when I was a kid, brought up in London, "Sarf" Norwood, and I live in the west country now. It's all home, I just keep changing rooms. You need a few more snipers Colin to keep things interesting. Don't worry, not me. That guy Richard's been quiet lately, shame

 
At October 10, 2006 2:56 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Oh dear, I stand rebuked. Nice to hear about Nathalie, though. I don't suppose she'd consider a transfer up north, would she? Roy Keane might consider a female striker. Did you see, by the way, that Charlie Hurley (whatever happened to....)was quoted as saying Quinn and Keane are just what the team needs? A bit of Irish chauvinism at work, perhaps. But you have to love their embassy. They invite Colin Randall for a drink and Colin Randall, even under straitened circumstances, remains welcome.
Seriously, having brought us up-to-date on Acton Ladies, keep us posted on the blood pressure, too, okay?

 
At October 10, 2006 2:59 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

PS -- It was Hurley's 70th(!!) birthday last Wednesday. Bloody hell.

 
At October 10, 2006 3:17 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

In other soccer news:
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) — An Argentine policeman has been suspended for 10 days without pay for cheering a goal while on duty at a soccer match and sparking violent protests by fans.
The policeman cheered the third goal scored by Estudiantes de La Plata, the city where he is based, in their 3-0 win at Lanus Saturday and was pelted with objects thrown by home team supporters until he was removed.

 
At October 10, 2006 5:21 PM, Blogger EoghanRuadh said...

Good man Colin,
good to see you that new e-hacks don't let the buggers grind u down.

 
At October 10, 2006 7:01 PM, Blogger Colin Randall said...

Slowly becoming acquainted with how this thing works, but having problems putting up links......not yet sure if it is me or blogspot to blame (I suspect the former), but working on it. And in the interests of even-handedness, I should add that I would be happy to put up a link to a Colin Berry site, subject to the same precautions I apply in Bill Taylor's case.

 
At October 10, 2006 8:56 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

Colin R I am not sure about the Salut title. After all you did spend 29 years with the stuffed shirt brigade of the Telegraph. We see them very much as the enemy; eurosceptic, British Commonwealth, Americanophile etc. You could easily have left and worked for a better newspaper, eg Le Monde but you didn't. Now you have discovered the true nature of your fellow citizens and have decided to pass yourself off as French. A bit too perfidious for me.

 
At October 10, 2006 9:18 PM, Blogger exeter said...

Talk of the devil! You don't have to agree with all the Telegraph's positions Richard but it's probably best of the British national papers these days. The Times has had it and the Guardian's in its own little world. Is your French good enough for Le Monde Colin? My Cantonese isn't bad but I wouldn't be applying for a job on a Chinese paper (if I was a journalist, that is, I'm not)

 
At October 10, 2006 9:44 PM, Blogger PhilB said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At October 10, 2006 9:58 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

You seem to have understood perfectly, Phil. Even in the callous corporate world, this one stands out as not only heartless but brainless. Colin was one of their best people, both in print and on line. Somehow the bean-counters managed to miss that. This kind of myopia doesn't augur well for the paper's future. Their loss in more ways than one.

 
At October 10, 2006 9:58 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

Exeter far be it from me to say there is anything good in the UK, but the Telegraph is bad. From a sociological point of view I would say the Sun is the best deal. It is brief and accurately reflects UK culture. I feel Colin R owes us some more explanations on his letting go. We did understand at the time of the CPE that French labour law was so bad that even stupid laws were going in the right direction. So Colin do you have a French contract or UK? Presumably French since you were living and working in France. Has the rethinking of your opinion evident at the time of The Petite Anglais's mishap now matured into a total dislike of the British easy fire easy hire? And do you have a claim in at the Prud'homme?

 
At October 11, 2006 2:34 AM, Blogger exeter said...

Gawd look at the time. No I'm not bloody drunk. Working late mostly. Okay Richard I'll grant you that the Telegraph's a bit rotten here and there but I still think the others are worse. I get most of my news off websites anyway, that way I can pick and choose and go overseas for what they saying. Don't bother will the telly except for disasters. Live coverage of death! Blogs can be good, see the world through somebody else's eyes. Hard to know sometimes what to believe. Colin can give it out with no bullshit now that he's not on anybody's books. Hope he does anyway. Publish and be buggered! Nighnight.

 
At October 11, 2006 3:30 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Rough night, Exeter? Get it up, you'll feel better (after a night of "get it down, it'll do you good").
My wife swears by salon.com for a balanced view of the world. I read the Guardian Weekly myself, which includes bits of the Washington Post (still one of the best North American papers and entirely unimpressed by the current White House regime) and Le Monde. And a killer crossword for when all the twee litle features and self-referential diary items get a little nauseating. Or maybe I shouldn't be mentioning nausea....

 
At October 11, 2006 4:20 PM, Blogger exeter said...

Piss off Bill. Can I say that here? It was a rough night yeah, but not entirely for your reason. I know salon, good on American stuff and a lot to read. I dont know the Guardian weekly, have to look outfor it. You do hard crosswords featherplucker?

 
At October 11, 2006 8:57 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Featherplucker?

 
At October 11, 2006 8:58 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Featherplucker?

 
At October 11, 2006 9:03 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Hello, Colin's set up censorship!
Let's hope you're not as idiosyncratic as your erstwhile masters. One never knew where one was with them. But if "featherplucker" passes muster (featherplucker???) do please eradicate one of them. I'm supposed to be a trained observer.
Thanks for the link; it's much appreciated. And I'm sacrificing to the gods of blood pressure even as we speak. But who's Rebecca Schofield and why are you availing yourself of her email?

 
At October 11, 2006 9:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exeter, I went to uni at Exeter. Exeter, UK, natch.

 
At October 12, 2006 7:03 AM, Blogger Louise said...

Just back from .... Orleans! Don't worry Richard - I was 50km away. Good to see that Colin's blog is up and running - although the links don't work yet! I posted on Colin's last Telegraph blog yesterday and it was blue pencilled - but what the hell. There are so many blogs on their site now that if you don't read it twice a day the early postings disappear into the filing system. It would appear that David Rennie has been given the French patch but as he lives in Brussels I don't think he will be able to match Colin's remarks on the French way of life.
Anyway, I think we'll have far more fun here ...

 
At October 12, 2006 5:35 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Houston, we have a problem. Or words to that effect.
"Comment moderation" could be a mixed blessing; with nothing new on here for more than 12 hours (I posted something yesterday which I'm pretty sure was acceptable but it's still not up), we risk losing the fairly essential element of timely to-and-fro. It was always a problem on the Telegraph blog.
I may be entirely the wrong person (even a rottweiler can have a sense of irony) to be asking this but... can't we be trusted?

 
At October 12, 2006 6:16 PM, Blogger exeter said...

Natch, Sarah. It's a nice place. Streatham or St. Luke's? I was at LSE myself but I didn't finish, keep thinking I should go back somewhere not there and get the letters after my name. Bit pointless though. I was always better at making money than learning how to make money, the Hong Kong coming out in me. Bill. Featherplucker. Rhyming slang or sort of. Give you a clue. Feather, clever. Now finish the crossword.

 
At October 12, 2006 9:31 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

OK so I have found you. First some technical problems with yours truly for 24 hours and I see all hell is let lose. Randall has disappeared from the Telgraph blogs.(Is that allowed under French law? I think you are still employed by them and they do not have the right to deprive you of the dignity of your job. Should be an extra two months on the package) But then he has introduced North Korean style censorship. I always knew he was a phony on democracy. Probably brewing up some plutonium with cold fusion in the tea pot. Louise has been up here in Orléans upsetting my customers. The English used to have a reasonable reputation around here. Where did you go so I can set up a crisis cell. Sarah spills the beans on bad sex in or with Exeter.

 
At October 12, 2006 9:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was on the main campus (this was 1982); Lukes was the ed establishment. I went back (to Bristol) some years later and while it brought me nothing professionally, unfortunately, it was a lot of fun. Ah well.

 
At October 12, 2006 10:22 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

The blogs have all been pasteurised. The news is dull. The Anglo Saxons are in such bad shape the fun has gone out of mocking them. The Brussel sprout has got maggots. The days are short. Sarah is coy about her sex life. Louise is in a snow drift. I've gone back to watching the stock exchange ticker tape as the most exciting thing around. I like to calculate how many bottles of wine I can afford when it goes up a few points. The problem is it might go down again. I don't want to put my pee back in the bottle. And Colin the Telegraph lot at least said thank you for our comments before binning them.

 
At October 13, 2006 11:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Richard, why don't you perk things up and tell us about your sex life???

 
At October 13, 2006 2:44 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

When (and where) Colin and I were growing up, sex was something posh people had their coal delivered in.

 
At October 14, 2006 3:20 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

Well Sarah, a middle aged man happily and faithfully married for 30 years is not going to provide much excitement is he? On the other hand a young attractive free woman could have much to recount. Those mightily steamed up windows on your little house cannot be entirely explained by the baking of fisherman's pie, now can they?

 
At October 15, 2006 9:18 AM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

There’ve been a few blogs on Oxbridge interviews. No, as you guessed, I am not part of the educated elite but I did have a successful interview at Oxbridge. Freshly graduated from my secondary modern with ‘very limited potential’ I was looking for a job.

Trinity College, Cambridge had just pulled in HRH C. Windsor for an educational coat of gloss. Now Buck House with all those Government paid cleaners is spotless. So with Tin Lizzie anticipated any day for an inspection tour R. A. Butler decided to top up the janitor staff. I applied for a job as a sweeper and was convoked for an interview with the bursar’s office.

Of course the interview is far less demanding than for undergrads. They throw the waste paper basket at you and if you catch it you get the job. That’s how I spent a few pleasant years sweeping up the litter in Great Court.

Sadly some days there was not enough rubbish to keep me busy, so I would sneak off to the Wren library to keep warm. I started reading some French books and I took an interest in Rousseau and republicanism. I read Contrat Social and Confessions between bouts of filling the wheelie bin. They revealed to me that monarchy was not a good regime for street sweepers.

With my progress in French I applied for a job as a bilingual sweeper in the Louvre and, after completing a lot of forms in my best French, I was accepted. Following happy years dusting the Vénus de Milo I finally attained the summit of my career; I picked up litter in front of the Joconde. And it all started by catching that waste paper basket on a rainy day in Cambridge!!!!

 
At October 16, 2006 12:40 PM, Blogger Louise said...

I won't let on to where I was, Richard - I am back there at the end of the moment and don't won't you raining on my parade. You were a zillion miles out when you decided I lived in Klosters so guess where I was in the 45? Exactly 52km in a radius from the town centre.

What do you do now in Orleans, after cleaning up the litter around the Jaconde? Collect it around the statue of Jeanne d'Arc?

Not snowed in yet - give it a month - so can still circulate on French territory.

 
At October 16, 2006 2:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I expect they can't, Richard, but I'll leave it to your imagination to fill in the gaps...

There's a lot of money in rubbish collection. The guy who started doing it in Montpellier now owns the football team!

We have yellow wheelies for recyclable stuff except bottles which are collected elsewhere, and a main bin for everything else. You're supposed to go to the dump in true civic fashion to dump your garden waste, wood, electrical stuff, boxes, old bits of crap, car batteries and so on. I'm always intrigued by the dumpster divers.

 
At October 16, 2006 6:08 PM, Blogger Louise said...

Sarah - I wonder whether Richard could fill in the gaps?
Seem to remember we heard all this happily married and faithful for 30 years stuff before. Don't worry, Richard, you're not on trial!

 

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