old salut!

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

February 21, 2007

Driving a Renaud to London

This site has now moved to Salut!

However many records and concert tickets Renaud shifts in his native country, he is never likely to be mobbed in Oxford Steet.

Picture: buzfoto

The guarantee that he can go about his daily business unhindered when in London has a lot to do with his decision, which Richard of Orléans will think makes him positively certifiable, to plan his future there.

We have talked quite a bit here, and in that Other Place, about the two-way flow of people between France and the UK.

Truly reliable figures seem elusive, but I think there are supposed to be around 500,000 Britons with homes in France - which many undoubtedly use for only part of the year - and perhaps 300,000 French people resident on the other side of the Channel.

Renaud's explanation, in a Paris Match interview, for deciding to move to London involves a list of qualities that some of my readers will consider as unrecognisable as he is to the average London cabbie.

"It is true that Romane (his wife and mother of their baby son Malone) adore London," he began, uncontroversially enough. "Romane, above all since she is an artiste, finds the attention of people in the street hard to take - their curiosity and fanaticism, and the amateur paparazzi with their mobile phones. Ten times more peaceful in London."

Avert your eyes, Richard. Our hero goes on to describe his love for the capital, the good citizenship of its people, their humour, the pubs.

"I love English football, English rock, English culture, English literature, the galleries, exhibitions, architecture. You don't see cops on the streets of London. Why? Because there is more civisme and more brotherliness than in Paris!"

And no, Renaud is not thinking - Johnny Hallyday style - of a more agreeable tax regime.

As a good socialist - and not even what the French like to call a caviar socialist - he insists that the more tax he pays, the happier he is, and that France's wealth tax, the ISF, is to him a gesture of solidarity.

He and Romane plan to devote most of their time, when not working, to living in London, maybe eight months a year.

They already own a small house there - "not a mansion, not a palace, honest!" - and want Malone to grow up bilingual, attending school in London (by which they may, of course, mean the Lycée Français in the Little France manor of South Ken rather than a bog standard comprehensive).

Adopting his most Ségo-like posture, Renaud adds: "I will go on paying my taxes in France even if I regret that they go on building aircraft carriers instead of crèche, schools....."

Who was it, apart from me now and again, that said French pop music doesn't travel?

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This site has now moved to Salut!


At February 21, 2007 5:09 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

I've never heard of this guy but I hope he makes enough money to have lots left after he's finished so joyously paying his taxes. He'll need it to cope with London's truly obscene prices.

At February 21, 2007 5:38 PM, Blogger Gigi said...

I LOVE Renaud.

If he's moving to Britain, maybe I'll move back...

Bill - Renaud's a poet, a troubadour...but he can't sing for a toffee. If you want to listen to one of his songs, go to my blog...you can hear 'Mistral Gagnant' (it's on the right - just double-click).

At February 21, 2007 5:46 PM, Blogger Louise said...

Definitely NOT a Renaud fan! So it's good he's off to London!

At February 21, 2007 8:04 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

With such a dichotomy of opinion, I had to hear for myself. Sorry, Gigi, I'm with Louise. Mind you, I'm in no position to judge the quality of his words. But his delivery is appalling. I think I prefer Johnny Hallyday. Or, for sure (and it was Colin who introduced me to their music) Plastic Bertrand. Yeah, yeah, I know -- not French, Belgian. Ça plane pour moi...

At February 21, 2007 9:04 PM, Blogger richard of orleans said...

On a day when Joan of Arc, er Ségo, bounces back in the opinion polls and the Brits announce their humiliating unconditional surrender in the Iran/ Iraq oil war, it’s difficult to get upset. Admittedly the LOSC lost to MU. But then as an MU player admitted, in an unguarded moment, the only thing that is important in life is winning. We have an irreconcilable breakdown in our relationship with our geographic neighbour over what life is about.

So maybe London is a great place to live, the fun of non stop partying being so seductive. Of course there is the gated community, the private body guards, the private medicine, the private dentistry, the chauffer driven car, skiing in Chamonix, holiday on the Côte d’Azur and the international private school; all standard English fare. For the Russian mafia at least.

But before I want to comment further on M. Renaud it would seem that our narrator has taken liberties with poetic licence. Of course one doesn’t actually choose where one pays taxes. Otherwise most of us would be paying, or rather not paying taxes in one of that long, long list of British administered tax havens. No M. Renaud will pay taxes in the country where he spends most time. So is he really creeping back to Paris rather regularly to eat a decent meal at an affordable price? Or is he picking up the bribe that the English taxman pays to rich expatriates?

Now how about making that rhyme.

At February 22, 2007 12:07 AM, Blogger anonyhamster said...

Just been watching video footage of "crowd trouble" at the Lens-MU match last night. I think even Deranged of Orleans would have to admit that MU have done a pretty good job in setting up so quickly the shooting of the scene in an unsafe stadium with some enthusiastic actors pretending to be French policemen beating the hell out of British fans who were, supposedly, trying to escape being crushed to death because of inefficient French stewarding. It's very believable!

At February 22, 2007 6:38 AM, Blogger Louise said...

I was just re-reading Renaud's comments on moving to London - what the hell is this guy on? Don't see policemen on the streets as there is more 'civisme' in England - didn't anyone tell him that the police force in England is on the Endangered Species list? 'Loves' paying taxes - well if he loves it so much, he can pay mine, for a start!

I would disagree with you, Colin, that Renaud is not one of the 'gauche caviar' - I would say that he is up to his neck in it, but plays on the militant lefty campaigner angle that he adopted so many years ago, fuelled partly by his role in 'Germinal' (which I actually found quite good as a film, despite the overdoing of the 'up the workers' angle).

I should think that people such as Renaud have moved their money offshore a long time ago, and if they haven't, well it serves them right being stung for tax!

At February 22, 2007 9:19 AM, Blogger richard of orleans said...

To think that a nation would herd their geographic neighbours in a corner and shoot tear gas canisters at them is unbelievable. From where can such dislike, even animosity originate? Until a better understanding can be gleaned as to what could have precipitated this barbaric behaviour, it is best for the British to avoid France. Whatever else it seems they are not wanted.

At February 22, 2007 11:07 AM, Blogger Roger said...

I was rather hoping that Colin would give us his expert view of the match. (Maybe I should check out his other Salut).

Watching the game on Canal+ I agreed with the comments that the ref was incredibly biased in favour of Man Utd. Lille have every right to lodge an official complaint with UEFA. But meanwhile, "Sir Alex Ferguson branded Lille a disgrace and wants Uefa to intervene" [BBC Sport] - and yet how would he have reacted in similar cicrumstances?

At February 22, 2007 12:35 PM, Anonymous j.cheever said...

It's so good to see that Richard is still blathering away in his corner way down in old Orléans. Poke a stick into his burrow and as ever you get the demented yapping reaction of an enraged elderly lap-dog. Which is I'm sure what Colin intended when he introduced this topic. Obviously Richard has forgotten the lyrics of one of Renaud's earliest songs, which was about Margaret Thatcher,in which he says that he hopes to return to this world in the next life as a dog so that he can use her as a lamp-post. (I translate loosely). Surely you don't want to lose such a sympathique soul to the Brits, Richard?

At February 22, 2007 1:36 PM, Blogger richard of orleans said...

Today is Thursday the 22nd of February. That's 23 minus 1 for the mathematically challenged.

At February 22, 2007 2:52 PM, Blogger Roger said...

Hmm, what's special about the 23rd?

February 23rd in History
1836: The siege at the Alamo, Texas, begins - only six people survived
1919: Italian Fascist Party founded by Benito Mussolini
1970: Guyana gains independence
1981: Spanish army officers attempt a coup in the Spanish Parliament
1991: Military seize power in Thailand

At February 22, 2007 2:53 PM, Blogger Colin Randall said...

Roger: A lot of people would argue that the phrases "expert view" and "Sunderland supporter" are self-contradictory.

I didn't see the Lille vs Man Utd match - there was live commentary via internet on Birmingham vs Sunderland and that pulled rank - but touched briefly on the controversy at www.salutsunderland.typepad.com

I did watch Lyon last night and thought the complaints about the ref (Mike Riley) absurd given the amount of downright cheating that he had to confront. He was excessive with his yellow card, but I admired him for waving it twice at fall-untouched-to-the-ground cheats

At February 22, 2007 2:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


14: The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water; therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.

At February 22, 2007 3:57 PM, Blogger Gigi said...

Dear Anonymous,

Luke 6:37:
Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

At February 22, 2007 4:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


06; A fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes.

07; A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.

At February 22, 2007 5:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


27; Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.
28; Be not a witness against thy neighbour without cause; and deceive not with thy lips.

At February 22, 2007 5:15 PM, Blogger Gigi said...

Never mind.

At February 22, 2007 5:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poem to the night table.

A place of quiet, peaceful space.
Not shared with chatter of outside grace.
A photograph of long ago, perhaps a letter a friend needs know.
A clock that that ticks in its own time.
Pen and paper for future rhyme.
A lovely lamp, its soft light aglow.
Brings up the words, I seek to know.
God bless this place,that keeps me here.
The heart begins, the mind is clear.

At February 22, 2007 6:09 PM, Blogger Louise said...

Oh dear, oh dear! That's all we were missing - quotes from the Bible.

Well, it's not me - I don't think there is a bible in the house. Okay, so I could google it, but I'm not that sad!

At February 22, 2007 6:34 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

I'm not sure if this should go here or in Salut! Sunderland. It's football-related but it's also a newspaper correction. Or, at least, a "clarification and confession" in the latest Guardian Weekly: Last week we printed a photo of "an increasingly rare sight in the Premiership -- two English players." It was rarer than we thought. Craig Bellamy is Welsh. The caption department has been put in a sack and hit with a stick.


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