Home Again (Again)

Back home again- I’ve barely been at home for the last three weeks have I? I’m sure those of you who don’t have long summer holidays don’t want to hear about the beautiful rolling hills of the Dordogne, the sandy coloured French villages, the point at which the Dordogne and Vezere rivers converge, engravings made on cave walls by our ancestors 25, 000 years ago that take the breath away, the fine wines of the Bergerac and Saumur, long sun drenched evenings, the daily sunshine and 34 degree heat. So I won’t go on about it. If it’s any consolation I can offer this advice- don’t ¬†get a ferry back across the Channel from Caen to Portsmouth that lands at 10 pm and then leaves you having to drive up to Manchester round not one, not two but three sets of roadwork diversions and gets you back in at 3 am.

Long summer drives through France on the other hand are a joy. The roads are great, traffic is minimal, the scenery wonderful. We have occasional differences about what should soundtrack the journeys. This year’s tune that all of us agreed on was this recent smash from Beyonce, full of ire and anger, led by calypso strings and some intense drums. It borrows liberally from Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs too.

Hold Up

If you haven’t heard it the album Lemonade is full of great tracks. Genuinely.

Away Again

A quick turn around and I’m off again, with the family this time, down to the Dordogne in South West France for the next couple of weeks, stopping off in the Loire for three nights on the way back. It’s looking good.

I’ll leave you with a couple of songs to speed us on our way and to keep you happy. Rikki Turner’s new band The Hurt released a cracking song a few months back, the moody and epic Berlin. The new one is a cover of Nico’s One More Chance and is a stately throb.

The new Hardway Bros ep Pleasure Cry is one of my records of the year thus far. This song, Argonaut, was written specifically by Sean Johnston to be played on the boat at Croatia’s Electric Elephant Festival. It starts off like Weatherall’s mix of Come Together and then heads off into the sunset putting its arms around you and doing a little dance.

And just so’s there’s some screaming guitars and drawled vocals here’s J Mascis and The Fog covering Teenage Fanclub’s Everything Flows with Mike Watt on bass. It then diverts into Pavement’s Range Life and The Ruts’ In A Rut. Is it any good? Of course it is. It is seven minutes of good.

Bonjour

Hi. We’re back. The found that sun we were looking for, 30-34 degrees of it most days. It hangs about over France almost every summer apparently. The Jura is ace- beautiful hills and villages, lakes for swimming in, cheap wine.

This is that Andrew Weatherall remix of Gwenno, bouncy Welsh psychedelic dub. It turned up just before we left two weeks ago and got several airings in the tent.

Run For The Sun

Right then- midday today and we’re off, hitting the road and driving to The Jura, that bit of France just above Switzerland, eleven nights in a Eurocamp tent at the campsite pictured above. The vino, the fromage, and the jambon are calling me. Thankfully when we booked back at the start of the year we decided to cross from Hull to Zeebrugge so are avoiding what looks like a nightmare at Dover- Calais.

This Dinosaur Jr song is called Run For The Sun and that’s pretty much what we’re doing. The weather in the north west of England has been poor, nothing in the way of summer except for three hot days at the start of July. So, hopefully France will deliver us some sunshine. In this song Dinosaur Jr channel their inner Beach Boys and turn in something very good indeed. Unlike the video, which is shite. Video only again I’m afraid- I’m putting off making a decision about a filehosting service until I get back from France. Have a good time while I’m away, see you in two weeks. A bientot!

You’re From The Seventies

So yes, after getting through yesterday, the holiday was great- the French Alps are beautiful- the picture above shows the view we woke up to each morning from our tent. Lac d’Annecy is stunning, as you can see from this picture I took from the top of Col de la Forclaz…

We swam, we sunbathed, we cycled the length of it (some of us), we drank the wine and the red/white Kronenbourg, we ate the cheese and the baguettes, we shopped at Carrefore and wandered round Annecy’s old town. I had plans to go to Italy for a day and see Mont Blanc up close but some days we didn’t get any further than the campsite pool. And most days it was 33c so why bother? Next time eh?

This was song of the holiday. Having driven 600km down the autoroutes to get there and shared the stereo with the daughter I can report that Now!85 is vastly more tolerable than Now!82 (which I suffered last summer). In fact I sit here as a self confessed get Lucky Fan, a partial Blurred Lines fan and a Selina Gomez convert. But each night the activity tent blared out the Icona Pop song I Don’t Care- a pile-driving Euro-techno hymn to irresponsibility, good times and youth; although frankly driving your car into  a bridge and watching it burn does no-one’s insurance premiums any good and the whole bit about him being from the seventies and her being a nineties’ bitch is seedy to say the least. But maybe I’m overanalysing it. It is at the very least a fantastic pop song.

Off into work now- A level results come out today (too early I feel, the 15th, should be later in the month).

PS- just noticed that this is my 1800th post. 1800- lunacy.

En Vacances

Right then mes amis– cheerio! See you all in two weeks. Shortly we hit the M62, Hull to Zeebrugee, long drive through France to Lake Annecy where we are camping for eleven nights; wine and cheese, the Alps, Dijon, Lyon, a potential day trip to Italy, near bankruptcy on our return….

Here’s some French songs to send us on our way, first one from the lovely Francoise Hardy…

Strange Shadows

And something from Serge…

Requiem Pour Un Con

And that’s pretty much how I expect the French to look.

Vendredi Soir Est La Nuit Rockabilly

The other band I saw at the campsite were the Ducky Jim Rockabilly Trio, a French rockabilly outfit from Quimper. Pretty good to be honest in the context of playing an hour long set on a basketball court on a campsite. They got the British, Irish and Dutch campers up dancing, even if it was a bit odd to travel to Bretagne to see live rockabilly.

Just so you get a download here’s Rocky Bill Ford in 1956.

Mad Dog In Town