Friday, 2 October 2009

Town festival

The castle with a new turret decoration and the moon. What more could you ask for. Who said "a job"?

The answer is of course, impossibly slim women in tight fitting, skimpy outfits, but of course you can't expect everything.

Welcome to a week's worth of blog entertainment. More of a magazine really.

After the beach holiday it was the town’s festival weekend or more exactly 4 days of fun.
Once again all the town centre carparks were off limits as the travelling fair with its rides, amusements and snack shacks took over. The top car park became a bar and stage area. The Halle au grains also gained a performance stage.
The first evening was the fireworks display, which centred round the castle. We met up with the French family, or rather the mother and the two younger girls. The oldest girl was ill in bed with a bad case of angine. She then went on to get a ruptured apendicitus and was in hospital for a few weeks. She is back home now, but is stick thin. Still these 12 year olds soon bounce back.
Forsaking their usual distant vantage point they joined us up close to the castle. The fireworks lasted about 20 minutes and featured star shapes and heart shapes exploding from the rockets. We then walked into the centre of town for a look at the fair. The place was too packed to move, so we stood and watched two people at a time being catapulted into the air in a small round pod, attached to a frame with bungee ropes.
Next we headed off to the stage to see what the evenings “orchestra” was like. These orchestras must tour France during the summer visiting town fairs. They consist of around 18 people. The band, dancers, singer, singers who also dance, musicians who play and sing etc. The costume changes are numerous and no short, dumpy women, or men appear on the stage. Locals then, they ain’t.
I like to get close the stage. Unfortunately this is also where you tend to get what in unenlightened times would have been called the village idiots. They are a bit of a nuisance but they know how to have a good time, and wrapped in their own private concert they can cover reasonable distances in any random direction.
Tonight was quiet though and the few dispossessed were wobbling about on the spot.
There was a stocky, smallish male singer on stage,

more Freddy Starr than Johnny Halliday, posing and preening on stage. Just smell that "old spice". The family held back as S and I moved forward to worship at his feet. (yeah right). I turned back and motioned them forward. “Are you not scared?” asked the mother, clutching her children to her. I said that I wasn’t and that it was all okay. So we ended up 20 feet or so from the stage. The girls refused to take their hands out of their pockets to clap along and stood very still. Their mother did some intermittent clapping. After 20 minutes the mother had had enough and she left, taking at least one reluctant child with her.
I later found out that she doesn’t like concerts, not that she has ever been to a proper music concert. Shame for the kids though.
We stayed for 40 or so minutes after they had gone. Standing up after midnight can be a strain for us oldies.
We went to see several of the concerts on the following evenings. There was a band singing English/ American songs badly so we did not stop. The following evening there was another mega cast orchestra and they were very slick. But the disposessed were more active. Of course when there are 18 in the group, introductions take longer and when their details include whether or not they are single and that they are music teachers at music schools and have come up through the conservatoire de musique system. (no that does not mean they have speakers in their conservatories at home).

There was also a flaming torch procession one evening. If you were expecting flaming torches however, you would have been disappointed. It was a carnival type procession. Majorettes with glowing batons, marching bands, etc. It went on and on as they did at least 2 big circuits of the centre of town, very slowly. I doubt if many were locals. Towns seem to bus in the entertainment from elsewhere for such things.
Some of the bands had devised clever transport for their drum kits.

There was a small group of about 9 peasants clutching lighted torches, but they looked bored and miserable, so not quite the expected highlight of the evening. I'll call them Les and his miserables.

Still at least the town does try to entertain us and the tourists during the summer, even if they remove car parking for the duration…..

Well that's almost it from this bumper edition. What do you mean "Thank f**k he didn't go and see the world famous trumpet player, or we wouldn't get to bed tonight "??!!!

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