Dans la joie et la bonne humeur

Les Bleus Euro 2016Sadly, the joy was short-lived. But for a few days here in France, we were on top of the world again. Et bon dieu did we enjoy it!

Despite the fact that Les Bleus lost the final match, it feels as though we’ve turned a page. ‘Passé un cap’, as we say in French. Summer vacation is upon us, the sun is shining, and today we are celebrating our Fête Nationale, aka Bastille Day. Spirits are higher in this country than they’ve been in a long time.

It hasn’t been an easy year in France. At times it has felt like the terrorists were winning. At others, the overriding disappointment in Hollande’s government and the back-biting from left to extreme right, has been depressing. The latest saga of resistance to change over the new Loi Travail (labour law) has been unending, along with the seasonal round of strikes and demonstrations. Then Brexit comes along and it feels like the end of the EU as we know it.

I surprised myself by actually watching the last two matches of the Euro 2016. This goes against my normal black-out policy towards all televised sports: golf, tennis, the Tour de France – not even the Olympics get my attention.

I don’t dislike sports. I just don’t like watching other people do them.

So although I know next to nothing about football (soccer for my North American friends), I found myself turning on the game ‘just to see’ and then getting drawn in. I watched the first half of the semi-final, and observed that while France was doing a very good job of preventing Germany from scoring, most of the game seemed to be taking place near the French goalposts. The Germans seemed to have good team work, and there was coordination and strategy in their moves.

Any time the French got the ball, things got a little chaotic. A burst of energy and astounding performance followed by – nada. They just didn’t seem to have a plan of attack. So I turned it off and went outside to enjoy the sunset. Then I heard a collective cry of ‘but!’ and the car horns honking – not just once but twice.

It seems that when the French get going, a certain magic kicks in.

During the final with Portugal on Sunday, that magic wasn’t quite there. Les Bleus gave it their best but the drama queens (who I found myself absurdly calling ‘Les Portu-gays’) on the other side got lucky in one single score. See why I don’t like sports? It brings out the worst kind of nationalism and name calling.

But although we may be down we are not out. The collective pysche is revved by the fact that we made to the final, the team did their best and now we get to enjoy some well-earned vacation time. Dans la joie et la bonne humeur!

One thing is certain: Le Coq Gaulois will be crowing again soon.

Coq_French flagHappy Bastille Day!

Le monde est fou

A bit of comic relief for a world gone mad. Crazy. Fou!

This song was released in 1990 and became an instant hit on the French music charts. Never has it seemed more timely than it does today.

The world is indeed a crazy place. Is it not ‘fou’ that Brits are preparing to vote in a referendum that could forever – or at least for the foreseeable future – change the face of Europe?

Isn’t it ‘fou’ that a Donald McTrump (at least that’s how I always think of him given his all-American menu, crazy wig and clown-like behaviour) is seriously a contender to lead the free world?

Can we even talk about a free world anymore when people of all genders and orientations aren’t safe at a nightclub in the land of Disneyworld? At a concert in Paris? In the editorial offices of a satirical magazine? Even police officers, the very people who are meant to protect us, in their own homes?

Add to that the particular insanity and violence of football hooligans here in France during the Euro 2016.

The world’s gone mad and there are times, especially this week, when I despair of it ever becoming sane again. What’s worse, there doesn’t seem to be a damn thing we can do about it.

It’s a crazy old world, mes amis. So we might as well sing, dance, and celebrate the crazy in us all.

Bisous xo