People who know me here are no strangers to the fact that we tend to avoid the English in France. Not because we don’t like them (Some of our best friends are…. etc. etc), but because it seems to be a bit daft to seek them out here when there are some hundred and fifty thousand French living right here in the Ariège whom we’d maybe find it interesting to meet. Our social calendar already seems entertainingly full with the ones we do know.
So perhaps it’s rather odd that my favourite radio presenter here is an Englishman, Alex Taylor. He co-presents the breakfast spot on France Musique, together with Emilie Munera. Despite the fact that he speaks excellent colloquial French, he’s got a recognisably British accent that cheers me up and brings me closer to England as I listen in on my way to the gym, or doing some early morning jobs round the kitchen. His is a good programme too. A well as an astonishing variety of music – not simply the classical repertoire – the pair look at current and musical news, and at what’s in the world’s press that day. Is it my imagination, or are British papers more fully represented than others in this spot? And I really enjoy the 5 minute Mot du Jour by Pierre Charvet when various musical terms are explored and defined. What, for example, is the difference between ‘symphony’ and ‘philharmonic’ ? What is ‘noise’? Thoughts on aspects of African music….and so on.
And in case you’re wondering at our relatively high-brow choice of radio station….here in the sticks we can only receive three. France Inter, whose relentless talk drives us both nuts in the morning; France Culture, which is interesting but hard going if you’re not prepared to listen attentively; and…France Musique. No contest.