Bohemian Rhapsody

Last week I went, with Mr FF, to see the Queen biopic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. We are currently in the UK and as it’s quite unusual to find a film that we both want to see, we thought we would seize the moment! I must confess this is mainly down to me, as I have quite a specific taste in films, whereas the other half is much more open minded. 

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I was a student in the 70s and Queen’s music was a backdrop to my studies. I must confess that originally I wasn’t a huge fan of their music. I preferred Deep Purple, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, to name a few, but I soon began to appreciate Queen’s music a lot more.

When my sons were young, Queen was the background music on long car journeys, particularly when we drove to France. To this day, they still remember most of the lyrics to Queen’s greatest hits! 

I already knew that the film had been years in the making and that there had been lots of production problems. The original actor selected to play Freddie Mercury, Sacha Baron Cohen, left the film after ‘creative differences’ with Brian May – allegedly. 

I was also aware that the film had been panned by the critics, although loved by film audiences. It is a two hour celebration of Queen, their music and the phenomenon known as Freddie Mercury. I cannot put into words how much I enjoyed this film. Rami Malek who plays Freddie was amazing in capturing the essence of Freddie. I was also blown away by Gwilym Lee who plays Brian May. I would never have guessed that he had played John Barnaby’s sidekick in Midsomer Murders.

My one recommendation would be to take some tissues! I wasn’t expecting to feel as moved as I did, on many different levels.

I don’t have many regrets but I do have one in relation to Queen. I was invited to see Queen perform at Wembley. I said ‘no’. What could I have been thinking?!

Have you seen Bohemian Rhapsody? What did you think? Are you a Queen fan? I’d love to know…

And here’s the original Bohemian Rhapsody video; so original and mind blowing…

The Rolling Stones

This may appear to be a rather random post but I am still overly excited having seen the Rolling Stones last week!

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The back of my t shirt, purchased on the night

We were on a flying visit to the UK to catch up with all manner of things but also to celebrate my birthday. It was a very different celebration compared to the one last year when I spent most of the day travelling back to Toulouse. Although my husband did surprise me, when he met me at the airport, by taking me for dinner to a vegetarian, Indian restaurant!

https://fancyingfrance.wordpress.com/2017/05/29/an-indian-in-toulouse/

This year we were actually more organised and as soon as we realised that the Stones were playing an extra date, in Southampton, we bought tickets. After all, the Stones aren’t getting any younger…

As a school girl, I was always more of a Beatles fan but as a student many a Saturday night was spent rocking to the Stones in the student bar!

We decided to catch a train to Southampton and then walked to St Mary’s Stadium. There were 30,000 fans at the venue, all ages, styles, types – brilliant!

Fun facts:

The last time the Rolling Stones performed in Southampton was in 1966, over 50 years ag0!

The combined ages of the members of the Rolling Stones is 294 years. Charlie Watts is 76, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are both 74 and, the baby of the group, Ronnie Wood, is 70. Who would have thought they would still be going strong?

Their energy on stage was incredible, especially Mick! They played for two hours with an amazing set list, including some of my favourites – Brown Sugar, Tumbling Dice and Gimme Shelter! A friend asked me if I sang. Did I? And I knew all the words.

Without a doubt, one of the best (possibly, THE best live gig) I have seen over the years and there have been a lot. What is the best band you have ever seen? I’d be so interested to know.

 

 

 

 

Fancying France: looking ahead

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Photo by Myriams-Fotos. Pixabay

Happy New Year! Bonne Année!

I don’t make New Year resolutions. Do you? But I do have some plans for my blog. Before moving forward, I thought it might be interesting to look back over the last year of Fancying France.

Just to clarify, I am not a professional blogger – as you may be able to tell! I’ve always enjoyed writing and this blog fulfills my creative side. This blog is not my business, it is written purely for pleasure – mine! Although I have to admit that nothing thrills me more than knowing that someone else has taken the time to read my ramblings. A mega thanks, too, for all the comments I have received. This is one of the most delightful aspects of blogging, connecting with other people, all over the world.

Top three posts of 2017: in reverse order!

dog rescue

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  • C’est chic…?!

https://wordpress.com/post/fancyingfrance.wordpress.com/2717

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This post has had many more views than any other I have ever written, since I began this blog. Interesting!

Blogging plans for 2018?  I must update my ‘about’ page. This was written when my dream was to have a home in France and now we do! I really should get a new (better) profile photo too.

I tweet and pin! What next? I’m thinking Instagram. After all, it’s important to keep learning and trying new blog related things. Do you have any recommendations?

Currently, I’m starting each morning with a cup of warm water and lemon and trying to drink more water but I’ve had these intentions so many times before that I’m purposely not calling them resolutions!

I’d love to know any NY resolutions you may have, blog related or otherwise.

 

 

 

Fancying France…the Fringe!

This intriguing  odd title for a blog post, came to me on the train home from Glasgow. It has nothing to do with my actual fringe ( known as ‘bangs’ I believe, in the US! ) which is in dire need of a trim, but everything to do with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

I don’t have a bucket list. Do you? But there are many places I haven’t visited and activities I haven’t tried…yet. Going to the EFF was one of these. As a Brit, I am ashamed to say that I have never been to Scotland until this week. Mr FF was playing hockey in a ten day tournament and it was a great opportunity to watch him play. What I  really mean is that it was a great opportunity to visit Glasgow and Edinburgh, especially as the Fringe Festival was taking place!

We stayed in a modern and well equipped Airbnb flat in a part of Glasgow called Glasgow Green.

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This was a very convenient area, well located for the city centre and the hockey venue!

As we had limited time, we decided to take advantage of an open-top, hop-on-hop-off bus tour.

http://www.citysightseeingglasgow.co.uk/

I think this is a brilliant way to get to know a new city. We hopped off to visit Glasgow Cathedral and the Necropolis. IMG_0144

The Necropolis may seem a strange place to visit but this vast multi-faith cemetery, modelled on the Père-Lachaise graveyard in Paris, has amazing  views over the city of Glasgow, as well as being very interesting in its own right.

The photo below is from the website of the Friends of the Necropolis. Here is the link to their website in case you would like to find out more.

http://www.glasgownecropolis.org/

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And then there was Edinburgh!  But where to start? It was the seventieth anniversary of the Fringe. The atmosphere was amazing. So many people; different ages, different races, different styles but all set on enjoying themselves and everything that the festival had to offer.

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Our strategy (?!) was to try to experience events across the art forms. We started with political stand up, went on to a female a Capella group and then to Shakespeare,  enjoying an abridged version of a Comedy of Errors. This was followed by a brilliant comedy drama set in an evening class. Our final choice was an experimental dance performance; probably my least favourite show. On top of this were all the street performers – fire eaters, musicians, dancers et al.

It was totally brilliant to have experienced the Fringe Festival, even if was for such a brief visit. I really hope we’ll go again but next time we’ll plan a bit more with what we want to see and aim to book some events in advance.

Do you have a bucket or an unbucket list? Have you been to Glasgow or the Edinburgh Fringe? I’d love to know!

 

Jean Dujardin … late to the party?,

Me, that is, not him, obviously.

At this point, I must ‘fess up that I have never seen ‘The Artist’ (for which he won an Oscar) nor ‘The Monuments Men’.

 

 

But I have seen ‘Un homme à la hauteur’

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Or ‘Up for Love’ as it is called in English. Some of the English reviews of this film were less than enthusiastic, especially about the special effects used to ‘shorten’ Jean Dujardin. The implication being that it would have been better to cast an actor who is genuinely small. Nevertheless , I thought it was a really charming film. Perhaps I’m just a real romantic at heart or easily pleased! But Jean’s smile… well, what can I say? And those eyes… I think you get the idea!

I really enjoyed the soundtrack, too. It introduced me to the music of Emilie Gassin which I didn’t know before.

Have you seen this film and are you a Jean Dujardin fan? It would be really interesting to know!

I am linking this post to #All About France. A great place to discover lots of interesting blogs with a focus on France.

The Merry month of May…

Especially if you’re in France!  May starts with a Bank Holiday and there are several more to follow. On May 1st  there is the celebration of  not only Labour Day (La Fête du Travail) but also La Fête du Muguet. This translates as Lily of the Valley Day.

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I have written about these celebrations before!

https://fancyingfrance.wordpress.com/2015/05/01/1st-may-la-fete-du-travail-and-la-fete-du-muguet/

The next Bank Holiday takes place on the 8th May and is to commemorate the end of World War II in France. It is known as ‘La Fête de la Victoire’  and is celebrated with parades and religious ceremonies.  Traditionally, the French president lays a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier and lights the flame at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. I was quite surprised that our local supermarket had a ‘special’ opening on that day. 

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The final Bank Holiday  is on the 25th May; Ascension Day which falls on a Thursday. As a result, many people take a day of their annual leave on the Friday to be able to take a four-day weekend. This is known as a ‘pont’ or a bridge. It is quite usual to hear the phrase ‘faire le pont’.

And, then there’s Eurovision! No Bank Holiday for this, of course, but all part of the May madness. I did watch it when we were here last year as I wanted to see what it would be like without Graham Norton. This year I managed to avoid miss the contest somehow.  I must admit that I do like the French entry which came twelfth. It’s by a singer called Alma and the title is ‘Requiem’ . This video of the song is worth watching for the background shots of Paris:

Are you a Eurovision fan?  I’d love to know…

The Mayor, a clown and a mug…

Not necessarily three items that one might expect to see in the same phrase! All will become clear…

I have written before about the organisation AVF which welcomes new arrivals to France; all nationalities and all ages.

Last month we were invited to attend the AVF welcome meeting in Castelnaudary. We didn’t know what to expect but it turned out to be a really fun gathering. A welcome speech was given by the mayor (not too long…!) and was followed by a delightful musical interlude. This was provided by a local orchestra made up – mainly – by local school children. I couldn’t help noticing that all the pieces they played were English, including the Beatles and Adele!

After the music, all newcomers were presented with a gift bag containing a Castelnaudary mug, among other items. A very nice touch, I thought.

And the clown? Well, there were people of all ages, including children, and the clown provided entertainment while everyone was waiting for the main event to start. His speciality was making models out of balloons and he made some of the older guests some amazing hats. If only I’d taken some pictures…

The evening finished with a most welcome apéritif and general mingling! Those of us who were new to Castelnaudary had a badge to wear, so that other long term residents would make a point of welcoming us which they certainly did.

I was so pleased to see several people that we knew already, including some of my English conversation students. It really made us feel part of the community, especially now that we are on ‘kissing terms’ when we meet up with them!

In fact, I wrote a previous blog post about kissing -or not – when greeting people in France:

https://fancyingfrance.wordpress.com/2015/07/08/faire-la-bise-to-kiss-or-not-to-kiss/

What do you think?