Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Do Not Go to the Cannes Film Festival

I just returned from a 24 hour visit to the Cannes Film Festival. At Nice Airport, I demanded the smallest car Avis had in their garage and got a people carrier. The girl - she being French and I English - was delighted. Luckily I had bought some cool shades. These may have persuaded the people on La Croisette who stared in horror at my family monobox that I was, in fact, one of them and had merely totalled the Ferrari.
At a horrible bar, I paid 4.50 Euros for a small glass of American Budweiser - the nastiest drink ever offered to a gullible world - and watched the passing Eurotrash freak show in a condition of mounting paranoia and alienation. Where, I wondered, is the US Sixth Fleet when I really need it? Buddies, we don't require you to make beer, just to upset the French.
I had a film ticket and was told I had to go up the red carpet into the main auditorium. But, of course, I could not because I was not wearing a papillon - bow tie. Happily, a lady appeared with a bagful of papillons. I paid 15 Euros. This bought not just the tie but the services of the lady who put it on for me. "Merci," I scowled.
So, suitably dressed, I went up the red carpet. I was greeted by "security" who asked to look at my bag. And that's what they did - looked at it, didn't open it or anything. Then, 90 minutes into this fiasco, I discovered I was in the wrong place. At least six men had told me it was the right place. I was taken to the right place but the right place would not let me in because, in a deeper sense apparent only to the Gallic imagination, I was actually in another wrong place. I had to go outside and stand in a queue. I need not have bought the bow tie, I need not have climbed the red carpet. Sporadic scuffles were breaking out. We were all deranged with anger, having endured nothing but casual and inept brutality. Police and the "security" didn't care, they had the state behind them. France, I concluded yet again, is a communist country in all but name and, after a long career of attending nasty events, I can confidently announce that the Cannes Film Festival is the nastiest of the lot.


  1. O Bryan, did you not meet anyone famous?

  2. Re: today's Sunday Times piece - you make some interesting points but I fear you've fallen for the hype. Think about it, there are millions of myspace accounts - for the social network theroy to have weight, some remarkable way for one or two of these to suddenly be dsicovered would have to have occurred. It hasn't, the breakthrough acts have my space success AFTER the traditional publsihing deals and PR spend. Social networking is a new channel, not a new paradigm. I cite the most recent artcile I've seen on this here.


  3. Falling for hype is easy but I try not to. In this case, nobody hyped me at all. In addition, there has been no marketing and PR spend on Jack Penate. I think you are hung up on theory.

  4. John Dodds - you're right.

    Bryan A writes: "Perhaps you have been aware that the Arctic Monkeys and now Lily Allen have emerged into stardom via reputations constructed online."

    Hmm... For a far better-informed piece (ie the journalist spoke to people other than his mate's son, and didn't have to plug his boss's sister company either) about fledgling bands and the net, see this Guardian piece from last week.

  5. My apologies for reacting belatedly, I was unaware that you had commented on my post.

    To clarify I was not commenting about Jack Penate but Arctic Monkeys, Lily Allen and Sandi Thom all of whom were claimed to be products of the social network sites but were, in fact, marketed as such. Variously, they had publishing deals in place or the financial clout to send a million emails in Sandi Thom's case.

    I agree with you that the internet has changed the business model - but would argue that it has transferred the source of real revenue for an artist away from record sales and toward the live arena.

    I am by the way sadly no longre in my youth and having worked in the music and other entertainment industries in the past, my cynicism is well developed. The marketing ploy of the poor battling independent musician breaking through despite the industry has been foisted on the public since the beginning of the industry. This is happening in the case of myspace etc and that's fine by me, but I think there are just so many myspace sites that it is disingenuous to think that acts will just break out from the scrum without some market manipulation. I wish it were true but I just don't think it is and increasingly evidence of the truth of these breakthrough acts is emerging.

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