The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


Your blogger took one of his rare trips out of Paris last weekend. We were at Saint Lô in Normandy for a family occasion – the younger brother’s wedding to a charming young lady from that area. This means that your Paris correspondent, free-spirited bachelor, now has French in-laws; this may seem apt to you but it’s bizarre to us. (They’re tremendously nice people, we must say.)

A postcard of Saint LôAnyway, Saint Lô is a lovely old fortified town. The wedding itself was in the tiny old church of the bride’s village nearby, after a civil ceremony by the mayor in a town hall that was more like a rural GAA clubhouse.

The wedding party then took their coach to nearby Utah Beach for a photoshoot in the blazing sunshine, before heading back to Saint Lô for the reception. As you’d expect in France, the food was fab and the wine impeccable.

A CLUAS Foreign Correspondent is never off duty, though. After the meal, dancing broke out and we kept a keen ear on what was being played. It being a French romance, first song was the theme from ‘Amélie’. We then remember ‘Double Je’ by Christophe Willem, which still sounds marvellous.

But our main ethno-musico-sociological discovery of the evening? French people will disco-dance to ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’.

Over the weekend we had time to stroll around Saint Lô. For your blogger, this simply meant his usual weekend routine: breakfast croissant and pain au chocolat at a café while reading the paper en français. Sunday morning, we watched our regular football programme, ‘Téléfoot’, at another café. (We hadn’t realised how exotic this would all seem to some Irishpeople.)


Most of the Irish guests found Saint Lô’s only Irish bar. However, they were shocked to discover that it only opens two days a week: Tuesday and Friday. (They drowned their sorrows in the town’s Scottish bar, open every day except Sunday.)

Again, your Paris correspondent kept his mind on the job. As usual when in a new town, we searched for a record shop. In Saint Lô this means Planet R, a book and music store on Rue Maréchal Léclerc. We can recommend it highly; not only were they playing the latest dEUS album when we went in but their biggest section is the alternative music one. And most of their stock was under ten euros. We fear they may be closed if we ever go back to Saint Lô.

Melting PopMindful of our Pamplona experience, when not buying a Jonathan Richman album changed our life, we shopped for a Saint Lô musical souvenir. So, what did we buy? Well, the idea was to get an album that we hadn’t seen in the Paris shops. We eventually went for ‘Melting Pop’, a sampler from French indie label Ra & Bo. This is the French dealer of The Frank and Walters, and the sampler features ‘Miles and Miles’ from their 2006 album 'A Renewed Interest In Happiness'.

Now, back in Paris, we’re listening to ‘Melting Pop’ and hoping to find a hidden French gem or two. Well, there are a couple of pleasant Coral-esque songs by the likes of Da Brasilians, Fireball and The Fleets.


As it happens, Da Brasilians are from Saint Lô. Here they are live, with the easy-on-the-ear summertime harmonies of ‘Ocean’. Congratulations to Declan and Véronique:

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Nuggets from our archive

2005Michael Jackson: demon or demonised? Or both?, written by Aidan Curran. Four years on this is still a great read, especially in the light of his recent death. Indeed the day after Michael Jackson died the CLUAS website saw an immediate surge of traffic as thousands visited to read this very article.