The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


Brrrrr, etc. It's bbbbloody ffffreezing here in Paris - certainly no weather to be standing around outside cafés and bars. But that's the predicament of France's smokers, now that the new smoking ban is in force.

Café 203 in Lyon

As your blogger (finger on the French pulse) predicted, there's been a vociferous minority of discontented fumeurs and fumeuses. One Lyon watering-hole, Cafe 203 (right), has declared itself a 'resistant' smoking zone, walls decorated with Warhol-esque screen prints of full ashtrays so as to invoke the defence that it's in the name of culture. But the regulation has been broadly accepted and most die-hard smokers are grudgingly accepting the new regime.

One drawback is that the beautiful streets of Paris are now crowded with smokers, their smoke and their stubbed-out fag-butts. Pushing our way to Gare Saint-Lazare this evening was like pushing our way through a crowded pre-2008 Paris café.

The smoking ban is still the talk of France - that and the Sarko-Carla love story. Potentially capitalising on this cigarette-centric attention is a rather fine 8-piece group from Lille with a name that's topical (for all you multi-linguist Francophile pop fans out there) but terrible.

Roken is DodelijkRoken Is Dodelijk (left) is what they're called. French music fans who've ever smoked in Amsterdam [Careful now! - CLUAS Legal Department] will recognise this as the anti-smoking warning on Dutch cigarette packets. It means 'Smoking Is Deadly' - that's 'deadly' not in the Dublin sense of "Bleedin' rapid, Outspan!" but in the original meaning of 'may induce mortality'. (On a connected linguistic note, hip young French people use 'mortel' to mean 'deadly'/'brilliant' too)

Happily, their songwriting is better than their naming. Their eponymous first
EP came out recently and it's stuffed with brilliant
acoustic indie-folk-pop tunes. You can check them out at the band's very witty (in French) MySpace page (Gerard Houllier and Jacques Brel, amongst others, have something to say about the band). Here's the video for 'Good Enough':

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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.