The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011

So all of France is on holiday (and we’re not exaggerating: there really are loads of French shops and businesses that close for three weeks every August) and Parisians have deserted the city. Families are in holiday camps, the bobos are backpacking round Asia and South America… and the privileged (both old-money and nouveau riche) are in the south of France. More accurately, they’re just off it, on their Nightclubbing on the Cote d'Azuryachts.
But even the rich need to dance. And they’re dancing to the same floor-fillers that you lurch and stagger along to at your local peasant disco or French-themed club night. Except that on the French Riviera the superstar DJs themselves are there to spin their own chart hits. In July and August the Cote d’Azur becomes the most star-studded and exclusive disco strip in the world.
The summer season of the Palais Club Discotheque in Cannes, for example, is hosting every well-known mixmeister and larging-it-upper you can think of – including international stars like David Morales, Benny Benassi, Erick Morillo, Eric Prydz and Pete Tong. We were intrigued to see Fedde Le Grand on the bill; after the Palais Club in Cannes in July he played last Thursday night (10 August) at a club called Fabric in that other exotic dancefloor capital, Tralee Co. Kerry.
Laurent GarnierHowever, the Palais Club’s programme illustrates France’s current supremacy in the superstar-DJ arena. There’s Laurent Garnier, arguably the originator of the current Parisian dancefloor scene. In our local library in France there’s a book by Garnier on how he got involved in DJ-ing, recounting his youthful ‘80s experiences in the Hacienda in Manchester, where his American house sets were a vital early influence on both the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays. Your indie-kid blogger knows that he needs to broaden his musical experiences a good deal (and Bob Sinclarstart reading more books in French), so it’s on our to-read list for la rentrée.
Another Frenchman on the club’s line-up is Bob Sinclar (note the spelling: not ‘Sinclair’ with an ‘i’), pseudonym of a Paris DJ called Chris The French Kiss, which we suspect may not be his real name either*. Bob has been enjoying great chart and airplay success over the last couple of years with some of the most irritating singles ever released, usually accompanied by videos starring smug stage-school brats gurning and back-flipping like circus chipmunks. David GuettaHis 2006 hit ‘Love Generation’ is particularly inescapable in France because it’s the theme music (la generique, as they say in French) of TV talent show ‘Star Academy’.
David Guetta (left) is also representing the home team – seemingly forever trading as ‘F*** Me I’m Famous’. And another superstar floorfiller who we hadn’t realised was French is Martin Solveig (below). His Scandinavian-sounding surname is actually just his nom de disco - his real name is Martin Picandet and he’s fromMartin Solveig Paris. You’ve probably seen Solveig’s irritating videos, where he smirks self-contentedly while starring in the same ‘I’m not the star and this is a witty video parody’ format repeatedly.
If you hate their music, then their politics are not going to make you change your mind about them - Guetta and Solveig are supporters of conservative French president Nicolas Sarkozy. During the Putin-drinking-buddy/Bush-friend/Ghadafi-supplier’s recent election campaign both DJs performed at fundraising shindigs for Sarko’s UMP party. Given their support for the champion of France’s right-voting elite class, it’s little wonder that Guetta and Solveig are spending their summer as Punch-and-Judy-show for the Riviera jet-set.
*It’s Christophe Le Friant

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Nuggets from our archive

2003 - Witnness 2003, a comprehensive review by Brian Kelly of the 2 days of what transpired to be the last ever Witnness festival (in 2004 it was rebranded as Oxegen when Heineken stepped into the sponsor shoes).