Brive Festival 2018


Once my trip to Normandy with the band was over, I hung out with Littlest for two days before we dropped him off at his grandparents’ for the weekend to go to a music festival in Brive-la-Gaillarde. It has the no-nonsense easy-to-remember name of Brive Festival.

Not really being into standing for long amounts of time in large crowds, I haven’t been to a music festival in a while so this was sort of an exciting change of pace. The festival ran Friday to Monday nights but since J wasn’t on vacation we just went for Saturday evening.

We also got to walk around Brive for the afternoon as there was a small Off festival. It was actually a pretty charming town, smaller than Poitiers but with multiple record stores and hand made/art shops.

Our evening of the concert consisted of Eddy de Pretto, Brigitte, and Orelsan. I had come across Eddy de Pretto while watching the Victoires de la Musique a few months ago (let’ be honest I was a little late to the game) and he is way interesting. As the mom of a little boy, I get that his hit Kid is an important and also catchy song, but also it breaks my heart so I’m not sure I’ll ever hum along to it.

So I bought his album when we got home.

I already had Orelsan as a sort of Mother’s Day present from J. I’ve found him to be one of the rare artists who gets more interesting as you listen more (sort of the opposite of every song on the radio that is over played), and his show was wildly satisfying.

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J’s third picture in the series shows Orelsan without sound (since our phones aren’t great recording devices for such heavy bass).

Anyway it was really fun and interesting to get out and see live performances from these people.


I’ve written a couple times about what’s changed for us, for me, since Littlest was born. About tears that come easily when watching movies, about looking at other women and parents differently, about having to look at any baby in any stroller that wanders past (okay maybe I hadn’t gotten to that one yet—it’s an obsession).

It took me a long time to find a good song to dance to with my dad at our wedding—every song about love seemed to be about romantic love, or really cheesy mainstream country-style paternalistic crap. I knew when I heard Louis Armstrong singing “Sunrise, Sunset” that it was the right one.

Now when I listen to songs on the radio, I’m intrigued by the rare ones people write for their children. Christophe Maé (Marcel), the Dixie Chicks (Godspeed), Atmosphere (Little Man), Beyoncé (Blue), and, of course, Renaud (Morgane de toi). There are songs that I want to be about children but that don’t necessarily seem quite to fit.

And then there are the songs that I think I always heard wrong, and am only hearing right for the first time.

Mon enfant nue sur les galets
Le vent dans tes cheveux défaits
Comme un printemps sur mon trajet
Un diamant tombé d’un coffret
Seule la lumière pourrait
Défaire nos repères secrets
Ou mes doigts pris sur tes poignets
Je t’aimais, je t’aime et je t’aimerai
Et quoique tu fasses
L’amour est partout où tu regardes
Dans les moindres recoins de l’espace
Dans les moindres rêves où tu t’attardes
L’amour comme s’il en pleuvait
Nu sur les galets

Le ciel prétend qu’il te connaît
Il est si beau c’est sûrement vrai
Lui qui ne s’approche jamais
Je l’ai vu pris dans tes filets
Le monde a tellement de regrets
Tellement de choses qu’on promet
Une seule pour laquelle je suis fait
Je t’aimais, je t’aime et je t’aimerai
Et quoique tu fasses
L’amour est partout où tu regardes
Dans les moindres recoins de l’espace
Dans les moindres rêves où tu t’attardes
L’amour comme s’il en pleuvait
Nu sur les galets

On s’envolera du même quai
Les yeux dans les mêmes reflets
Pour cette vie et celle d’après
Tu seras mon unique projet
Je m’en irai poser tes portraits
À tous les plafonds de tous les palais
Sur tous les murs que je trouverai
Et juste en dessous, j’écrirai
Que seule la lumière pourrait…
Et mes doigts pris sur tes poignets
Je t’aimais, je t’aime et je t’aimerai

The Past Week(s?)

It’s almost vacation! No kidding, it really is. In fact there are several French regions that are already on vacation, which means they only had six weeks of class between Christmas and February vacation.

Here’s something I’ve come to understand about the “winter” (February) and “spring” (April) school vacations in France: it’s ALL about keeping the ski resorts in business. When you’re wondering why Toussaint vacation isn’t staggered and the rest are, it’s because October isn’t ski season. My forays into skiing have been brief and relatively disastrous, so this “winter” vacation I will be staying home (and grading).

In other news, over Christmastime, we finally received the shipment of our first self-financed CD with my band. So if anyone’s interested in that, just holla (it’s €8) (thanks to Shannon for that euro symbol!). You can also check us out for free on our bandcamp page.

Here’s some fun stuff from the Internets from the past week and a half ish:

45 Country Wedding Songs Even Your Hipster Friends Will Love (Lonestar brought me WAY back to high school dances in Texas)

From La Vie en C-Rose: How to Live and Work in France.

Establishing a Peace Accord between Parents and Their Childless Friends

17 Fois où Monoprix est allé beaucoup trop loin

And I am intrigued by bullet journaling. I’m not sure if I could keep it up, but I am wondering if it could be a good tool for work.

The Past Week(s?)

Not a whole lot has been going on lately because I’ve had my butt on the couch most of the time since knee surgery.

J and I did get out to see Anaïs at our village hall last Sunday. No kidding, the local music association got Anaïs to come (well, they paid her obviously) to come to our little suburban village, in the hall where we got married. Anaïs’s last album didn’t take off, but she gave a great show and you could tell she is really talented.

Yesterday morning J left with the regional youth climbing team to this place and I am a bit jealous though okay with not having to take care of any teenagers 24/7 for the moment. That time will come for me, when I go to Slovenia (yay!) with my students in the spring.

We came across a French television series the other night that we actually liked: Dix pour cent. But I still don’t understand why French TV channels think it’s worth it showing two episodes per week on the same night.

Finally, that professor at my alma mater won the Booker Prize.

So, that’s all, I’ll just go back to sitting on the couch now.

Squamish Valley Music Festival

After the wedding, J and I headed up to Squamish, in British Columbia, the so-called “outdoor recreation capital of the world.” We spent one evening at the Squamish Valley Music Festival, seeing Atmosphere and Eminem in concert.

We actually ended up much closer to the stage than this.

We actually ended up much closer to the stage than this for Atmosphere.

A crummy picture but the only one of the general ambiance.

A crummy picture but the only one of the general ambiance.



The festival takes place in the middle of the mountains, so everywhere you look there’s some beautiful view. It’s a big and growing festival, with about 30,000 people per day. We arrived at 7 pm on Sunday, what with the time it took to get our wristbands at Will Call (bad idea, btw… should have had them delivered to sister-in-law’s house)—but we were just in time for the beginning of Atmosphere’s show, which was, to be honest, the reason I went to the festival.

Once I saw them, I felt like I could probably have gone home, but I would have been wrong. Eminem, whose music I don’t really follow so I just know the hits, was epic. It was the closing show of the festival so there were 30,000 people in the audience. He closed with Lose Yourself. Then we spent three hours driving back to North Vancouver to our hotel (normally a 45-minute drive!).

Here’s an official video about the third day (very short).

Squamish Valley Music Festival – Day 3 Recap! from Squamish Festival on Vimeo.

Music This Year

Last year I was lamenting that one of the downsides of living in France is that the musicians I love don’t really tour. Imagine if I’d stayed in Austin, for example, a city with a true wealth of live music and everyone you’d ever want to hear.


In a combination of taking action and getting lucky, things have been rectified this year pretty well. Here’s the schedule of planned and just passed events:

  • July 10th, 2013: Band of Horses, La Rochelle
  • October 10th: Tété, Poitiers
  • October 28th: Josh Ritter, Manchester
  • February 13th: Les Têtes Raides, Poitiers
  • March 21st: Stromae, Angoulême
  • March 27th: Jeanne Cherhal, Poitiers
  • April 10th: Les Ogres de Barback, Poitiers

A lot of this is thanks to the Blaiserie in Poitiers. We saw Tété last night and it was pretty great. And while I’ll probably not see Ryan Adams, Andrew Bird, or Brandi Carlile anytime soon, I may be able to live with that if I keep getting to see shows like these.

Tété at the CSC Blaiserie, Poitiers, October 10th

Tété at the CSC Blaiserie, Poitiers, October 10th, playing a song in the middle of the audience (no zoom on this picture!)

Road Trip

Okay, well, mini road trip. Very mini. Even mini-er than the trip we took up to Evry last weekend for a friend’s housewarming party.

Yesterday evening, after J got off work, we headed to La Rochelle to see one of my favorite bands, Band of Horses. I’d been lamenting how living in France means not seeing my favorite musicians live, since they tend to only come to Paris and only in the middle of the work week (ahem, Tegan & Sarah).

La Rochelle is only an hour and a half drive from here, so we left yesterday around 6:30.

As we got close to La Rochelle, we managed to find a Subway to sit down and eat. At some point, the following conversation took place (in French):

Me: What do you usually eat when you come to Subway?
J: I’ve never been to a Subway before.

At which point I proceeded to share all my childhood Subway memories with him. (Well, a couple anyway.)

In spite of the heat (the venue wasn’t air conditioned) and a half hour delay for the supporting act to start, Band of Horses put on as usual* an excellent, beautiful show.

Afterward, I thought J would want to get home as soon as possible since he of course had work this morning, but he wanted to go into the town center to go to Ernest’s ice cream, the best ice cream in the region, so well-loved, in fact, that there was no question of it being closed at midnight. La Rochelle mid-summer is certainly a more happening place than Poitiers!

Nothing else exciting is planned till I leave for San Francisco on July 25th (train to Paris July 24th, Formule 1 hotel room 25 euros!), to see my brother and to go to Laurel’s wedding (hurray!). I should really be working on my lesson plans every afternoon but I haven’t gotten much done yet.

*I say as usual but I’ve only seen them one other time, at Austin City Limits Music Festival, in 2008.