Up All Night in Paris
You say Paris, France, I call it Little Britain upon Seine. To suggest that France is a foreign country where they speak a different language is to misunderstand the British invasion of the last ten years which has seen us snap up the best of France and it's culture, or at least put a firm down payment on all things Parisian.
You only have to listen to the number of calls or read the amount of emails and text messages that we get from listeners in France to realize that we had to do a programme from Paris. After all we've been to Hay on Wye and the Malvern Hills we've broadcast programmes from Greater Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh. With Paris now just a two hour train ride away from the capital, Paris is geographically closer to us than some far outer regions of the British Isles. Also, this was the week in which France succeeded in dragging itself out of recession whilst we still languish in that negative economic situation. We had to come here to find out how they did it. We spoke to the economist, the sociologist and the poet. Only Nicolas Sarkozy could have added anything to that, but Gordon Brown has probably got first dibs on the information the President of the Republic has got to share on how to get yourself out of a tight spot.
On a personal note I have often wondered what was so romantic about a gap year in the merde. What is so attractive about Paris that Brits would choose to live there over Birmingham? Take my daughter for instance, just ten years old, born and brought up in the People's Republic of Tottenham, spent the last three months of her junior school life in the 10th arronidissment just a stone's throw away from the Eurostar terminal at the Gare Du Nord. This very same London girl who was too cool for the cats in the French capital has virtually forgotten about the family she left behind in London N17. Now she's talking about having a flat in London and one in Paris when she's seventeen.
Well, as you can imagine, I took the next possible train from St Pancras to bring her home before we needed to re-mortgage our house to keep her there. Joking aside though, she represents to future of British relations with our French cousins. For her generation there will be no borders, few cultural differences and, if the teaching of French in British schools is taken seriously, no language barrier.
I've spoken to so many ex-pats over the weekend I've spent in Paris and I think I'm starting to get it. We need to eat like the French do - better. We need to chill out like they do. They need to learn to make love like we do. And they need to stop making out that they make love better than we do. But I wouldn't take my word for it if I were you. The ex-pats who contributed to Up All Night's weekend in Paris say it much better, more passionately and more informatively. Ooh-la-la.
Dotun Adebayo presents Up All Night at the weekend.