Tuesday, June 28, 2005

lavender and other clichés

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The BBC team were a delight; the sort of folk with whom we would love to have extended the Viognier apéro into a barbie had we not been desperate to spend an evening together hardly speaking (preferably in front of an episode of the West Wing).

Rebecca, sporting a shirt which said 'CREW' (which she apparently got on an 'angel channeling convention'), bobbed up and down in the vines, her large furry mike crouched amongst the baby grapes waiting to pick up the sound of passing wild boar or nesting hoopooe. Whilst, at the Demoiselles Coiffées, she recorded endless repetitions of the only thing I felt up to playing - a Bach sarabande - Toby the cameraman lay blissed out on the red sand picking up the vibrations through the grains and creating his signature stone-balancing- sculpture. My kind of folk, I thought.

My interpretation was novel: Out of its more normal context (preceded by a prelude to introduce the vibe and tune us in, flanked and balanced by its its four sister baroque dances) and on a hot ponderous morning in a sand pit, the dance expanded as if immersed in water, absorbing the natural songs of the insects and birds like a sponge - allowing them to influence and stretch the rhythmic structure rather than be mere background noise. I'm normally very strict about keeping the pulse in a dance movement but, in this place and at this moment in time, this one movement became a world in itself.

I'm certainly not going to get a record deal out of it but it was real.

Then came the interview:

Nick (the director I think) was the one who discovered our little haven of artistic beavering, and he gave the interview whilst Mark (the producer I think)sweetly snapped headless stills for blogdom, keeping the energy up with boyish enthusiasm when it flagged. Nick asked the simple questions in a good clear voice, winking when I mentioned wildlife (it is supposed to be a wildlife programme, and for some reason we count) and saying encouraging things such as:
"mmm. beautiful answers...."

So here are some of the questions, and the answers that I almost gave:

Q: "What, to you, is the sound of Provence?"

(Well, I think, here we are surrounded by CICADAS going clack clack a squillion to the nanosecond. I think about Bedoin market, about garlic crushers and vegetable shredders that play the 'song' of the cicada, about cicada shaped sausages and soaps and I recoil in aversion to this endless Provençal cliché.....)

A: "Motos"

Q: "When you think about Provence, what smells does it conjure up?"

(I think of the dream ocean of lavender haze just about to flood our olefactory senses on the other side of the mountain. I think about lavender flavoured cicadas, cicada shaped lavender soap, lavender sausage, lavender ice cream.....)

A: "Our septic tank"

....And so it continued; a gigantesque effort not to fall for every cliché in the Provençal book. I think Nick's questions, rather than being simplistic, were actually doubly clever as they made me rummage everywhere for anything but the obvious answer.

They left us with an envelope with a touching hand drawn memoir of our morning, saying: "Take yourselves out for a nice dinner on the BBC"

So Come back soon Mark, Nick, Toby and Rebecca and in return we'll give you barbequed lavender sausage to go with your Viognier, and we'll continue our conversation about African drumming and tadelakt well into the silence of the thyme-scented provençal night.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Glad it was fun! Was pondering which variety of white wine to take to a friend's tonight; thanks for the inspiration!

4:03 PM  
Anonymous roger said...

so - when's it on? I will set my Sky+ box.

9:09 PM  
Blogger ruth said...

apparently some time dec or jan. it is called 'wild provence' unless they reliase the name is a bit of a cliche.

2:50 AM  

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