A truly fabulous television show. Ce soir ou jamais by Frederic Taddei.
The French Election seen from abroad.
Why it was fabulous?
I should perhaps been impressed by my illustrious fellow guests – which included Goncourt Prize Winner Tahar Ben Jelloun and popular Cuban writer Zoé Valdès. But, perhaps betraying my inner Anglo-Saxonne, it was the mise-en-scene rather than the quality of debate which excited me. Entering the studio felt like being granted acess to an exclusive club. White fringes hid a mirror-ball interior decorated by impossibly fashionable and skinny people lounging around drinking champagne out of white or black opaque glasses. They spent much of the debate speaking to each other, but their lack of interest didn’t bother me too much. I was too busy marvelling the fact that they had come to a television show on which I was speaking. I would occasionally zone out of the serious debate to admire someone’s outfit, which only once made my mind race to find something to say when Taddei posed me a question I wasn’t expecting.
My press attache had instructed me to speak up as much as possible.
‘Every time you do your name and your book appears on the screen,’ she told me as we sneaked under the heavy curtain to get my make up done.
I was perhaps a little over-enthusiastic against the largely male guests who were largely bemoaning the lack of intellectualism in the presidential debate.
‘The intellectuals are despairing’ of Segolene, Ben Jelloun bemoaned.
‘So what,’ I cried. ‘This is not the election of the president of the intellectuals. The next president of France will be elected by all of France and many people have really problems which quite naturally they want their next president to fix.’
I thought I’d done reasonably well, holding my own againt the intellectuals. But when I sought support from my fellow Anglo-Saxon Peter Gumbel, author of French Vertigo and a ‘grand reporter’ at Time magazine, it was lacking.
‘Hello, I know your boss,’ I said bouncily after the show had finished, referring to Time magazine’s Paris and Brussels bureau chief. Bad start.
‘He is not really my boss,’ Gumbel said sniffily. ‘I work pretty much independently and am now working on several projects.’
‘Oh really,’ I said. ‘What?’
‘Secret projects,’ he said. ‘Excuse me, I’ve just got to…’ and then he high-tailed it away from me.
Friends assured me later that I didn’t make too much of an idiot of myself.
‘I was just so impressed to see one of my friends on Taddei’s show that I can’t really be objective,’ said one. ‘I was too busy looking at what you were wearing. But you looked natural. You were great!’