17/10/2001
 

:claudia's column:

tourism chic

 

   
       
It is your right, as fans, to know where I have been for the past few months. It cannot be denied it was the South of France that harboured me for most of the summer. When choosing one's destination for the 'grandes vacances' there are so many considerations to be taken into account. This year for some reason I promised to spend some time with Joan Collins and Roger Moore, who will not budge from the French Riviera in season (In the depths of winter it is too easy to agree to anyone's summer holiday suggestions.)    
       
To maintain some autonomy though I chose to stay on board a pleasure boat qui s'appelle "Sedna". It was easy then to sail from Cap Ferrat to Monaco or to Villefranche Bay or around the islands in Cannes, any time night or day without too much interruption. Somehow, though, all along the Cote d'Azur they seem to have been expecting Gamine's arrival because no sooner had I dropped anchor, then they would drag out another firework display, each one louder and longer than the last, as if they were expecting me to pop on a frock and start playing "Bonjour Tristesse". Well I just couldn't, if you were a member of Gamine you would understand that it is impossible to survive without a few months off each season.    
       

So when it all became too much I took myself off to the French countryside for a week or so, to Gamine's new retreat, where all that can be heard is the river running by. There I would pick flowers and berries, sighing all day long, rejuvenating my lungs. I tried not to go near the green room where the piano is because lately we have been writing so many wonderful songs that we are afraid of burning ourselves out, so I was actively trying not to do anything. I did however receive a new birthday song which no doubt our fans will be singing along to shortly.

   

For a birthday treat I was taken to the Italian Riviera, which was fascinating. There I discovered "tourism chic". How wonderful Rome is if you travel every where by horse and cart, accept every rose offered to you, visiting ancient sites with armfuls of them, have your picture taken with Italian grandmothers and policemen and use the Fontana di Trevi to shower. I wouldn't be seen anywhere without a map of the city, a Polaroid camera or parasol. Discreet tourism is passé, besides it doesn't exist, tourism is a truism not a taboo, it should be embraced, it is mean not to!!

   

With the rediscovery of tourism chic I treated my Italian trip as research, also nobody has more style then the Italian over sixties. In the Battista in Pisa I found the perfect venue for Gamine's debut Italian tour. We will have an all night barefoot ball in the Campo in Siena and do an intimate gig in Pompeii's most splendid amphitheatre. Italy is utterly inspirational and will be a primary aesthetic resource in this season of Gamine creations. Eventually I returned to England grey and stern (the both of us), but coming home to my wonderful, discerning fans makes it all worthwhile. It was also good to see my puppy again who has grown shockingly large, but I will tell you all about that next time.