Thursday 14 July 2011

"Love is my Religion"

When I tell people that I live near the French town Montauban they don’t usually say – “Ah, that’s the town with all the Rastafarians.”

In fact, if you do a quick internet google search thingy with the words - “How many Rastafarians in Montauban” - you won’t ….

Well, hang on…. Let me do exactly that instead of making this up….

Yeah, you will get a total of zero results in the search. *

Which is clearly a misrepresentation of the truth, because yesterday I sat next to one.

Beard and coloured bobble hat stuffed with dreadlocks and all!

AND, I was in Montauban.

I looked around and there was another!

Google is stupid (see here).

We spoke a little, nodded our heads in recognition of kindrid spirit and he told me where to buy an umbrella.

The LAST time I attended the Montauban Jazz Festival was on the 6th July 2004 – and it pissed down.

ALL evening.

Cold, grey rain.

In fact it was THE last concert EVER– one too many disappointments on the rocky road of rock and roll.

Oh sure, there were some great concerts and maybe one day I’ll get round to writing about them but that evening, standing in drips, shivering, listening to a grumbling Bob Dylan through the mist, I suddenly had one of those Road to Damascus moments
– What’s the Bloody Point, and I went home before he had even finished.

And I’m a fan.

Since then I haven’t bothered.

So to find myself sitting on a yellow plastic chair in the middle of a park in Montauban, 7 years later was a surprise.

How did I get here?

I didn’t ask my neighbour this of course – I settled for a; “Did you get that umberella here?”

He had.

I got one.

I got two!

The day had begun in balmy blue sweltering sunshine stuff – but somewhere around lunchtime it started to get muggy, heavy, dangerously stormy.

By the time I was sat in my yellow plastic chair things looked like they were going to turn ugly.

Of course – I was dressed for a cliché south of France summer’s evening – short trousers, shirt sleeves - no jumper, coat, hood, scarf, gloves; all of which I clearly needed.

But I had two umbrellas so the coal black clouds massing over the Festival’s wine bar could go to hell.

I wished that the wine bar was doing hot chocolate though.

The rain started one song into the support act. The umbrellas sprouted like mushrooms, I could see nothing of the stage.

Of course my family – apparently we were there together – were all hemmed in at the front of the stage, leaping, shouting, having a great time.

I had chosen the plastic chair in row F – yellow being my favourite colour.

And I hate being at the front.

The support act was good – they ignored the rain ……. and the rain ignored them.

And then became intermittent.

Then stopped.

And waited.


“Shall I ruin the evening or not?”

The best bit of a concert, I think, is when the excitement starts to build, the stage hands start to scurry, the session musician takes his place and the light of the day finally gives into the stage light.

And then someone walks on, taps the microphone, and everyone hushes.

"Welcome to the Montauban Jazz Festival where we have the great honour in welcoming to our stage…"

Mr Ziggy Marley.

I’d like to be able to say he made the stars come out but he didn’t.

But the rain backed down.


*P.s. now that i have written this there are two!

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