If you’re cool

…And happened to be anywhere near the French Alps this weekend, then you almost certainly were at the Musilac festival in Aix-les bains.

Being a single mum of two, and research project manager is almost certainly not cool by a long shot, but I was there anyway, as a sort of under-cover agent for the un-cool, having the best fun in a long -actually make that very long- time.

Now, for my observations of the cool crowds:

  • If you are cool and French, you wear ironic t-shirts, Lafuma‘s technical gear (a reminder that you are in serious mountain-land), or OxBow.
  • You smoke rather a lot more than you drink.
  • If you are a girl, you wear oversized Jackie O-type sunglasses and long hair tied in an artistically messy bun. Shorts teamed with ankle-high boots or Converse sneakers are popular, and when it gets a bit chilly, you add a delicate, preferably loose and see-through cardigan on top.
  • If you are British, you stagger around with glazed eyes and speak very loudly because you drink a lot more than you smoke. French people study you curiously for a few seconds before choosing to ignore you.

My highlights included:

  • Not having my children for a whole weekend. I love them dearly, but this is so rare, it felt as though I had been starved of freedom for months.
  • The magical setting for the festival: Crystal clear lake, lawns you can sprawl on, sun over the rounded green mounts of Savoie.
  • The friendly, family atmosphere and great organisation. The ear-plugs you get handed as you walk in!
  • Dancing like a complete maniac.
  • Franz Ferdinand, who ignited the crowd, and just took me off the ground. The best act by miles.
  • Lenny Krawitz, who despite getting all jazzy and losing the crowd at times, rocked in a major way. Here’s a snippet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEkWj6DKEfs
  • Sorry about the crappy sound (and I did not film this), but can you hear that big bass-line? Now imagine it travelling through you from the ground up… Ooh yeah. What’s this guy’s story, though? He does seem to have issues with American women…
  • Discovering great new bands, including Olivier Depardon, Fanfarlo, Trombone Shorty, or Metronomy
  • Having a melted raclette and Savoie ham sandwich at half past midnight – totally does it for the munchies.


  • Ben Howard being de-programmed from the festival. I had bought my ticket almost on his name alone, and nearly cried.
  • Orelsan who comes across as a cynical, faintly sexist, faintly stupid young rapper. Actually, writing this sentence made me wonder whether it was just one long pleonasm, or whether I had officially become old and reactionary.
  •  Getting my i-phone wet, and not being able to open the darn thing to let it dry.
  • Needing to wee just before Franz Ferdinand’s set, and missing almost half of it.
  • The large proportion of French people who don’t seem to dance very much. Maybe they’re just too cool to dance?

Anyway, today, I woke up at midday and had a breakfast of cold churros and squashed left-overs crisps. Now, if that isn’t rock’n roll, I don’t know what is.


12 thoughts on “If you’re cool

    • Thanks Judith, this little escapade was just what the doctor ordered after a few weeks of stress and overwork ;). Are you having fun down your end? x

  1. I Love your observations: “•If you are a girl, you wear oversized Jackie O-type sunglasses”
    I better buy some before I travel to the Alps!!!
    Glad you’re getting out, girlfriend! Xxx

    • Absolutely, you must get these shades if you want to fit in in cool French Alpish land ! Don’t forget to warn me before you come so we can parade our cool self together… 😉 xx

    • I’m almost definitely not cool Pat 🙂
      But a wild and exciting weekend I had. Must do this more often (escape the shackles of motherhood and go mad). Now I’m off to catch up with you! xx

    • It was fabulous, and the phone has finally recovered (after a few days of madness where it kept randomly ringing people in my address book and talking – spooky & embarrassing) 😉

  2. Well I think you’re ultra cool and trendy!
    Not many people can juggle a career, two children AND have time for friends and music festivals. It shows strength, independence and that you’re able to manage under any circumstance… what’s not cool about that?!

    Fun isn’t just for the young.. and you’re hardly old! I would save up and treat myself to whatever the French bourgeoisie are wearing.
    Hope you’re doing well. Tc x
    PS Shame about needing to wee though! lol (except,the amount I go, I would have missed the whole set 🙂

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