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.