My current status as a student, and teacher of students, has recently required me to make a bit of an effort in the hipster department. I am no hipster, and I usually wear regular trousers, but having some grasp of what’s hip in France is becoming more important as I try to find ways to connect with those around me.
A knowledge of contemporary music, of course, is a basic requirement. However, since our arrival in France I have rarely paid more than scant regard to ‘the charts’ or which performers are responsible for which songs.
Working from home, as I often do, I was recently struck by the fact that my radio station of choice had the habit of playing tracks from the 1980s, only mixing the occasional newbie – provided it couldn’t be classed as a ‘club’ track. Indeed both TOP and RFM have a fetish for playing Phil Collins and U2 in preference to current releases.
The net impression, if you listen to one of the stations all the time, is that of living in a time warp. I’m all for the odd bit of nostalgia, but there is a station to tune in to if that’s what you’re after (Nostalgie). Now, I’m so over-exposed to U2 and Phil, that I immediately switch stations whenever they’re played… despite the fact that I used to like them.
30 year old tracks filling the airwaves is a nonsense. I can’t imagine anyone in the 1980s spent much of their time listening to 50s music. The only possible explanation is that the elocution of Bono et al. is what French listeners appreciate – the clearer the English – the more likely they are to be able to sing along.
Anyway, now, even though there is indeed a lot of modern dross pumped out over the airwaves, I listen to NRJ – the only station that has the guts to have a playlist that is exclusively present-day. The net result is that my who’s-who of pop has rapidly improved and I can even name a few French pop artists as well as the odd title of a song. Whether I like them or not is neither here nor there – this is all about making a cultural connection.
The act of the moment seems to be a David Beckham look-a-like who calls himself M-Pokora. He’s nothing special, though I have to admit to rather liking “On est là”.
He is not to be confused with ‘M’ of course – who is an electro-rocker and said to be one of the best Live French acts going. Very few of his tracks though have hit the top ten. My favourite though is “Le complex de Cornflakes” which you’ll find on the “Je dis aime” album.
The question is – what does the M stand for?