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Lunch at Rado Plage

January 30, 2013

Lunch on the beach in Cannes in January is one of those sublime experiences that shaped my eventual  love affair with the south of France. Flying from drizzly and depressing England to palm tree luncheon heaven on the beach at Cannes pictured today was one of the single most motivating  episodes in my life.  The other was to be employed in the music industry, but when that failed I realised that the only way forward was to employ myself.

MIDEM is one of the foremost gatherings for the music industry and so it was unsurprising to meet an old pal who has had an equally interesting career in the music industry as I. We met Pete Charlcraft,  the president of Notting Hill Music, at Rado Plage to discuss matters of great import to the industry or rather to moan about the destruction of the business as we knew it. There was also the small matter of discussing the benefits of Currencies Direct.

Cannes beach

Rado Plage, Cannes

Given our respective ages it was inevitable that the lunch would revolve around reminiscences, and so it did. Pete told us of his first few days working in music as the tea boy gofer at Bronze Records in the 70’s. During his first week in the office he encountered the drummer of Uriah Heep, a rock group of some repute signed to the label. He asked Pete if he could go and get a piece of carpet for him as they were rehearsing next door at The Roundhouse. Drummers often have trouble on stage with their drum kits moving about on shiny surfaces and often set up their kits on pieces of carpet to stop any movement. Pete duly set off to the nearest carpet shop about 2 miles away and bought a roll of carpet and dragged it back to the office. When he arrived back the drummer exclaimed that he only wanted a small piece, not enough to re carpet his lounge.

Unforecast and unwelcome cloud then moved in to obscure the sun and, it being January, we were forced under cover for coffee. Thus there was no point in hanging around for the sunset so we had the cheese packed into modern day doggie bags (tupperware containers) ready as an offering for the evening’s entertainment and headed back to Valbonne for a siesta. Given the exhausting nature of the past few days and the commencement of my 6th decade in this earth, the nap very nearly became an early bed time retirement, but at the last-minute I was persuaded to vacate my bed and arise like a Phoenix to go with Peachy Butterfield, the lovely Suzanne and that Nice Lady Decorator to dinner with Anthony “Dock Of The” Bay and his exquisite wife Amanda.

Anthony is an impossible old smoothie, a former diplomat and “intelligence officer who left because he was not sufficiently intelligent” with origins in old pre Shah Persia.  He is somewhere between a very polite James Bond and a Latin scholar, who could look perfectly at home in a cravat. Indeed once I thought I caught him wearing one but he told me, rather sniffily, that it was in fact a silk scarf. Beautifully spoken and immaculate in whatever he wears (even in an Indian silk house coat that I was spotted him wearing at the Vignale tennis club) he exudes old school class. This theme continued with his casual introduction of a 1990 Grand Cru St Emilion at dinner, eschewed by Peachy on the grounds that it might interfere with his enjoyment of his favourite ‘card Bordeaux”, so-called because it is stored in cardboard boxed rather than bottles. It has a double use in removing stubborn pieces of chewing gum and bird droppings from outside surfaces and is handy for the girls when the run out of nail varnish remover.

Chris France

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 30, 2013 9:51 am

    “Given the exhausting nature of the past few days and the commencement of my 6th decade in this earth…”

    Sorry, but if you are in your sixties, as I suspect you are, you’re in your 7th decade, believe it or not !!

    “Oh ! Look Mum ! There’s an OLD person…”


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