Champagne, Foie-Gras and Adrian Spring ‘dans le role du Pilote’ – notes from the Eurostar.

This morning for breakfast I had a whole basket of bread, four flavours of chocolate spread, and coffee in a bowl.
This blog post is a lot about food.

We’re somewhere close to Calais on our way back to London from Reims. Across the aisle Jojo is asleep, Dr Mike is working on complicated-looking geological diagrams on his laptop. Adrian, in the seat in front of me is listening to music on his phone and Nick, beside him, is reading a Superman comic set in Soviet USSR. I’ve just bought a cup of tea but forgot to get any milk in my excitement at getting back to my seat with a good cup of ‘le thé de Petit-Dejeuner’ and now I can’t be bothered to make the journey back down the train to get some, so I am drinking shit tea and it still feels a lot like France.

Seeing as we’re back on the blog, I thought I should tell you (three or four?) readers about our adventure to France. We were lucky enough to be invited, way back in July, to perform at the Comedie in Reims as part of FRAC Champagne-Ardennes Reims Scenes d’Europe programme. It’s our first ever international gig and we were definitely the youngest, greenest kids in town. Whilst the six other European solo artists arrived looking comfortable, well dressed and professional, the five of us tumbled off the train – unslept and slightly smelly – with about a million suitcases, two snow shovels and a papier mache volcano. Good start.

(I do wonder if we will ever develop this ‘chic artist aura’ – if our scruffiness is something to do with age and inexperience or if, as I suspect, we are just a bunch of scruffy bastards and will be for our whole lives. Answers on the back of a postcard.)

Reims is a nice city with a big cathedral and a sort of German market because it’s Christmas-ish and a kiosk in the street where you can drink champagne in case you need a quick hit on your way to the shops. The theatre is big and nice. We stayed in a hotel with a mad old wooden lift and a nice courtyard and a tiny room.

On Saturday we went to the theatre and watched work by Toril Johannessen (Norway), Angelo Plessar (Greece), Fernando Garcia Dory (Spain) and Pamina de Couloun (Switzerland). All of them apart from Toril’s were in French, so we were fairly lost but as far as we can work out the performances were all interesting, well received and got people talking and so we’ve decided we need to get them all gigs in the UK so that we can watch them in English. In the evening we had a meal in the theatre with great bread, wine, cheese, pasta and lentils and I got indigestion from eating too much good food too fast. (It was worth it though.) We then took a trip to see Bruno Roubicek’s ‘Man Digs Pond’, drank mulled wine and offered our presence – because what more could we do – in support of Bruno’s solo 24 pond dig. He had frost on the sweat patches on his jacket and was steaming in the cold; it was oddly wonderful.

Sunday (yesterday) was Volcano day, and as on any Volcano day, we missed everyone else’s performances whilst we were engulfed in complicated technical faffing, the sourcing of poppadoms (we didn’t find any) and spreading of volcanic ash*. You should however look up David Evrard (Belgium) and Anna Ådahl (Sweden) who performed before us yesterday, because they are both really great people who we liked a lot and their work sounds great too. We’ll go see it in the future so you can come with us if you want.

The show went well, with it feeling pretty tight now that we’re more or less used to it having performed at The Point and Shoreditch Town Hall over the past month, but the audience were very quiet, which definitely threw us. It’s hard to know if people hated it, couldn’t follow it, were concentrating too much on reading the surtitles**, or just if the sense of humour is too British. The less people laughed, the more Jojo and I played up the awkward silences, shrugs, slapstick moments in the desperate effort to squeeze out even a giggle, but very little came, and perhaps it was the wrong tactic. Awkward is very Bristish, non? Nonetheless, people were nice about it afterwards and the opinion of the organisers and other artists seemed to be that the audience had enjoyed it, but I guess we’ll never really know for sure. It turns out they don’t know who the Cheeky Girls are in France, so what can you do, really?

It was our last show with Nick who has been teching all our Autumn dates and it is with a heavy heart that we say au revoir to him because he has been an ace and totally ungrumpy person to work with but unfortunately probably can’t do the spring dates (more on those soon…).

So now we’re through the tunnel and will soon be back in London, so I’ll end this long post now with telling you about what we ate last night because it was the poshest meal I’ve ever had in my life. It had four courses.

Champagne (lots), Red Wine (lots), Sparkling Water (not as much as the champagne and the wine).
Cold carrot soup in a shot glass.
Foie-Gras (yep, the one where they force feed the goose. Don’t think about it).
Lovely lovely duck and potatoes.
Mango sorbet with mango juice and a biscuit thing (that I am not doing justice by calling it a biscuit thing).

Tomorrow morning we’ll get up early and go to Heathrow and catch the plane to Mumbai. Yikes. This will do for now.

love, Rachael x


*The theatre had rubber Astroturf grains that we used instead of soil and it was GREAT and not that messy and much easier to clean up.
**expertly translated last minute by Jess Piette – thank you!



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