Experimental Scandinavian modern jazz isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. It turns out it’s not mine. That’s something I learned at the Tourcoing jazz festival last weekend.
I wanted to leave within 30 seconds of the start of the performance. By that time, the cow bells and wailing were already underway.
But I was brought up well, so I sat there politely – unlike the woman next to me, who promptly put her fingers in her ears and kept them there for the next hour.
I hope Swedish ‘jazz poet’ Linda Olah didn’t notice.
It was all very different to the performance we went to last year. Then, world-renowned jazz singer China Moses kept us entertained for a couple of hours in a Spiegel tent set up in the middle of the town square.
Linda had to make do with a much smaller venue in a former hospice, home to the Tourcoing Jazz Club. Hats off to Tourcoing for even having a jazz club – it’s an unlikely place for it.
Tourcoing is a town in its own right but it’s also part of ‘greater Lille’, the Lille métropole.
If you don’t look very closely, it looks like an average northern French town. There’s a big church in the central square, there are banks and high-street stores, and a market 3 days a week.
But Tourcoing is where President Emmanuel Macron chose to launch his project earlier this year to revitalise France’s down-at-heel suburbs. Say no more.
“Tourcoing is where President Macron chose to launch his project to revitalise France’s down-at-heel suburbs. Say no more”
Perhaps surprisingly, Damon’s employer – a large international brand – is based there. The appeal for them is that the town authorities are extremely accommodating with them.
After all, they bring in 600+ people into the town each day – people who then go and spend part of their salaries in local shops and restaurants.
When Damon was offered a job there, we decided not to live near to his office. Instead, he travels 30 minutes each way on the metro 5 days a week and I walk to the Eurostar station once a week.
That means we get all the benefits of living right in the heart of Lille. No offence, Linda, but the lure of experimental Scandinavian modern jazz isn’t strong enough to tempt us away.