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Thursday, 29 December 2011

Which (French) celebs do the French find annoying?

The results of poll published in France this week reveal just which French celebrities are found to be the most annoying.

Oh yes, how the French seem to love their polls.

Er perhaps scrub that - the media seems to love reporting on the latest survey carried out among the French on its (the media's) behalf.

Well it fills airtime, helps keep a slow-moving news day rolling along and plays nicely into the game of speculation - especially when it comes to politics.

Of course not all polls are political, although with both presidential and parliamentary elections slated for 2012 they'll probably be trotted out at an alarmingly frequent rate with BVA, CSA, Ipsos, Opinionway, TNS Sofres and the like going into overdrive.

But just to round off the year that's coming to a close, the weekly magazine VSD commissioned Harris to canvass a representative sample (well that's what they always say, isn't it?) to come up with a list of the "Most annoying French celebrities or personalities " in several categories.

Poor old Ségolène Royal topped the list as far as the most annoying politicians were concerned.

Obviously the tears and emotion she showed after finishing a distant fourth in the first round of the Socialist party primaries didn't touch the hearts of many (apart from mine).

Dominique Strauss-Kahn (enough said) and the Greens' presidential candidate Eva Joly, rounded out the top three.

Among TV personalities, Benjamin Castaldi was far and away the "winner" as far as the poll was concerned. Proof maybe that years of presenting trashy TV reality shows has more than overshadowed any appeal he might have had among the French for being the grandson of the late, great actress Simone Signoret.

In Arts, it was the philosopher Bernard-Henry Lévy who, proving perhaps that he had made one too many declarations about how he had helped bring democracy to Libya, finished just ahead (or should that be behind) singer/actor Joey Starr.

If nothing else though BHL has, in the course of 2011, given the excellent satirical Les Guignols de l'info on Canal+ more than enough material.

And the sporting pain in the derrière according to VSD, was Bayern München's French international, Franck Ribéry.

Well that's what those polled apparently thought.

What about you though?

If you had been asked to choose someone in each of the four categories - politics, TV, arts and sport - who would you have plumped for, and why?

How about the following?

Politics: Jean-François Copé, the leader of the ruling centre-right party Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (Union for a Popular Movement, UMP).

Copé is of course very media savvy, but he just seems to be on the box a little too often and appears to enjoy making life hard for the admittedly less charismatic but somehow more dependable prime minister François Fillon.

Maybe Copé should concentrate more on the here and now and less on his ambitions for 2017.

Sport: Well ordinarily there would be one man who stands out head and shoulders as truly annoying - Raymond Domenech.

Thankfully though he seems to have slipped off the radar in recent months so the choice would have to be between sports journalist Nelson Monfort and the country's fastest sprinter, Christophe Lemaitre.

Monfort undoubtedly has linguistic skills but his habit of resorting to almost-simultaneous translation when interviewing breathless sportsmen and women immediately after an event is, to say the least, irritating.

There must surely be many a French TV viewer willing him to keep quiet.

And that's perhaps advice Lemaitre should heed as he proves the point that few sportsmen and women from whatever field, have anything truly original or inspiring to say.

Great athlete - definitely. Great orator - definitely...NOT.

As far as TV presenters go, Laurent Ruquier finds himself and his own humour just too hilarious. On the radio he's great - most of the time. But on telly...well, he sniggers and that's just plain unattractive.

Finally Arts - and proving that the term can be used in its very loosest term, it's time to "keep it in the family" so to speak, with the nod going to BHL's other half "actress/singer/director/model/muse (her description)" and generally all round famous for being famous celebrity, Arielle Dombasle.

Her latest album "Diva Latina" was proof yet again that as a singer she simply doesn't cut the mustard - far from it.

Dombasle's rendition of Jeanette's original "Porque te vas" testament to the fact that some people shouldn't be allowed within 500 kilometres of a recording studio.

Over to you.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Anne Sinclair named France's Woman of the Year - really?

A poll carried out for Terrafemina, an online women's magazine, has named Anne Sinclair as France's Woman of the Year.

Sinclair was a "symbol of courage and tenacity in face of the legal difficulties of her husband," the magazine said in announcing the results of the poll carried out on its behalf by CSA (Conseils-Sondages-Analyses).

No kidding.

It would be hard for anyone tuned in to the news in the weeks following the arrest of her husband, former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of course, not to have been impressed by her stoicism (and money) as she "stood by her man".

But French Woman of the Year?

Certainly not as far as the Green's presidential candidate Eva Joly is concerned.

"I find it sad," Joly said in an interview on news channel i>Télé.

"It reflects a view of life and gender relations that's very, very old-fashioned," she continued.

"I find it quite shocking, unbelievable even, that her popularity can be greater than that of a prominent politician such as Christine Lagarde," she added.

Lagarde, France's former finance minister and DSK's successor at the IMF came second in the poll.

Deserved or just too much Tammy Wynette about the outcome? What do you think?

The poll was conducted by telephone on December 6/7.

A representative sample of 1,005 people aged 18 and over were asked to choose from a list of 10 names, two women they considered had made the biggest impact in 2011.

Here, in a screenshot from the survey, are the overall results.

screenshot from PDF file from CSA survey

You can download the full report in PDF format from the CSA website.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

David Beckham for PSG?

It's a done deal as far as the national daily Aujourd'hui en France - Le Parisien and the sports daily L'Equipe are concerned.

David Beckham (from Wikipedia)

British footballer David Beckham is set to sign for one of France's top sides, Paris Saint-Germain.

The cost to lure the 36-year-old to the French capital? €800,000 a month according to Le Parisien which will, not surprisingly, make him the country's best-paid player.

Since it bought a controlling interest in PSG earlier this year, the Qatar Investment Authority has been pouring money into the club, appointing former Brazilian international Leonardo as director of football and recruiting players including Argentine Javier Pastore for a reported €39.8 million.

Yes the club has money - lots of it. And the owners seem determined to make it a European footballing powerhouse - in least in terms of spending.

Beckham of course would appear to be the perfect marketing match; he has global recognition and even though he might be "getting on a bit" in terms of the lifespan of a Beautiful Game player, the wisdom and technique to share with the rest of the team.

And there's no forgetting that he comes as part of a package in the form of the glamourous jet-set couple lifestyle he and his wife Victoria lead.

That should keep media interest just as high as it already has been over the past couple of months with reports that they have been consulting estate agents for a suitable pad and private schools for their children.

What price sport - when you can pay for it?

Thursday, 15 December 2011

SHOUT for Christmas - well this little girl sure did

We all have them don't we? Those embarrassing films or photos stashed away somewhere, kept hidden out of sight.

They were made or taken by our parents, proud of us and wanting to share their pleasure with the world.

Nativity angel (screenshot from YouTube video)

Well here's one moment captured on film from several years ago but definitely timeless, and thanks to YouTube, available for everyone and anyone to see.

It's a nativity scene, the sort played out year after year throughout Britain.

But this one, although it starts off innocently enough with the children filing in dressed as Mary, Joseph, shepherds and angels, is one that surely none who were present could ever forget.

All the children break into song...except from 51 seconds and until the end, there's one particular little angel who...well how to put this politely? Well, she rather steals the show.

Enjoy - and try not to break into a massive grin.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Sing-a-long a sailor - HMS Ocean crew get into the festive spirit

Go on, put yourself in the holiday season mood

You know how some Brits have something of a reputation for and not afraid to have a laugh at their own expense?

Well here's something that surely backs up the that often-held view.

(screenshot for HMS Ocean video)

It's lip dubbing - you know the combination of lip syncing and audio dubbing to make a music video - British style.

More specifically it's the crew of HMS Ocean who put together a video to celebrate their anticipated return to the UK on December 9 - just in time for Christmas.

The men and women aboard the ship were only due to be away for seven weeks when they went on a deployment exercise with other nations but that turned into seven months away from loved ones as they "were diverted to Libya and further operations."

Anyway here they all are in a lip-dubbed video of US singer Mariah Carey's version of "All I want for Christmas is you"; four minutes of fun and feel-good sing-a-long.

It has apparently already been featured on US breakfast time TV and a thrilled Carey tweeted the video and thanked the Royal Navy

And Carey's reaction? Well she's thrilled and said as much in a Tweet she sent to the Royal Navy.

"This is the best thing I've ever seen," she wrote. "You guys just made my day! Happy Happy Christmas!!! x0x0 to the troops."

Now here's a challenge. Can any of you - even the most curmudgeonly - not to at least raise a smile at some point during this video.


Go on. you know you want to...join in.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Contrex mineral water - stripper commercial

Sometimes a commercial just makes you sit up and pay attention, brings a smile to your face and stops you from popping off to do something else when the advertising break kicks in.

And occasionally it might just be a good deal more entertaining than the actual programme you were watching in the first place.

Such is surely the case of one spot currently running on French TV for the Contrex brand of mineral water.

It's a perfect fit between product and message with humour, entertainment and a great soundtrack - the music from "Comment te dire adieu", a song made famous in the 1960s by French singer Françoise Hardy.

It features women (and some men) "discovering" the joys of sport with them pedalling exercise bikes frantically and in the process lighting up a giant neon light male stripper.

The more they pedal the more he reveals until finally he's in the all together with just a board to cover his unmentionables, a board congratulating everyone for just having used 2,000 calories.

Some commercials are just inspired!

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