© 2001 MTV Network Europe DR
by Georgina Oliver
Introducing the planet's zippiest expats
Hey, France's cross-Channel/transatlantic links go back a long way. Decades before Eurostar or Concorde's heyday, the French Line's legendary luxury liners were a gateway to the American dream. While many will recall Sealink's creaky ferryboats that shipped continent-struck often lovesick Brits back and forth, till they finally decided not to come back...
Just now, the zippiest expat on the planet has to be MTV Europe's Frenchie "VJ" Frédérique Bedos. This self-made cosmo girl lives in London where she broadcasts a regular francophone slot dubbed "French Link." On the menu, "export quality" sounds "made in France." Daft Punk, Mirwais, Mc Solaar... Why self-made? Because she graduated from high school at 15, left her native Normandy to study egyptology at the Ecole du Louvre a childhood dream and never looked back. Why cosmo? Parce que by age 23 she'd crossed the Atlantic: "I was finishing my studies in Paris, lecturing to pay my way. Suddenly, it dawned on me that I was quite good at public speaking. So I thought, what about radio? One day, I got talking to someone in a restaurant... As it happened, the boss of FADTV (Fashion and Design Television). At the end of our conversation, he said, 'You're exactly the reporter I need. Come to New York.'"
Frédérique never skips an opportunity. Back from the States a couple of years later, a similar encounter with MTV big wheel Brent Hansen propelled "Fred" to her present platform. From April 17 to 22, "French Link" will be at the Printemps de Bourges, introducing rap, R&B and "French Touch" acts, with the Bedos touch. Also this month, she emcees a prime time '70s special on France 2, talking to the Bee Gees and politician Simone Weil about "the way they were."
Sounds unstoppable... "Perhaps, but I've no career plan. Life has so much more imagination than us." Is she related to French comic Guy Bedos? No, she's a living remix. Part Haitian... "That's what's great about American television. It's 'come as you are'... In France when you start out, it's more like 'oh, you're not Bedos' daughter. Well goodbye, then.'"
Her hero? Antoine de Caunes whose wacky, French-accented TV shows notably "Eurotrash," co-presented with Jean Paul Gaultier have made him a household name in the UK.
A former Canal+ presenter, de Caunes is currently in the limelight as the director of "Les Morsures de l'aube," a seamy-side-of-nighlife movie, co-starring Guillaume ("The Beach") Canet, Asia ("Scarlet Diva") Argento and Gérard Lanvin.
The Mode TV
Everything interconnects. Designer Barbara Bui's ultra-cool café (27 rue Etienne Marcel, 1er, tel: 01 45 08 04 04) threw two parties to promote"(arôme)," its brand-new, in-house DJ compilation blended by Emmanuel S. ... One soirée sponsored by Jalouse magazine. The other by The Mode TV: an international, interactive Internet concept launched by Marie-Christiane Marek. Like her fashion reports on cable channel Paris Première, Marek's website is a smart combo of video interviews and start-to-finish catwalk coverage, (www.the mode.tv).
MP3 addicts out for free yet guiltless music downloading will log on www.netbeat.com a copyright-respecting webzine founded by indie record producer Renaud Janson.
"Un petit clic peut faire un grand choc" a tiny click goes a long way is carclic.com's marketing pitch. This multilink automobile site advertises itself as a portal to every motor service under the sun. From car hire and insurance to online auctions. From maintenance tips to race track news.
With the Euro switchover afoot, currency has become an obsession. Even trinkets are on track. A French firm named Lucky Cash Design has devised "Money Rings" made out of banknotes. From 190F, at trendy rue de Castiglione concept store Bleu comme Bleu. (01 42 80 43 60)
From Classic Links...
A sterling chronicler has decided to retire. On the British Embassy's social agenda last month, a reception in honor of Pierre Daninos, the French writer who invented a "terribly English," upper crust character named Major Thompson, in order to poke fun at his own country's cultural idiosyncrasies. Plon published Les derniers carnets du major Thompson earlier this year.
Meanwhile... Married to a Frenchman, American author Harriet Welty Rochefort is flavor of the month with "French Fried," a literary wink at the culinary discrepancies between Gallic gastronomy and stateside munching. (St. Martin's Press)
...To Palm Chic
"Expat lit" functions like a series of snapshots. Speaking of which, Kodak has come a long way since Instamatics popularized photography... Branchés Parisians will instantly plug into its easy-to-use digital gadgets. The PalmPix camera links-up to Palm's latest hand-held computer, while the freshly-released mc3 video model, is an MP3 freaks dream.
They're irresistible. The Reggae Cowboys.Plus...iss their "black cowboy power" concerts, (Apr 24-28, at the Chesterfield Café, 124 rue de la Boétie, 8e, tel: 01 42 25 18 06). The band's eponymous Sony/Dixiefrog CD is an epihany.
On the Easter bunny front, prestige rue du faubourg St-Honoré patisserie Dalloyau has special treats in store. A series of oriental genies made of chocolate. Plus an exquisitely refined uf à la Rose egg. Tel: 01 42 99 90 00
A key component of Andy Warhol's Factory, poet/photographer Gerard Malanga popped into Paris for the opening of the Pompidou Center's hyper-successful Les années Pop show. During his stay, Malanga gave a reading of his Manhattan-imbued poems at the Théâtre Molière/Maison de la Poésie, then met with students from the ENSBA (Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts). Til April 22, the Maison de la Poésie spotlights piquant singer/actress Sapho, in a poetic mise-en-scène based on texts by Baudelaire, Lorca, Rilke and Henri Michaux. (Passage Molière, 157 rue St-Martin, 3e, M° Rambuteau, tel: 01 44 54 53 00)