Hermine had a bit of a mental breakdown in the run up to the presentation this afternoon. The stress of the big occasion was getting to her. We managed to get the place ready for 3.30pm and then sat patiently waiting for the guests to arrive (secretly praying no-one would come). The church bells struck 4, but no one was here yet. Ah well, lets call the whole thing off.
By 4.05pm, five people had arrived. Hermine was visibly relieved and hurried everybody up the stairs to the barn and started introducing us. Thanking her for the introduction (which of course was all dutch to us) we began. We ploughed through our opening gambit, to five very confused old French people’s faces, and then began the first film. A few more people arrived and snuck in the back. Then more, then more. By the time we were up to the bit about Blooming Britain and showing images of people’s council estate front gardens, the place was a full house. More chairs had to be fetched!
Hermine stopped us and suggested we start at the beginning again for the benefit of the latecomers. What!?! You must be joking. She must have seen the look on our faces, so she relented a bit and asked if we could talk a bit more about some of the garden images. Well, we can, we said. But not in French obviously. Have you seen Julie’s cheat sheet? So then began a back and forth translation as we talked about a few of the gardeners. And herein lay the problem. She got a bit confused, poor love, and started talking to us in French and the audience in English. Utter mayhem. We gave up on that idea and returned to our plan of one sentence followed by 50 images. There were a few questions at the end, which we muddled our way through. Then applause! Hurrah! Bring us a Picon Club. Fast.
Time for more cocktails and an interview with a 17 year old journalist who was super adorable, even down to his braces and his cute mum and dad in tow. There were a language difficulties there too, so will be interesting to see how that one looks in print.
Then onto the French artist Justine’s presentation. She has a lovely voice and the images are great, but we have absolutely no idea what she was talking about. There was a heated debate at the end of her talk, they seemed to be giving her a right old grilling, who knows about what, but she stood her ground like a proper champ.
More drinks, followed by dinner. Didier came round again with ratatouille and a variety of moonshine in ever increasingly interesting bottles. We ended on homemade Calvados from 1955, which made him immediately start singing. He started regaling tales about seducing married women with champagne and then he got his guns out. We all had a go chasing birds and each other around the garden with twin barrel rifles. Now that’s what we call a party!
Hugo said we had done them proud today. We hope it wasn’t just the moonshine talking. Conversation turned to how artists need to be prepared to put themselves up for failure. Well, we certainly did that today. But we think we got away with it. Just. Now put em up and give us all your money!