Bastille Day was a sad and diminished affair this year, coming in the immediate wake of the worst riots in France since the eruptions of 1968. I see everyone is now calling it "the French Intifada": When I so described the ructions of 2005, I was roundly mocked by all the usual experts. There is no worse sin in commentary than being right too early.
I love France, and, as I always say, I've never been one for the "cheese-eating surrender-monkey" shtick of many on the American right. If I didn't love it before, I certainly would since its health system saved my life six months ago - in contrast to the University of Vermont Medical Center, which did their best to kill me just a few weeks back. So I'm now even more grateful to Nurse Audrey and her colleagues than I was at the time.
With that in mind, I hope you'll forgive a little sentimentality from me this Bastille Day weekend - a little anglo-franco mélange, with Gallic words to a British tune. I have always preferred the sentiment of Henri Contet's French paroles to that of the English lyrics introduced to the world by dear Petula Clark in July 1954.
The above audio comes from a Clubland Q&A I broadcast from my convalescence in France six months ago. Listeners seemed to enjoy it. From Marc, a First Day Founding Member in Florida:
Thank you for that lovely French song from Mark to his well-wishers. May we all see the day Mark is well again.
To which his fellow First Day Founder Tom Gelsinon added:
Rosette, a Belgian Steyn Clubber, wrote:
Je suis vraiment heureuse d'avoir entendu à nouveau votre voix Mark!
Merci d'avoir choisi la chanson "Smile" en version française pour célébrer votre retour parmi nous.
Bill Holcomb from Alabama asked:
Can you put 'J'ai Ton Sourire Dans Mon Coeur' on your Mark's Music page for download (unless it's hiding there somewhere already)? My wife and I were moved by the beautiful arrangement. What a melody - and what a singer!
Se retablir rapidement.
I confess I clear forgot Bill's request. But, during this last week on the Adriatic, several Steyn Cruisers reprised it. So we'll certainly consider it. But, given the state of my health and the state of France this summer, this song's sentiment is wholly sincere this weekend, so I trust you'll indulge me.
Click above to listen.
~Steyn's Song of the Week airs thrice weekly on Serenade Radio in the UK, one or other of which broadcasts is certain to be convenient for whichever part of the world you're in:
5.30pm Sunday London (12.30pm New York)
5.30am Monday London (4.30pm Sydney)
9pm Thursday London (1pm Vancouver)
Whichever you prefer, you can listen from anywhere on the planet right here.