January 28, 2010

Meeting numero deux

Ten of us crowded into the charming Café de La Place in Perigueux on Saturday afternoon and together we discussed where to from here. It was a meeting full of enthusiasm and commitment. RA is on the cusp - how I wish I could stay.
As I sadly pack my bags (and emotions), the project once again goes on hold. This time though I leave RA in a far healthier position - several keen and highly competent volunteers have kindly offered to drive RA forward and maintain a presence at the University while I'm away. One week to go et Je suis très triste. Merci to all who came to the meeting to show your support and offer your time. I look forward to working together.

January 23, 2010

Joy! Andrew and Liam to the rescue...

They came dashing in at the last minute like knights in shining armour. Andrew, the Manager and Liam, the Technician from SIREN/FM, University of Lincoln, keep to their word and although not being here in person, perform the incredible and help sort out technical issues using a remote access computer system. It was a totally exhausting but great week. The satellite receivers are working with BBC World Service and Radio Netherlands coming in loud and clear, I've downloaded many audio files for use in programs, the test daily finance update is recorded and despite initial problems with the sound cards we're getting close to scheduling regular programs that will be streamed online. Radio Aquitaine is finally coming together;  slowly the content is building.

At IUT Bordeaux University IV - Clive (local advertising), Pascal (Head Uni technician) and I work via remote access with SIREN/FM at the Uni of Lincoln.

I've worked hard all week, finishing at the University at six tonight leaving Liam in Lincoln, via remote access, solving a scheduling problem. Incredible. My spirits are lifted, and my energy and commitment to the station restored. Next step - regular local programs. Thank you Andrew and Liam from SIREN/FM, Pascal and Alain from IUT Bordeaux University IV for setting up the system, my french neighbour Cyrille for computer advice and David from World Radio Paris for encouraging me to keep the dream alive.

January 19, 2010


I waited and waited and nothing. I wasted precious time waiting and assuming help was coming but found out too late this isn't going to happen. There is so little time now to try and get the station streaming. I arose this morning at 8am however, determined to get this off the ground alone; failure isn't in my lexicon. I drove to the Uni, picked up the satellite receivers I was told wouldn't work in the northern hemisphere (they were bought in australia where I was assured they would), drove them to a town an hours drive away near Limoges to a satellite expert who said "yes, they should work". However, I forgot to get the remote controls so he couldn't program them on the spot, so another trip tomorrow into the Uni and back to Limoges again, and another wasted day when I could've been getting the station linked to the satellite and streaming. I'm almost at the point of giving this away, I'm not sure I can do this anymore. It's too hard, I live too far away, come here intermittently and still have no local broadcasters. What's the point? Who am I kidding - that I can set up a bilingual internet radio station in a country I don't even live in? I must be mad. I've called a meeting this Saturday afternoon in Perigueux and notified all those who've expressed an interest in the past. I'll see how many attend and what comes out of it.

January 11, 2010

Snowed in

What I like about France: Bio is mainstream and the same price as other products, unlike in Australia where you feel like a hippy freak even asking for organic and it's triple the price. And would you ever see an exhibition titled "L'Afghanistan et Nous" in Australia, as I saw in Paris? I very much doubt it, people are far too busy contemplating the size of their mortgages, outdoor bbq's, trying to impress with their iPhones and deciding who to invite to their next dinner party. The French have a political conscience; the storming of the Bastille intuitively runs in their blood. It could've happened again in May '68. There's a socialist spirit that's nurtured in the programs on mainstream TV - extensive debates on history, religion and politics you wouldn't see in Australia. I watched in wonder the other night, an Imam on TV who was so incensed by the direction of the round table discussion he got up and walked out. A brilliant debate I doubt I'd ever see in Australia.

I'm working away on the station, the Uni of Lincoln guys are scheduled to come next week, only hold up could be the snow. It's beautiful and quite serene, silently leaving its profound impact across the country. When you're snowed in however you get bored. I could sit here for hours browsing the web, researching coming events, places to go, acquaintances, former school pals - but it's a trap. This year I've decided to drop out of all social networking, I've just cancelled Facebook and it feels GOOD. The more you dip into virtual reality the less you have of your own. From now on I will make an effort to meet people face to face - far more interesting.

January 7, 2010

Asterix, Edith, Oscar and Jim

After spectacularly spilling an entire bowl of crepe mixture on the newly tiled but as yet un-sealed and un-grouted kitchen floor, we finally leave for Paris at 7am in a sombre mood. My amazing partner (who did all the tiling the night before) calmly wipes it up while I have a melt down. The drive is entertaining - french radio and The Doors.
We arrive in the most beautiful city in the world (even surpasses my love of London) by 2pm and have been fortunate to find a hotel with both a family room and parking for a reasonable price. Come 10pm we're exhausted but my son and I are determined to celebrate New Year so we brave the cold and find the nearest metro. It's a bit like the Hajj, something you have to do once in your life - stand under the Eiffel Tower and witness that brilliant light display followed by fire works along the Champs de Mars. What a way to see in the new year - with my 15 year old son and thousands of others all in awe -laughing, singing and dancing amongst a plethora of floating languages.

Asterix Park was ok (should've taken the boys when they were younger, Puy de Fou down south is brilliant), however I never thought a cemetery could be so beautiful. New Year's day is the day to spend in Paris, minimal cars so driving and parking is relatively easy. My partner lived in Paris for 4 years and gives us a guided tour, including another pilgrimage to see the graves of Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison.
Montmartre cemetery is somewhat dour and depressing, almost sinister. Père Lachaise with its wide, paved, tree lined walkways is beautiful and ironically, almost uplifting as you inevitably contemplate what it means to live a rewarding life. My 15 year old is delighted to have seen Jim's grave. We decide to stay an extra day in this city of romance, it truly is a remarkable place, but for now the holiday is over, back to work on Radio Aquitaine before I have to return to Australia in only two weeks.