After a hectic and profoundly stressful three weeks involving two successive crisis visits to a frequently cloudy and chill UK we were rather hoping to come back to a sun-drenched south of France where we could relax and de-stress in the sun. Oddly enough the weather wasn’t much better than the UK and our first Sunday back together at church in Cannes for some weeks was marked by grey clouds and rain showers and as we drove along the coast, glimpses of thick snow on the Italian Alps.
The problem with Cannes is that having created an image for itself as the exciting place where everything happens, it has to continue to maintain and promote that image. There are lots of other towns that would like to take over from Cannes and one senses an almost feverish desperation lest somewhere younger, smarter and trendier should seize the crown. Maintaining your position amongst fashionable cities is very much like trying to walk up the down escalator. So, come wind rain or terrorism there’s always forthcoming events to prepare for. The town’s motto ought to be “the show must go on”.
So even amid pouring rain, preparations were already afoot for the film festival that has put Cannes on the map. It’s the 70th anniversary this year, so the advertising is well under way, as well for as the innumerable other events, shows, conferences and symposiums that keep the economy going. The season is only weeks away: there is no time to lose.
One subtle but sombre note was sounded the unannounced appearance of gargantuan concrete plant pots strewn at strategic points across and along the Croissette. Lessons have clearly been learnt from last summer’s deadly attack at Nice. The ones across the promenade of the Croissette are particularly inconvenient. Many people like to stroll along it either to be noticed or to notice others: having security barriers that you can walk into while gawping at the great, the glamorous and the glittering is going to be a pain. Possibly quite literally.