Literary discussion of the Tour de France

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

The BBC have a 25 minute broadcast about the Tour de France, discussing the race as a social and cultural event rather than the sporting contest. The studio guests discuss the race and its significance to France without mention of Contador, nor an explanation of the yellow jersey.

You can hear the show for the next few days here – note that it expires on Thursday.

It’s a useful discussion although I think they could have done better with the literary references, no mention is complete without wacky Roland Barthes and Antoine Blondin, the Equipe chronicler who had an eye for detail and a poetically mischievous turn of phrase.

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{ 3 comments }

Anonymous June 29, 2010 at 11:14 pm

I found it disturbing that they thought the crashes are a significant attraction to the event (around the 9 min. in)
It isn't NASCAR, its the Tour de France! Perhaps the sentiment in England or Europe is different, but no one I know would agree. I feel crashes take away from the event. I'd rather see the true winner than someone else take it on default from anothers misfortune. (not to mention the pain i feel from knowing what a crash like that is like first hand)

TheInnerRing June 30, 2010 at 2:50 pm

From my view, I'm with you. But as someone who rides and races, crashes are the thing of nightmares. For the more passive spectator, maybe they offer some excitement, certainly a TV highlights package will showcase the spectacular accidents.

Indeed one popular story on here has been Gerben Lowik's crash in Switzerland, I put the video on here and many people came from Google to view it.

owenp June 30, 2010 at 3:50 pm

I was given an anthology of Blondin's writing as a Christmas present- poring over each piece with a massive French dictionary at my side still isn't enough to get to the nub of his poetic style.

I made a laboured attempt at a translation of a 1961 piece, where he scathingly cuts down what is arguably Scotland's greatest ever moment in the Tour.

http://www.owenphilipson.com/blog/2010/01/10/ken-laidlaw-1961-view-from-lequipe/

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