Not our regular Friday activity but Cannes on the cheap was fun and some of it happened on a Friday.
In attempt to keep costs down we decided (quite rightly) to forgo the usual (or so I’m told) expensive rooms in the Martinez, Carlton or Grand and decided to head to the Parc Bellvue camping site in Cannes La Bocca – not far from the beach, but far from Cannes Central. We’d started with the idea of tent but decided to upgrade to a caravan – somehow convincing ourselves that it would be more secure for our presentation and laptops. As luxuries go, it did come with it’s own gecko and rather narrow beds, but it didn’t come with shower or toilet . Thankfully both the outside showers and toilets were very clean, with the former providing very warm water.
Respect to Mike Williams from übermore who decided we were involving too much luxury and pitched his £15 tent alongside. His entrance after hours attracted the attention of the security guards as he barrel-rolled over the fence sometime after midnight. Despite this he did a cracking job at representing the Creative Showcase along with Laura at their workshop the following day.
Laura’s idea of a slap up meal consisted of 2-minute noodles with a small bottle of Pop Champagne to help the Cannes spirit. Rumours suggest this might have been her standard breakfast ration too.
My first night consisted of airport beer before boarding the last bus into Cannes – and then trying to remember the general layout from years gone by. Having alighted the bus successfully I proceeded to the beach to find my colleagues somewhat worse for wear at the No Party. A shady ‘slip the arm band over the wall’ later I was in were all seemed to be celebrating the end of television amongst other things. Clearly this ‘no party’ meant no wardrobe or night vision after guest after guest managed to fall over my rucksack causing untold damage to the beautiful people of Cannes. Commonsense prevailed and an early night brought the proceedings to a close, for the importance of being there - we had a workshop the following morning. Thankfully I’d had the Heineken pipe fitted meaning this refreshing liquid managed to pass the majority of major organs meaning little damaged was caused.
An early start followed by a Nurofen, croissant and of course Perrier, meant no pesky audience was going to hold us back. Thankfully French buses are frequent, clean and cheap at 1 Euro. So our journey into Cannes was speedy and direct. Moreover they don’t seem to have annoying passengers that insist on playing below par RnB from their mobile phones.
Attempts to send intelligent tweets were curtailed by Anil arranging an in-promptu meeting at his building site come hotel. It had a marvellous view out across the Mediterranean once you ignored the unfinished roof, diggers and concrete mixers. Some how I preferred our campsite it felt far more real, believable. Get down with the Gecko.
Our workshop was then dispatched with aplomb and with a series of lewd but enlightening creative ideas from our visiting middle eastern friends (you had to be there). A few matters of work were cleared up and so then on to the smoozing. It was slightly annoying to be the only ones paying for drinks at a hotel bar when your UK digital friends are being entertained free of charge by the Guardian. Thankfully the cordon was easy to lift. A swift kick to Mr LMFM’s knee meant the esteemed guests soon left…. And we were back to square one.
As the sun set the evening’s entertainment options started to present themselves. Well actually they didn’t – the only party required an invite and our ‘do you know who we are’ posturing counted for nothing as we were right at the back of a very long queue all trying the same thing. We tried a shifty look around the side and even considered a commando style run over the roof and slide down the pole entrance – but quickly realised it was pointless. It turned out that Ginger hair and bad breadth (Mr Bedwood) would see you enter as would being polite and on your own (Mr Tait)
So running out of options we retreated to a hotel bar, where I correctly identified a famous person, but got it incredibly wrong before seeing the rock royalty of Roger Daltry complete with Union flag socks sat next to him. To complete this famous gang was the lovable Irishman and one time musician Sir Bob Geldof. Ignoring this merry group we got stuck into some Rose and chatted about the festival so far.
Realising a trip to Cannes without visiting the Gutter Bar would be a sacrilege we took matters in hand and traipsed off to find it. Thankfully a few expense accounts where still in existence and yes a little more Rose was consumed. We were introduced to a number of award winning creatives that evening (well done all) indulging in some stimulating and insightful conversation. Only to be interrupted by the screams of FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT – and then we saw it – the aforementioned Sir Bob being led away back into the hotel by a rather burley security guard. Thankfully Kofi Anan, fresh from his earlier seminar had been on the scene and provided the perfect mediator to this unsavoury episode. For the record Sir Bob wasn’t fighting with me. Thankfully.
As the light started to break across the French resort, we realised it was in fact time to head home. A stroll along the Croisette meant the obligatory photos with Hans Solo, Chewy and Uma. When all had been packed back in their hotels and apartments – I soon realised that Cannes on the cheap came at a price – how the hell to get back to La Bocca. Realising the concept of a night bus hadn’t reached the South of France – some ant like manoeuvres and arm gestures managed to a flag a taxi down.
The dawn chorus was in full flight, as was the nearby motorway when I returned to the caravan. So grateful was I for my rather splendid Boots ear-plugs I soon found myself in the land of nod.
Friday was a far more relaxed affair spent in the delightful company of Congregation Partners and WNTD – thanks for the expense account – yes I owe you. We spent some of the time discussing our beautiful French waitress called Sandy. Yep we couldn’t work that one out either - a face and name that just didn’t match. Much conversation on the state of the industry, economy, the awards and economy ensued before this budget traveller had to scrounge a lift back to the airport.
Cannes on the cheap had been a success – a successful workshops completed, connections made, important dialog spoken and all under a strict budget. It might be Advertising’s annual big celebration bash but I heartily recommend doing it on the cheap. So next year lets all hire a caravan, pitch a tent and keep it simple. It really is where its at.