Mobile phone rings in finale of housing crisis
Yesterday's news story that former French football star Eric Cantona was to be a candidate in the forthcoming French presidential election has a pertinent music connection. Cantona's candidature was in fact a clever publicity stunt to draw attention to what he describes as the "millions of families in France whose suffering is forgotten". In a newspaper interview the former Manchester United footballer reveals that he wants other presidential candidates to support the housing activist group Fondation Abbé Pierre which works on behalf of the 3.6 million people in France who are homeless or live in substandard accomodation, see the advertisement above. Fondation Abbé Pierre was founded by the moderate French Catholic priest L'Abbé Pierre (1912-2007) who is a French folk hero and founded the Emmaus movement in 1949 to help poor and homeless people and refugees. In 1986 acclaimed pianist and Messiaen authority Jean-Rodolphe Kars abandoned his concert career and ordained as a priest in the Emmaus community. Père Jean-Rodolphe continues to work with the poor and homeless today, but in 2005 returned to the recording studio to record an album of Jewish music for Les Éditions de l'Emmanuel. It is a tale worth reflecting on at a time when Twitter obsessed classical music sees the big issue as a mobile phone ringing in a Mahler symphony. The full story of Jean-Rodolphe Kars and his 2005 album is in my post Following in Olivier Messiaen's footsteps.
* Translation of Fondation Abbé Pierre advertisement - 'Manon scribbled on the walls. The rest is not her work. 600,000 children are victims of bad housing. Let's do something about it!'
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