It’s the last day of the Lallemand tour, a vinous adventure that has taken in four cities/towns in four days. Day one, in Nîmes, now seems a long time ago. After that, a drive to Lyon, where we stayed at a hotel that’s part of the Olympic Lyonnais stadium, where our seminar was held on Wednesday. After this, an epic 6 hour drive took us to Angers, where we were to hold the next day’s meeting at the lovely Loire et Sens hotel.
Another long drive followed to the last stop on the tour: Bordeaux. This is where we are now, about to kick off the final day at the Cité du Vin. It has been a great week, and it really feels like being on tour with a band. There are good bits: the collegiality of shared time as a group, where everyone gets to know each other in the down time as well as the up. But the bad bit is the draining schedule of one stop after another: I think the lure of being on tour would fade after a while, unless the schedule were a gentle one where you spent a few days at a time in each location, so you can get to know it a bit.
It’s also interesting in that I am the only non-French person, and I’ve been listening to French incessantly for a week. It’s amazing how much your ear improves, although my French is still so bad that I dare not speak it. I can read it quite well (this is, effectively, all we are taught at school), and I wonder how long it would take to be able to have a conversation? Deep immersion has to be the way to achieve this.
The show is about to start! My fourth time with the same talk in four days. It’s a bit different every day: I try to keep it fresh, and while the deck of slides is the same, I wander in different directions, depending on the feeling I get from the audience and what is in my head. Actually, this has made me realize the benefit of preparation, and knowing your material really well. As for practicing talks? It’s weird giving a talk without an audience, and I’m not sure it’s at all the same sort of thing. I’m not saying it is without merit, just there is nothing like the actual performance.