Gale Stockwell’s Parkville, Main Street, on the cover of the Penguin edition of Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson

In French, “collège” means something like a middle school or junior high. My French friends apprised me of this quite early in my Paris years, after a couple of dinner parties where I regaled a shocked table with tales of my ‘college’ exploits.

In truth, my third-level action was quite…

‘Chewing Gum’, 2004 single by Annie — blog post

As a runner, I’m often asked: “What do you listen to when you run?” Answer: nothing. I don’t wear earphones or carry devices when I run.

I have several reasons for this. The first is an instinct for self-preservation; while running on streets and roads I find it safer to…

French movie star Jean-Paul Belmondo in Peur Sur La Ville (dir. Henri Verneuil, 1975)

Long before I lived and worked in Paris, my first exposure to French pop culture was Hexagone, the ’80s French textbook we used in our ’90s secondary school in Ireland. Mainland France is shaped like a hexagon, you see.

We studied French and German in first year, and then our…

Poster for Dead of Night, 1945 English horror anthology film

So, how do you feel about England?

That may depend on what you consider to be England — for instance, the English football players taking the knee together to embody a shared modern multicultural community that values persons of colour, or the English football watchers abusing them for their [checks…

All through my first year living in Paris, this was the song I heard everywhere.

Daytime radio, from what was blaring in shops and cafes, couldn’t play it often enough. All manner of TV shows — chat, politics, football — played it in full or in snippets, as a sort…

In the late afternoon of New Year’s Eve 2002 I was in a record store in Pamplona, Spain. This wasn’t some quaint old joint in the touristy bull-running town centre, where earlier I had been enjoying tapas with my friends, but a brightly-lit premises jammed in between the ground-floor supermercado

This must be the dumbest, stoopidest record ever made. Let me explain to you why I love it.

For one thing, it kicks off with a crunching, blitzkrieg-ing glam guitar sound that doesn’t relent for the entire track. The riff is basically a lift from a Kiss single, but what…

Cover of Heartburn, comic novel by Nora Ephron

Learn new languages, hone new skills, tone new abs; a lot of us saw this pandemic lockdown as the opportunity we’d been waiting for all our lives. Time previously spent commuting and socialising was now in our gift. We would apply ourselves, improve ourselves, emerge from this better.

Another delusional…

The Honeymoon Killers, cult 1970 true crime thriller directed by Leonard Kastle

Okay, I get why people are missing busy pubs, pounding nightclubs and heaving concert venues. I used to love and frequent all those social sardine-tins for years, often going to four loud, crowded concerts a week, before I came to love staying home watching football more.

What I don’t get…

Aidan Curran

Writing about music, films and books of note to me. Other stuff (more music, running, Paris) online elsewhere if you Google hard enough. Tweets @aidancurran17

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