<< I think I'd like to hear Italy's answer to the Beastie Boys, the Sugar Hill Gang, Run DMC, or Laurie Anderson.>>
Whhooo, man, I promise you you wouldn't. He's called "Jovanotti" and is the lamest-assed white rapper ever to sport one of those goatee beards. He's about 40, too, and some of us remember him back in the Old Skool days with a backwards baseball cap -- he was pretty old then. Big mate of Pavarotti, too (I kid you not)
Some of the French rap you hear on Skyrock or RTL2 isn't bad -- mainly a reaction to the French regulatory requirement to play some non-Anglo music on pop stations. But hearing a bunch of banlieu badasses chanting "Ou est la monnaie?" can begin to grate after a few hours. (Been on holiday in France -- anyone want to make an offer on a slightly knackered '78 Triumph Spitfire?)
Couple of other things -- it looks to me as if the French are getting wise to the whole "globalisation" game. Economic recovery is helping them to realise that their troubles over the last few years were mainly cyclical and due to Trichet's hard-money lunacy rather than to any "inflexibility", "unfree markets" or "surfeit of Frenchness". I've bought a book by a chap called Jacques Nikonoff -- "La comedie des fonds de pension", which seems to hit a number of nails squarely on heads in pointing out that simply moving to an Anglo market model will not magically create capital to solve the (non-existent) demographic timebomb. On the other hand, moving this way might help the French buy back the commanding heights of their economy -- if anyone out there cares for gen. on the BNP/SocGen/Paribas battle and the role of Anglo investors, email me.
And also -- seems to me that the European Commission is putting together a very scary plan to try to use the 1992 Single European Act to put through the MAI by the back door. There's a case involving a Portugese financial combine and a Spanish bank at the moment in which the "right of establishment" is being levered into a right to buy 40% of a holding company without consulting the local regulator. All sorts of talk about "investors needing to have confidence" which was never part of the original single market (I've checked). Part of this project seems to involve bringing the FT and Economist onside to do violence to the meaning of the word "protectionism" -- I keep seeing it used in contexts outside trade and tariffs when countries "protect" their companies from foreign ownership. Which is not what the word means.
PS oh yeh, and last week it seems that the fine pastime of masturbation was being impugned because of a supposed link with the solitary vice of economics. Just a couple of things:
1) Italy did indeed "sorpasso" the UK in GDP by counting its estimated black economy, although they don't talk so much about "il resorpasso" in about 1995.
2) The UK does a lot of estimating on the importance of drug smuggling (mainly alcohol and nicotine from France) in its balance of trade. Columbia has recently got with the programme to my certain knowledge.
3) AFAIK, the USA is on the extreme fringe of those national statisticians who refuse to sully themselves with collecting data on criminal economic activity -- most other countries at least estimate it if significant. But what do you expect from the bunch who helped get rid of the good old days when bribes paid to foreign government officials were tax-deductible?
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