Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Our destination was once again scheduled to be Ostend but a last minute cancellation resulted in a quick change of plan - we headed just "up the road" to Amsterdam.
The Netherlands is the home of happy techno: fans of this didn’t have too far to look in the record stores for one compilation after another. I was more interested in watching TMF (the excellent Dutch version rather than its bland British equivalent). Dutch music was almost non-existent on the radio, and I’d swear that there were whole stations devoted to Destiny’s Child. The songs I remember from that holiday were...
"Falling" - K-Otic: great pop song and a cracking video from one of the first Popstars-type bands.
"Desenchantee" - Kate Ryan: great techno cover of the Mylene Farmer classic. One of the biggest songs of that summer in Europe which was sadly overlooked in the UK because of our stupid language barrier.
"Underneath Your Clothes" - Shakira: the one song and video which certainly made my faithful travelling companion sit up and take notice!
"Hot In Herre" - Nelly: appropriate song for a nice hot June. Didn’t take the advice in the lyrics though!!
"A Little Less Conversation" - Elvis vs JXL: the soundtrack to that summer’s World Cup in Japan and Korea, and appropriately for this holiday remixed by a Dutch DJ.
"Holiday" - Madhouse: Madhouse were responsible for loads of dancey covers of Madonna songs that summer, and this was another one of them.
Decided that I couldn’t leave without buying some Dutch music. Volumia! were a cast of thousands (or it just seemed like it), fronted by the excellent Xander de Buisonje and their music was massively popular in their home country around the mid to late 90s. By the time I reached Amsterdam, the band had decided to call it a day and released a "Best of" which found its way to my record collection.
September 2002: Biarritz, France
Three months later, we were back in France - but a new destination. Biarritz is a cracking little resort on the south west Atlantic coast, in the French Basque country.
This was the holiday when I discovered "Star Academy". 2002 was the second (and best IMHO) series and I watched it every night on TF1 and was quickly hooked. It was the year of Nolwenn, Emma, Jeremy, Alexandre, Aurelie, Houcine and Georges-Alain: fantastic viewing and some really talented performers. There has been no reality TV music show better than this one.
Musically, Biarritz is in a great geographical location as you can hear both French and Spanish radio stations but of course old habits die hard and I ended up listening to NRJ. Very unusual for me, I only bought two French compilation CDs in Biarritz. However, on a day trip across the border to San Sebastian, I ran riot and bought four CDs - Alejandro Sanz, Nek, David Bisbal and David Bustamante. You’ll have guessed that I was crazy about Operacion Triunfo’s "two Davids". Although David Bisbal was always my favourite, I preferred Bustamante’s debut!
These are only some of the songs that reminded me of this holiday: there were many more which I don’t have room to mention here.
"Asereje (The Ketchup Song)" - Las Ketchup: the holiday hit of 2002.
"Manhattan-Kaboul" - Renaud & Axelle Red: most played song of the holiday. Thought-provoking post-9/11 song.
"Run Baby Run" - Bustafunk: theme tune to Star Academy. Great dance tune.
"En Apesanteur" - Calogero: the moment I stopped liking him, and started loving him.
"Come Back To Me" - Cunnie Williams: France’s answer to Barry White. Yes, that good.
"Aime" - L5: really liked this song by France’s first Popstars band.
"Dove (I’ll Be Loving You") - Moony: nice summery dance tune from the Italian singer - whatever happened to her?
"Chihuahua" - DJ Bobo & "La Bomba" - King Africa: two absolute holiday anthems which I’ll always associate with this holiday.
"Love Don’t Let Me Go" - David Guetta: long before its remix hit the UK charts, this was the original version which was massive in France that summer.
"Nos Differences (Caught In The Middle)" - A1 & Eve Angeli: British boyband collaboration with Ms Angeli. Back in those days she was a promising young singer before her reality TV reinvention.
"Happy" - Sita: ex-member of K-Otic who briefly enjoyed some success in France, both as a solo artist and later in her duet with Kyo.