A-level extras - unusual resources

9th May 2003 at 01:00

How many Parisians read a daily newspaper? Does the French education system reinforce social inequality? What would you look like if you had des jambes de Louis XV? Who was the real d'Artagnan? The answers can be found in the bi-monthly magazine Bien-dire. Written primarily for adults, it would provide something a little different for AS and A-level students to encourage independent reading and stimulate debate. Presentation is colourful, the style chatty and informal and the mixture of quirky and serious content gives a flavour of French daily life. Texts are classified according to level of difficulty on a scale of 1 (transition GCSEA-Level) to 3, some are recorded on the accompanying cassette or CD, all have a glossary. Topics range from contemporary issues, such as cloning, to festivals, traditions and social trends. Sports include surfing and skiing and there are quizzes, recipes and features on French idiom and slang.

Annual subscription: pound;46, pound;77 with cassette, pound;99 with CD.

Five subscriptions: 10 per cent reduction. Photocopying rights: pound;20.

www.biendire.com Subscription hotline: +33 (0) 4 78 30 06 16 Email: journal@biendire.com

Le vent

Le vent is the second CD from jazz quartet Projet Brassens and contains classic gems from the 1950s to 1970s, including La non-demande en mariage, Le roi des cons and Les sabots d'Hel ne.

"Teachers of French may know of and admire Brassens, but many think that his lyrics are too difficult for students, or that the style of his original recordings won't appeal," says singer Maxine Green. The musicians'

aim is to overcome these barriers by reinterpreting his songs in modern idiom and conveying something of his irreverent wit, deep humanity and perceptive social comment through their musical arrangements. Green's sensitive vocals capture the mood as it swings from tender to light-hearted or satirical backed by guitars, bass, clarinet and saxophone.

The quartet works closely with Dr Ted Neather, who has produced a booklet with English translations and notes on Brassens' use of the French language. They also perform in schools.

Price: CD, pound;13. CD + booklet, pound;16. Booklet alone, pound;4.66.

Brassens' lyrics in French, pound;7.30.

www.projetbrassens.eclipse.co.uk Tel: 01884 840 015 Email: projetbrassens@eclipse.co.uk

www.paroles.net also contains some of Brassens' songs.

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