11- Paris and Cannes, France October 1982
THE WORLD IS MOVING FASTER AND FASTER
This was the early 1980’s, home video recorders had become mass market and video cassettes were sold at exorbitant prices: it had become a big business. Even the first fax machines and basic computer/word processors were appearing on the market. The town of Cannes, famous for its film festival, was proud to open its new convention centre with a market dedicated to this new and accessible technology.
For Jean-Marc the problems started even before leaving Paris. Boulevard du Crépuscule was still in its first season, it had only been on air for 3 weeks and the channel was not yet convinced that the programme was going to be a success. The opening of the new Palais des Festivals in Cannes and the promise of a few minor stars attending the Vidcom market was enough to justify sending Jean-Marc and the crew to cover the event. Their Peugeot 505 broke down after only 2 kilometres, some electrical fault, no power, nothing. Conveniently they glided into a parking space right in front of a Hertz hire car office.
“Do you have a car for hire?” asked Christian the cameraman. The Hertz girl almost laughed, “Sorry Sir, it’s a Friday, all our cars have been reserved for the weekend, we have nothing at all”. Indeed the car park in front was completely deserted.
“But we have to be in Cannes tonight, can’t you call another office and get another car somewhere. We’ve broken down out the front here and our car is full of equipment that has to be in the South of France by tonight”.
At that moment Jean-Marc saw a large car transporter drive into the car park. It stopped and the driver started unloading the single car loaded on the back, a brand new silver Mercedes. It even had a wing on the back.
“What about that car?” said Jean-Marc without even turning his back to face the Hertz receptionist.
“Well, it’s brand new, but yes, I suppose it’s available” said the girl, “but it’s very expensive”, she looked through her charts, “200 Francs per day, 8 Francs per kilometre plus taxes and insurance.”
Of course, as luck would have it, Jean-Marc’s credit card was the only one accepted for such a huge sum, with just over 1000 kilometres to Cannes they estimated the bill would come in at somewhere over the 9000 Franc mark!
They loaded the camera equipment into the brand new Mercedes, it had 28 kilometres on the clock.
Just under six hours and 1032 kilometres later in Cannes (average speed around 200 kph), Jean-Marc returned the Mercedes to the hire car company. The receptionist looked at the time the car had been picked up earlier that day, looking at her watch she naturally presumed that the car must have been hired in nearby Nice, so the bill came in at 1000 kilometres less than it should have been. It was the start of a very lucky week for Jean-Marc.
The events that were about to happen would change him forever.