Media: A moment with Marquis

You will be pleased to know that your intrepid correspondent is undertaking an in-depth, hands-on, 24/7 analysis of European advertising opportunities. In other words, as you will have rightly surmised, he's lounging by a pool somewhere in the Med.

But, thanks to wireless broadband and a workaholic laptop, I can despatch un moment avec Marquis direct from Peter Mayle country, the cicadas chirping away in the pines, rose chilling nicely in the fridge and figs (and family) fattening sweetly on the terrace. The truth is, our rented eyrie on the slopes of the Luberon is a media-free zone.

We listen to no radio, watch no TV, have not bought a hilariously overpriced British newspaper, have eschewed the pile of antique Hello! magazines and are not even splashing about (you couldn't call it surfing) in the shallows of the internet. We are on a media fast.

It is truly bizarre to consume absolutely no media at all for a week or more. It's like suddenly stopping drinking (perish the thought) - you find that you can do it easily enough, but it's a very unfamiliar sensation, not unpleasant exactly, but certainly peculiar. On holiday, of course, it's good to suspend your daily routines and fiddle experimentally with the lens on your life. Idling though the local village market with its delectable goodies (the goats' cheese comes from named goats), you can even summon up some sympathy for France's stubbornly barmy agricultural policy - not something I am wont to do at home.

But can we cope with media abstinence for two whole weeks? No idea what's happening in Lebanon or Iraq, or at our own benighted airports for that matter. We left home before the final showdown at the Big Brother house, so the full horror of that must wait until the Sky+ box at home disgorges a fortnight's worth of stored treasures.

Miss it? Pas du tout. We have remembered how to read books, converse, relax, swim. A vicious game of boules over a bowl of olives and the evening's first gin and tonic. To hell with the Six O'Clock News!

Except now I find the sodding broadband won't work, so the copy I should be filing at the touch of the "send" button has to be laboriously handwritten and, somewhere in this medieval larder of a country, a fax machine must be tracked down and pressed into service.

How does one explain to a laid-back Provenaal that a Campaign copy date is not negotiable? Zut a-bloody-lors! Come back media, come back information technology, all is forgiven!


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