John Lichfield: My daughters' Oscars surely await

Paris Notebook
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The Independent Online

Celebrity at last: my daughters are to appear in a film with George Clooney, pictured. Strictly speaking, they are not appearing in the film (which is, in any case, a cartoon). Their sweet voices will be heard, among a dozen others, for a couple of seconds, in the same movie as the voice of the coffee-loving smoothie.

Clare, 14, and 11-year-old Grace are in the children's choir at the American Cathedral in Paris. From all the children's choirs in all the cathedrals in all the cities in the world, theirs has been chosen to sing a four-line poem in an animated film The Fantastic Mr Fox, based on the book by Roald Dahl.

Other parts will be taken by Clooney and Cate Blanchett. The film is directed by Wes Anderson and is produced, naturally enough, by 20th-Century Fox.

There is no telling where this might lead: stardom, riches, tidying their own bedrooms. I have already drafted their Oscar acceptance speeches, including lingering references to the importance of their mother and father in their young lives.

Nor is this the first time that membership of the American Cathedral choir has brought them close to a smoothie called George. President George Bush attended a Sunday service at the cathedral last year (I was sitting a few rows behind him. He has a very strangely shaped head, seen from the rear).

As he left, the choir was already standing at the back of the church. My daughter Clare, responding to a dare by a friend, said, "Goodbye, Mr President." He turned around, walked up to her, took both her hands, looked into her eyes and said, "You have a beautiful voice, my dear." I had never really liked President Bush until then.

Sarkozy the English speaker

Speaking of smoothies, Tony Blair has also been in town. During a brief speech in French at the British embassy, he divulged a French state secret. The President, Nicolas Sarkozy, has been having intensive lessons (from Carla, perhaps?) and can now speak English. The young Sarkozy famously failed his entrance exams for several elite French colleges because his English was so appalling.

Twinning the celebrity way

The village of Carlat in the southern French département of Cantal (great mountains, great cheese) has come up with a great idea. It has started a twinning process with the village of Bruni in Italy. Carlat-Bruni, get it? Celebrity town-twinning could catch on. How about the city of Paris and any one of the nine small English villages called Hilton. Or the region of Brittany with Spiers, New Mexico. Or the small town of Angelina, Texas, with Jolie, New York (additional research by Google Earth).

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