A (Relatively) Calm First Night in Cannes

On the Boulevard Croisette

     Cannes was quiet on Sunday night. At just 2:30 a.m., roughly 150 people crowded around 72 Croisette, the infamous Gutter Bar opposite the art deco Hotel Martinez. Girls in purple Yahoo shirts ran around cleaning up drinks. A glass broke, on occasion. A few sprays of beer, once. An accidental cigarette burn to the sleeve of a stranger’s shirt.

     The week was still very young. Delegates seemed eager to mingle, but cautious. Dallas was still talking to Detroit, London to London, and so on. They stumbled in packs, in agencies, primarily American and European. Where were the Brazilian delegates, with over 360 companies in attendance this year? Where, too, those from East Asia? And where, of course, the CEOs and celebrities who could be seen having dinner in the grand hotels along the Croisette?

     Across the bay, a few yachts flickered in the dark, but no music. The hotel roofs were silent. A delegate stumbled by: “I have cocaine!” “No,” he corrected himself, rather forlornly: “I need cocaine.” Another glass broke. A purple spotlight ran the length of the boulevard with stubborn inconsistency. But you could still hear yourself think, still hear the waves on the beach (a rogue swimmer, out for a drunken dip). This, one assumed, was as quiet as Cannes Lions would get.