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The Band Room, North Yorkshire

By day it’s jumble sales and children’s parties, but at night the tiny Yorkshire village hall that is the Band Room turns into an unlikely music venue

On stage, a group thrashed their instruments while the singer hunched over effects pedals to loop his voice into an eerie chorus.

It was the end of an epic, two-hour set that would have been a hit at any sweaty city-centre venue or music festival side stage. Yet we were in a tiny village hall, hemmed in by the brooding, heather-covered heights of the North York Moors.

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The French port that’s like St Tropez before Bardot

Laid-back Marseillan can’t claim to have the celeb clientele, glam bars and designer shops of its famous Riviera cousin, but that’s why it’s special

Sex-kitten starlets are thin on the sun-seared ground. So are €6,000 cotton beach dresses with Mongolian fur trim, Lamborghini Gallardos ostentatiously parked in front of harbourside cafes, and gin-palace superyachts. And you certainly won’t see estate agents with details of stratospherically pricey villas in French, English and Russian.

Yet the petite port of Marseillan on the Languedoc coast, kissing a Mediterranean lagoon east of Béziers, has an undeniable frisson of St Tropez. Not the 2009 Riviera honeypot oozing bling, Eurotrash and traffic, but the serene isolated fishing village that first attracted artists and writers in the late 19th century, and then Bardot and the jet set in the 1950s.

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