After setting up the excellent debian bullseye (next stable debian version) on the clockworkpi by using clockworkpi-debian and the forum thread I set out to try to compile EmulationStation on this recent and up to date system.
GitHub - RetroPie/EmulationStation: A Fork of Emulation Station for RetroPie. Emulation Station is a flexible emulator front-end supporting keyboardless navigation and custom system themes. is a maintained and up to date version of EmulationStation targetted mainly at the raspberrypi.
Compiling it works out of the box by doing the following (copied from the README) :
sudo apt-get install libsdl2-dev libfreeimage-dev libfreetype6-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev rapidjson-dev \ libasound2-dev libgles2-mesa-dev build-essential cmake fonts-droid-fallback libvlc-dev \ libvlccore-dev vlc-bin git clone --recursive https://github.com/RetroPie/EmulationStation.git cd EmulationStation cmake . make
Then running it by launching :
mkdir ~/.emulationstation ./emulationstation
Next step : configure it ! Hoping to get some other users to jump into the clean debian based version setup by @Joao_Manoel !