Wednesday, March 16, 2022



OK, so a bit of international licence here, an entente cordiale to fit the subject, which, like a kinky boot, it does, très snug. I love a bit of foreign, do I, so it was with some disappointment and frustration I have felt it wise to cancel a forthcoming jaunt to Paris. Little to bear, in comparison to our friends in Ukraine, but Putin can go sit on one. OK, as he could before, but this biscuit has been well and truly taken, the birds of his political interferences in US and UK governments now arguably coming home to roost, as "we" struggle to work out what is and isn't justified in return. Bad and sad days.

Endeavouring to remain upbeat, let's pursue the arena of pop in translation. Yé-yé, as our french cousins say. One rule, mind, that being an avoidance of where an anglophone artist simply translates their song into french, and copycats it, so none of this, no Bowie or Blondie. (Strangely, this is a trick the Beatles never pulled off, even if tried a bit of Deutsch.)

Africain à Paris/Tiken Jah Fakoly

The above is an extraordinary piece of translation, changing both the words and the locations, succeeding in an impressive alchemy. And, musically, is it any less wrong to suggest the Parisian music scene is to Africans that New York might be to an Englishman? The number of artists from that continent in the French capital, making there their music, is immense, belying a concept that Paris could well be the home of African culture.

Hey Joe/Johnny Hallyday

I'm uncertain if the translated lyric has actually, name apart, anything to do with the original, but, it being my favourite song, possessing dozens of versions of it, yes, of course, this I already have and was so already well familiar with. Fond of, less. Having said that, it was a song he never stopped playing, with this considerably later version even quite edgy, in a poundshop Keith Richards way. 

L'Amour C'Est Comme Une Cigarette/Sylvie Vartan

Well, if we are going weird, we have to go here. Ms. Easton's paean to the early morning commute seems clearly a whole different concept through a French lens, this song stealing only the tune, as it, well, as you do, compares love to a cigarette. A Gauloise, I assume. I will avoid smutty allusions around sucking on it and watching it turning slowly to ash.

D'En Haut de la Tour de Guet/Francis Cabrel

Another of my favourite songs in coverland, the translation itself a labour of love. Indeed, so wordy is most of his work that you forgive all the continentals who sang on, regardless, in English, rather than wrestle long and hard, as clearly had the performer here. It comes from an entire album's worth of similar fare, and I tip my chapeau his way.

Hôtel de Californie/The Cat Empire

Is this cheating? I suspect it is, but it is such a delightfully gallic take on the song to ignore the fact it was cobbled together in Australia by Melbourne ska-punkers The Cat Empire. And what better place to end this reverie.

Bottes by Eileen: ici