I am typically not very fond of anything taken from French and adapted into English (song or movie). I don’t really see the point: I got what ‘made it’ in its original form and why I liked it, so I am typically biased and assume I won’t like a remake or cover.
Part of it is indignation, part of it is snobbery (but it was so good in French! Why would you change it? Can’t people watch dubbed movies?). I know, it’s close-minded. I’m working on it. And I have to admit that despite my prejudice, my socks have been knocked off a few times by song covers (movies, maybe not so much). The Rakes’s taking on ‘Le Poinçonneur des Lilas’ is one perfect example. I love love love it, and the evocative poetry of 1950s underground Paris having morphed into London’s Piccadilly Tube station just works. Not even a shred of indignation I feel.
Now they just have to make a video as good as Serge Gainsbourg’s, because I’m afraid his is still hands down better.
Speaking of métro and Paris, this is one of my favourite songs ever. It is so cheekily French: yes there is accordéon, but its French essence therein does not lie. It’s in the juxtaposition of the lazy lower-class Parisian accent, the slightly melancholic tune and lyrics mixed with animated dialogue from a group of friends having a drink at a bistro. Shame there isn’t a proper video for this song (although the one I’m imagining in my head, with grainy métro footage of the blue and white tiles, and twinkling city lights is probably prettier).
I was recently given a medical diagnosis and, simply stated, I won’t be allowed to eat bread for the rest of my life. Ever again. Or anything made with delicious pastry (adieu croissant, pain au chocolat, brioche…*). Please don’t anyone suggest there are plenty of alternatives, because I am freakishly gifted at detecting the taste of tapioca flour, and I am not ready in my mind to accept some grainy and squishy Frankenstein as the same thing as baguette. Or tartine.
Not to mention that in my own country, I am now a ‘little nature’: it’s not looked at with very much mercy not being able to eat everything. Let me tell you: the Frères Jacques sang about the difficulty of eating jam on a tartine. Not on a corn cake.
And by the way don’t be fooled by their black tights: I think that song is a cunning metaphor for how unpredictable and sticky life can get…
(*Says I in the spirit of Jean de la Fontaine).
(Image from here).