Friday, 12 September 2008

La chanson française, oh yé oh yé

Hello! I promised fun didn't I, and let me say that this rash promise has preyed on my every waking moment. 'Fun, fun' I have been muttering to myself 'Fun'. Noone in my immediate entourage has any helpful suggestions. The eurospawn would direct you to 'Extreme Dinosaurs', a sort of lametastic gang of dinosaur dude superheroes. The CFO has some pleasing lengths of cable he could show you, coupled with further discussion of whether his rogue nylon pants have caused a flea infestation. My colleagues here on the corridor of ennui are frothed up into skittish excitement by an upcoming judgment on Greek pharmaceutical wholesaling. I think I'm on my own here, aren't I?

So, I thought we could have a little French music quiz. This was prompted by a discussion recently with ParisGirl - so you aren't allowed to answer PG. Let's see how much you all know about French music! Yay! (Sorry, this was the best I could come up with on short notice)

UPDATE: Now with shiny possibly wrong answers!

1. Which of the following is not a genuine Jacques Dutronc lyric:

a) I put cactuses in my underpants

b) I like girls from blast furnaces

c) I have dreamed of being an air hostess all my life

d) My umbrella has holes in like my heart

A: As Kate says correctly, the answer is (d)

2. Which famous French cinema personality had hits with songs entitled "I smell bad", "Ok cockroach (I am black)" and the English language thriller "I'll strangle you" (ah ah let me penetrate your memories / woman who can bind you hand and foot/ I'll strangle you) ?

A: Gérard Depardieu

3. "Tonight it is raining in Knokke le Zoute

Tonight like every night

I'm going home with my heart in disarray

And my dick under my arm"

Who? Why (there isn't an answer to this bit. It's existential/rhetorical)?

A: Jacques Brel. Yes, he is Belgian. But FrancoPHONE. It's my quiz. I can include Belgians if I want.

4. What is Johnny Hallyday's real name? And was that collagen a good idea?

A: Jean Philippe Smet. No. It was not. He looks like a bearded duck.

5. What is French rapper MC Solaar's ghetto fabulous first name?

A: Claude. You just can't see it anywhere but France, can you?

6. Who are these people, and do they fill you with the same cold dread they do me?

Please highlight all sexual and narcotic references in their songs "La Merguez Party" and "La Fête au Village"

A: Les Musclés. They had their own sitcom for most of the nineties, which is a frightening thought. I preferred "Classe Mannequin" on M6 though (does anyone know what I'm talking about? No? Thought not. Probably better that way) The Wikipedia entry is bizarrely detailed and claims there is a lot of subtext in songs about sex and references to the pharmacists daughter giving them pills. Odd. Horrid. Yeesh.

7. How did disco queen Claude François ("I have a bigger appetite/ Than a barracuda / I'll drink all the Nile / If you don't hold me back") meet his untimely end?

A: Some controversy here; we all know it was electrocution in his bath, but the actual equipment varies. Zoe: hairdryer; Kate: light bulb; Me - "vibromasseur". Wikipedia "appareil électrique defectueux".

8. The following describes the video for which song, by which artist, in which a young girl falls in love with her hospital nurse?

"The video begins with a portrait of Sigmund Freud in close-up, then shows that of X's mother. The song's lyrics are subtitled. X sits on the floor, wearing a white and transparent nightgown and makes faces. When the chorus begins, X turns blue and begins to jump ; the moon and the stars can be seen in the background. Afterwards, she participates in a demonstration with three children holding some placards. Then, her decapitated head is served at the table on a plate, and the children are going to eat it. Finally, the singer cries, and is slapped in the face."

A: Mylène Farmer. Again Kate triumphs, even though she slightly cheated.

There are no prizes. Do it for the love of knowledge alone. Go on. Answers tomorrow.


parisgirl said...

Did you know Johnny Hallyday was once billed in Las Vegas as "The Biggest Rock Star You've Never Heard Of". Ha ha. And you forgot Polnareff. He made a come back last year. Regrettably.

Jaywalker said...

You know what, PG? I am going to go and put a pic of Polnareff on the top of that post. JUST BECAUSE. Those glasses. The naked woman. How could I forget?

parisgirl said...

That hair...just about OK for the 1970s (I'm afraid I had a similar mop then) but look at this: it's enough to frighten horses.

Laura Jane said...

Oh. My. God.

How tragic are those lyrics? Are they taking the piss?

The image of a guy going home with his dick under his arm is a scream!

And sadly, in a former life, I wore some showgirl outfits like that last picture. BUt I had better hair. My bad.

Léonie said...

Johnny Hallyday is my Dad. Stop being mean about him.

(I don't know any of the answers.)

zoe said...

I only know how Clo-Clo died - hair-dryer plus bath = death. But where is Gainsbourg? He would fit in so nicely with "Annie suce les sucettes" or whatever. Or "69, les années érotiques ...." Soixante-neuf - the number just roles off your tongue ...

Sorry, getting too graphic here.

Kate said...

1. d
2. ?
3. Brel?
4. Jean-Philippe Smet
5. Claude
6. Les Musclés
7. electrocuted in his bath changing a lightbulb, no? not a hairdryer... i think.
8. Mylène Farmer?

Full disclosure: My (French) husband gave me the answers to #6 and #8. He said "see through nightgown? Must be Mylène"

PS I'm still looking for that damned knitted diaper even though it's way too late.

Kate said...

oh. and for some strange reason, i get tons of work done when I put on Polnareff Live at the Roxy. It's my deadline album

screamish said...

I have no idea what the answer is but I like the sound of Number 8 : Freud and decapitated head...

but generally french rock videos are shite I have to say....

Oh and don't you think we were cheated at Eurovision? Am I the only one who actually liked Teller's song???

And I would have put in a question about that falsetto song/duet, you know the one I's always on Nostalgie...GOD, who was that?

La Belette Rouge said...

I know nothing. But, I am always up for a video with Freud. The decapitated head,hmmm, what could that be about?;-)
Oh,and I gave you a blogging award today!

KSV Woolfoot said...

Mrs. Berman, our 10th grade French teacher, back in about 1981, made us listen to "Ce Plan Pour Moi" (do I have that right?) and assured us Johnny Hallyday was bigger than Elvis or the Beatles in France. We had a life-size poster on the classroom Wall of Johnny wagging his finger at the sky, giving us a side-on, tight-panted view. Since then I have never been surprised that French "popular" music never leaves France. So, all that to say, I have no clue who did sang/said/did any of these things but I loved the questions and the pictures.

Mom/Mum said...

Johnny H born Jean-Philippe Smet June 15, 1943 in Paris. (Ok so I totally cheated and looked him up on Wikipedia)
Oh go on, post a pic of the CFO's pleasing lengths of cable!

peevish said...

I'm really, really scared right now. I've been to Italy without incident, but I don't think I can go to France. Not anymore. Not after this.

zoe said...

Brel and Plastic Bertrand are Belgian. I feel upset.

parisgirl said...

...and Johnny wanted to become Belgian!

zoe said...

PG - but we didn't Johnny!

Jaywalker said...

Oh my god, Kate is just awesomely good at this. I fear for your sanity Kate, really I do. The only missing answer is ....

Gerard Depardieu. Yes indeed.

Persephone said...

For some reason, this has put me in mind of one of my very favourite French pop songs with which I fell in love during a particularly dreary Grade Eleven French class: Tous les garçons et les filles de mon age which has to be one of the best teen angst songs ever (along with I'm Not That Girl from the musical Wicked). I believe the version I first heard was by Mireille Mathieu, but the original was by the waif-like Françoise Hardy, despite my husband's opinings that it was by Jacques Brel. (My husband seems to think all 20th century French ballads are by Jacques Brel; I'm not sure he realizes Brel was Belgian.)

Anyway, in keeping with French bizarre-ness (surely a name possibility for the next fête?), YouTube featured: an early sixties concept "video" of the song with Françoise singing (sync-ing) like a zombie while swinging on various amusement rides; a rather cool version done by the Eurhythmics; and, for a hint of traditional French television awfulness, Carla Bruni rather ruining the song.

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