Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I'm not French, but I kiss that way



I'm not the most cultured of men.

I was talking to a girl this past weekend at a wedding reception who reminded me of this. She waxed arrogantly about her European travels and knowledge of foreign wines and dishes.

"Oh you've never been to Paris? That's sad. So have you never had authentic blanquette de veau?"

When I told her that I'm kind of indifferent about most things French, I didn't realize I had done more than state my opinion. I had drawn a line in the proverbial international sand. She not only disagreed, but was offended.

"Well, I'm more interested in other regions of the world I guess. I'd rather eat sushi or Thai."

She responded with the kind of defensiveness usually saved for topics like abortion or Radiohead's best record. It was one of those moments when "a personal judgment is universalized and made applicable to one's girlfriend or boyfriend [or all the citizens of a country], the moment when I think this is good becomes I think this is good for you too." (Alain de Botton,
On Love)

But the truth is I do like some French people:
Audrey Tautou, that French exchange student from Better Off Dead and the writers Proust and de Botton. Fondue is a good time and I'm masculine enough to admit I've eaten quiche. I read some Deschamps and Rousseau in a college poetry course. And other than Gérard Depardieu, I guess I don't really know much about French film, though I do enjoy subtitles.

But I love the sound of the language when it's sung. So, for the most recent girl who got away, les chansons en français:

Belleville Rendez-Vous (French version) - Les Triplettes De Belleville

La Vie En Rose - Mia Doi Todd

Salamandre - Sarah Harmer

Tout Doucement - Feist

Vonal Declosion - Stereolab

Buy:
Les Triplettes de Belleville Official Soundtrack
The Unaccompanied Voice: An A Capella Compliation, Various Artists (featuring Mia Doi Todd)
I'm a Mountain, Sarah Harmer
Let It Die, Feist
Margerine Eclipse, Stereolab

14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nicely told. Nice selection too.It is even better when you understand French, you should try !
;-]
keep it going
jiefe

5:13 PM  
Blogger c said...

great story, but dude, in your list of "likes" you forgot french fries. unless you don't like them, in which case, you really, truly are so not cultured ;=)

5:22 PM  
Blogger -tr0y- said...

thanks jiefe--maybe someone should translate it all for me :)

yes C--french fries = big weakness!!

6:08 PM  
Anonymous david@olletti.com said...

De Botton's not a 'French person'. He was born in Zurich, but he's as English as I am. We bumped into each other crossing the road at the Ilkley Literature Festival about five years ago and me and my mate went for a pint with him and his girlfriend. Nice bloke! Applaud for your splendid French selection though!

6:19 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

As I've told you, you probably wouldn't be indifferent to La France if you cooked. I am nothing in the kitchen without my French cookbooks. Viva la butter, cream, vermouth, creme de cassis, leeks, shallots etc., etc.

And your romancing skills, Troy... Next time play along. Though she does sound frightfully pretentious, poor creature.

6:40 PM  
Blogger -tr0y- said...

good story david! id like to meet him. sorry for the inaccuracy...
i'm going to give cooking french a try amy--you've not led me astray ever before. (she was a poor creature...)

8:07 PM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

Bonjour !
Je suis une "petite française" (a little frenchie girl) from Paris and I love blanquette de veau !
I really did appreciate what you wrote (kind of funny), and the music ! And there was some tracks I didn't even know !
If you want to listen to more french music, I'll be glad to share the music I like with you. It's up to you!
Sorry for my english... it's awful I know!
Jen

3:35 AM  
Blogger -tr0y- said...

Thanks Jen for your comments. I'd love to hear some of the music you like. Feel free to write me at shakeyourfist@gmail.com

9:45 AM  
Blogger Jon said...

Aren't you required by indie law to post some Serge G whenever France comes up? I don't think it's a high demerit violation, but be warned; these days, the police are out in numbers.

1:28 PM  
Blogger -tr0y- said...

haha Jon--i'll watch my back. thanks for the warning!

2:18 PM  
Anonymous shiner said...

i think Arcade Fire's 'Haiti', halfway counts! haha.

10:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that enjoyed that read. nice tie in with Radiohead comment. joy

1:35 PM  
Anonymous Andrew said...

This is a funny story, nicely written.

I wonder if you've listened to Francoiz Breut or Dominique Ane and have an opinion?

4:10 PM  
Anonymous Thai Radio said...

One may love France but should never forget that the world is very wide...

6:22 AM  

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