Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Un Hommage A Charles Trenet

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I have been in love with  "La Mer", possibly the most recognizable French tune (with the

exception of "La Marseillaise"), for most of my life.

It was written by Charles Trenet, un chanteur extraordinairre.  And though Bobby
Darin recorded the melody, his "Beyond the Sea", while wonderful in its production and
orchestal arrangement, bears little resemblance to the lyrics of Monsieur Trenet.

To a non-French-speaking American, a category into which I definitely fall, the
words are very French-sounding.  Not knowing the words in French, it had
occurred to me to write my own version in that language, using the words and phrases
I  already know,  or those I remember from Mrs Lemaster's French class in eighth
grade, during those times when I was also taking French lessons from Candy Jordan.
With any luck, Candy's an old granny by now, and Mrs Lemaster has gone to that
big French class in the sky. But the rules of writing this faux-French song would be
that the song itself did not have to make sense, only that the words must sound very
French and be those that an American would recognize, without necessarily knowing 

what they mean.  This would prove to be more difficult than it sounds.

I have some Francophone American and English friends in Paris, and this song
will most assuredly seem stupid, or perhaps merely sophomoric, to them.
This is not my problem.   They can deal with their tragic supercilious smugness on
their own blogs.

Here are my words to "La Mer", with apologies to Monsieur Trenet, Mrs Lemaster,
 50 or 60 million Frenchmen, and especially Candy.  Never was a girl so aptly named...:

Music by Charles Trenet
French lyrics for les Americaines  by
Panama Red

La mer
Arrondissement, et chien,
cherchez la femme
Mangeons gateau dans le bateau
Mais je ne connais
Ou est ma tante

Donnez mon chat, ma cher,
et mon chapeau
La concierge dits "quel beau cadeau!"
Je m'appelle Pierre, et c'est mon table

Cet vin
est chardonnay ne pas 

vin ordinairre
pardonnez-moi, la vache qui rit
defense de fumer avec ton oncle

Gendarmerie, toute suite Merci beaucoup
Comment allez-vous?  Eh, bien, et tu?
Et ta maquillage
Est sur la table


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Panama and the Live Sex Show

P A N A M A  A N D  T H E  L I V E  S E X  S H O W
The Dutch do business slowly.
We're sitting in the office, or we're sitting in the studio all day. Martin orders in. Because of her ties with Surinam, Surinamese food is a big part of the Dutch cuisine. Lots of curry and spices. I would kill for yankee pot roast. But I get through it with my tongue and palate barely intact. We go to a bar/coffeehouse called Free City. Winner of the coveted (yeah, right) High Times Cannabis Cup for 1991. The barmaid is an ex-girlfriend of Martin's, as many here seem to be.
We talk about a couple things: how long til the US goes to hell in a handbasket. Shipbuilders coat their vessels with a paint to render them free of algae and barnacles, only trouble is, the stuff is leaching out into the ocean, killing coral and salmon. There is a big salmon/PCB scare on here. Back in Seattle we're running out of salmon.
The bar we're sitting in, in addition to having the coveted(yeah, right)High Times Cannabis Cup also has a window corner where there is a floor-to-ceiling cage of lorikeets...little parrot-looking birds anyway...little Jimmy Buffett birds...All green with red heads except one little fella who is blue with a kinda buff-colored head.
The other day, on my accidental ramble to the outskirts of town, I noticed a lot more birds than I see in the Centrum where I live, for which I was grateful, having read Silent Spring. Anyway, though, some of these birds were obviously feral parakeets or something. Not your typical native North Sea avian.
Used to see whole flocks of parrots flying over Coconut Grove in Miami...escapees from Parrot Jungle who'd gotten together and formed a gang. I mean big ole macaw mothers. Twenty and thirty and forty at a time. Go flyin over the Grove squawkin an shit. If they'd taught them to curse like sailors before they escaped it would have been perfect.
Back to the bar, where I am watching the lorikeets. The little fella with the blue and buff color combo has struck up a conversation with one of the red and greens.
Pretty soon, he's trying to mount her.
I say Hey Martin, these birds are having sex. Soon the whole bar is standing in front of the cage watching the more intimate aspects of lorikeet life. Imagine. Here you got the Dutch, noted for their blase I've-seen-it-all attitude, I mean drug education here means they teach the kids how to roll a good joint, and here's fifteen jades all standing like schoolchildren around this lorikeet cage like it was a National Geographic special.
This quickly deteriorates into shouts of encouragement, some worldly kibitzing to the young male as to technique, various oh-babybaby overdubs, and bets as to when this consummation will be, well, consummated. I gotta say this is a frisky and vocal little couple here, but soon this live sex show is over and the drinkers drift back to the bar. We have more sometimes desultory and sometimes animated conversation. And then it's time to go to the Monday night jam at MaloeMelo. I gather up my things and just as I'm leaving take a last look at the birds.
He's bringing straw. She's making a nest. Perfect.