Friday, December 7, 2007

The End Of An Era: Adieu Frédéric Chichin

C'est Comme Ça - Les Rita Mitsouko

My friend Stephanie asked me to dj her birthday last year. She told me she was inviting everyone—in the East Bay, that's an incredibly eclectic mix of people. I thought i'd better be ready with a little bit of everything to offer—some 80s tunes, old school hip-hop, hyphy beats, a little reggae, definitely some disco, and since there were gonna be a lot of frenchies there (the hostess being one of them) I thought the night wouldn't be complete without a little French pop as well.

Enter Les Rita Mitsouko. The night was three quarters of the way over. People were ALL over the dance floor. It was a dj's dream. But I had no idea what would happen when I tried to play some 80s french pop.... I mixed in "C'est comme ça". Not even 10 seconds into the song and the dancefloor was packed with all the French kids at the party. They were running around in circles, jumping up and down and SCREAMING the lyrics. It was the most fun I ever had playing a party.

Les Rita Mitsouko were a French duo that began playing in 1979, and by the mid 80s were well known in France. They were never really any hits that came to the U.S. so they were a bit of an obscure band for us. I remember only one hit that came to the U.S. called "Singing In the Shower", a collaboration with the band Sparks, which played on Live 105. 15 year olds who listened to music in 1987 and wore all black probably remember this song. They have been making music since then, releasing 11 albums. Their early tracks are unbelievably good, and the best for getting Frenchies on the dancefloor. For all us Americans who missed Les Rita Mitsouko the first time around, I give you some of their greatest hits.

On November 28 this year, Fred Chichin, half of Les Rita Mitsouko, died of cancer at the age of 53. Before he died, Les Rita Mitsouko made a video for their latest album called "Meme Si". There are two versions of the song, one in English, and one in French. You can watch it on their website.

So long Fred, and long live Les Rita Mitsouko!


...and here's a special treat: the extended version of their first big hit "Marcia Baila" in English!!!

Les Rita Mitsouko — Marcia Baila (English extended version)

and "Andy" in English!

Les Rita Mitsouko — Andy (English version)

Friday, November 30, 2007

Quebeckers Is The Craziest People

Whoa! So I moved to France with my girlfriend and began learning French. When you learn another language, the last thing you get is the jokes, and that's a real shame because the French know how to have a good laugh. I'm in love with the amount of silliness this country has to offer.

My girlfriend and her friends found this website from Quebec (yeah, I know, it's not France French, but bear with me) last year, and would sit in front of their laptops and laugh until they cried. I always thought the images were funny, but I couldn't even come close to understanding what was going on. I am speaking and understanding more French now, so I thought I'd give it another try, and it's even better than I imagined.

The site is called Têtes-à-Claques, which means "a face you want to slap". It's a puppet video series. Canadian-French is a bit different than France-French. For one thing, Canadians have a different accent and use a few different words than the French (which the French find incredibly entertaining), and secondly, a lot of English words get thrown into the mix as you'll soon see. An example of something the French find amusing: the French say "pommes de terre" for potato, and Quebeckers say "patates". "Patate" is an old word in French, which is rarely used anymore in France. If you use it in France, you'll sound like a hick. The cool thing about being the American in the French family, is that after they explained all of the French in the videos to me, I could explain all the important things they missed, like Cheez-Whiz, and Pop-Tarts.

So, I've put together a little transcription for those of you who are learning or know a little French, or those French people who don't get all of the Quebec-French / English words, and also a translation of one of my favorite episodes, Le Willi Waller 2006. It goes like this:

Uncle Tom: Hey mon ami, t'aimes sûr manger des patates, des patates "pilées", des patates frites, des patates au Cheez-Whiz, ben Uncle Tom il a un super patente pour toi qui aime beaucoup les patates: Le Willi Waller 2006.

Avec le Le Willi Waller 2006 là, ça va pas te prendre trois fois moins de temps a éplucher des patates, ni quat' fois moins de temps a éplucher des patates, non, avec Le Willi Waller 2006 là, ça va te prendre 2 fois moins de temps pour éplucher des patates.

Ben là tu dis whoa man hey Uncle Tom là, c'est impossible là ce que tu dis avec ta bouche.

T'arretes de nous bullshitter Uncle tom là.

Ben je comprends parfaitement ton skepticism.

Mais check ben le demonstration qu'on va te montrer.

A droite une grosse patate avec un Willi Waller 2006, à gauche un autre grosse patate – pas de Willy Waller 2006!

Ben watch ben la difference, ok?

Attention: un, deux, trois, quatre, GO!

Hey, vois-tu comme c'est plus facile avec Le Willi Waller 2006, hein?

Now, vois-tu comme c'est beautiful hein?

Mais le plus extraordinary là c'est que pour seulement 4 paiements faciles de 29.99 là sais-tu combien tu vas recevoir de Willi Waller?

Pas un, pas deux, pas trois mais bien 14 Willi Waller 2006! Unbelievable!

Tu vas pouvoir en mettre un partout partout c'que tu veux: Dans le to(auto), dans le salon, dans le châlet, dans le toilette, dans le bureau, tu vas même pouvoir donner à tes amis!

Temoinage no1: Ben depuis que Le Willi Waller 2006 est entré dans ma vie là euh, ben moi euh, ben j'sais pas

Temoinage no2: J'vous jure depuis que j'utilise Le Willi Waller là, ben mes patates là, elles goutent pas mal plus bonnes.

Temoinage no3: Merci Uncle Tom, merci.

Uncle Tom: Hé, hé, hé! C'est pas beautiful ça, hein? Appelle tout de suite pour ce fantastic offer, sort ton credit card puis compose le number à l'écran là, puis si t'appelles tout de suite là, on va même t'en shipper une poignée de plus!

Je te jure avec ton Willi Waller 2006 là, jamais manger de bonnes patates aura été aussi facile.

Réalisateur: Coupez! On va faire une p'tite dernière mais avec plus d'énergie, ok?
Uncle Tom:
Ah 'tain! Voyons, ah ch'tait bonne celle-là, là?!

Réalisateur: Ah là-a mais met ptit plus d'energie là, ca va etre parfait, ok!

Uncle Tom: Tu veux, tu veux j'en-en un peu plus gros tas tas, c'est ca?"

Réalisateur: C'est ça, ça...ça plait ça

Uncle Tom: Alright let's go with it.

Réalisateur: Dah trois, deux, un, action!

Uncle Tom: Hey mon ami, t'aimes sûr manger des patates!


Willi Waller 2006

Uncle Tom: Hey my friend! Do you like eat potatoes? Boiled potatoes, French fries, potatoes with Cheez Whiz?

Well then Uncle Tom has a super patent for those of you who love potatoes - the Willi Waller 2006.

With the Willi Waller, it won’t take you 3 times less time to peel potatoes, nor will it take you 4 times less time to peel potatoes. No, with the Willi Waller 2006, eh, it will take you two times less to peel your potatoes.

But I can hear you saying it now, "come on Uncle Tom, whats coming out of your mouth is impossible", eh. "Quit bulshitting us", eh.

Well, I understand your skepticism perfectly. So check out our demonstration. On your right, a big potato with a Willi Waller 2006. On the left, another big potato, with no Willi Waller 2006. Uh,watch the difference.

Ok, 1,2,3,4 GO!.

See how much simpler it is with The Willi Waller 2006, huh? Isn't it beautiful?

But what's the most extraordinary, is that for only 4 payments of $29.95, you know how many Willi Wallers you'll get?

Not 1, not 2, not 3, but 14 Willi Wallers. Unbelievable!

You will be able to put one any-anywhere you want. In your car, in your living room, in your cottage, in your bathroom, in your office. You can even give them to your friends.

Testimonial 1: Uh, since the Willi Waller 2006 came into my life, well, uh, I dunno.

Testimonial 2: I swear that since I started using the Willi Waller, eh, my potatoes taste way better than pretty good.

Testimonial 3: Thank you Uncle Tom. Thank you.

Uncle Tom: Isn’t it beautiful, eh? Call now for this fantastic offer.

Take out your credit card, and dial the number on the screen, eh.

And if you order now, eh, we will throw in another handful.

I swear that with the Willi Waller, eh, eating good potatoes has never been easier.

Director: Cut! Let's do the end again but with more energy.

Uncle Tom: Shit! Come on! T'was a good one, eh.

Director: Uh, just give it a little more energy, eh, and it will be perfect.

Uncle Tom: Uh, you want me to seem a little more like a dumbass, right?

Director: That’s it. That would be great.

Uncle Tom: Alright, let's go with it.

Director: And...3, 2, 1...Action!

Uncle Tom: Hey my friend! Do you like to eat potatoes?