Friday, June 29, 2007

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Voicethread and Langoustines

I've just discovered Voicethread via Nancy and I think I like it.
Here's an audio version of a meme Wendz tagged me for a while ago.
Consider yourselves tagged.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

With flowers in her hair possibly

It's nearly midnight and I'm lying in bed with the window open. It's a hot night and we have four children sleeping in various berths up here. Now that we've sorted out the mad scarpering from one room to the other and the disputes between those who want the light on and those who want it off, they all seem to be sleeping soundly. I can hear faint but familiar snuffling noises and some unfamiliar little snores. I've just finished a novel about an old lady and a Moroccan called Chérif and I'm starting The Time Traveler's Wife. It's hard going though because an unbelievably loud thumping bass is pouring in the windows. Sandi Thom is doing a free gig a couple of kilometres from our house on the Place de la Victoire. I can imagine the heaving crowds, the sweaty bodies and the music vibrating through them. I'm in bed reading — this must be middle age.

Monday, June 04, 2007

News from Choctaw Ridge

...or des nouvelles de Bourg-les-Essonnes

Another thing my brother and I tried to remember last weekend were the words to the song with the brain-wormy line "Billy Joe MacAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge".

By coincidence, the song came up in a Metafilter post this week along with a link to Billie Gentry's original version. I love the Billie Gentry version with it's unsettling whiney quality and strange narrative (much more than the Sheryl Crowe ersatz version) but I think I actually prefer Joe Dassin's French version. (I've googled everywhere but I'm afraid I just can't find a link to give you an idea of what it sounds like). In a clever transposition, the young man Billie-Joe becomes a young French woman, Marie-Jeanne
Guillaume, who throws herself off the "Pont de la Garonne" but like the original it never actually quite descends into the maudlin. One of the things I like is the way all of the cultural references are translated to a French context too:

It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day
I was out choppin' cotton and my brother was balin' hay
C'était le quatre juin, le soleil tapait depuis le matin
Je m'occupais de la vigne et mon frère chargeait le foin

And Papa said to Mama as he passed around the blackeyed peas
"Well, Billy Joe never had a lick of sense, pass the biscuits, please"
Et mon père dit à ma mère en nous passant le plat de gratin :
"La Marie-Jeanne, elle n'était pas très maligne, passe-moi donc le pain".

"I'll have another piece of apple pie, you know it don't seem right"
Donne-moi encore un peu de vin, c'est bien injuste la vie

However, in both versions the enigma remains — just what was it exactly that Billie-Joe (or Marie-Jeanne) and the singer were throwing off the bridge last Sunday? Answers in the comments please.