What's it all about - Je t'aime, moi non plus

May 26, 2009

I made the observation that though the song is remembered for its explicit sexuality (all that heavy breathing), in fact the message is far more subtle. After all, what does "Je t'aime, Moi non plus" exactly mean? I love you; Nor do I -- an apparent non sequitur. Was it, I speculated, a misogynistic comment on male sexuality -- the man scornfully admitting that the physical was all that counted. Or was it deeper -- the man hearing the woman's "I love you" as an empty phrase, which he echoes with an equally empty negative. It seems I was close with the second guess. On the 30th anniversary of the song, I interviewed Jane Birkin and she said it was all to do with Gainsbourg's vulnerability.

"I never quite knew what he meant (by the words). Was it because he was too shy to say 'So do I' because it was too banal, what everyone says when they are knocking each other off. Or maybe it was because he didn't believe it (the 'I love you'). He thought that was what girls always say. He was fairly 'désabusé' (had no illusions) about love. He had had several affairs that went wrong. Brigitte Bardot left him. So did I eventually. His belief in his own beauty was not very high. He loved the way other people looked. He wanted to look like (actor) Robert Taylor. With his big ears and his hooked nose -- he did not like his face."

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The White Company

May 11, 2009

What can one say about a play that is 11 hours long? I refer to Paul Claudel's "The Satin Slipper" which has just been staged in its entirety at the Theatre de l'Odeon. The play was first performed during the war, but since then it's only been put on two or three times -- for obvious reasons. Making a radio report about it, I watched the first hour and a half, and then the last hour and a half. If what I saw is representative, then all I can say is that anyone who sat through the whole thing has my fullest admiration. It makes one ponder on the vast difference that separates the French and the British cultural worlds. The idea of this being put on in a West End theatre is laughable. As far as I could make out, "The Satin Slipper" is a long, long, long series of philosophical and poetical discursions about love and God. Of plot, I could identify very little -- certainly no dramatic tension. To my view, it was the embodiment of tedium. And yet the theatre's 700 seats were all taken, and it has had a packed four week run.

People I spoke to in the audience were ecstatic. I interviewed the director Olivier Py, who said the play had changed his life. And the actress Jeanne Balibar said that for her it was like an American TV mini-series like Lost or The West Wing -- full of hidden themes. But the answer to that is surely that in the Anglo tradition we write tight exciting stories which engage the attention, and then use them to evoke deeper themes. The French way seems to be to go straight to the deeper theme, and then talk about it - ad nauseam. Personally I find it effete and elitist.

French culture – Fun facts you will love

France is a lot more than the country of cheese and wine. It is a trendsetter country, where women have a famous beauty and where they speak one of the most romantic languages ever. And who did not hear of French kiss? Here you will discover the greatest number of Michelin-ranked restaurants, foods are delicious, legends are epic, holidays are lively and traditions will make you want to move here for good.

The best of France

This romantic country with strong emphasis on passion is the best place to live – or at least spend your vacations. Their food is mouthwatering and a French meal usually includes bread or baguettes and cheese. You will find in almost all villages locally-produced wine and cheese – and it is a guarantee you will fall in love with their flavors. Ratatouille and French onion soup are some of the traditional dishes, but you must venture in the most popular French restaurants if you long to have an incredible culinary experience.

The love of French people for France, their language and their products will amaze you sometimes. Meet a Paris escort like those on http://www.6annonce.com and you will soon realize that they are very proud of their language. The songs you will hear at the radio will be mostly in French and the products you will shop from the Paris stores will be produced here, in this country. Maybe this patriotism makes the most of French people visit the Asterix and Obelix Village entertainment park over Euro Disney. Although strangers are crazy about this last one, the French bring their children to learn and discover the wonderful village of their local heroes.

Their values are highly appreciated by them and they will start to like you even from your shy attempts to speak their language. You will hear various dialects in different regions of France, yet all of them sound melodic and somehow romantic. Whether you venture in Provence, Val de Loire, Normandie or Bourgogne, you will uncover gorgeous castles hidden all over, idyllic landscapes and a rich history that will impress you.

Get your inspiration from Louvre Museum, try to discover the secret behind Mona Lisa’s smile and notice the grace of Venus de Milo sculpture. Do not miss Palace of Versailles if you want to learn new things about France’s history and head to Cote d’Azur for an incredible vacation. Feel the sun kissing your skin and the hot sand beneath your feet while you will enjoy a cold, French cocktail on the beach in Saint-Tropez.

French culture was highly influenced by Celtic and Galo-Roman cultures. However, you will meet traditions and customs inherited from the Franks, a Germanic tribe, too. We should not associate France culture solely with Paris. Though the City of Lights is an important center of cuisine, fashion, art and architecture, the other cities, villages and regions of France are just as delightful as the capital city. Whether you move or you just spend several days of vacation here, you will enjoy the French culture and you will certainly cherish each and every moment spent under the generous French sun.

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