Wednesday, February 23, 2005


It's a tricky but enviable combination to pull off but one that Vincent DeLerm (about whom I know precisely nothing) manages with aplomb. I'm suspicious of anyone who's just cool and have more time for people who clown around like an arse without too much worrying about what they look like. But to manage both at once, that takes some doing. It's something I would aspire to myself but I generally only manage the looking like an arse side of things (at which point I revert to my more natural state of sitting quietly in a corner somewhere hoping no one notices me).

Ooh, directions: you need to click on the link and then "videos" and then "Natation Synchronisee".

You will note the significant use of ukulele throughout.

And if anyone can translate the lyrics then do let me know (unless they're disappointingly rubbish in which case keep it to yourself). I caught the word for grapefruit at one point and, I think, a mention of Fassbinder so, you know, I've done the hard work for you, you'd only need to fill in the gaps.

(My thanks to my good friend Nicky, whom I met for the first time yesterday - oh this modern world of technology - for sending me the link).

Here's the lyrics in French. I wish I'd paid more attention during my French A level. "Les barquettes plastique de fish and chips a Portsmouth" has to be one of the great pop lyrics of all time:

Nous avons connu les correspondants allemandes
et les correspondants anglais
Nous avons dispute des interclasses de hand
et des interclasses de volley
Nous avons revise les accords de yalta
juste a cote d'une robe en lin
Et nous avons melange sergi bruguera
avec le blocus de Berlin

Nos histoires d'amour sont les memes
commes si nous avoins pratique
Dans les piscines paralleles
La natation synchronisee
Nous avons cru faire une transat
en solitaire mais a la place
Nous ne dessinons sur l'asphalte
qu'un ballet d'holiday on ice

Nous avons essaye le dry Schweppes pamplemousse
Milos Forman et Fassbinder
Les barquettes plastique de fish and chips a Portsmouth
Elle photographiait nos erreurs
Nous avons subi le soir du 21 Juin
des reprises de la bombe humaine
L'eau vive a la flute a bec par des cm1
Just like heaven avenue du Maine

Sur celle avec ta soeur dommage tu fermes les yeux
Celle-la le flash est pas parti
La c'etait l'hotel le dernier soir a Malmo
Ca je sais meme pas ou c'est pris
Nous avons vu l'eclipse tout en haut d'un talus
Nous avons marche sous le pluie
Elle s'est assise un soir au fond du resto u
Par hasard j'etais la aussi

The irritating (or possibly wonderful) thing is that the dim memories of my long ago O level in French (plus the more recent teachings of the first CD of a Michel Thomas course) allow me to understand about two thirds of the individual words there, I just can't grasp the sense of the thing as a whole. But is he using synchronised swimming as a metaphor? Have I got that right?

Ooh, a little knowledge and all that...

Probably best just to enjoy the sight of him dancing with himself I guess.

I could translate the words, but so much things in this song are so specifically french that perhaps you wouldn't catch the picture so easily. So I would rather try to comment the text and give my own interpretation.
The whole thing is that Vincent Delerm invokes some memories from approximatively his school years (the 1st verse) to his student years (the last one). These flashbacks are very precise, tenuous, disparate and sometimes ironical. They also they seem to be very personal. I specially enjoy the way he talks about "le soir du 21 Juin" which stands for the "fĂȘte de la musique" a very popular event in France, during which Vincent had to endure a few songs covered by various amateur's bands :
- "la bombe humaine" is initialy from Telephone, a french rock band of the 80's,
- "l'eau vive", an early 60's song, is played here by a schoolboy recorder band from "cm1" class (about 10 years old),
- "just like heaven" the well known Cure's song.
The general meaning of the chorus is just to say that, even if each of us thinks he lives some particular and personal events ("Nous avons cru faire une transat en solitaire"), in reality we are sharing the same things and even we are doing the same gestures ("La natation synchronisee", and also the hilarious video on the web site).

Merci bien, Laurent.

Hi guys,

I was looking fot those lyrics and I found them here, so :

(not enough time to erase the mistakes sorry )
"we have known (or bear) some deutch female correspondant
and english male corespondants
We have played volley ball during breaks
and handball some other times
We have studied Yalta Agreements nearby a linen dress
And we have mistaken Sergi Bruguera for the Berlin Blockade

(He talks about the lessons of his student life that nearly every french kid had to study, and they do it yet sometimes)

Our love stories are alle the same
as if we had practiced
in paralel swimming pools
the synchronized swimming (if nobody understand I don't care, I don't even myself I am hungry)
We've believed that we were doing a transatlantic race (=transat')
alone but instead
we are just drawing on the asphalt
a ballet of Hollyday on ice (considered as childish and boring)

We have tried the dry Shweppes grapefruit (drink)
Milos Forman and Fassbinder (cinema scrennplayers or God knows what)
plastic baskets of fish and ships at Portsmouth
She used to take pictures of our mistakes
We bore the 21 of June evening (each year, this day, all musician can go out and play, it is forbiden at any other time without being allowed)
some replays of the "bombe humaine" (=human bombe)
"L'eau vive" by a band of schoolkids with a reccorder
"Just like heaven" avenue of the Maine

On this (...picture...) with your sister it is too bad your eyes are closed
On this one there was no flash
On this one it was the last evening at Malmo
I don't even know where this ine was taken
We have seen the eclipse up a bank
We have walked under the rain
She sit down an evening inside the restaurant of the university (=restau U, which is "restaurant universitaire", a familiar way to talk about the cheap restaurant of every college
By chance I was here too

Well it is pretty bad but I think that you will be able to enjoy a bit more the song.
On th

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