Monday, 29 January 2007

Francopop and social commentary

I thought I would take a break from philosophical meanderings to bring you the sardonic delights of one of France's oldest and beardiest rockers. Now we all know that the French have never moved on from the summer of '68. Dani Cohn-Bendit's still on the go, as is arch-nemesis Chirac (though on his last political legs it's fair to say. Things do change, albeit slowly). Music-wise too, where Britain has ditched the old, the ugly, and the talented in favour of 'Tesco's finest' pop creations like HearSay, French stars from the 60's just keep getting better. Enter Renaud with the superlative 'Les Bobos' - an ironic take on that new social class, the bourgeois bohemians. I believe the term was first coined in New York to describe Greenwich Village hippies with more money than they knew what to do with. It probably applies to me too, but I can't let a little self-criticism get in the way of a good song with lyrics that do more than arbitarily rhyme.

So, here goes in translation. You can download the track itself off I-tunes or equivalent from the album 'Rouge Sang', while the French lyrics are here so you can laugh at my appalling rendition- All parenthesis [] are my own observations...

"They call them bourgeois bohemians
Or 'bobos' for the cogniscenti among you
In Vincent Delerm's hits they're mentioned in almost every rhyme.
They form a new caste, after the bourgeoisie and the proles
Similar to the beaufs, but classier
I'll give you a brief sketch of them now.

They're pseudo-artistic, it's true, but their passion is for their work -
whether in IT or media -
and they're proud to pay a hefty share of taxes.

They live on the right side of town.
Or in the suburbs, but in a loft.
Their hip artists' studios are much more now than Avenue Foch.

They have well brought-up kids
Who have read 'The Little Prince' by the age of 6 [ie precocious]
Who go to private schools -
well, schools that are deprived of chavs, it's true-

They smoke a joint from time to time
and shop in organic markets
Get around in their 4 by 4s
Though more often than not they prefer to go by bike

They read Houellebecq or Philippe Djian
Smash-hits and the TV guide
Their bedtime reading is typically Surand
Found next to the IKEA catalogue

They love Japanese restaurants and Korean Cinema
And spend their holidays at Cap Ferret
- the Cote D'Azur, frankly, is horrific.

They mostly watch ARTE
Canal + is for Blairites
Except for the odd Paris St Germain football match
And a quick porno from time to time

They listen to France Info [news lite] all day long on their HiFi
Alain Bashung, Francoise Hardy, and of course, Gerard Manset
They love Deproges without even realising that Deproges hates them
Bedos and Jean-Marie Bigard
Although they're ashamed to admit it

They love Jack Lang and Sarkozy [right wing, hang'em, flog'em types]
But always vote green
They love the gay mayor of Paris,
Ardisson and his 'friend' Marco

The women all wear Diesel
While for Him it's Armani or Kenzo
And always pay a lot for their cashmere
Zadig and Voltaire - I say bravo
They can often be seen at museums, art galleries and 'olde' bistros
Drinking 'iced Manzanas' while listening to Manu Chao

My pen is slightly poisioned
When it comes to this tribe I'm not too keen on
But from one angle I can see that
You'd also think I'm one of them.

Les bobos, les bobos"

Ah - nothing like a mirror to ourselves is there...Anyone recognise a hint of truth in this? Now, back to that glass of rouge...

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