This song is pretty out of left field for me, meaning it’s not on either the “Midnight in Paris” or “Amélie” soundtracks, and it’s not a Keane song. It’s a straight-up club song, complete with an Eastern European singer and the funkiest accordion (?) riff ever, and if we’re being honest I’ve listened to it probably 450 times in the past few months. I even bought it for the times I’m not plugged into a computer, listening to it on constant repeat on Youtube.
I don’t know what it is about this song in particular, but I’m addicted. I don’t really listen to a ton of music, especially when I’m writing, but I was working on one part of my novel a few months back that required me to get in the headspace of someone absolutely delirious and buzzing and sweaty, leaving a club on the French seaside in the middle of the night. Voila, ce chanson. Qu’est-ce que vous pensez?
French classes started again last night. I’m in level 105 now, and we have a few new people in class. Rachel is still our teacher, and have I mentioned that I sort of love her? Because I do. Did I mention her name is pronounced “Rashelle” and not “Ray-chul”? Of course it is. She’s French! We had our last 104 class two weeks ago, and she encouraged us to bring wine and snacks, and by the end of class we were just watching French videos on Youtube, including this song, by Mc Solaar.
True story, my dad went to Paris when I was 8 and I requested three things from him: a beret, an Eiffel Tower, and a pop culture magazine. I still have the first two (the Eiffel Tower stays on my writing desk, you know, for inspiration), but the magazine disappeared years ago. This was in 1994, and MC Solaar was on the cover. Ten years later, MC Solaar’s song “Le Belle et Le Bad Boy” played in the background of the final episode of “Sex and the City,” when Carrie is running around Paris. Almost 10 years after that, and we’re listening to his music in French class. Everything comes full circle.
The fun thing about this song is the word play I never would have caught on to had Rachel not pointed it out. The line in the chorus is “Je suis l’as de trèfle qui pique ton coeur, Caro” which translates to “I’m the ace of clubs that trumps your heart,” and Caro, which is short for “Caroline” sounds like the French word for diamond. Trèfle = ♣, pique = ♠, coeur = ♥, Caro = ♦. How neato is that?
Also, my friend Jeff (not to be confused with JAMAL!) sent this to me last night and I haven’t stopped laughing since. I don’t even care if it’s photoshopped. So apropos!
David Bowie’s new song, “The Next Day,” features Gary Oldman as a priest, Marion Cotillard as a prostitute-turned-saint, lots of blood squirting everywhere, a blind woman with her eyeballs sitting on a tray in front of her, and most curiously of all, no discernable chorus. You’d think a song that bizarre would feature at least something you could sing along to, but it’s weird: every time I’ve watched it my brain has blocked out the background music. I guess it’s trying to process how gorey the rest of it is, and is distracted by Mr. Sexypants himself, Gary Oldman. Even as a weird priest with a hair-style reminiscent of Dracula, dude’s still got it.
Warning: graphic and weird.
I was hesitant to even post this video because it does just give me the heebie jeebies, but a) my last Tuesday Tunes was about the Backstreet Boys, I have to redeem myself, and b) it’s been waaay too long since I posted about Gary Oldman, and the last time I did I might’ve broken his heart by telling him we had to see other people.
If you follow me on Pinterest, you know that I’ve gone particularly, what’s the word?, bonkers the last few days pinning pictures of him. Some of you are taking it better than others (ahem, Sue).
In case you don’t follow me, and even if you do, here’s a smattering of what you can expect:
I don’t know how it started (that’s a lie, yes I do: it all started a Pandora station of circa 2000 pop music in honor of May 1st and the Justin Timberlake meme “It’s gonna be MAY”) but I’ve been on a throwback boyband tear for a week. I missed the first wave of them, the Backstreet Boys and NSync’s of the era, but caught up just in time to be a gigantic O-Town fan. I know, I know, it’s okay, I’m judging me too. Anyway, boybands weren’t ever given enough credit in my opinion. Screaming preteens? Yes. Credit? No. A lot of them could actually sing but you kind of lost that in between all the typecasting (the “cute” one, the “tough” one, the “sensitive” one). If you missed out on the wonder that was Lou Pearlman’s first money-making harem of dudes, today is your lucky day: I present to you, the Backstreet Boys.
Slow ballad not your taste? No problem.
So in this particular iteration of boybands, AJ was the “bad boy,” Nick was the token blond cutie, Brian was the sensitive short guy with a heart defect (true story), Kevin was the strong, mature one, and then there was Howie. Oh, Howie. No one seemed to really like Howie, not even the band’s managers or video producers. Because while the rest of his band members are off chasing femme fatales or walking moodily through the rain, Howie is getting coffee. Yes. In two separate music videos, the poor guy is relegated to a coffee counter.
Either he had a debilitating caffeine addiction that interfered with his work, or the producers were just stumped for what to do with him for a whole four minute video storyline and were just like, “…and while that’s going on, you’re going to be drinking a cappuccino.”
Have you guys heard of this song, by band Manchester Union, before? Apparently, it’s the most relaxing song ever created. A group of sound therapists studied the heart rate and brain function of adults who listened to it and discovered that it actually makes people’s hearts slow down to a relaxed rate.
‘Weightless’ works by using specific rhythms, tones, frequencies and intervals to relax the listener. A continuous rhythm of 60 BPM causes the brainwaves and heart rate to synchronise with the rhythm: a process known as ‘entrainment’. Low underlying bass tones relax the listener and a low whooshing sound with a trance-like quality takes the listener into an even deeper state of calm.
How bizarro is that? I definitely found the song relaxing, and these kinds of songs are right up my alley anyway, but I can’t tell if the song relaxed me because it actually relaxed me or because I expected it to. Kind of a mind-trip for Tuesday morning.
Last night was my last night of French class for this session, but classes begin for the next 10-week-round next Monday. I will be in Paris (have I mentioned that yet??) but Rachel, our teacher, told me to schedule a make-up class, meaning I can take a lower level class one night to make sure I get the full 10 classes worth. I realized that I never really explained where I was taking French classes before, and after finding out yesterday that the school turns 110 years old this month, I figured it was worth pointing out that I’m going to a reputable school, not a back alley establishment.
The Alliance Francaise was founded in Paris in 1883, by a group of men including Jules Verne and Louis Pasteur, and now has over 1,000 locations in 135 countries. The schools are all independent franchises, but all have the same mission: teaching French as a second language. There are Alliances in Madagascar, Lesotho, Mongolia, Colombia (there are 20 there!), and of course, here in Philadelphia. My school was founded in 1903, and I only found out about it from Yelp. The school is a small, cozy office downtown, with bookshelves lining the room and lots of comfy couches, and about 5 small classrooms. I ADORE it. They offer classes for kids and adults, cultural outings, movie viewings and dinner parties.
I took a full-day Immersion Class back in November to test the waters, and then signed up for a full roster of their 10-week, 2-hours-a-week sessions. Thanks to a bunch of holidays that all fell on Monday nights, our last class wasn’t until last night. The classes are small, only a maximum of seven or eight students per level, which means it’s intimate, but not too intimate where anyone feels embarrassed giving an answer. I just found out that the teacher moves up through the levels with us, so Rachel will teach level 104, on the same night, at the same time, in the same room, with the same group of students. How great is that? And the best part, it breaks down to about $13 an hour for the classes, which is an insane steal. Part of wanting to learn a new language is that you have to really want it, and I really want it, regardless of the cost.
If after this round, I sign up for the summer and winter sessions, I’ll complete levels 105 and 106 before 2014, meaning I could move on to the 200 level courses. How exciting would that be? My ultimate goal is to become fluent. I actually looked into going back to college to get a second bachelor’s in French (some schools offer them without having to take all the gen ed courses and only take the classes in whatever major you’d be getting), but I have no idea what to do with the one useless degree I have, let alone a second.
I’ll ferme ma bouche and let you listen to today’s Tuesday Tunes:
Oui, Coralie Clement again. She’s just too amazing.
Today’s video isn’t so much a song, but rather an hilarious cat video our French teacher, Rachel, showed us last night in class. It mocks black and white French existential movies and combines everyone’s favorite internet sensation: sassy felines. And yes, we actually watched this in class. It was the highlight of the night, along with a game we played where each of us had to pronounce “un, en, on, in.” That’s surprisingly more difficult than you’d imagine, as each of them are a little similar but different enough to be really confusing, and we all ended up making ridiculous faces trying to over-pronounce each one. Have I mentioned that I love French class? I LOVE FRENCH CLASS. I signed up for the next session of courses, and they start March 11th, the Monday I’ll be in Paris. Rachel laughed and said she thinks I get a free pass for missing a class to be in Paris. Well, non duh.
PS. I want to thank all of you for your kind and incredibly supportive and uplifting comments yesterday. I promise I wasn’t compliment fishing when I wrote that post (to be fair, I didn’t even know the direction it would take when I started it) but I’m humbled by how amazing you guys all are. Seriously.
My favorite thing about being home alone is all the time I get to spend with my favorite classical music station playing through the house. It’s not like Boyfriend has banned it when he’s around, but it’s really something I prefer to do alone, in private. It’s one of those meditative, singular pursuits like examining your pores in a magnifying mirror or busting out the complete choreography to the Spice Girls’ “Spice Up Your Life.” Sitting quietly on the sofa with a mug of tea and Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 filling the room…well, it’s pretty reverential to me. I take after my dad in that respect. It reminds me of the quiet mornings we had at his house, with the same station playing on the same radio I have now.
The morning host interviewed Canadian violinist Angele Dubeau and featured her string ensemble’s performance of famous movie soundtracks. I was in the shower, when suddenly, the theme from “Cinema Paradiso” started playing. It stopped me in my tracks, literally froze me in place. My dad adored that movie and made it a point to show it to me at a young age. It was one of those moments that was so perfect, so many things that meant so much to me all coming together unexpectedly. If you haven’t seen it, you need to, immediately, and if you have, I don’t need to tell you how beautiful and touching and heartbreaking it is, and why I was moved to tears listening to the song in the shower.
It’s an Italian masterpiece, following the friendship of Toto and Alfredo, set in a movie theater that bears the name of the film. The movie won both an Oscar and a Golden Globe in 1989 for “Best Foreign Film,” along with a slew of BAFTAs and the Grand Prix at Cannes the same year. The soundtrack is stunning; composer Ennio Morricone seriously knows how to tug at your heartstrings. Today’s Tuesday Tunes had to be this performance:
I’m overtired and still feel hungover from a weekend of straight drinking with Anna and Audrey and I have a dentist appointment this morning to have a wear-facet filled before it turns into a cavity and I’m grouchy and did I mention tired? French class was great last night, though. I can’t believe we’re not even halfway through the term, my head feels so dense avec le passé composé. Je n’ai rien appris! Next Monday, since all of us have off for MLK Jr. Day, our teacher suggested we move the class up to 10am and have brunch at Le Pain Quotidien in town. Um, oui merci. I’m already looking forward to level 104 and eventually conquering tout les classes. But first I have to get in the habit of not waiting until the night I have class to do my homework.
Today’s song is one I can’t believe I haven’t shared already. It’s dance-y and fun and totally out of my league when it comes to music, so you won’t believe me when I tell you I discovered M83 myself a year ago. I’m not cool enough, I know.
And because I can’t resist, here’s an amazing picture of a kitten in sunglasses:
The moral of this post is: sometimes, a lame post is worse than no post at all.
The first Tuesday Tunes of the New Year is a song I’ve been playing non-stop for weeks, thanks to a mix CD my friend Herbie made for my birthday. Remember the Matt & Kim debacle? After that, Herbie decided it was high-time to educate my clueless self on all the awesome music out there I am completely oblivious to. On my birthday, he handed me a CD full of songs from bands like Yeasayer, Fleet Foxes, The Antlers, Frightened Rabbit, Grizzly Bear (so many animals!), James Blake, and Bon Iver, among others.
Herbie is insanely more musically with-it than I am. My favorite track on the whole thing was the first one, “Hanging On” by Active Child (White Sea Remix). You’ll see why:
I mean, right? Try to listen to it just once. So needless to say the CD is a total gem and I owe Herbie a debt of gratitude now, because I finally feel like a Cool Kid who listens to more than George Michael. Or like a 17 year old that read their first Bukowski or Sartre and think I’m agonizingly hip because I can name-drop my newfound knowledge in conversation. “You know that band Active Child? I totally dig their music.” AKA, one song. But it’s a start!
I love the people I work with. Christine, Brett, Maurin, Anthony, Sam, Carl, Evan, Herbie, Hunter, Anna, Aisling, Audrey, Luke, Rich. They make the day worth it for me, I can go to work and know I’ll have a good time because of them. They’re more than just co-workers. That’s why I need you all to keep our co-worker and friend Dave in your thoughts and prayers. He really needs them.