Wednesday, June 17, 2009

In the Mood...

...for operatic French pop.
It's getting late. A storm is brewing outside.
I know!
Johnny Hallyday!
My high school French is just up to figuring out that I don't need to know exactly what he's saying. "les gens qui cherchent la lumiere... les femmes qui pleurent..." (people who search for the light, women who cry...) Good enough for me.
He could definitely be singing about the painful transition from a centrally-planned Communist economy to a free market one.

Here's Johnny...

Yes, just right. The people in this video could be trapped in Soviet-era Slovakia... and he's exhorting them, "live for the best" (what's the English idiom for this?).

Fittingly for me, as more of a film person than a music person, I first became aware of Hallyday as an actor, in Man on a Train (2003, dir. Patrice LeConte). A huge star in France--"the French Elvis"--he is little known here in the US. I see on his Wikipedia entry, he's even nicknamed "the biggest rock star you've never heard of".

This is one of the weird things about being an American (something I've been thinking about that I'd like to write more about)--growing up with the assumption, held by everyone around you, that the world revolves around your culture and then discovering there are honking huge chunks of art, life, love that are fucking fantastic, that have nothing to do with the USA, and that nobody told you about. Heavens.
____________
I just finished Slovakia, more or less. So I'm in a weird mood. A dinner of Star Trek cereal and vodka and tonic didn't help me feeling all mopey and insufficient.

There're still lots of ragged ends, stuff I'll have to rework when it comes back from the editor. How do you explain the transition from a centrally planned Communist economy to a capitalist free market to eighth graders... especially when you barely understand it yourself? And it's all so desperately important and interesting.
Life seems so BIG... and impossible.
You know. The unbearable lightness of being...

Oh, dear.
Yes, definitely in the mood for Johnny Hallyday.

8 comments:

momo said...

When I was doing my junior year abroad in college, I lived in Bordeaux 1976-77. Johnny Halliday had already been a big star for a while then, and we were treated to constant coverage of his love life, etc. One of the fun things about living abroad at that age was being whomped upside the head by the realization that the world did NOT revolve around the U.S. It was exhiliarating and dreadfully disillusioning at the same time: so many lies! so much to know!

What's amazing to me is that he can actually sing! and he's still a star! dang.

deanna said...

While wondering how you take pictures in the shower, I'm happy for you to be out of Slovakia for now. What a project it sounds like. Especially when you're a person who thinks deeply about culture, individuals, music, storms. Here's to well-deserved rest, if you can get it.

fresca said...

Momo: Yes! Whomped upside the head--exhilerating and disillusioning---these are exactly my feelings about America/culture too!
Also the realization that other people's culture is just as silly and obsessed with the dating life of stars as ours! : )

Deanna: Thanks for wondering! In fact, it was a big pain to take photos in the shower, as the camera kept steaming up!
I was holding it up against the wall, behind the shower head, to get this weird angle.

It's nice to get a break from Slovakia--when it comes back, I'll feel like taking it on again, Austria-Hungary, Warsaw Pact, ice hockey and all.

fresca said...

P.S. Yes, Hallyday CAN sing, and I read that he's gotten better with age, not like poor Elvis. "Vivre" was from 1999, when he was 56.

Manfred Allseasons said...

Ahh, recipe ideas!

Let me write this down...Star Trek cereal. Vodka.

Excellent! Breakfast is going to be that bit more exciting! The only thing I'm missing is vodka...I shall check under the couch...

fresca said...

*snort*
Gin may be substituted.

bink said...

I'd heard the name Johnny Hallyday long ago, but never (knowingly) heard him before. Being able to get stuff (look up people) like this on youtube now is so great. Is "vivre pou..." the complete title of this song, or did it get cut short?

fresca said...

Bink: Yeah, I have gotten so spoiled with uTube--I now am affronted if something is not on it.
Huh, the title of the song-- "Vivre pour le meilleur" (live for the best)-- shows up entire on my computer.