Sunday, 17 October 2010

say cheese

whilst watching the tv i like to count the number of adverts for cheese in any given ad break. i feel a genuine sense of achievement for a 3 cheese ad break. this sounds ridiculous (my sense of victory is) but there are on average two per ad break, which seems high. in france, a country where cheese will be bought whether or not it's de rigueur this season, i find it really unnecessary.

nectar of nature? it's just cheese!

it's like this ad currently plastered all over the métro... why? why is "nectar of nature" taking up serious ad space on the métro? this wouldn't grate on me so much if there was a small spark of originality to these campaigns but no. money is changing hands in the advertising world over pictures of cheese on a flowery background. there's another tv ad for some sort of roll of goat's cheese where the campaign manager clearly saw the diet coke adverts of yesteryear, thought to himself; "sex sells" and has a woman rushing down flights of stairs to chase the window cleaner who is seductively (i suppose) unwrapping a roll of goat's cheese. it's truly cringe worthy. another of my least favourites is a dad in front of his son who is sat in a highchair, there's no clear message but i like to subtitle it "now do you want to grow up and be a proper frenchman like your dear old dad?". other cheese ads go for an upbeat humourous spin that makes me put the tv on mute: "you like fromage? we sell fromage! fromage!". something must be done.

in other cheese related news; i was poorly the other day and craving my feel better recipe for a delicate tummy which is boiled rice, grated cheddar and maggi all mixed into a comforting glutenous lump. the frenchman gallantly went out to find me some cheddar but to my disappointment came back with this:

plastic cheese. i'm surprised they even sell it in france, surely it's some kind of blasphemy. i was too ill to explain and not mean enough to send him out again (do it better!) so in a desperate measure i made said recipe with emmental. quivering bottom lip of the spoilt child... it's... just... not... the same!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

paris, france

i've always had a bit of a chip on my shoulder about americans. there are an absurd amount of them in paris. when i arrived last summer i think the ratio of americans per square metre (that's right, i'm metric) was higher than that of the parisians. i'm not going to go off on some xenophobic rant because i'm not that way inclined, i have some very good friends who happen to be american and i assume that what with writing a blog in english, the majority of the anglophone blog reading population are most likely to be american.

my bias is limited to the not thinking before speaking arrogant americans. i was privy to a conversation with a girl from new jersey the other day which started "i like paris because..." and went on "'s like washington d.c".

now i've never been to washington d.c. and no doubt some comparisons can be drawn although certainly not architectural, cultural or historical. i was intrigued to hear how she was going to follow on from this statement. to my disappointment she proceeded with a goldilocks theory to back up her arguement "it's not too big, it's not too small".

i can be very polite when needs be, as i was with a nice, exceptionally un-patronizing (all things considered) smile. but on the very same evening i found myself talking to a different group of americans. i should point out i was not at the american embassy or wearing a big smile and an i  NY t-shirt under the eiffel tower. anyway, this group thought themselves very well versed in the world of sociolinguistics and after a brief discussion i was on my way to agreeing when this happened:

american guy to me: "you speak very good english".
me to american guy: "i'm sorry?"
american guy to me: "i said you speak very good english".
me to american guy: "... i am english".
american guy: "oh."

no gentle laughing it off from him, i found it quite funny. it explained why he kept cutting me off in the conversation, it wasn't that he disagreed, he just wasn't listening. douche.

Monday, 20 September 2010

oui nide iou

i found this postcard pinned up in a restaurant in the 10th. it turns out he is a superhero created in the '70s called Superdupont. with french nationalist undertones he fights against the "anti-france", that's right fellow ex-pats, a wonderful melting-pot of all things foreign. i think it's beautifully drawn and love the play on words. voila!

Thursday, 16 September 2010

if it pleases you

one of the ways i found myself keeping track of my progress with the french language has been during visits to the beautician. there was a sudden revelation where i found i was able to make small talk for an entire 20 minute period with legs akimbo. having tried out a variety of different esthéticiennes i have found one i like, she's thorough and quick, maybe a little surly but i'm not there to make friends. in my friend making experience, asking for a pair of paper knickers and showing him/her your hairy vajayjay is not the way to go about it. then again, i suppose it depends on the type of friend you're trying to make.

in any case, on one particular visit, whilst concentrating hard on not sharing the windy aftermath of my lunch i found myself also having to stop myself from laughing, mostly because i didn't want to try and explain what had just occurred to me. having asked me to do "the frog" when you drop your knees to both sides, the princess place perfecter then asked if i would like my crack waxed to which i said "s'il vous plaît", a polite yes please. the problem was i found myself analysing the direct translation "if it pleases you" and the idea that this poor girl could gain any enjoyment out of me spreading my buttocks so that she can get up close and personal with my behind gave me the giggles. fortunately playing the crazy foreigner can cover up such discrepancies.

Monday, 2 August 2010

comment ça va ton père?

the frenchman would like to learn english, or at least improve his smattering of it. i’m thinking that for laughs i’m going to teach this very lad’s lad blokey bloke phrases from the good old days. “oh my word” instead of “fucking hell”, “goodness gracious”, “golly gosh” and “fiddlesticks” are in there but I really want to dig deep into obscurity for the nouns, things that would be understood were someone to say them even with a heavy french accent but words that would make you cock your head to one side and question where on earth this foreign skinhead would have learnt such a quaint phrase?

“how are you pascal?”
“oh i’m a tad tipsy but apart from that i’m hunky-dory. fancy a bit of slap and tickle in the little boys’ room?”

Sunday, 1 August 2010

ho la la !

an ex came to stay last summer, not long after i first arrived. he was surprised to find that just as every stereotype has led us to believe the french do genuinely use the phrase "ooh la la". well in fact, i've never heard it in this raw form; more common is the brisk "ooh la!" of shock or the drawn out "ooh la la la la la la..." of disapproval. i've not had the confidence to use it myself as yet but feel a little pang of affection when it so naturally slips out of the mouths of the professionals.