Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures

She’s (not) so funkular



My musical taste is heavily influenced by my brother’s taste when he was a teenager. I slept down the hall from his room in the early 80s so David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Mike Oldfield and a bunch of other British rockers and prog-rocksters provided the soundtrack to my dreams. A favorite album of his at the time and mine for the rest of time was Peter Gabriel’s “melty-face one” (Peter Gabriel [3]). My sister and I sang along to one of the tracks, “Games Without Frontiers,” a million times, always singing “she’s — so — funk-u-lar” in the bit that’s between choruses.

We were totally wrong. The former lead singer of Genesis is saying, “Jeux sans frontières.” I feel both foolish and justified since the lyric we made up matches the sounds better. I blame the British school system for producing a creature with such poor French pronunciation.

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Misheard lyrics and other phrases are called mondegreens after a misunderstood line in a Scottish poem called “The Bonny Earl O’Moray.” A famous song one is Jimi Hendrix pleading, “‘Scuse me while I kiss this guy” instead of “‘Scuse me while I kiss the sky.” My brother himself had one that my mother loved. When he learned the Pledge of Allegiance in elementary school and recited it back to her, he said, “One nation, Underdog” instead of “under God.” Who knows; the country might have been better off if it was protected by a plucky shoe-shine dog with an alter ego.

Author: le cul en rows

I'm an American Spaniard, living in France. I like to tell stories.

3 thoughts on “She’s (not) so funkular

  1. Wow, love this! I never knew that line was actually in French. As a big Sting fan myself, I’ve dealt with trying to decipher the occasional French phrase (he’s written a couple songs completely in the language). I have to giggle a bit nowadays because after living with authentic French speakers for a few years now, I notice how silly Sting’s accent was when speaking it, whereas back when I was a teenager you could’ve convinced me that he spoke it fluently and without the slightest fault. Funny how perceptions change!

    • I haven’t tested the theory, but have a Frenchie listen to the chorus and I bet they won’t hear it either.

      I’m a big lover of the Police and Sting but will never forgive him for teaching people to say Nabokov wrong.

      • Yes, I confirm that upon listening to Sting singing, my French wife not only couldn’t understand his accent, but she was also confused by certain mystery grammar that doesn’t exist in the language. I guess when you set something to music you can get away with a lot. :)

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