Le cul entre les deux chaises

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

Me estoy volviendo loca

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The summer of 1982 must have been a rainy one on the farm. It was the only year that I remember watching any TV while visiting my grandparents and something must have driven me to the sewing room where the TV was mounted on a high shelf in the corner by the door, much too high to make for comfortable viewing. The house was located between the sea and a forest in a low valley off the coast so the reception wasn’t good. Not that it mattered; there was only one channel, TVE.

The best Spanish album of all time, imho.

The best Spanish album of all time, imho.

The weather really must have been dire as I spent many days, possibly a few weeks, watching la Vuelta a España, the Spanish version of the Tour de France. It’s the premier cycling competition in Spain and I might have forgotten all about it if it hadn’t been that TVE had chosen Azul y Negro’s “Me estoy volviendo loco” [I’m driving myself crazy] as the theme for that year’s race. It was used as the bumper music in and out of commercial breaks, was frequently the bed music under shots of cyclists riding and accompanied the commentators while they spoke. It was my first ear worm and I had to have it for myself.

That was why 1982 is also the only year that I remember making multiple trips to towns and cities. Normally, I would settle into my routine of running around in the woods with the dogs and taunting the pigs or the chickens and would ride in a car maybe six times total. Two of those trips being to and from the airport. But that year, I went along whenever anyone was going to a town big enough to have a record shop because only I could scat the tune well enough to hope that someone would recognize it, know what it was and put a copy of it in my hot little hands.

In retrospect, it’s good that I was both so young and am a sinvergüenza [shameless] because it’s not the easiest song to replicate with just your voice. It’s all electronic and TVE never used any of the parts that had lyrics so I would stand in front of people and launch into my imitation:

“do, do, do, do, do, do-do, PSH! do, do, do, do, do, do-do, PSH! do, do, do, do, do, do-do, do-do, do-do, do-do!”

Finally, one amused guy knew exactly what I was talking about and handed over a cassette of DIGITAL, the first (of two) Spanish albums I would ever buy in my life.

[I just watched the “official” video for the first time today and it’s so 80s, so Spanish and so bad that I won’t subject you to it. Instead, watch this version, oddly scoring scenes from Woody Allen’s SLEEPER for reasons I do not understand.]

Decades later, my mother sent me the double CD set reissue of Azul y Negro’s greatest hits and I finally retired the tape I’d lugged around with me almost my whole life. As soon as I got the CDs, I ripped the tracks and threw the whole thing onto my first iPod and hit the DC trails, riding to the best biking music that ever existed. Seriously. If you or someone you know loves to clear their heads while riding at a punishing pace, this is the soundtrack for them.


Author: le cul en rows

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

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